City Council Postpones Sweet Home Chicago

Police cleared the City Council chamber Wednesday after protestors began chanting “Shame on you!”

Their outrage was directed at the council members who voted 28-19 to postpone a vote on the Sweet Home Chicago ordinance, which would devote 20 percent of TIF funds to affordable housing. The ordinance was tabled until after the Feb. 22 elections.

Sweet home Chicago's advocates, who include the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and the Organization of the North East, have been consistently thwarted by parliamentary maneuvers. At last month’s meeting, Ald. Edward Burke delayed a vote because the measure hadn’t been on the Council docket for 48 hours.

Before today’s meeting, Ald. Walter Burnett, the ordinance’s sponsor, held a press conference at which he promised that Sweet Home Chicago supporters would be like “a bad penny -- we’re not going away.” 

“We have millions of dollars sitting up in a pot, money that’s been dished out for corporate welfare, and we need to take some of that money and give it back to the people who need it,” Burnett said.

Mayoral candidates Gery Chico, Miguel del Valle and Carol Moseley Braun have spoken in favor of the ordinance, which also has been endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ald. Patrick O’Connor introduced a competing ordinance that would have made the 20 percent benchmark a goal, not a requirement. O’Connor’s ordinance, which is supported by Burke and Mayor Richard M. Daley, was also tabled today.

“Aldermen who think they can support this bill and be perceived as a champion of affordable housing will be making a drastic mistake,” Diane Limas of the Albany Park Neighborhood Council told the Chicago Reporter. “Any alderman who votes ‘yes’ for O’Connor’s ordinance should be embarrassed by the decision they made.”  

But there was no vote on either ordinance today, and won’t be until at least March 9.

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