July City Council: landlords, landmarks, copwatch, and tribute

In an interview with Dave Glowacz on the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky Show, Ben and Dave listen to audio from the July 2020 meeting of the full Chicago City Council.

Dave first played audio of aldermen arguing for and against the so-called "Fair Notice" ordinance, which boosts the length of notice that building owners must give tenants before not renewing their leases.

Opposing aldermen worried that "mom and pop" owners of small buildings would lose needed operating income.

Ben said he's heard such claims "every time there's an ordinance that's intended to protect renters," adding that he's "always thought this was a very disingenuous argument . . . on the part of machine aldermen who were standing up for the real estate industry."

Ben said that the tactic to "hide behind the middle class" is also being used by opponents of the state's proposed progressive income tax.

Next, Dave played audio of an exchange between Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25) and Mayor Lori Lightfoot concerning a proposed Pilsen Landmark District. The council passed, and Ald. Sigcho-Lopez vehemently opposed, a six-month extension of the deadline for final approval of the landmark district.

Sigcho-Lopez claimed that he'd been "blindsided" by the Lightfoot administration's push to extend the landmark district deadline.

In the audio excerpt, Mayor Lightfoot declared that her administration had spent "countless hours trying to engage" Sigcho-Lopez—which, Dave pointed out, is not the same as actual engagement.

Ben called the conflict an example of Lightfoot's ongoing effort to undercut aldermanic prerogative.

"The notion that a landmark district of the size of the one that's proposed," Ben observed, "could advance this far without the alderman being directly involved . . . it would be preposterous in the old days."

"There is not as much direct involvement between the planning department and the local alderman," Ben said, "for better or worse; I believe worse."

The next audio clip Dave played was of finance committee chair Ald. Scott Waguespack (32) delaying a city lawsuit settlement—which could've let the city hide years of Chicago Police misconduct records. Instead, Waguespack touted a proposed ordinance that would do the opposite: create a permanent, public database showing complaints against police officers.

Ben noted that it's taken court action "to deal with age-old issues of police abuse," and that the proposed database came about largely because "the city kind of stumbled" with the lawsuit in question.

Dave directed listeners to the Invisible Institute's existing repository of complaints again police, the Citizens Police Data Project.

Finally, Dave played a small part of the council's lengthy tribute to a departing mayoral staffer.

Length 9.1 minutes standard, 52.5 minutes premium.

Music: "Battle of 3303" by Miguel Johnson
(Copyright 2017. Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 license.)

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