A packed slate of committee meetings await aldermen today. Reconsideration of former Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp to the Police Board, three ballot referenda for the March 2018 primary, and another round of committee votes on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2018 Budget are just some of the items awaiting committee action ahead of Tuesday’s full City City meeting.
Public Safety – Zopp To Police Board
9:00 a.m. [Meeting Details]
With only three members of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee present for last Friday’s early morning meeting, Chair Ariel Reboyras (30) decided to hold off on consideration of the controversial appointment of Andrea Zopp to the City’s Police Board. The nine-member, mayor-appointed body recommends disciplinary action against Chicago police officers accused of misconduct.
At Friday’s Public Safety meeting, only Reboyras, Ald. Gregory Mitchell (7), and Ald. Willie Cochran (20) were present. Zopp was absent. Reboyras told reporters after the meeting he could have passed the appointment without the needed 10 members present if he wanted to.
“If I wanted to rush it, I would have done it with two members,” he said.
Lack of a quorum is rarely used as a reason to delay committee action, as most City Council committees rarely have more than half of members present. Since The Daily Line began covering the City Council in 2015, a quorum call in committee has only been made by members, never the chair.
In the past year, it’s been used twice. Ald. Ed Burke (14) used the procedural move to delay a Zoning Committee vote on a storage facility in Jefferson Park, and Ald. Rick Muñoz (22) threatened a quorum call at and Education Committee meeting to send a message to the administration: if you want aldermen to approve your appointees to the City Colleges Board of Trustees, have Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool testify on the district’s financial issues.
The ACLU of Illinois and the Chicago Lawyers Committee, two local legal organizations that have been following the city’s ongoing police reform efforts, criticized the Emanuel administration for what they considered a “rushed” appointment of a “city hall insider.”
Zopp, formerly Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Deputy Mayor for Neighborhood Development, was appointed to the board this month shortly after leaving the administration to head World Business Chicago.
Rules Committee – Ballot Measures
9:15 a.m. [Meeting Details]
Chicago allows three non-binding questions on the ballot for a given election. The questions are usually decided by the administration and introduced as resolutions by a mayoral ally on the City Council. The following questions are proposed for the March 2018 primary ballot:
- R2017-907 – Ald. Ariel Reboyras’ (30) referenda question asks: “Should Governor Rauner support Illinois legislation to ban firearm bump stocks and strengthen penalties on illegal gun traffickers?” A bill in the state legislature banning bump stocks recently failed in the House over concerns that current gun owners would be penalized for gun modifications.
- R2017-914 – Ald. Pat O’Connor’s (40) question asks, “Should the State of Illinois develop a comprehensive strategy to address the recent rise in opioid-related and heroin-related deaths including committing additional state resources for addiction treatment and requiring health insurers to cover opioid alternatives and limitations on prescription length?” Both CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita and Cook County Medical Examiner Ponni Arunkumar outlined the staggering impact of opioid deaths locally at their recent budget hearings.
- R2017-906 – Ald. Marge Laurino’s (39) question asks: “Should Governor Rauner act to protect the 650,000 Illinois residents who obtained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act by supporting legislation amending the Illinois Insurance Code to preserve important benefits like pediatric services and maternity care, and by investing in outreach campaigns to encourage residents to sign up for health insurance?” Rauner has drawn criticism for not being more vocal on the impact an ACA repeal or overhaul would have on the state.
Finance Committee – TIF Financing & SSA Budgets
10:00 a.m. [Meeting Details]
Another round of Special Service Area (SSA) budgets with corresponding property tax levy requests await Finance Committee approval, along with various ordinances authorizing TIF dollars for Chicago Public School and Chicago Park District projects
This includes TIF dollars to construct athletic fields at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and Schurz High School via O2017-7959 and O2017-7971. TIF dollars for Park District construction at Portage Park will also be considered under O2017-7813.
Noticeably missing from the agenda is a controversial city financing agreement that would give Presence Health, the state’s largest Catholic hospital system, about $5.5 million from a TIF district in the Loop. The agreement is more than a year old and has stalled in the past over the hospital system’s policies on birth control. The Community Development Commission approved the TIF agreement at their monthly meeting held last week.