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Spend $25 Million Now To Prevent Violence This Summer, Munoz Tells Rahm

By Heather Cherone | March 31, 2017 5:15am | Updated on April 4, 2017 11:47am
 Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd)
Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd)
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) failed last month to convince his fellow aldermen to buck Mayor Rahm Emanuel and spend an unclaimed pot of money on violence prevention programs designed to combat escalating crime on the West and South sides.

This week, Munoz took another shot at preventing a bloody summer after Treasurer Kurt Summers announced that the city's investment fund performed better than officials expected and generated an unexpected $57 million.

A measure introduced by Munoz this week calls for $25 million of that surplus to be sent to the city's Department of Family and Support Services — with $500,000 earmarked for each ward to be spent on programs to keep teens and young adults off the street through jobs and programs.

"I"m not being greedy," Munoz said. "The city is bleeding. If you aren't worried about what will happen this summer, you are not paying attention."

Summers initially proposed adding the financial windfall to his office's Catalyst Fund, which designed is to encourage investors to look south of Roosevelt Road and west of Ashland Avenue in an effort to spur economic development.

But Summers' spokeswoman Alexandra Trumbull said the treasurer — who is weighing whether to run for governor — supported Munoz's plan.

Emanuel's office was less enthusiastic.

Emanuel spokeswoman Molly Poppe said he "looks forward to sitting down with the treasurer through our normal audit process to confirm these investment return figures, and we also look forward to then working with City Council on where to invest these dollars.”

The mayor's office did not respond to questions about the status of a $45 million grant Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp told aldermen in February that her office was working to secure.

As part of the mayor's effort to beat back the council revolt spearheaded by Ald. Ray Lopez (15th), Zopp promised that the mayor's office would find at least $1 million for anti-violence programs in the event their efforts to get the grant was unsuccessful.

Munoz' proposal must be approved by the full council to be implemented. The next council meeting is set for April 19.