City Council Wrap Up
Also In This Issue
Safety Alert

Chicago Police remind us to watch our surroundings during the dark winter nights.  The 18th District 
has issued a safety alert
due to two robberies that occurred in our neighborhood last week.  

The offenders are described as 2-3 black males, 18-24 years old, 5'5" - 6', 130-180 lbs.  In one case the offenders were wearing black masks. In both cases, a silver handgun was displayed. 

Please call Area Central Detectives with information at 312-747-8382. 

It's Cold Outside!
Be Safe

The City of Chicago publishes cold weather precautions for the frigid days ahead.  

A couple of my favorites:

- Dress warm, in layers
- Don't ever turn your heat off, even if you are going out of town. Pipes can freeze and do a lot of damage. 
- If you or someone you know needs help because of the cold, call 311. 
Savor Lincoln Park

The Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce presents  a one-of-a-kind celebration of food, music and the Lincoln Park community. Thursday, January 21 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at Fox Ford-Lincoln, 2501 N. Elston. Click here to purchase tickets.
Condo Refuse Rebate

The deadline is January 31, 2016 for condo refuse rebates.  No applications will be accepted after that date. 

You may email or fax forms to 773-348-9594.   Click here for more information and forms.

43rd Ward Office

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Dear Neighbors,

Last week we made great strides in bringing ethical reform to City Council when 36 members of City Council expressed their support for giving Inspector General Joe Ferguson oversight of City Council.  This sentiment represents a cross section of every group in the Council - the Paul Douglas Alliance (of which I am a member), the Progressive Caucus, the Latino Caucus, and members of the Black Caucus.   Read more here .

Unfortunately,  two council members, Aldermen Ed Burke (14) and Carrie Austin (34) used a City Council rule to  to defer a vote  on the ordinance until February.  

Chairman of the Workforce Development Committee, Ald. Pat O'Connor (40) announced the formation of a group to try to resolve any outstanding issues surrounding the ordinance. I was named a member of the committee, as well as Aldermen Will Burns (4th), Rod Sawyer (6th), Rick Munoz (22nd), Joe Moore (49th), and Ameya Pawar (47th).  We intend to draft any acceptable changes so that the ordinance can be passed at the next City Council.  If not,  the ordinance I introduced will finally receive an up and down vote.   

Good government need not fear good oversight.  I do believe we will attain this much-needed and long overdue change. 
City Bond Deal

Also last week, City Council approved a comprehensive borrowing plan to continue the restructuring of the city's debt.  After hearing extensive testimony and reviewing the work of our Council Office of Financial Analysis, I voted in favor of the plan.  This was an excellent example of how COFA can assist Aldermen in their deliberations about critical financial issues. 

In brief, the approved transactions complete the revamping of our City's debt from variable to fixed rate to lock in rates before they rise. It saves money by refinancing some higher interest debt for lower interest rates, and and completes what is promised to be the last "scoop and toss" type of debt that stretches out our city's debts, but in the process makes them more expensive.  

Given our fragile financial condition, I agree with COFA believe these transactions are prudent.  A vote on a couple of the proposed transactions, worth $700 million, were deferred by the Administration, however, in response to Council's requests for further review.  This is a constructive and responsible step. 

AirBnB Proposal

The Mayor introduced a proposal to somewhat regulate short-term vacation rentals.  The proposed ordinance does not go far enough to protect neighborhoods from operators who convert vacant buildings into "mini-hotels" with no oversight, safety or health regulations.

Vacation rentals are concentrated in only a few wards, including ours.  I'll be working with my fellow aldermen to tighten up this proposal.
Curbside Cafes

Council passed a one-year  pilot program permitting restaurants to apply for, in very limited circumstances, a "curbside" cafe in a parking spot.  Such cafes would be limited to pedestrian streets in which the sidewalk is less than 8' wide.   In addition to having the build a cafe that is level with the sidewalk, the operator would have to pay the city the expected loss of revenue from any parking meter space.  Only one "curbside" cafe would be permitted on each side of a block.

Any proposed curbside cafe would be subject to our usual community process for new sidewalk cafes.  


Michele Signature 

Michele Smith

Alderman, 43rd Ward