Chicago News

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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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    Monique Scott (left) and Michael Scott. [Facebook; Colin Boyle/ Block Club Chicago]

    Monique Scott got the backing of Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday to replace her brother Michael Scott as the new alderman of the 24th Ward.

    Lightfoot announced Monique Scott as her pick to fill the vacancy left behind when Michael Scott resigned earlier this month to take a new community relations job with Chicago-based film company Cinespace.

    Related: Michael Scott calls it quits, heads to Cinespace to give appointed successor a ‘leg up’ in 2023

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    The James Sneider Apartments in Rogers Park [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago]

    In addition to the dozens of new development proposals the City Council Committee on Zoning, Building and Landmark Standards is set to consider on Tuesday, aldermen are also scheduled to vote on a measure that would set new cooling requirements for nursing homes, senior housing facilities and large residential buildings.

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    Spin scooters parked outside Wrigley Field [Spin]

    E-scooters are back in Chicago’s neighborhoods and here to stay.

    After a delay in the launch of the city’s permanent e-scooter program, scooters from companies awarded licenses by the city have been peppered throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods outside of an area surrounding downtown where Lyft was allowed to proliferate its scooters in May.

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    Ald. Anthony Beale (9), left, and Chicago Department of Transportation Comm. Gia Biagi speak during a committee meeting on Thursday.

    A long-stalled proposal from Ald. Anthony Beale (9) to raise the speeding threshold for the city to issue speeding tickets appeared close to having the votes to pass out of a key City Council committee on Thursday — more than a year after it was introduced — but a vote on the proposal was again delayed, this time until next week.

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    Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle presides over a meeting of the Board of Commissioners on Thursday. [The Daily Line/Alex Nitkin]

    Thousands of local governments across Cook County will likely have to bear the financial headache of waiting until 2023 to reap all the property taxes they’re owed this year, county Board President Toni Preckwinkle acknowledged on Thursday.

    She made the pronouncement hours after the county’s Board of Commissioners pushed forward the county’s marathon slog to modernize its tax collection technology, and one day after a fired senior official at the county’s Board of Review threw new fuel into the frenzied debate over who is to blame for the delay.

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    An ordinance to allow the booting of cars all over the city stalled on Thursday. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

    The City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection delayed two votes that had been scheduled for Thursday, including one on a controversial proposal to legalize car booting citywide.

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    The Shedd Aquarium plans a new entrance and outdoor pavilion as part of a larger renovation. [Chicago Department of Planning and Development]

    The Chicago Plan Commission granted key approvals to a Shedd Aquarium renovation and a South Side affordable housing developmentvThursday.

    The board also signed off on the sale of the former West Ridge library building to a local refugee group after neighbors blasted an earlier attempt to sell it to an organization that planned to lease part of the space to a group co-founded by Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th).

    Here’s more on the projects. They still require City Council approval.