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Rahm To Public Budget Hearings: Drop Dead

First, a statement from Stand Up! Chicago.

Then some added value.

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From Stand Up! Chicago:

A delegation representing dozens of community, labor and faith-based groups gathered at City Hall on Wednesday to deliver an open letter to the mayor expressing concern about recent changes to the city budget process that virtually eliminate public participation.

The groups that authored the letter, and the communities they represent, are concerned that the changes will keep the city's working families from having a say in budget cuts likely to increase Chicago's poverty, unemployment and foreclosure rates - and to deprive vulnerable community members of essential services.

While community members have been left in the dark concerning the mayor's budgeting process and priorities, there are strong indications that Chicago's working families have a lot to be concerned about. The recently released report by the city's Inspector General's Office on budget savings and revenue "options" is a reflection of the mayor's intentions and calls for significant layoffs, including reductions in police and firefighters, and cuts to essential services. (View the full IGO report.)

"The IGO's budget recommendation to reduce janitorial services in city facilities by a third would not only take critical jobs from working families, it would also result in unsanitary and unsafe conditions for busy public spaces," says Efrain Ugalde, a janitor who cleans City Hall. "If the public had a chance to weigh in on budget ideas like this, we would recommend reducing tax breaks and public subsidies to big, profitable corporations instead."

The mayor's shift away from community participation is not only dramatic break with precedent, but also directly contradicts his campaign promise to create "the most open, accountable and transparent government that the city of Chicago has ever seen."

"How is the mayor going to cut from the budget if he is not keeping our communities in mind?" asked Anita Caballero, board president of signatory Brighton Park Neighborhood Council. "The resources that are the most important to Brighton Park such as our schools, resources for our youth, and many needed services would be impacted if he doesn't keep us in mind when doing the city budget."

"To believe that budgets can be set in secret defies the essence of democracy," said Rev. C.J. Hawking, Executive Director of Arise Chicago, a letter signatory. "The budget needs to come out of the shadows of back-room deals and into the light for all of Chicago citizens to see."

The letter calls upon the mayor to "release a proposed budget immediately and schedule public town hall meetings to ensure that our communities are involved in all steps of (the budgeting) process."

In addition to delivering the letter to the mayor's office, the delegation delivered letters to each of city's 50 aldermen, and handed the letter out to aldermen and the general public on their way to this morning's City Council meeting.

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Editor's Note: But Rahm is getting input online!

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Let's face it, Rahm doesn't much like "the people" and would rather not be confronted with moments like this or people like these from public budget hearings held by Richard M. Daley:

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Democracy. Ewww!

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At least Daley pretended. Sheesh.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on October 4, 2012


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