Never a cradle of Democracy….

Originally posted October 14, 2016

….the Chicago City Council has made an already deplorable situation much worse by illegally barring the public from its Council meetings, let alone allowing people to testify. 

Both policies are blatant violations of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

Barring the public from its meetings has made it that much easier for the Council to ram through a series of unpopular or controversial measures — TIF subsidies to wealthy developers, mass school closures, mental health clinic closures, hiring nearly 1000 more cops when they’ve failed to discipline the brutal ones they already employ, deeply regressive taxes on water, garbage pickup and a host of others.

In response to being barred from the May and June Council meetings, long-time LGBTQ rights activists Andy Thayer and Rick Garcia sued the City Council to force it abide by the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

The issue which prompted the suit was the Council’s ramming through of a law authorizing the public funding of luxury high-rises in Uptown. Known as the Maryville/Clarendon TIF – giving $15.8 million of taxpayer money to a wealthy developer to build skyscrapers with one bedrooms renting for $2000 a month.

The City Counsel’s vote for this taxpayer giveaway to the rich represents the worst in warped priorities for public spending. The high-rises are to be located just yards away from Tent Cities of homeless people living beneath the underpasses of Lake Share Drive, many of them priced out of their homes by gentrification. 

Next Wednesday, October 19….

…A judge will hear a motion from Thayer’s and Garcia’s attorneys demanding that however the suit is ultimately settled, that the City Council be immediately forced to begin complying with the Open Meetings Act, allowing the public to freely attend and testify at its meetings.

Whether your beef with the city is about TIF funding, its failure to discipline brutal cops, or its failure to adequately support community institutions like schools, libraries, mental health clinics, etc., we urge you to attend this hearing to show your support for greater democracy in our city.

The hearing will begin at 10:30 am, Wednesday, Oct. 19 in Courtroom 2405 of the Daley Center, 50 W. Washington Blvd.

Since you will have to go through security and the small courtroom will probably fill up quickly, we recommend arriving early. We also ask that those in attendance please observe normal courtroom decorum — no talking during court, etc. Thank you.

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