Bare-bones affordable housing plan gets the nod from Chicago aldermen

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s affordable housing plan cleared its first hurdle Tuesday when it was approved 8-2 by the City Council’s Housing and Real Estate Committee. Absent from the measure was a proposed amendment that we wrote about last week that would have given aldermen more authority over how the city’s sister agency, the Chicago Housing Authority, spends down more than $661 million in unrestricted assets the agency is sitting on. The CHA’s swelling account could help offset some steep cuts to affordable housing that are on the horizon, supporters of the amendment say. Under Emanuel’s plan, the city would invest up to $1.3 billion in maintaining or creating housing through 2018. That’s roughly $800 million less than was committed under the city’s last five year-plan, which was rolled out by former Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2009.However, “there wasn’t an opportunity to make changes to the plan,” says Leah Levinger, the director of the Chicago Housing Initiative, a coalition of low-income housing advocates that rallied the aldermanic support. “The chairman wouldn’t take a vote on any amendments.”Now that the plan is moving forward without the change, Levinger says that the Chicago Housing Initiative is “looking to regroup with allies in the City Council who are sympathetic to the goal of preserving the low-income housing that remains in the city.”Nearly half of the council–22 aldermen–signed on to the proposal.

Abusando la placa policial

Glenn Evans observaba desde el costado de su casa en West Pullman mientras a un hombre alto de proporción robusta que se acercaba lentamente por el camino. “Vete de mi propiedad”, él gritó. Pero eso no impidió que el hombre caminara lentamente y con paso firme hasta que pegó el papel de color naranja brillante—un aviso de desconexión del agua—en un tubo de desagüe de la casa de ladrillo de un solo piso de Evans. Evans, teniente del Departamento de Policía de Chicago, llamó a sus compañeros. “Hay un tipo aquí que afirma ser del departamento de agua”, él dijo, según documentos judiciales.

Rogue section

On May 17, 2005, officers from the Special Operations Section burst into Roberto Ontivero-Artal’s Southwest Side home. After an illegal search, they seized drugs and $30,000 in cash. They turned in the drugs and only $463 as evidence—the rest they split among themselves. Keith Herrera, a former member of the elite police task force, pleaded guilty to Ontivero-Artal’s charge and other similar allegations, stealing $40,000 from arrestees in 2005 alone. Other former members have also admitted to breaking into suspects’ homes and using coercion and false police reports to cover it up.