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Eye on the Fifth Floor

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 29, 2007 5:30PM

2007_1_city_hall.jpgAlthough it's pretty much a given that Daley will coast to re-election at the end of next month, by no means does it mean that his time is office has been an unmitigated success. In a report card scheduled to be issued today by a coalition of interest groups and local activists called "Developing Government Accountability to the People," Daley received low grades in many areas, including economic development, transportation, education, criminal justice and ethics. Prepared by more than two dozen organizations, including such long-time Daley critics as Better Government Association, the Chicago Recycling Coalition, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Metro Seniors in Action and the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization, the report cites the lack of development outside of the Loop and wealthy lakefront wards, and calls on Daley to halt plans for the Circle Line proposal until more infrastructure can be built in underserved areas of the city. The report also criticizes Daley for not doing enough to promote and to control housing affordability in the city.

In an interview with the Chicago Defender published on Friday, mayoral candidate Bill "Dock" Walls slammed Daley over housing in Chicago, expressing concern that in the not-too-distant future there may not be room in the city for low-income people and minorities. Refering to a report released last Tuesday by the Chicago Rehab Network, Walls laid out his plan to ensure that people of all ethnicities and socio-economic classes have access to housing in the city, including setting aside 15% of units in buildings with 12 or more apartments for low-income families, and a moratorium on condo development until "the average person can afford to own and live in a condominium." Walls is also concerned about the closing of homeless shelters in Chicago when permanent housing isn't being built to replace them. He is proposing developing approximately 10,000 vacant lots in the city with a Habitat for Humanity-style program.

Finally, making Daley's day-to-day work at least marginally more uncomfortable is the news that a fourth labor union will not endorse him for re-election. Coming on the heels of the announcement that the firefighters union, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the Chicago Federation of Labor are unhappy with his performance as mayor is the news that the union representing some 5,000 office and technical workers in Chicago won't be backing him either. This is compounded in the wards where unions like SEIU are targeting aldermen with the intention of weakening Daley's strength on the council, and setting the stage for a challenge to Daley (or his successor) in the next election.

[Update: the Tribune article linked in this post doesn't mention some of the other key authors of the Report Card, including Pilsen Alliance, Allianza, the Coalition to Protect Public Housing, and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.]