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The Other Chicago Fights Back

Whose side are you on?

1. "Facing a grim fiscal situation, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn proposed a $33.9 billion state spending plan that includes a $4 million funding reduction for HIV programs. The governor also proposed deep Medicaid funding cuts, which would severely hamper access to health care for people with HIV," the AIDS Foundation of Chicago says.

"The governor's proposal seeks $25.4 million in FY12 state funding for HIV services through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), a reduction of 14 percent from the current fiscal year. Budget blueprints released yesterday indicate Gov. Quinn proposes no funding cuts for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which provides life-saving medications to people with HIV. As a result, the entire $4 million funding cut would reduce community-based HIV prevention, housing, corrections, minority health-promotion and harm reduction programs.

"While the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) lauds the Governor's recommendation for full ADAP funding, it strongly opposes the overall funding cut that will decimate community-based HIV programs."

*

"Unfortunately, Gov. Quinn also proposed over $2 billion in funding cuts to the Medicaid program. Although he left implementation to the General Assembly, Quinn said that eligibility levels, provider payment rates to providers and benefits are all subject to changes.

"AFC will strongly fight Medicaid cuts. The program is the foundation of national health care reform, set to begin in 2014, and provides vital health care to low-income people with HIV and other chronic health conditions, including millions of disabled and homeless individuals."

Gov. Quinn also proposed spending cuts in several areas of concern for people with HIV:

* Addiction Treatment for Medicaid Populations (-$5 million or 10 percent cut)
* Mental Health Grants (-$58 million or 42 percent cut)
* Emergency and Transitional Housing (-$4.4 million or 52 percent cut)

2. "Today community, labor and faith groups delivered a letter to Mayor Emanuel calling for all spending related to hosting the upcoming G8 and NATO summits to be matched dollar for dollar by investment in Chicago's communities through the creation of a Chicago G8/NATO Community Fund," Stand Up! Chicago says.

"The letter asks the Mayor to call upon the large corporations and benefactors funding expenses related to hosting these events to also donate to the Community Fund 'which can be used to keep libraries and mental health clinics open, as well as to provide direct investment in Chicago's many struggling neighborhoods, which are in desperate need of jobs, schools, housing, and essential services.'

*

"At the drop of a hat, Mayor Emanuel can raise $60 million for the global elite, and yet our neighborhoods suffer from unsafe vacant buildings, gun violence, and skyrocketing unemployment," said Amisha Patel, Executive Director of the Grassroots Collaborative, one of the organizations issuing the letter. "Instead of throwing a party for the 1%, the Mayor and corporate Chicago should be creating jobs for the 99% - jobs to clean up abandoned housing, jobs to keep school children safe, and summer jobs for youth."

*

"I was crying at one of the six mental health clinics that Mayor Emanuel wants to close, thinking about the comparison between the $2 million we need to save our clinics and the millions of dollars that will go to the insane and insatiable greed surrounding the NATO/G8 summits," said Margaret Sullivan, who depends upon the services offered by Beverly/Morgan Park Mental Health clinic and is a member of Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP).

*

"The 99% have been struggling through harsh budget cuts while the city is doling out our tax dollars in corporate welfare to the CME and other World Business Chicago members," said Rev. C.J. Hawking, Executive Director of Arise Chicago, a faith-based labor rights organization.

3. "Citing Illinois' history of political corruption and the state's interest in combating improper political influence and the corruption it breeds, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform has asked a federal judge to reject a political action committee's request to block enforcement of a portion of the state's law limiting campaign contributions," ICPR says.

"'Illinois' long, sordid history of political corruption - perhaps worse than that of any other state - requires some modest restriction on special interest fundraising for expenditures to benefit particular candidates,' ICPR argued in an amicus curiae ('friend of the court') brief filed today. The brief contends that the public interest in preventing yet more chapters in the sad tale of corruption in Illinois is a sufficiently important governmental interest to uphold the $10,000 limit on contributions to fund independent expenditures."

*

"This lawsuit could cause serious damage to the state's comprehensive campaign finance limits, which were enacted in response to decades of corruption in Illinois, which has to date culminated in the Blagojevich scandals," ICPR executive director Brian Gladstein said. "This lawsuit is about much more than opening a loophole for just one PAC. It could create an opening for dozens of PACs receiving unlimited contributions and influencing elections - and government actions."

4. "Less than a week after the occupation of Piccolo School, workers at Serious materials were told that their plant was closing and they would be laid off. Later that afternoon, they occupied the factory."

*

Friday morning update from Fried: "The worker occupation of Serious Energy has ended and an agreement has been reached to keep the plant in operation for 90 days while union members and the company work together to find new ownership to keep the plant open. After 12 hours the occupation has ended with a hopeful workforce.

"After being told by local management this morning that the Serious Energy window factory would close effective immediately, workers at the former Republic Windows and Doors plant had one demand: time to save these jobs by finding a buyer for the business. Local management refused and in response, workers voted to occupy for the second time with their union the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America, UE. In 2008, UE members at the same factory, then owned by Republic Windows and Doors, occupied and won $1.75 million in wages and benefits owed from Bank of America.

"After the occupation began, Serious Energy's corporate leaders stepped in and immediately began talks to resolve the situation. Workers and the company were able to strike a deal in the early morning hours in Chicago.

"'We started the morning with the plant closing and ended the day with work and a chance to save our jobs,' said Armando Robles, President of UE Local 1110, 'We are committed to finding a new buyer for the plant or if we can, buy the place ourselves and run it. Either way, we are hopeful.'"

5. March to the mayor's house.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on February 24, 2012


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