Subscribe to CNC Huffpo feed
Chicago news and blog articles from The Huffington Post
Updated: 6 hours 35 min ago

Don't Allow Haters Win in Orlando

Mon, 2016-06-13 12:19
The worst thing we could do right now is compound a horrible act of anti-LGBT hate by promoting anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate. To use the worst shooting tragedy in U.S. history to promote Trump-like behavior would be despicable.

It is a race to the bottom -- outright bigotry -- branding all people in a group, regardless of character, as the enemy.

We LGBTs have recently won so many rights -- with the aid of so many non-LGBTs of all faiths -- that it would be unworthy of us to become haters towards any other group of people.

We have in our rainbow LGBT community many Muslims and immigrants who catch it from both sides -- racist Islamophobes on one side, anti-LGBT bigots on the other. We especially need to stand with them, and stand against scapegoating, period.

At the same time, we cannot allow political leaders to gloss over the fact that this was an attack directed specifically against LGBTs, and that the toxic hate directed against us by people of all different faith traditions has played a role in it.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson said yesterday that we need to refuse to be "hyphenated Americans, but stand together as Americans." Sorry, Mr. Senator, but this was an apparent anti-gay attack. Disregarding that fact is to disregard the hate that has been promoted by anti-gay political and religious leaders of both parties, especially in the American South.

Much of the U.S., especially the South, is currently being swept with anti-Transgender "bathroom bills" aimed at dehumanizing Trans people, and by extension, all LGBTs. These bills dehumanize us, and thus make it "okay" to attack us. We would be more inclined to believe politicians' expressions of sympathy for the Orlando victims and their families, were they not also pushing these anti-Trans, scaremongering bills.

Our country is already a violent, tinder box of hate. Things have gotten so bad that we now have a major party presidential candidate who has made it his calling card to make openly racist incitements against immigrants, Latinos and Muslims.

Knowing so much hate and violence directed at us as LGBTs over the decades, we have a responsibility to help end it, not augment it.

We must stand together as human beings of every race, nationality and religion -- not as parochial Americans concerned only with "our own."

We must confront what our own leaders are doing to perpetuate outrages like the scapegoating of groups here in the U.S. We must forcefully oppose the serial bombings and invasions of other countries, and support for despots against their own peoples, which breed terrorism.

Otherwise the cycle of violence will continue.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Pat Quinn Pushes Chicago Term Limits, Elected Office for Chicago Consumer Advocate

Mon, 2016-06-13 11:51
Before serving as governor from 2009 to 2015, Pat Quinn was known as a rabble-rousing reformer who, most famously, led a 1980 citizen initiative that cut the membership of the Illinois House by one-third.

A year and a half after losing the governor's race to Bruce Rauner, Quinn announced he is reviving his political activity with an effort to impose a two-term limit on the mayor of Chicago and create an elected office of Chicago consumer advocate.

"As a long-time Chicagoan, I've been dismayed as insiders tighten their grip on the levers of our government," Quinn wrote in an email to supporters announcing the launch of "That's why I'm launching the Take Charge Chicago petition drive to put two binding referendums on the ballot: a term limit on the Chicago Mayor and creation of a Chicago Consumer Advocate."

Quinn is up against an Aug. 8 deadline to get roughly 53,000 signatures of registered voters in Chicago on petitions to get the proposals on the Nov. 8 ballot. The next Chicago mayoral election not until 2019, so Take Charge Chicago could have an effect on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's future even if it fails to place the term limit question on this year's ballot. The group would get a second chance for the 2018 general election.

Quinn is not a newcomer to term limit advocacy. In 1994, as he was pursuing an unsuccessful bid for secretary of state against incumbent George Ryan, then-Treasurer Quinn led a statewide ballot initiative to put a term limits question for state elected officials on the ballot. The Illinois Supreme Court, however, ruled the measure unconstitutional. Ironically, 20 years later, Bruce Rauner -- during a hotly contested gubernatorial race against Quinn -- would lead a similar effort with the same result.

On the consumer front, Quinn's activism led to the creation in 1984 of the Citizens Utility Board, the state government consumer advocate on energy prices.

Quinn's referendum seeks to make Chicago consumer advocate an elected office, but he offered no hint whether he would pursue such an office to the Associated Press: 

He refused to answer if he'd seek public office again. Quinn has recently been making the rounds at political events, fueling talk that he's wants to throw his hat in the ring again.

"I've run for office before," Quinn said. "We'll see about the future."

Here's the complete email message Quinn sent to supporters on Sunday:

Dear Friends,

As you know, I'm a believer in the power of petition and referendum. Over the years, we've used these tools of direct democracy to win major reforms, such as cutting the size of the Illinois House, creating the Citizens Utility Board and allowing recall of Illinois governors.

As a long-time Chicagoan, I've been dismayed as insiders tighten their grip on the levers of our government. That's why I'm launching the Take Charge Chicago petition drive to put two binding referendums on the ballot: a term limit on the Chicago Mayor and creation of a Chicago Consumer Advocate.

These reforms would put everyday people in charge, not the plutocrats. Take Charge Chicago would bring openness to City Hall and offer relief to beleaguered taxpayers and consumers. It can be accomplished by Petition Power, but I need your help.

Consider three points:

1. Chicago is the only city among the nation's 10 biggest cities without a term limit on its mayor.

2. Incumbent Chicago mayors routinely outspend their challengers by millions of dollars reaped from lobbyists, corporations and billionaires.

3. The best way to achieve true campaign finance reform and end secrecy in City Hall is through mayoral term limits. And the only way to achieve term limits is through a petition drive and binding referendum, a power authorized by the 1970 Illinois Constitution.

So, here's the plan. We hope to gather 100,000 signatures from Chicago registered voters to put the Take Charge Chicago referendums on the ballot. Then, if a majority of voters say "Yes" to a term limit on the office of Chicago mayor and creation of a Consumer Advocate for consumers and taxpayers, both reforms become effective in time for the 2019 election.

We can make history: these would be Chicago's first binding referendums in memory. I expect it will be a healthy exercise in democracy and hope it sparks a citywide debate over the structure of our government.

The Take Charge Chicago referendums will open up City Hall and let the people of Chicago in. Let's change Chicago one petition signature at a time!

Go to to learn more and download our petition, or call 773-999-2016 and we'll mail you a petition kit. And I invite you can join me this summer at a farmers' market or neighborhood festival to gather autographs from everyday Chicagoans for the Take Charge Chicago petition drive.

Thanks for your help.

Pat Quinn

NEXT ARTICLE: Illinois nabs two spots on the list of 10 hardest-working small towns in America

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

#DoYourJob, #ILBudgetNow: Use These Hashtags and Send a Message to Springfield

Fri, 2016-06-10 15:17

Events this week in state politics inspired us to begin promotion of two Twitter hashtags: #doyourjob and #ilbudgetnow. We hope you'll join us in using these tags to send a message to Springfield.

A week that had started out with at least a glint of hope for progress on a state budget -- working groups of lawmakers said they were making progress behind the scenes -- rapidly devolved into sniping over blame for the budget crisis, a serious reprimand from two credit agencies and more sniping over who's to blame for the state's deteriorating credit rating.

Lots of finger pointing today on Illinois credit rating downgrade. Let us agree that it was a team effort.

— Mark Brown (@MarkBrownCST) June 9, 2016

This started Tuesday, when House Speaker Michael Madigan canceled the House's scheduled session on Wednesday because, he said, working groups of rank-and-file lawmakers were making progress on a temporary budget.

On Wednesday, as those groups were working in the Capitol, Gov. Bruce Rauner held a press conference in his office in which he accused Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton of trying to sandbag work on a budget to create a crisis. Rauner said the two top Democrats wanted a crisis in state government -- especially one that would arrive if there's no K-12 school budget within a month and schools can't open in the fall -- so they could use it as leverage to pass a tax increase without implementing any of Rauner's business or government reforms.

A few hours after Rauner met with reporters in Springfield, Cullerton did the same at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. He said he heard from Senate Democrats in the working group meetings that as they were trying to craft a stopgap budget based on the governor's own plan, they started seeing tweets on their phones from the governor's press conference.

Cullerton said Rauner's campaign-style rhetoric is not helping the budget cause and urged Rauner to "take a break" and let the working groups work out a compromise.

Senate Pres John Cullerton begins presser by congratulating Rauner on winning election - 18 months ago

— Tony Arnold (@tonyjarnold) June 8, 2016

As if to remind Illinois taxpayers that their leaders' squabbling had real, adverse effects, Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday night downgraded the state's credit rating to two steps above junk status. On Thursday, S&P Global Ratings did the same.

Both ratings agencies said Illinois' leaders had all the tools to repair the state's broken finances but political gridlock was preventing them from getting to work.

It sounds so simple, right?

That's what we're talking about after a challenging week in state politics on this week's "Only in Illinois."

You can also listen to the podcast here or through iTunes:

NEXT ARTICLE: Illinois transportation coalition warns 25,000 jobs could be lost without funding by July 1

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Chicago Police Cannot Stop Killings

Fri, 2016-06-10 14:11

This post is not intended to serve as a criticism of the Chicago Police Department, but a learning opportunity for police and the community at large.

Since the beginning of 2016, shootings and homicides have escalated in Chicago. The current strategies being implemented by the police has fallen short as it relates to stopping the killings on the front end. The police are taught to respond to a crime and not to prevent it. It is hard to know when someone is about to take a life, which is not good for the public. The police can only do so much and now is the time for us to begin the dialogue in regards to addressing what it will take to stop the killings before it even happen.

If you look at the historical data in Chicago, you will see that this city has always experienced an increase in homicides. From 1928 to the 1990s, the average homicide rate ranged from 450-800 per year. One may argue that the numbers were down in the past. However, we know that homicides still exist and the question remains: How can we reduce the homicide rate by 70%? The police are doing more undercover work, beefing up patrols, cracking down on gangs, intercepting illegal guns, marching throughout the community, and using other collaborative efforts, even though the numbers continue to soar.

This represents a new problem for the police since the gangs are not structured like the old days. There are many different cliques that exist and motives behind the violence. How can you effectively stop killings on the front end when you do not know anything about the motives or when the person will commit the act? The Chicago Police Department should take a look at hiring a younger Police Superintendent with a background from a crime ridden community and one who understands the youth of today.

It's easy to keep playing a broken record because it's your favorite song, but when people are losing their lives, then it's time to stop playing the same old song. This is very important if the Chicago Police expect to get a handle on this issue. There are ways to stop the killings on the front end, but transparency from the community and police is crucial for this to happen. The Chicago Police Department is currently in the process of making several changes from the top to the bottom. Hopefully the changes will lead to a stronger relationship with the community which in turn can help reverse this epidemic of violence citywide. The only barrier in the way would be the old versus the new.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.