Attorney General Jeff Sessions hunkered down on his threat to halt funding to what are being called “sanctuary cities” in response to the city’s controversial policies regarding treatment of immigrants.
Defiantly, Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded by reiterating his promise to “continue to welcome” immigrants to Chicago, despite the Attorney General’s threats to block federal money for law enforcement.
“I’ve always seen Chicago as a welcoming city,” Emanuel said in an interview. “It welcomed my grandfather 100 years ago, we continue to welcome entrepreneurs, immigrants, and I would just say think of it this way: Half the new businesses in Chicago and the state of Illinois come from immigrants, nearly half,” he added. “Half the patents at the University of Illinois come from immigrants, and so we want to continue to welcome people, welcome their ideas, welcome their families to the city of Chicago, who want to build the American dream for their children and their grandchildren.”
The Mayor was reacting to Sessions’ announcement that he would order the Department of Justice to make the receiving of federal grants conditional on compliance with immigration law. This statement reinforces the executive order on sanctuary cities that newly elected President Donald Trump signed back in January.
George Lucas announced he was taking his Lucas Museum of Narrative Art project out of the Windy City due to objections to the project made by a city watchdog group.
Filmmaker Lucas, of Star Wars fame, could take his project back to California. The museum was first proposed for construction in San Francisco, but that city refused to give Lucas a site which overlooked the San Francisco Bay so Lucas brought the project to Chicago where he received support from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Friends of the Parks, a green area protection organization, filed a lawsuit to prevent the museum’s construction on valuable lakefront property next to Soldier Field. Mayor Rahm is a vehement supporter of the museum despite coming under criticism for the past several months for that support. Opponents of the museum say Emanuel has been spending too much effort on getting the Lucas Museum built when the city has much more important problems which should be dealt with. The Mayor answered his critics by saying the city is missing a great opportunity:
“This missed opportunity has not only cost us what will be a world-class cultural institution, it has cost thousands of jobs for Chicago workers, millions of dollars in economic investment and countless educational opportunities for Chicago’s youth.”
Lucas also expressed frustration with the city:
“No one benefits from continuing their seemingly unending litigation to protect a parking lot. The actions initiated by Friends of Parks and their recent attempts to extract concessions from the city have effectively overridden approvals received from numerous democratically-elected bodies of government.”
The second annual Chicago Venture Summit, sponsored by World Business Chicago will be held on April 20-21, 2016 at Google’s newly opened Chicago branch office. The summit will host startups, venture capital firms and will focus on trends in innovation. Fortune 500 companies will also be there to provide the oil to lubricate the machine of networking. A special emphasis will be placed on businesswomen in Chicago.
“Chicago’s tech community is thriving,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We’ve seen a record high amount of venture capital invested in Chicago startups in 2014, and the second highest number of companies included on Inc. 5000’s latest list of fastest growing companies. The Chicago Venture Summit builds on this environment, allowing our companies to continue to grow and create jobs throughout Chicago.”
ChicagoNEXT, the WBC’s council of technology leaders, is organizing the event. The council is committed to fostering growth and opportunity in technology, science and innovation. They support entrepreneurship which leads to new growth.
“We’re proud to bring the strongest local, regional and national venture companies to the city to converge with our area’s brightest entrepreneurs and industry leaders,” said ChicagoNEXT Chairman Mark Tebbe. “The Chicago Venture Summit provides one of the most unique networking opportunities and creates tangible investment in our city and its companies.”
Uber, the convenient app that allows customers to call a cab directly from their smart phones, has been competing with Chicago’s regular taxi companies for a while, but in what some might say is an unfair way. Currently Uber drivers are not allowed to operate to and from the city’s two major airports, O’Hare and Midway; nor can they take people to or from the McCormick Place convention center.
Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a leveling of the playing field by giving Uber access to those three strategic locales, incensing the conventional taxi drivers who believe (and probably rightly) that such a move would bite off a huge chunk of their already diminished business.
On the whole Chicagoans would like to see Uber flourish, creating more completion which they believe will lower taxi prices and improve service, but the revelation that the mayor’s brother Ari is an investor in Uber did not help Uber’s case. Therefore an intense ad campaign has ensued to further persuade the public to get on board with Uber. The Uber ads are hitting the taxi industry where it hurts:
“You never know. Will a taxi show up in your neighborhood? Will an empty cab pass you by? That’s the reality with taxis. But now you have a choice. With just the touch of a button, Uber will show up anywhere you are,” explains the ad.
Chicago’s City Council will most likely be voting on this issue next week. The Aldermen will need to choose between what Uber says will be an additional $20 million per year into the city’s coffers from fees and surcharges; or to support traditional taxi cabs and their hold on the city’s taxi transportation industry.