The Latest from the Alderman
Limiting Chicago Fire Department Exam at 4,500 Applicants Discourages Minority Representation!
September 25th, 2022 at 6:52 PM
I strongly support the Chicago Firefighters Union in opposing the City’s decision to limit job applicants to the Chicago Fire Department to 4,500! At a time when we should be encouraging minority applicants, this limitation on applications will only discourage and exclude black and brown candidates from joining the Chicago Fire Department.
In a recent Chicago Tribune report, Chicago Fire Department numbers showed that out of nearly 4,800 CFD uniformed members, 721, or 15%, are Black employees, 422 of whom are firefighters. Hispanic representation is just slightly higher at 18%. The Tribune also pointed out that a clause in a collective bargaining agreement from the early 1980s requires the CFD to strive for as close to 45% minority representation as possible in all ranks.
Clearly, this policy of limiting applicants will further drive down the percentage of minority representation in the CFD. I oppose this limitation and stand with the Chicago Firefighters Union in encouraging anyone who wants to take the exam to participate, especially our black and brown City residents.
September 19th, 2022 at 9:31 PM
It’s been 5 years since Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico’s electric power grid. Today, as Hurricane Fiona batters the island, the people of Puerto Rico are, once again, left with a failed energy grid knocking out power across the island.
Our island is strong. Our people are strong. But the power grid is still weak and fragile because of the incompetence of the private company, Luma, who was awarded a contract in 2020 to reconstruct the electricity grid.
The electric system is no more reliable under privatization. Luma hasn’t implemented a single electric grid improvement with the reconstruction funds. They are still planning and designing while the people of Puerto Rico continue to suffer without a modernized electric infrastructure.
We need to hold Luma accountable for restoring Puerto Rico’s power grid and creating a working energy system. Nearly 3,000 people who were electricity-dependent died after Hurricane Maria. The promise of privatization of the energy grid has so far failed. And this is yet another example of how colonization has adversely affected the people of Puerto Rico.
How many more people must die before the electricity grid is restored and modernized?
26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado
Han pasado 5 años desde que el Huracán María destruyó la red de energía de Puerto Rico. Hoy, debido a los embates del paso del Huracán Fiona por la Isla, la gente de Puerto Rico una vez más están ante una red de energía fallida dejando a la Isla sin electricidad.
Nuestra Isla es fuerte. Nuestra gente es fuerte. Pero la red de energía es una débil y frágil debido a la incompetencia de una compañía privada, LUMA a la cúal se le otorgó un contrato en el año 2020 para reconstruir la red de energía.
El sistema eléctrico no es más confiable al privatizarlo. LUMA no ha implementado nada a nuestra red de energía con los fondos de reconstrucción. Ellos aún continúan planificando y diseñando mientras la gente de Puerto Rico continua sufriendo el no tener una infraestructura eléctrica modernizada.
Nosotros necesitamos responsabilizar a LUMA para que restaure la red de energía de Puerto Rico y a su vez cree un sistema de energía que trabaje. Cerca de 3,000 personas que dependían del sistema de energía para vivir murieron luego del Huracán María. La promesa de privatización de la red de energía ha fracasado. Y este es otro ejemplo de como la colonización ha afectado adversamente a la gente de Puerto Rico.
¿Cuántas personas más necesitan morir antes que se restablezca y se modernize el sistema de energía?
Alderman Maldonado Statement:
Thank You to the Fiestas Patronales Organizers!
June 17th, 2022
This year’s Fiestas Patronales was one of the best we’ve ever had! I want to thank the Fiesta Patronales Production team – sisters, Michelle and Melissa Lopez – for the outstanding job they did organizing the festival. My ward office has received several calls about how well organized and enjoyable the event was. And a very special thank you to the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and its team led by Executive Director, Jose Lopez, on showcasing Puerto Rico with such a wonderful and joyous parade.
Statement from Alderman Roberto Maldonado:
Don’t Believe the Lies and Misinformation
June 16th, 2022
I am very disappointed that on the heels of our successful Fiestas Patronales there are some people spreading lies and misinformation on social media and posters posted around the fence of the “Fiestas” that there will be another Puerto Rican Festival this coming weekend. I want to clearly state that there is no festival this weekend. Furthermore, Commander Collazo has assured me that if an impromptu caravan of cars occurs, she may be forced to block access to Luis Marine Drive in Humboldt Park.
Statement from Alderman Roberto Maldonado: on the Fiestas Patronales Puertorriquenas
June 16th, 2022
It was a joyous weekend in Humboldt Park celebrating our Puerto Rican culture with the Fiestas Patronales Puertorriquenas!
I especially want to commend 14th District Commander Elizabeth Collazo for implementing very effective traffic flow controls on the perimeters of the Fiestas. And, Commander Collazo’s team of police officers reflected the racial and ethnic composition of our community which resulted in a very respectful and peaceful event with no violent incidents reported, according to Commander Collazo. It was also gratifying to see more female police officers this year who, I believe, bring a more equitable form of law enforcement.
Unfortunately, Commander Collazo did not effectively communicate to me and our constituents about the No Parking Zone implemented which resulted in the towing of about 70 cars at great expense to people who were not aware they were violating parking restrictions including $100 ticket violation, $140 towing fee, and $24 per day storage fee for an auto pound. There must be a more effective communication strategy for next year’s festival, including reaching out to our ward office, so we can disseminate the order through my social media.
I hope you enjoyed this year’s Fiestas and I look forward next year’s celebration!
Statement from 26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado:
Supreme Court Ends Women’s Constitutional Right to Choose
May 4th, 2022
Sadly, today, a woman’s right to equality, liberty, and dignity have been severely eroded by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn 50 years of constitutional protection provided by the landmark decision, Roe v. Wade.
A woman’s right to safe access to reproductive care and the right to make their own decisions about their reproductive actions are fundamental and should be constitutionally protected and guaranteed. I will always fight for a woman’s right to choose her own destiny.
I ask you to join me in this fight. We have the power to restore this right by electing more state leaders who can codify the protections of Roe v. Wade through federal law. The upcoming national elections are critical not only to protecting women’s rights, but also the fundamental right of marriage equality for our LGBTQ community.
Let’s not give up what we have worked so hard for.
Another Win for Affordable Housing!
April 21st, 2022
We gained another win for affordable housing today when the Chicago Plan Commission unanimously approved plans for Encuentro Square, a new construction apartment development at 3745 W. Cortland St., the site of the old Magid Glove factory at the 606 Trail’s western end.
I fought hard for this project and worked tirelessly with the developers - LUCHA and Evergreen Real Estate Group - to bring 187 affordable apartments for our working families. Our residents have been heavily impacted by gentrification and this development provides some relief to those impacted by higher property values, property taxes and rents.
I am especially proud that I won the fight on maximizing the number of family-sized units. The first phase of this development will feature 23, 3-bedroom units and 47, 2-bedroom units. The remaining 19 units will be 1-bedroom. This will allow working families to stay in our community – a community they have called home for so many decades.
To My Constituents of the 26th Ward,
As your Alderman, I am reaching out to you to challenge your belief of what the most serious crime is currently facing our community.
I imagine you believe the #1 issue we are confronting in the 26th ward is the traditional crime of gangs and violence. But I strongly believe there is a more insidious crime that is seriously affecting our residents – the growing reality of gentrification, which leads to housing insecurity and the eventual displacement of our working families.
When I was first appointed Alderman in July of 2009, shootings, and gang activity on the corners and many of the streets East and West of Humboldt Park were completely out of control. Today, those traditional sources of crime are now steadily declining according to the following latest data from the Police Department.
Since December 2021, the 14th & 25th Police Districts, which serve several wards, and most of the 26th ward, have reported the following data: 13% of shootings or 10 out of 75 total incidents; 7% of robberies or 3 out of 43 total incidents; and 8% of carjackings or 1 out of 13 total incidents occurred in the 26th ward.
This data clearly shows that crime and violence, as we traditionally know it in the 26th ward, is on the decline since July 2009 when I first became Alderman of this great ward. All our hard work with police, public safety activists, community leaders, and you, our constituents, has truly been successful. Nevertheless, we should continue to stay vigilant to keep our neighborhoods safe because one shooting, carjacking, or robbery is one too many for any of us in the 26th ward.
However, the real threat to our ward can be seen in the data from the most recent U.S. Census. Did you know that in the last 10 years, our ward has lost almost 6,000 Latino residents, and nearly 2,000 African American residents? That’s a displacement of 8,000 Latino and Black individuals and families from the 26th ward.
This displacement did not happen by choice. Every year, hundreds of our Latino and African American hard-working families have been forced out of their homes by the insidious threat of gentrification and excessively high property taxes on moderate income families. This is the real crime we are now facing.
Since my appointment as Alderman in 2009, I saw the irreversible harm gentrification was inflicting on our community. And we have fought hard against these damaging forces using the most important tool I have at my disposal — the control over the use of land in the 26th ward to bring hundreds of affordable homes so that our working families won’t have to face housing insecurity and displacement.
As Alderman, I got to work by bringing the construction of 224 affordable housing units between 2015 to 2018. In 2019, I ran for re-election on a platform to bring 485 new affordable family size units to the ward. And, today, I am proud to announce that we are currently building, or at least have full funding for, 430 units. Moreover, we have the potential of building an additional 900 family size affordable housing units in the next 4 years. This will be a total of 1,654 new affordable housing units for our working families!
So, we can confidently say we have slowed down the forces of gentrification, and with this last phase of 900 new additional affordable housing units in the next 4 years we will stop gentrification in the 26th ward for years to come. This effort, along with the fact that during my tenure I have voted against every property tax increase approved by the Chicago City Council, will finally give our working families a sense of relief and security from the insidious, undermining forces of gentrification.
This is why I want to continue to be your advocate and driving force to bring peace of mind to the residents of the 26th ward by continuing fighting the insidious forces of gentrification, displacement, and the irreversible harm of housing insecurity.
This is why I need your support and vote of confidence for 4 more years to accomplish our dream — a 26th ward free of the fear of gentrification, housing insecurity, and displacement. May God help us achieve our goal.
Alderman, 26th Ward
Como concejal, les hago un acercamiento a usted para retar la creencia de cuales son los crímenes más serios que enfrenta nuestra comunidad.
Imagino que pensará usted que nuestro problema principal son los crímenes relacionados con las gangas y la violencia. Sin embargo, creo firmemente que hay un crimen más insidioso que afecta seriamente a nuestros residentes- La gentrificación como una realidad que amenaza con imponerse, la cual desemboca en inseguridad de vivienda y en el eventual desplazamiento de familias trabajadoras.
Cuando fui asignado como concejal en julio de 2009, tiroteos y actividades de gangas estaban fuera de control en las esquinas del este y oeste de Humboldt Park. Hoy por hoy, esa fuente tradicional de crimen ha declinado de modo gradual según las estadísticas del departamento de la policía.
Desde diciembre de 2021, los distritos policiales 14 y 25, los cuales forman parte del distrito electoral 26, han reportado los siguiente datos: 13% en tiroteos (10 de 75 incidentes en total), 7% de robos (3 de 43 incidentes), 8% de carjackings (1 de cada 13) ocurrieron en el distrito electoral 16.
Estos datos demuestran claramente que los crímenes y la violencia, como tradicionalmente se le ha conocido en el distrito 26, se han reducido desde julio de 2009 cuando comencé a servirle a este gran distrito. Todo nuestro fuerte trabajo junto con la policía, activistas de seguridad pública, líderes comunitarios y ustedes, nuestros constituyentes, ha sido un verdadero éxito. No obstante, debemos mantenernos vigilantes para mantener nuestro vecindario seguro. Un solo tiroteo, carjacking o robo es demasiado para cualquiera de nosotros en este distrito 26.
Sin embargo, la verdadera amenaza a nuestro distrito 26 puede ser vista en el Censo más reciente. Sabía usted que en los últimos 10 años nuestro distrito ha perdido casi 6,000 latinos residentes, y cerca de 2,000 Afroamericanos residentes? Eso equivale al desplazamiento de 8,000 individuos latinos y negros del distrito 26.
Este desplazamiento no se da por elección. Cada año cientos de nuestras familias trabajadoras de latinos y afroamericanos han sido forzados fuera de sus hogares por la insidiosa amenaza de gentrificación y los excesivos altos taxes que enfrentan familias de ingresos moderados. Este es el crimen real que nosotros confrontamos.
Desde que fui asignado como concejal en el 2009, vi el irreversible daño que causa la gentrificación en nuestra comunidad. Y hemos luchado fuertemente contra dichas fuerzas dañinas utilizando la más importante herramienta que tengo a mi alcance: El control sobre el uso del territorio del distrito 26 para crear cientos de viviendas accesibles para que nuestras familias trabajadoras no tengan que confrontar la amenaza de desplazamiento e inseguridad.
Como concejal, he trabajado en la construcción de 224 unidades de vivienda asequibles entre el 2015 y el 2018. En el 2019, corrí por la reelección bajo la plataforma de traer 485 nuevas viviendas en el distrito. Hoy estoy orgulloso de anunciar que estamos construyendo al menos 430 nuevas unidades. Y aún tenemos el potencial de construir 900 unidades de viviendas familiares en los próximos cuatro años. Esto equivale a un total de 1,654 nuevas unidades de viviendas.
Estamos llenos de confianza al decir que hemos reducido la fuerza de la gentrificación y que, con esta última fase de 900 unidades adicionales asequibles para los próximos 4 años, vamos a detener la gentrificación en el distrito 26. Este esfuerzo, junto con el hecho de que durante mi estancia he votado en contra de cada incremento en el aumento de taxes a la propiedad aprobado por la Ciudad de Chicago, finalmente le daremos un sentido de alivio y seguridad a las familia trabajadoras contra esta maliciosa amenaza.
De esta manera deseo continuar por ser su portavoz y fuerza de ejecución en brindar paz mental a los residentes del distrito 26 continuando nuestra lucha contra las fuerzas insidiosas de la gentrificación, el desplazamiento y la fuerza irreversible de la inseguridad de vivienda.
Es por esto que necesitamos el apoyo y voto de confianza por los próximos cuatro años para cumplir con nuestros sueños: Un distrito libre de miedo a la gentrificación, inseguridad de vivienda, y desplazamiento. Que dios esté con nosotros en nuestra meta.
Concejal del Distrito 26
Alderman Roberto Maldonado: Keeping the 26th Ward Affordable in Housing and Healthcare
At 27, Roberto Maldonado moved into an affordable 26th Ward. He left Puerto Rico for Chicago to pursue his doctorate at Loyola University, after graduating from the prestigious University of Puerto Rico with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology.
Maldonado now serves as a member of the Chicago City Council representing Ward 26 comprised of Chicago’s largest Puerto Rican community. He assumed office in 2009 after former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley appointed him to serve a partial term on the council in July 2009 where he serves to this day. Before becoming a City Council member, Maldonado was a member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners from 1994 to 2009.
Known as a fierce advocate for affordable housing for working families, Maldonado has fought hard to fight the forces of gentrification that threaten to displace some of the ward’s longtime residents. His top priority is bringing affordable housing to the ward, and he currently has five affordable housing projects that range from single family homes to family-sized units in new construction apartment buildings.
"When I first came to Chicago, I only had $300 in my pocket and crashed on my brother's couch until we found an apartment I could afford. Of course, it was in the Humboldt Park neighborhood," explained Maldonado. "The affordable rents I had kept financial strain at bay. I want this community to do the same for coming generations--that's why I support legislation to keep it that way, and why I have fought hard for affordable housing and affordable healthcare for our working families.
Maldonado has never supported a property tax increase because it is another factor that is driving housing and healthcare costs higher. "The City of Chicago simply cannot continue to reach further into the pockets of working Chicagoans who are already struggling with rising housing and healthcare costs."
Honoring a Son of Humboldt Park
When: Saturday, June 27th at 2pm
Where: Humboldt Park, near the Nancy Franco-Maldonado Batting Cage (Division & California)
Please join Alderman Roberto Maldonadoand Neftali Reyes Jr.’s parents, Annette Flores and Neftali Reyes Sr.,to unveil the honorary street sign "Neftali 'Buzzo' Reyes, Jr. Way" along the 1100 block of North Luis Munoz Marin Drive.this Saturday to commemorate a son of Humboldt Park.
Neftali Reyes Jr. graduated from Roberto Clemente Academy in 2016 —with honors —where he was also a star pitcher and third baseman.
He had dreams of becoming a major league baseball player. With a full scholarship from Claflin University in South Carolina, his dream seemed within grasp. But everything came to a tragic end in December 2017 when he was shot and killed in West Town at age 19.
His case remains unsolved.
Neftali Reyes Jr. was born and raised in Humboldt Park. He began playing baseball at the age of 5 in Humboldt Park's Little League. At age 10, Neftali was selected to introduce the Little Cubs Field for the groundbreaking ceremony at the Park.
While he was in high school, Neftali was recognized for his brilliance on the field as an exemplary Roberto Clemente Wildcat pitcher from 2012-2016.
During his freshman year at Claflin, he injured his shoulder and underwent corrective surgery. He returned home for winter break and was considering moving to the Dominican Republic to play for a team that feeds the Major Leagues when his dream was stolen by a bullet.
Neftali will be forever remembered for his outstanding baseball skills and his passion for life.
The Roberto Clemente Academy has dedicated its home baseball dugout to him with a plaque that contains his picture and a description of his character, proclaiming the dugout “Neff’s Dugout.” Additionally, the Chicago Cubs sent a commemorative letter to the family on hearing of his passing.
Neftali Reyes Jr. was an amazing young man who is loved and missed by many. He leaves behind an honorable legacy and his footprints on the streets of Humboldt Park.
Maldonado Joins Rep. García, Schakowsky Opposing Trump's ICE Raids
(July 8, 2019)--26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado joined Congressmen Jesús “Chuy” García and Jan Schakowsky--along with many other state and local representatives—to oppose President Trump's ICE raids and urge the reunification of Francisca Lino with her U.S. citizen husband and her 6 U.S. citizen children.
Lino took sanctuary in Adalberto United Methodist Church, located in the 26th Ward, after being ordered to leave the country two years ago.
Maldonado said, "Francisca Lino is the embodiment of hardworking law-abiding immigrants and communities who are being terrorized by the Trump Administration's cruel immigration policies separating families, not just at the border, but in every city across the country."
In a effort to protect immigrant communities during Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, 26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado has launched a campaign to educate both undocumented and documented Chicago residents of their immigration rights with a short video called, "Know Your Immigration Rights".
Maldonado explained, "In this city of immigrants, our neighborhoods aren't just diverse in language or ethnicity. They are also diverse in immigration status. When we all know our rights as citizens and as immigrants, Tump's threats won't be able to destabilize neighborhoods and bring fear into our city."
Maldonado has been a leader in the Immigration Rights Movement since 2007 when—as Cook County Commissioner—he was able to pass the first Sanctuary County in the nation.
"Trump is not just targeting immigrants. He is also targeting Chicago because we are a Sanctuary City and we are standing up for the rights of people in our communities, " said Maldonado.
Immigrants have the right to remain silent and needn't open the door to ICE officials unless they have a warrant. They also have the right to be represented by an attorney. Free legal consultation at 312-660-1370.
In September, 2018, the City Council passed a resolution authored by Alderman Maldonado 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 called 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 Elected Chair of the Chicago City Council's Latino Caucus
(July 5, 2019)--The Chicago City Council Latino Caucus elected 26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado as Chair, along with a full slate of new leadership to lead their mission and legislative work that prioritizes Latinos.
The Latino Caucus's new officers are 26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado as Chair, 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa as Vice-Chair, 25th Ward Alderman Bryon Sigcho Lopez as Treasurer, and 22nd Ward Alderman Mike Rodriguez as Secretary.
The Latino Caucus is the only Chicago City Council Caucus that has a fully operating Foundation with an IRS 501c3 designation.
The Caucus, under the direction of newly elected Chairman Roberto Maldonado, created three new committees of policy focus that will work on immigration, housing, and education. These committees will work to ensure the Caucus is focusing on key issues impacting Chicago's Latino community.
Below is a portion of WBEZ's coverage titled "Chicago City Hall's Latino Caucus Move Left."
Maldonado: gentrification biggest threat to Latinos Maldonado succeeds Ald. Villegas, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s new city council floor leader, at a politically significant time. Gentrification is rapidly reshaping long-time Hispanic neighborhoods, even as the population continues to grow. For the first time, Chicago Public Schools reports Latinos are the largest student group.
That’s why Maldonado identifies gentrification as the biggest threat facing Latinos in Chicago. “We are being pushed out at a very fast pace,” Maldonado said.
On the Northwest Side, homes in the Puerto Rican stronghold of Humboldt Park are selling for over $1 million dollars as homeowners flip three-flats into single family homes. Wicker Park and Logan Square, once Hispanic strongholds, are now majority white.
On the Southwest Side, Pilsen has become a nationally recognized neighborhood. That has created a real estate boom that’s now spreading to adjacent historically Mexican working class neighborhoods.
“Some of our communities are being completely gentrified,” Maldonado said. “We need to stop that, we need to slow it down.”
On education, Maldonado expressed support for moving Chicago from an appointed to an elected school board, though aldermen wield little authority over the school district. State lawmakers hold that power.
On immigration, the caucus will focus on keeping the city’s sanctuary city status by ensuring local police don’t work with federal immigration authorities, Maldonado said.
Maldonado Calls for Racial Equality Study on Lincoln Yards
Ald. Maldonado was the only Alderman to join community groups in calling for a Racial Equity Impact Assessment Report on the proposed Lincoln Yards.
(March 26, 2019)--Alderman Maldonado joined community groups to urge the City of Chicago to study the impact of public spending on the proposed Lincoln Yards, a luxury home, office, and entertainment development. This study, called the Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA), would allow Chicagoans to know better how public spending creates racial progress or stymies it.
Maldonado said, "Using this report will prevent city officials from repeating the mistakes our predecessors did. When we know better, we do better."
"We've had an old process that has created the "have" and the "have not" neighborhoods. It's what brought Martin Luther King to Chicago so many years ago. Let's bring in the new by examining racial progress or setback before spending the public's tax dollars."
REIA reports examine proposed public spending before the project is approved. Before public spending turns out to exacerbate segregation and deprive minority residents of amenities such as good transportation and schools, bustling retail, and neighborhood jobs.
Maldonado explained, "It's just like the Environmental Impact Assessment Report. If in the 1950s, city officials had an Environmental Impact Assessment in their hands, they wouldn't have built homes and schools in Love Canal over a toxic waste dump."
"Now is the time to ensure that the policies shaping this development are informed, thoughtful and comprehensive - and that includes examining them through a racial equality lens."
Job Fair, 10am - 2pm, Thursday, April 11th
Employers Attending the Fair
ASI Home Care
American Job Centers
Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation
Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago Women in Trades
Delmon Medical College - Dialysis Program
Employer & Employment Services, Inc.
European American Association (Home Heath Aides)
Greater West Town Training Partnership (Woodworking & Shipping/Receiving)
HMSHOST (O'Hare Airport)
Illinois Dept. of Central Management (Diversity Enrichment Program)
Illinois Dept. of Human Services (Bureau of Recruitment and Selection)
Illinois Dept. of Human Services (Latino Affairs)
Kates Detective & Security, Inc.
Safer Foundation(Jobs for People with Records)
Touchpoint Support Services
City Council Officially Recognizes "Puerto Rico Town"
(October 31, 2018)--The City Council today passed a resolution for a "Puerto Rico Town" designation along Division Street, between Western and Grand Avenues. The resolution calls for 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. Special Purpose Districts are established through the Illinois State Legislature.
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."
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.
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.
"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 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. 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.
"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.
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.
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."