Michele in the News

Ethics bill passed by General Assembly leaves Chicago’s laws intact, official says
Publication:
WTTW
Date:
6/1/2021
Link:
https://news.wttw.com/2021/06/01/ethics-bill-passed-general-assembly-leaves-chicago-s-laws-intact-officials-say
Summary:
A package of new regulations passed in Illinois, however these regulations designed to tighten ethics rules will not override Chicago’s ethics rules. These regulations require lawmakers to disclose more information about conflicts of interest and will allow the legislative inspector general to initiate investigations in addition to other regulations on lawmakers lobbying. The laws in Chicago are much stronger and Alderman Michele Smith, the chair of the City Council’s Ethics and Governmental Operations Committee, did not want to see reforms swept away.

New rules for Chicago’s home-sharing industry set to kick in
Publication:
WTTW
Date:
6/1/2021
Link:
https://news.wttw.com/2021/06/01/new-rules-chicagos-home-sharing-industry-set-kick
Summary: New rules for Chicago’s home sharing industry are taking effect. The city is implementing a new system to streamline applications for a license to rent homes and apartments. This new system will allow the city to hold property owners accountable. Alderman Michele Smith says that residents will benefit from greater oversight. Hosts will not be able to list their homes on the various home sharing platforms until the city has approved their license. Owners could face fines if their properties are used inappropriately.

Dickens bike lane and greenway project aims to make street safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, but neighbors are divided
Publication: 
Block Club Chicago
Date:
 5/19/2021
Link:
https://blockclubchicago.org/2021/05/19/dickens-bike-lane-and-greenway-project-aims-to-make-street-safer-for-pedestrians-cyclists-and-drivers-but-neighbors-are-divided/
Summary: At a recent 43rd Ward community meeting, the Chicago Department of Transportation presented their updated proposal for a greenway on Dickens to better organize the street for all. Many neighbors were supportive of the safety aspects of the project, while some were critical of bringing more bike congestion. “We take an enormous amount of feedback, which is really important so we can respond to the community with either a decision, non-decision or request for more feedback,” said Alderman Smith.

Multiple sites in Chicago, suburbs prepare to offer COVID-19 vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds
Publication:
CBS Chicago
Date:
 5/11/2021
Link:
https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2021/05/11/covid-19-vaccination-12-to-15-year-old-preparations-chicago-area/
Summary: Anticipating approval for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 12 to 15 years, multiple sites are planning to offer the vaccine to younger Chicagoans. The 43rd Ward, Instavaxx, and the Francis W. Parker School are partnering to host vaccination events for 12- to 18-year-olds starting this weekend and throughout the summer. “We want to provide a school atmosphere where they can get their shot,” said Alderman Smith.

Lincoln Park preschool proposal delayed after CPS doesn’t submit neighborhood traffic study to city board
Publication: Block Club Chicago
Date: 4/19/2021
Link: https://blockclubchicago.org/2021/04/19/lincoln-park-preschool-proposal-delayed-after-cps-doesnt-submit-neighborhood-traffic-study-to-city-board/
Summary: Chicago Public Schools (CPS) plans to open two pre-schools in the 43rd Ward. The Zoning Board of Appeals planned to vote on both plans, but CPS did not submit the traffic study at 1840 N. Clark, which was a concern among neighbors. The vote will now be delayed until May. “Under the circumstances here, CPS has not done what they need to do to empower this commission to make a full review of the topic, so I agree we should do a continuance for a month,” Alderman Smith said. The plan for 610 W. Schubert was approved.

Carjackings down 86% since January, CPD data shows
Publication: ABC7 Chicago
Date: 4/14/2021
Link: https://abc7chicago.com/chicago-carjackings-down-86%25-since-january-cpd-data-shows-/10515150/
Summary: After peaking early in 2021, vehicular hijackings reached an 11 month low in March as the Chicago Police Department task force has implemented new strategies throughout the city. Alderman Smith said, “The reduction in incidents is encouraging and proves the strategy is working. We had our first carjacking in two months last night, so there is still more work to do.”

As young adults drive another coronavirus surge in Lincoln Park, city considers vaccinations in bars, colleges
Publication:
Block Club Chicago
Date:
3/26/2021
Link:
https://blockclubchicago.org/2021/03/26/as-young-adults-drive-another-coronavirus-surge-in-lincoln-park-city-considers-vaccinations-in-bars-colleges/
Summary: 
Although vaccinations are on the rise, so are COVID cases, specifically in Lincoln Park. A potential third surge in cases may be driven by young adults, which could impact the city’s ability to continue to reopen. Mayor Lightfoot is urging young people to stay away from mass events. Alderman Smith is at a loss as to how to reach young people, saying “We have not seen numbers like this since December.” She would like to see mass vaccination sites at the places young people frequent, like Wrigley Field.

Alderman withdraws plan to require special permission for house museums after outcry
Publication:
WTTW News
Date:
3/23/2021
Link:
https://news.wttw.com/2021/03/23/alderman-withdraws-plan-require-special-permission-house-museums-after-outcry
Summary:
 In December 2020, Alderman King proposed O2020-6185, which would require museums to have special use permission in residential zones. There are many of these house museums in the 43rd Ward that would have been blocked under this ordinance. Before the vote in the Committee on Zoning, O2020-6185 was withdrawn, much to the relief of the arts community. Alderman Smith led the charge to defeat the ordinance, saying, “Opposition to the ordinance is overwhelming from all corners of the city.”

Home-sharing crackdown delayed for two-months
Publication:
Chicago Sun-Times
Date:
3/17/2021
Link:
https://chicago.suntimes.com/city-hall/2021/3/17/22335953/chicago-city-council-committee-home-sharing-crackdown-delayed-airbnb
Summary:
The Committee on License delayed — from April 1 to June 1 — the effective date of some of the stricter regulations on the home-sharing industry that were approved by the City Council in September. The ban on single-night rentals intended to crack down on party houses was championed by Alderman Smith and has already taken effect. Smith said she is disappointed by the delay, but understands technology upgrades can “take a little longer” and will allow for stricter enforcement.

Owners of historic Lincoln Park building let property crumble to ‘maximize’ profits, City says – it backfired
Publication:
Block Club Chicago
Date:
3/9/2021
Link:
https://blockclubchicago.org/2021/03/09/city-fines-owners-of-demolished-lincoln-park-historic-building-blocks-their-construction-plans/ 
Summary:
 The building at 2107 N. Cleveland was demolished in September of 2020, due to conditions deemed too hazardous by the city. The owners have been accused of doing nothing to save the deteriorating building in an attempt to increase their profit from selling the site. A settlement was reached in January requiring the owners to pay a fine for the demolition. “This isn’t the first time that someone has tried to allow a building to fall down … but this is the first time that we actually had a loss of a building,” Alderman Smith said.

Police install more license plate readers on Lake Shore Drive to slow “out-of-control” carjacking surge
Publication:
Block Club Chicago
Date:
2/3/2021
Link:
https://blockclubchicago.org/2021/02/03/police-install-more-license-plate-readers-on-lake-shore-drive-to-slow-out-of-control-carjacking-surge/?mc_cid=1412263bfa&mc_eid=2d14532ee8
Summary:
 In the 43rd Ward, there were seven carjackings in 2019 and 15 in 2020. To combat the increase in carjackings, the Chicago Police Department will install more technology to track license plates in Lincoln Park. Earlier this week, Alderman Smith co-hosted a community forum with the 44th Ward to discuss the issue. “This carjacking surge is one of these times when we all need to work together to combat a relatively new and frightening crime,” Alderman Smith said.

Lakeview, Lincoln Park alderman to host carjacking forum amid citywide surge
Publication:
Block Club Chicago
Date:
1/28/2021
Link:
https://blockclubchicago.org/2021/01/27/lakeview-lincoln-park-aldermen-to-host-carjacking-forum-amid-citywide-surge/
Summary:
Due to the increase in carjackings over the past year, and specifically the last few weeks, Aldermen Smith and Tunney are co-hosting a forum with police and prosecutors. In response, Superintendent Brown is also assigning more detectives to investigate these cases. Alderman Smith is advocating for stricter punishments, including charging juveniles as adults.

Aldermen and their terrified constituents demand answers to carjacking spike
Publication:
Chicago Sun-Times
Date:
1/22/2021
Link:
https://chicago.suntimes.com/city-hall/2021/1/22/22244894/chicago-carjackings-aldermen-public-demand-answers-prevention-policing
Summary:
Chicago Aldermen and constituents are demanding police action over an increase of Chicago carjackings that are leaving drivers weary of entering their cars or ordering ride shares. Alderman Smith said, “I’ve never seen us more united over an issue,” upon asking Chicago police to consider all solutions to combat the safety hazard.

Carjacking incidents raise concerns in Chicago, suburbs; 5 carjackings reported in Wicker Park over weekend, police say
Publication:
ABC Chicago
Date:
1/18/2021
Link:
https://abc7chicago.com/carajcking-aurora-carjacking-chicago-naperville-il/9763756/
Summary:
There have been at least 120 carjackings since the beginning of the year, impacting all Chicago neighborhoods. At least 10 have happened in the 43rd Ward since November 2020. Alderman Smith says, “This is not random, it is organized.” She is calling for more to be done and is hosting an online forum with police so that residents can learn more. The forum will take place February 2nd at 6pm.

City Council Approves Plan To Convert Part Of Lincoln Park’s Second Church Of Christ Scientist Into Apartments
Publication: Block Club Chicago
Date: 12/16/2020
Link: https://blockclubchicago.org/2020/12/16/city-council-approves-plan-to-convert-part-of-lincoln-parks-second-church-of-christ-scientist-into-apartments/
Summary: City Council voted to approve renovations that would add a seven-story tower at the rear of the Second Church of Christ Scientist. The building’s front foyer will become the new worship space. This was the best proposal that supports its smaller scale while still maintaining the church’s architectural features, Alderman Smith said.

Inspector General faults Chicago for multifamily recycling stagnancy, lawmakers call for answers 
Publication: Waste Dive
Date: 12/11/2020
Link: https://www.wastedive.com/news/chicago-dss-inspector-general-recycling-enforcement/591931/
Summary: The Chicago Office of the Inspector General released a report saying that the Department of Streets and Sanitation isn’t enforcing recycling in commercial buildings and multi-family residences. “Hopefully they’ll fix some of this right away. There’s no reason to wait on this study,” said Alderman Michele Smith.

19th Century Lincoln Park Buildings Slated For Landmark Protections Get Preliminary City Approval
Publication: Block Club Chicago
Date: 12/8/2020
Link: https://blockclubchicago.org/2020/12/08/19th-century-lincoln-park-buildings-slated-for-landmark-protections-get-preliminary-city-approval/
Summary: Four buildings at the Halsted/Willow Gateway have received preliminary landmark status. The final proposal will be reviewed at a City Council hearing in the coming months. Alderman Smith said Halsted and Willow make up a “very important corner” of Lincoln Park.

Chicago man accused of sexually abusing 2 sleeping girls within 20 minutes of each other
Publication: ABC13
Date: 7/17/2018
Link: http://abc13.com/man-accused-of-sexually-abusing-2-sleeping-girls-in-custody/3791170/
Summary: Talking about the arrest of Hunter Best. AMS is mentioned – “Alderman Michele Smith thanked police for their work and said the videos which were obtained from the community “proved crucial to the apprehension of this offender.””

City Council poised to approve 2 percent home-sharing fee for domestic violence
Publication: Chicago Sun-Times
Date: 7/25/18
Link: https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/chicago-city-council-airbnb-new-fee-2-percent-domestic-violence/
Summary: 2 percent increase on tax for new home sharing fee. AMS is mentioned and quoted “Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), whose Lincoln Park ward is home to more than 500 Airbnb listings, led the charge against the 2016 ordinance that regulated the home-sharing industry.” and “Smith supports the concept of using home-sharing surcharges to support domestic violence victims.” in addition to a few other quotes.

In Q&A, Alderman Brian Hopkins makes it clear Sterling Bay’s $5B project won’t start without his blessing
Publication: The Real Deal
Date: 08/03/2018
Link: https://therealdeal.com/chicago/2018/08/03/in-qa-alderman-brian-hopkins-makes-it-clear-sterling-bays-5b-project-wont-start-without-his-blessing/
Summary: Hopkins explains aldermanic prerogative and his opinion on the Lincoln Yards development in an interview. When asked about taxpayer money potentially being used on Lincoln Yards’ public transit and road developments, Hopkins includes a line about financing the park, mentioning AMS: “It’s a question of how we get to $200 million, and Alderman [Michele] Smith [43rd] has suggested some kind of local property tax surcharge like an SSA to help pay for that, and I reject that out of hand. It has to be a citywide base, because it will be of a citywide benefit. So we can’t put special burdens on [local] taxpayers to help pay for this.”

“A law that was designed to fail”: Aldermen want more enforcement of Airbnb-like vacation rentals
Publication: TheRealDeal
Date: Oct 8, 2018
Link: https://therealdeal.com/chicago/2018/10/08/a-law-that-was-designed-to-fail-aldermen-want-more-enforcement-of-airbnb-like-vacation-rentals/
Summary: Despite passing an ordinance in June of 2016, many of Chicago’s Alderman are calling for stronger enforcement and legislation against short term vacation rentals. Ald. Michele Smith would like to raise money to enforce legislation by increasing licensing fees. She would also like to end the practice of renting out homes while licenses are pending.

The Car2go pilot putters into action
Publication: Reader
Date: 7/26/2018
Link: https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-car2go-pilot-putters-into-action/Content?oid=53828250
Summary: Explains the floating carsharing surface. Mentions the no service area northside and AMS– “As a result, the “home zone” goes no farther south than Cermak, excluding virtually the entire south side, and there’s a major crater in the coverage area on the north side, since Lakeview and Lincoln Park Alderman Tom Tunney and Michele Smith refused to participate.

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