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Fioretti out of the Gates

By Kevin Robinson in News on May 23, 2007 1:00PM

2007_5_running_start.jpgIn one of his first acts as the new 2nd Ward Alderman, Bob Fioretti threatened to stall the second phase of a $750 million plan to raze the CHA's ABLA Homes, part of their multi-billion dollar "Plan for Transformation." After learning that $31 million dollars in expiring tax credits might be lost, he approved $15 million in tax-increment financing, but he vowed that a series of side letters would dictate three things: minority participation at levels higher than the 25 percent proposed by developers, a guarantee of jobs for local residents, and assurances that siding and public utilities are aesthetically pleasing.

The Sun Times reported that Fioretti told the Finance Committee that "the autocratic method of making decisions is over and the bottom-up process of making decisions is here." While Chicago's new political dynasty (that's Jesse and Sandi, folks) were mugging for the press and Daley and Mags were waxing poetic on their passion for the future of our town, Fioretti was trying to make good on his promises to "create solutions" and "not be a rubber stamp."

His quick two-step around the TIF issue and his vow to quickly negotiate side letters certainly illustrate the learning curve ahead of him. Whether or not increased minority participation and more jobs for the neighborhood will really translate into anything significant for second ward residents, especially those that are living in public housing, remains to be seen. But Fioretti gets points for hitting the ground running, in what might have been a day of glad handing and speechifying for a different alderman.

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