New Cloutcast Episode: How Chicago is preparing for June 28th

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    Clockwise from top-left: Luis Arroyo Jr., Anthony Quezada, Natalie Toro, Rory McHale and Edwin Reyes are vying to represent the 8th District on the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

    Cook County Board of Commissioners’ races often nab little public attention from voters. The 17 members on the county board don’t administer services or approve new real estate developments like aldermen do, and they don’t get to negotiate torrents of capital spending and navigate landmark legislation like state legislators.

    But in an especially low-profile year, when just three Democrats and one Republican on the board are facing challengers from their own parties, Comm. Luis Arroyo, Jr. has attracted four primary challengers — more than all his colleagues combined. The challengers vary widely, but they agree Arroyo has failed in his role on the board responsible for setting the $8 billion budget that funds the county’s courts, jail, two public hospitals, tax collection offices and more.

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    Chicago Police Department Supt. David Brown speaks during a news conference in April 2021. [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago]

    A four-way joint City Council committee hearing on Friday will give aldermen the opportunity to prod leaders of various city departments — including the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Park District — on their plans to ensure community safety during the summer.

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    Ald. Anthony Beale (9) and Mayor Lori Lightfoot during Wednesday’s City Council meeting. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

    Backers of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2021 move to lower the threshold for speed camera tickets from 11 mph over the limit to 6 mph scuttled a scheduled Wednesday vote on a proposal to restore the threshold back to the higher limit.

    Aldermen led by Ald. Jason Ervin (28) moved to defer and publish Ald. Anthony Beale’s (9) proposed speed camera ordinance during the Wednesday City Council meeting.

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    Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6) spoke during a pair of back-to-back news conferences introducing new public safety proposals Wednesday morning. [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago]

    Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6) and a handful of his City Council allies are pushing to reshuffle tens of millions of dollars into a new regime of public safety programs that emphasize non-police community outreach, saying existing structures have failed to tamp down violence.

    The proposals were among more than a dozen new citywide ordinances and resolutions introduced to the City Council on Wednesday, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s long-awaited “Connecting Communities Ordinance” to boost development near transit. They come as the city braces for a surge of summer violence, and less than a month after Sawyer announced a run for mayor.

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    Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle rolled out her preliminary budget projection for 2023 on Wednesday. [The Daily Line/Alex Nitkin]

    Just two years after Cook County leaders faced their most dire budget gap in a decade, the county is poised to cruise into budget season with nearly a $263 million year-end surplus and its smallest projected shortfall in more than a decade, they announced Wednesday.

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    Speed cameras have captured drivers who exceed the speed limit by 6 mph or more near schools or parks since March 2021. [Anjali Pinto/ProPublica]

    Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s move last year to lower the threshold at which drivers are issued speeding tickets in areas around parks and schools will face a critical test on Wednesday as the City Council is set to vote on whether to raise it from 6 mph over the speed limit back up to 11 mph.

    The council’s Committee on Finance voted 16-15 on Tuesday to send Ald. Anthony Beale’s (9) ordinance (O2021-1227) raising the speeding threshold to the City Council for a final vote on Wednesday, more than one year after the measure was introduced. If the ordinance is approved, it could result in the first veto of Lightfoot’s administration.

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    From left: Ald. Maria Hadden (49), Chicago Department of Buildings Comm. Matthew Beaudet and Ald. Brian Hopkins (2) speak during a meeting of the City Council zoning committee on Tuesday.

    Apartment building owners will face a wave of new cooling requirements under an ordinance advanced on Tuesday with the goal of preventing the kinds of excessive indoor heat that saw three elderly Rogers Park women die in their apartments last month. While the proposal faced headwinds in committee, it passed with unanimous support after its sponsor agreed to keep negotiating on its most controversial provision.

    The ordinance (O2022-1753), a collaboration between Ald. Maria Hadden (49) and the Chicago Department of Buildings, was the only citywide measure among dozens of other zoning proposals that earned the unanimous endorsement of the City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards on Tuesday. They included a major adaptive reuse project in Austin and the latest proposed addition to Fulton Market’s growing skyline.

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    A ComEd truck remains at the scene, and partially in the bike lane, at the corner of Winthrop and Leland avenues, where a 3-year-old girl was killed in a crash between a truck and a bicycle the morning on June 9, 2022. [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago]

    A Lincoln Square alderperson wants to step up enforcement of drivers who block bike lanes after 3-year-old Elizabeth “Lily” Grace Shambrook was killed in an Uptown crash earlier this month.

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    Gov. JB Pritzker speaks at a news conference in Chicago Friday. [Blue Room Stream] 

    Gov. JB Pritzker will call the General Assembly into a special session in the “coming weeks” to tackle reproductive legislation and shore up abortion protections in Illinois after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday, he announced.  

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    Secretary of State Jesse White, middle, speaks about his support for Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia’s nomination for secretary of state at an event in Waukegan Thursday. [Ben Szalinski/The Daily Line] 

    Secretary of State Jesse White turned 88 Thursday and spent his day voting early in Chicago with Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia and calling on voters to choose her as the next Democratic nominee for secretary of state.

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    Sen. Dick Durbin, second from left, speaks during a presentation in front of the Democratic National Committee Thursday alongside from left to right, Ron Holmes, U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, Comptroller Susana Mendoza, Abby Witt and Jake Lewis. [DNC/YouTube

    The Democratic Party of Illinois made a formal pitch to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Thursday to hold one of 2024’s first Democratic presidential primaries by highlighting the state’s diversity and significant position in the Midwest.

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    Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, and Norma Hernandez of Melrose Park are competing in the Democratic primary in the 77th House District. [House Democrats and Norma Hernandez/Facebook]

    Veteran Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) made headlines in 2021 when she was one of three Democratic women to publicly announce she was mounting a run for speaker against former House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago). Now Willis is fighting off a challenger to her own legislative career from Triton College Trustee Norma Hernandez of Melrose Park.

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    A mailer by the Democratic Party of Illinois describes Republican attorney general candidate Tom Devore. [Ben Szalinski/The Daily Line]

    Democratic organizations have weighed into the Republican gubernatorial primary through TV commercials and direct mailers targeting Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and highlighting Sen. Darren Bailey’s (R-Xenia) conservative credentials. Now the Democratic Party of Illinois is extending the tactic to weigh into the Republican attorney general primary.

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    More than 200,000 Illinoisians have already cast their ballot for the June 28 primary. [Mauricio Pena/Block Club Chicago]

    With the June 28 primary less than a week away, more than 210,000 people have already cast their ballots in Illinois, which is less than half the number of people who voted early before the 2018 primary, records show.

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    Gregg Johnson, left, and Thurgood Brooks, right, are competing in the Democratic primary for the 72nd House District. [Campaign websites]  

    A pair of East Moline Democrats and a former Rock Island mayoral candidate are vying for the Democratic nomination in the 72nd House District after Rep. Mike Halpin (D-Rock Island) decided to a pursue a seat in the Illinois Senate.

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