More than 60 North Side residents upset with Mayor Emanuel’s proposed 2012 budget – which includes cuts
Police and library officials were also on hand to address community concerns about the night’s hot topics – namely, the proposed library hour and staff cuts, as well as the consolidation of the 19th District police station with the 23rd District station. Some residents also voiced concerns about water fee increases, car-sticker hikes and youth program cuts.
Pawar responded by saying he knows the value of libraries and wants to restore their funding, butthat has to be done for the long term, not with temporary fixes, as some residents suggested.
“A simple Band-Aid is not going to work,” he said. “We can’t have the same position next year where we move money from one area to another. It’s a shell game.”
Isabel Schechter, an event producer at Attention to Detail Event Productions and 47th Ward resident, was last to speak on the issue of library cuts.
On the matter of neighborhood grants, Sheila Pacione of the Ravenswood Community Council worried about her job. Grants pay for her to work at the Ravenswood Community Council, and Pacione said she does not want to see the council cut.
Pacione, who became emotional at the microphone, said she knows of many city workers who make $40,000 or less that have been laid off.
“I just think that it would be fair if people that make significant more money took a pay cut,” she said.
Pawar addressed Pacione directly in his response.
“Shelia, I agree with you, I just don’t see it happening,” due to issues related to unions and collective bargaining, he said.
Adalbert Bielski, who has lived at Irving Park Road and Western Avenue for over 40 years, was the first to bring up the 19th Police District merging with the 23rd District. He said it “befuddles him” that more people are not upset.
“Apparently, I am the only person that seems to care that the 19th District is slated to close,” he said. “In two years, if we close that district facility, we are going to have a spike in armed robberies and gang violence.”
“All [officers] are doing is reporting to the new facility at the 23rd District,” Murphy said.
Murphy also said detectives and special units will still occupy the building, located at Belmont and Western avenues. Murphy assuaged concerns that crime would rise by saying that after the consolidation, the district would have the third-highest number of officers in the city.
The Chicago City Council’s budget hearings end this week, with a vote on the spending plan expected to occur Nov. 16.