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Alderman Reilly Votes Against Weakening Legislative Inspector General

August 1, 2014


This week, Alderman Reilly voted against a proposal that would strip the Legislative Inspector General of his authority to investigate aldermen for allegations of campaign finance violations. The ordinance would shift those investigative duties to the Board of Ethics - the agency that is responsible for adjudicating these cases.


The Board of Ethics has acknowledged that investigating allegations of campaign violations would pose a conflict of interest, given the agency must ultimately determine the outcome of these cases.  Further, the Board does not have the resources or capabilities to conduct these investigations in a thorough manner.


On Wednesday, the City Council voted 42-6 to approve stripping the Legislative Inspector General of this investigative authority.  Alderman Reilly was one of the 6 aldermen who voted "no."  Alderman Reilly was joined by Aldermen Hairston (5th), Waguespack (32nd), Arena (45th), Fioretti (2nd) and Sposato (36th) in opposing the legislation.


Chicago Aldermen Cast a Brazen Vote for Self-protection 

Chicago Tribune Editorial - August 1, 2014


Just how dumb does the Chicago City Council believe its constituents to be?


Really, really dumb.


Aldermen on Wednesday approved an ordinance that weakens their own inspector general. They hope Chicago voters will believe the baloney that the City Council was merely "closing a loophole." That's quite a chunk of Oscar Mayer to choke down.


To review: The aldermen hired Inspector General Faisal Khan in 2011 to be their watchdog on ethics matters. When he arrived they gave him no investigative staff, insisted he get sworn statements from all whistleblowers (a surefire chilling effect), and told him he couldn't launch investigations without approval from the Chicago Board of Ethics.


That board, appointed by the mayor, has not issued a finding against an alderman in more than 25 years. During that time, more than 20 aldermen have been convicted of felonies.


And now, more of the same council self-protection as the aldermen further insulate themselves from Khan.


Until Wednesday, Khan had been doing the job of investigating complaints about aldermanic conduct. He has wanted the authority to initiate investigations, just like other inspectors general, rather than have to wait for signed, sworn complaints. Instead, the council gave that power to the do-little ethics board - which doesn't even want the responsibility.


Led by Ald. Patrick O'Connor, 40th - who, the Tribune reported Thursday, faces allegations that he violated the city's ethics rules - the council speedily passed an ordinance that limits how soon and how far Khan can go with his inquiries. And the ethics board now has the awkward roles of initiating investigations and also adjudicating them.


Was O'Connor, who knew there was an ongoing ethics probe into his fundraising, deliberately trying to thwart Khan? O'Connor denies that he was. O'Connor told the Tribune his ordinance strengthening the ethics board, a seven-member panel, had nothing to do with his case. O'Connor insisted he engaged in no wrongdoing.


"Unequivocally, no, there will not be any finding against me," he said.


Whatever the motivation here, why would council members make themselves look foolish by reducing Khan's authority to look at them?


Oh, yes. We remember: Chicago aldermen place top priority on protecting their collective behinds. They might occasionally battle it out on policy or budget issues, but there's one thing you can count on them to do in lock step: thwart transparency.


Khan says the council's vote now jeopardizes dozens of investigations he had been pursuing. Which is exactly what aldermen evidently wanted.


Since the day Khan arrived, the City Council has been largely uncooperative. Aldermen and staff members often don't turn over documents. They don't return messages. Sometimes, they don't even show up for scheduled interviews. Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the past has brushed off Khan's reports, at one point saying he had neither the "time or interest" to read them.


Some council members would love for Khan to resign out of frustration. In the meantime, they've voted to undercut him.


O'Connor's ordinance passed 42-6.


The aldermen who voted no: Bob Fioretti, 2nd; Leslie Hairston, 5th; Scott Waguespack, 32nd; Brendan Reilly, 42nd; Nicholas Sposato, 36th, and John Arena, 45th.


Ald. Natashia Holmes, 7th, was absent and Ald. Michele Smith, 43rd, did not vote.


If you live in Chicago and your alderman went along with this, he or she voted against better government and hoped you were too dumb to notice.


That vote might be the most revealing roll call of 2014. Remember it when your alderman's name appears on the February primary election ballot.






Alderman Reilly Commends the Polk Family on their Legacy Gift to Navy Pier

July 18, 2014



(From L to R: Howard Polk, Sandra Polk Guthman, Bruce Bachmann from Polk Bros. Foundation Board of Directors; Marilynn Gardner, Navy Pier; Mayor Emanuel; Bill Brodsky, Navy Pier; and Alderman Reilly. Credit - Greg Keith Porter Imagery)


Alderman Reilly was honored to participate in the announcement made earlier this week for Navy Pier's $20 million Legacy Gift from Chicago's legendary Polk Family.


This donation will contribute to the dramatic transformation of the Pier, and marks marks the single largest private gift ever made to Navy Pier in its nearly 100-year history.

The Polk family gift will support the redevelopment of Navy Pier's 13 acre entrance - Gateway Park - and its new fountain, promenade and exciting performance lawns. The Polk family's generosity will be recognized by naming various elements in the new Polk Bros Park, which will serve as Navy Pier's green front door, inviting the public into a revitalized Pier.

As part of Polk Bros Park, the main promenade connecting the city with Navy Pier will be widened and enhanced with a Welcome Pavilion, which will house Park amenities, such as bicycle and skate rental. The new Polk Bros Park also will include two magnificent new performance spaces at its southern end to host live arts and culture events against the backdrop of the lake and spectacular Chicago skyline.


To read the full press release, see renderings and learn more about the Polk Family's commitment to Chicago, click here.




Alderman Reilly Interview on Chicago Tonight

June 20, 2014


On June 10th, Alderman Reilly appeared as a guest on WTTW's Chicago Tonight, with two of his City Council colleagues: Alderman Michele Smith (43rd Ward) and Alderman George Cardenas (12th Ward), to discuss the pension reform bill signed by Governor Pat Quinn.  




A video of the interview is posted on the WTTW website.


Alderman Reilly looks forward to working with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council to continue to assemble a roadmap to navigate the City of Chicago through this very real pension crisis. 





Alderman Reilly Unveils New Bronze Signs on Cultural Mile

June 20, 2014



Alderman Reilly recently participated in the Chicago Cultural Mile Association's official ribbon cutting and unveiling of the two bronze signs designation Michigan Avenue from Wacker to Roosevelt: Chicago Cultural Mile.


The new signage, on both ends of the Chicago Cultural Mile, spotlights one of the richest cultural, commercial and educational districts in the nation. The Chicago Cultural Mile is Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River south to Roosevelt Road, extending eastward to the Museum Campus. 


The Alderman congratulated the Chicago Cultural Mile for their work to recruit stakeholders along the Michigan Avenue corridor south of the Chicago River to join the organization and discussed his support for the Cultural Mile. "It has been a pleasure working with the Chicago Cultural Mile and their members to raise awareness of the many fantastic tourism attractions, retail opportunities and dining destinations on Michigan Avenue, south of the River.  There is a renewed sense of community spirit and collaboration along the Cultural Mile and I think that new energy will translate into a higher aesthetic for the corridor which residents, visitors and tourists are sure to notice and appreciate."


For more information about the Chicago Cultural Mile Association and its programs and links to partner websites, please visit chicagoculturalmile.org. To read the official press release, click here.




Proposed "Breakwater" Entertainment Barge Not a Good Fit for Downtown Lakefront

June 14, 2014


This week, a local businessman unveiled a controversial proposal to anchor a 300-foot by 100-foot, "Breakwater" floating entertainment barge in Lake Michigan, approximately one mile off the Chicago Lakefront somewhere between Erie Street and Navy Pier.


Earlier this year, Alderman Reilly met with the owners to learn more about their concept.  Although the proposal is still in the conceptual stage, Alderman Reilly informed the "Breakwater" owners that he does not support anchoring this entertainment barge along the Chicago Lakefront between Oak Street Beach and Balbo along the Grant Park shoreline.


According to ownership, the vessel would have a capacity to hold 1,000-2,000 people and would include outdoor party decks, swimming pools and several taverns serving alcohol to patrons.  The concept presented to the Alderman included DJs, live music, parties and special events - with patrons depending upon water taxi service or private watercraft in order to access the venue.


Alderman Reilly and City public safety officials are concerned this large entertainment vessel could risk the safety of patrons and other boaters.  The Alderman questions the wisdom of offering boaters an "entertainment venue" in Lake Michigan where they can consume alcoholic beverages in a party atmosphere while operating watercraft.  Typically boating and alcohol do not make a good mix.


In addition to public safety concerns, Alderman Reilly believes this project could present a quality-of-life concern for Lakefront residents due to the noise impact of such a large entertainment complex near the Chicago shoreline.  Unfortunately, sound carries extremely well over bodies of water, as residents on Lake Shore Drive can report from their experience with past loud parties in the "Playpen" breakwater.

The tens of thousands of downtown residents who live along the Chicago Lakefront downtown would be directly impacted by this proposal.  The addition of an entertainment vessel in close proximity to the downtown Lakefront would likely negatively impact quality-of-life for thousands of residents nearby.


Alderman Reilly works hard to support new businesses opening in downtown Chicago, but some proposals are not always a good fit for the residential and mixed-use density in the downtown core.  Although this proposal may merit consideration at another location on Lake Michigan, Alderman Reilly cannot support siting the "Breakwater" entertainment vessel along downtown's Lakefront.




Alderman Reilly Announces A. Montgomery Ward Dog Park Construction

June 6, 2014

Alderman Reilly is pleased to announce that construction has begun for a new and improved dog park at A. Montgomery Ward Park, located at 630 N. Kingsbury St.  The Alderman initiated this request over a year ago and was able to secure funding for the project with Tax Increment Financing (TIF).    


This dog-friendly area (DFA) has already been a hidden gem of the River North neighborhood, offering residents and visitors an open space where dogs can play and interact, leash-free, in a fenced-off open space.  While the DFA is the responsibility of the Chicago Park District to maintain, Alderman Reilly's office works closely with the Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation and the Chicago Park District to ensure it is kept in good condition. 


Alderman Reilly co-hosted a community meeting with the River North Residents Association last September 24, 2013, to provide neighbors an opportunity to review the Park District's plans in advance.


Upcoming improvements include a new entry into the dog park, along with new fencing, dog-friendly running surfaces, retaining walls to keep gravel in place, a drinking fountain (complete with a water source at dog-level), as well as sewage and rainwater drainage systems.  Humans will enjoy new benches in the park, and ADA accessibility. Once the improvements are complete, A. Montgomery Ward Park will be one of the best dog parks in the entire City of Chicago.   


The new dog park is expected to be completed by the end of June (weather permitting).  


Alderman Reilly and Max and Buster, the Alderdogs of the 42nd Ward, are looking forward to celebrating the opening of the new dog park at an upcoming community event. Stay tuned to future Reilly Reports for updates on this exciting neighborhood amenity!




Victory! High-Rise Sprinkler Mandate Defeated in Springfield. State Fire Marshal Abandons Controversial, Costly Regulations

June 3, 2014


Alderman Reilly is pleased to report that the Illinois State Fire Marshal has abandoned his plan to impose a high-rise sprinkler mandate through administrative rule-making. As previously reported in Reilly Reports, the State Fire Marshal tried to circumvent the General Assembly by advancing the high-rise sprinkler mandate through the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR).


State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) countered by introducing House Bill 4609, which would require any sprinkler mandates to be first vetted by the entire General Assembly. The legislation would also establish a Sprinkler Task Force to debate the issue through 2016.


Due in part to overwhelming response from high-rise residents, the State Fire Marshal has agreed to work with the Illinois General Assembly to pass fire sprinkler installation laws through the legislative process. Because the Fire Marshal has agreed to work through the General Assembly on sprinkler-related issues, House Bill 4609 has been placed on hold. Click here to read Illinois Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis' official statement.


Alderman Reilly is grateful to Representative Feigenholtz for her leadership on behalf of Chicago high-rise residents. The Alderman thanks all 42nd Ward residents and stakeholders who joined him in signing Rep. Feigenholtz's Lakefront Coalition for Responsible Fire Sprinkler Policy Petition, which collected more than 8,000 signatures over the past several weeks.


Thanks to your advocacy, any future proposed sprinkler regulations will be routed through the full democratic process in the General Assembly, requiring passage by majorities in both the House and Senate and then signed into law by the Governor. This change will ensure ample transparency, public debate and legislative approval of any future sprinkler proposals.




Alderman Reilly Establishes Five New Food Truck Stands in the 42nd Ward

May 30, 2014


Earlier this week, the Chicago City Council voted to approve Alderman Reilly's ordinance to create additional food truck stands in the 42nd Ward. Chicago's food truck operators now have five additional mobile food vehicle stand locations to operate from in downtown Chicago.


Similar to a traditional loading zone, these dedicated stands will help food truck operators park safely in high-congestion areas where parking is scarce.   There will now be 30 dedicated food truck zones throughout Chicago.


The 5 additional food truck stands will be installed within the side of the block where each of the following addresses is located:


200 S. LaSalle Street

151 N. Franklin Street

185 N. Upper Columbus Drive

300 S. Wabash Avenue

105 E. Monroe Street


Food truck operators are now permitted to prepare "food to order" on board their trucks and have the opportunity to park for free in these proposed "food truck stands" in highly congested areas, as well as legal metered spaces that are 200 feet from a retail food establishment.


Each food truck will be able to park at one food stand or other legal parking spot for up to two hours.









Alderman Reilly Welcomes New Walgreens Flagship Drugstore to the 42nd Ward's Iconic Wrigley Building

June 27, 2014

Earlier this week, Alderman Reilly joined representatives from the Magnificent Mile Association, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Walgreens executives to celebrate the opening of Walgreen's new two-story, flagship drugstore in the north tower of Chicago's iconic Wrigley Building at 410 N. Michigan Avenue.


This landmark location is the company's 14th flagship store, and the third in Chicago. A unique design, the store's gradient color pattern and indirect lighting features complement the building's exterior. A mosaic floor motif of the building's famous clock welcomes customers as they enter off of Michigan Avenue.


Click here to read the full press release, which highlights all of the store's unique features.




Important Information for Dog Owners

June 27, 2014


While the summer months can be a fun and exciting time for dogs and dog owners alike, we would like to remind you of some regulations put in place to serve and protect you and your pet. 

Register Your Dog

Reuniting you with your lost pet is just one of the many benefits of registering your dog. It's also the law! Municipal Code 7-12-140 requires all dogs four months and older be registered with the City of Chicago. 


Dog registration is required to obtain the necessary permit and tag to access Chicago Park District Dog Friendly Areas (DFAs).  In addition, a city dog registration is required when taking your pet to an animal care facility that boards or provides dog daycare services. 


A dog license is $5 for sterilized (neutered or spayed) dogs and $50 for unsterilized.  Dog owners can register their pet online at the Office of the City Clerk website.  Dog registration licenses can also be purchased at the City Clerk's main office in City Hall, located at 121 N. LaSalle, Room 107 or their satellite offices.  For more information, call 312-744-DOGS.

Dog Park Regulations

The Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control mandates the Chicago Park District to issue a permit for all off-leash dogs using Dog Friendly Areas (DFAs).  Dog Friendly Area permit applications are available at participating veterinarian offices for a cost of $5 per dog.


For the safety and security of your pet, all dogs must be fully immunized, healthy and dewormed.  Dogs must be leashed prior to and upon leaving the DFA and owners must watch their dogs at all times.  Only three dogs per person will be allowed.  For a full list of DFA rules and regulations, please click here

Curb your Dog (7-12-420: Removal of Excrement)

All owners (with the exception of those who require service dogs) must clean up any excrement left by their pets.  Properly disposing of pet waste prevents the spread of infectious diseases and can help ward off rodents.  An owner that neglects to do so may face a fine between $50 and $500.

Leash Your Dog (7-12-030: Animals Shall Be Restrained)

Keep your dog out of danger and prevent tragedy.  Even a well-trained and properly socialized dog needs supervision, instruction and boundaries. Here are some reasons why it is important to leash your dog:

  • Prevents your dog from straying, getting lost, or darting into traffic;
  • Protects your dog from unseen or unknown hazards;
  • Protects your dog from startling unsuspecting pedestrians and cyclists; and
  • It's the LAW!  A fine of $300 can be issued to an owner for having a dog unrestrained.

Low Cost Pet Vaccine Clinic

Chicago Animal Care and Control regularly hosts low-cost vaccine clinics for City of Chicago residents. The next vaccine clinic will be held Wednesday, July 16, from 9:00am to 12:00pm at CACC offices, 2741 S. Western Avenue. To learn more, click here.


Pet Summer Safety Tips for Extreme Heat

  • Water - Give your pets plenty of fresh, clean water.  Animals can get dehydrated very quickly especially in the heat.
  • Shade - Make sure your pet has a place to go to get out of the sun.  Try to keep them indoors during extreme heat.
  • Rest - Do not over-exercise your animal in the heat.  On a sweltering day, the best time to exercise your pet is in the early morning or late evening.
  • Watch - Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle.  In extreme heat, the temperature can rise in your vehicle very quickly.  This can leave your pet vulnerable to heat stroke, which can onset very quickly.

To read about the signs of pet overheating and what to do, click here.


Pet Adoption Information from Animal Care and Control

Every companion animal deserves a loving home. At Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC), all adoptable animals receive a health evaluation (including a heartworm test for dogs and FIV/FELV test for cats), a microchip, vaccinations, and spay or neuter surgery.


The adoption screening process determines if a potential adopter will provide a lasting, loving home. CACC is eager to help everyone make a match with just the right pet to suit their family. To view the animals available for adoption, visit CACC adoptable pets or Pet Harbor. For more information about the adoption process, click here.




Alderman Reilly's Request for Landmarking of Three Steerterville Buildings Moves Forward

June 6, 2014


Over a year ago, Alderman Reilly submitted a letter of recommendation to the Landmarks Division of the Department of Housing and Economic Development proposing that three historic buildings in Northwestern University's Downtown (Streeterville) Campus be added to the registry of Chicago Landmark Buildings. Click here to view the Alderman's letter to Landmarks.


Alderman Reilly is pleased to announce that on June 5th, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks recommended to move forward in creating a new landmark district in the Streeterville neighborhood!


The Northwestern University Chicago Campus District in Streeterville is a group of finely-designed and detailed Gothic Revival-style buildings that comprise the historic core of Northwestern University's Chicago campus. Based on European medieval architecture of the 12th through 15th centuries, the Gothic Revival architectural style is one of the most important historic architectural styles in the history of Chicago.


The buildings in the Northwestern University Chicago Campus District were built to consolidate the university's professional schools, historically located in Chicago, rather than in the suburb of Evanston where the university's main campus is located. The Montgomery Ward Memorial Building, the largest of these, was built to house the Northwestern medical and dental schools. The Wieboldt Hall of Commerce originally housed the university's School of Commerce and also, starting in the 1930s, Northwestern's continuing education programs. The Northwestern School of Law occupied the smallest of the district's buildings, Levy Meyer Hall, built with the attached Gary Law Library.


Taken together, the Northwestern University Chicago Campus District forms a handsome enclave of gray limestone-clad, Gothic Revival-style buildings along the southern edge of Lakeshore Park that are visually distinctive within the context of Chicago's Near North community area and that exemplify Rogers' effort to create an attractive, planned campus on behalf of Northwestern.


The three buildings below were constructed early in Northwestern University's history, dating back to 1926. All three buildings are historically significant - including one of the first university skyscrapers ever erected in the United States. The gothic style of the buildings offers an architectural significance to the area.


Montgomery Ward Memorial, 309-329 E. Chicago Avenue - currently Northwestern's medical school.



Wieboldt Hall of Commerce, 339-343 E. Chicago Ave.- currently the J.L. Kellogg School of Management.



Levy Mayer Hall/Gary Law Library, 349-361 E. Chicago Ave. - currently Pritzker Legal Research Center and offices.



Alderman Reilly is grateful to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks for their leadership in the landmark designation of these buildings. Alderman Reilly also appreciates the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents' (SOAR) support in protecting and preserving these historic neighborhood buildings.


To learn more about these historic structures, click here to download the Department of Planning and Development's Landmark Designation Report for the Northwestern University Chicago Campus District.




Alderman Reilly Experiences Tilt at 360 Chicago!

May 9, 2014

Yesterday, Alderman Reilly participated in a ribbon cutting for TILT - and was lucky enough to be one of the first to experience this epic new attraction at 360 CHICAGO (formerly John Hancock Observatory).



(From L to R: Robert Fioretti, Alderman 2nd Ward; Eric Deutsch; Jen Hoezle, Illinois Office of Tourism Deputy Director; Nichole Williamson, 360 CHICAGO General Manager; Don Welsh, Choose Chicago President and CEO; Alderman Reilly)



(Alderman Reilly Experiences TILT at 360 CHICAGO)


This one-of-a-kind experience features an enclosed glass and steel moveable platform that tilts outward to an adventurous angle, generating downward-facing views of Chicago - one thousand feet above The Magnificent Mile!


TILT is open to the public staring tomorrow, Saturday, May 10, 2014. To learn more, visit www.360chicago.com/tilt.






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