Taxing Time For Chicagoans

The elections are over. So it’s time for “higher/new fees, fines, and taxes,” as I routinely point out in Survival And Prosperity.

Chicagoans found out yesterday what kind of impact City Hall’s latest “revenue enhancements” will have on their personal finances. Julian Crews, Dan Ponce, and Dana Rebik reported on the WGN-TV Chicago website Wednesday:

The Chicago City Council voted unanimously to pass Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s $8.2 billion 2017 budget Wednesday…

For taxpayers, the hardest pill to swallow in the budget may be a nearly 30 percent increase on water and sewer bills. The hike will be phased in over four years, and is expected to raise nearly $240 million to help shore up the municipal workers pension fund.

But the big impact to taxpayers will come in the form of a tiered increase in property taxes to fund police and fire pensions approved by the Council last year.

Other new fees include:

7-cent fee for all plastic AND paper bags to encourage people to bring reusable bags to the grocery store.
3.5 percent amusement tax for tickets to concerts, sporting events and musicals…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Crews, Ponce, and Rebik also pointed out coming higher fees with parking rates downtown, around Wrigleyville, and at both Midway and O’Hare airports. More parking meters will be popping up in the Loop and in city neighborhoods as well.

Anyone who’s been paying attention might have observed a disturbing trend lately with Chicago’s fees/fines/hikes. John Byrne and Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

The average family will pay nearly $1,700 more a year to the city and Chicago Public Schools than they did before the mayor took office in 2011 once all of Emanuel’s tax and fee increases take full effect. There’s been a series of property tax hikes. There was a water and sewer rate increase, plus a new tax on top of that. Not to mention a new garbage hauling fee, 911 phone tax hike, vehicle sticker fee increase and a tax on cable television…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“$1,700 more a year… than they did before the mayor office in 2011”

Ouch. Byrne and Dardick added:

Even with all of that, taxpayers may be asked for more money in the coming years. Emanuel’s plans for shoring up long-neglected city worker pension funds will require the city to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars more by the early to mid-2020s

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In the meantime, the reporters calculated the “typical” Chicago homeowner ($250,000 residence) can expect to see their tax bill rise another $400 in 2017.

As a former resident of Chicago, I can understand why people would want to live there. That being said, Chicagoans have been required to “pay to play.” And that trend might not be their friend if that Tribune analysis plays out.

For those choosing to remain in the “City By The Lake,” it might be wise for these individuals to take a good, hard look at their finances to figure out if they can keep residing there should the cost of living continue its upwards trajectory.

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


Crews, Julian, Ponce, Dan, and Rebik, Dana. “City Council unanimously passes $8.2 billion budget, including new taxes and fees.” WGN-TV Chicago. 16 Nov. 2016. (http://wgntv.com/2016/11/16/chicago-city-council-expected-to-pass-mayors-2017-budget-today/). 17 Nov. 2016.

Byrne, John and Dardick, Hal. “The tab on Emanuel’s series of tax hikes: $1,700 a year for the average family.” Chicago Tribune. 17 Nov. 2016. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-chicago-city-council-budget-vote-met-1117-20161116-story.html). 17 Nov. 2016.


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Chicago’s North Side Hit By Strong-Arm Robberies

Earlier this year, I heard it said that when there’s good news to report about a certain Chicago neighborhood, the local media calls it “Wrigleyville.”

But when it’s bad news, they call it “Lakeview.”

Kind of like when I worked for a former U.S. Senator from Illinois, and all the negative correspondence went out under my name.

Of course, when there was something positive to report…

Marcella Raymond wrote on the WGN Chicago website this morning:

Police are searching for two suspects in a series of armed robberies in the city’s North Side.

Police report seven separate robberies in the late evenings and early morning hours in the city’s Lakeview and Near North Side. Police say the two suspects approached victim on the street or alley and robbed them of wallets, money and cell phones.

The suspects are described as African American or Hispanic males, 18-35 years old.

It’s been my experience that more often than not the appearance and demeanor of Lakeview residents make them appear like easy targets to criminals.

Although, come early next year when concealed-carry is in place, potential robbers will have to think twice about plying their trade in many locations around the state- including Lakeview.

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


Raymond, Marcella. “Police search for suspects in North Side armed robberies.” WGN Chicago. 26 Aug. 2013. (http://wgntv.com/2013/08/26/police-search-for-suspects-in-north-side-armed-robberies/). 27. Aug 2013.


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Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 Crime, Firearms, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Wrigleyville Attackers Receive Probation For Injuring Four, Including Cop

After a recent court sentencing here in Chicago, one might think it’s now okay to wreak havoc in the tourist-filled parts of town, beating up people and cops.

From the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday afternoon:

Three men charged with a July 2012 beating in Wrigleyville that left four injured — including a police officer — and was filmed as a part of a rap video were sentenced to probation…

Three men — ages 22, 27 and 27 — were hurt when a group of men attacked them in the 3400 block of North Sheffield Avenue about 1 a.m. on July 9, 2012, according to Chicago police.

Witnesses said the attackers got out of a white stretch limo and began battering people standing nearby on the street, police said. The witnesses said people inside the limo were filming the attackers as they punched the victims.

One Chicago police officer suffered a minor injury when one attacker resisted arrest. All three attackers pleaded guilty to charges including mob action and aggravated battery, yet only received probation.

And people still can’t figure out why our city’s streets aren’t as safe as they could be.

As if there weren’t enough hints out there already.

Hey batter, batter, batter, sa-wing batter.

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


“Three plead guilty in videotaped Wrigleyville beating.” Chicago Sun-Times. 17 Apr. 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/19547010-418/three-plead-guilty-in-videotaped-wrigleyville-beating.html). 18 Apr. 2013.


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Thursday, April 18th, 2013 Crime, Legal, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Chicago ‘Apple Picking,’ ‘Grandpa Bashing,’ And A Wicker Park Flash Mob

Chicago has bruised my heart with this.

-Cynthia Steward-Jones, whose father, 87-year-old World War 2 veteran Porter B. Cross, was mugged on Chicago’s South Side yesterday

It’s business as usual here in “Beirut by the Lake.” In addition to the shootings/killings that seem to be going on routinely this summer, the last couple of days saw some “Apple picking,” “grandpa bashing,” and yet another flash mob (or flash robbery/flash mobbery, should you prefer) to boot in one of those Chicago neighborhoods where such things aren’t supposed to be happening.

From the Chicago Tribune website on July 30:

Police promptly nabbed three Chicago men who ambushed and beat a man while trying to rob him on a North Side train platform early Saturday, prosecutors said.

The 38-year-old man said he had just put in his iPod ear buds after a night of drinking with friends when the group pounced on him on the Red Line platform at Addison Street near Wrigley Field…

One of the men restrained the victim’s arms while the others tried to reach in his pockets, the man said. When the train rolled up, they shoved him against it, he said.

After the doors slid open, he tried to pull himself aboard, but the group worked to hold him on the platform, he said. One of the men punched him “square in the face,” he said, but he managed to get on the train before it pulled away, leaving the attackers behind.

Nice job CPD. According to the article, this went down around 4 AM in the morning. Like I’ve said before, not many good things happen in the city after midnight. Even more so around 4 AM.

From Rosemary Sobol on the Tribune website this morning:

An 87-year-old World War II veteran was walking from a corner store in West Englewood after buying lottery tickets when he was attacked by three people who smashed his glasses, knocked out his hearing aid and broke his dentures, then went through his pockets and fled with his wallet, according to his family and police.

Two delivery men who witnessed the attack Monday afternoon followed the robbers in their truck and helped police track them down, authorities said. Three suspects — ages 15, 17 and 20 — were taken into custody not far from where Porter B. Cross was beaten…

[Cross’ daughter, Cynthia] Steward-Jones said her father served in World War II. “He was a seaman,” she said. After the war, he worked for 36 years for the U.S. Postal Service before retiring. They moved to the West Englewood neighborhood about two years ago.

“We thought this neighborhood would be good for a single person but apparently it’s not,” she said.

Steward-Jones said the robbery has also left her father “disappointed.”

“He said: ‘I’m just so disappointed. I’ve served this country and I’ve done all the right things. I’ve lived my life like I was supposed to and this younger generation is just something else. … They’re just losing their mind.’ “

Thank God for those delivery men. And nice job by the Chicago Police Department once again.

Finally, from Christian Farr and Jewelyan Jones on the website of Chicago NBC affiliate Channel 5 yesterday:

More than 20 teenagers made off with over $3,000 in high quality denim jeans from a Wicker Park shop on Saturday.

The mob of teens entered the shop around 6:40pm, quickly outnumbering other customers and employees at Mildblend Supply Co. on Milwaukee Avenue.

“They completely overwhelmed us”, said store owner Luke Cho as he recalled Saturdays events. “I went to lock the door and there were a dozen more waiting to come in”, he said.

Surveillance video in the shop shows the teens targeting a specific area of the store that houses a trendy brand of jeans called “Nudie Jeans”.

When Cho locked the door of his store, he briefly trapped a number of shoplifters inside as he tried to contact the police.

Regrettably, these criminals managed to unlock the door and escape.

“Flash Mob robbery at Mildblend Chicago”
YouTube Video

According to some Internet sources, the following is attributed to Chicago CBS affiliate Channel 2 (can’t confirm as it does not appear in updated versions of the piece about the incident on their website):

Cho said it took police 30 minutes to reach his store after the 911 call went out about 6:45 p.m. on Saturday. He said officers told him they were delayed by the many street closures for Wicker Park Fest.

30 minutes?!?

If this response time is indeed true, yet another example of why Chicago desperately needs to hire more cops?


“3 charged in attempted robbery on Red Line.” Chicago Tribune. 30 July 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-cta-ipod-theft-20120730,0,5168180.story). 31 July 2012.

Sobol, Rosemary R. “Witnesses help capture muggers who attacked World War II vet.” Chicago Tribune. 31 July 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-man-87-robbed-on-southwest-side-20120731,0,588549.story). 31 July 2012.

Farr, Christian and Jones, Jewelyan. “Flash Mob of Nearly 20 Teens Rob Wicker Park Store.” Channel 5 Chicago. 30 July 2012. (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Flash-Mob-of-NEarly-20-Teens-Rob-Wicker-Park-Store-164221196.html). 31 July 2012.


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Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 Crime, Employment, Public Safety No Comments

Chicago Gone Wild: Mob Attack In Wrigleyville

My girlfriend mentioned the following comment to me late last night. From the unofficial Chicago Police Department blog Second City Cop on Sunday:

Hey SCC here’s one for yah. Talked to a buddy from 19. Said a group of male blacks were walking in Wrigleyville on Saturday night down Clark st punching and kicking any white person they saw including females. Said a few citizens were knocked on their asses. It gets better….a couple of the victims were off duty coppers! Supposedly these animals were part of a separate group that was in a limo supposedly filming themselves attacking people…

Limo? Filming? Wrigleyville? Yeah, right. Sounds like someone is having fun with the whole wilding/flash mob/mob action/mob attack thing going on in Chicago these days.

And then the following appeared on the websites of the local papers this morning. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Four men were charged early Monday in connection with a Wrigleyville beating early Sunday that left four injured – including a police officer…

Three men — ages 22, 27 and 27 — were hurt when a group of men attacked them in the 3400 block of North Sheffield Avenue at about 1:09 a.m. Sunday, according to police News Affairs Officer Daniel O’Brien.

Witnesses told police that the attackers got out of a white stretch limo and began battering people standing nearby on the street, O’Brien said. The witnesses said people left in the limo were filming the attackers as they punched the victims.

“Filming the attackers as they punched the victims.” Let me guess what they were going to call this little hate project- Chicago Gone Wild? And from the Chicago Tribune:

Four men are accused of bailing out of a white stretch limousine and punching three people, breaking one man’s jaw, in the Lakeview neighborhood as someone with the attackers recorded the beating, authorities said this morning.

A Chicago police officer was slightly injured while arresting the men, officials said.

The beating happened about 1:10 a.m. Sunday at Clark Street and Cornelia Avenue, just south of Wrigley Field, police said. Several people jumped out of a stretch limousine and started punching another group of people, according to Chicago News Affairs Officer Daniel O’Brien…

Officers were flagged down by witnesses, who pointed out some of the attackers, including one man not wearing a shirt, police said. One officer hurt his knee when one of the attackers swung at the officer and wrestled with him, O’Brien said…

The person who recorded the beating was with the attackers but was not arrested. Police said the other attackers either fled in the limousine or on foot.

“Four men charged in mob attack.”
WGN Channel 9 Video

News of what took place Sunday in the hip neighborhood adjacent to the historical ballpark where the Chicago Cubs play is going national as I type this. I see the story has already been picked up by FOX News and the Huffington Post on their websites.

This violence comes on the heels of a report by Tribune staff concerning recent robberies in the city’s historic commercial center. From the paper’s website on July 5:

Police today issued a community alert warning of “an increase in robbery-related incidents” in June in the Loop area.

The alert lists four attacks in the Central District, saying the victims were approached from behind while walking on the sidewalk and their property taken by force.

Various descriptions have been given for the attackers, but all have been males in their late teens or early 20s, police said.

According to the alert, the attacks happed at:
— 42 E. Adams on June 20 at 1:50 a.m.
— 71 W. Van Buren on June 21 at 1:15 a.m.
— 180 N. Wabash on June 26 at 11:40 p.m.
— 160 N. Wells on June 30 at 12:43 a.m.

Two things come to mind here:

1. More often than not, nothing good happens after midnight. Especially here in the “concrete jungle.”

2. This high-profile act of violence is certain to make a number of people think twice about visiting the Windy City. And some will decide not to. Whoosh. Hear that? That’s much-needed revenue going down the drain. Although I’d rather it be these punks getting swirlies down at the 19th District… among other things.

It’ll be interesting to see if/how Mayor Emanuel and City Hall respond to Sunday’s “mob attack.”

Stay tuned…


SCC. “Words From McPilgrim.” Second City Cop. 8 July 2012. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2012/07/words-from-mcpilgrim.html). 9 July 2012.

“Four charged in Wrigleyville beating.” Chicago Sun-Times. 9 July 2012. (http://www.suntimes.com/13679106-761/four-charged-in-wrigleyville-beating.html). 9 July 2012.

“4 men charged with jumping out of limo, attacking group in Lakeview.” Chicago Tribune. 9 July 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-4-charged-in-lakeview-mob-attack-20120709,0,6875382.story). 9 July 2012.

“Police warn of Loop-area robberies.” Chicago Tribune. 5 July 2012. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-05/news/chi-police-warn-of-looparea-robberies-20120705_1_downtown-attack-alert-warning-robberies). 9 July 2012.


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Survival And Prosperity
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Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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