Chicago News

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    Ald. Matt Martin (47) chairs the City Council Committee on Ethics and Government Oversight. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

    The City Council’s Committee on Ethics and Government Oversight will hold subject matter hearings Thursday on the ability of alderpeople to earn outside income and on an audit of a city department’s efforts to help homeless people find housing. The ethics committee will meet at 1 p.m. in City Council chambers. 

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    The City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection will meet Thursday morning to consider approving myriad liquor licenses and restrictions on where short-term vacation rentals can operate. The committee will meet at 11:30 a.m. in City Council chambers.

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    The City Council Committee on Housing and Real Estate will meet Wednesday to vote on the renewal of an agreement that helps low-income disabled households upgrade their units to make them accessible, issuing loans to preserve several affordable rental buildings and a low-affordability designation of a planned residential development to take advantage of a property tax incentive.

    The housing committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. in City Council chambers.

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    Eileen O'Neill Burke and Clayton Harris III are competing for the Democratic nomination for Cook County State's Attorney. [Burke photo: Michael McDevitt, Harris photo from campaign social media]

    Clayton Harris III, the Cook County state’s attorney candidate who has the Cook County Democratic Party’s backing in the upcoming March primary, has raised less cash in his campaign committee than his opponent in the upcoming contest. However, both are fundraising far above the Republican in the race.

    According to public State Board of Elections data, Harris’s committee has raised at least $311,779 since his committee was formed last summer, as of Jan. 11. That’s at least $44,000 less than what his primary opponent has raised, according to the most recent data.

    The campaign committee for Eileen O’Neill Burke, the Democratic state’s attorney candidate who is competing in the primary despite not having her party’s backing, has raised at least $356,050 in individual contributions and transfers since its creation in July, State Board of Elections records show.

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    The Logan Boulevard bike lane between Rockwell Street and Diversey Parkway. [Erin Hegarty/The Daily Line]

    As the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) prepares to add 150 miles of new bikeways in the next several years, the department’s Complete Streets director took questions from alderpeople on a City Council panel Wednesday on CDOT’s plan to improve safety of cyclists and citywide bike friendliness. 

    CDOT Complete Streets Director David Smith sat for a subject matter hearing on the Chicago Cycling Strategy during Wednesday morning’s Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety meeting. The Chicago Cycling Strategy is a document released by CDOT last year that outlines ways to prioritize neighborhood connectivity and rider safety as the department plans to add new bikeways and upgrade existing lanes with better protection infrastructure.

    “What we have seen in Chicago, and what we've seen in cities across the world, is that when we design our streets and adopt policies that prioritize those most vulnerable, we improve the safety and accessibility for everybody using the street,” Smith said.

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    Acting DPD Comm. Ciere Boatright [Chicago Department of Planning and Development]

    The City Council Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development met Tuesday and confirmed Mayor Brandon Johnson’s appointment to lead the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD).

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    Ald. Daniel La Spata (1) chairs the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

    The City Council’s Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety will meet Wednesday and hold a hearing on how the city can make its road safer for cyclists, and the Committee on Transportation and Public Way will consider a resubdivision request in the 30th Ward. 

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    Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36) chairs the Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

    The City Council Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development will meet at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and consider multiple appointments, including confirming Mayor Brandon Johnson’s new planning commissioner.

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    An alderperson dropped out of his race to keep his position as the Democratic Party’s local ward boss, and another alderperson made the decision to try to retain his longtime ward committeeperson role with a write-in campaign. Meanwhile, the City Council education committee is set to hold a hearing on City Colleges of Chicago programming.

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    County and labor leaders held a news conference Friday to provide information as the county’s new paid leave law will soon be enforced, and the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners presided over candidate withdrawals and dismissals in multiple Democratic Party committeeperson races.

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    A file photo of voting booths.

    A coalition of real estate industry groups and other commercial groups filed a lawsuit Friday morning against the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners alleging the city’s Bring Chicago Home ballot question is legally invalid in a few ways.

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    The Chicago Police emblem is pictured at the Public Safety Headquarters in this file photo.

    Edwin Benn, the independent arbitrator who last year in a ruling opened the door for Chicago police officers to have serious disciplinary decisions decided in private instead of in front of the Chicago Police Board, issued a ruling Thursday that upheld his original decision after the City Council voted to kick the issue back to him last month. 

    Last month, the City Council voted 33-17 to reject a portion of a new contract between the city and Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police that would allow officers to have serious disciplinary cases decided through arbitration instead of the Police Board.

    Related: City Council approves most of FOP contract, rejects arbitration option; Council also approves Garrit police shooting settlement after July rejection

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    CDOT Comm. Tom Carney speaks during a ribbon-cutting for pedestrian and bike safety improvements to Central Park Avenue in Garfield Park in December 2023. [CDOT]

    Mayor Brandon Johnson’s appointment of a new Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) commissioner last month was met with disappointment by some groups that had called for a transformative leader to tackle the myriad transportation challenges the city faces.

    The mayor announced in late December that Tom Carney, who had been serving as acting commissioner since the departure of Gia Biagi in August, would move into the CDOT commissioner role permanently, though his appointment still needs to be approved by City Council.

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    Cook County announced the nonprofit organizations that would receive funds through a new grant program meant to temporarily stabilize smaller operations, and the city’s business affairs department announced the grantees that will participate in its program to revitalize vacant storefronts.

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    Chicago Department of Housing Comm. Lissette Castañeda [Courtesy of Mayor's Press Office]

    Mayor Brandon Johnson made numerous appointments to administrative leadership roles last month, including to the city’s housing department.

    The appointment of a new housing commissioner comes as the mayor’s office launches a new initiative aimed at reducing the red tape that can slow new developments and as the city may have new revenue available soon to fight homelessness if voters approve an increase to the real estate transfer tax for high-end properties.