Progressives On The Move In Chicago City Council
They call themselves the “Progressive Caucus” in the Chicago City Council. But it’s a fancy name for a group of aldermen who have formed around these principles: Speaking up for fairness in city government, transparency and ensuring City Council decisions stand for the best interests of all Chicagoans.
Does the Chicago Parking Meter sale immediately come to mind? What about Chicago’s history of building up downtown at the expense of Chicago’s neighborhoods? Is Chicago making strides in government transparency? That’s how Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) sees it. As he explains, this group’s members will number about two dozen when the new City Council is sworn in next month, including two new progressives from the Northwest Side: John Arena and Mary O’Connor.
Munoz is careful to point out the group is not opposed to Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel. Its members will speak out, however, to ensure City Council has all the needed time to carefully debate important issues such as privatization or sale of city assets, public safety and issues that resonate in the neighborhoods, he explained. “This caucus is much like a Think Tank. It’s a group of like-minded aldermen,” Munoz explained. “It’s a group that’s going to be heard,” he added.
Here are two pieces of legislation, Munoz added, that voters can rest assured Progressive Caucus members will speak out on after Chicago’s new elected leaders are sworn in: Chicago’s Clean Power Ordinance which seeks to reduce emissions from two coal fired power plants on the near west side; and the Procurement Review Ordinance that would require City Council approval for any contract of $500,000 or more. How Chicago spends the $1 billion or so in cash from TIF districts—from here on out—will also be a hot issue as the city tries to emerge from the Great Recession.