Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Watchdog Calls For More Transparency From Cook County’s Inspector General – WTTW

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Lightfoot’s minimum wage compromise advances, to cheers from restaurant owners – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to raise Chicago’s minimum wage to $15-an-hour by 2021, but maintain a “sub-minimum wage” for tipped workers, cleared a key legislative hurdle on Monday to cheers from restaurant owners.

That’s not good enough to satisfy Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th). He argued again Monday that eliminating the “sub-minimum wage” and phasing in a $15-an-hour wage for all workers was imperative to “reduce workplace sexual harassment” and eradicate a two-tiered system that “leaves black and Latino women in the service industry behind.”

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CTU President Sharkey Op-Ed: Chicago teachers went on strike to do right by kids, but we’re not done fighting yet – Chicago Sun-Times

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Ken Fisher Loses $67 Million as Chicago Police Fund Pulls – Bloomberg

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Lightfoot is killing Emanuel’s Infrastructure Trust – Crain’s

The trust, launched with a flourish at the start of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, has been criticized for accomplishing little at a snail's pace and depending on public financing, even though it was created with a goal of freeing taxpayers from the cost and risk of funding big infrastructure projects.

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Robbery crews launch at least 8 attacks in 3 hours across North Side – CWB Chicago

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Business group: Chicago work scheduling rules unconstitutional, should be blocked – Cook County Record

The Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago has sued City Hall to try to stop the city from enforcing its Fair Workweek Ordinance, which regulates employers’ scheduling processes, and asking the courts to strike the ordinance down as unconstitutional for targeting only specific kinds of employers.

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A Baby Whale At The Shedd Needs A Name — And Your Vote Could Decide What It’ll Be – Block Club Chicago

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Downtown rents have companies taking a second look at the burbs – Crain’s

Tenant rep brokers say that widening gap isn't enough to reverse or stop a suburban-to-urban trend alone, as real estate expenses pale in comparison to labor costs. But with the suburban millennial population expected to grow during the next decade and the rise of telecommuting and co-working allowing more workplace flexibility, the calculus companies are using to decide where they want to call home is changing.

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Chicago-pedia – a collection of ‘Chicago-speak’: Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: There's a misspelling in here. It's samich not sandwich.

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Inside the world’s biggest Starbucks on Michigan Avenue – Eater Chicago

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Here’s How To Get Your Chicago City Sticker Ticket Debt Erased – Block Club Chicago

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Editorial: Who will bear the burden of CTU’s generous new contract? Take a guess – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Teachers Union officials earlier this year said the costs of a new contract would come from “rich people,” casino gambling, legalized marijuana and sports betting. Nope. Those revenues won’t cover the 16% pay raises and other promises. Money expected to be generated, eventually, from gambling and cannabis legalization would flow to the city budget, not the schools.
The burden will be borne by rank-and-file middle-class taxpayers and property owners. Same as it ever was in Illinois.

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How Open Is Chicago Area Government? One-Third of Local Agencies Get Failing Grade for Transparency – City Bureau

Dozens of Chicago and Cook County agencies fall short on Open Meetings Act and other open government standards, according to a City Bureau analysis.

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Report: Chicago police miss deadlines, but make progress on reforms – WGN

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Chicago Is Using a 20th-Century Tax System – Chicago Magazine

Tax retirement income and expand the sales tax.

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Chicago Recycling Rate Gets Even Worse At 8.8%. New Laws, More Composting Could Change That, Report Says – Block Club Chicago

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Property Tax Shell Game – Chicago Sun-Times

Suburban businessmen linked to Ald. Carrie Austin and a federal investigation didn’t pay taxes on properties for years, then bought up $861,000 of their own tax debts — for $26,000.

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Don’t pop the cork over that pension win just yet – Crain’s

Pritzker & Co. won a victory worth celebrating when they pushed through a deal to consolidate hundreds of police and fire retirement funds. But don't think for a second the state's problem is solved.

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See Inside ‘Griswold’s,’ Chicago’s ‘Christmas Vacation’-Themed Pop-Up Bar – NBC Chicago

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Tax revenue should go to affordable housing, not megadevelopments, aldermen say – Curbed Chicago

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Commentary: Fritz Kaegi: Benefits of property tax assessment reform are showing in Cook County – Chicago Tribune

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Sometimes the mayor undercuts her own cause—and ours – Crain’s

Discerning the difference between refreshing straight talk and intemperate broadsides should be on the mayor's to-do list.

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A Chicago real estate family’s troublesome tax history – The Real Deal

How the Nitchoffs avoided paying hundreds of thousands of dollars by paying a fraction of what they owed

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Chicago Transit Authority Reduces Assumptions for State Reduced Fare Subsidy – The Civic Federation

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Chicago holds lottery for chance to sell legal weed in the city: ‘African American participation at this point is zero. That’s a problem.’ – Chicago Tribune

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From The Archives: The Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund Was Unfunded From The Start – Forbes

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Chicago Launches Ticket Debt Forgiveness Website, New Payment Plans – WTTW

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Civic Federation president questions whether CPS can afford $1.5B cost of new teachers contract – Chicago Sun-Times

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‘Change cannot be expected overnight’: Chicago fails to meet 37 of 50 deadlines for court-ordered police reform. But it’s still early, monitor says. – Chicago Tribune

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Chicago Teachers Approve Contract By Wide Margin – WBEZ

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Ex-Gov. Deval Patrick launches presidential bid highlighting his South Side Chicago roots – Chicago Sun-Times

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John Kass: Northwestern University, the cancel culture and ‘Whatsoever things are true’ – Chicago Tribune

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To pay for new union contracts, Lightfoot, CPS relying on duct tape — and risky assumptions about the future – Chicago Tribune

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Chicagoans favor bankruptcy over taxes as city’s debt continues to mount – Chicago City Wire

Conducted by Ogden & Fry on behalf of the Illinois Opportunity Project, pollsters found 36 percent of respondents favor bankruptcy, compared to 21 percent of those in favor of raising taxes as a way of trying to tackle the deficit. Of the 534 respondents that were randomly selected from a pool of 2020 general election voters earlier this month, 42.7 percent were undecided on the issue.    

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Editorial: Springfield after Cullerton: Will the next Illinois Senate president be a change agent? – Chicago Tribune

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Chicago Nears Deadline to Secure State Help for Budget – Bloomberg

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The Daily Northwestern’s Apology Shows the Activist Threat to Student Journalism – Reason

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Chicago casino bill stalls, some not happy with state’s smaller cut – Center Square

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Lightfoot says Uber offered black ministers $54M to get her to ‘back off’ fee hike — which Uber disputes – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday shot down an alternative congestion fee floated by Uber and accused the ride-hailing giant of offering black ministers $54 million to carry the ride-hailing giant’s water.

Lightfoot dropped the political bombshell at a City Hall news conference when asked about the tax plan that, Uber claims, would raise $21 million more than Lightfoot’s congestion fee in part because it would apply to taxis as well as ride-hailing.

“Is this the one where they’re paying off black ministers by $54 million? That one? Or is this a new one?” the mayor said.

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Here’s what CPS teachers will make under the new contract – Chicago Sun-Times

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Daily Northwestern editor refuses to publish College Republicans’ response to Sessions’ protest – IL Review

Comment: National ridicule apparently wasn't enough for them, so they are going for more.

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What $2,000 rents in Chicago right now – Curbed Chicago

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Chicago is the most immigrant-friendly city in America, new report says – USA Today

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City of Chicago FY2020 Proposed Budget: Analysis and Recommendations – The Civic Federation

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Mayor proposes wage hike for tipped workers – Crain’s

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has introduced her proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 by 2021 and boost base wages for tipped workers—but not to the full $15 that some employee advocates were hoping for. Her proposal would boost the city’s minimum wage for businesses with 21 or more employees to $14 per hour on July 1, 2020, and $15 one year later. Those wages also would apply to the city’s sister agencies like the park district and Chicago Transit Authority and would rise with inflation. For those with fewer than 21 employees, wages would climb more slowly, rising by 50 cents an hour each year to bring the wage to $15 per hour by 2023.

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Cook County’s Transit Transformation – Chicago Magazine

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Tucker Carlson: There’s no value more American than free speech – Video

Monologue focused on the recent fiasco at Northwestern University, now getting many national headlines.

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With Budget Help Unlikely In Springfield, Mayor Lori Lightfoot Lays Out Alternatives To Avoid Bigger Property Tax Hike – CBS Chicago

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More debt savings in Chicago’s backup plan to close 2020 gap – The Bond Buyer

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot meets with state lawmakers, heading home without a deal on casino, real estate transfer tax plans – Chicago Tribune

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Northwestern journalism dean reacts to ‘heartfelt, though not well-considered’ newspaper apology for reporting – Fox News

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The Daily Northwestern Apologizes to Students for Reporting News That Triggered Them – Reason

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Food bank plans $50 million kitchen to feed aging baby boomers – Crain’s

The Greater Chicago Food Depository hopes to make up to 17,000 scratch meals a day for Cook County's aging population, which is on course to significantly increase over the next decade.

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Editorial: As students flee and contract costs rise: Close Chicago’s half-empty schools – Chicago Tribune

"Lightfoot finally agreed to a labor contract that is very generous to the teachers union. Making it affordable, however, won’t be easy. Nor will giving a higher-quality education to students now trapped in dying schools. Closing these half-empty buildings is one way to show she’s serious about both goals."

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Lightfoot asks Springfield for progressive ‘exit tax’ on Chicago property sales – IL Policy

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Firms owned by Hazel Crest woman with criminal past collected $1.8 million consulting for suburbs, even while she faced federal indictment – Chicago Tribune

Irma Holloway, a 53-year-old real estate investor with a checkered financial past and a rap sheet that includes arrests for theft, forgery and bank fraud, resigned as economic development director for Hazel Crest Friday following inquiries from the Daily Southtown.

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Lightfoot to Pritzker on Pensions: It’s Your Move – BGA

Comment: Lightfoot talks out of both sides of her mouth on this. Though she indicated here that she might support a constitutional amendment on pensions, Pritzker's office says she told him she opposes it, as he does.

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Ex-Chicago city official moonlighted for red-light camera contractor that’s part of federal probe – Chicago Sun-Times

Bill Helm — a $125,000-a-year deputy aviation commissioner — also was a paid sales representative for SafeSpeed, LLC, while on the city payroll, the records show.

SafeSpeed paid Helm, who’d held the city aviation post since 2014, a commission on red-light tickets written in Matteson and also Glendale Heights, the records show.

SafeSpeed and Helm have been named in federal search warrants and subpoenas served on several southwest suburbs and on the offices of state Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago

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Teachers Strike Remakes 25 Years Of Bargaining In Chicago -WBEZ

Comment: Good explanation of how the union skirted the law.

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Under the radar: Chicago teachers contract rolls forward limits on charter schools – Chalkbeat

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CPS Enrollment Declines By 6,000 Students – WTTW

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Former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck officially named interim Chicago top cop – WGN

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House Republicans unveil more ethics proposals – Capitol News IL

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Fewer Chicago schools earn the city’s top 1-plus rating. See how your school fared. – Chalkbeat

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Even after tentative agreement, union contract hits snag on details over veteran teachers pay – Chalkbeat

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S&P dings CPS contract deal with teachers – Crain’s

The agency's junk rating on Chicago Public Schools debt in unchanged, but it warns the $1.5 billion deal "will widen a structure gap" in school finances that already were weak.

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Thieves now using tow trucks to steal cars in Chicago – Fox Chicago

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Aldermen call for Mayor Lori Lightfoot to eliminate lower wage for Chicago’s tipped workers – Chicago Tribune

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Editorial: Watch out, Cook County land bank. The public could foreclose — on you. – Chicago Tribune

A bungle like approving the Corliss Avenue deal can cause public support to flag. The deal never should have happened. Not only should the...

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Chicago Punts on its Looming Teacher Pension Disaster – RealClear Policy

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Students protest Jeff Sessions’ speech, police presence – Daily Northwestern

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‘Do not tax our people’: Ministers say Lightfoot’s proposed ride-share tax hike would hurt the poor; city disputes claim – Chicago Tribune

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Plan To Turn Closed School Into Teacher-Focused Apartment Complex Tweaked To Appease Critics, But Will Neighbors Get On Board? – Block Club Chicago

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Odds of getting away with murder in Chicago are better than 50 percent – WGN

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‘Putting ego and politics’ before ‘black bodies’: Chicago native blasts city leaders who snubbed Trump – Fox News

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Lightfoot’s tax plan is in trouble in Springfield – Crain’s

Greg Hinz: "I’m hearing Lightfoot’s plan still is in trouble, facing opposition both from Republicans and real estate groups that oppose tax hikes, and from downstate and suburban Democrats who see no reason to take a tough vote even if progressives may be climbing aboard."

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Property taxes will fund most of CTU’s $1.5 billion new contract – Crain’s

Chicago Public Schools says it's confident it will be able to pay for the contract—but only with $100 million a year in new property taxes and aid from the state, aid that may be dependent on enacting a graduated income tax.

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Chicago Public Schools to plug new budget hole with one-time measures – Reuters

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Chicago Police Supt. Johnson to announce his retirement this week: reports – Chicago Sun-Times

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Illinois marijuana legalization can’t apply to public housing in Chicago – Curbed Chicago

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Chicago teachers’ abuse of sick days should leave us all feeling ill – Chicago Sun-Times

Lots of Chicago teachers call in sick when they are not sick. Just because they can. That sad fact lies behind a little noticed provision in the teachers’ new tentative contract. The teachers will be allowed to accumulate as many as 244 sick days, which they can put toward an earlier retirement with a full pension. Some teachers will be able to retire about a year and half early.

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Chicago schools release proposal to make up strike days – A.P.

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Chicago Lawmakers Don’t Know What’s Best for Restaurants – Eater Chicago

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In Striking, Chicago Teachers Went on the Offense for Public Schools – Jacobin

Comment: It says something when the socialists are happy that CTU took another step to "revive a tradition of militant trade unionism based on strikes, solidarity, and social justice."

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Chicago police still providing former Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel taxpayer-funded security details – Chicago Tribune

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Victims of alleged racist incident at Naperville Buffalo Wild Wings speak out: ‘We could tell that he did not want us there’ – ABC Chicago

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Union Report: A Look at the Before-and-After of the Chicago Teacher Strike Raises the Question — Was the Walkout Worth It? – T74

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As companies flee blue cities, middle class workers are hurt – The Hill

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Congestion Plan or Regressive Tax? A Debate Over Ride-Hailing Fee Hikes – WTTW

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Chicago teachers no longer can save 40 sick days for retirement: now it’s 244 – IL Policy

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Why can’t I afford this? – Eric Allie Cartoon

 

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Cook County OK’d insider deal for Ald. Carrie Austin’s top aide – Chicago Sun-Times

Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) and her chief of staff, Chester Wilson Jr. (center, yellow tie), at the May 20 inauguration of Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Chester Wilson’s delinquent property tax tab on a South Side building topped $200K. County land bank erased that — and gave the property to a Wilson business partner for $40,000.

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What’s Driving Chicago’s Political Dysfunction – Daily Signal

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Lightfoot Was Never a Progressive – Chicago Magazine

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‘When We Fight, We Win’: Chicago Teachers Score Another Victory for Public Education – The Nation

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Chicago teenager accused of shooting 7-year-old girl on Halloween faces court hearing Monday – USA Today

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Party over for Burke and Arroyo? Democrats ask criminally charged ward bosses to hit the bricks – Chicago Sun-Times

Leaders of the Cook County Democratic Party on Monday voted unanimously to ask former state Rep. Luis Arroyo to step down from its ranks Monday — and will be sending a letter to indicted 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke requesting he do the same.

Democrats hadn’t previously asked Burke or Solis to hit the road, although the chair of the party, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, had asked Burke to step down from his party post in January when Burke was first hit with federal charges.

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Cook County FY2020 Executive Budget Recommendation: Analysis and Recommendations – Civic Federation

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The City Closed Many Of Its Free Mental Health Clinics, So West Siders Opened Their Own – Block Club Chicago

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Chicago Will Stop Shutting Off Water Service Due To Unpaid Bills: ‘Water Is A Basic Human Right’ – Block Club Chicago

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Chicago teachers can save 244 unused sick days, retire early under new contract – Chicago Sun-Times

The tentative agreement reached Thursday between the city, Chicago Public Schools and the CTU allows union members to bank 244 sick days, up from 40.

That’s more than enough days to cover an entire school year — an increase that could allow a longtime employee to retire a year early and still receive their full pension.

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Will Donald Trump upset Lori Lightfoot’s budget? – Chicago Sun-Times

"Ka-ching, k-not."

Included in Lightfoot’s massive city budget expectation is $163 million federal dollars in ambulance service reimbursements based on the feds rewriting a section of the Medicaid formula. Political insiders are betting the ranch the Trump administration will nix the cash by turning a thumbs-down to approval of the formula rewrite by the U.S. Department of Human Services. Why? It’s pretty obvious this president, who is consistently bashing Chicago, doesn’t forget slights.

And Lightfoot’s decision not to greet Trump at the airport Monday, his first trip to Chicago since his 2016 election, probably stung. As a top Dem politico noted: “Even during the dark days of Watergate, Mayor Richard J. Daley greeted Republican President Richard Nixon at the airport when he visited Chicago.

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Budget Expert: Taxpayer is ‘Big Loser’ in Chicago Teachers’ Strike Deal – NBC Chicago

That's Wirepoints' Ted Dabrowski.

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After Teachers Strike, Big Question Marks Hang Over Mayor Lightfoot’s Affordable Housing Reform Agenda – Bisnow

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Chicago Headed for Insolvency, Get the Hell Out Now – MishTalk

"Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Teachers Union reached agreement on a deal sure to send Chicago over the cliff."

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Strike-ending deal will shape Chicago schools for years – Associated Press

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New teachers contract to cost $1.5 billion over 5 years. Where will CPS get the money? – Chicago Sun-Times

Jesse Sharkey and Vice President Stacy Davis Gates sloughed off concerns about how a school system that has borrowed to the hilt can afford such a generous contract:

“So to hear this discussion arise about, ‘Oh, my God. It’s gonna cost too much money.’ No. quite frankly, it should be costing a lot more money.”

Pressed on where the money should come from, Davis Gates said, “Rich people. Reinstate the corporate head tax.

“[Lightfoot] has an opportunity to expand the tax base to include those who can pay more. She should do that,” Davis Gates said.

“A corporate head tax. A financial transaction tax. Things that will actually transform the way in which we fund public services in this city."

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Feds’ mole’s disappearing debt – Chicago Tribune

Chicago TV/movie studio mogul Alexander S. Pissios was on the hook for more than $1 million when he began cooperating in a corruption case that took down a Teamsters boss. Now, he no longer owes that money.

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Jussie Smollett case might soon blow up on Kim Foxx again – Chicago Sun-Times

Is there a whiff of something out of whack here? Former Smollett press adviser Rosen co-hosting a dinner for Tchen, whose involvement in the Smollett case raised heavy eyebrows? Former White House insiders tell Sneed Tchen and Jarrett are not only this/close and chummy on the Tinseltown scene, but they got to know Foxx as a frequent visitor at Hollywood fundraising events.

Smollett’s Chicago case, which still sparks of outrage in Chicago, is now in the hands of special prosecutor/mega legal eagle Dan K. Webb.

Will Webb discover a few former White House spoons were used to simmer down the boiling Smollett stew?

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Teachers union president, Sharkey, wants city homeowners to pay more in property taxes while he gets a big break on his – Chicago City Wire

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The Hidden Costs of Chicago’s Teacher Strike – Law & Liberty

Paradoxically, the worse the policies that the unions foist on our cities, the more progressives need their muscle to get reelected.

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CTU vice president says Mayor Lightfoot barred her from 2-hour meeting that ended teachers strike – Chicago Sun-TImes

Stacy Davis Gates said she was stopped at a City Hall elevator by the mayor’s security team.

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How’s your school doing? Depends on which report card you read. – Chicago Sun-Times

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Judge: New details allow suit to continue vs Recorder’s Office over Yarbrough’s alleged politically motivated hiring decisions – Cook County Record

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ComEd Cuts Ties With Lobbying Firm Of Prominent Chicago Alderman – WBEZ

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Chicago is the greenest place to work in America – Bloomberg

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Speaker Madigan’s son got Alsip business, hit up mayor for campaign cash for his dad – Chicago Sun-TImes

Around the time he was trying to get the village of Alsip to hire his clout-heavy insurance company, Andrew Madigan invited the south suburb’s mayor to a campaign fundraiser for his father, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

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Chicago Teachers Strike is Over as Mayor Lightfoot Gives Unconditional Surrender – PJ Media

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The $1.5 billion question: How will Chicago pay for Lightfoot’s CTU deal? – Crain’s

That's the five-year, high end estimate from the CPS budget office. “The union won the strike. They absolutely won,” says Paul Vallas, a former CPS CEO who was one of Lightfoot’s rivals in the February mayoral election. “It’s going to be impossible for them to come up with that much dough without major tax increases if (Gov. J.B.) Pritzker does not fully fund the state’s new school-aid formula.”

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Molson Coors to lay off 500 workers, move North American HQ from Denver to Chicago – WGN

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Chicago Police Contract Negotiations Coming. Top Cop To Defend Proposed 7% Hike To Police Budget – WBEZ

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Chicago Teachers Strike for $100,000 Salaries – Canada Free Press

"The future of public education in Chicago is empty schools, $100K teacher salaries, and fake jobs."

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The Union Routs Students in Chicago – Wall Street Journal

Estimated cost to follow, but you can bet it will be expensive. The agreement also includes new job protections for substitute teachers who going forward may only be removed after conferring with the union about “performance deficiencies.” Chicago Public Schools will become a “sanctuary district,” meaning school officials won’t be allowed to cooperate with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement without a court order. Employees will also be allowed 10 unpaid days for personal immigration matters.

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Here are the highlights of CPS-CTU deal – Chicago Sun-Times

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With CPS strike now over, will a new contract agreement transform classrooms in Chicago schools? – Chicago Tribune

"Paradoxically, the worse the policies that the unions foist on our cities, the more progressives need their muscle to get reelected."

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Teachers strike is over, but Lightfoot faces political fallout – Analysis – Chicago Sun-Times

Having boxed herself in with an education platform that reads like the CTU playbook, Lightfoot had no choice but to essentially give away the store to a teachers union that backed her opponent, County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

In a desperate attempt to honor her “not-on-my-watch” promise to avoid a teachers strike, she quickly agreed to a 14% pay raise over five years, then upped the ante to 16%, matching the recommendation of an independent fact-finder.

The strategy violated Negotiations 101: When facing a difficult adversary, hold something back. Give yourself room to maneuver.

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Fight over real estate transfer tax could zap some city neighborhoods – Crain’s

Comment: With the higher transfer taxes not even approved yet, progressives are already proposing expanding the scope of the tax increase to homes valued at just $500k. "The plan from Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, could spark a bit of a homeowners' revolt on much of the North Side and other sections of the city where property values are relatively high. They could end up paying hundreds of dollars more in taxes on the sales of even rather ordinary houses and condominiums," says Crain's

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Chicago’s teacher strike is over. CPS students back in class Friday – WGN

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Internal Document Provides Insight into CTU Bargaining – WTTW

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Striking Chicago teachers have the right to go to work and get paid – IL Policy

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No Halloween Parties For Evanston Elementary Schools This Year – CBS Chicago

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 said they’re striving for inclusivity, but in their quest to make everyone feel comfortable, some families said they just feel sad.

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Chicago teachers strike may be hurting students’ bottom line – Fox Business

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Inspector general takes a whack at tree-trimming – Chicago Sun-Times

Joe Ferguson says Chicago is trimming fewer trees, more sporadically, and at a higher cost because city crews rely on 311 requests, instead of a grid system.

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Distracted driving lawsuit against the city gets stronger – Chicago Sun-Times

In August 2015, Chicago quietly shifted distracted driving tickets from administrative hearings to Traffic Court after being advised by its own attorneys that motorists caught talking on cellphones and texting behind the wheel were being denied due process.

Why, then, did City Hall continue to collect $3.2 million in fines from motorists whose tickets issued before then were “illegally” routed to administrative hearing officers and use those citations to suspend drivers licenses, deny permits and prohibit city employment for two more years?

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Uber’s lawsuit over fees in Skokie may foreshadow struggle in Chicago – Curbed Chicago

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The Illinois school report cards are out today – Chicago Tribune

The guide can be found here.
One piece of information is new this year: How much each school spends on each student.

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Foxx Budget Would Expand To Take On Burge Torture Cases – WBEZ

The proposed FY2020 budget for the prosecutor’s office calls for adding 10 new positions to the unit that handles wrongful conviction claims, like the ones tied to Burge. In total, the budget calls for about 22 new positions in the prosecutor’s office, including new positions to help with expungements based on the new Illinois law legalizing marijuana.

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In push to end strike, Democratic leaders show support for elected school board – Chicago Sun-Times

Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, left, and Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, right, in 2015. File Photo. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)Comment: Yes, public unions, whatever you'd like.

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Bill to consolidate Illinois’ 649 local police, fire pension funds could see changes – Center Square

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Here’s Why Chicago Police Solve So Few Of The City’s Murders – WBEZ

Chicago Police Department detectives do not have direct phone lines or individual voicemail. Until recently, they weren’t provided with cell phones. They don’t have their own computers or even their own desks. Their offices are so far from assigned neighborhoods it might take more than an hour to reach a murder scene

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Effects of Chicago Teachers Strike Pile Up – Associated Press

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Illinois Town Tries To Release Statement On Inclusion, Chaos Ensues – Daily Wire

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Teachers block traffic during protest at ‘the 78’ development – Chicago Sun-Times

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Among about 3,100 U.S. counties, Lake ranks fifth in the damage done to future home values as a result of the cap on property tax deductions enacted two years ago. – Crain’s

Cook County isn’t far behind, though among Chicago’s metro-area counties it’s taking the smallest hit. That’s in large part because Cook County has the smallest proportion of homes whose property tax bills are over $10,000, the new limit for deducting state and local taxes on federal filings. Of nearly 3,100 U.S. counties, Lake County ranks fifth for lost home value in the wake of the tax law changes, according to a list compiled by Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics and published earlier this month by ProPublica. Cook County ranks 36th, putting it in the top two percent of the nation's hardest-hit counties.

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Calendars: Dorothy Brown Pitches Money-Making Idea – That Lands With A Thud

Dorothy Brown

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City Council, market worry about Chicago budget fix – The Bond Buyer

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Obama Center shows updated design for museum building in new renderings – Curbed Chicago

Comment: Now it's worth $170 million of taxpayer money plus the free parkland, don't you think?

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Double shot of bad news for Lightfoot’s Springfield agenda – Crain’s

Though the mayor says she's not worried, a federal indictment may hinder her hopes to revive plans for a Chicago casino, and progressives vow to block her real estate transfer tax without more help for the homeless.

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City: Seize Deadbeat Landlord’s Buildings, But Not $88M In Fines – WBEZ

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Chicago teachers recover pension contributions 5 months into retirement – IL Policy

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Longtime Lake Forest City Manager Indicted – Patch

Comment: This hasn't gotten the press coverage it deserves.

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Frustrated Teachers Take On Lincoln Yards As Strike Reaches Day 9: ‘TIF Money … Should Be Going To Our Schools’ – Block Club Chicago

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When teachers strike so they can teach kids less, something is wrong – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: From the pro-union Sun-Times, no less: As we write this editorial, the stumbling blocks include two big demands by the Chicago Teachers Union: More prep time for teachers, and political support from Mayor Lori Lightfoot for a fully elected school board. Lightfoot and her negotiating team have said no to both, and we’re with them.

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Cook County Health CEO Implores Other Hospitals To Treat More Uninsured – WBEZ

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New challenge to union power brewing in wake of Janus ruling – Fox News

The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Janus v. AFSCME that unions could not extract what’s called an “agency fee” from non-members who happened to work in the same place a union had “exclusive representation” rights. But one group argues that in saying it was unconstitutional to force people to fund labor unions’ speech with their own money, the high court also indicated that the legitimacy of “exclusive representation” itself could be up for debate.

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Teacher Strike Continues To Ninth Day After Marathon Talks Fail To Reach Accord – Block Club Chicago

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Column: Trump’s Chicago visit proves too tantalizing for striking CTU to pass up. School was out anyway, right? – Chicago Tribune

Chicago teachers remained on strike Monday, freezing 300,000 students out of crucial instructional time. Why? The reasons are growing, but they aren’t about pay or working conditions.

The latest reason: President Donald Trump visited Chicago to speak to police chiefs before heading to a ritzy fundraiser hosted by Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts. No way could Chicago Teachers Union leaders miss out on the opportunity to protest Trump and a 1-percenter, together, on the same day. That was a double aphrodisiac the socialist-leaning CTU could not deny itself.

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Aldermen demand to know Lightfoot’s Plan B – Chicago Sun-Times

Aldermen from across the city demanded to know how a budget that makes a series of rosy assumptions will be balanced in the event that Lightfoot doesn’t get what she wants?

What if the Illinois General Assembly fails to authorize a graduated real estate transfer tax and a casino gambling fix during its abbreviated fall veto session?

What if the federal government refuses to sign off on the $163 million windfall that the mayor assumes she’ll get by increasing ambulance fees paid by private insurers and from reimbursements administered by the state for ambulance transports for low-income patients on Medicaid?

What if $200 million in savings claimed in the first year alone from refinancing $1.3 billion in city debt turns out to be overly optimistic?

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Chicago Public Schools Cancels Class For 9th Day as Strike Continues – NBC Chicago

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Oak Park Mob Taunts and Jeers at Brave Citizen Planning to Move Because He’s Fed Up with White-Blaming – PJ – Media

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Where Hate Has A Home – Oak Park, Illinois – ZeroHedge

A natioal republication of our Wirepoints article.

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Lightfoot’s 2020 budget requires $60 million pension reimbursement from CPS – Chicago Sun-Times

At a time when union leaders claim another $38 million could end the teachers strike, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2020 budget requires the Chicago Public Schools to reimburse the city for $60 million in pension contributions previously covered by City Hall. The historic about-face is buried in the mayor’s budget overview. It states, “In 2020, an additional $60 million is expected from Chicago Public Schools to cover a portion of its share of the city’s annual contribution to the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund.”

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Chicago mayor fires back at Trump, slams his ‘ignorant buffoonery’ – NY Post

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In Chicago, Trump Calls the City an Embarrassment to the US – A.P.

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In Chicago, Trump blasts city’s police superintendent and ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett – ABC News

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Math so fuzzy, CTU members would be embarrassed to teach it – Chicago Sun-TImes

Using fuzzy math, the CTU claimed on Monday that the negotiating gap on a new contract stands at $38 million. Using real-world math, that gap is about 2 12 times bigger — $98 million. Chicago just doesn’t have that kind of money. Really and truly.

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Zoning Won’t Save Manufacturing In Chicago – WBEZ

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The Manufacturing Mismatch – WBEZ

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Rebecca Friedrichs: Chicago unions stage a fake crisis to grab power – Fox News

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Chicago Strike: Mayor Lori Lightfoot says deal reached with SEIU but standoff with CTU continues; classes canceled Monday – ABC Chicago

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Chicago gets a structural budget balance warning from S&P – The Bond Buyer

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot needs to achieve her 2022 target of structurally balancing the city’s books to preserve the city’s BBB-plus rating, S&P Global Ratings said in a special report Friday.

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Chicago Teachers Strike for the Common Good – Jacobin

Comment: This is the socialist's perspective. For our own views on "bargaining for the common good," see our own article from last week.

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Lightfoot’s budget relies on $163 million in extra ambulance reimbursement money — a plan still awaiting federal approval – Chicago Tribune

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Southwest suburbs that feds visited use insurance broker where Madigan’s son is an exec – Chicago Sun – Times

Alliant/Mesirow Insurance Services and company executive Andrew Madigan — neither of which has been accused of any crime — add an intriguing link to people federal authorities appear to be interested in.

Among them: Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, who doubles as the mayor of McCook and whose office was raided Sept. 26. McCook village records show Tobolski invited Andrew Madigan in 2011 “to submit a proposal” to help secure liability coverage.

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Chicago teachers, school system back to negotiating as strike hits day 11 – Fox Business

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Teamsters won’t deliver across school picket lines: ‘Today it’s them, tomorrow it’s us’ – Chicago Tribune

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Chicago Fed Board Chief Can Continue After Exit From Private Sector Firm Under Investigation – Wall Street Journal

The chairwoman of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago can continue in that role while her former employer is the subject of a federal probe, the regional Fed bank said. Anne Pramaggiore abruptly retired Oct. 15 from her job as chief executive of the utilities unit of Exelon Corp. , the largest operator of nuclear plants in the U.S., less than a week after Exelon Corp. said it had received a second grand-jury subpoena from federal prosecutors looking into its lobbying activities in Illinois. Ms. Pramaggiore has served on the Chicago Fed’s board since 2014 and as its chair since 2017.

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What $375K buys around Chicago right now – Curbed Chicago

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The dirty little secret surrounding the Obama Center – Opinion – Crain’s

Presented without comment: Jackson Park is in terrible shape and needs a fix. "Beyond that, the OPC will enrich the souls of our families and our children. Mothers and fathers can beam with pride and see the museum as a beacon of hope, as a light that tells them that yes, it is possible for their child to grow up and become president."

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Why a teachers strike is bad for Chicago – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

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Police Block Marching Teachers from Entering Lake Shore Drive – NBC Chicago

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Chicago teachers strike sidelines athletes and their future hopes – Fox Chicago

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Chicago’s Death Spiral: There’s No Can Left to Kick – MishTalk

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Mayor Tobolski’s ‘boys club’ came courtesy of McCook taxpayers – Chicago Sun-Times

By Pippenburg’s account, Tobolski used the taxpayer-subsidized dining spot, Alta Grill, as his private hangout, often staying past closing time to drink with pals while running up tabs he sometimes didn’t pay. Tobolski regularly went behind the bar to pour himself a drink or wandered into the kitchen to order up items not on the menu — and insisted the restaurant always be prepared to serve him his favorite dish: grilled octopus, she said.

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CPS Leader Accuses Chicago Teachers Union Of ‘Breach Of Trust’; CTU President Jesse Sharkey Remains Optimistic About Chances Of A Deal By Monday – CBS Chicago

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Chicago Teachers Strike Enters Day 7 With ‘Progress’ in Negotiations – NBC Chicago

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The Kim Foxx effect: how prosecutions have changed in Cook County – Chicago Reporter

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx at her inauguration party in 2016. Data shows she’s dismissed thousands of felonies that would have been pursued in the past.

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How to Prevent the Next Strike? Elect a School Board – Chicago Magazine

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Big bucks for State Sen. Martin Sandoval’s side gig – WGN

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How Chicago Teachers Are Taking On Wall Street – The Intercept

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The $1 Billion Question: What Can CPS Afford For The Teachers Contract? – WBEZ

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Strike taking a toll on family finances, workers say — and things are about to get worse – Chicago Sun-Times

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Chicago To Offer Relief For Residents Struggling With Water Bills – WBEZ

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CTU Strike Is A Political Circus With No Road To A Contract Deal – Mark Konkol – Patch

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Editorial: Why Chicago teachers won’t take ‘yes’ for an answer – Chicago Tribune

Here’s what should infuriate Chicagoans: This strike is about power and relevancy for leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union. It always has been....
Additionally, CTU keeps pushing for a three-year deal, even though Lightfoot’s offer of a five-year contract would protect teachers from the potential damage of a recession and rising health care costs. But CTU, being CTU, wants the shorter contract.
Why? To maintain its relevancy. To guarantee that it has leverage during and after the 2023 mayoral election.

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Richard Epstein: Two Pyrrhic Union Victories – Hoover Institute

"The Chicago Teachers Union uses the rhetoric of social responsibility to extract monopoly profits from the City. CPS is so emotionally committed to the CTU’s progressive agenda that none of its counterproposals try to restructure the basic institutional arrangement."

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CTU members take part in civil disobedience training as strike hits 1-week mark – WGN

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Community Organizers Work to Save Trees Targeted by Obama – Wall Street Journal

Next week former President Barack Obama’s eponymous foundation is hosting a summit meeting to promote its planned Obama Presidential Center in Chicago’s historic Jackson Park. But a hardy band of conservationists, determined to save local birds and trees from the designs of our nation’s 44th President, is planning a Friday court filing and a weekend protest. The Obama tree removals have not yet been scheduled. But once they are scheduled, he believes as many as 500 trees could be doomed by the Obama plan, counting land for the center and related transportation projects.

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Chicago schools to close for 6th day; union plans civil disobedience training – UPI

The union indicated it will return to the picket lines at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and would plan to provide civil disobedience training at CTU...

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Chicago to raise cloud-computing tax – Crain’s

The city’s tech companies are going to feel the pain of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s first budget.

Lightfoot’s budget proposes to boost the city’s tax on cloud-computing services, which was wildly unpopular when it was instituted in 2015, is going up to 7.25 percent from 5.25 percent.

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Trustees continue fighting over pension in Maine Township – Chicago Tribune

In-fighting among members of the Maine Township Board continued this week as elected officials resumed their dispute over the assessor’s interest in receiving a municipal pension.

The voting members of the board  argued with and shouted at each other during a lengthy meeting. At the heart of Tuesday’s disagreement was a desire by three of the five elected officials to appeal the latest determination by the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Board that Township Assessor Susan Moylan Krey is pension-eligible.

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Lightfoot: We won’t bail out CPS, pay for everything teachers union wants – Chicago Sun-Times

Speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board after her first budget address, the mayor showed no signs of caving to end the work stoppage that put 300,000 students out of class and led to tens of thousands of striking Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 members shutting down the Loop during her first budget address to City Council Wednesday.

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Chicago Mayor Pitches $11.7B Budget That Relies on State Help – Bloomeberg

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Chicago ranked most rat-infested city in US: Orkin – ABC Chicago

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Chicago mayor lays out her budget plan – The Bond Buyer

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On strike, too, in Chicago: The desperation of schools’ lowest-paid workers – Chalkbeat

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CPS classes canceled for Thursday; Contract talks continue – WGN

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Lightfoot: No Property Tax Hike If Springfield Chips In – WTTW

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Oak Park trustee feels heat over radio spot – OakPark.Com

Comment: Oak Park just can't miss a chance to embarrass itself.

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Chicago’s new budget summary graphic

Comment: $538 in spending cuts and savings, $352 million of new taxes and $52 million in additional programs and spending. Keep in mind this is a cash budget only that does not include accruing debts, especially for pensions, which continue to be funded less than tread-water amounts, so the unfunded liabilities will continue to grow.

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Text of Mayor Lightfoot’s Budget Address

We will have review and commentary posted soon.

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Lightfoot to declare $300 million TIF surplus — largest in Chicago history – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2020 budget includes a $300 million tax-increment-financing surplus — the largest in Chicago history — just to help bankroll the $500 million offer the striking Chicago Teachers Union has already rejected, a top mayoral aide said Wednesday.

By closing out five TIF’s and scouring all of the others, Lightfoot has managed to generate $163 million for Chicago Public Schools. That’s $66 million more than the school system received last year.

The city will get $31 million of that new money to help defray its $838 million budget gap.

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Downtown diners would pay 11.75% tax on restaurant bills under Lightfoot proposal – IL Policy

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Chicago’s Mayor Increases Homeless Funding; Critics Say It’s Not Enough – WBEZ

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City pension contributions are set to spike by $1 billion over just four years. Taxpayers cannot afford the entire burden of fixing city finances. – IL Policy

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Commentary: Most teachers in CPS strike never benefit from pensions that strangle the system — and taxpayers. There’s a better way. – Chicago Tribune

On average, to earn a full pension, a teacher must remain in the same state or district for 25 years — a condition that less than half of teachers nationally will meet. In Illinois, where the vesting period for the pension system is 10 years of employment, only half of new teachers will ever vest in the system. And only 1 out of 5 teachers in Illinois will ever break even from their pension plan.

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Chicago Investors Want Mayor to Bolster Finances Beyond 2020 – Bloomberg

Investors want comprehensive plans that set up the city for more revenue and lower costs going forward. Chicago’s fiscal woes don’t end in 2020. The city is struggling with $30 billion of unfunded pension liabilities. And its required payments to the cash-strapped retirement system ramp up this year and keep climbing, topping $2 billion in 2022, city documents show.

Elizabeth Warren’s ill-timed insult to Chicago’s new mayor – Crain’s

Her goal: To curry favor with progressives and organized labor by intervening in a teachers strike she really doesn’t know much about, intervening against Lightfoot—an African-American woman and a progressive herself who understands (in a way Warren doesn't) that driving Chicago Public Schools back to near-bankruptcy will only harm the city’s children. Warren seemed oblivious to that.

Presidential Hopeful Warren Rallies With Chicago Teachers as Strike Enters Fourth Day

Reuters "I'm here to stand with every one of the people who stand for our children every day," Warren said to thunderous applause and cheers.

Chicago’s New Mayor Grapples With Nation’s Worst Pension Debt – Wall Street Journal

Ms. Lightfoot will deliver her first budget to the city council Wednesday. Her efforts to make the math work as Chicago’s pension payments increase rapidly will provide a window into the challenge of addressing the burdensome legacy costs weighing on many older American cities.