U.S. Senator Dick Durbin will pay a visit to City Hall tomorrow to testify in favor of Ald. Ed Burke’s (14) planned direct introduction of an ordinance banning smokeless tobacco at Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, and all sports venues–professional, collegiate, high school or at organized amateur sporting events–in Chicago.
A press release from Burke’s office says Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston have all implemented similar bans.
If it passes the full Finance Committee, the measure would join Mayor Emanuel’s slew of proposals raising taxes on tobacco products, instituting price floors, and hiking the smoking age in Chicago to 21. Emanuel administration officials have been lobbying aldermen ahead of the Council vote Wednesday. The measure was deferred and published by five aldermen last month, who argued it would hurt retailers (especially in border wards) and fuel the sale of loose cigarettes.
Other items on the agenda:
Three tampon tax related items from Finance Chairman Ed Burke: One is a resolution calling on the Illinois General Assembly to adopt legislation to reclassify tampons and sanitary napkins as medical necessities, so those products may be exempt from the state’s sales tax. Another calls on the Illinois Department of Revenue to do the same. The third item is an ordinance amending the city’s municipal code to exempt those products from the city’s 1.5% sales tax. Similar legislation exempting the same products from the county sales tax have been introduced at the Cook County Board. All three items on today’s Finance agenda note that feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary napkins are currently taxed at the rate of 10.25%, which includes a 6.25% state tax; a 1.75% county tax; a 1.5% city tax; and a 1% Regional Transportation Authority tax. That’s because the Illinois Department of Revenue currently classifies tampons and sanitary napkins as “grooming and hygiene” products, not “medical appliances.”
A Resolution to Remove JP Morgan Chase Bank From City’s List of Municipal Depositories: (O2016-690) The ordinance from Ald. Jason Ervin (28) and Ald. Michael Scott, Jr. (24) that calls for removal of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. as municipal depository for both the City of Chicago and Chicago Board of Education, because the bank plans to close a branch in West Garfield Park, which the ordinance says is “one of the most underserved communities in the city.” The closure goes against City Council’s encouragement that “municipal depositories… act as good corporate citizens by striving to increase access to banking services and catalyze economic development in low-income and underserved communities.”
Establishment of Homebuyer Assistance Program: Mayor Emanuel introduced this ordinance in February to “encourage homeownership” by providing downpayment assistance to low- and middle-income families. Under the program, which will be administered by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, qualified homebuyers could receive a grant for up to 7% of the total loan amount based on income. The city will invest $1 million toward getting the program off the ground.
A Redevelopment Agreement With Irving Park Property Holdings LLC: This ordinance makes available $2 million in TIF assistance for a mixed-use redevelopment of three vacant buildings in Portage Park’s “Six Corners” shopping district. The developer, Irving Park Property Holdings, LLC, managed by Charles Cui, an immigration lawyer, plans to purchase a vacant two story bank building (4901 W. Irving Park Road), the adjacent building (4925 W. Irving Park Road), a new construction site (4939 W. Irving Park Road) along with a parking lot behind the bank building. Once the TIF money is approved, Cui plans to undertake a $14.1 million dollar project that will transform the bank into a Binny’s Beverage Depot on the first floor, a fitness center on the lower level, and a 300-seat theater space on the second floor. The neighboring building will house an Elly’s Pancake House, and the third building will be a Culver’s drive-thru restaurant.
Legal Settlements: There are two legal settlements totalling $830K listed on the supplemental agenda. One suit brought forth by Caprice Halley, Tevin Ford, andWillie Douglas alleges illegal strip searches by eight Chicago Police officers. They’re seeking a $205K settlement. The other settlement for $625k was filed by Marlon Pendleton, who was wrongfully convicted in 1993 of a sexual assault. He was exonerated and released from prison in the fall of 2006, after DNA testing proved he was innocent. According to the Innocence Project, Pendleton “repeatedly requested DNA testing before trial, but Pamela Fish, a Chicago Police Department forensic analyst, falsely claimed that the amount of semen recovered from the victim was too small to yield a result.” Gov. Rod Blagojevich pardoned Pendleton in October of 2008.