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Ald. Maldonado Lauds City Council's Creation of Office of Labor Standards

(October 31, 2018)--The City Council today passed legislation to establish a Chicago Office of Labor Standards, the first of its kind in Chicago's history. The new agency would enforce city labor laws aimed at lifting low wage workers out of poverty and allowing sick workers to stay home.

Alderman Maldonado, a co-sponsor of the enforcement agency legislation, said, "When Aldermen passed these labor laws, we meant what we said. Now, we have the muscle to force unethical businessmen to do right by their workers and do right by the rest of the business community."

The Office of Labor Standards will be part of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. It will enforce three ordinances:

  • the 2013 anti-wage theft ordinance forcing employers to pay workers for all the time they work – not just the "clocked time".
  • the 2014 ordinance that raised Chicago’s minimum wage to $12/hr this year and then $13/hr next year.
  • the 2016 ordinance mandating companies to provide their employees with at least five paid sick days annually.

"This is a very important win for the 26th Ward which has historically been home to low and modest income families. When workers in my ward receive their full paycheck, they will spend more at our local businesses. They can continue to rent or own in the ward, keeping the neighborhood stable," explained Maldonado. Click here for more remarks from Alderman Maldonado.

Ald. Maldonado Introduces Housing+ Ordinance to Increase Affordable, Accessible Housing Across the City

(October 31, 2018)--26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado today introduced legislation to increase the stock of affordable housing for seniors, people with mobility impairments, and U.S. Military Veterans in buildings more than 50 years old.

There are more than 100,000 properties in Chicago--2-flats and larger near public transportation--that have unused garden space which could be used as new dwelling units for affordable housing, especially for people with mobility issues.

Alderman Maldonado explained, "We have 1,072 unused garden level space just in the 26th Ward. This ordinance will stimulate the private housing market to add affordable, accessible units, will help preserve community characteristics, and will counter balance the mini-mansion building boom currently dominating the private housing market."

"Smaller apartment buildings, once built in large numbers, are slowly vanishing in favor of mini-mansions, thus adversely affecting affordability across the city. This pattern is threatening the very character of the 26th Ward," said Maldonado.

The Ordinance amends the Municipal code so that property owners of older multi-family buildings and mixed-use buildings can convert their unused garden level space into affordable, accessible units. It would allow residential property owners to add up to 5 garden level apartments that are accessible or fully ADA-complaint without first requiring a zoning change and Zoning Board approval to verify compliance with parking and loading standards.

The Housing+ Ordinance was referred to the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards. Alderman Maldonado is the lead sponsor on this legislation. It has 17 co-sponsors, including the Chair of the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards, Ald. Danny Solis.

The other co-sponsoring Aldermen are: Gilbert Villegas, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Branden Reilly, Milagros Santiago, James Cappleman, Joe Moore, John Arena, Emma Mitts, George Cardenas, Ariel Reboyras, Walter Burnett, Joe Moreno, Ameya Pawar, Tom Tunney, Susan Sadlowski-Garza and Roderick Sawyer.

City Council Establishes "Puerto Rico Town" to Enhance Division Street's Unique Identity

(October 31, 2018)--The City Council today passed a resolution to establish "Puerto Rico Town" along Division Street, between Western and Grand Avenues, creating a Special Purpose District that would constitute a “Cultural Sanctuary” involving the community in the prioritization and allocation of investments in existing and new businesses, art and culture that both preserves the community’s unique identity and creates jobs and a strong economy.

Alderman Maldonado, the author of the resolution, said, "Paseo Boricua has become the economic, political, and cultural Puerto Rican capital of the Midwest. For years, it's been the only officially recognized Puerto Rican neighborhood in the country. Millions of dollars are spent at three annual major festivals such as the world-renowned Puerto Rican People’s Parade, the Fiesta Boricua Festival, and the Three Kings’ Day celebration. So it's high time we recognize our unique identity as a cultural and economic driver called Puerto Rico Town."

Paseo Boricua neighborhood is home to several esteemed cultural centers including the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, the only Puerto Rican Museum in the country. The AfroCaribe Cultural Center showcases Afro-Caribbean music and Puerto Rican traditions. It will soon house the Nancy Y. Franco-Maldonado Paseo Boricua Art’s Building providing housing, business opportunities, and commercial spaces for community artists to live and work as well as the Urban Theater Company, the only Puerto Rican founded theater company in Chicago featuring award-winning productions.

Paseo Boricua now features one of the largest collections of public art in the country including murals, the Paseo Boricua Walk of Fame, light poles depicting Puerto Rican iconic images, and the recently installed Las Puertas de Paseo Boricua, a collection of 16 unique doors painted by artists reminiscent of the vibrant doors found in Old San Juan.

Division Street has long been featured by authors Stud Terkel, Saul Bellow and Nelson Algren and, more recently, Puerto Rican writers like Salima Rivera, David Hernandez, Johanny Vasquez, and David Delgado.

In 1995, the City installed the world’s largest piece of public art on Division Street, depicting rippling steel Puerto Rican flags as the welcoming gateways to Paseo Boricua.

"Now, to Puerto Rican evacuees seeking shelter after Hurricane Maria, the 50 ton steel flags symbolize Chicago's welcoming home-away from home. The sights, sounds and smells of Paseo Boricua truly provide that momentary passage back to Puerto Rico," explained Maldonado. "With the Special Purpose District, tourists and Chicagoans alike can take this passage to Puerto Rico just by boarding the #22 Division Bus to Puerto Rico Town."

City Council Passes Maldonado's Resolution Urging Legalization of DACA & Parents

(September 20, 2018)--The City Council passed a resolution authored by 26th Ward Alderman Maldonado today, urging the future 2019 Congress to immediately pass legislation to allow parents of U.S. citizen or DACA eligible children to stay and work in the U.S. legally. The resolution calls on Congress to put into law former President Obama’s executive orders allowing undocumented parents of U.S. citizen or DACA eligible children to be eligible for three-year renewable visas that allow them to live and work and care for their children legally in this country.

Maldonado explained, "In the last year, over 50,000 parents – with no criminal convictions – have been deported. These parents were forcibly separated from over 100,000 babies, children, and young people.This is our country’s next generation. Abandoned, traumatized children separated from their families. Vulnerable U.S. citizen children of our society – our government – has a duty to protect. The failure of our political process has opened the door to human misery and suffering. We have an opportunity to close that door and call on our new Congress to change the fate of this future generation of children."

"I have great hope that the entire Chicago City Council will begin the movement to send a message to the candidates running for election to Congress in November that the time has come to work together and pass legislation that will stop the inhumanity of family separation."

Maldonado urged, "anyone who is listening today joins the movement at #StopTheSeparations and commit our future Congress to do the right thing and pass humane laws." 

Alderman Maldonado Creates New Truck Parking Permit

(September 20, 2018)--26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado won the support of the full City Council for a parking ordinance creating a parking permit for small commercial trucks and vans owned by city residents. The ordinance allows owners of commercial trucks and vans to park within a 2 block radius of their home.

Residents would receive this Special Parking Permit from their local Alderman's office by request, annually.

"The impetus of this ordinance came from several constituents in my ward who have been ticketed for illegally parking their pick-up trucks or vans on the block where they live. They use these vehicles both for business and personal purposes. I believe it is unfair to penalize our City residents for parking a vehicle they use for their livelihood and their family on the block where they live," Maldonado said.

City residents seeking this Special Parking Permit would be required to submit proof of residency, a current City Sticker, and have no outstanding parking tickets.

Vans and trucks collecting junk would not be eligible.

Resident-owners would only receive one Special Parking Permit. No fee is assessed.

Residents receiving this Special Parking Permit must comply with all other parking ordinances, including Residential Parking Permits, if needed.

"City residents must be able to work and live with more fairness and independence from City oversight," said Maldonado.