April 25, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Appoints Fisk and Crawford Reuse Task Force

Committee Features Community Leaders, Aldermen, Not-for-profits, Private Sector and Utility Representation

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Emanuel today announced the appointment the Fisk and Crawford Reuse Task Force, a committee that will work to solicit community input and economic development and job creation alternatives for the land on which the Fisk and Crawford power plants currently operate.

“Closing the Fisk and Crawford plants solves the immediate problem but is not a long-term solution,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We need to work together to determine the best use for this land, that will create jobs and economic opportunity in these communities. That is why I have convened this task force of thoughtful, community-focused people, so we can craft a plan for these sites that will benefit the neighborhoods and their residents.”

The Task Force consists of three community members, one member from Midwest Generation, two aldermen, one representative from labor, one representative from ComEd, and one economic development representative from City Hall.

The Delta Institute, a local non-profit organization with extensive experience leading brownfield redevelopments, will facilitate the group and will be ultimately responsible for the final report. The committee will be supported by the Joyce Foundation and Sierra Club, both of which have committed up to $50,000 to fund the process.

“Delta Institute is delighted to be assisting in the process of finding a way to reuse the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in a way that enhances the ability of local residents and businesses to live, work and play in Pilsen and Little Village,” said Jean Pogge, CEO of the Delta Institute. “This project is exactly the work that needs to be done to build a regional economy that is environmentally sustainable, job rich and inclusive of all Chicago's residents.”

The group has met twice to date, and will continue holding regular meetings. Additionally, the Task Force plans to host two public hearings to incorporate community input.

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Kimberly Wasserman Nieto, Executive Director, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO)

Kimberly Wasserman is the Executive Director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), where she has worked since 1998. As Executive Director she oversees the community projects, leadership development and organizational sustainability. Kim joined LVEJO as an organizer and helped to organize community leaders to successfully build a new playground, community gardens, the remodeling of a local school park and forced a local polluter to upgrade their facilities to meet current laws.

Nelson Soza, Executive Director, Pilsen Alliance

Nelson Soza became Pilsen Alliance’s executive director in December of 2010 and has spent all his professional life as an activist for social justice and has vast experience in organizing.  Soza first came to the United States in 1991and successfully studied journalism. He has worked with important national organizations across the country, on a broad number of issues and with diverse constituencies.   

Jerry Mead-Lucero, Organizer, Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization              

Jerry Mead-Lucero is an organizer for PERRO (Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization).  He is a former social studies teacher and has been a labor, immigrant rights, and environmental activist for over 20 years.  PERRO is an environmental justice organization formed in 2004 whose members have worked to eliminate pollution from the Fisk and Crawford plants since 2002. 

Doug McFarlan, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Communications, Edison Mission Group (EMG)           

Douglas McFarlan is president of Midwest Generation and senior vice president of Public Affairs and Communications for Midwest Generation's parent company, Edison Mission Group (EMG).  He is responsible for state and local government relations, environmental policy and compliance, renewable energy development, media and community relations, corporate contributions, and executive and employee communications.  EMG operates nearly 50 power generating facilities in 13 states.  Before joining Edison Mission Group and Midwest Generation in 1999, McFarlan spent 13 years with telecommunications provider Ameritech (now part of AT&T) and nine years as a newspaper editor in suburban Chicago.

Ricardo Munoz, Alderman, City of Chicago

At 27, Rick Muñoz was the youngest member of the Chicago City Council when he joined in 1993. Alderman Muñoz grew up in the Little Village community he now represents. He attended local grammar and high schools before graduating from Northern Illinois University. After graduating with a degree in Political Science, he began working as a block club organizer and served in the Administration of Mayor Eugene Sawyer. He was re-elected in 2011 with 63 percent of the vote.

Daniel Solis, Alderman, City of Chicago

Alderman Solis has a 30 year history of service as a community organizer who took on many challenges facing the Latino community.  He started his service as a teacher, and moved on to become the founder and executive director of Latino Youth High School. After serving various local community organizations Alderman Solis went on to found the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) where he served as executive director until he was appointed as 25th Ward Alderman in 1996.  In his time at UNO, Solis led a large immigration campaign, registering tens of thousands of new voters in the Latino community.  In his time as alderman, Solis has revitalized the Pilsen community through projects such as the International Produce Market, the expansion of Benito Juarez High School, and the first green street in Chicago on Cermak Road. 

Tom Villanova, President, Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council

Tom Villanova has been President of the Chicago and Cook County Building Trades Council since 2004, representing 24 trade unions and one hundred thousand members. In addition to his work with the Council, Tom is on the Board of Directors of the Italian American Labor Council, is the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Southland Economic Development Board, and is a Past Chairman of the Metro Southwest Alliance. Tom was appointed to serve on the Governor’s Commission on opportunity in State Public Construction and the Governor’s State Labor Advisory Board. Tom, along with other senior labor officers, sits on the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Labor Council as its past Chairman, which is an advisory body to the bank on financial matters important to the labor community and its membership.

Kathy Dickhut, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Housing and Economic Development, Bureau of Planning and Zoning 

Kathleen Dickhut is Deputy Commissioner of the Open Space/Sustainability Division of the City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development.  Over the past 12 years the division has implemented the CitySpace and Chicago River plans and developed and implemented the Calumet plans, Logan Square Open Space Plan, Chicago Eat Local Live Healthy and Adding Green to Urban Design.  Three new plans are now in various stages of development: Chicago Sustainable Industries, FoodSpace and Green Healthy Neighborhoods.  Dickhut has a Master’s of Science in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Bill McNeil, Vice President of Energy Acquisition, Commonwealth Edison

As Vice President of Energy Acquisition, Bill oversees electricity supply procurement including renewable portfolio standard compliance, retail electric supplier operations, PJM billing and settlement, and wholesale contract administration for ComEd.  Additional responsibilities include managing regulatory processes associated with power procurement, and assuring adequate supply resources are available to reliably meet ComEd’s customer needs. Bill joined the company in 1978 and has held a variety of positions both within ComEd and Exelon. He is a 1977 graduate of Tri-State University (Angola, IN) and has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.  He also received an MBA from Rosary College, River Forest, IL (now Dominican University) in 1983.


Delta Institute

Delta Institute is a center of innovation that creates market opportunities to achieve environmental sustainability and economic development. In partnership with business, government and local communities, Delta develops and implements practical solutions to build regional economies that are job rich and inclusive.  Delta focuses its work on areas that have the potential to transform difficult environmental problems to positive opportunities that create economic growth that benefits all communities.  Delta is known for tackling the hard problems using creative approaches to find cost-effective sustainability that value natural resources, energy efficiency, and waste stream reductions.