Chicago News

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    On April 13, 2024, U.S. Palestinian Community Network national chair Hatem Abudayyeh speaks to reporters about his March on the DNC coalition's protest plans this August. [Michael McDevitt/The Daily Line]

    Officials are planning to designate some space within the security footprint of the Democratic National Convention for planned protests, and though permits from several groups seeking to protest near the convention have not been approved, law enforcement told a City Council panel that peaceful protests will be allowed regardless.

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    The City Council Committee on Finance meets in chambers on Thursday, April 11, 2024. [Michael McDevitt/The Daily Line]

    The City Council Committee on Finance on Thursday held its second subject matter hearing in several weeks on Mayor Brandon Johnson’s $1.25 billion proposed bond issuance to bolster existing housing, cultural and economic development programs citywide.

    In response to questions and concerns raised during and after a March 22 finance committee hearing, a substitute bond ordinance (SO2024-0007838) was put forth that incorporates a number of new provisions related to transparency, fiscal responsibility and council authority over spending of the proposed bond proceeds.

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    The Committee on License and Consumer Protection votes on an ordinance adding new scooter share regulations on Wednesday. [Livestream]

    The City Council's license committee on Wednesday approved new regulations for scooter share businesses, including a new fee structure, allowance for overnight rides and new character-, equity- and conduct-based requirements for business license renewal.

    But alderpeople on the committee were particularly concerned with cutting down on unsafe behavior from scooter riders — most notably riding on sidewalks.

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    Ald. Bill Conway (34) asks acting DCASE Comm. Clinée Hedspeth (third from left) about the proposed Chicago River charity race during a confirmation hearing Wednesday. [Livestream]

    The City Council Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation voted to approve Mayor Brandon Johnson’s pick to lead the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Wednesday, sending final confirmation to the City Council next week.

    While some alderpeople gave acting DCASE Comm. Clinée Hedspeth a glowing recommendation, others said they wanted more information from the mayor’s office about why her predecessor, former Comm. Erin Harkey, was fired in February.

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    Ald. Daniel La Spata (1), chair of the pedestrian and traffic safety committee, is pictured. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

    Alderpeople on Thursday will hold a subject matter hearing to explore the possibility of lowering the city’s default speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 mph to encourage slower driving.  

    While Ald. Daniel La Spata (1) said the hearing will be a preliminary discussion and there isn’t an ordinance ready to be introduced yet, he told The Daily Line similar actions have significantly reduced traffic fatalities in neighboring Evanston. 

    The City Council Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety will hold the hearing in council chambers at noon on Thursday, during which no votes on the issue will be taken.

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    Nick Lucius (left) appears before the Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development on Tuesday for a confirmation vote on his appointment at chief information officer. [Livestream]

    The City Council Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development on Tuesday approved the appointment of Nick Lucius as the city’s chief information officer. Lucius has served as the city’s chief technology officer since 2022 and before that served as the chief data officer.

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    On Wednesday, City Council committees will consider new regulations for scooter rental operators, affordable housing preferences for veterans and the confirmation of a new Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events commissioner.

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    Mayor Brandon Johnson attends a news conference in January. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

    Following a 90-day timeline that kicked off with the issuance of an executive order, Mayor Brandon Johnson last week unveiled a sweeping list of recommendations to speed up and reduce the cost of developing real estate across the city while aiming to allow development to occur in more places.

    The “Cut the Tape” report includes dozens of legislative and administrative policy recommendations that are aimed at shortening approval processes for developments, eliminating bureaucratic redundancies and reducing the number of requirements associated with developments to expand where developers can build.

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    City Hall is pictured in this file photo.

    The City Council Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development will meet Tuesday to vote on several appointments, including the appointment of a chief technology officer, and the renewal of a property tax incentive. 

    The economic development committee will meet at 10:30 a.m. in City Council chambers.

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    The mayor’s office released a report on its plan to streamline the process for approving citywide developments and announced the opening of a new migrant shelter for families.

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    Mayor Brandon Johnson announces four projects proposed to recieve TIF assistance at a downtown news conference April 3. [Mayor's Office Facebook page]

    Four vacant commercial office spaces are proposed to become housing in the city’s central business district with city financial assistance subject to City Council approval, Mayor Brandon Johnson announced Wednesday.

    "These transformative projects within the Loop signify more than a revitalization of space; they embody our city's dedication to inclusivity and growth," the mayor said in a news release.

    The Loop projects total an estimated $528 million investment and could receive more than $150 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) assistance. The projects would bring more than 1,000 new housing units to the downtown LaSalle corridor, with an estimated 319 proposed to be designated as affordable and serve households making 60 percent of the area median income, or $53,000 for a two-person household.

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    Ald. Maria Hadden (49) speaks about the Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance during a news conference in January. [Michael McDevitt/The Daily Line]

    The City Council Committee on Environmental Protection and Energy held an hours-long subject matter hearing on the Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance (CABO) Wednesday, a proposal that would set new indoor emissions standards for new buildings and additions to prohibit the use of natural gas heating systems and natural gas-powered appliances.  

    Groups in favor of CABO argue the legislation would mitigate the share of greenhouse gas emissions that come from Chicago’s built environment and lower energy costs for property owners and tenants. They also argue it will lead to better health outcomes and cite the health concerns associated with gas stoves. 

    But some labor unions representing the plumbers, pipefitters and operating engineers, along with Peoples Gas, oppose the ordinance, saying it removes customer choice and would cause job losses. They also warn that customers left on the gas system will end up experiencing higher gas bills.

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    Ald. Maria Hadden (49) speaks about the Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance during a news conference in January 2024. [Michael McDevitt/The Daily Line]

    Alderpeople will have a chance Wednesday to ask questions about a proposal to essentially require building electrification in new construction and effectively ban most forms of natural gas in new developments. 

    The City Council Committee on Environmental Protection and Energy will hold a subject matter hearing on the Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance (CABO), a proposal that would set new indoor emissions standards for new buildings and additions to prohibit the use of natural gas heating systems and natural gas-powered appliances. 

    The environment committee is scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. in council chambers at City Hall.

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    The mayor announced his pick to replace his retired chief of staff, and the city opened applications to buy hundreds of lots for housing and other community amenities.

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    The Chicago Police Department emblem is pictured in this file photo.

    Both members and non-members of the City Council Committee on Police and Fire expressed support for the ShotSpotter gunshot detection technology during discussion on a measure that seeks to allow individual wards to keep the technology ahead of an upcoming citywide contract termination.  

    But alderpersons also said more data should be shared by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to give a better picture of the overall success of the program — data which the order would also promulgate.  

    Additionally on Monday, the committee voted to raise the mandatory retirement age for police officers, sending the final decision to the City Council.

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