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Tom Tresser
Tom Tresser is an organizer, educator and creativity champion. His civic work is about encouraging civic engagement, grassroots economic development and government accountability. He is a public defender in that he works to protect and extend the Commons and defeat privatization. Tom was elected to the Abraham Lincoln Elementary School's Local School Council and served from 2004 to 2006. He was a co- founder of Protect Our Parks, which stopped the privatization of Lincoln Park. He was an organizer and spokesperson for No Games Chicago, a grass roots volunteer effort that helped derail the bid for the 2016 Olympics. He has taught workshops on "The Artist as Leader," and "The Politics of Creativity – A Call To Service" for arts service organizations across the country. He is teaching a number of classes on creativity, leadership, nonprofit management and civic engagement for DePaul University, Loyola University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and i. c.c stars.. Tom also consults with arts organizations on strategic planning, audience development and peer-to-peer marketing. Tom published "America Needs You!" – about the need for artists to get involved in politics. Tom was the Green Party candidate for Cook County Board President in 2010. In July of 2013 he launched The CivicLab, a co-working space in the West Loop dedicated to collaboration, education and innovation for civic engagement. He is also the Lead organizer for the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Illumination Project.

Entries by Tom Tresser

The TIF Illumination Project at One Year

(0) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 4:47 PM

On February 12 of 2013, the night of the State of the Union, a town meeting was held at the Chopin Theater in Chicago's Near West Side. The subject was tax increment financing. Despite the complexity of the topic and the competition from President Obama, some 230 people packed the...

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Town Meeting Throws Light on TIFs

(1) Comments | Posted February 19, 2013 | 4:01 PM


Over 200 people packed the Chopin Theatre on Tuesday night, February 12 to hear about Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) and to organize themselves to do something about them.

The TIF Town Meeting was produced by a new organization, the

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Halloween Came Early at Forum on Illinois Corruption

(2) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 5:49 PM

I was at a forum "What's In The Water in Illinois? Reform Symposium on Illinois Government" on Thursday and Friday at the Union League Club. The event was sponsored by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. The Institute was described as the

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Illinois Needs a Public Bank

(18) Comments | Posted July 28, 2012 | 4:04 PM

Know anyone going to college or planning to go? Know a home owner or someone seeking to own or stay in their home? Know a small business owner who wants to expand but doesn't have the capital? How are they doing? My guess is, not so well.

What do they...

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Finance Expert Predicts We'll "Rue The Day"

(5) Comments | Posted April 27, 2012 | 9:40 AM

Cate Long covers municipal finance for Reuters online -- see her blog here. This is how she describes her beat:

I'm Cate Long and I write about the retail fixed income markets including municipal bonds. My primary interest is creating tools and systems to help retail investors understand...

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Consider Yourself Briefed (On the Trust)

(9) Comments | Posted April 9, 2012 | 11:59 AM

Last week Chicago Aldermen were treated to private briefings on Mayor Emanuel's Infrastructure Trust. The sessions were run by Lois Scott, the City's Chief Financial Officer, who I would rather re-label as our Chief Privatization Officer.

I've known Lois for over 20 years and she is...

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Don't Trust the Infrastructure Trust

(12) Comments | Posted April 2, 2012 | 11:04 AM


Mayor Emanuel wants us to trust him with the future of all of Chicago's public assets.

In announcing his plans for an infrastructure trust we were told:

The infrastructure trust is simply a financing tool. They won't have any control over city...
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What Is Jane Addams' Heritage Worth to Chicago

(6) Comments | Posted January 25, 2012 | 4:15 PM


On Friday, January 20 I heard over the radio that Hull House is closing.

Hull House is 123 years old and was founded by Jane Addams, America's first female Nobel Prize Winner -- she won...

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Going To A Candidate's Forum? Ask Them About TIFs

(5) Comments | Posted January 25, 2011 | 9:00 AM

Dear Huffington Post Chicago Reader:

I hope you plan on going to a local candidate forum for the upcoming Aldermanic and Mayoral elections. There is no one place to look for upcoming forums but I'm hoping that The Chicago Radicalander will start a listing. In the meantime you...

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Nonprofit Leaders Reply -- No Power in Sight

(7) Comments | Posted January 10, 2011 | 10:24 AM

So I sent the post on Chicago's nonprofits and the opportunity to impact the 2011 Mayoral election to a number of local nonprofit leaders and scholars.

At the same time this conversation is taking place, the Illinois House punted on a move to increase the...

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Will Chicago's Nonprofit Community Play a Role in Electing the Next Mayor?

(14) Comments | Posted January 3, 2011 | 2:22 PM

I'm going out a limb and just answer my own question straight away: "No."

I don't see the leaders and managers the thousands of social service, cultural and educational organizations that serve hundreds of thousand of people every week taking much of a role in electing the next Mayor of...

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"The Battle For The Bid - One Year Later"

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2010 | 7:15 PM


A little more than one year after the October 2 decision to award the 2016 Olympic games to Rio, organizers of No Games Chicago will discuss what happened behind the scenes at a public forum on Tuesday, October 12. "The...

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Will the Grass Roots Have a Horse in This Race?

(6) Comments | Posted September 10, 2010 | 10:12 AM

All Chicago is abuzz with the news that Mayor Daley will not seek a 7th term as mayor of Chicago.

We're seeing two major narratives - how great was Daley as a mayor? And who will succeed him?

The list of potential candidates is growing by the hour, with a...

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The Hidden (And Not So Hidden) Costs of Corruption

(7) Comments | Posted August 19, 2010 | 12:27 PM


Blago guilty on one count. Prosecution prepares for new trial. That's today's headline.

Corruption in Illinois has been the subject of endless coverage, exposes, satire and jokes for decades.

Here's a popular story that seems to be everywhere on the Internet.

I was in...

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No Games Organizer, Martin Macias, Deported From Canada

(30) Comments | Posted February 8, 2010 | 10:57 AM

Martin Macias, Jr., a credentialed freelance journalist who contributes to, the online and new media outlet for Chicago Public Radio, was turned back from the Canadian border late Saturday night.

Martin was a lead organizer for No Games Chicago, the all-volunteer citizens group that opposed...

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Lessons Learned From the Olympic Fiasco

(12) Comments | Posted October 19, 2009 | 3:34 PM

As readers of the Huffington Post know, I was one of the lead organizers for No Games Chicago.

It’s been two weeks since the decision in Copenhagen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to deny Chicago the 2016 Olympic games.

I was one member of the No Games...

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What Happened in Copenhagen (When We Went to Influence the IOC -- Again)

(10) Comments | Posted October 12, 2009 | 12:16 PM

[ Note -- I was one of the three No Games Chicago delegates who traveled to Copenhagen last week to deliver materials and messages to the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)]

We left Chicago late Monday night, Sept. 28. All that day the news was all about...

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Why We're in Copenhagen (Meeting the IOC, Again)

(17) Comments | Posted September 29, 2009 | 12:08 PM

No Games Chicago has sent the same team who went to Switzerland In June to meet with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Copenhagen to do it again. I was one of the delegates who went to Lausanne and I'm part of the team...

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What Happened in Switzerland (When We Met the IOC)

(2) Comments | Posted August 30, 2009 | 6:23 PM

(Note - This was written on the plan coming home from Geneva, June 19, 2009)

Friday, June 19, 1:20 p.m. local time, Geneva

Our plane has just taken off. The No Games Chicago delegation is safely aboard and we’re on our way home. After nine hours in...

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Why I'm in Switzerland (Trying to Meet the IOC)

(40) Comments | Posted June 16, 2009 | 4:13 PM

I'm in Lausanne, Switzerland, seven time zones ahead of Chicago, with two other members of the No Games Chicago coalition. Our purpose is to meet with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at their headquarters in order to explain why we believe Chicago should NOT be awarded the 2016...

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