Let's move forward on cleaning up Pilsen
07/13/2011 10:00 PM
Itís been a few months since Danny Solis had his close call. In a tight race that saw him losing almost all of Pilsen by an astonishing margin, Solis barely squeaked out a win over his two-time rival, Cuahutemoc Morfin.
The main reason the race was so close ó and that it even got to a runoff in the first place ó is because Morfin picked up on a big fat issue that Solis had been ignoring for years: pollution in Pilsen.
In the midst of all the euphoria during his election night party at the University Village Laloís (where, may we note, the infamous ďShotsĒ song was playing), Solis readily admitted that Morfin forced him to address the issue of pollution in the 25th Ward, both from Midwest Generationís Fisk coal-fired power plant, and lead contamination from a smelting company.
Morfin got a lot of traction on those issues, Solis said, and made it a necessity for him to address them.
So, Solis reversed his position on the Clean Power Ordinance, a proposal in the city council that would require Midwest Generation to clean up their act (and their pollution). He switched camps and backed it ó even becoming a cosponsor.
But the clean power ordinance died in the old city council. Itís now been two months since Mayor Emanuel and the new city council started working. Itís time to get moving on this.
If Solis is serious about these ordinances, he needs to get on the ball and start pushing these through the council again. Even though itís a long time until the next election cycle, he has a chance to prove that he doesnít just march to the beat of the current mayorís drum (though itís unclear what Emanuelís stance is on the ordinances).
Letís see these get reintroduced, and soon. The people of Pilsen have dealt with the injustice of living next door to a coal-fired power plant for too long. Just across the state line, a similar plant in Indiana was recently shut down voluntarily by its operator.
This is an issue that needs to be pushed, and itís time for Danny Solis to be a leader and not a follower.