• Erin Hegarty
    SEP 21, 2022

    City Council to vote on new 43rd Ward alderman, citywide booting proposal

    Timmy Knudsen speaks during a committee meeting Tuesday.

    Timmy Knudsen is set to be confirmed as Chicago’s newest alderman during Wednesday’s City Council meeting when aldermen are also set to consider a slew of additional measures approved by committees in the past month including a proposal that would allow booting of cars citywide.

    The City Council during its Wednesday meeting will vote on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s appointment of Knudsen as the new 43rd Ward alderman. Lightfoot on Monday announced Knudsen as her pick to fill the seat vacated in August by Michele Smith. 

    Related: Lightfoot picks zoning board’s Timmy Knudsen as new 43rd Ward alderman 

    Knudsen, a partner at law firm Croke, Fairchild, Morgan & Beres, had served as chair of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals since 2020 but is currently on leave from the position. Knudsen was also on leave from his position with Croke, Fairchild, Morgan & Beres. 

    The City Council Committee on Committees and Rules, which largely functions as a committee of the whole, on Tuesday gave initial approval to the appointment with Ald. Marty Quinn (13) as the lone “no” vote.  

    Quinn did not explain his vote during the meeting but told The Daily Line it is tied to a decision the Zoning Board of Appeals, which Knudsen chaired, made about six months ago in favor of a parking lot in his ward. Quinn said he collected about 28 signatures against a special use for a storage lot near the 5900 block of South Parkside, which he said became infested with rats and is adversely affecting neighbors, but the board approved the proposal anyway. 

    “If you side against the residents in favor of business, you better get that right,” Quinn said on Tuesday, adding that the “business guys haven't gotten that right.” 

    Still, Quinn said he has “nothing against” Knudsen and he “seems like a wonderful guy.” 

    Other aldermen were largely congratulatory of their potential new colleague.  

    Ald. Walter Burnett (27) said he’s had the opportunity to bring items to the zoning board while Knudsen served on it. 

    “I found him to be very patient. He listened a lot…to both sides, which are a lot of qualities that you have to have as an elected official,” Burnett said. “But also he did give due consideration at that time to aldermen.” 

    Ald. Nicole Lee (11), who was appointed by Lightfoot in March to replace Patrick Daley Thompson after his conviction of filing false tax returns and lying to bank regulators forced him to resign, noted Knudsen’s appointment means she now holds seniority over two people — Ald. Monique Scott (24) being the other one. 

    “I'm excited for this opportunity for you and to have a new colleague on board here,” Lee said. “I look forward to also learning from you with all of your experience from the [Zoning Board of Appeals].” 

    Knudsen told his potential new colleagues on Tuesday that he had gotten the call from Lightfoot saying he would be appointed to the seat 24 hours before the meeting.  

    “This is a huge honor for me as someone who has lived only in the ward since moving to Chicago after law school,” he said. 

    Lightfoot lauded Knudsen in a news release on Monday saying he has a “passion for connecting with his neighbors and encouraging hope, energy, and opportunity for Chicago residents makes him uniquely situated to serve as Alderman.” 

    “Timmy is deeply connected to the needs of 43rd ward residents and has the skills to communicate effectively, lean on the expertise of trusted messengers without ego, and encourage civic engagement,” Lightfoot said. 

    If Knudsen is approved on Wednesday, aldermen are also set to vote on a change in council committee assignments that would be the same as Smith’s assignments including powerful committees like public safety, budget and finance. 

    Ald. Nick Sposato (38) said the city should reconsider how committees are assigned to newly appointed aldermen rather than putting new council members in the same roles as more seasoned aldermen who they’re replacing.  

    Ald. Andre Vasquez (40) agreed, saying there are some aldermen who have been on Council since 2019 who have been eyeing the bigger more powerful committees "for a number of years."  

    Vasquez said he is interested in learning how new committee decisions are made. 

    Citywide booting of car 

    Separately on Wednesday, aldermen will consider a controversial proposal (O2022-1217) from Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30) to expand the legalization of car booting to the entire city. 

    Vehicle booting is currently only legal in about two-thirds of Chicago’s 50 wards and aldermen that allow booting in their wards praised the practice during a committee meeting last week. 

    Aldermen during a meeting of the City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection last week voted 12-6 to send the ordinance to the full council. 

    Related: Proposal to allow booting of cars citywide nets initial approval 

    Ald. Maria Hadden (49) responded to a question about whether not allowing for booting citywide would infringe on property rights. 

    "No one's trying to restrict people's private property rights,” Hadden said. “This is just about a private company that wants to have a free for all on the city and expand their market." 

    Illinois State Board of Elections records show Innovative Parking Solutions and its owner Michael Denigris have donated a total of more than $10,000 to Chicago aldermen or ward organizations since the start of the year. 

    Reboyras has said he introduced the measure to expand the practice at the direct request of former alderman Joe Moore, who is now a lobbyist working with Innovative Parking Solutions. 

    Related: Alderman’s push to expand private lot booting gets the boot  

    Moore on Thursday portrayed booting as "more humane than the traditional method of towing one's car,” saying the cost to remove a boot from a car is less than bailing out a car from the tow lot and it is more convenient. 

    New deputy inspector general for public safety  

    Separately on Wednesday, will vote on Inspector General Deborah Witzburg’s nomination (A2022-127) of Tobara Richardson as the city’s next deputy inspector general for public safety. 

    Related: News in brief: Witzburg nominates new deputy inspector general for public safety; Plan Commission approves Esperanza Health Centers expansion  

    The city has been without a permanent Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety since last November when Witzburg resigned from the post to pursue the role of the city’s top watchdog.  

    Witzburg on Friday said Richardson "brings a combination of background and experience that will serve her and the city in the role."  

    Richardson is a lifelong resident of Chicago’s West Side and is currently Counsel to the Illinois Attorney General on Social Justice and Equity and has “more than a decade of experience as a criminal prosecutor, having worked both as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County and an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois,” according to an August news release from Witzburg’s office.   

    Or2022-246  — A $15 million payment to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of Guadalupe Franco Martinez who was killed in 2020 when a Chicago Police squad car crashed into her vehicle near the intersection of Ashland Avenue and Irving Park Road during a high-speed chase, according to reporting from CBS2.  

    Martinez was innocent and police were in pursuit of a person who was wanted for crimes committed in the suburbs. Several aldermen questioned why Chicago and Illinois State police weren’t able to stop the driver of the car as it was being carjacked from a gas station.  

    Martinez’s car burst into flames after it was hit by the squad car, CBS reported, and she had to be extricated from the car by the Chicago Fire Department.  

    The lawsuit brought by Martinez’s family alleges the police officer in the chase was acting under willful and wanton conduct while driving at high rates of speed and distance during the pursuit.  

    Or2022-249 — a $900,000 payment to settle a lawsuit brought by Dwayne Rowlett who was seriously wounded in 2017 after Chicago Police shot him as they alleged Rowlett resisted arrest following a chase, according to the Tribune.  

    Or2022-247  — A payment of more than $9 million to settle the lawsuit brought by Patrick Prince for his wrongful conviction of murder. Prince’s conviction was vacated and charges were dismissed in 2017 after he was incarcerated for 25 years. Prince received a certificate of innocence in 2018. 

    Or2022-248 – A $950,000 payment to settle a lawsuit brought by Dilan Abreu, an employee with the city’s Department of Water Management, who alleged his boss at the time Paul Hansen, the son of former Ald. Bernard Hansen, harassed him, used racial slurs and tried to push him in a hole, according to an article from the Tribune. 

    O2022-2373 — A proposal by Lightfoot establishing a fuel surcharge for rides in Chicago licensed taxicabs. The proposed surcharge would be tied to the trip, ranging from $1 for fares up to $20 to $3 for fares more than $40. “Fuel is a major overhead expense for taxicab drivers and the fuel surcharge would support the taxicab industry financially during this time of dramatically increased fuel prices,” according to a July news release from Lightfoot.  

    O2021-2638 — A proposal by developer K Giles to rehab the landmarked Immaculata High School Building at the intersection of Irving Park Road and Marine Drive to add up to 245 mostly studio and one-bedroom apartments. The developer is also proposing to build a 23-story senior apartment building with as many as 200 units on the former school’s parking lot. 

    The Chicago Plan Commission gave the development glowing reviews during its July meeting.  

    Related: Uptown apartment mega-project an ‘exemplar’ for housing density near transit as city expands 'TOD' policy, officials say 

    SO2022-2448 — A measure accepting more than $9.5 million in new grant allocations, the biggest of which will help fund a Department of Family Support Services’ program that helps aging Chicagoans. 

    O2022-2356 — The sale of the city-owned property at 6435 N. California Ave. in the 50th Ward to Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America, Inc. for $962,786. The appraised value is $630,000. 

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