We've assembled an awesome team of subject matter experts to tell us why Chicago is NOT broke.
Ron Baiman is currently an Assistant Professor in the Graduate Business Administration department at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. He has previously taught introductory, as well as international and regional economics, at the University of Chicago, DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Roosevelt University where he was an Assistant Professor of Economics. He has worked in public policy as Director of Budget and Policy Analysis at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Chicago; in government as a Research Economist for the Illinois Department of Employment Security; in academic research institutes at Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research and Learning, the Institute of Government and Public Affairs of the University of Illinois, and the Center for Urban Economic Development at University of Illinois at Chicago. Ron has published numerous papers on regional, public, and international political economics in academic journals and as well as research and consulting reports on local, state and national economic policy. Ron is the author of a forthcoming book: The Morality of Radical Economics: Ghost Curve Ideology and the Value Neutral Aspect of Neoclassical Economics, Palgrave Macmillan publishers, 2016. Ron’s most recent blog posts and reports can be found at: www.cpegonline.org and www.dollarsandsense.org.
Dr. William Barclay is a founding member of the Chicago Political Economy Group. He is also a member of the Greater Oak Park Branch and the Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, the Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice, and the Oak Park/Austin Health Alliance. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Liautaud College of Business Administration at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He has served on the boards of the Illinois Finance Authority, the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, and the Crossroads Fund. Prior to retiring in 2004, he worked for 22 years in financial services. His areas of expertise were financial product creation, including development of derivative products, and business strategy planning.
Hilary Denk is an attorney, mediator and community leader furthering social justice and civic issues. She has held past Board positions with the Illinois Coalition to End Homelessness, the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet. Hilary is currently Vice President on the Board for SCARCE, a DuPage County environmental education organization, and is a Director for the League of Women Voters of Illinois. In 2013, Hilary participated in a League sponsored training with the Center For Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA) to become a specialist and advocate for the graduated rate or progressive income tax in Illinois. In 2013 and 2014, she presented to numerous groups about this issue and lobbied legislators locally and in Springfield with her LWVIL colleagues. LWVIL took the lead in advocating for the Fair Tax in 2016. This work will continue until Illinois voters have the opportunity to vote for and implement a progressive rate income tax in Illinois.
Amara Enyia is a public policy consultant across policy areas. She served as the Chief Executive Officer of ACE Municipal Partners LLC, a full service municipal consulting firm that works with small and mid-sized cities in the Chicago area, Central America, South America and West Africa. She has also served as Executive Director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Policy Director of Manufacturing Renaissance, and Public Policy Analyst in the City of Chicago Mayor's Office. Amara was a candidate for mayor in Chicago's 2015 elections.
Thomas J. Gradel is a freelance writer, researcher and a former communications consultant for political campaigns, non-profit organizations, and labor unions. Since 2009, Gradel researched and co-wrote nine corruption reports with former Alderman Dick Simpson, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Gradel and Dick Simpson co-authored Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism and Criminality, which was published in 2015 by the University of Illinois Press. After earning a B.S. degree in economics in 1965 from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa., Gradel was a reporter and writer for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and Fairchild Business Newspapers. He has also worked for RCA, the American Bar Association, the State of Illinois, the MacArthur Justice Center and the late Rod MacArthur’s foundation and business enterprises.
Jamie Kalven is a writer and executive director of the Invisible Institute. His work has appeared in a variety of publications; among them, Slate, the Nation, the Columbia Journalism Review, and the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Chicago Reader. In recent years, he has reported extensively on patterns of police abuse and impunity in Chicago. Since the early 1990s, Kalven has had a parallel career working in inner city Chicago neighborhoods. He has served as consultant to the resident council of the Stateway Gardens public housing development and currently serves as consultant to the residents of the Henry Horner Homes. At Stateway Gardens, he created a program of “grassroots public works” aimed at creating alternatives for ex-offenders and gang members. Kalven's reporting on patterns of police abuse at Stateway Gardens in 2005-2006 gave rise to a federal civil rights suit – Bond v. Utreras – that figured centrally in public debate over police reform in Chicago. His articles became the focus of a protracted legal controversy, when he refused to comply with a subpoena from the City of Chicago demanding his notes. He was the plaintiff in Kalven v. Chicago, in which the Illinois appellate court ruled that documents bearing on allegations of police misconduct are public information. His article “Sixteen Shots” in Slate first brought the police shooting of Laquan McDonald to public attention, for which he received the 2015 George Polk Award for Local Reporting. He is the recipient of the 2016 Ridenhour Courage Prize.
Ralph Martire is Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a bipartisan nonprofit think tank committed to ensuring that workforce, education, fiscal, economic and budget policies are fair and just, and promote opportunity for all. During his time at CTBA, Ralph has helped obtain numerous legislative successes (including passage of a state Earned Income Tax Credit, creation of a bipartisan legislative task force to integrate workforce and economic development policies, passage of the 2011 Temporary Tax Increases, corporate accountability legislation that, among other things, requires public reporting of economic development benefits created through receipt of tax breaks and other subsidies, decoupling Illinois tax policy from the federal bonus depreciation rules and federal repeal of the estate tax). In 2011, Ralph was appointed as a full voting commissioner to the Congressionally-established “Equity and Excellence in Education Commission.” The Commission completed its work with the issuance of the “For Each and Every Child” report in February of 2013. Ralph co-authored the first section of the report, which made recommendations regarding the fiscal and education funding policies required at the state and federal levels to provide an excellent education to every child. Ralph was elected to serve on the School Board of River Forest District 90, where he still serves as board president. He also serves on the West Cook Division Governing Board of the Illinois Association of School Boards. Ralph has also designed and taught Master’s programs on education finance for the University of Illinois, and a Doctoral program on the politics of public education for Illinois State University.
Jonathan Peck was the Resource Development Coordinator for Alternatives, Inc., where he also served as the South & West Side Coordinator for Restorative Justice. He is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Tucson Urban League and has over 25 years experience working within the community development field facilitating projects, coalitions, and alliances at the neighborhood, citywide, regional, national and international levels. Jonathan worked as a community organizer, and later as Associate Director of the Southwest Youth Collaborative (SWYC), a Chicago based organization dedicated to the healthy development of low-income children, youth and families. Jonathan Peck has extensive experience in the international arena, most notably working on the ground in Southern Africa and Nicaragua. Jonathan has worked and visited over 15 countries across North and Latin America, Europe and Southern Africa. Mr. Peck has extensive experience as an Advisor and Consultant, providing strategic advice in the areas of organizational development, strategic planning, and nonprofit executive leadership and business management. Mr. Peck is a Master Facilitator, Organizer, Trainer, Coach and Mentor and has provided these services to over 5,000 individuals. Jonathan served on the Community Relations Working Group of the Police Accountability Task Force of the City of Chicago.
Jackson Potter is is a Chicago Public Schools graduate. He was a high school activist who led a walk-out at Whitney Young in 1995 to push for equitable funding for schools in Illinois. He became a teacher at Englewood High School and was the union delegate there when former CEO Arne Duncan called the school a “culture of failure” and started a phase-out in 2005. He and Al Ramirez formed the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) in May of 2008 and the Grassroots Education Movement, with community organizations, shortly thereafter. In June of 2010, CORE won the general election for the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union, the third largest teachers local in the country. Jackson currently serves the CTU as the staff coordinator.
Dick Simpson is a professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dick is the a Alderman of Chicago's 44th ward (1971-1979, a candidate for the U.S. Congress and a distinguished scholar and author. His most recent publications include: The City, Revisited: Urban Theory from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York.Edited with Dennis Judd (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). Inside Urban Politics: Voices From America's Cities and Suburbs.(Longman, 2004). Rogues, Rebels, and Rubberstamps: The Story of the Chicago City Council,(Westview, 2001). Winning Elections: A Handbook of Modern Participatory Politics, (Harper Collins, 1996) new edition forthcoming, (Longman 2008).
Tom Tresser is a civic educator and public defender. His first voter registration campaign was in 1972. In 2008 he was a co-founder of Protect Our Parks, a neighborhood effort to stop the privatization of public space in Chicago. He was a lead organizer for No Games Chicago, an all-volunteer grassroots effort that opposed Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid. With Benjamin Sugar Tom co-founded The CivicLab, a co-working space where activists, educators, coders and designers came to work, collaborate, teach, and build tools for civic engagement. Located in Chicago’s West Loop, the space operated for two eventful years closing on June 30, 2015. He is the lead organizer for the TIF Illumination Project that is investigating and explaining the impacts of Tax Increment Financing districts on a community-by-community basis. Tom is the organizer and editor for Chicago Is Not Broke. He thanks the 203 donors who made the book possible, all the authors whose wisdom IS the book, and the 54 community groups who have invited us to present on the book since it was published in July of 2016. In 2017 Tom launched The POWER Institute with fellow author Jonathan Peck. The goal of the PI is to train people to win for justice in Chicago.