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Political News

Local and State Headlines for 10-25-2020

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Lightfoot hints strongly that she won’t re-appoint Inspector General Joe Ferguson

‘"He’s to be commended for the really good and hard work that he and his team have done on investigations," the mayor said. "But ... I’m somebody who favors terms limits. And I don’t think people should stay in office indefinitely."


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Lightfoot vows to confront city government’s sacred cows — such as three employees per garbage truck

"I don’t like taking the path of least resistance on any issue. And I’m not afraid of being bold and challenging us to get out of our comfort zone. All of us. Me included... We’re living in a world where there can’t be sacred cows," Lightfoot told the Sun-Times.


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Bears have ‘good plan’ to keep fans safe at Soldier Field, mayor says

But there’s a catch: It will happen only when the "second surge" of coronavirus cases has ended, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. That surge prompted the city to ban indoor bar service and force restaurants to close at 10 p.m.


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Another COVID clampdown in Chicago: Bars banned from serving customers inside, restaurants must close by 10 p.m.

Other non-essential businesses will be under a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.


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After sharp criticism, Lightfoot tells use-of-force review group that its work was ‘not in vain’

The Chicago Police Department accepted five of 155 recommended changes submitted by the group.


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A Chicago budget full of hard calls for hard times

The year ahead will tell if this budget addresses these financially-troubling times — or makes them worse for Chicagoans.


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Lightfoot tries to straddle the fence on thorny issue of defunding CPD

Mayor Lori Lightfoot threw several political bones to anti-police activists, even as she declared police officers are "not the enemy" and ignored the broader call to dramatically reduce CPD’s $1.6 billion budget.


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Lightfoot defends annual increase in property taxes tied to inflation rate

The mayor’s "pandemic budget" has a $94 million property tax increase in 2021, with an annual adjustment tied to the consumer price increase kicking in after that.


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Chilly dinner: Indoor dining nixed in south, west suburbs as COVID-19 numbers rise — and temperatures drop

With the state facing what Gov. J.B. Pritzker has called a "new wave" of surging coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths, business restrictions will be in place across four of the state’s 11 regions by the end of the week — and other regions are flirting with a state intervention as well. 


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Feds investigating city after civil rights complaint filed by environmental groups

The Department of Housing and Urban Development opened a formal inquiry after Southeast Side groups accused Chicago of environmental racism.


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CPS gets TIF windfall, but takes on pension, crossing guard costs in Lightfoot’s 2021 budget

The mayor will declare a $350 million surplus in tax increment financing funds — the largest in city history. CPS would receive $189 million of that — but lose $55 million as other responsibilities are shifted to the school district.


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Attack ad, poll shift, six-figure donations bring heated Foxx-O’Brien state’s attorney battle to a boil

The incumbent prosecutor’s ad argues that O’Brien is "pure Trump" and wrong for Cook County. But Republicans say O’Brien’s rise in the polls shows voters are deciding what’s wrong for voters are "the disastrous policies of Kim Foxx."


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Lightfoot’s ‘pandemic’ budget: 500 layoffs, $94 million property tax hike

The budget also raises the gasoline tax 3-cent-a-gallon and would eliminate 1,000 vacant jobs, including 450 police officers. City employees laid off would have pink slips delayed to March, giving the new Congress time to act.


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Group blasts Lightfoot, CPD for rejecting use-of-force recommendations

The 20-person Use of Force Working Group was convened over the summer after George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.


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Case surge means COVID restrictions could tighten again, mayor says: ‘This is a call to action’

"We don’t want to see us have to go back to the kind of restrictive measures we say in March, April and May. But, if we have to, we will," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday.


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Lightfoot to unveil plan to ‘fix it ourselves,’ erase $1.2 billion shortfall without federal help

On Wednesday, the mayor will outline the $94 million property tax increase she plans to propose, the roughly 350 employees who will lose their jobs and the services she must cut to, as she put it, "fix it ourselves."


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Pritzker to extend eviction moratorium another 30 days: ‘Nothing really has changed’

Pointing to the number of people out of work, housing advocates have called for the governor to cancel rent and mortgage payments and lift the ban on rent control out of fear that too many will become homeless after the pandemic.


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Top cop Johnson had 10 drinks before falling asleep behind the wheel, was allowed to drive home without a field sobriety test: watchdog

A year after the incident that caused Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson’s downfall, Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s long-awaited report details an elaborate police cover-up by seven of the fired superintendent’s underlings.


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Paul Vallas shows up at police contract talks as consultant to the Fraternal Order of Police

FOP President John Catanzara said Vallas’ presence produced a "palpable shift" for the better in the tone of contract talks.


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City laborer used sick time to cover for time spent in MCC after drug arrest, inspector general says

Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s third-quarter report outlined an array of corruption and wrongdoing by city employees.


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Taxpayers paid for 7 business trips taken by then-Supt. Eddie Johnson and female Chicago cop now suing him for sexual assault

Cynthia Donald, the former superintendent’s driver, says in a lawsuit against Johnson that he forced her to have sex in his hotel rooms. Johnson denies her allegations of sexual assault and harassment. Twice in Springfield, the two had adjacent rooms, according to city travel records.


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Republican Pat O’Brien outraising Democrat Kim Foxx in Cook County state’s attorney money battle

Campaign reports on file Thursday showed the Democratic incumbent had roughly $216,590.45 to spend, while O’Brien had at least $427,326.62. But with contribution limits blown by the Republican’s self-financing, donors are now free to give as much as they want to either candidate.


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You don’t need a sleeping bag to survive early voting lines, but a campstool — and a scarf — might come in handy

If you’re going to vote in person in 2020, you’re going to need to bring your patience, your mask, some comfortable shoes and probably your mobile phone to keep you entertained. And, oh yes, appropriate outerwear.


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Former CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson sued for sex assault, harassment

The suit was filed by officer Cynthia Donald, a former member of Johnson’s security detail, who was a central figure in the events that ultimately led Mayor Lori Lightfoot to fire Johnson last year.


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Lightfoot’s ‘authenticity’ to be center of plan to re-brand Chicago

"If you look at the mayor and what she represents — her history, her background, her personality — people are very intrigued by that. They might not agree with everything. But, they’re intrigued and believe she’s authentic," Michael Fassnacht, the city’s chief marketing officer, said Thursday.


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Fran Spielman interviews Michael Fassnacht, City of Chicago’s chief marketing officer


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City planners OK West Loop office building

The Chicago Plan Commission also approved residential and hotel projects on the North Side.


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Layoffs, cutting vacant jobs all part of Preckwinkle’s $6.9 billion budget plan to ride out COVID-19 storm

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Thursday is expected to recommend cutting 659 vacant positions — 300 of them in the sheriff’s office. County health officials are eying up to 130 layoffs, but hoping the final number is half that.


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Five Chicago Police officers face suspension for covering up for former top cop Eddie Johnson

The harshest penalty — a 28-day suspension — goes to Cmdr. Don Jerome, whose Deering District covers the 3400 block of South Aberdeen, where Johnson was found slumped in his police SUV around 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 17, 2019.


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City failed to conduct performance evaluations for thousands of employees, inspector general says

"More than 10,000" employees work in seven departments without any performance evaluations, according to Joe Ferguson, the city’s inspector general. Personnel decisions are therefore "vulnerable to ... suspicions of favoritism."


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Three Cook County state’s attorney rivals agree much needs to change — but part ways on what and how

Republican Pat O’Brien argues that Democratic incumbent Kim Foxx has increased crime and fear. She counters that O’Brien is in lockstep with President Donald Trump. Libertarian Brian Dennehy refrains from attacks, just saying he "would do a better job than they would."


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Let’s finally put Chicago — not self-serving aldermen — first in redrawing the city’s wards

Going back to Chicago’s earliest days, redrawing the city’s ward map has been an insiders’ game. That has to end.