Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Tribune: Aldermen introduce plan to hike Chicago's minimum wage to $15 in 2021

Introduced in today's session of the Chicago City Council:
Chicago’s minimum wage would increase to $15 in 2021, four years earlier than in the rest of the state, under a proposal aldermen introduced to the City Council on Wednesday.

South Side Ald. Sophia King, 4th, said the higher cost of living in the city than downstate makes the quicker bump necessary. “That is why we are here today,” King said at a news conference to announce the ordinance.

The “Raise Chicago” ordinance would increase the city’s minimum wage to $14 on July 1, 2020, and to $15 on July 1, 2021.

New Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been supportive of the idea of a $15 Chicago minimum wage.

While business groups have argued that the higher wages could lead to layoffs, King said studies have shown no impact on employment levels as minimum wages go up.
In the rest of the state, the minimum wage is expected to go up to $15/hr by 2025. In the city mimimum wage is expected to max out at $13/hr by next month.

Friday, June 7, 2019

The old Gately's store, ruined... #Ward09

[VIDEO] I've never known the Gately's store. By the time I became aware of the landmark that sits no more than two blocks south of 111th & Michigan it was divided up among so many smaller stores. I don't recall ever shopping in those smaller storefronts.

However, what I do know about Gately's and the rest of the shopping district along South Michigan Avenue between roughly 107th & 115th Streets was that it was a very vibrant shopping district. Perhaps it wasn't as profitable as 63rd & Halsted was back in the day, however, there are many who live in years past who remember the vibrancy of Roseland's retail district.

I heard through twitter from Pete Kastanes who posts on FB, IG, and twitter about long gone Chicago businesses once lived in Roseland and remembers Gately's People's Store. He started a blog with one of his first posts about the old store.

He was the one who noted that this landmark was on fire on twitter and was increasingly sad about it. Then I later saw the above video from CBS 2 about it and the fire has proven to be devastating.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Ald. Ed Burke pleads not guilty

[VIDEO] Let's start with last week when the press seems to be abuzz of the new Mayor Lori Lightfoot's smack down of the longtime powerful Alderman Ed Burke during the first council meeting she presided over as mayor. And then the wily Alderman gets indicted and Mayor Lightfoot comes out and states he needs to leave Chicago's city council once he was indicted in federal court.

We shouldn't be too surprised that Burke is pleading not guilty in a case that has charges of racketerer

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Pritzker: Forget downtown, put Chicago casino in area that has ‘been left out, left behind’

You know I'm actually for this. A casino doesn't belong anywhere near downtown Chicago, however, why not put one in the neighborhoods. From the Sun-Times:
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday he would prefer a newly-allowed Chicago casino be located separately from the downtown business district and away from McCormick Place.

While stressing the decision on locating the casino belongs to Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the City Council, the governor said his preference is for the casino to be put in an area that hasn’t benefited from downtown’s building boom.

Pritzker would not name potential sites, but his comments would appear to help the prospects of the old Michael Reese Hospital property at 31st Street and the lake or the former South Works property at 83rd Street and the lake. Another possibility is the Illinois International Port District land on the Southeast Side.

“I will say that we don’t want to, let’s say, compete with what I think is important about downtown, which is, you know, this is a business town, right? And McCormick Place is a business showplace, and it’s different than other places, right?” Pritzker told the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board.

“You go to Las Vegas for your convention and you know that the people who are coming are not really spending all their time in the show, but love to go because of all the entertainment and everything else. I think in Chicago people come here to do business, and so you want to make sure that they’re separated, let’s say,” he added.

Reese, South Works and the port authority land all have potential and drawbacks as a casino site. They offer plenty of land for what must be a large casino; state legislation authorizes 4,000 gaming positions, or more than three times of the size of any single Illinois casino. But the sites also have drawbacks.
What say you?

Thursday, May 23, 2019

CapFax: Chicago’s population plunge has stopped

I've thought about this in terms of the next ward remap. What you see over at CapFax is that the city is gaining over 10,000 people in the past decade. Rich Miller contends that the increase could be far worse given the past.

Probably something worth looking at for our new mayor.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

[VIDEO] As of Monday Chicago has a new mayor in Lori Lightfoot. Last month she defeated county board president Toni Preckwinkle to occupy city hall's fifth floor as mayor of Chicago succeeding Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel I hear already has a new gig as a contributing editor to The Atlantic and a contributor to ABC News.

Meanwhile we're already two days into Lightfoot's mayorality and is already busy putting her staff into place. She also attempting to chip away at Aldermanic prerogative.

Above is her inaugural address from Monday, which is one speech I never had a chance to fully follow. It's just about 40 minutes so it's a long haul to follow. I'm curious about her agenda as mayor for the next four years.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Curbed Chicago: Rahm Emanuel’s top accomplishments as mayor of Chicago

Rahm Emanuel is leaving office soon and last week Curbed Chicago wrote about some of his accomplishments. Of course they still look at some of the issues that remain.

With this said, best wishes to the new Mayor Lori Lightfoot as she tackles some of he pressing issues of our city. As always for the Windy City, hoping for the best!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Metra upgrades and slashing Metra Electric fares...

[VIDEO] As there is a bill being proposed in Springfield that would fares on the Metra Electric line in the city, perhaps I should share this story. This aired on CBS Chicago on May 9, 2019 and was shot at the Metra station at 115th Street or in Metra parlance Kensington. It illustrates the need for upgrades to Metra stations.

The aforementioned bill to cut fares to ride the Metra Electric line within the city limits is designed to make riding that route within the city a more attractive option and was introduced by local state representative Marcus Evans (D - 33rd District). From the Tribune on May 7, 2019:
The bill, introduced by Illinois State Rep. Marcus Evans, Jr., a Democrat, would set fares for Metra Electric trips within the city as equal to CTA rail fares, which are $2.50 at the regular rate. Metra Electric fares within the city currently range from $4 to $5.50 for a single ride.

South Side community activists have long discussed converting the Metra Electric line, which runs from downtown into the south suburbs, into a rapid-transit line with more frequent stops to make up for a lack of rapid transit options on the far South Side.

“It’s a quality-of-life issue,” said Linda Thisted, co-chair of the Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric, which supports the bill. “A lot of people can’t afford Metra Electric fares so they take really slow buses. This could transform the South Side and the South Shore.”
Expansion of South Side service through Metra could be less expensive than a parallel expansion of the CTA’s Red Line south from 95th Street to 130th Street, which will cost about $2.3 billion. The CTA is planning the extension, though it does not yet have the money to pay for it.

Metra said it was willing to discuss the proposal, which also would allow Metra Electric riders to use the Ventra card to get on the train.

“We would look forward to working with Rep. Evans and others to determine whether doing this is feasible and affordable,” said Metra spokesman Michael Gillis.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

On The Table at Urban Partnerhip Bank THIS Tuesday

I apologize for this late post, as the information was sent much earlier.

But if you are able to attend, there is at least one open On The Table event in the Chatham area.

If you have additoinal #OnTheTable events, or want to report on yours AFTER the event, contact us at

Here is the press release for the event


Nonprofit Utopia, Providence Bank Invite Local Stakeholders to Write a Memo to the Mayor

Nonprofit Utopia, the ideal community for emerging leaders, and Providence Bank & Trust will host a meetup, On the Table: Memo to the Mayor on May 14, from 9:00 am until 11:00 am at Urban Partnership Bank. The bank is located at 7801 South State Street in Chicago. Guests will write a memo to the Mayor, reflecting the results of each table’s conversation, including collective points-of-view; recommendations and ways the Mayor and her administration may address problems, make something better or otherwise follow up.

The target communities for discussion include Chatham, Avalon, Auburn-Gresham, West Chesterfield, Park Manor and Greater Grand Crossing. Guests will break out into 4 groups to discuss issues of concern as they relate to how Mayor Lightfoot can implement policies for individuals around investment and wealth creation; economic development; job creation and affordable housing and related policies.

"Every idea is important", said Valerie F. Leonard, the Founder of Nonprofit Utopia, LLC. "Therefore, our memo will take into account all the ideas shared On the Table". Depending on the pleasure of the group assembled, the memo can be made up of words only; it might include a photo; a vision board; it might even include a poem. It is the guests' opportunity to cast a vision for their local community.

On the Table is sponsored by the Chicago Community Trust, and is a daylong civic conversation involving thousands of people all across Chicago and neighboring communities. All events will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at times convenient to local groups. Friends, co-workers and even strangers gather that day for mealtime conversations about topics that matter to them. This year’s theme is Memo to the Mayor.

Learn more about Nonprofit Utopia at and

Learn more about Providence Bank & Trust at Providence Bank & Trust is a Member of the FDIC and is an Equal Housing Lender.

Learn more about On the Table events at

Photo: Hurley Green, III

Valerie F. Leonard 
Founder, Nonprofit Utopia
Phone: 773-571-3886
E-mail: Website:
Coming Soon: Capacity Building Blocks Online

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Capitol Fax: Lightfoot, Rush appear to move on from the past #ChiMayor19

Lightfoot will take her place on city hall's 5th floor on May 20, 2019 and we're already seeing some indication of her relationship with some of Chicago's US Congressmen (or Congresswomen). Today we talk about her future relationship with 1st Congressional District congressman Bobby Rush who made some very racial incendiary remarks about Lightfoot before she won last month's runoff election for mayor.

Read about it at CapFax