Editors Pick Chicago is not Broke, book cover. By Tom Tresser
Book: “Chicago is not Broke” offers good insights

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Book: “Chicago is not Broke” offers good insights

CiviLab Publishes crowd-funded book: Chicago is not Broke — Funding the City we Deserve” Author Tom Tresser does 50 public forums across the city

The CivicLab (www.civiclab.us) and the TIF Illumination Project (www.tifreports.com) has published a crowd-funded book. “Chicago Is Not Broke. Funding the City We Deserve.” A group of Chicago experts have written short articles outlining ways to save and generate MAJOR revenues for Chicago.

The CivicLab has been invited to public events across Chicago to discuss the ideas in the book. We’ve booked 50 meetings and forums in front of 1,600 people since the book was published in July of 2016. Hosts include Democracy in Action Chicago, the 12th Ward IPO, City News Café, I AM ABLE Community Health Center and Fireman’s Local 2, Chicago New Leaders Council, United Neighbors of the 35th Ward, Standing Up For Racial Justice, The Black Caucus of the Chicago Teachers Union, Indivisible Chicago and the Hermosa Neighborhood Association. The League of Women Voters of Chicago distributed copies of the book to the Mayor and the aldermen in mid-September. The schedule is always evolving and can be seen at www.wearenotbroke.org.

Cook County Clerk David Orr praised the book: “Tom Tresser’s latest book, Chicago Is Not Broke is essential reading for all who have an interest and investment in the future of our city, from City Hall to the residents of each of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. This book offers solutions, not only for the city to dig itself out from where it is, but for taxpayers, legislators, and concerned Chicagoans, to learn about the financial state of the city, and provides a progressive and responsible path forward.”

The book went into its second printing in March of 2017.

Chicago is not Broke, book cover. By Tom Tresser

Chicago is not Broke, book cover. By Tom Tresser

The organizer and editor is Tom Tresser (www.tresser.com) and the book is based on his Huffington Post Chicago column from September 2015.

The project has been made possible via a crowdfunding campaign. 200 people chipped in $8,367 towards a goal of $10,000. A grant of $2,000 from the Crossroads Fund took us to the campaign goal.

The web site for this project is: www.wearenotbroke.org. The crowdfunding campaign was hosted on Generosity (a sister site to Indiegogo.com) at http://tinyurl.com/Chi-Not-Broke-Campaign.

“We are seeking to broaden the conversation on civic possibilities in Chicago well in advance of the 2017 budget cycle. This project is based on the three years of research and public education done via the TIF Illumination Project as well as my past ten years work fighting privatization and doing grassroots democracy all over Chicago and Cook County,” says organizer Tom Tresser.

The book is designed by Alison Sustarich of Tiny Bold Design Studio.

We see this as a massive, ongoing popular education campaign that will bring thousands of ordinary Chicagoans into substantive public policy discussions about the future of Chicago. 2

The book follows this outline:

1. Preface to the Second Printing

2. Introduction – Why this book, Tom Tresser – www.tresser.com

3. How to Think About Budgets – Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability – http://www.ctbaonline.org

Section 1 – Money That Is Stolen From Us – That We Did NOT Have To Spend

4. The cost of corruption in Chicago – Prof. Dick Simpson, University of Illinois at Chicago – http://pols.uic.edu/political-science/people/faculty/dsimpson and Thomas J. Gradel, investigative reporter – https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas-j-gradel-399b46a.

5. Toxic Bank Deals – Jackson Potter, Chicago Teachers Union – http://www.netrootsnation.org/profile/jackson-potter

6. The Cost of Police Abuse – Jamie Kalven, Invisible Institute. – http://invisible.institute/jamie-kalven

Section 2 – Money That Is Hidden From Us

7. Tax Increment Financing – Billions Off the Books – Tom Tresser.

Section 3- Money That We Are Not Collecting

8. A Progressive Income Tax For Illinois – Hilary Denk, Co-Chair, Issues Committee of the Board of the League of Women Voters Illinois – http://denkmediation.com/about-hilary-denk

9. What a LaSalle Street Tax Would Do For Chicago – Ron Baiman, Assistant Professor of Economics in the Graduate Business Administration program at Benedictine University – https://www.linkedin.com/in/ron-baiman-05186113 and William Barclay, Adjunct Professor at the Liautaud College of Business Adminstration at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Both are active members of the Chicago Political Economy Group (http://www.cpegonline.org) and have done extensive research on the financial transaction tax.

10. A Public Bank For Chicago – Amara Enyia, PhD, former candidate for mayor, Public Policy Consultant, Principal of ACE Municipal Partners – https://www.linkedin.com/in/amara-enyia-0ab93064

Conclusion, Final Box Score Number of Proposed Revenues, Call To Action – Jonathan Peck, former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Tucson Urban League 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. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathantdpeck

The book is available for sale and download online. We are approaching local civic organizations and public sector unions to purchase large quantities of the book for their members. http://tinyurl.com/Order-Broke-Book – the price is $12 plus shipping. There are discounts for orders of five or more books.

Legendry political strategist Don Rose called the book “required reading” – see reviews by clicking here.

About Tom Tresser:

Tom is a civic educator and public defender who has been doing public work for over 40 years. His voter registration campaign was in 1973. He calls himself a “public defender” because Chicago’s history of corruption and local corruption has made this city Ground Zero for bad deals which strip mine public assets for private gain. Chicago’s infamous parking meter deal being the most well known (and hated) example. In 2008 Tom led the creation of Protect Our Parks (www.protectourparks.org) to stop the privatization of Lincoln Park. In 2009 he was a co-leader of No Games Chicago (www.nogameschicago.com) which worked to derail the bid for the 2016 Olympics. Tom was a co- founder of the CivicLab (www.civiclab.us) which operated as America’s only co-working space dedicated to social justice and civic engagement for two years in Chicago’s West Loop.Tom has been the lead organizer for the TIF Illumination Project for the past three years (www.tifreports.com). This all- volunteer effort has been investigating and exposing the impacts of Chicago’s massive Tax Increment Financing program on a ward-by-ward basis. He has presented on TIFs at 45 public meetings in front of 4,600 people.

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall reporter (1976-1992).

He is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club Lisagor Awards, the 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Award for journalism, and was named Best Ethnic American Columnist by the New America Media in 2007.

His personal web page is The Daily Hookah at www.TheDailyHookah.com (and www.RayHanania.com).

Hanania writes a weekly syndicated column for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia and is the managing editor of the American Arab online news website, www.TheArabDailyNews.com.

His mainstream columns are published in Chicago's Southwest Side and Suburbs in The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, the Southwest News-Herald and the Des Plaines Valley News.

Hanania is the managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com.

Email Ray Hanania at rghanania@gmail.com

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