This week, the City Council paid tribute to former IL House of Representatives Majority Leader Greg Harris for his 16 years serving the 13th District. Greg has been a personal mentor to me since I took office, and has been a truly historic champion for LGBTQ+ rights, Marriage Equality, and so much more. I invite our 40th Ward neighbors to thank Greg by contacting his office here!
Com Ed Franchise Extension Blocked
On Wednesday, Mayor Lightfoot sought to rush through a 15 Year Franchise Agreement with Com Ed, after two years of negotiation that the City Council was not a part of and a 10 minute briefing about it to our office. Due to a variety of concerns, I moved to send the introduction to the Rules Committee on the following grounds:
- A lack of transparency – The Lightfoot Administration did not properly inform the council as to the details of a 15 year agreement that is 80 pages long, while looking to pass it quickly.
- Term of the agreement – Given the concerns about past bad deal the city has engaged in (like the Parking Meter Deal) I am dubious of any long term agreements and believe it should be shorter so that the City has more leverage to negotiate.
- The minimal payout to the city – Currently Com Ed would pay about $120M to the city at best for a 15 year agreement. To put it in perspective, currently Com Ed has paid double that in settlements to a Federal bribery case. We see how much Com Ed brings in, even as they message out more rate hikes to Chicagoans. This doesn’t pass the smell test.
- It Stifles Municipalization attempts – When I was being briefed, the administration presented a clause in the agreement as a path to municipalization after 5 years. In reality the clause BLOCKS conversations regarding municipalizing the utility for 5 years.
- Timing – The Mayor was looking to do this during election season, and I firmly believe this is a matter that should be discussed in the next term, when we will see a new council and potentially a new Mayor. To keep anyone from having this discussion for three terms by passing it now is not in the best interest of Chicagoans and good government.
Read more: ‘A Bunch Of Damn Fools’: Lightfoot’s Attempt To Advance ComEd Deal With City Council Ends In Chaos
American Blues Theater Funds Appropriated
Finally, on Wednesday a TIF Project in the 40th Ward passed out of City Council that awards $2.5M to the American Blues Theater, which would be developed at 5627 N Lincoln. The location used to be a closed dollar store, and will now serve as one of the ends of the Lincoln Avenue Arts District!
Read more: American Blues Theater Getting $2.5 Million In City Funds For New Lincoln Square Home