Alex Nitkin is The Daily Line’s reporter covering Cook County and Chicago land use policy. He came to TDL from The Real Deal Chicago, where he covered Chicago real estate news. He previously worked at DNAinfo, first as a breaking news reporter, and then as a neighborhood reporter covering the city's Northwest Side. Nitkin graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism with a bachelor’s degree.
Ald. Michelle Harris (8) held a news conference in December with supporters of the ward map proposed by the City Council Committee on Committees and Rules. [Erin Hegarty/The Daily Line]
Public discussion on the once-a-decade remap of Chicago’s 50 wards is set to resume Friday during the year’s first public hearing on the topic, testing a new strategy by the City Council Latino Caucus that aims to shake loose a months-long stalemate on the topic.
Aldermen are set on Tuesday to rescue two proposals form the City Council Committee on Committees and Rules. The City Council Committee on Ethics and Government Oversight is scheduled Tuesday to confirm a new member of the Chicago Board of Ethics. And the council’s economic development committee dropped a disputed tax break proposal.
News in brief: Study on buying Bears to be rescued from rules committee; aldermen to confirm new ethics board member; tax break scrubbed
Residents from Chicago’s 11th and 25th wards dominated public comment on the city’s ward remap Friday, urging aldermen to keep their communities intact. And a key City Council committee approved two new appointments to the Police Board. And aldermen are set to make another attempt at passing an ordinance to legalize stadium-based sports betting in Chicago.
News in brief: Canaryville, Barbara Jean Wright residents weigh in on ward remap; Police Board appointees get initial OK; Sports betting up again
Aldermen green-lit the extension of a popular outdoor seating permitting program. Members of the City Council Committee on Public Safety are set to consider the appointments of two new members to the Chicago Police Board. The council’s budget committee is set to reconvene to consider an ordinance giving emergency powers to the chief procurement officer. And a final 2021 public hearing on the ward remap is set for Friday.
News in brief: Outdoor dining extension advances; Aldermen to confirm new Police Board members; emergency procurement powers proposal set for second chance; ward remap hearing on tap
Megan Mathias, candidate for 45th Ward alderman, speaks to constituents as a few dozen residents gathered outside Ald. Jim Gardiner's (45) office Sept. 13, 2021, demanding that he resign amid recent scandals.
The proposed ward map unveiled last week by a City Council committee would draw out the only declared challenger to embattled Ald. Jim Gardiner (45).
Department of Public Health Comm. Allison Arwady [right] disagrees with a proposal drafted by Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33) and backed by more than half of the City Council to reopen shuttered public mental health clinics.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration is pushing back hard on a proposal from the City Council to reshuffle mental health spending to reopen city-backed clinics, saying the plan would veer the city off its existing path to widening psychiatric outreach.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference Thursday. [Erin Hegarty/The Daily Line]
E-scooter companies officially got the greenlight on Thursday to come back to Chicago with the City Council’s approval of a citywide program for the controversial two-wheeled modes of transportation.
Scooter program approved; budget watchdog peppers critiques amid ‘overall support’ for Lightfoot’s 2022 plan
Leaders from the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications are scheduled Friday to brief aldermen on the office’s 2022 spending plan. [OEMC]
The City Council Committee on Budget and Government Operations is scheduled on Friday to ask the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, water department and aviation department to defend their proposed 2022 budgets, which together come out to more than $1.6 billion. Friday’s three department budget hearings will close out day six of the 11-day marathon of budget committee hearings on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed spending plan.
Ald. Michele Smith (43) [left] and Ald. Leslie Hairston  during a City Council rules committee meeting on Friday.
Members of the public would still be allowed to virtually speak their minds at City Council and committee meetings even after the danger of the coronavirus pandemic subsides and meetings return to City Hall under a proposal set for a City Council vote on Sept. 14.
Glenstar wants to build a 297-unit apartment complex at 8535 W. Higgins Rd. in the 41st Ward. [Glenstar/Chicago Plan Commission]
Despite opposition from the area’s alderman, a seven-story, 297-unit housing development near the Cumblerland CTA Blue Line station scored key approval Thursday from the city’s Plan Commission.
Apartment complex near O’Hare gets key approval from city commission — despite aldermen’s opposition
Ald. Anthony Beale (9) speaks about his proposal to establish separate legislative counsel for the City Council during Wednesday’s council meeting. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]
Aldermen during the year’s first City Council meeting quickly approved three payments to resolve police-related lawsuits, but a rift emerged between aldermen about how to establish independent legal representation for the City Council.
Aldermen spar over dueling plans to create City Council independent counsel, approve police misconduct settlements
Ald. Brendan Reilly (42) presided over the City Council meeting on Wednesday after Mayor Lori Lightfoot left. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]
City licensing officials would have new powers to shut down “nuisance” bars and night clubs under a new proposal introduced to the City Council on Wednesday. It was one of dozens of new ordinances, resolutions and appointments submitted to the council this week, including a measure aimed at fighting wage discrimination in city hiring.
Aldermen attend a City Council meeting on Sept. 14. 2021. The first council meeting of 2022 could feature tense debates on the city’s legal defense policy for police misconduct allegations.
Chicago’s first City Council meeting of 2022 on Wednesday could set the stage for intense debate on a series of controversial police misconduct settlements as well as a pair of long-stalled proposals to reverse a 2021 speeding crackdown and give the council its own legal representation.
Controversial police misconduct settlements, stalled ordinances to come to a head in packed City Council meeting
The city collected $76 million for the CTA last year from a real estate transfer tax on sellers. The money will be used to pay down the transit agency’s pension debt. [Flickr/CTA]
Aldermen green-lit a routine budget measure on Tuesday aimed at helping the CTA pay down its pension debt — but not before firing a shot across the bow that the agency’s leaders need to spend more time in the limelight answering for incessant safety and reliability issues.
Aldermen lash CTA leaders on ‘fundamental lack of communication’ before approving $76M revenue transfer
Chicago Deputy Corporation Counsel Victoria Benson (left) and Ald. George Cardenas (12) speak during a City Council Committee on Finance meeting on Monday.
A key City Council committee narrowly voted to reject a legal settlement tied to a fatal 2013 police shooting, setting up a potential standoff over the city’s legal defense policy2 during Wednesday’s meeting of the full council.
Committee rejects police misconduct settlement, narrowly approves 2 others, setting up City Council clash
Chicago Department of Housing Comm. Marisa Novara presents details on the “encumbrance ordinance” during a City Council finance committee meeting on Monday.
Aldermen and city housing officials expressed hope on Monday that a pending ordinance will help spur private efforts to rehab long-abandoned properties on the city’s South and West Sides.
Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza speaks during a virtual event in March 2021.
Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza wants by the end of next year to “become a major player in helping craft policy” for the General Assembly through a technological overhaul that could make her office “the most trusted source of financial government data in the country,” she said on The Daily Line’s CloutCast podcast.
The Chicago Police Department was budgeted $82 million for legal settlements and judgements in 2022. [Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash]
A City Council committee is set to approve a $14 million payout to settle a pair of lawsuits stemming from an overturned 1991 murder conviction, already gobbling up nearly 20 percent of the entire amount city attorneys budgeted for police misconduct settlements in 2022.
Republican Senate Leader Dan McConchie rolled out a series of proposed constitutional amendments he said were designed to empower voters. And Democrats lashed a proposal from Republicans to expand the state’s automatic voter registration law.
Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood) [left] and lobbyist Dan Johnson speaking during a virtual House committee meeting on Tuesday
House lawmakers advanced legislation on Tuesday representing the latest step in their effort to promote diversity in the renewable energy industry — this time by requiring companies to publicly report their contracting records with women- and minority-owned firms. It was one of more than a half-dozen bills that escaped House and Senate committees on Tuesday, including bills designed to improve hospital safety and ease student debt.
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin emphasized crime, corruption and the economy in his gubernatorial campaign launch video on Monday. [YouTube/Irvin & Bourne for Illinois]
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin became the latest candidate on Monday to jump into the Republican race to unseat Gov. JB Pritzker. But even with the promise of heavy backing from billionaire mega-donor Ken Griffin, Illinois Democrats and even many Republicans are making it clear his path to the governor’s mansion will be anything but smooth.
Cook County Comm. Sean Morrison (R-17) [right] on Thursday challenged county board President Toni Preckwinkle over a county public health order requiring proof of vaccination at indoor spaces.
Updated 9:24 a.m. Jan. 14: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle stood firm on Thursday against a mounting backlash — including from one commissioner — against the county’s new vaccination mandate for some businesses, calling the criticism “profoundly disturbing.”
Just 24 percent of Chicago residents feel the city overall is at least somewhat safe, according to the latest Chicago Index survey.
Fewer than one-quarter of Chicago residents feel the city is safe after almost two years of a pandemic and surging citywide crime, and fewer than one-third feel safe in their own neighborhoods, according to a new survey conducted through the Chicago Index.
Illinois Restaurant Association president Sam Toia speaks during a meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Finance Committee on Monday.
Cook County commissioners are poised on Thursday to unlock $257 million in new funding from the American Rescue Plan Act for a range of new programs including everything from violence prevention to business supports, broadband expansion and new health programs.
Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) [left] and electric vehicle advocate Neda Deylami speak during a meeting of the House Energy & Environment Committee on Tuesday.
House Democrats on Tuesday advanced a bill designed to speed Illinois’ transition to electric cars by cranking up electric charging requirements for new buildings, steamrolling Republicans who worried about the measure’s potential cost for homeowners and builders.
Senate lawmakers advanced a bill designed to help the spouses of people living in assisted living facilities. And Gov. JB Pritzker announced the rollout of a new ad campaign designed to push up the state’s vaccination rate.
Chicago Department of Public Health Comm. Allison Arwady [right] and Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10) during a City Council committee hearing on Monday
Chicago schools have not been widespread vectors for the spread of COVID-19, the city’s top doctor insisted on Monday as city officials push for a return to in-person learning.
City Council rules committee chair Ald. Michelle Harris (8) and Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11) during a committee hearing on Friday
A chaotic and abortive meeting of the City Council Committee on Committees and Rules on Friday showed that aldermen remain as divided as ever over the city’s decennial remap as the drop-dead deadline to avoid a voter referendum draws nearer.
Left: Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) speaks during a virtual news conference on Thursday. Right: former Legislative Inspector General Carol Pope speaks during a virtual meeting in April 2021.
Illinois lawmakers dispensed with a deluge of legislation during their single-day floor session on Wednesday, but they left at least one time-sensitive task unfinished: picking a new Legislative Inspector General to succeed outgoing watchdog Carol Pope.