CFD

Chicago Police Department Manpower Shortage Latest

“Chicago readers take note: The ‘thin blue line’ that exists in the Windy City will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future. Carry on accordingly.”

Survival And Prosperity, October 3, 2011

With the help of the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop, I became aware several years ago of the manpower shortage going on in the Chicago Police Department.

Subsequently, I started blogging about the situation from time to time.

As shootings in the city march past 2,300 for the year, attention is being drawn to Chicago’s “cop shortage” again. Fran Spielman reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on July 20:

After three shootings this week in a gang-ridden South Side ward that includes Englewood and Back of the Yards, Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) is demanding that Emanuel finally make good on his 2011 campaign promise to hire 1,000 additional police officers.

In the meantime, Lopez wants Chicago Police officers now working in pairs for their own safety to get reinforcements from the Illinois National Guard, the Illinois State Police, the Cook County Sheriff’s office or all of the above

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

No DHS or other federal agencies?

On the subject of paying for more police, Alderman Lopez brought up taxes. Spielman added:

When Lopez was asked where he would find the money to hire 1,000 more police officers, he offered to raise property taxes- again.

That’s on top of the $588 million property tax increase approved last fall for police and fire pensions and school construction and the $250 million increase the Board of Education is about to approve for teacher pensions…

Remember what I’ve been saying for years now about new/higher fees, fines, and taxes for Chicagoans?

With news yesterday that the Fraternal Order of Police is urging its members to turn down all requests for “non-mandatory overtime” over the fast-approaching Labor Day weekend, Second City Cop blogged:

It is most certainly is a message to the administration- “Hire more cops!” seems to be what we’re reading. And that’s a perfectly appropriate message to be sending to the city- the Department is badly understaffed

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Shooting of 6-year-old girl revives demand for 1,000 more cops.” Chicago Sun-Times. 20 July 2016. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/shooting-of-six-year-old-resurrects-demands-for-1000-more-cops/). 26 July 2016.

SCC. “OT Boycott Gets Media Coverage.” Second City Cop. 26 July 2016. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2016/07/ot-boycott-gets-media-coverage.html). 26 July 2016.

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Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 Crime, Debt Crisis, Education, Employment, Entitlements, Government, Public Safety, Self-Defense, Taxes Comments Off on Chicago Police Department Manpower Shortage Latest

City Of Chicago’s Total Unfunded Liabilities Grew To Nearly $24 Billion In 2015

It’s been a while since I last blogged about the Illinois Policy Institute, a Chicago-based non-partisan research organization “generating public policy solutions aimed at promoting personal freedom and prosperity in Illinois.” Yet earlier this week, Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner published a sobering piece on the Institute’s website about Chicago’s mounting financial woes that just needs to be disseminated. From their article:

Chicago property owners concerned about their future property-tax bills have had plenty to worry about over the past year- but a new report on the city’s crumbling finances has all but ensured that property-tax hikes will continue to be a painful reality for local homeowners.

The city already passed a $700 million hike in October 2015 to help plug the hole in police and firefighter pensions, and the city is expected to raise property taxes by another $250 million to fund ailing Chicago Public Schools, or CPS, pensions. And with billions more in other health care and pension shortfalls still unfunded, more hikes are on the way.

But the newest debt numbers in the city’s 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, or CAFR, show that without massive pension reforms, the city’s tax hikes are just beginning. The report found that the total city debt Chicagoans are on the hook for has more than tripled since 2014.

Chicago’s total unfunded liabilities have jumped by over $17 billion, growing to nearly $24 billion in 2015 from $6.5 billion in 2014. The increase is mostly due to new accounting standards and the fact that in March the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the city’s recent attempt to reform its broken municipal-workers and laborers pension funds.

Add to that their share of sister-government and Cook County pension and health care costs and long-term debt, and Chicagoans are on the hook for over $65 billion

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Disturbing stuff. But that’s reality for you.

You know, last week I read an “interesting” anonymous comment on the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop. From the July 7 post entitled “And There it is….”:

Millennials as they are called are falling over themselves to move here. Look at Ukrainian village, Buck town south loop West loop, Lincoln Park. The city is becoming gentrified. Major companies are moving their headquarters here. City is on the upswing like it or not.

“City is on the upswing like it or not.”

Never mind its financial cancer that’s bound to metastasize in due time…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Dabrowski, Ted and Klingner, John. “Chicago’s Total Debt More Than Triples To Over $24B In 2015.” Illinois Policy Institute. 11 July 2016. (https://www.illinoispolicy.org/chicagos-total-debt-more-than-triples-to-over-24b-in-2015/). 14 July 2016.

SCC. “And There it is…” Second City Cop. 7 July 2016. (https://www.illinoispolicy.org/chicagos-total-debt-more-than-triples-to-over-24b-in-2015/). 14 July 2016.

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Thursday, July 14th, 2016 Debt Crisis, Education, Entitlements, Fiscal Policy, Government, Health, Housing, Legal, Public Safety, Taxes Comments Off on City Of Chicago’s Total Unfunded Liabilities Grew To Nearly $24 Billion In 2015

Active Shooter Drill At Chicago’s Wrigley Field Thursday

While looking for the latest on Chicago’s debt crisis from Fran Spielman (Chicago Sun-Times), I spotted this on the newspaper’s website Wednesday afternoon:

One week after a lone gunman opened fire on police officers securing a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, emergency responders in Chicago will simulate an “active shooter” situation at Wrigley Field.

The emergency preparedness drill involving “simulated ammunition and flashbangs” will be held between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday, prompting street closings around the stadium…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Spielman reported Waveland Avenue, from Clinton to Kenmore, will be closed to both vehicle/pedestrian traffic while the exercise takes place. The drill will involve the Chicago Fire Department, Chicago Police Department, and the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC).

You can read the Sun-Times piece here for more information.

More on Chicago’s mounting financial woes tomorrow…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 Crime, Government, Preparedness, Public Safety, Terrorism, Training Comments Off on Active Shooter Drill At Chicago’s Wrigley Field Thursday

This Is What A Good Old Fashioned Chicago Riot Looks Like

The 1968 Chicago West Side Riots were a little before my time (I was born a couple of years later on the West Side), but I remember hearing stories about the unrest growing up not too far from where they took place.

Here’s a little taste of what went down, courtesy of “ChicagoFD1” on YouTube.com:


“Chicago Fire Dept. – Chicago Westside Riots 1968”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 Civil Strife, Government, Military, Public Safety Comments Off on This Is What A Good Old Fashioned Chicago Riot Looks Like

Chicago Wakes To Proposed Property Tax Hike On April Fool’s Day

Many Chicagoans probably wish what’s being widely-reported in the local news this morning about a proposed property tax hike is just a silly April Fool’s joke.

It’s not.

Fran Spielman wrote on the Chicago Sun-Times website last night:

Chicago property owners will face $250 million in property tax increases over five years while city employees make increased pension contributions that will cost them at least $300 more a year, under landmark reforms unveiled Monday…

The new revenue the mayor had promised only after pension reform will come in the form of $50 million property tax increases for five straight years, beginning next year and continuing through 2019.

Top mayoral aides estimate that would cost the owner of a home valued at $250,000 with an annual property tax bill of $4,000 roughly $58 more or $290 over the five-year period. That’s on top of expected increases for the Chicago Board of Education and Chicago Park District…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A couple of thoughts here:

First off, is anyone really surprised this is happening?

Regular readers of this blog shouldn’t be.

Higher fees, fines, and taxes. Less government services.

I’ve been squawking this for quite some time now.


“Black Dynamite- Who saw that coming?”
YouTube Video

Second, a $250,000 home? When discussing a Chicago Board of Education property tax hike last August, I blogged:

$230,000? You’d be hard-pressed to find a home for that little money in my former stomping grounds on the Northwest Side.

The same holds true for a $250,000 one (especially if it’s a property big enough for a family and doesn’t require a ton of work).

Which means many of my old neighbors will be coughing up significantly more than just $58 annually/$290 over five years as a result of this proposed hike.

And they already pay a big chunk of change to the City’s coffers.

Third, Spielman added last night:

The bottom line, according to Emanuel, is a plan that spreads the burden between employees, retirees and homeowners without raising property taxes so high that it triggers a mass exodus to the suburbs…

“Mass” being the key word here, because an exodus has already started. Former Chicago residents who have awakened to the “writing on the wall” are moving to the suburbs (yours truly included), leaving Cook County, and departing the state.

The push to make “temporary” personal and corporate income tax hikes permanent and the pursuit of class warfare in the form of a proposed millionaire tax hike by the ruling political party in the city, county, and state certainly don’t help the situation either.

Fourth, I can’t stand when tax hikes are proposed despite the lack of significant belt-tightening. Think the City of Chicago is as lean-and-mean as it possibly can be with its operations and set-up?

As long as 50 aldermanic wards exist, I’d argue no.

Fifth, as it stands right now, there’s still a state-required $600 million contribution due next year from the City to stabilize police and fire pension funds that this proposed property tax hike doesn’t address and has to be dealt with. Hal Dardick an Bill Ruthhart reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

But the proposal the mayor and his top aides outlined late Monday would not address huge pension shortfalls for Chicago police, firefighters and teachers. Nor would it deal with the city’s most immediate, pressing financial problem: a state requirement to pay a whopping $600 million more toward police and fire pensions next year, a provision that could lead to a combination of tax increases, service cuts and borrowing

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You read right. Possibly more “tax increases, service cuts and borrowing” coming down the line shortly for Chicago residents.

Stay tuned…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Pension deal pinches city workers and taxpayers.” Chicago Sun-Times. 31 Mar. 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/exclusive-pension-deal-pinches-city-workers-and-taxpayers/mon-03312014-821pm). 1 Apr. 2014.

Dardick, Hal and Ruthhart, Bill. “Emanuel’s pension fix: Shrink benefits, raise taxes.” Chicago Tribune. 1 Apr. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-rahm-emanuel-pension-property-tax-increase-met–20140401,0,1662095,full.story). 1 Apr. 2014.

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Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 Borrowing, Class Warfare, Debt Crisis, Education, Entitlements, Fiscal Policy, Government, Political Parties, Public Safety, Spending, Taxes, Wealth Comments Off on Chicago Wakes To Proposed Property Tax Hike On April Fool’s Day

Chicago May Update Emergency Plan After Boston Attack

Here’s something out of City Hall that all Chicagoans can get behind. From Craig Dellimore on the CBS Chicago website last week:

Mayor Emanuel says Chicago may revise its emergency medical plans in light of Boston’s response to the Boston Marathon bombings a week ago, reports WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore.

Mayor Emanuel says special circumstances not withstanding, Boston showed it was well-prepared to face a crisis when those bombs went off.

“Now not every time are you going to have an incident where you have medical care on-site because they had a marathon they had it on-site. That clearly saved lives. But having a well-rehearsed, well-planned, well thought out medical emergency response, was crucial in saving lives. We have a very good plan. We did it for NATO exercise. I have asked everybody to go back and look at it,” said Emanuel.

And he says after Boston authorities review their response, Chicago will see about updating its emergency plan.

I’ve never seen the City of Chicago’s “official” emergency preparedness plan. Even when I worked in the public safety field. Last I heard, the plan was closely-guarded. Leah Samuel wrote in The Chicago Reporter website back on September 12, 2007:

Although the federal government recommends that cities plan their responses to terrorism with inclusiveness and openness, Chicago’s emergency preparedness plan is known only to a few in city government, The Chicago Reporter has found.

Among those who haven’t been shown the plan are the city’s aldermen, firefighters and police officers.

“We do not discuss the particulars of our plan so as not to allow those who would harm us an additional way to create disorder,” Cortez Trotter, executive director of the Office of Emergency Communications, or 911 Center, said in a written statement. “Full disclosure of the plan might assist those who would thwart evacuation and rescue procedures.”

Samuel added later in the piece:

“We don’t want anyone to see it,” said Larry Langford, public information officer for the Office of Emergency Communications. He called the secrecy “an unfortunate by-product” of emergency planning: “You want to reassure everyone, but you don’t want to give the plan away.”

Here’s hoping more than just “a few in city government” are familiar with the City’s emergency preparedness plan in 2013.

Or else Chicago residents could really be screwed in a major crisis.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Dellimore, Craig. “Chicago May Update Emergency Plans In Wake Of Boston Terror Attack.” CBS Chicago. 22 Apr. 2013. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/04/22/chicago-may-update-emergency-plans-in-wake-of-boston-terror-attack/). 1 May 2013.

Samuel, Leah. “Emergency Plan Eludes City Officials.” The Chicago Reporter. 12 Sep. 2007. (http://www.chicagoreporter.com/news/2007/09/emergency-plan-eludes-city-officials). 1 May 2013.

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Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 Emergencies, Government, Health, Preparedness, Public Safety, Terrorism Comments Off on Chicago May Update Emergency Plan After Boston Attack

Chicago Pension Funding Gap ‘Could Reach $700 Million In Just A Few Years’

I think most of my neighbors are clueless as to how expensive it’s soon going to get being a Chicago homeowner (like it’s cheap already).

Some really big bills are fast coming due, like state-required payments to fully-fund City of Chicago employee pensions (as if the City shouldn’t have been doing this already).

Hal Dardick wrote on the Chicago Tribune website Wednesday:

One of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s top aides privately briefed aldermen on the city’s pension woes Wednesday as the mayor’s closest City Council ally prepared for hearings that will put city retirement fund officials in the hot seat.

Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott reminded council members that absent significant changes to pension plans, the city will be forced to drastically cut services, raise taxes or do both to close a funding gap that could reach $700 million in just a few years, aldermen said…

Absent a city pension overhaul, the fund for retired city firefighters would become insolvent in nine years, according to a city report issued two years ago. The police pension would go broke four years later. Funds for city laborers and municipal workers would be broke by 2030.

(Editors’ note: Italics added for emphasis)

A $700 million pension funding gap in “just a few years.” The firefighters’ pension fund broke by 2021. The cops’ pension fund insolvent by 2025. Pension funds for other retired city employees toast by 2030.

Chicago residents shouldn’t kid themselves into thinking cutbacks alone will close the pension funding gap. As things stand, fees, fines, and taxes will be going higher- unless changes are made, or the law is. Dardick added:

A state law approved a couple of years ago requires the city to start making payments by 2015 to fully fund the police and fire funds. The city now uses property taxes to cover pension costs, and without changes, aldermen were told they would have to raise that unpopular tax by up to 80 percent.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Raise Chicago property taxes by “up to 80 percent?”

Some years ago something called “White Flight” took place in (actually, out of) the city. A similar phenomenon could soon happen again- regardless of skin color- if significant service cutbacks and rising fees, fines, and taxes become the reality for Chicago homeowners.

Source:

Dadrick, Hal. “Aldermen reminded of looming pension crisis.” Chicago Tribune. 26 Sep. 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-chicago-emanuel-pensions-0927-20120927,0,6433883.story). 28 Sep. 2012.

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Friday, September 28th, 2012 Employment, Entitlements, Government, Public Safety, Taxes Comments Off on Chicago Pension Funding Gap ‘Could Reach $700 Million In Just A Few Years’

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Mulling Over Cuts And Hikes

Sounds like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is mulling over cuts and hikes as City Hall attempts to plug a newly-projected $298 million budget gap for FY 2013. Fran Spielman wrote on the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday ruled out raising the city’s amusement tax, but kept alive a cigarette tax hike provided the money is spent on improving children’s health.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week that Emanuel was considering a one percentage point increase in the amusement tax — to 10 percent — that would have left Chicago with the highest ticket tax in the nation.

On Tuesday, Emanuel took the amusement tax increase off the table and added it to the list of local taxes he has promised not to raise.

According to President Obama’s former Chief of Staff, there won’t be any increases in the amusement tax, fuel tax, property tax, sales tax, or per-employee head tax.

For FY 2012, fees and fines were increased instead. From the Ward Room blog on the Channel 5 Chicago website last night:

Last year around this time, some aldermen were banding together and standing up to the mayor’s proposed budget that included funding cuts for libraries, reductions to graffiti removal crews and cuts of $10 million to public safety operations at the city’s 911 call center.

Emanuel compromised, restoring $4.3 million in originally proposed cuts to the $6.3 million budget, and though he held back on property tax hikes, the council approved a list of increased fines and fees.

Cutbacks are also on the table. According to Spielman, the Sun-Times’ City Hall reporter, layoffs of City of Chicago employees are planned as well as potentially “substantial cuts” to police and fire. From the piece:

This year, the mayor is planning “targeted layoffs” and more “managed competition” between city employees and private contractors, including vehicle booting.

Police and fire cuts that could be substantial must await the outcome of contract talks with those unions. That will force Emanuel to include a placeholder pay raise for police officers, firefighters and paramedics that may or may not be big enough.

Nice job by Spielman here. More on this soon…

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Emanuel: I won’t raise amusement tax, but cigarette tax hike possible.” Chicago Sun-Times. 25 Sep. 2012. (http://www.suntimes.com/news/15373052-418/emanuel-i-wont-raise-amusement-tax-but-cigarette-tax-hike-possible.html). 26 Sep. 2012.

“Rahm Makes Tax Promise For 2013.” Ward Room. 25 Sep. 2012. (http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Rahm-Promises-No-Tax-Hikes-in-New-Budget-171218641.html). 26 Sep. 2012.

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Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 Employment, Government, Public Safety, Taxes Comments Off on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Mulling Over Cuts And Hikes
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