Progressive Caucus Financial Transparency Resolution – The Progressive Caucus plans to work “closely” with the Mayor’s office to draft a Financial Transparency and Accountability Ordinance “designed to create oversight and transparency for untested financial arrangements like the so-called ‘toxic’ interest rate swap deals that have plagued the City in recent years,” a press release says. The goal is to impose more “rigorous” review for the city’s big financial transactions. A water revenue bond deal Progressive aldermen pushed against months ago for containing ‘toxic swaps’ passed City Council Wednesday.
Commercial zoning for medical marijuana – Ald. Ed Burke (14) has submitted another ordinance loosening regulations for medical marijuana in the city. The zoning change would allow for medical marijuana dispensaries to set up shop in commercial districts if they receive a special use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals. He and Ald. Willie Cochran (20) have previously teamed up to do away with 24-hour security requirements at dispensaries.
More Bed and Breakfast Modifications – The ordinance from Ald. Brian Hopkins(2), Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1), Ald. Pat Dowell (3), Ald. Michele Smith (43), and Ald. Tom Tunney (44) would bar anyone who knowingly operated without a license within two years of the application from getting a Bed and Breakfast License. It’s the latest in a series of vacation rental and B&B ordinances introduced aimed at the shifting landscape of home and apartment rentals in Chicago, just before Ald. Will Burns (4) announced he’d be leaving City Hall to go work for Airbnb. Sources expect some kind of hearing on home sharing licensing and regulations in April or May.
Student Loan Debt Hearing – Ald. Marge Laurino (39) and Ald. Ed Burke (14) teamed up to introduce a resolution calling for hearings on the “student loan debt crisis.” CFO Carole Brown, officials from the private sector, City Colleges, CPS, and other local colleges will be called to testify. The preamble says Illinois ranks 16th in the country for highest debt burden, and debt has doubled for students at Eastern Illinois, Illinois State, Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois at carbondale and Western Illinois Universities.
Mondelez Hearing – Mirroring similar legislation introduced by Cook County Commissioner Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia, Ald. Burke and Ald. Derrick Curtis (18) have introduced items examining Modelez, the parent company that owns the Nabisco plant on the city’s Southwest side slated to send 600 jobs to a new plant in Mexico. Burke’s resolution calls on Department of Planning and Development Commissioner David Reifman to detail how the department tracks redevelopment agreements and job retention for companies that benefit from deals with the city. Curtis’ resolution urges Mondelez to expand its operations.
Health In All Policies Resolution: Previewed by Chicago Department of Public Health at Board of Health meetings this winter, this resolution introduced by the Mayor Wednesday calls for applying “a Health in All Policies approach to the City’s decision making,” essentially applying a health filter to all “policy development and implementation, budgeting, and delivery of services” decisions. The resolution calls appointment of a task force to examine health policies in housing, transportation, food access, environmental protection, safety and violence prevention.
Lease Agreements for Cook County Mental Health Services – The city plans to lease office space at two of its clinics as part of the new behavioral health initiativeCook County Health and Hospitals Systems officials announced last month. One clinical office space, located on the first floor of the West Town Neighborhood Health Center at 2418 West Division Street, will be used by the Cook County Department of Corrections for mental health services to ex-offenders. The other, the new triage center for behavioral issues for arrestees, will take up 10,784 square feet of clinical office space, subject to expansion include the entire building, at the Roseland Public Health Center at 200 East 115th Street.
Seven CPS Land Moves (O2016-2526, O2016-2507, O2016-2505, O2016-2504, O2016-2483, O2016-2472, O2016-2461) and two TIF Assistance Ordinances (O2016-2455, O2016-2434) were also introduced. The city will accept three CPS properties for “public purpose,” and the Park District will accept one for “open space, recreational and park purposes.” The TIF assistance includes no more than $760,000 for school improvements to Amundsen High School and no more than $287,000 for Hope College Preparatory School.
Street Designation for Nancy Maldonado – Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26) submitted an ordinance calling for the stretch of Division between 2400-2850 as Nancy Y. Franco-Maldonado Way, in honor of his late wife who passed away around the Christmas holiday.
Repeal of the ban of flower peddling – Just in time for spring, Ald. Ed Burke’s (14) ordinance strikes out the language that prohibits the sale of flowers, plants, or bouquets. The sale is currently only allowed inside “duly licensed” restaurants and taverns.