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Political News

Local and State Headlines for 01-24-2021

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In effort to thwart carjackings, private security firm to post guards at gas stations

The move comes amid a spike in carjackings and is meant to ease the minds of women and seniors from feeling like easy targets while pumping gas.


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City watchdog calls for immediate changes to CPD’s search warrant policy

The Office of the Inspector General on Friday released some preliminary findings "[i]n light of the urgent need to prevent serious harm to Chicagoans in the execution of search warrants at the wrong addresses, and in recognition of pressing public concern around these issues."


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Police Board rules against discipline for cops who cuffed, searched 10-year-old boy

Michael Thomas Jr. was handcuffed and searched by officers sent to the area near Roosevelt Road and Sawyer Avenue in June 2018 after someone called 911 to say a boy had a gun.


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Lightfoot kills vocal City Council critic’s proposal to turn neighborhood house into a police ‘district substation’

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) has accused Lightfoot of stalling his pet idea for 18 months because of their political feud. But Lightfoot made the case that her opposition has nothing to do with politics.


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City moves to next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations but supply falls far short of need

On Monday, hundreds of thousands of older Chicagoans and essential workers will be eligible to receive shots.


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Lightfoot: ‘Lack of urgency’ from police union standing in way of new contract

The mayor said FOP President John Catanzara waited until this week for the year’s first negotiating session. Catanzara said if the mayor "felt so bad" about the four-year wait for a police pay raise, she would get personally involved in negotiations.


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Inspector general clarifies investigation of botched police raid of social worker’s home

Inspector General Joe Ferguson said his investigation, one of three into the raid of Anjanette Young’s home, may look at "actions conducted by, through or on behalf of CPD, COPA, the Law Department, and the Mayor’s Office."


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Lightfoot plans ‘reunion weekend’ to invite Blacks who fled Chicago to ‘come back home’

Lightfoot previewed her plans to rebuild a city economy ravaged by the pandemic while moderating "Cup of Joe," an online panel. The local, Inauguration Day version of MSNBC’s, "Morning Joe" program featured business and community leaders and activists discussing their hopes and dreams for the incoming Biden administration.


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Inspector general’s quarterly report chock full of bad behavior — again

It includes the coverup of an elaborate scheme to certify several firefighters to operate sophisticated rigs at O’Hare and Midway airports. Records were falsified and a signature forged to hide the violation of federal safety protocols.


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Morton Salt project heads toward zoning approval

The proposal for the old industrial site calls for space for live music, entertainment and offices while preserving the iconic sign.


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Rush, Lightfoot satisfied with suspensions for cops accused of lounging in congressman’s office during looting

The mayor and Rush spoke at the opening of the Chatham Education and Workforce Center. The effort to build the facility grew out of community outrage over the death of teacher Betty Howard, killed by a stray bullet in 2014.


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Committee eliminates exceptions to Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance

Mayor Lori Lightfoot had promised to prevent Chicago Police officers from working with immigration agents by eliminating loopholes that allowed police to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in certain circumstances.


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Black politicians launch training program for next generation

The program, called the Black Bench, will launch on Martin Luther King Day and is co-chaired by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Jacky Grimshaw, a political advisor for the late Mayor Harold Washington and the current vice president of government affairs for the Center for Neighborhood Technology.


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Former top cop Eddie Johnson speaks out about sexual-abuse accusation

"I have two daughters that I had to talk to about this and my wife, and they will never understand how sorry I am. ... If I could change some things, I would, but I can’t."


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Former Ald. Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno leaves Cook County Jail, must undergo alcohol abuse treatment

Moreno, 48, must also abstain from alcohol while he awaits trial on his felony fraud case, Cook County Judge William H. Hooks ordered.


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Ralph Capparelli, longtime ‘friendly’ Northwest Side state legislator, dead at 96

He was a top lieutenant to then Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan, but he also vacationed with Republican state Rep. Roger McAuliffe, a buddy who represented a neighboring district.


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What Chicagoans say about CPS schools being reopened despite the pandemic

Some support bringing students and teachers back to Chicago classrooms. Many question whether it’s safe. Some note the Chicago Board of Ed is still meeting virtually.


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Chicago taxicab king no more: Empire of mogul linked to Daley son, ex-Trump fixer has crumbled

Symon Garber was part of a takeover by out-of-town investors who caused taxi medallion prices to soar and got millions in loans that financed their high-flying lifestyles.


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People with disabilities fear impact of ailing taxi industry on Chicago area’s subsidized cab service

Those who rely on the Taxi Access Program operated by PACE say they’re already seeing longer waits. And they worry that, with fewer cabs on the streets, it will get worse.


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In Chicago, other cities, more cops are calling it quits, retiring amid anti-police backlash

Chicago police retirements were up 15% last year over 2019. In New York, retirements nearly doubled. Some Chicago cops cite anti-police rhetoric over the past year.


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City’s water bill relief program expects to forgive nearly $9 million of debt for low-income homeowners

The Utility Billing Relief program has helped 8,539 families since its launch last year.


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Chicago doesn’t have to return impounded cars to bankrupt owners, U.S. Supreme Court rules

Justice Sonia Sotomayor concurred, but noted the impact of impoundments on low-income communities, saying bankruptcy courts aren’t powerless to work out arrangements for people to get their cars back from the city so they can drive to their jobs.


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Union: CPD suspended 17 officers, supervisors who lounged in congressman’s burglarized office

Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said the union is challenging all the suspensions, ranging from one day to 20 days, arguing that the officers did nothing wrong. The department declined to comment, and has not disclosed what, if any, penalties were handed out.


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Lightfoot wants to reopen bars and restaurants as soon as possible

"We are at the point where we need to be talking about when and not if," Lightfoot said.


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Defiant FOP president won’t resign for defending mob that stormed Capitol

John Catanzara said his sympathetic remarks to WBEZ-FM were made after he had watched television coverage of the Capitol siege for only 30 minutes — before the damage, destruction and deaths had been revealed.


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High Court rules for city of Chicago in vehicle impound case

In an opinion announced Thursday, Justice Samuel Alito wrote for a unanimous eight-justice court that "mere retention" of a debtor’s property by a creditor does not violate the law.


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CPS locked these teachers out of class after they refused to report in person. So they found other ways to teach their students

The employees set up outside the home of Board of Education President Miguel del Valle Wednesday as part of their escalating war between the union and district.


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After 15 years, popular ‘Second City Cop’ blog goes dark

Operators of the site — read by thousands of people and often referred to as "SCC" or merely "the blog" — restricted access over the weekend, preventing anyone without an invitation from reading future posts.


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Criminal justice reform bill puts Chicago FOP on the clock to cut a deal

Major police reforms in the bill include allowing anonymous complaints and eliminating cash bail. The Legislative Black Caucus calls the bill a response to systematic racism; a coalition of cops says it makes the state "less safe."


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Harold Washington TV miniseries in the works by playwright Ike Holter

A production company is lined up to develop the project about the influential Chicago politician’s hard-fought election and 1983-87 mayoral reign.


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Ald. Carrie Austin’s 34th Ward campaign committee slapped with $145,500 fine

Records show Benchmark Constructions made three contributions, totaling $55,000, from November 2017 to November 2018.


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Chicago relaxes travel advisory

Starting Friday, states outside Illinois will be divided into two categories instead of three. The "red" category has been eliminated.