RACE TO THE FINISH –
CHICAGO’S ELECTED OFFICIALS ASK VOTERS FOR ANOTHER TERM
Just when you thought election season was over, the city of Chicago kicked it in gear as Mayor Rahm Emanuel and most of the sitting Aldermen began their campaigns in earnest for re-election. The Municipal Election, which takes place on Tuesday, February 24th, will determine who will govern Chicago for the next four years. The Mayor, City Clerk, City Treasurer and all aldermanic seats are up at the same time. Working with a new map which reconfigures many wards and completely repositions one existing ward, Aldermen are working overtime to reach out to constituents old and new.
With the ballots all but set, the Mayor will be challenged by an interesting and diverse group of contenders: Willie Wilson, a medical devices supplier, former QSR franchisee and gospel singer; Bob Fioretti, current Alderman of the 2nd Ward and lawyer; Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, current Cook County Commissioner and former Chicago Alderman and State Senator, and Bill “Dock” Walls, a community and political activist and perennial mayoral candidate. To date, the Mayor’s campaign has released the results of a poll, taken in December, showing him ahead of the pack with a path to victory in February. We presume that there will be other groups that will produce independent polls as the election draws near and voters start paying more attention to the campaigns. Mayor Emanuel has agreed to five debates which are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, January 27th and end on Tuesday, February 10th. Both City Clerk Susana Mendoza and newly appointed City Treasurer Kurt A. Summers, Jr. are running unopposed.
The contests for Alderman have proven to be a bit of a wild card. The following aldermen have either announced that they will retire at the end of the term, setting up open races in each ward, or have decided to leave their position for other reasons:
Ald. James Balcer (11) Ald. Michael Chandler (24)
Ald. Timothy Cullerton (38) Ald. Robert Fioretti (2)*
Ald. Toni Foulkes (15)** Ald. Nicholas Sposato (36)***
Ald. Latasha Thomas (17)
Six Aldermen will have no challengers:
Ald. Edward M. Burke (14) Ald. George Cardenas (12)
Ald. Jason Ervin (28) Ald. Harry Osterman (48)
Ald. Marty Quinn (13) Ald. Brendan Reilly (42)
CRMA members should note that in order to win outright, a candidate must garner over 50% of the vote. If no candidate in a race attains the adequate percentage of votes to win, then the top two candidates with the most votes will compete in a run-off election on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015. In the last city election, about 1/5 of the City Council seats went to a run-off.
There have been a number of ward-based candidate forums and debates, mailers have started going out to constituents and the fundraising machine is in full-swing. A number of sitting Aldermen and challengers have reached out to CRMA to discuss their vision and ask for our support. CRMA joins with other representatives of the employer community in supporting voices in City Hall that provide balance in the face of an anti-job growth agenda pushed by some in the advocacy community. We look to support thoughtful leaders that will apply a common-sense and inclusive approach to governing. CRMA will continue to meet with candidates as the election nears to share ideas and thoughts about how we can work collaboratively in the future.
Click here for a full list of candidates.
*The new ward map created a completely new 2nd ward and Alderman Fioretti does not currently live in that ward. The Alderman has decided instead to challenge Mayor Emanuel.
**The ward map was drawn to pick up a larger Latino population. Alderman Foulkes decided to move into the 16th ward which is majority African American, and challenge the current Alderman, Joann Thompson. There are 3 other challengers in this race as well.
***This ward map was also drawn to include a larger Latino population. Alderman Sposato decided to move to the 38th ward which picked up a large part of his old ward. The current Alderman in 38, Tim Cullerton, will retire at the end of the term. Alderman Sposato will compete in this open race against 6 other candidates.
COOK COUNTY BOARD PROPOSAL TARGETS PERSONS WHO COMMIT
WAGE THEFT OR VIOLATE THE FEDERAL FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT
Commissioners Jeffrey Tobolski (D-LaGrange) and John P. Daley (D-Chicago) propose that if a person has admitted or been found guilty or liable for wage theft or violating the FLSA Act repeatedly or willfully within 5 years of application, then the person will be deemed ineligible to bid for or enter into a contract with the County. In addition, such violations will make a person ineligible to receive property tax incentives or a General Business License for a willful violation or two or more violations that were not deemed willful.
Read the proposal here.
CITY COUNCIL ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics
This resolution would change the Rules of Order and Procedure prohibiting registered lobbyists from engaging in lobbying activities with Aldermen during City Council or any committee meeting, but it doesn’t seem to prohibit similar activities from those who are not registered. Members will note that the Cook County Board passed a similar law last year after the County Inspector General issued a report expressing concern over registered and “rogue” lobbyists attempting to talk to Commissioners during Board Meetings. Interestingly enough, neither law targets contact between a person who is unregistered and essentially lobbying a Commissioner during a meeting. The city proposal would also prohibit any elected official from lobbying Aldermen.
The proposal goes on to address the long-standing rule that Aldermen who are present at the time of a vote must indeed vote. They are not be allowed to vote “Present” or refrain from going on the record in any way if they are physically present in the Chamber and a member of the voting body. Although this policy would not change, there has been some recent concerns over Aldermen passing on votes without recusing themselves according to current rules. The change here clarifies that all eligible and present Aldermen must vote when the question is called.
Lastly, this proposal would allow deferred matters, which have not been reported back to Council within 60 days, to be called for a vote by any Alderman giving 48 hours written notice in advance of the next Council meeting.
Sponsor: Alderman Edward M. Burke (14)
Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development
With a nod to President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union address, this resolution asks the city’s Department of Innovation and Technology and Office of Emergency Management and Communications to testify regarding ways they can help facilitate information sharing between the public and private sector regarding cybersecurity threats, responses and technical assistance.
Alderman Tom Tunney (44)
Committee on Finance
The gas utility for the city has asked permission from the Illinois Commerce Commission to increase rates and to raise the fixed charges on bills. At the same time that this resolution was being introduced, the ICC ruled to allow the rate increase, but rejected the attempt to increase the fixed charges.
Sponsor: Alderman Edward M. Burke (14)
Committee on License and Consumer Protection
This proposal would allow the sale of retail alcoholic liquor within 100 ft of the main and regional libraries in Chicago. It would also allow for the requirement to be reduced per the permission of the Local Liquor Control Commissioner, if the reduction wouldn’t have a detrimental impact on the library.
Sponsors: Alderman Latasha Thomas (17)
Committee on Finance
This proposal adopts the language from the recently enacted IL law which expands pregnancy accommodations beyond the federal regulations and treats pregnant women as a protected class. It does not make any changes to the current IL law.
This ordinance adds national origin and gender identity to the classes of people that will be protected from unlawful profiling in an attempt to stop, question or detain someone in connection with an alleged crime. This change aligns with recent guidance issued by the US DOJ to include these classes as protected. While focused on peace officers, the ordinance will apply to security personnel as well.
EFFECTIVE DATE: MARCH 17, 2015
Citing the need to prevent labor disputes from impeding passenger access to food, beverages, reading materials and other items sold at the airport, this ordinance will require concessionaires to enter into collective bargaining agreements and abide by labor peace agreements. Small businesses are exempt. In this instance, a small business is an employer that employs less than 500 employees worldwide and employs fewer than 50 employees total at both airports.
EFFECTIVE DATE: MARCH 17, 2015
As any project that requires excavation disrupts habitats for rodents, this ordinance will require a rodent control management plan whenever such projects are initiated. The plan must be maintained by the owner until the construction at the site is completed and contain any documents or receipts from the structural pest control company.
EFFECTIVE DATE: MAY 16, 2015
Due to the February election, the City Council will not meet again until Wednesday, March 18, 2015.