Nothing personal, everything structural: What Chicago needs from its new mayor

Rahm Emanuel shocked the political world earlier this month in announcing he will serve the rest of his term as a lame duck. Songs of rejoicing erupted from Chicagoans across the political spectrum, who see Emanuel’s exit as an opportunity for their preferred leader to push for their preferred interests on the fifth floor of City Hall.... Read more »

Chicago aldermen seek control over all city licenses in their wards

Chicago’s 50 aldermen hold near-despotic control over commercial activity within their wards. This has lead to an unrivaled culture of graft, greed and corruption within Windy City municipal government. But instead of taking steps to roll back extraordinary powers, some aldermen are dead set on expanding them. Under an ordinance introduced March 29, not only... Read more »

Collateral damage: Rahm put lights, heating in city buildings on lien for project that wasted millions

A city-backed nonprofit heralded by former President Bill Clinton and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as an innovative way to fund infrastructure projects used outlandish financing methods and wasted millions of dollars in the name of energy efficiency, according to a new investigation from watchdog group Project Six. In 2012, Emanuel established the Chicago Infrastructure Trust... Read more »

Chicago payouts for settling open records lawsuits jumped 20x in 2016

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has vowed repeatedly to transform Chicago from a clout-heavy city shrouded in secrecy to a beacon of transparency. “You have the right to ask for information. We have a responsibility to get that information. I am consistent with my pledge no matter what you will opine upon it …” Emanuel told Chicago... Read more »

Chicago alderman indicted on federal charges of extortion, theft

Chicago Alderman Willie Cochran, 20th Ward, has been indicted on federal criminal charges. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois on Dec. 14 announced charges that Cochran “pocketed money from a charitable fund that was intended to help families and children in his South Side ward.” He was also charged with extortion... Read more »

Snow or no snow, winter parking ban leaves Chicagoans out in the cold

Harsh winters are a way of life for Chicagoans. They bundle up, hunker down and call dibs. But one city policy claimed to prevent winter blues for residents seems to be having the opposite effect. Since 1979, Chicago has enforced a widespread winter parking ban from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. on nearly 100 miles... Read more »

Chief of staff for powerful Chicago alderman makes lobbying dough on the side

Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward, is one of Chicago’s most influential City Council members. His territory includes the city’s commercial center: River North and the Loop. As is the case throughout Chicago, local aldermen have tremendous sway over what gets built, how and when – perhaps none more so than Reilly. It’s concerning then... Read more »

Chicago set to make nation’s most expensive airport parking even costlier

Chicago is already home to some of the most expensive airport parking in the U.S. But a new plan from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel would hike those costs even further. On Nov. 1, the mayor introduced an ordinance to raise the cost of nearly all types of parking at O’Hare and Midway airports. It passed... Read more »

40 Chicago aldermen blow off annual ethics board hearing

The city of Chicago has a well-documented, longstanding, widespread problem with public corruption. The latest example can be found in the 20th Ward, where Alderman Willie Cochran is under federal investigation for his use of campaign funds. For reform-minded aldermen, annual budget hearings are an opportune time to address this problem. But at the Chicago... Read more »

Chicago alderman under FBI investigation for misuse of campaign funds

Alderman Willie Cochran, 20th Ward, is under federal investigation for his use of campaign funds, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The Sun-Times previously reported Cochran paid himself more than $115,000 from his campaign funds over a three-year period. Chicago City Council is one of the most corrupt political bodies in the nation. Over the past... Read more »