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.”
Business group: Chicago work scheduling rules unconstitutional, should be blocked – Cook County Record
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.
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.
Discerning the difference between refreshing straight talk and intemperate broadsides should be on the mayor's to-do list.
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.
Daily Northwestern editor refuses to publish College Republicans’ response to Sessions’ protest – IL Review
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.
Editorial: As students flee and contract costs rise: Close Chicago’s half-empty schools – Chicago Tribune
Firms owned by Hazel Crest woman with criminal past collected $1.8 million consulting for suburbs, even while she faced federal indictment – Chicago Tribune
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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?
CTU vice president says Mayor Lightfoot barred her from 2-hour meeting that ended teachers strike – Chicago Sun-TImes
Speaker Madigan’s son got Alsip business, hit up mayor for campaign cash for his dad – Chicago Sun-TImes
"The future of public education in Chicago is empty schools, $100K teacher salaries, and fake jobs."
With CPS strike now over, will a new contract agreement transform classrooms in Chicago schools? – Chicago Tribune
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.”
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 1⁄2 times bigger — $98 million. Chicago just doesn’t have that kind of money. Really and truly.
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.
Chicago Fed Board Chief Can Continue After Exit From Private Sector Firm Under Investigation – Wall Street Journal
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.
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.