First Amendment Journalists Training Session: CAC was contacted by several organizations to facilitate trainings for journalists prior to the NATO Summit in Chicago to address questions such as: Where can a journalist stand at a protest? If a journalist is “credentialed” does that provide protection from arrest? What happens if a journalist is mistaken for a protester? Constitution Week, Youth Civic Engagement:CAC hosted high school student, Jessica Alhquist, who endured significant public adversity including bullying, harassment and death threats for challenging her school district in Rhode Island to abide by the U.S. Constitution in the enforcement of the separation of church and state. Jessica’s visit prompted significant community discussion as she told her story to more than 800 local high school students.
Helping Citizens Address Issues of Public Concern
Access to the ballot: CAC helped citizens draft both advisory and binding referenda. We helped with advisory referendum that asked voters’ views about limiting the role of money in politics and helped local citizens advocate and create public pressure for government entities to place referenda on the ballot, including a binding one that sought to prohibit public officials from holding two elected offices.
Access to public information: CAC helped a citizen in Villa Park file a pro se Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation that resulted in the public body turning over records. Our community lawyers helped numerous citizens file successful appeals to the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts: CAC called out public bodies for creating new TIF districts with vague budgets, questionable financial data, minimal public input, and little outreach to affected tax bodies. CAC posted significant information on our website related to concerns about TIF district creation.
Property Tax Appeals Process: Recognizing that the process is stacked against the average citizen, CAC published a “Guide to Property Assessments and Appeals in DuPage County” to explain the process of how assessments are made and what property owners can do to avoid pitfalls and make their best case at the Board of Review. (Available at www.citizenadvocacycenter.org/brochures)
‘From Community Activist to Public Official’ Forum: As some community activists evolve and broaden their civic engagement, they seek elected office and become public officials. What happens when a community instigator is now reliant on the public body staff that they were previously at odds with? CAC convened a meeting of such individuals to hear about the highs and lows of their experiences in public office and identify areas where CAC could provide support.
Transparency, Redistricting, Elections: In addition to working with community groups and public officials, CAC is working with several non-profits focused on policy reform such as MALDEF, Asian American Institute, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, Illinois Public Interest Research Group, Better Government Association and more!
Citizen Advocacy Center 188 W Industrial Dr Ste 106 Elmhurst IL 60126-1600 Phone: (630) 833-4080 Fax: (630) 833-4083