This Thanksgiving week, I want to share with you all how grateful I am to serve as your Alderwoman. It’s been 18 months since I took office. Each month has brought new challenges for our ward and our city; each challenge is an opportunity for me to grow and learn. Being able to serve you and our city through what is proving to be an unprecedented time of crisis and change is a great honor. I am thankful to you.
As we enter a long holiday season, I also want to acknowledge the loss and grief that many people are experiencing. Holidays can be hard during the best of times. But we’ve lost so many people this year to COVID-19 and other consequences of the pandemic that this year is going to be very difficult. Just know that you’re not alone and we’re going to come through these challenging times as a community.
Take care and be safe,
Alderwoman, 49th Ward
49th Ward Office Closed in
Observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday
Please be advised that in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, the 49th Ward office will be closed on Thursday, November 26, and Friday, November 27. It will reopen on Monday, November 30, at 9 am. Please enjoy this unique holiday and keep your loved ones safe by social distancing so we can resume our gathering traditions for years to come. Happy Thanksgiving!
Budget Debrief & 2021 Planning
Join Alderwoman Hadden for a candid discussion around the 2021 Budget decision-making process and to plan for next year. This event is for ward residents and non-ward residents alike, but please know that priority will be given to ward residents in the discussion.
There are TWO DATES for this event.
Wednesday, Dec. 2 6-7:30PM
Saturday, Dec. 5 10-11:30AM
Alderwoman Hadden's Comments from the
Council Floor on the 2021 Budget
First, I want to take a moment to celebrate the achievements of this budget. While it falls short in many ways, please know that some of us listened to movement leaders and our residents to create opportunities for the change we need - especially in this time of crisis. The Progressive, Black and Latino Caucuses came together in an unprecedented way on a number of issues and together fought for increased funding for some of our key priorities. These included violence prevention, removing the Welcoming City Ordinance carve outs, preserving city jobs, and the creation of a non-law enforcement mental health crisis response pilot. This budget also preserves investments we saw last year in Housing and Mental Health services. Make no mistake, these gains would not have been won without coalition building and a significant push.
But I want to be clear, this budget is not a reflection of what Chicagoans need and deserve. This is not a people’s budget. And the process we followed is not one that faithfully incorporated the input of the people of this city.
I won’t pretend this budget reflects the values that our administration and city council claim to hold. I’m voting aye because that was the price of the non-law enforcement mental health response model being included in the pilot for this year. Movement leaders have led on Treatment not Trauma and I believe this opens a pathway, a necessary pathway, for progress to them.
Many of my residents have expressed disappointment and anger towards this budget. I stand by my decision because I know that I’ll keep fighting for the bigger structural changes we must see but couldn’t achieve this time. But I do feel it’s my duty to share the views of 49th Ward residents, many of whom are outraged to see another budget presented to them that is so out of line with our values and out of sync with our needs.
Madam President, esteemed colleagues - our residents don’t trust us. They hear us say one thing and watch us do another. To paraphrase Shirley Chisholm, we proclaim ideals that are the reverse of our actions. She said that such hypocrisy is the real barrier between us and our youth. And truer words have never been spoken. The answer to civil unrest and protests taking over downtown isn’t more police; it’s divesting from programs and departments that contribute to systems of oppression and investing in services and programs that the science and the data say will better serve our residents. It’s doing everything in our power to create a budget that best serves the residents of our city; especially those residents who have been ignored, discounted, abused and neglected. It’s not simple, but it’s the task to which any elected official in this city who claims to love it, should devote themselves.
2021 Budget Priorities
MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS RESPONSE
The Mayor announced $656,000 for a 2-year pilot mental health crisis response using a co-responder model. The co-responder model involves civilian personnel that are paired with a police officer for responding to mental health calls. This is a model that many cities have used but are moving away from because a non-law enforcement crisis response team has been shown in other cities to be better. I made this my number one issue for moving the administration. We asked for $5M for a non-law enforcement pilot. Where we were: $656,000 for co-responder only. The Mayor very publicly said she would not consider a non-law enforcement option. What we won: $1M (with a promise for an additional $1M and potentially more money once federal relief funds are available) and a commitment to include a non-law enforcement model in the pilot. This is a big win. Without the inclusion of the non-law enforcement option, we would have no path forward for the broader crisis response program we want to build in the city. Moreover, we would be stuck with only a co-responder model for at least another year, putting residents in harms way as a result. This was not an option I was willing to accept. This was also the number one issue as expressed by 49th Ward residents, and ultimately, where I committed my support for the budget.
Violence, especially gun violence, has plagued our communities and one of the consequences of the COVID pandemic has been an increase in gun violence. Last year, an initial investment of $8M was put towards violence prevention. This year, we asked for $50M. Where we were: $25M What we won: An additional $11 million for a total of $36M. We were able to push the administration to include additional funds after revenue projections for cannabis funds came in better than expected.
LAYOFFS AND FURLOUGHS
Our taxes pay for vital city services - that's the whole purpose of government. The importance of our city workers has taken on a new layer of meaning during this pandemic. They have always been essential. I'm happy we're prioritizing their labor and our services in this budget. Where we were: All non-union staff would take 5 furlough days and 350 workers were going to be laid off. What we won: Only non-union workers making more than $100,000/year will be subject to the 5 furlough days and there will be NO layoffs.
Our community has said loud and clear that we believe we need to spend less money on police so that we can redirect those funds to services and other key investments in our people. This budget sees a net decrease of $79,231,916 in corporate funds to the police department, however, this mainly reflects elimination of vacant positions and some consolidation of bureaus within the department. Over 90% of the police budget is personnel, in order to move away from carceral solutions to social issues we're going to need to build the models in crisis response and other services that don't include police so that we can cut the funds from the police department. I believe we need to deliberately divest to invest in different models. This budget doesn't reflect that divest/reinvest change - it's going to be very hard to get. The vast majority of City Council members and the Mayor do not advocate for this work and in many cases stand in direct opposition to it. I will continue to fight for this, not just in budget time, but in every policy and program we implement. The inclusion of a non-law enforcement crisis response model in the pilot is a step in this direction. Without it, we would be two more years away from being able to try a non-law enforcement solution.
PROPERTY TAX INCREASE
I didn't want to see a property tax increase in the budget, but the 2020 revenue loss and projected 2021 revenue losses because of the pandemic left us with few other viable options. Last year, I fought for the inclusion of progressive revenue sources that might have put us in a better position, specifically the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) which require State changes and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) which we could have done without Springfield. I also fought for the Fair Tax, which unfortunately did not pass this year. The Mayor did not prioritize these revenue sources and now we're a year later and without the aid they could've provided. The projected revenue wouldn't have necessarily been enough to close the budget gap without property taxes, but it would've made a big difference. I'll continue to work on the progressive revenue issues that can alleviate the property tax burden. Ultimately, the increase won't have a heavy impact on the residents of our ward and given we were able to secure the other investments and save the jobs that would've been cut, I believe this is worthwhile. Below is a graphic that shows how the property tax will impact the residents of the 49th Ward.
A Negative COVID Test Doesn't Mean You're in the Clear
Due to the incubation period for COVID-19, a negative test doesn't mean you're in the clear. The best way to keep your friends and family safe this holiday season is by celebrating with only those in your household. Below you will find a guide on how to plan a safe and virtual Thanksgiving with your loved ones. We social distance this year so we can gather again safely in the future.
Safely Celebrate Thanksgiving this Year
The Illinois Medical Professional Action Collaborative Team (IMPACT) has put together a guide for Illinoisans to safely celebrate Thanksgiving this year.
We know that people have already sacrificed so much in this year think no other. We must continue to practice social distancing to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and keep our loved ones and community safe and healthy.
It's normal to feel some grief, especially around the holiday season when our normal traditions have been uprooted. Please make sure you're allowing space to feel and process that grief. Then look to your loved ones to adapt your traditions for 2020. Consider coordinating meal times to eat together virtually. Maybe swap your favorite recipes with friends and families and test out a new dish for your household. Decorate your house and dinner table as you normally would. Whatever you decide to do, try to make space to virtually connect with your loved ones this year.
Love Your Local Virtually this Small Business Saturday
This year the SBS event will be a bit different in order to follow state-mandated safety guidelines. One thing that hasn't changed is that our community's love for their small, locally-owned businesses.
RPBA has rallied many of the businesses in Rogers Park to offer discounts during Small Business Saturday. The SBS virtual holiday kickoff will begin at Nibbles and Nosh. RPBA will go live on its Instagram account (@rogersparkba). Shoppers will meet local businesses during the live stream while learning about their special offers for Small Business Saturday and the holiday season.
More information and participating businesses is available here.
Support Black Shop Friday this Holiday Season
This Black Friday, support Chicago's Black-owned businesses. You can find a list of local, Black-owned businesses from the Rogers Park Business Alliance using their list.
Also, the city has partnered with the Chicago Urban League to create a directory of over 500 Black-owned businesses throughout the city. The directory includes businesses across various industries, with something for everyone's interest. Learn more and shop online by visiting blackshopfriday.com.
Celebrations & Appreciations
You didn't think we were going to allow a pandemic to make us stop celebrating and appreciating our community did you? Of course not! We need this more than ever, so please, send us the people, orgs and actions that you want the ward to know about next week! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chicago Will Celebrate a Day of Observance for Juneteenth
Juneteenth is poised to become an official “day of observance” in Chicago as part of the 2021 budget approval. Our office introduced an ordinance to the City Council calling upon the City to officially recognize the historically significant holiday last year. On Tuesday, it passed the full City Council unanimously.
The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 troops arrived in Confederate-controlled Texas to enforce the emancipation of enslaved people throughout the state nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
Juneteenth is more than a celebration of freedom from slavery; it's a celebration of the African American community's tenacity, resiliency, and strength.
Thank you to the Black Remembrance Project for your partnership in this momentous accomplishment. Thank you as well to 49th Ward Director of Economic Development Torrence Gardner and 49th Ward Director of Constituent Services Tiffany Liner for your hard work in helping this prevail.
As cases continue to skyrocket across the city, state, and country, we are bringing back our section with the most up-to-date information on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and any changes that are being implemented to address it. Information on aid and relief programs will continue to be housed in the "Need to Know Info" section of this newsletter.
City and State Issue Stay-at-Home Advisories
as COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket
The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb across the city at an alarming rate. This week, our city hit a positivity rate of 13.6%, down from 15.9% last week and 14.1% the week of November 9. If people continue to social distance and refrain from gathering with groups for the holidays, we can continue to make progress in bending the curve.
The spread of COVID-19 is spreading across all demographics and all zip codes in the city. The main driver of the spread of COVID-19 appears to be from within households, where people let down their guards the most.
Governor Pritzker announced this week that the average number of people in hospitals has grown to 5,200. That's up 70% from just two weeks ago. Additionally. The number of available ICU beds in the Chicago region (region 10 for the state of Illinois) continues to shrink, as does the number of available ventilators.
Deaths continue to increase as hospitals become overwhelmed and healthcare workers are spread thin. As of Tuesday, at least 10,875 people have died from COVID-19. Public health officials warn that daily deaths will likely soon match the rates we saw in the spring, and might even surpass those numbers by four or five times.
In Rogers Park, we're seeing the number of positive cases increasing. As of Saturday, November 14, 1 in 23 people in our community have tested positive for COVID-19.
Because the situation grows more dire by the day, the city implemented measures to bend the curve once again.
Mayor Lightfoot announced a new Protect Chicago plan to curtail the spread of COVID-19. The plan includes a new stay-at-home advisory for the city that is in effect for 30 days as of Monday, November 16. The advisory includes additional restrictions, including:
No guests in private residences (except essential homeworkers such as healthcare workers or educators);
Avoid all social gatherings;
Avoid all non-essential travel;
Cancel traditional Thanksgiving celebrations with non-household members; and
The Department of Public Health is also asking that social events and meetings do not take place in-person unless absolutely necessary. Only when absolutely necessary, those meetings should be limited to ten people who should be socially distanced and wearing masks. These restrictions also apply to houses of worship for funerals and other ceremonial events.
Fitness clubs, retail, and movie theatres will be allowed to continue to operate under the current restrictions in place. Employees and patrons will need to continue to wear masks when going to these businesses.
Workers who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, have a positive COVID-19 test, are awaiting COVID-19 test results, or have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 should stay home. Employers cannot retaliate against workers who stay home because they are positive with COVID-19. Any violations of the anti-retaliation ordinance can be reported to 311, by filling out an online complaint form, or contacting our office (email@example.com or 773-338-5796).
While folks are experiencing COVID-19 fatigue, everyone must continue to take all necessary precautions to protect our family and neighbors. Wear a mask, social distance, and regularly wash your hands. Please also stay in Chicago for the Thanksgiving holiday and keep celebrations to those within your household only.
State of Illinois Regresses to Tier Three of the Restore Illinois Plan, Triggering Additional Business Restrictions
Governor Pritzker announced Wednesday the reimplementation of Tier Three resurgence mitigations statewide. Under these resurgence mitigations, the following industries or activities must close effective Friday, November 20, at 12:01 am:
Meeting Rooms, Banquet Centers, Private Party Rooms, Private Clubs and Country Clubs may not host gatherings
Special events at places of worship or funeral homes, such as weddings, funerals, Bar Mitzvahs or wakes, limited to 10 people
The following industries or activities may continue operating under the following additional regulations:
Bars and Restaurants: outdoor service, take-out, curbside pick-up, and delivery can continue under existing regulations; private event spaces must be closed
Retail stores: 25% capacity
Grocery Stores and Pharmacies: 50% capacity (note- big box store that sell a combination of general retail, groceries, and/or pharmacies among other goods must operate at 25% capacity)
Health and Fitness Centers: 25% capacity; reservations are required; indoor fitness classes must cease; outdoor activities allowed at 25% capacity with group activities limited to 10 people or less; locker room areas should be closed.
Hotels: Limited to registered guests only
Personal Services: 25% capacity or 25 people, whichever is less; services that require the removal of face coverings must cease
Offices: Work remotely if possible
Outdoor Activities: Outdoor museums, performance venues, and other outdoor activities can continue at 25% capacity; group size limited to 10 people or less; total capacity limited to 100 people.
As a reminder, all non-essential businesses in Chicago must be closed from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am. All other regulations not explicitly mentioned above remain in place, including the requirement for employees and customers to wear face coverings and to maintain six feet of social distancing.
State Eviction Moratorium Extended to December 12
Governor Pritzker announced that the State's eviction moratorium will be extended to December 12 as the COVID-19 crisis continues to impact our state and our country.
On November 14, protections for Illinois tenants were changed under the latest eviction moratorium extension. Landlords can now file evictions unless tenants give them a written declaration that they should be protected by the COVID Eviction Moratorium. The Lawyers Committee for Better Housing. Tenants can use IDHA's declaration template to provide their landlord with written notice that they've been financially impacted due to COVID-19. That declaration is available online.
The Department of Housing has put together a Know Your Rights website for tenants who are facing illegal lockouts during the eviction moratorium. The Lawyers Committee for Better Housing has also put together information for tenants facing an illegal lockout and may be able to provide legal assistance to income-eligible tenants. Learn more on their website here.
Updates to the Emergency Travel Order
The Chicago Department of Public Health announced updates to the Chicago Emergency Travel Order. A new Travel Order is effective as of Friday, November 13, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.
All states and territories will be categorized into three risk levels: Red, Orange, and Yellow. Anyone traveling from a state on the Orange list is directed to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago or quarantine for a 14-day period (or the duration of their time in Chicago, whichever is shorter). Anyone traveling from a state on the Red list must quarantine for a 14-day period or the duration of their time in Chicago, whichever is shorter.
The lists are updated every two weeks based on state and Chicago case averages. There are no travel restrictions within Illinois. However, non-essential travel to the areas of high incidence is discouraged. If essential travel is needed, follow the prevention techniques such as using a face covering, frequent hand washing/sanitization, and maintaining social distancing.