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Political News

Local and State Headlines for 07-25-2021

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CPS poised to rehire Aramark to clean schools despite pledging not to and record of filthy schools

CPS planned as of Friday to ask the Board of Education as soon as next week to authorize rehiring the janitorial behemoth to clean all its school buildings, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.


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Having a hard time getting a response to non-emergency calls in Chicago? Here’s a big reason why.

Police officers who take those calls — while on limited duty or awaiting disciplinary findings — met the goal for answering phones just 38% of the time, records show.


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Supporters of new police civilian oversight ordinance celebrate victory

Many said that what passed in the City Council on Wednesday is a good first step.


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Attorney at center of Bridgeport bank case has long ties to City Hall, powerful players

Robert M. Kowalski is accused of embezzling at least $31 million from Washington Federal Bank for Savings, which operated in the Daley family political fiefdom for generations.


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Former Van Dyke lawyer’s brief tenure on county panel sparks clash over ‘nepotism,’ bullying, ‘Good ‘ole Boys’ network’

Commissioner Tammy Wendt is accused of hiring her first cousin for a cushy $150,000-a-year job at the property tax appeals office. She accuses her fellow commissioners of being "nothing but bullies."


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Merrick Garland calls gun violence ‘ongoing tragedy’ during Chicago visit

A police chase took place outside a church Merrick Garland planned to visit during his first Chicago official trip as attorney general. Raised in Lincolnwood, Garland said of gun violence: "I feel it particularly in my hometown."


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Robert Shaw dies at 83; was Chicago alderman, member of Cook County Board of Review

He and his late brother William Shaw, a former state senator and mayor of Dolton, were a powerful political duo in city, county and state politics.


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Alderman vows party bus crackdown after 8 people wounded when gunmen open fire in Lincoln Park

Ald. Brian Hopkins wants to require party buses to halt operations at 10 p.m. The shooting at a gas station at North Avenue and LaSalle Street occurred just after midnight, and was the third mass shooting of the day.


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City transportation department unveils strategic plan

The 79-page plan includes 84 "strategies" and hundreds of "one-to-three-year targets." The overriding goals are to make public transportation faster and more accessible, Chicago streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists and expand bike share, bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes.


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Compromise on civilian oversight gave mayor final say on superintendent, policy — but it won’t ever come to that, alderman says

Ald. Roderick Sawyer, among the Council’s prime backers of civilian oversight, predicted if things are so dire a no-confidence vote is needed, "that person is pretty much out the door anyway" and might even be fired before aldermen weigh in.


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Mask pit? Pritzker says he’ll be at Lollapalooza despite COVID-19 spike: ‘If you’re vaccinated, it’s safe’

"It’s up to individuals to make a decision about whether they want to be in a large group," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. "I would recommend to people that if they’re going to be jammed together, please wear a mask."


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Lawsuit against Chicago Park District seeks Columbus statue’s return to Arrigo Park

The lawsuit filed by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans alleges the Chicago Park District breached a nearly 50-year-old contract when it removed the statue last year.


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City Council OKs Boys & Girls Club on site on police and fire training academy

Ald. Emma Mitts called it a "history-making moment" for the West Side. "When I first came in, the first thing I asked for was a youth center for our children. It took me 21 years," Mitts said. The council also passed a streamlined process for approving business signs.


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City Council approves civilian police oversight ordinance

The 36-to-13 vote came after a sometimes heated and emotional debate that dragged on for nearly two hours. Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the debate "historic" and "one for the ages."


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Alderman wants to lift ban on sports betting in Chicago

The Cubs’ partnership with DraftKings could put Major League Baseball’s first stadium sportsbook at Wrigley Field. But first, the City Council must lift the ban on sports betting in Chicago. Ald. Walter Burnett, whose ward includes the United Center, wants to do just that.


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From financial albatross to economic engine: City Council turns Michael Reese site into $4 billion development

In 2008, the City Council borrowed $85 million to buy the shuttered hospital, hoping to put an Olympic athletes village there for the 2016 Games. But Chicago lost its bid for those Games, and the site has remained vacant.


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City Council to vote Wednesday on civilian oversight panel for Chicago Police

12-8 vote by Public Safety Committee moves the oversight panel to council floor some six years after it first was proposed.


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City Council to vote on sale of former Michael Reese Hospital site Wednesday

A plan years in the making to build a $4 billion multi-use development at the site of the former Michael Reese Hospital campus on the South Side is one step closer to becoming a reality.


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If aldermen are to be responsible for constituent services, they need control over ward superintendents

The position is critical to the ward, and aldermen should have the ability to complain about superintendents who are not doing a good job.


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‘Step up’ or step back? Lightfoot sounds COVID-19 alarm as cases jump 70%: ‘Get a vaccine today’

The COVID-19 Delta variant is now estimated to account for almost half the new city cases, and if the variant is allowed to fester, more restrictions eventually could be in store, the mayor warned.


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Deal paves way for City Council to OK Lightfoot’s stalled sign proposal, ordinance: aldermen

Mayor Lori Lightfoot appeared headed for a second City Council defeat on aldermanic prerogative, but an eleventh-hour compromise could avert that showdown, according to License Committee Chairman Emma Mitts.


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Fed up with Kim Foxx’s office, alderman wants city to take some matters into its own hands

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Ald. Anthony Napolitano wants to take some crimes normally prosecuted by the state’s attorney’s office and divert them to city hearing officers.


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Reilly proposes yet another crackdown on Chicago pedicabs

Ald. Brendan Reilly wants pedicabs banned from the River North entertainment district from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. and their amplified sound silenced at all times, saying some pedicab drivers are serving as DJs for "illegal curbside parties."


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Report details chaos of police response to protests, looting last summer

The city hasn’t dedicated sufficient resources toward responding to protests and potential unrest since it hosted the NATO summit in 2012, the report said.


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Alderman taking no chances with coveted ward superintendent’s position

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Ald. Brian Hopkins plans to introduce an ordinance changing the law to make it clear that the hiring and firing of ward superintendents is controlled by the local alderman.


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Redevelopment of Michael Reese site takes giant step forward

The City Council’s Finance Committee agreed to earmark $60 million to build city streets, a new park and other infrastructure needed to pave the way for the "Bronzeville Lakefront" project.


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Lightfoot to try again to speed up approval of business signs

A month after losing a vote on the issue of aldermanic prerogative — her first City Council defeat — the mayor will try again on legislation shaving up to two months off the 150-day wait for business permits, signs and awnings.


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Deal on civilian police oversight reached after weekend of negotiations in Chicago

The mayor would retain final say on police policy disputes. Reform advocates won the right to take a vote of no-confidence in the police superintendent, though the vote would be non-binding.


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Bernard J. Hansen, former Chicago alderman, dies at 76

"Bernie taught me that policy only matters when it works at the street level," said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley.


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Chicago police create new gun team to target illegal weapons ahead of Biden strike force

About 50 cops will focus on gun traffickers and people whose state firearm permits have been revoked in the latest effort to reduce violence in the city.


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Transportation chief Buttigieg stops in Chicago to keep infrastructure plan on track before ‘twists and turns’ ahead

The U.S. transportation secretary’s Illinois stop is one of three he’s made in recent days to promote Biden’s infrastructure plan. The former Democratic presidential hopeful has also visited Arizona and Oregon.


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Former Ald. Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno gets ‘second chance’ after pleading guilty in felony case

Moreno, 49, was sentenced to "second chance" probation as part of a deal with prosecutors, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said.