On the eve of a final budget vote that is not in doubt, representatives from the DefundCPD Campaign, Black Lives Matter, the Grassroots Collaborative and United Working Families put the mayor on blast and aldermen who “cave” to mayoral pressure on notice.
Mayor LIghtfoot Op-Ed: Why I am asking you to support one of the most painful budgets in Chicago’s history – Chicago Sun-Times*
If there were a responsible way to close our budget gap that didn’t involve raising taxes or requiring furloughs for employees, we already would have taken it.
The grandson and nephew of Chicago’s two longest-serving mayors wants a $1.25 tax on packages weighing 50 pounds or less, and $2.50 for packages over that. Prepared food, prescriptions and medical appliances would be exempt.
Obama, in surprise appearance, gives 105,000 CPS students free digital copies of ‘A Promised Land’ – Chicago Sun-Times*
The 15-minute appearance marked the former president’s latest stop on his busy media blitz to promote the long-awaited, 768-page memoir.
Moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures have prevented most people who’ve lost income during the pandemic from being displaced from their homes, but when those protections expire, a rush to the courts could be “catastrophic for Cook County renters and homeowners,” Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board, said in a virtual press conference this morning.
Chicago city Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin fires four employees, including chief of staff as part of office shake-up – Chicago Tribune*
It’s not unusual for elected officials to make staff changes but the decision to fire a handful of key staffers just before Thanksgiving raised eyebrows throughout City Hall. No full explanation given.
Cook County commercial real estate struggles with delinquent property tax payments during pandemic – ABC Chicago
The Treasurer's office typically deals with about $200 million in late payments at this time of the year, but this year they're waiting on $230 million.
Troy LaRaviere, president of the Chicago Principals & Administrators Association: Chicago Public Schools management has once again introduced a skeletal plan to reopen schools. The plan was contrived without the presence and participation of the teachers, support staff, engineers and principals who’d have to implement it. It’s as if they’re purposefully trying to create a plan that is less likely to succeed by creating it without the people who are critical to its success.
The same law that doubled Illinois’ gas tax is now being used by DuPage County and Chicago to fill revenue shortfalls from COVID-19.
South Suburban Homeowners Have Seen Staggering Property Tax Bill Increases, Officials And Resident Want To Know Why – CBS2 (Chicago)
Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller said since 2000, property taxes have gone up a whopping 87 percent in her area, despite what many believe are actually declining property values. “It’s negatively impacting our district, because people are just walking away from property."
Civic Federation Supports Cook County FY2021 Budget that Reflects Several Years of Foresighted Work – Civic Federation
"The County has been able to balance its budget this year through a combination of federal revenues, vacant-position eliminations, health system layoffs and reserves set aside in prior years."
60 Protesters Sue City, Alleging Chicago Police Abused Them ‘Without Justification’ At Summer Protests – Block Club Chicago
The lawsuit includes graphic photos and video screenshots of the alleged abuse. A city spokesperson said "these are allegations at this stage and not proof."
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $12.8 Billion Spending Plan For 2021 Easily Clears Budget Committee, Paving Way For Full City Council Approval – CBS2 (Chicago)
The mayor’s $12.8 billion spending plan sailed through the Budget Committee on a 26-8 vote after Lightfoot agreed to remove plans for 350 layoffs. Lightfoot’s budget team also agreed to scale back plans to require furlough days for non-union employees.
A West Side School Let Students Opt In To Hybrid Learning. They’re Outperforming Online-Only Students, Leaders Say – Block Club Chicago
“There’s just no substitution from being in a class where you’re able to get feedback from a teacher right in the moment. That’s much more difficult to do in a Zoom call,” the school's academic director said. “We’ve learned that you can do a hybrid model and keep people safe. We’re strict about it.”
Inside the Lives of Immigrant Teens Working Dangerous Night Shifts in Suburban Factories – ProPublica Illinois
"Here in the Chicago suburb of Bensenville, and in places like it throughout the country, Guatemalan teenagers like Garcia spend their days in class learning English and algebra and chemistry. At night, while their classmates sleep, they work to pay debts to smugglers and sponsors, to contribute to rent and bills, to buy groceries and sneakers, and to send money home to the parents and siblings they left behind."
In a Nov. 11 conference call with the City Council's Black Caucus, for instance, the mayor threatened to play hardball when choosing projects in her $3.7 billion capital plan. The message was, if you don't support my budget, your ward won't be prioritized. Or, to put it another way: "Don't come to me for shit for the next three years" if you don't support the budget, several aldermen recalled her saying.
Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward) said the capital improvement plan helped smooth the 2021’s budget rocky passage to approval. “The capital improvement thing wasn’t even there at first, and the mayor and the administration brought that up to satisfy us, to allow us to be able to bring something back to our community and make some improvements, and hopefully be able to bring up property values in our community with infrastructure in those communities."
Dr. Marielle Fricchione, medical director in CDPH’s COVID bureau, said schools would not reopen in January if the level of spread the city is seeing today continues.
"But the employee tax proposal keeps coming back, year after year, from progressive aldermen who say it would get big retailers to pay their 'fair share.'...The logic is backward, however. Progressives who claim to want to lift struggling neighborhoods are the same aldermen who keep introducing job-killing proposals that perpetuate the exodus of employers from those same neighborhoods."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said studies from across the world and in other districts in the state show schools are safe if proper mitigation measures are followed.
The Finance Committee advanced the mayor’s $12.8 billion spending plan to the full City Council for a final vote Monday. Ald. George Cardenas (12th Ward) set the tone for what is sure to end up as the most divided City Council vote in Chicago history: “I’d rather face the music now. Years from now, it just gets harder.”
Property taxes increased three times the cost of living while residents sat on the voting sidelines, according to new report – Center Square
In Chicago, where Mayor Lori Lightfoot just proposed another property tax increase, taxes over the last 20 years have increased even more, to 115 percent.
The downtown occupancy rate fell to 87.1 percent in the third quarter, down from 93.8 percent a year earlier, according to the Chicago office of Integra Realty Resources, a consulting and appraisal firm. The rate has never been that low in the 22 years since the firm’s executives began tracking the downtown market. But the suburban apartment occupancy rate rose to 95.3 percent in the third quarter, up from 95.1 percent in the second quarter and 95.0 percent a year earlier, according to Integra.
About half the leadership of the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund says it has suffered mistreatment by a few of the trustees, and fighting continues over whether complaints are being properly heard.
Office vacancy in Chicago's central business district rose to 15.4%, the highest rate in nine years, according to data reported in October from real estate services firm CBRE. And vacancy is expected to rise as the pandemic endures and office patterns continue to change.
The Brutality Of 2020 On Full Display At County Morgue, Which Is Having Its Deadliest Year Ever – Block Club Chicago
With an increase in homicides and a record number of opioid deaths, 2020 would have been a taxing year even without the thousands of people who have died from COVID-19. The office has seen more than double the number of deaths as in 2019.
Mayor Lightfoot struggles to find votes for property tax increase, and has herself to blame – Chicago Sun-Times*
"The bank of good will is running on empty for a mayor who used her inaugural address to portray the City Council as corrupt, raced back to City Hall to issue an executive order stripping aldermen of control over licensing and permitting and used her first council meeting to humiliate indicted Ald. Edward Burke (14th)."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot offers details on proposed $3.7 billion capital projects spending plan – Chicago Tribune*
Lightfoot officials said they would work with aldermen on projects, an olive branch of sorts to the City Council at a time when the mayor is struggling to lock in 26 votes for her 2021 budget plan. The move also gives her a signature spending plan to point to if she runs for reelection and a way to create jobs for residents.
CTU, Parents React to Chicago Public Schools’ Decision to Resume in-Person Learning in 2021 – NBC5 (Chicago)
Marisol Gutierrez, a mother of five children in the CPS system, says that remote learning has not worked for her children. “It’s long overdue. Get these kids in school safely, even if it’s a couple of days in school and a couple of remote learning days. I have different age ranges and they’re not learning. It’s physically exhausting for them to sit six-plus hours in front of a computer.”
Chicago Is Stockpiling COVID-19 Vaccine Supplies As Illinois Officials Figure Out Distribution – WBEZ (Chicago)
According to the proposed 2021 budget, the city has budgeted roughly $78 million for vaccine distribution and outreach. This is about a $50 million increase over 2020’s budget, but includes all vaccines, not only the yet-to-be-approved coronavirus ones.
"As for MacGuyvering her way to a balanced budget, Lightfoot had options that she rejected that would have been more fair and lasting. Trimming the city’s workforce — never a blithe suggestion — would have shown a commitment to doing the hard work, to finding efficiencies and to streamlining. She decided against it."
Mark Konkol: "'I'm not a big turkey fan. We do chicken,' the mayor said. 'About three years ago, we decided we really don't like Turkey. So, why make it?'"
Cook County Assesssor Issues Letters About Pandemic-Related Property Tax Break, But It Isn’t Good News For Everyone – CBS2 (Chicago)
“There will be some winners and some losers in this,” property tax attorney Gary Smith said. That is because while rates may change, the total number of property tax dollars needed by taxing bodies will not. Some other property owners have to make up the difference. So the losers in this, at least right now, will be local businesses.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th Ward) — an ally of the mayor and chair of the powerful Zoning Committee — accused the budget team of “fearmongering” by warning that if a property tax hike is not approved this year, it will have to be approved next year, when aldermen will be up for election. “I find it a little bit disingenuous."
Chicago sets Jan. 11 school reopening date for pre-kindergarten, some students with disabilities – Chalkbeat Chicago
Chicago Teachers Union president Jesse Sharkey called the reopening dates “arbitrary” and “wholly de-linked” from public health data that show a spike in COVID-19 rates. “Just unilaterally picking an arbitrary date in the future and hoping everything works out is a recipe for disaster,” Sharkey said in a statement.
"The bottom line, you should not be traveling," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday.
“It’s so uncertain whether we can open. How do you schedule people and how to you buy perishable food knowing that it may not be used for several days because the weather is foul?” said owner Michael Roper.
Feds Tell City: Don’t Issue General Iron Permit Until Civil Rights Investigation Is Completed – Block Club Chicago
The complaint alleges the city deepened housing segregation by allowing polluting industry to cluster on the Southeast Side over decades. Federal officials have found the complaint — which argues RMG’s Southside Recycling operation would cause “serious and irreparable injury” to residents of surrounding neighborhoods — to be “persuasive."
The MOA, which was made public on the city of Chicago’s website, consists of measures proposed to alleviate some of the adverse effects that the construction of the OPC will have on areas of Jackson Park, the Midway Plaisance and the city’s park boulevard system.
"How long Trump Tower Chicago keeps its name in lights depends on what the New York attorney general finds, how much patience banks will continue to have with him, and whether its presence hurts the bottom line. Then he’ll have to make the decision he struggles with most: his wallet or his ego."
Despite Budget Sweeteners, Lightfoot Faces Uphill Climb To 26 Votes, Aldermen Say – Block Club Chicago
Even aldermen who are typically aligned with Lightfoot, like Ald. Matt O’Shea (19), have signaled they will not support her proposed property tax hike. The Southwest Side aldermen added that he is “very concerned” about the mayor’s proposal to cut more than 500 vacant positions in the Chicago Police Department. “I’ve got very strong reservations about this current proposal. My community has made clear to me they do not want to see a property tax increase.”
Facing ‘Zero Easy Choices,’ Mayor Lori Lightfoot Stands By Call For $94 Million Property Tax Hike To Balance 2021 Budget – CBS2 (Chicago)
The mayor said one of the things driving the decisions she’s made in her budget plan is the fact the city’s four employee pension funds are “woefully underfunded,” and the city’s need to meet its obligation to retirees, and city employees who will be retiring in the future.
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) questioned Lightfoot’s decision to cancel 350 layoffs by borrowing against future marijuana revenues. “That’s a bad habit to form...You’re spending paychecks you hope to earn next year on groceries that you need today. That’s a terrible way to run a household and it’s a terrible way to run a government."
Lightfoot’s allies used a parliamentary procedure to send a measure to levy a $16 per month, per employee tax on logistics firms, including Amazon, Walmart and Target, to legislative purgatory. In addition, mayoral allies blocked a measure that would take funds from the police budget to send mental health professionals to calls for help, rather than police, and one to close the CPD Homan Square facility.
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office urged a Cook County judge in January to disqualify Brookins from representing a man charged with a crime based on evidence gathered by the Chicago Police Department, citing the opinion by the Ethics Board. However, Brookins submitted an opinion from attorney Mary Robinson which argued the Ethics Board’s decision was “faulty” and that there was no conflict of interest.
Monday, the mayor announced more money for violence prevention and mental health emergency responses. Progressive aldermen want an employee tax aimed at Amazon and other big retailers.
Figures released today by the city after weeks of requests indicate that taxpayers will have to pay as much as $207 million a year in extra costs between now and 2050. For those years as a whole, the extra costs above the city’s current debt service amount to $2.012 billion.
“By and large, the Civic Federation supports the goals of Mayor Lightfoot and her team in preparing this budget, including relative restraint with property taxes, reduction in personnel expenses and working to increase public participation in the budgeting process,” said Federation President Laurence Msall. “Our support remains qualified because, disappointingly, the public has not been provided with nearly enough detail to independently evaluate the enormous proposed debt refinancing.”
Obama Touts Presidential Center, Plans to ‘Beautify’ Jackson Park During ‘60 Minutes’ Interview – WTTW (Chicago)
An expansive model of the center, which has been the subject of great debate locally, was brought forth for the interview segment, during which a handful of nuggets emerged.
Progressive Chicago aldermen to introduce amendments to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed budget – Chicago Tribune*
The aldermen's proposed $16-per-employee-per-month tax would apply only to logistics operations with more than 50 employees. That would hit Target, Walmart and the recently opened Amazon delivery warehouse in the Far South Side’s Pullman neighborhood.
Three minors are among those listed as wounded in nonfatal shootings, including a 14-year-old girl who was one of three people shot Sunday at a Chatham dance studio.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Sunday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “AM Joy", "The CDC has been helpful, but the White House, HHS, DHS, they have not even had a plan, and I knew that we were on our own. I knew that from the earliest days when they were diverting flights from China to airports across the country, Chicago being one of them."
East Side Activists Bring Fight Against General Iron To Mayor Lightfoot’s Block: ‘We Need To Breathe Just Like Everybody Else’ – Block Club Chicago
Greg Miller, a 14-year-old freshman at George Washington High School, co-organized Saturday’s rally of more than 100 people. “[Lightfoot] is supposed to be a leader and stand up for what’s right, not go against us...Lori doesn’t care because it’s not affecting her.”
“No one knows what’s really going to happen, you just kind of have to prepare yourself for the worst,” shopper Ramon Ponce said.
Applications for business licenses are up despite the pandemic. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that as of Nov. 7, there were 80,820 business applications nationwide, an increase of 30.6% over the previous year. In Illinois, the number was 2,017, an increase of 30.9% over 2019.
Lightfoot doubles down on property tax hike in private meeting, tells aldermen not to record her – Chicago Tribune*
Early in the meeting, Lightfoot told City Council members, “I don’t consent to being recorded,” according to five aldermen who were on the call. It’s a sign of a lack of trust and indicates how fraught some of her conversations with aldermen have become.
Here Are the Restrictions Effective Monday as Chicago Braces for Stay-at-Home Advisory – NBC5 (Chicago)
It will be in effect for 30 days. The latest restrictions also come after the Illinois Department of Public Health urged residents to stay in their homes and only leave for "essential activities."
Said Chicago Department of Business and Consumer Protection Commissioner Rosa Escareño, "When the federal money came here to Chicago, we know that traditionally, businesses that had banking relationships with the small business administration who pushed out the money, those were first in line. Those are not the businesses in [Black and Latino] neighborhoods."
The mayor issued the joint statement with Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter: “This will ensure Chicago’s public workers, the backbone of our neighborhoods, maintain their jobs and health insurance while also protecting the critical services Chicagoans rely on during these unprecedented times. We are committed to continue working together to identify places where we can partner on savings.”
Lightfoot’s budget threat to Black Caucus makes her ‘no different than Daley or Rahm,’ alderman says – Chicago Sun-Times*
A Lightfoot ally, who asked not to be named, predicted Friday the mayor is at least five votes shy of the 26 votes she needs for the property tax increase. To avoid an embarrassing defeat, the alderman said, Lightfoot might delay the final Council vote, now scheduled for Nov. 24. “If her budget goes down, she’s toast. She might as well pack up her s--t and go,” the alderman said.
Bullied, badgered, publicly scorned: Suburban school boards feel the heat — and the hate — as they weigh COVID-19 school closings – Chicago Tribune*
Said Ben Schwarm, deputy director of the Illinois Association of School Boards, "School board members are in a tough spot, and while it’s understandable that parents and teachers are voicing their opinions and having rallies, things can become really uneasy as the tensions escalate, especially with the whole social media aspect. I think in the coming year, we’re going to see a lot of school board member turnover, and a fair amount of superintendents leaving, too."
Buoyed by higher than expected marijuana revenues, Mayor Lori Lightfoot Saturday canceled plans to lay off 350 city employees to help secure the 26 City Council votes she needs to pass her “pandemic budget.” Revenues generated by the sale of recreational and medical marijuana have “gone through the roof”— topping $100 million statewide for the first time in October and $800 million in the first 10 months.
There’s still the question of whether Congress will act before the end of the year to pass a second stimulus package for state and local governments — something Lightfoot has repeatedly called for. And with no veto session planned for the state legislature in Springfield, the door is also closed on a laundry list of potential revenue ideas from the more progressive side of the City Council.
Mag Mile SSA Would Help Repair Downtown’s ‘Tarnished’ Reputation After Looting, Advocates Say — But Will It Happen? – Block Club Chicago
Typically, the city requires a lengthy application process to establish a new SSA that can span two years. But the planning department waived certain requirements, including gathering support signatures from at least 20 percent of affected property owners, to accommodate the expedited timeline.
The myriad crises of 2020 are upending the world of higher education, but few institutions have been more thoroughly unsettled by this year's upheaval than Northwestern University, whose sterling reputation—and that of its president, Morton Schapiro—have been tarnished by protests on campus, layoffs, a tuition flip-flop and the lingering perception that the institution and its leaders are out of touch with the cultural crosscurrents roiling the campus community.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot defends joining crowd celebrating Biden-Harris win as COVID-19 cases surge – Chicago Tribune*
“I will tell you in that big crowd a week ago, everybody was wearing masks,” the mayor told MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle. “Yes, there are times when we actually do need to have ... relief and come together, and I felt like that was one of those times. That crowd was gathered whether I was there or not, but this has been a super hard year on everyone. Everyone feels traumatized.”
Chicago Becomes First Major U.S. City to Reissue COVID Lockdown As Cases Spike 36 Percent – Newsweek
Lightfoot also said over Twitter that the city would increase its coronavirus response team and deploy approximately 2,000 city workers, including up to 550 contact tracers, and hundreds of community-based organizations to reach at least half of Chicago's households.
Dr. Larry Kociolek, assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University, said while transmission between students and student to teacher is rare, the data is incomplete. “If we had data to support whether or not we should be in school, there would be universal recommendations."
“What could ever be enough for the damages we’ve had? But we certainly should pursue some sort of redress and in doing that the healing begins for the entire community,” said 5th Ward Ald. Robin Rue Simmons.
According to the Aspen Institute, one in three Illinois households is at risk of eviction by the end of the year—and some landlords are finding ways to advance the agenda by pestering their tenants with threats and other illegal measures.
The advisory is scheduled to go into effect for both suburban Cook County and Chicago on Monday, Nov. 16 at 6 a.m., and will last at least 30 days.
The temporary hospital at McCormick Place has since been dismantled, and state officials say there are no plans to rebuild the facility even though the number of COVID-19 cases is surging in Illinois. Said Rebecca Clark, a spokeswoman for Illinois’ emergency management agency, “(T)he McCormick Place equipment has been prepositioned throughout the state to help hospitals and other congregate-care settings enhance surge capacities.”
“The one thing we can adamantly tell you without any hesitation whatsoever is the majority of the people who are positive at any given moment inside the jail are people who came into the jail positive,” Dart said. “There isn’t this wild spread going on in the jail.”
Arbitrator rules against Chicago Public Schools in labor dispute over clerks, but district will still require them to work mostly in person, saying COVID-19 measures in place – Chicago Tribune*
While arbitrator Jeanne Charles noted her final ruling “makes no finding with respect to the Board’s ability to reopen schools," she found that CPS violated its contract with CTU by requiring employees to work in potentially unsafe conditions. “The only way to eliminate the risk of COVID-19 infection and death is for school clerks, school clerk assistants, and technology coordinators to work remotely."
Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward) — who has been pushing for changes to the city’s sanctuary city ordinance for five years — said a member of the mayor’s office staff told him it was included in the budget bill “because there isn’t much good to vote for in this budget.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has delivered a warning to Chicago aldermen who might vote against her budget: sources – Chicago Tribune*
Wednesday, Lightfoot met virtually with members of the City Council Black Caucus, where she made waves by telling them that aldermen who don’t support her budget won’t have their wards prioritized, according to six aldermen who were in the meetings. “Don’t come to me for s--- for the next three years” if you don’t support the budget, two aldermen recalled her saying.
“Tenants have not been paying; They have not paid the money, taxes are going up on us, on me. Water bills that the tenant does not pay, it goes on me,” Chicago Heights landlord Kevin Savage said. “I have to be able to pay all that in order to keep my house.”
State restrictions on restaurants the target of small protest outside Lake County Health Department – Lake County News-Sun*
Organizer Tom Pizur, doesn’t own a restaurant and doesn’t work in the restaurant industry. "I’m just a customer that doesn’t want to feel like a criminal...The restaurants hold these communities together, not just in Lake and McHenry county, but all over the state. These restaurants have spent a lot of money, a lot of time trying to meet the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) regulations."
Lightfoot needs to compromise to get pandemic budget passed, powerful ally says – Chicago Sun-Times*
"Over the years, the City Council’s final budget vote has been a test of the mayor’s political muscle. Former mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel won many unanimous votes, thanks to the relationships of trust they worked hard to build with individual aldermen. Lightfoot has a strained relationship with the Council, stemming in part from her Day One executive order stripping aldermen of control over licensing and permitting in their wards."
Reopening questions: Six issues Chicago preschool teachers are weighing as the first to return – Chalkbeat Chicago
Chicago officials said they have spent $2 million on 86,000 containers of sanitizing wipes and $3.5 million on 50,000 portable hand-sanitizer stations for high-traffic areas. But until you’ve been in a preschool classroom, teachers say, it’s hard to estimate how many wipes and sanitation supplies get used — from wiping off toys between uses, to wiping down tables, to cleaning up after snacks and lunches. “There are lots of fluids in the pre-K classroom,” said Terra Calamari.
BMO Harris launches $5 billion program to help Black and Latino businesses and communities, with ‘significant’ investment in Chicago – Chicago Tribune*
The program includes commitments of $3 billion for community reinvestment, $500 million for mortgage loans in low- and moderate- income communities and $500 million for commercial lending.
With city data on restaurant COVID-19 infections in hand, Fulton Market Association decries clampdown on industry, pushes for relief – Chicago Tribune*
The complaint came one day after the Illinois Restaurant Association launched a new push of its #fightforillinoisrestaurants campaign on social media, asserting that “Illinois is the only state in the country where indoor dining is completely shut down,” in bold lettering.
This is the first time the vandals have spoken about their crime, which involved adding a very official-looking extra “S” to every park district sign in Douglas Park, a year and a half before Chicago’s Park District actually decided to change the name this September. “It was like, ‘No. We’re gonna do every sign. And if it falls apart, we’re going to fix it.’” So the two maintained 47 signs — and took care of every single extra ‘S’ — for more than a year.
Police Reform Advocates Demand Aldermen Pass Law Requiring Detainees Get A Phone Call In First Hour – Block Club Chicago
Less than 2 percent of people arrested in Chicago get access to an attorney while in custody, police records show. A proposed ordinance would require police to allow detainees to use a phone within one hour of arrest — but the measure has languished for a year under Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th).
Chicago issues stay-at-home advisory, new restrictions on gatherings as COVID-19 cases surge – WGNTV (Chicago)
Residents are advised to only leave home to go to work or school, or for essential needs such as seeking medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, picking up food, or receiving deliveries. This advisory shall remain in place for 30 days or until such time as the Commissioner of Health determines a change to the guidance is appropriate.
Disinvested: How Government and Private Industry Let the Main Street of a Black Neighborhood Crumble – ProPublica Illinois
"(A) succession of government programs attempted to lure private investors to this and other disinvested neighborhoods, but commercial development consistently bypassed Madison Street...Today, even Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s signature plan to spur development in disadvantaged communities on the South and West sides doesn’t include East Garfield Park."
Editorial: New ideas — and a little more hope — for avoiding city layoffs during the pandemic – Chicago Sun-Times*
"We see a common thread in many of the cost-savings suggestions proposed by this editorial page, the CFL and, to a lesser extent, the Progressive Caucus of the City Council: It’s stuff Chicago should be doing even if there were no pandemic. Put it all on the table. Let the best ideas prevail."
Police Racked Up So Many Complaints During Summer Protests A Special Unit Was Created To Investigate – Block Club Chicago
In total, the department received 520 complaints against officers May 29-Oct. 31 related to protests. Of those, 232 were handled by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and 288 were referred to the Police Department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs.
Some Chicago Cops Still Won’t Wear Masks Despite 1,200 COVID Infections — Will A New PSA Actually Help? – Block Club Chicago
“Just like anything else, nothing changes on a dime. Officers got extremely used to the rest of the world wearing masks but feel that somehow we are immune and don’t have to,” the lieutenant said. “It’s not that they are being defiant or ‘it’s a hoax’ or anything like that. But while the rest of the world was on quarantine and lockdown and masked up, we weren’t.”
Top Chicago doc tells visitors to keep record of negative COVID-19 test handy while in Windy City – Center Square
"The goal of this order is to protect Chicago,” Arwady said.
Restaurant owners say they’re being ‘scapegoated,’ ask Lightfoot to sue state over COVID-19 restrictions – WGNTV (Chicago)
“If the data does not point to and directly connect restaurants and their employees to the spread of the virus, then we’ve got to reassess what we’re doing here in the city of Chicago,” said Roger Romanelli, who heads the Fulton Market Association.
Mark Konkol: "His administration treated Chicago as if it were two cities — one for the rich and powerful, another for the poor and forgotten. Chicagoans remember how often Emanuel bragged of attracting an always increasing number of tourists from around the world, while turning a blind eye to the exodus of Black families fleeing neighborhoods neglected by City Hall."
In a letter sent Tuesday to the CTU’s legal team, board Labor Relations Officer Kaitlyn Girard wrote: “The (Chicago Board of Education) will not engage in mediation over its decision to reopen schools. As you are well aware, decisions to determine the places of instruction, whether remote or in-person, are permissive subjects of bargaining ... and the CBE has no obligation to bargain its decision.”
Lightfoot spokesperson Anel Ruiz said that “much of the report reflects efforts that we implemented as part of the 2020 Budget or are included in the 2021 Budget proposal under current consideration by the City Council.”
Some City Officials Urge ‘A Little Flexibility’ On Coronavirus Restrictions To Support Businesses – Block Club Chicago
Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) told Rosa Escareno, commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, during a budget hearing, “If you can continue to keep an open mind about things that we think or hear from businesses, that will help us get through the pandemic. We can be a very regulated city for all the right reasons, but a little flexibility to help businesses survive … is really needed.”
Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, said Tuesday that bars and restaurants have been doing a decent job enforcing COVID-19 distancing rules. Private hotel parties, by contrast, largely fall outside the ability of the city to keep track of them. He said the tighter rules on bars and restaurants “only is going to grow the opportunity for these superspreader events in hotels, Airbnb and private residences.”
COPA chief says recurring themes dominate complaints against CPD during civil unrest – Chicago Sun-Times*
Sydney Roberts, chief administrator of the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, said, “One of the things that we’re most pleased about is the department has recently revised some of their policy regarding their response to mass arrests. And several of our concerns have already been addressed,"
Chicago Federation of Labor serves up $272 million in cost-cutting options to avert layoffs – Chicago Sun-Times*
By far the largest potential savings — as much as $151.4 million — would be achieved by reining in the city’s $450 million in annual health care costs.
The incidents do not appear to be connected.
“First and foremost, I would like people to avoid travel at this time if at all possible," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.
Chicago day cares and private schools reported 495 COVID cases, but numbers don’t tell the whole story – Chalkbeat Chicago
Most of those cases, though, involved adults, and most of the cases were isolated.
Chicago’s Homeless Population Was Already On The Rise Before The Pandemic. Now, City Scrambles To Plan For Next Wave – Block Club Chicago
When the statewide eviction moratorium is lifted, city officials expect to be grappling with another wave of homelessness. One alderman said the city needs to marshal "additional resources" to tackle the problem.
Too Many Coyotes, Raccoons And Barnyard Animals In Chicago, Aldermen Tell Animal Control – Block Club Chicago
Animal Control Exec. Mamadou Diakhate also gave aldermen an update on Nunu, the horse that was injured after the "Dreadhead Cowboy" rode the horse on the Dan Ryan Expressway in September. “Nunu is improving, [and] doing better." The horse faces “no risk” of being euthanized at this time.
Biden’s expected environmental policies a breath of fresh air for Chicago area Trump critics – Chicago Sun-Times*
An analysis last year showed a substantial decrease in pollution inspections at the Chicago office of the EPA, a regional hub that handles pollution issues in Illinois and five other Midwest states. Under Trump, EPA also pushed off some pollution enforcement to states. Finally, the agency often relies on polluters’ “self audits.”
A city analysis assumed that any new round of federal relief would be similar to the CARES Act earlier this year. In that scenario, total city revenues were $440 million higher over the course of the recovery, which for now is expected to take two to three years, according to the city’s Department of Finance.
Chicago residents oppose return to in-person learning until pandemic is under control, CTU says – Chicago Sun-Times*
The survey, conducted in late October and paid for by the teachers union, found 72% of 500 “likely 2023 municipal voters” agreed that public schools should not reopen for in-person learning.
Kaylin Risvold, President and CEO of the Naperville Chamber of Commerce, says that the pandemic is hitting virtually every business in the area hard. “Honestly it’s all a gut punch. Retailers, restaurants, hospitals. This is hard on all of us.”
Chicago Restrictions Could Be Implemented Down To The City Block, Businesses Worried – NBC5 (Chicago)
“We’ve got to be very strategic about the way in which we deploy intervention. We have to use a surgeon’s knife and not a blunt axe,” Lightfoot said.
Dr. Laura Zimmermann, of Rush University Medical Center, advises that schools think creatively about how to reopen safely, However, that window may have closed as cases in the state surge. “Given the guidance from CDC and other entities at this point in time in Chicago, the cumulative incidents is too high. We’re approaching 10% positivity rate, and we’re doing more tests than ever."
A ‘monster’ quarter: Report shows historic migration to Southeastern Wisconsin – Lake Geneva Regional News
“The effects of Covid-19 and social unrest in the city of Chicago were the primary drivers of this activity, as residents leave the city for the suburbs and the exurbs,” the report states. In Southeastern Wisconsin, communities boomed during what Keefe called “a historic moment” in its report.
Stricter COVID-19 restrictions coming to some suburban counties as resurgence continues in Illinois – WGNTV (Chicago)
Governor JB Pritzker announced stricter COVID-19 mitigation measures for Kankakee, Will, DuPage and Kane counties Monday, including limits on groups to 10 people or less and caps of six people seated together at a bar or restaurant. The City of Chicago and greater Cook County could also qualify for them by the end of the week.
Chicago Teachers Union Seeks Formal Mediation In Dispute With CPS Over In-Person Learning Plans – CBS2 (Chicago)
Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman Emily Bolton claimed the district is not legally required to bargain with the union over the decision to reopen, but is reviewing their request for mediation. “We continue to meet and work with CTU, as we have all year, in the hopes they will become a productive partner in getting students safely back to in-person learning.”
In September 2019, the Chicago Board of Ethics ruled aldermen face “diverging interests” when they represent a client charged with a crime based on evidence developed by Chicago police officers. Aldermen “owe 100 percent of their allegiance to the city and its taxpayers,” according to the board's opinion.
Parent Ted Dabrowski, of the Open New Trier parents group which has 500 parents, said students need to be back in school. "Online learning, for many, is just not doing the right job. And the hybrid, I think, is very difficult. We have kids in then out, in then out. It just doesn’t’ work."
A week earlier, 29 people were shot in Chicago, four of them fatally, over Halloween weekend. Shootings and murders have risen over 50% in 2020 compared with the same period last year.
“The fact that we’ve had 70 degree weather the whole weekend has been a godsend,” said restaurant owner Joe Mann. “It’s been vital.”
What Kim Foxx’s Reelection Says About Racial Politics, Fear And Justice In Chicago And Beyond – WBEZ (Chicago)
"Reformers are celebrating Foxx’s reelection as an even more important victory than her initial election in 2016 because she was able to beat back a tough-on-crime challenge when voters were understandably focused on gun violence."
Lightfoot Takes to Chicago Streets with Bullhorn Message After Biden Wins Presidency – NBC5 (Chicago)
"We need resources to fight this plague. We need resources to stop people living on the streets. We need resources to make sure people are not evicted and not thrown out of housing. We need to make sure we can do everything we can to make that happen," Lightfoot said.
Boarded up, waiting to see how the country reacts.
State Report Says More Than 1,000 Layoffs Are Coming At Chicago Area Restaurants Due To COVID-19 Pandemic – CBS2 (Chicago)
The Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act Report for the month of October announced 3,384 coming layoffs in the state – most of them permanent, and many of them at Chicago restaurants.
The Cook County Land Bank Authority wiped out a vacant warehouse’s unpaid taxes to get someone to buy it. Three years later, it’s still vacant, and taxpayers are out even more money on the failed deal.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city will skip an in-person tree lighting ceremony, encouraging people instead to tune in to a virtual program Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m.
With Coronavirus Canceling Major Events And Festivals, City Officials Grapple With How To Fund The Arts – Block Club Chicago
Mayor Lori Lightfoot argued the economic reality brought on by the pandemic forced the cuts. “What you have to understand is that [the cultural affairs department] is funded by a revenue stream: hotels and restaurants. Those revenues have just gone through the floor, so it’s not like there’s a pot of money sitting there."
Skating and activities at the rink are organized by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, which is facing major budget cuts due to the pandemic. The department currently has no funding for the Taste of Chicago or Air and Water Show, signaling those could be canceled this summer, too.
More Chicago Restaurants, Bars Going Out Of Business Amid COVID-19 Restrictions, Say City Hospitality Grant Won’t Be Enough – CBS2 (Chicago)
Without a rent moratorium, Streeterville restaurant owner Mauro Mafrici questions just how much a city grant will help. “This doesn’t make sense. If you’re not allowing me to serve nobody, they’re supposed to freeze everything. It’s a lot of restaurants in Chicago. I don’t think if you split $10 million with all the restaurants, I think it’s very little.”
The union has doubled down on its efforts to challenge the district’s plan for returning to school in recent months, including filing multiple grievances and unfair labor practice lawsuits. “You have to talk before someone is exposed to the risk of death, not afterwards,” said labor attorney Stephen Yokich.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she can’t yet put a date on Chicago Public Schools’ reopening: ‘That’s still very much a work in progress’ – Chicago Tribune*
Asked what happened to the metrics CPS cited over the summer as thresholds for keeping schools closed, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said since then, there has been a lot of new information about COVID-19 and schools.“What we have seen broadly is that around the country, even around the world... school transmission has not been the major source of spread that we honestly expected that it would be."
Editorial: Kids belong in school — the real thing — and Chicago can make it work – Chicago Sun-Times*
"But what’s CPS’ best argument for the case that its schools can be reopened safely, even at a time when the coronavirus is surging again? The fact that other school systems already are pulling it off. Even right here in town."
Aldermen Slam City’s Planning Chief, Accuse Him Of Bypassing Them In Key Ward Projects: ‘You’ve Got To Do A Better Job’ – Block Club Chicago
Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) brought up a fast-tracked SSA along Michigan Avenue that was indicative of the complaints of his colleagues. “My criticism is that it shouldn’t be, ‘This is what we’re going to do, and we’re happy to talk about it.’ It should be, ‘We’re considering this. What do you think about it?’”
“This is a significant case...Whether or not students come back to school this year will be decided by the CTU. They want to override the input of all other stakeholders; parents, community, staff, state and local government,” CPS attorney Sally Scott said.
Taste Of Chicago, Air And Water Show Canceled? There’s Zero Budget For Iconic Chicago Events In 2021 – Block Club Chicago
Not budgeting for the events could save the city nearly $9 million on its face, but, “The value to the city is over $100 million in economic value,” said Mark Kelly, commissioner for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, during a budget hearing Thursday.
The list currently includes 31 states and Puerto Rico.
Dante Givens, 32, was required to wear the location-recording device as he awaited trial for a pending forgery case. He continued to wear the ankle monitor as he joined thousands of other Chicagoans who looted stores throughout downtown and Lincoln Park Aug. 10.
As The Pandemic Rages On, Chicago Renters Are Organizing For Support And Protection – WBEZ (Chicago)
For months, landlords have criticized the state’s eviction moratorium. In a recent survey released about September rents, owners said collection is down more than usual. A third said they’re losing money. And half said they have tenants that refuse to communicate with them.
Anti-Violence Report Says Shifting Funds From Police Budget Could Reduce Crime, But Rejects Abolishing Cops Entirely – Block Club Chicago
Said Peter Cunningham, of Chicago CRED, "Police are only reactive and never proactive. We heard that from a lot of people. Police don’t really stop [a] shooting; they show up after it happens. Unless they happen to be at the right spot at the right time.”
The group marched along downtown streets before surrounding Trump Tower, 401 N. Wabash Ave. They are worried that President Trump will stop election workers in battleground states from counting the remaining votes.
"Toomin is considered to be a smart and thoughtful jurist. But the damage Preckwinkle did, on behalf of Kim Foxx, can’t be measured. 'It’s the quiet machine, not the loud one,' said a wise friend."
Wabash Avenue bridge near Trump Tower raised for 2nd straight day as hundreds gather downtown – FOX32 (Chicago)
It will be “out of service until further notice as part of a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of residents," said Mary May, spokeswoman for the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
Even as fall term ends, Chicago Public Schools is still mum on a reopening date. Despite rumors, it won’t happen Monday, teachers union says. – Chicago Tribune*
“We’ve heard from school after school that parents surveyed by CPS overwhelmingly responded that they were not comfortable with their children returning for in-person learning,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey wrote. “Because CPS and the mayor know that buildings aren’t ready to be reopened, despite their claims in the press.”
In DuPage County, the total number of tracked outbreak cases directly linked to indoor dining is less than 1 percent, Mayor Steve Morley said. "The progress in COVID-19 treatments and recovery rates should also be taken into consideration."
Aldermen question special downtown taxing district for Mag Mile area that suffered looting – Chicago Tribune*
Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, was irritated. “What was very frustrating to me was that almost all of the work was done with your office and the policy team without my guidance or direct input, and then presented to me as a package, and kind of ‘Take it or leave it, and by the way, we’re in a hurry,’ ”
"This election has generated a lot of emotions on all sides...Let's channel our emotions into a productive expression of our First Amendment rights. No matter the outcome, we will get through this by remaining together, as neighbors who need each other and love our great city and country," she said.
According to the district, state-certified hygienists evaluated 513 CPS campuses for airborne particulates, carbon monoxide levels, temperature and relative humidity, and each school has been deemed acceptable for re-occupancy based on their results.
"It’s time, finally, to clear away the dust and upgrade the software. Welcome to your new job, Sen. Martinez. Having second thoughts yet?"
Kim Foxx declares victory in Cook County State’s Attorney race after O’Brien concedes – WGNTV (Chicago)
In her victory speech, Foxx referenced her continued effort to make reforms to the criminal justice system. “They came from an era in our history that feels eerily reminiscent to this moment right now.”
Judge Michael Toomin, who presided over high-profile cases from Jussie Smollett to Jeff Fort, in a close fight for his seat – Chicago Tribune*
Toomin has been involved in some of Cook County’s highest-profile cases, from Jussie Smollett to Jeff Fort. But this year, after a decade presiding over the juvenile courts, the county Democratic Party declined to endorse him, and he faced a groundswell of progressive activists alleging he had not done right by the county’s youths.
"Judicial retention elections usually aren’t high-profile affairs. Toomin is proof, however, that judges up for retention can get a big bull’s-eye plastered on their backs if they don’t toe the line enforced by Cook County Democratic Party overlords."
Mark Brown: Not long ago, it was fairly common for the vote in Cook County to break down largely along racial and geographic boundary lines. We moved away from that for a while, but the race for state’s attorney threatened to take us back to those days.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot confronts activist in defense of Cook County Judge Michael Toomin: ‘Your teachers union is wrong about that’ – Chicago Tribune*
In a video posted to Twitter, Lightfoot repeatedly steps toward the activist and says, “You’ve got your facts wrong, you’ve got your facts wrong, you’ve got them wrong.” Two members of Lightfoot’s security detail then step between Lightfoot and the activist.
Lightfoot administration outlines 5-year, $3.7 billion plan to repair, maintain roads, bridges, other city assets – Chicago Sun-Times*
"In virtual briefings conspicuously timed for Election Day, aldermen were told the massive borrowing would be bankrolled by a mix of tax increment financing, a first-year bond issue backed by property and/or sales taxes and “interim financing and cash-flow management” in anticipation of future state and federal funding."
Evanston Mayor sends letter to NU president in response to Saturday student protest – Medill Reports
In the statement, Evanston Mayor Stephen Hagerty alleges increased protestor aggression and asks the university to foot the overtime bill for the city’s law enforcement officers.
Numbers from the Illinois State Police show shootings on Chicago area expressways are on the rise. In 2019, there were 18 shootings on the Dan Ryan and 14 on I-57 -- a total of 52 for that year. So far this year, there have been 28 on the Dan Ryan and 24 on I-57 -- for a total of 97 shootings in the Chicago area.
How Long Could Chicago’s Indoor Dining Ban Last? At Least 2-3 Weeks, Pritzker Says – Block Club Chicago
But if the city’s surge continues to worsen and Chicago’s positivity rate and hospitalizations grow even with the mitigation measures, the state could impose stricter rules.
"(C)onsider this new poll of Chicago voters on public safety done for a non-profit news organization called Wirepoints. The poll shows that 'defunding police' — a phrase initially undefined in the poll — is unpopular by a 51-39% margin. Notably, these voters overwhelmingly support Black Lives Matter by a margin of 76-24%."
Law professor Daniel Hemel argued that, “it’s Trump and Pence who are jeopardizing the court’s democratic legitimacy by demanding an anti-packing pledge...‘Court-packing’ — adding justices to the Supreme Court to alter its ideological composition — is hardly a newfangled notion."
The governor deployed the troops; Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not request assistance. The city's OEMC tweeted, "Similar to past emergency preparedness plans, the state has stationed personnel at McCormick Place to be ready to respond if needed, however, there are currently no plans for them to be deployed.”
Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) said mayoral aides will start briefing aldermen Tuesday on the mayor’s plan to confront a capital funding shortage that’s been building for years. “This is a job creator. Any time there’s a tough time, there’s a capital bill that gets proposed in order to put people to work. Government has always led the charge in investing and putting people to work."
Park Ridge restaurants fined daily for defying Pritzker’s order and continuing indoor dining amid soaring rates of COVID-19 – Pioneer Press*
Daily fines of $500 “will continue as long as they remain open,” the director of community preservation and development said, adding that the city is also exploring other options, such reporting the establishments to the county and state health departments or recommending a suspension of their liquor licenses.
Chicago’s Inspector General Slams Police For Failing To Maintain ‘Do-Not-Hire’ List Or Enact Other Reforms – Block Club Chicago
“The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. Take that and apply it to an octopus, and that’s where we are right now,” Inspector General Joe Ferguson said.
City inspectors investigated 150 businesses and conducted 88 full probes during the weekend, while observing more than 70 additional businesses in two North Side police districts that are home to dozens of entertainment venues.
Boarded-up windows, limited hours as Chicago businesses brace for possible Election Day unrest. ‘It’s clearly a potential triggering event.’ – Chicago Tribune*
“There’s a greater degree of confidence in the city’s ability … to be responsive,” Magnificent Mile Association Chairman Rich Gamble said. “What you don’t know is what individuals and groups may do. There are plans in place to handle a very fluid situation.”
Some Chicago Residents Want More For Housing, Health And Education In The City’s Budget – WBEZ (Chicago)
Said Niketa Brar, executive director of the nonprofit group Chicago United for Equity, "The budgeting process is politics as usual. There’s nothing about this budget process that we’ve seen in the Lightfoot administration that is fundamentally different, in the way they make allocations, … than the Daley era."
Speed Camera Tickets For 6 MPH Over Limit Is ‘Nickeling And Diming’ Chicago, Aldermen Say – Block Club Chicago
Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) said she’s concerned: “We could just do a better job of enforcing what we’ve already chosen to enforce, that would help with revenue, that would definitely help with safety, without lowering that threshold."
Cops And Mental Health Pros Would ‘Co-Respond’ To Some 911 Calls Under New City Plan – Block Club Chicago
“Policing has become the social service of last resort,” Police Supt. David Brown said. “We can’t not answer a 911 call, regardless of what the incident or issue is, and so until and unless we create a capacity in other areas of government, we have to and we’re actually sworn and obligated to answer your call.”
Two boys under 18 years old were among those injured, in separate shootings.
Teams have been assigned to “a few” protests they expect on Election Day, but “Everything is fluid,” says Sergeant Linda Aguilera, CPD’s 18th District Business Liaison.
Meanwhile, 67 Chicago police officers have been shot at — 10 of them struck by bullets — so far this year. That’s nearly a four-fold increase from last year when 17 officers were shot at, two of them struck by gunfire.
Bricks thrown at Evanston police, Northwestern University students pepper-sprayed in off-campus clash as protesters again call on university to defund its police – Chicago Tribune*
A Northwestern University student, who asked not to be named out of fear for his safety, said, "I think it was a direct result of the inflammatory rhetoric used by (University) President (Morton) Schapiro last week in calling the protests an abomination and asking not to lose our sense of humanity. It reminded me of something I would’ve heard from a Southern governor during the civil rights marches. He said there would be swift and harsh punishment and all that.”
David Greising, executive director of the Better Government Association: "To see how badly that can go, consider what has happened since Illinois in 1989 committed to a 3% annual hike to retiree pension payments. Three decades later, the state’s inability to keep up with compounding costs has helped deliver nearly $140 billion in pension underfunding."
UChicago student protest calls for school to defund its campus police, invest in cultural centers – ABC7 (Chicago)
Chicago Police say there were no arrests at the Hyde Park demonstrations.
“With bricks, battering some of our officers. They had shields, so after that it was time to send a message that we’re not going to let people just just come in here and tear up the City of Evanston,” said Chief Demitrous Cook.
Moody’s Investors reaffirms Chicago’s junk bond rating but lowers outlook to ‘negative’ – Chicago Sun-Times*
“Fitch and Moody’s have affirmed what we know — the City’s 2021 budget strikes the right balance in addressing the significant financial challenges created by COVID. Their affirmation of the rating indicates that the credit worthiness of the City has been maintained in the budget proposal,” Budget and Management spokesperson Kristen Cabanban wrote in a statement.
"Every state around Illinois is surging," said Danny Chun, a spokesman for the Illinois Hospital Association. "Look at Wisconsin. Look at Missouri. Look at Iowa. They're all surging. There's a limited pool of health care professionals."
In the fight over reopening schools amid the pandemic, race and class divisions are stark – Chicago Tribune*
Troubled by the disparate attitudes toward the virus, Dr. Tina Tan, professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, observed that, “Everything has become a political debate, and a lot of more affluent individuals don’t believe in the science."
As Chicago goes, so goes Philly — majority of residents want the same or more police presence in their neighborhoods – Broad +Liberty
Newly-released polling indicates that while police reform efforts have widespread support, most urban residents dismiss sweeping calls to defund the police as an inadequate solution.
Facing A ‘Terrible Winter’ And Hanging By A Thread, Restaurant Owners Beg City, State For More Guidance — And Tax Relief – Block Club Chicago
“Everyone is running on fumes,” said Greg Mohr, who co-owns the Fifty/50 restaurant group. “… We understand having a breaking point of having to shut down restaurants. That doesn’t mean we’re any more prepared financially to take that on. … It’s gonna be an absolutely terrible, terrible winter.”
Known as “menu money” for the list of permanent improvement projects that aldermen get to choose from, the project allows aldermen a pot of money to spend as they see fit — and curry favor with voters.
There were calls to shift cops from downtown back to other neighborhoods, questions about how many murders go unsolved and requests to reallocate money away from policing and toward mental health and affordable housing. And aldermen also raised concerns about retirements, overtime spending and progress on a court-ordered police reform plan.
Fight Over Police Funding Shows Divided Council, With Some Calling For Cuts As Others Beg For More Cops – Block Club Chicago
The differing opinions on police are evident in Ald. Jeanette Taylor’s 20th Ward. “I have a ward that’s split, half of my ward hates you, and the other part loves you, so I’m somewhere in the middle,” she told Supt. David Brown. “It seems like every major city around the country is doing something different than just investing in police, and we’re not.”
Chicago Activates Emergency Operations Center, Prepares for Halloween, Election-Related Violence – WTTW (Chicago)
If unrest takes place, Lightfoot said she would not hesitate to order tougher measures, including blocking access to downtown by raising bridges, shutting down the CTA and ordering a curfew. “What the trigger is, I'm not going to go into that level of detail. If we need to take more aggressive measures to protect the city ... we will take those actions.”
The Northwest Side alderman made the comment during a contentious City Council hearing about the Chicago Police budget.
Gen. Philip Henry Sheridan fought for the Union in the Civil War.
You might call it the scandal no one wants to talk about. Despite signs of major unrest at the huge Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund—resignations, irregular board meetings, charges of racial bias and staff intimidation, political influence peddling and more—no one connected with the fund is willing to discuss what’s going on.
Major snack convention moves to Indianapolis in 2021 because of Illinois coronavirus rules – Indianapolis Star
Since the summer, five basketball tournaments relocated from Chicago to Indianapolis, and more conventions and meetings are considering the move, said Chris Gahl, the senior vice president of marketing and communications at the tourism nonprofit Visit Indy.
David Williams’s Bronzeville streetwear shop was looted. Insurance covered most of his losses, but he said his carrier ended up dropping him. And his store was broken into two more times, leaving him to restock the store with his own money.
"(T)he skyscraper’s fortunes have withered. Most of its retail space has never been occupied, The Real Deal reported last year. Its revenue declined from $67 million in 2014 to $50 million in 2018, while profits plunged from $16.3 million to $1.8 million over the same period."
“Our business has gone down to almost about 95% – 95% of the business is not there no more,” manager Ali Khan said. However, because his business is small and family run, he’s confident they’ll be able to stick it out. “It may take a little time, but we’re hoping by end of February or beginning of March, we should be in little bit better condition than we are now.”
In addition, instead of raising property taxes by a total of $94.9 million in 2021, the progressive aldermen urged Lightfoot to demand a larger share of the state’s income tax from state lawmakers as well as the option to levy a city sales tax on services, including lawyers and accountants, and long vacant properties.
Joyce Klein, a social worker at Stroger, said offering hazard pay is merely “the first line to show respect to your workers...The hospital spent a lot of time preaching about how there’s heroes here, and they put signs up calling everyone heroes. But then they refuse to treat them like heroes."
Simeon coach Robert Smith wasn’t surprised by the news. “I kind of figured we wouldn’t start until January at least. Whatever they say is fine with me. It’s about the safety of the kids. That’s their choice. I just work for CPS. I have to do what they tell me to do.”
Bars, Restaurants Can Keep Selling Liquor Until 11 PM, And City’s Business Curfew Moved Back – Block Club Chicago
The changes will go into effect Friday, and they’ll make it so the city’s rules more closely line up with new restrictions from the state.
Loyola Will Reopen Dorms, Bring Some Classes Back To Campus For Spring Semester – Block Club Chicago
The school has conducted just under 3,000 coronavirus tests since July 24 for a positive rate of 1.65 percent. Loyola’s enrollment this fall is just under 17,000 students.
‘It’s our moral obligation to do everything we can’: Chicago school board defends reopening plan – Chalkbeat Chicago
“Getting this plan wrong does not mean disrupted learning,” said Erin Young, a special education teacher. “Getting this plan wrong means a loss of life.”
Some CPS parents organize rallies calling for reopening classrooms despite Chicago Teacher’s Union pushback, coronavirus surge – ABC7 (Chicago)
The Mount Greenwood principal and some teachers inside supported those rallying outside. "I wish I can open up now for you all," the principal said.
"The letter blew the lid off years of accumulated steam, as backers of the center have seen the project mired in one legal dispute after another, all while the clock is ticking on the promise of jobs, tourism and community revitalization."
Chicago Restaurants Hoping To Profit Off Halloween Worry About Indoor Dining Ban’s Blow To Business – CBS2 (Chicago)
The spooky decorations are out. Kids who see them from outside marvel as workers usually hand them candy, but not this year. One bar manager said, “Frankly, after operating for how long now at 25% capacity or being shut down or only to-go cocktails, we just don’t have the revenue to pay these fines."
Year after raising aldermanic expense allowance, Lightfoot takes back 26% increase – Chicago Sun-Times*
The $1.25 million cut will help reduce the overall budget for the 50-member City Council to $21.3 million — though there is no reduction in the number of City Council committees. A new Committee on Immigrant and Refugee Rights will replace the disbanding Special Legislative Committee on the Census, keeping the number of committees at 19.
Despite the change in outlook, Fitch affirmed its BBB-negative rating of Chicago’s credit, which is one notch above junk status, but said that could change. “The city’s fiscal plan entails some degree of execution risk,” according to the report, and its success will be determined by “the unpredictable nature of the current economic and revenue environment.”
‘We’re Ecstatic:’ High School Athletes, Coaches React to IHSA’s Vote to Allow Hoops Season – NBC5 (Chicago)
“We’ve been practicing and working out with masks on the entire time,” high school senior Caleb Corro said. “Coaches are enforcing those rules, and we’re accustomed to working out with them.”
Morton Grove Mayor Fires Off Letter To Gov. Pritzker, Questions Why Bars And Restaurants Must Stop Indoor Dining Over COVID-19 – CBS2 (Chicago)
The letter says in part: “Let me be blunt. Your recent order to close indoor service in bars and restaurants is an unnecessary, heavy-handed deathblow to these businesses and must be reconsidered.”
The figures Lightfoot’s office isn’t releasing despite six days of requests to do so deal with how much more taxpayers in the future will have to pay to in exchange for booking $501 million in anticipated savings in 2021—nearly half the $1.2 billion budget hole Lightfoot had to fill—plus $400 million for this year.
Editorial: Dead set against higher taxes and layoffs, aldermen? Then come up with a better idea – Chicago Sun-Times*
"What matters right now is that every alderman who dreads taking a vote on higher property taxes, which is to say every alderman, step up and propose realistic alternatives...That $1.2 billion budget gap won’t magically close itself."
CPS board president says reopening has to happen eventually to help vulnerable students, acknowledges it will be before ‘100% … are satisfied that it is safe’ – Chicago Sun-Times*
“The science on COVID is evolving really quickly,” Board member Sendhil Revuluri said. “The science on kids’ learning and development has been around for decades."
Lightfoot Won’t Sue To Avoid State’s New Coronavirus Restrictions On Bars, Restaurants – Block Club Chicago
Lightfoot said she and Pritzker had a “very frank and productive” hour-long meeting Wednesday and “came out of that discussion really committed to making sure that we work hard together.”
"We respect the governor’s desire to address increases in the city’s positivity rate and in hospital admissions for people with COVID-19 symptoms. We, too, are alarmed by this surge. But we also know the Chicago public is gathering unchecked in private and socializing indoors and outside with abandon. We caution that Pritzker’s action to close our restaurants will only drive people to do more of this."
Inflatable Scabby the Rat is a commonly used by Illinois unions protesting at construction sites for various reasons. The National Labor Relations Board general counsel called for a complaint against a Chicago-area union for using Scabby. The union in that case wasn’t protesting the construction company itself, but an electrical contractor who allegedly wasn’t paying standard wages and benefits for the area.
A Virtual Surprise: Some Chicago Special Ed Students Say Remote Learning Is Working Well – WBEZ (Chicago)
“The online learning is incredible,’ said Angelica DeLeon, who is a student at Vaughn Occupational High School on the Northwest Side. Angelica, who has autism, especially likes the virtual field trips and the online cooking classes. “She has a routine set up,” said her mother, adding that she has two more kids in regular CPS schools where remote learning is completely different. “Angelica’s seems to be more interactive."
Tighter COVID-19 restrictions in effect for suburban Cook County; Orland Park mayor says he won’t enforce closures – WGNTV (Chicago)
“The governor has yet to show any data that supports shutting down restaurants or targeting the businesses that he has. As I have said many times, adults can make their own informed decisions and businesses must operate in a way that makes their customers comfortable and safe. I will continue to support the decisions of our business owners,” Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said.
City stickers: naming rights, commemorative versions among money-making suggestions from aldermen – Chicago Tribune*
“For years, we’ve had kids and people design our city stickers. Would it be feasible or even possible by contract to offer that to major corporations? Some of these corporations pay millions and millions of dollars to put their names on a stadium for a five-to-ten-year contract,” Northwest Side Ald. Anthony Napolitano said.
By Saturday, eight of Illinois’ 11 regions will be operating under the state’s resurgence mitigation framework.
Cuts To City Key ID Program Proposed To Help Close City’s $1.2 Billion Budget Gap – Block Club Chicago
“Those numbers are inexcusable and they need to be corrected,” City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin said, responding to a report that found large racial disparities in where banks lend money. But, she continued, it will be difficult to exclude a bank as large as Chase that is “embedded within the city of Chicago’s municipal depository system.” “You’re saying we’re between a rock and a hard place. They can slap us and we still have to pay them to slap us,” said Ald. David Moore (17th).
‘Virus Doesn’t Make Exceptions’: Pritzker Responds to Lightfoot’s Request to Reconsider Chicago Coronavirus Restrictions – NBC5 (Chicago)
"Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t make exceptions, and it would be ill-advised to make exceptions to the rules we put in place as the best mitigations to stop the spread," a spokeswoman for the governor said in a statement. "As the CDC has noted, bars and restaurants are major places of transmission risk. We’ll continue to provide support to businesses that are hard hit through our $630 million in grants."
“If the governor’s order goes into effect, it’s shutting down a significant portion of our economy at a time when those same businesses are hanging on by a thread,” Lightfoot said during an interview Tuesday evening on the “PBS NewsHour." But she acknowledged that it was “not looking good” for her effort to convince Pritzker to reverse his order, set to take effect Friday.
For special education students, a tough call on returning to school: Risk possible COVID-19 exposure or accept ‘heartbreaking’ limits of remote learning – Chicago Tribune*
At Northside Learning Center, Jeannie Liu’s 16-year-old son is struggling to learn through a screen. She felt the district should have stuck with its hybrid plan this fall, and that CPS took the choice away from parents. Engagement with families has been lacking, she said. “You get a Google survey in your inbox ... and you don’t hear what happens to it. You get the survey and then a decision gets made....It’s just so heartbreaking as his mom, I can’t provide anything comforting other than, ‘I know how you feel.' I can’t say when it will be normal again.”
In comparison, trends in suburban offices are less severe and leasing interest is picking up, brokers said. Some analysts expect the suburbs will emerge as a lower-rent alternative for companies eager to spread out their workforce post-pandemic.
How The Super-Rich And Ex-Cons Squeezed Through Loopholes In A COVID-19 ‘Small Business’ Program – WBEZ (Chicago)
The SBA’s regional administrator for the Great Lakes states, including Illinois, said Monday, “Could we have done a better job? Yeah. But the goal of the program was to get the money out as fast as possible — save as many businesses and jobs as fast as possible. We were flying the plane and building it at the same time."
As Evanston stares down major budget deficit, the town’s financial ties to Northwestern University become even more apparent – Pioneer Press*
In a memo to the council, Evanston’s economic development division manager Paul Zalmezak wrote that Northwestern’s undergraduate student body of about 8,000 and an estimated 10,000 full-time and part-time faculty and staff "creates a dynamic that is arguably underappreciated by local residents."
The two leaders have quietly disagreed over a variety of issues over the past year, from pension reform to fiscal policy and authorizing a Chicago casino to canceling the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. But what’s sparking the new and more open exchange was Pritzker’s decision earlier Tuesday to suspend indoor restaurant service. That decision was at odds with Lightfoot’s earlier move to end indoor service at bars only. It appears the mayor, who has argued that restaurants are particularly important to the city's economy, did not take kindly to Pritzker's move.
"You would think any conscientious elected official would be looking for ways to reduce their reliance on this source of revenue, which often inflicts hardship on those least able to afford it. But Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is doing just the opposite."
Lightfoot Calls on Pritzker to Reconsider New COVID-19 Restrictions Taking Effect Friday – NBC5 (Chicago)
“If the governor’s order goes into effect, it’s really effectively shutting down a significant portion of our economy at a time when those same businesses are really hanging on by a thread,” she said. “So we’re going to try to continue our engagement with the governor and his team, but it’s not looking good.
Roughly ‘1-in-50′ Chicago Residents Could be Actively Infected With COVID-19: Arwady – NBC5 (Chicago)
In all, more than 94,000 Chicago residents have been diagnosed with coronavirus since the pandemic began. Of those residents, 88% have recovered, while a reported 3,037, or 3% of those infected, have died.
As for restaurants that have been putting up igloos, tents, bubbles, or other temporary structures to expand outdoor dining in the winter, Arwady said city officials have been evaluating all of the designs to make sure they have proper air ventilation, fire safety measures, and proper entries and exits. “I have every confidence that the structures that are being put up are COVID-appropriate, and generally good for use."
There are 33 states now on the order.
Parents, Advocates Want Transparency from CPS Before a Return to In-Person Learning – WTTW (Chicago)
“I don’t believe the schools are disinfected or clean, and because my son is always sick, his life is at higher risk,” Maria Carrasco, the parent of a Corkery Elementary School cluster program student who has both Down syndrome and leukemia. “I think CPS is seeing our children as numbers, but for us as parents, we see our children as life. They are our life.”
Lightfoot, Budget Officials Defend Expanding Speeding Tickets: ‘This Is About Keeping Communities Safe’ – Block Club Chicago
Multiple aldermen panned the proposed new fine during a nine-hour public hearing on Monday, saying it could punish the residents who can least afford it.
Chicago Could Soon Lose Indoor Restaurant, Bar Service If Coronavirus Numbers Keep Pace – Block Club Chicago
Starting Wednesday, six of Illinois’ 11 regions, including the suburbs in Cook County, will be under what Gov. JB Pritzker has dubbed “enhanced mitigations.” And Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said the city could bring back its own Phase 3 restrictions even before Pritzker imposes the state’s stricter rules.
As Private Students Return To School, Teachers Unions Block Chicago Public Schools From Opening – The Federalist
“While the district is doing everything in its power to plan for all possible scenarios, the CTU refuses to even discuss a return to in-person learning,” district spokeswoman Emily Bolton said.
‘Blindsided and heartbroken.’ Mood of restaurant, bar owners dismal as COVID rules are rolled back in suburban Cook – Chicago Tribune*
“All the progress we’ve made over the last two months is out the door now, and we have to start back from zero,” said Arnie Krause, owner of The Claim Company restaurant in Northbro