Last night the West Rogers Park Community Organization (WRPCO) held its annual meeting. After the election of new officers, Judy Stevens of the Better Government Association spoke about the state of the City, its current relationship with the State, the budget morass in Springfield, and the ways that local communities can positively impact government.
Ms. Stevens noted that the “uncertainty” produced by the inability of state lawmakers to work together to create a compromise budget is causing “tangible harm” to state residents in the form of higher costs and funding losses.
Unfortunately, it appears that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will be ready with any plans for new revenue sources or pension deals before the November elections. She reviewed the history of budget bills under Gov. Rauner, noting that both the Governor and Speaker Madigan have each introduced two budget bills, each time with a larger deficit.
Ms. Stevens added that Chicago’s City Council recently passed a bill that would provide more transparency in financial matters like the toxic debt swaps used by the Daley Administration that have cost taxpayers more than $500M. This blog reported on that ordinance in May. It’s a direct result of the 2015 privatization ordinance, passed with BGA help, that will prevent future debacles like the parking meter deal that has cost the City so dearly. As Ms. Stevens noted, Daley could have received $1B more for the City had anybody bothered to read the fine print in the contract.
How do citizens begin to impact public policy? Ms. Stevens suggests working on local issues by joining and supporting groups and organizations working for neighborhood improvement is a good way to start.
Check out BGA’s Web site here.
WRPCO’s new officers include John Kane – Chair, Andrew Rovlas – Vice Chair, Pamela Stauffer – Secretary, and Irv Loundy – Treasurer. Board members include Daniel Azulay, Jose Abonce, Jane Sullivan, Ahmed Khan, and Hameedulah Khan.
WRPCO’s Facebook page is here.