The number of homicides so far this year in Chicago climbed past 100 over the weekend, the deadliest start to a year in the city in nearly two decades, according to statistics kept by the Police Department and the Tribune. […]
Since , there have been three years that the city saw more than 70 murders over January and February: 1999 (95), 2000 (85) and 2002 (77). In the last decade, there haven’t been more than 66 murders during the first two months.
Murders began rising sharply in Chicago in the mid- to late 1960s, peaking in 1992 with 943 murders before gradually declining. In 1997, the number was 796. Last year, it was 468, by the department’s measurement.
Chicago Public Schools announced $85 million in cuts on Monday, saying that in all, 62 employees — including 17 teachers — are being laid off.
In a statement, the district said its hand was forced by the lack of a funding solution from state government.
“The reductions will come through layoffs, closing vacant positions, reallocating funds held in reserve, and changing programs,” CPS said in the statement. “Next year, the reductions will amount to $120 million on an annualized basis.”
* Progress Illinois…
A lawsuit against the city of Chicago pertaining to red-light cameras will continue following a Cook County judge’s decision to deny the municipality’s request to dismiss the case.
The lawsuit alleges that the city failed to provide motorists with due process in their failure to issue second notices of violation prior to sending out final determinations of liability for red-light camera tickets. A win for the plaintiffs, who have requested that the case be turned into a class-action suit, means the cash-strapped city would be on the hook for refunding millions of dollars to drivers who have been ticketed since 2003. Chicago Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffery argues that the plaintiffs are not owed “any recovery, let alone any refunds.”
* And yet he’s wasting a whole lot of political capital on this…
Some Chicago aldermen, small business owners and retail lobbyists want Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reconsider his tobacco tax proposal, saying the plan would adversely affect local businesses and neighborhoods, including those already impacted by black-market sales of “loosie” cigarettes. […]
Debate rages on over Emanuel’s proposal to increase the smoking age in Chicago from 18 to 21 and impose a $6 million tax on non-cigarette tobacco products, with the revenue going in part toward Chicago Public Schools orientation programs. The plan is aimed at preventing “young people from picking up smoking, while investing in their education,” according to the administration.
The proposed ordinance encountered aldermanic opposition at the monthly city council meeting held on February 10. Some opposing aldermen used a procedural move to delay consideration of the proposal for one month. They did so even after the Emanuel administration made changes to the ordinance to appease aldermanic critics.
Alds. Leslie Hairston (5th), Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), David Moore (17th), Jason Ervin (28th) and Nicholas Sposato (38th) joined business owners and representatives from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association during a Tuesday morning press conference at City Hall to speak out against the mayor’s tobacco plan.
After my little health issue last year, I’ve done a big about-face on tobacco. The industry is run by vultures. And I hate the argument that government can’t do more than one thing at a time. It most certainly can.
But Emanuel is so badly damaged right now and his city is in such dire straits that it boggles my mind that he is picking fights with aldermen he’s gonna need if he ever hopes to solve some of these problems.
Enough is enough, already.