SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Congress must forgive loans to hospitals

June 19, 2020

Editor: Hospitals and our frontline workers are the backbone of our community. Now, more than ever, we need to support them. As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, our hospital systems have been strained to a degree that are going to put many of them at risk of closing.

In March 2020, our health providers entered a fiscal crisis that forced the furlough of over 1.4 million workers in just a six-week period.

As a result, Congress approved some solutions that will provide temporary relief in the form of grants. However, the relief they provided was not nearly enough. According to the American Hospital Association, hospitals across the country will lose more than $200 billion by the end of June.

This is just the tip of the iceberg as these numbers will continue to grow as flu season and the possibility of a COVID-19 resurgence comes again this fall.

Here in Illinois, our hospitals have supported our communities in so many ways. From large urban centers to suburban communities to our rural counties, our hospitals are the key to a thriving community.

We need Congress to stand up and support our hospitals by forgiving the COVID-19 loans that have been issued. The cost of this pandemic has hit many sectors of the economy and our health care system is no exception.

We need Congress to act and act fast to protect our hospitals and our frontline workers. Forgive the loans.

–Maria Laura Fassari, M.D.

Chicago needs a plan

Editor: Chicago needs a plan.

By now the entire nation has seen and heard how Mayor Lori Lightfoot not only failed to have a plan to protect Chicago’s 77 communities, but also steadfastly refused to listen to the concerns of me and my colleagues.

The real story is not about profanity. It is not about who taped what and who leaked it. The real and unforgivable story is that Lightfoot failed our city for failing to create a plan to protect Chicago and its people.

So let’s go back to the original question that started it all: Mayor, what’s the plan? While she waits for her out-of-state advisers to respond, I offer this plan for recovery to heal our city as one.

First and foremost, we cannot allow the true reason for the demonstrators to get lost amid the chaos: the murder of George Floyd and the unanswered goal of police accountability. Chicago has two ordinances addressing civilian oversight: CPAC and GAPA. Both have community support. Both have languished in City Council for years. We need to take the hard vote now on true police accountability. We must restore people’s faith in law enforcement by removing the bad apples and showcasing the thousands of good officers that report to duty every day.

Second, Chicago can no longer ignore the racial inequities that have been roadblocks to success for Black Chicagoans. After the 1960s riots, it wasn’t until the last five years that investments returned to the long-ignored West Side. We cannot again allow decades to go by before taking action. The South and West Sides, home to predominantly African Americans, cannot be left without a targeted and expansive effort to help lift them up firmly in the middle class. I propose tweaking Lightfoot’s Invest SouthWest initiative to encompass existing businesses, helping them stay in the communities they served before the devastation. If they are excluded, this program will hasten the gentrification of the neighborhoods it is meant to serve.

Third, Chicago must take the lead in demonstrating its true commitment to inclusion and reform by having its internal hiring and department contracting goals match the demographics of our city. In 2010, African Americans accounted for 33 percent of our population yet Chicago’s contract diversity participation goals for all minorities is only 26 percent. That policy forces African Americans, Latinos and others to needlessly fight against each other. Chicago must immediately change this policy, striving for goals that reflect the ethnic/racial demographics of this city as determined by the U.S. Census. Based on 2010 data, that means African American participation goal of 33 percent! These goals should also be updated every 10 years based on those numbers.

Fourth, Chicago must open bars, restaurants and businesses quickly, fairly and equitably. While Lightfoot has embraced my idea of expedited sidewalk cafŽ permits, there is much more we can and must do to ensure businesses outside of downtown can also participate the economic reopening of the city. Along with issuing permits faster let’s be creative, linking food trucks and taverns to allow both to open quickly. We must waive fees and allow businesses without prior complaints to self-report inspections in order to open quicker. Chicago must cut the red tape and bring relief to our local small business owners.

Fifth, there are 12,000 vacant city-owned lots across Chicago in both residential and commercial areas. We need a comprehensive land-use policy determining what best use of these properties should be. Let’s allow acquisition of vacant lots by their resident neighbors. Let’s build affordable housing. Let’s create retail storefront pop-up or shared spaces? Most importantly, let’s put these lots back on the tax rolls.

Lastly, a complete independent forensic audit of Chicago’s revenues and budget is required to determine the economic impact the devastation caused the pre-COVID real estate downturn, the coronavirus pandemic, and now the recent assault on our city. We must be honest with the people of Chicago about the state of our city’s finances. Politicians make lots of promises often times without thinking how to pay for them. There are many great ideas here and elsewhere that can get Chicago back on track but they will remain only ideas if we cannot pay for them.
Chicago can and must heal as one city. Anything less would be a failure of this moment.

–Ald. Raymond A. Lopez

15th Ward of Chicago

Local News

Among local candidates filing petitions on the first day of filing was 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn, expected to run on a record of economic development, support for public safety and delivery of services to constituents. --File photo

Political sands shifting

Lopez mayoral exit leaves question marks By Tim Hadac The political sands of mayoral politics shifted last week, leaving many in Clearing and Garfield Ridge asking “What next?” questions. Garfield Ridge native Lopez worked the neighborhoods hard since he announced his mayoral candidacy back in April. His law-and-order stance and sharp criticism of Mayor Lori…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Boys Basketball: Marist, Brother Rice stay unbeaten through two weeks

By Steve Millar Correspondent Marist came into the season with some question marks after losing a pair of key players to transfers and elevating several newcomers, including three freshmen, to the varsity roster. The young RedHawks are, however, off to a blazing 6-0 start. They held on for a 57-55 win on the road Nov.…

Jaeden King of St. Xavier gets ready to score one of his 39 points against Trinity Christian College on Nov. 30. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Local Hoops Wrap: Transfers shining for Saint Xavier in early going

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The transfer portal is turning college athletics upside down, and Saint Xavier men’s basketball coach Robert Ford is enjoying it. And taking advantage of it. Jaeden King came to SXU in 2021 after transferring from NCAA Division II Tiffin University. Prior to that he played at Western Illinois. He is…

SXU sophomore Kaleigh Ritter, shown in a match earlier this year, had 63 assists in a five-set loss to Cornerstone in the NAIA national tournament. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: College of DuPage repeats as national football champ

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The College of DuPage, the only junior college in Illinois with a football program, won its second straight National Junior College Athletic Association national championship with a 14-12 victory over North Dakota State College of Science in Glen Ellyn. Former Richards’ standout Marquel Porter caught a 25-yard pass for the…

Officers Verta and Harrison

Godspeed, Officers Verta and Harrison

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] It’s always good to know that even in these challenging times, there are men and women are willing to step forward to brave those challenges. And leave it to Garfield Ridge and Clearing to lead the way. I say that as I…

Virginia Wrobel (from left) and Dorothy Novotney, of the Evergreen Park Senior Citizens Council, present checks to Mayor Kelly Burke from proceeds from the annual "Memories to Go" village-wide garage sale. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Evergreen Park honors longtime employee

By Joe Boyle The Evergreen Park Village Board took care of some local business before Thanksgiving Day meals will be served. James Bender, a 27-year employee of the Evergreen Park Public Works Department, was selected as the “Employee of the Quarter” and honored at the village board meeting on Monday night. Mayor Kelly Burke recognized Bender…

Police Chief Dan Vittorio holds up the badge as officer Robert Carroll has Thor, the department's new canine officer, on a leash during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting on November 22. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn officials say pension relief will not hinder homeowners

By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn Village Manager Tom Phelan said the finances of homeowners need to be addressed while paying off pension deficits. Phelan said during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting on November 22 that making budget adjustments for next year has to keep residents in mind due to rising inflation. “We may be…

lyons police logo

2 men arrested for Lyons carjacking were out on bond

By Bob Bong Lyons police on Thursday arrested two men suspected of being involved in an attempted carjacking in the 7700 block of 45th Place around 2 p.m. on November 29. Justin Lebron, 20, of Cicero, and Cesar Lopez, 18, of Waukegan, were captured after a foot case, police said. Police Chief Tom Herion said…

Ryan Plowman’s parents, Dan and Jen, receive hugs from the players before Monday night's game. Many knew Ryan from grade school. (Photos by Steve Neuhaus)

Shepard, Stagg teams honor Ryan Plowman

Varsity girl basketball teams from Stagg and Shepard took time out before Monday night’s contest to pay tribute to Shepard student Ryan Plowman, who died earlier this year of complications from mononucleosis. Proceeds from the concession stand were donated to a gofundme campaign in Ryan’s name.  

Paul Stein (at left) and Odysseus Tsarouhis, co-owners of Reichman Jewelers, will be closing the store that has been at 4439 W. 95th St. In Oak Lawn since 1984. (Photo by Dermot Connolly )

Reichman Jewelers to close Oak Lawn store

July shooting of co-owner was deciding factor By Dermot Connolly Violent robberies at their own store and others in the area have led the longtime owners of Reichman Jewelers in Oak Lawn to close their business, which has been located at 4439 W. 95th St., since 1984. Reichman Jewelers dates back to 1908, and was at…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Among local candidates filing petitions on the first day of filing was 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn, expected to run on a record of economic development, support for public safety and delivery of services to constituents. --File photo

Political sands shifting

Lopez mayoral exit leaves question marks By Tim Hadac The political sands of mayoral politics shifted last week, leaving many in Clearing and Garfield Ridge asking “What next?” questions. Garfield Ridge native Lopez worked the neighborhoods hard since he announced his mayoral candidacy back in April. His law-and-order stance and sharp criticism of Mayor Lori…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Boys Basketball: Marist, Brother Rice stay unbeaten through two weeks

By Steve Millar Correspondent Marist came into the season with some question marks after losing a pair of key players to transfers and elevating several newcomers, including three freshmen, to the varsity roster. The young RedHawks are, however, off to a blazing 6-0 start. They held on for a 57-55 win on the road Nov.…

Jaeden King of St. Xavier gets ready to score one of his 39 points against Trinity Christian College on Nov. 30. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Local Hoops Wrap: Transfers shining for Saint Xavier in early going

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The transfer portal is turning college athletics upside down, and Saint Xavier men’s basketball coach Robert Ford is enjoying it. And taking advantage of it. Jaeden King came to SXU in 2021 after transferring from NCAA Division II Tiffin University. Prior to that he played at Western Illinois. He is…

SXU sophomore Kaleigh Ritter, shown in a match earlier this year, had 63 assists in a five-set loss to Cornerstone in the NAIA national tournament. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: College of DuPage repeats as national football champ

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The College of DuPage, the only junior college in Illinois with a football program, won its second straight National Junior College Athletic Association national championship with a 14-12 victory over North Dakota State College of Science in Glen Ellyn. Former Richards’ standout Marquel Porter caught a 25-yard pass for the…

Officers Verta and Harrison

Godspeed, Officers Verta and Harrison

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] It’s always good to know that even in these challenging times, there are men and women are willing to step forward to brave those challenges. And leave it to Garfield Ridge and Clearing to lead the way. I say that as I…

Virginia Wrobel (from left) and Dorothy Novotney, of the Evergreen Park Senior Citizens Council, present checks to Mayor Kelly Burke from proceeds from the annual "Memories to Go" village-wide garage sale. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Evergreen Park honors longtime employee

By Joe Boyle The Evergreen Park Village Board took care of some local business before Thanksgiving Day meals will be served. James Bender, a 27-year employee of the Evergreen Park Public Works Department, was selected as the “Employee of the Quarter” and honored at the village board meeting on Monday night. Mayor Kelly Burke recognized Bender…

Police Chief Dan Vittorio holds up the badge as officer Robert Carroll has Thor, the department's new canine officer, on a leash during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting on November 22. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn officials say pension relief will not hinder homeowners

By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn Village Manager Tom Phelan said the finances of homeowners need to be addressed while paying off pension deficits. Phelan said during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting on November 22 that making budget adjustments for next year has to keep residents in mind due to rising inflation. “We may be…

lyons police logo

2 men arrested for Lyons carjacking were out on bond

By Bob Bong Lyons police on Thursday arrested two men suspected of being involved in an attempted carjacking in the 7700 block of 45th Place around 2 p.m. on November 29. Justin Lebron, 20, of Cicero, and Cesar Lopez, 18, of Waukegan, were captured after a foot case, police said. Police Chief Tom Herion said…

Ryan Plowman’s parents, Dan and Jen, receive hugs from the players before Monday night's game. Many knew Ryan from grade school. (Photos by Steve Neuhaus)

Shepard, Stagg teams honor Ryan Plowman

Varsity girl basketball teams from Stagg and Shepard took time out before Monday night’s contest to pay tribute to Shepard student Ryan Plowman, who died earlier this year of complications from mononucleosis. Proceeds from the concession stand were donated to a gofundme campaign in Ryan’s name.  

Paul Stein (at left) and Odysseus Tsarouhis, co-owners of Reichman Jewelers, will be closing the store that has been at 4439 W. 95th St. In Oak Lawn since 1984. (Photo by Dermot Connolly )

Reichman Jewelers to close Oak Lawn store

July shooting of co-owner was deciding factor By Dermot Connolly Violent robberies at their own store and others in the area have led the longtime owners of Reichman Jewelers in Oak Lawn to close their business, which has been located at 4439 W. 95th St., since 1984. Reichman Jewelers dates back to 1908, and was at…

Subscribe Today.2
Regional Capri Restaurant House Ad