PORTAGE PARK — Some Northwest Side voters will again be asked to weigh in on whether Illinois should lift its statewide ban on rent control when they cast their ballot on Feb. 26.
The rent control question will appear on ballots in the 45th Ward for voters who live in the ward’s 11th, 15th and 17th precincts — which roughly translates to the Six Corners Shopping District area in Portage Park and the Wilson Park area in Jefferson Park.
“Those are the precincts that our organization was able to … circulate petitions [in] to get the question on the ballot,” said Nick Kryzcka, a volunteer with Neighbors for Affordable Housing. The grassroots organization supports affordable and accessible housing on Chicago’s Northwest Side.
Questions about ending the state’s rent control ban will also appear on ballots in certain precincts in the 1st, 26th and 50th Wards on Feb. 26.
On Feb. 21, Kryzcka’s group will join the Lift The Ban Coalition for an event at the Ho-Chunk Nation Chicago Branch Office, 4738 N. Milwaukee Ave. The event will focus on educating voters about rent control and affordable housing advocacy efforts.
“The problem of rising rents and rent burden is real and increasing,” Kryzcka said.
The Feb. 21 event will include a discussion featuring Rosa Esquivel from Pilsen Alliance, Frank Avellone from Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing and Daniel Kay Hertz from Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.
The rent control question on the Feb. 26 ballot is a “non-binding referendum,” which means the results won’t overturn the Rent Control Preemption Act that went into effect in 1997 thanks to realtor lobbying efforts.
But it can show city and state officials what Chicago voters think about introducing rent control into Illinois. Voters in other wards were asked similar questions last year.
During the November midterms, the 35th, 46th and 49th wards — which include all or parts of Rogers Park, Uptown, Albany Park, Irving Park, Avondale, Logan Square and Lakeview neighborhoods — were asked about ending the state’s ban on rent control.
A majority of voters in those three wards — 71.55 percent in the 35th, 70.56 percent in the 46th and 66.18 percent in the 49th — were in favor of lifting the ban.
In the Illinois 2018 primary, voters in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 12th, 22nd, 25th, 27nd, 33rd and 36th wards got to weigh in on the matter. When those ballots were tallied, 75 percent of voters in those wards also said they were in favor of lifting the state’s ban on rent control.
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