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Plan for Lincoln Elementary annex taking heat

Plan for Lincoln Elementary annex taking heat | chicago politics | Scoop.it
Mayor Rahm Emanuel 's proposal for building an addition on to an overcrowded Lincoln Park neighborhood elementary school continues to generate heat from a group of residents who fought for alternative options to deal with the problem.
Kyle Baer's insight:

Lincoln Elementary located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on the cities northside is one of the best elementary-middle schools in Chicago. I have observed and attended Lincoln Park High School and have many friends and aqquantences that attended the grade school. While this 20 million dollar addition sounds like a great idea- its not the best. I believe the city should in fact build another gradeschool in place of  the abandoned Chicago Childrens Memorial Hospital. The hospital lies on Lincoln Aveneue pretty much right in between "little Lincoln" (as we called it) and Lincoln Park High School. It would not only put abandoned real estate to good use, but would be an excellent transition school for the highschool and gradeschool itself. A great deal of students that came from "little Lincoln" were accepted and enrolled in the IB program at Lincoln Park High School as well as its city renouned band program. Spending 20 million dollars on addition in an overcrowded Lincoln Elementary simply isn't enough. I truly believe making another gradeschool in Lincoln Park is long overdue. The Lincoln Park neighborhood is only growing larger, and adding a public elementary school would be a great alternative to the private schools incluiding Francis Parker and The Latin school which cost between 15,000-20,000 dollars annually. In addition the Lincoln Elementary School has several magnet programs that draw in students from all over the city and further contribute to improving the status of the highschool. The gradeschool itself is already overcrowded by 200 students, which is an astounding number. Creating more quality public elementary schools is something CPS is in dire need of, and addition simply is not enough. The city council, along with neighborhood support, needs to push for a second school to ensure and improve the state of CPS. 

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Chicago Fighting To Erase Increasing Amount Of Graffiti - CBS Chicago

Chicago Fighting To Erase Increasing Amount Of Graffiti - CBS Chicago | chicago politics | Scoop.it
Think you're seeing more graffiti around Chicago? Well you're not alone.
Kyle Baer's insight:

Graffiti removal in Chicago has cost the city millions and millions of tax payer's dollars and is a heated debate accross Chicago politics. The article notes that in 2013 the amount of 311 calls for removal of graffiti has increased dramatically, and that they plan to spend millions of more dollars removing it next year on the 2014 proposed budget by Rahm Immanuel. This is a highly relevant topic to me because of my paper I did on Frankie earlier this year in my CI414 class. The root of getting rid of graffiti is not by spending millions of dollars on not only removing the graffiti (and housing the graffiti vandals in over populated cook county jails) but by setting up after school programs to channel their creative energy. Graffiti is a form of expression and if the people of this cit are not heard they will continue to express themselves in a way that impacts our tax dollars. I was apart of an afterschool program called "Alternatives" located in the uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Kids came there to seek shelter from the crime ridden neighborhood and were able to express themselves in legal forms such as break dancing, poetry, and art, some of which included legal expression of graffiti. It got shut down because of insufficent funds and now these kids have no where to go except the streets which will probably lead to more trouble. The city needs to invest more in after school programs to setup safety nets for these kids, not by imprisoning them and waisting money on an inveitable form of expression.

 

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Emanuel defends Ventra CTA rollout despite problems

Emanuel defends Ventra CTA rollout despite problems | chicago politics | Scoop.it
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday defended the switch to the CTA's new Ventra fare card system despite major problems with the program's rollout. Difficulties have abounded, from riders having trouble...
Kyle Baer's insight:

Being a UIC student this 2013-2013 school year, I am apart of the whopping 55% of people who have switched over to Ventra since August. The Ventra card, compared to the old Go Chicago and flexible Upass, is the new CTA card in town and has been causing a lot of problems. I have probably been late to three classes and even late to wrok a few times because of the long process in the machines reading the cards. Thankfully, mine is just the new UPASS and I dont have to worry like so many others, whether or not they have been over charging my bank account. I personally, am appulled at the way in which Chicago are continuing to privatize public aspects of the city. From parking meters to charter schools everything seems to be about business and money and I for one am angered and sadened by it. In classic "psuedo Chicago politics" Rahm Immanuel blanky defends Ventra with very little legitimate defense "55% of Chicago residents use Ventra." The reason the number had grown so large is because residents are simply left with no option, in fact we are just responsibly adhereing to the new system to cause as little inconvinience as possible. Yet here we are. Customers are waisting time and money, the CTA is losing money, and a 454 million dollar deal with the CTA seems to be a huge debaclel already.

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Political fallout on Illinois gay marriage bill for Democrats, Republicans

Political fallout on Illinois gay marriage bill for Democrats, Republicans | chicago politics | Scoop.it
Legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois could give Democrats a much-needed boost of enthusiasm headed into next year’s critical elections, though financial woes and high unemployment could mute long-standing traction for the party that rules the...
Kyle Baer's insight:

Yesterday was a big day in Chicago not only for the LGBT community as Illinois became the 15th state to pass the allowance of gay marraige. This has been a huge struggle for the community and all the hard work and preserverience by the community and its supporters finally paid off. That being said, this article from the tribune offers a political look at what this means for next years big state wide ellections. Obviously this appears as a big 'win' for goveneor Quinn as he cements the votes of deomcrats in for next year. Contrary to belief however, the article offers a very interesting insight as to how this is a possible advantage for the republican party in Illinois. Now that this issue is "off the table" the article notes this will allow for reupblican canidates to focus on more important issues such as the taxes and the economy. I think that is a really interesting way at looking at this issue and really wonder myself how it will pan out in next years election. Only time will tell. How do you think the passing of this bill will affect next year's election?

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CPS a finalist for Race to the Top funds

CPS a finalist for Race to the Top funds | chicago politics | Scoop.it
With a teachers strike and massive school closings behind it, Chicago Public Schools is hoping for a better shot this year at getting federal money through the competitive Race to the Top grant program.
Kyle Baer's insight:

When I first saw "CPS" in the headlines of a newspaper article I admittedly became a little scared it would be bad news. However, this time I was pleasantly suprised to see CPS as one of 31 finalists for a 30 million dollar grant. It is times like these that truly make me appreciate the fact CPS still has a strong union and is making an effort for education and the children. Seeing as CPS was not a finalist last year, I think with the strike and school closings last year really brought attention to the condition of the United States third largest cities educational system. Being a finalist in this possible grant was due in large part to the active teacher's union of Chicago and truly makes me proud to be a potential Chicago Public Schools teacher. While the teacher's Union remains strong the dropout rate in CPS still remains astonishing: District officials say that each year they lose 1,000 students between eighth and ninth grade and then another 1,000 who drop out during their freshman year." This is a very scary stat that I really hope goes down, and hopefully winning this grant can help. The article says CTU would allocate the money by giving additional training to 8th grade teachers, as well as providing more laptops in classrooms. This is huge for improving and expanding the bounds of text and literacy in CPS, as well as providing more incentive for student's success. 

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Chicago casino more economically viable for Michael Reese site than Obama library, hotels

Chicago casino more economically viable for Michael Reese site than Obama library, hotels | chicago politics | Scoop.it
A Chicago casino anchoring a redevelopment that includes the former Michael Reese Hospital site would be more economically viable for the city than a Barack Obama presidential library or a cluster of convention hotels, according to a study...
Kyle Baer's insight:

Putting a casino in Chicago has been a widely debated topic for decades. Obviously a casino in Chicago has the possibility of bringing in millions of dollars in revenue to a city which gives a new meaning to debt. However, there are many that argue a casino would further tamper Chicago's reputatation by introducting a vice such as gambiling on such a big scale such as a casino. While I can empathize with both of these valid arguments, the fact they hired a realtor company to assess whether a library or casino would bring in more revenue is absolutely ludacris to me. While I appreciate libraries just as much as anyother "wannabe" teachers, the fact the city spent so much money to assess such an obvious answer truly upsets me. While funding for education in CPS dwindles and charter schools begin to pop up more and more every year, our educational system is further being privatized. Teachers are losing more control and education is turning into a business. I actually feel that building a casino in Chicago could help pay for some of the economic deficits our city has incluiding education. While a casino may be considered a bad vice, what's to stop a person from taking a 20 minute drive to the suburbs or Hammond Indiana to gamble there? We might as well get the money for the city and allocate it into something positive such as education. It honestly does not take a genius (or a realtor investment team) to realize a casino is going to provide more revenue for the city than a library or even hotels. 

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Proposed Chicago cigarette tax would lead to highest rate in nation

Proposed Chicago cigarette tax would lead to highest rate in nation | chicago politics | Scoop.it
Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to increase the cigarette tax by 75 cents a pack.
Kyle Baer's insight:

We all know that everything from property tax to sales tax is one of, if not the highest in all of America. Well, now we can add cigarettes to that list as Rahm Immanuel plans to increase the tax another 75 cents. This would mean there is a $7.42 tax on each box of cigrattes not incluiding the original charge. Sure this is good in the sense that the government would have its' citizens health interests first, but what will it really lead to. Over the past five years smokers have been going over the border to Indiana and Wisconsin to get cigarettes for half the price in Chicago. This is beginning to remind me of the prohibition days back in the 1930's of bootlegging liquor. As noted in the article cigarette sales have gone down by 4 million already. Is this a chance for citizens, maybe even gangs, to start the illegal sale of cigarettes?

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