WOODLAWN — Voters in Woodlawn and Washington Park overwhelmingly backed a push to require the Obama Presidential Center to ink a community benefits agreement that includes an affordable housing mandate and a property tax freeze for long-time residents.
More than 88 percent of voters in the 5th precinct of the 5th Ward; the 15th and 18th precincts of the 12th Ward, the 1st, 22nd and 23rd precincts of the 20th Ward; the 15th precinct of the 22nd Ward and all of the 25th Ward backed the non-binding question, according to Tuesday’s unofficial results.
The center has been delayed by a lawsuit filed by the group Protect our Parks, which objects to the Obama Foundation’s plan plans to build the center in Jackson Park. The group contends those plans violate state law and Chicago Park District rules. The center must also undergo a federal review.
The CBA would mandate 30 percent of all new and rehabilitated housing to be set aside for low- and moderate-income Chicagoans.
The OPC agreement aldermen already unanimously approved in late October acknowledges that the $500 million project could push long time South Side residents out of their homes. Planning officials said they would “monitor” displacement.
Former President Barack Obama and the Obama Foundation have resisted calls to sign a community benefits agreement that would include independent monitoring and local hiring, support for neighborhood schools and a community trust fund to support the initiatives.
Obama’s presidential museum will be part of a four-building campus that includes an underground parking facility, a plaza, play areas, pedestrian and bicycle paths and landscaped open space, according to the revised measure. Those plans were approved in May by the City Council, and the city will own the center once it is built, according to the agreement.
One of the buildings will include a branch of the Chicago Public Library. The foundation pledged to “strive” to award 50 percent of all contracts to firms owned by blacks, Latinos and women, more than current law requires.
Voters: Lift ban on rent control
Voters across the North and Northwest Sides overwhelmingly backed a non-binding referendum designed to pressure state lawmakers into lifting the ban on rent control.
More than 72 percent of voters in six precincts of the 1st Ward and six precincts of the 26th Ward, according to early returns.
More than 67 percent of voters in three precincts of the 45th Ward backed the push to lift the ban, as did approximately 76 percent of voters in two precincts in the 50th Ward.
More than two-thirds of voters in the 35th, 46th, 49th wards backed a measure to overturn the ban on rent control in November.
SB 3512, pending in the General Assembly, would repeal the Rent Control Preemption Act, and would allow county rent control boards to set regulations based on specified income levels, as well as “restrictions on increasing rent-controlled amounts; notice to tenants before increasing rent; [and] creation of a reserve account by property owners for repairs and capital improvements,” according to the bill summary.
Concerns that rising home and rental prices in neighborhoods like Bronzeville, Pilsen, Logan Square and Uptown are driving out working-class families have taken center stage at City Hall.
In parts of nine wards, activists pushing to repeal the statewide ban on rent control won at least 70 percent of the vote during the March election.
Voters: Invest revenues from legal marijuana on South, West side
Nearly 88 percent voters in six South and West Side wards urged city officials to “appropriate tax or other revenues it receives from the sales of marijuana towards neighborhood reinvestment in low-income, disenfranchised communities hit hard by the war on drugs,” according to unofficial returns.
That ballot question was also non-binding.
In three precincts of the 6th Ward, 87 percent of voters backed the measure, as did voters in one 16th Ward precinct, according to unofficial returns.
In the 17th Ward, more than 85 percent of voters backed the push, according to unofficial returns.
In four precincts of the 24th Ward, 90 percent of voters backed the push, according to unofficial returns.
In the 28th Ward, more than 85 percent of voters backed the push, according to unofficial returns.
In five precincts of the 29th Ward, 89 percent of voters backed the push, according to unofficial returns.
In the November election, approximately 88 percent of Chicago voters supported a measure to appropriate funds from the sale of marijuana if legalized for Chicago Public Schools and mental health services.