Happy Independence Day, Chicago—say no to the $55 million DePaul B-ball arena/hotel | Bleader

Happy Independence Day, Chicago—say no to the $55 million DePaul B-ball arena/hotel


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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials eye the proposed site of DePauls publicly subsidized basketball arena.
In honor of Independence Day, I urge everyone to sign the online petition calling on the city and DePaul University to stop their $55 million nonsense.

That's the nonsense where Mayor Emanuel wants to take tens of millions of property tax dollars from our cash-starved schools and use them to buy land on which DePaul will build a basketball arena. And some as-yet-unnamed developer will build a hotel.

Thus, in one fell $55 million swoop, the mayor will bring the schools—already firing teachers, cutting art programs, and holding fund-raisers to pay for toilet paper—closer to bankruptcy.

While contributing to the corruption of a fine Catholic university, whose mission emphasizes a need to serve the most "deprived members of society," and says nothing about taking money from public school children and spending it on basketball arenas.

Here's a link to everything you need to know about that crummy deal. And here's a link to the petition.

The petition's the creation of Erika Wozniak, a 2004 graduate of DePaul, who earned a degree in elementary education and went on to become a public school teacher in Chicago.

Wozniak says she's embarrassed that her alma mater—which she dearly loves—would associate itself with a $55 million waste of public money.

Especially when CPS is apparently so dead broke it's going through another round of budget cuts having just closed 50 schools—as I can't emphasize enough.

"My main thing is that taking $55 million from public school children is against all Vincentian and, frankly, Catholic values," she says.

Of course, you don't have to be Catholic—or a DePaul grad—to sign the petition. "The petition calls for everyone to join the larger DePaul community in opposing this deal," says Wozniak.

Just to remind you, the $55 million comes from our tax increment financing program, which would have had the original colonists throwing tea off of ships in the Boston Harbor. The TIFs take money raised in the name of things people want—like schools and parks. And spend it on things they don't want, like a basketball arena for DePaul.

Wozniak hopes to turn the petitions over to Mayor Emanuel shortly before the deal comes before the City Council in the long-shot hope that she can shame them into doing the right thing.

Anyway, sign the petition, Chicago. It's never too late to take a small step toward taxation with representation and other acts of independence—just like George Washington and all those other guys.

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