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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
the motivation here, why would council members make themselves look
foolish by reducing Khan's authority to look at them?
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.
says the council's vote now jeopardizes dozens of investigations he had
been pursuing. Which is exactly what aldermen evidently wanted.
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
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.
aldermen who voted no: Bob Fioretti, 2nd; Leslie Hairston, 5th; Scott
Waguespack, 32nd; Brendan Reilly, 42nd; Nicholas Sposato, 36th, and John
Ald. Natashia Holmes, 7th, was absent and Ald. Michele Smith, 43rd, did not vote.
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.
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
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)
Reilly was honored to participate in the announcement made earlier this
week for Navy Pier's $20 million Legacy Gift from Chicago's legendary
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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).
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.
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.
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.