Joint Public Statement for Immediate Release
On Wednesday, April 22nd, Chicago City Council met to discuss Mayor Lightfoot’s proposed power grab ordinance. The proposed ordinance would give the mayor expanded and unprecedented authority to allocate emergency funds and approve city contracts without approval from City Council.
During Wednesday’s virtual City Council meeting, Aldermen Ray Lopez (15th) and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd), Byron Sigcho Lopez (25th), and Jeannette Taylor (20th) motioned to defer and publish the ordinance, citing the lack of oversight measures and an equity lens for the appropriation of federal emergency dollars.
These alderpeople did not act alone. They were responding to and representing their constituents and community organizations, who have been alarmed by the mayor's response to
this pandemic so far--from her initial delay in closing Chicago Public Schools, despite calls from teachers, students and parents, to her failure to halt the the Hilco demolition, to her refusal to even discuss options for rent and mortgage relief.
United Neighbors of the 35th Ward, 25th Ward IPO, and 33rd Ward Working Families are three Independent Political Organizations (IPOs) who have developed co-governance
partnerships with the alderpeople in our wards, meaning we collaborate with them and hold them accountable. For the past month, we've worked alongside them, as well as other
community-based groups, to form mutual aid networks that are delivering groceries, medications and providing cash assistance to hundreds of our most vulnerable neighbors. We are proud of this work, but we also know that it will not be enough--the needs in our communities are staggering, and we need a real plan to address them.
We are proud to be represented by alderpeople that are responsive and collaborative, and we stand in support with our alderpeople’s leadership as they seek amendments to this
emergency powers ordinance. These amendments are additionally supported by Right to Recovery, a coalition of 50+ community organizations and elected officials fighting for recovery measures centering Black, Brown, and working-class communities that we know have been hit hardest by this virus. Our IPOs deeply value the democratic process and communal governance, which are still possible in our current crisis with the power of video conferencing. We are concerned that without these amendments, the ordinance would overlook the stark realities we each see in our communities.
In the 35th Ward, we are concerned that without mortgage relief, we will see a wave of foreclosures similar to that of 2008. We fear that this housing instability would further fuel
gentrification in our community, and continue to displace our Latinx neighbors.
In the 25th Ward, we are concerned that without City Council oversight, funds and contracts will continue to be misused as we saw with the Hilco demolition. The collapse of the
smokestack and the resulting air pollution exemplified how lack of community participation has direct and immediate consequences for our communities’ health and safety.
In the 33rd Ward, we are concerned that without providing housing for the homeless, the people most vulnerable to this virus will be left unprotected and without access to take the
recommended social-distancing and hygienic measures such as handwashing.
We understand the mayor’s desire to act swiftly in this crisis. However, without these mentioned amendments, the emergency powers ordinance will not adequately respond to the
immediate needs of our communities. Moving forward, we encourage Mayor Lightfoot to work collaboratively with City Council in recovery efforts, and to listen attentively to the concerns of each ward’s constituents. United Neighbors of the 35th Ward, 33rd Ward Working Families, and 25th Ward IPO support our respective alderpeople’s leadership, and encourage other alderpeople to vote no to the ordinance when City Council reconvenes on Friday.
United Neighbors of the 35th Ward
25th Ward IPO
33rd Ward Working Families