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Monday, June 17

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The Mechanics

Event Thu Mar 26 2015

Your Kids Are in a Crisis: Robert Putnam's American Dream

"Everybody who went to college raise your hand," said Dr. Robert Putnam from the stage of Cindy Pritzker Auditorium. Without exception, every hand of the 400, white, middle-aged professionals in attendance went up. "You're who I'm talking about when I say 'rich kids,'" Putnam jested. The audience laughed at the recognition that, yes, they were all members of a privileged social strata. Putnam nodded and turned toward the PowerPoint behind him, "Today, I'm going to be talking about inequality."

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Sam Rappaport

Labor & Worker Rights Tue Dec 17 2013

Ballot Proposal Would Encourage Raising Minimum Wage in Chicago

Petitions were delivered on Monday to the Chicago Board of Elections in order to place a non-binding referendum on the March ballot that would encourage companies to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The referendum would only affect business that make $50 million a year, according to a press release from Raise Chicago Coalition.

The current minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 an hour, one dollar higher than the national minimum wage.

The effort to gather the signatures for the referendum was led by the Raise Chicago Coalition, which consists of groups including Action Now, ONE Northside and Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, among others.

There has been a national discussion about increasing the minimum wage, including after a Wal-Mart in Canton, Ohio held a food drive for its employees. On Dec. 5, workers at fast food restaurants across the country went on strike to demand higher wages.

Monica Reida

Poverty Mon Nov 25 2013

Food, Bombs and Poverty Policy

IMG_0251.JPG

Food Not Bombs grocery distribution and mural at United Church of Rogers Park (Photo/Emily Brosious)

As millions of low-income Americans face reduced federal food assistance this winter, the necessary role of grassroots groups working to stem the tide of hunger in Chicago is clearer than ever.

One such organization providing food to Chicagoans-in-need is Food Not Bombs. The group started in Boston in 1980 and has since spread to hundreds of cities across the world. Food Not Bombs has three Chicago-area chapters in Pilsen, Humboldt Park and Rogers Park.

Community activists come together each week with their respective chapters to prepare and serve free meals in public spaces while promoting a platform of non-violent resistance to war and militarism, Dante, an organizer with Pilsen Food Not Bombs, explained in an interview.

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Emily Brosious / Comments (2)

Housing Mon Sep 23 2013

"High Rise Stories" Provides Glimpse Into Life of Chicago Housing Authority Residents

High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public HousingTo those who did not live in the Chicago Housing Authority's infamous high rises they were simply tall buildings you stayed away from. The crimes that occurred around the high rises were stories many Chicagoans simply read about in the newspaper or heard about on TV.

The high rise buildings of the CHA housed thousands of people from the 1950s until 2011. In High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing, edited by Audrey Petty and the latest book from Voice of Witness, allows readers to get a glimpse inside of the high rises through oral histories collected from former residents.

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Monica Reida

Housing Mon Jul 02 2012

"The CHA is trying to get out of the public housing business"

At least 20% of Chicago's public housing units are empty, according to an investigation by the evergood Chicago Reporter. It's a shocking number given the lack of affordable housing in the city--but should not be surprising. Over the last two decades, public housing has been the subject of a controlled hunt, with "mixed-income" housing, often resulting in gentrification, an important agent of neoliberalization.

Nearly one in five of the CHA's 21,204 units is unoccupied, the bulk for planning purposes, and that puts the agency at odds with written federal rules, The Chicago Reporter found.

CHA officials justify keeping a majority of the units "offline" because they've fallen into disrepair and could end up in litigation if they're leased out. The officials maintain that they're eligible to continue collecting millions in operating subsidies even though the units are vacant.

But some housing advocates point out that the disrepair is the result of the CHA's own doing. "The issue is not just vacancies," said Carol Steele, a tenant leader representing residents from the North Side's Frances Cabrini Rowhouses, where the occupancy rate slid to 21 percent this year. "The issue is that the CHA is trying to get out of the public housing business."

Ramsin Canon

GB store

Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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