Erin Hegarty

Erin Hegarty has covered City Hall for The Daily Line since September 2020. She previously covered the City of Naperville for the Naperville Sun/Chicago Tribune for four years, and prior to that covered the northwest suburbs for the Daily Herald. Erin enjoys biking around the city and eating her way through different neighborhoods.

Contact Erin at [email protected]

Bio

Covering Chicago City Hall for @thedailylinechi. Send tips to [email protected] More coffee, always.
JUL 21, 2022
Ald. Michele Smith (43) speaks at a March 2022 City Council meeting. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

Lincoln Park Ald. Michele Smith (43) will retire from the City Council next month, capping her City Council career at 11 years and giving Mayor Lori Lightfoot her third opportunity this year to appoint a new alderman, she announced on Thursday.

The sudden announcement, citing a desire to spend more time with family and friends, comes one day after Smith scored a major legislative victory with the City Council’s passage of an ethics reform ordinance she championed.

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Smith announces abrupt retirement from City Council, setting up another Lightfoot appointment

Ald. Michele Smith (43) speaks at a March 2022 City Council meeting. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]...
JUL 12, 2022

Cook County leaders laid the groundwork Monday for annual spending talks and late tax collections in an unusual budget year. And Chicago transportation officials unveiled plans to give away 5,000 bikes through 2026.

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News in brief: Cook County looks ahead to budget season; CDOT details plans to give away 5,000 bikes

Cook County leaders laid the groundwork Monday for annual spending talks and late tax collections...
JUL 05, 2022

Ald. James Cappleman (46) at a City Council meeting in February 2020. [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago]

Ald. James Cappleman (46) will not run for a fourth term in the City Council next year after more than a decade at the helm of Uptown’s radical transformation, he announced in a note to constituents on Tuesday.

The news comes as three contenders have already lined up to succeed him — including one challenger who came within a hair’s breadth of unseating him in 2019.

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Cappleman to call it a career after 12 years as Uptown’s alderman as crowded field emerges to replace him

Ald. James Cappleman (46) at a City Council meeting in February 2020. [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chi...
JUN 09, 2022
Ald. Walter Burnett (27) voices an endorsement for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s campaign alongside fellow West Side elected officials Ald. Emma Mitts (37), Ald. Jason Ervin (28) and retiring Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Comm. Barbara McGowan.

A trio of West Side aldermen showcased an early mark of political force for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s fresh-off-the-ground reelection campaign, highlighting her efforts to jump-start economic activity in historically overlooked neighborhoods while she faced unprecedented headwinds.

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Lightfoot’s tightest City Council allies rally around her nascent reelection campaign

Ald. Walter Burnett (27) voices an endorsement for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s campaign alongside fell...
MAY 23, 2022
Aldermen quizzed Chicago Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett (top right) and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Samir Mayekar (top left) during a committee hearing on Friday.

A key City Council committee hit the pause button Friday on the $1.7 billion Chicago casino plan championed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration amid a flurry of questions over how much oversight aldermen will have over the deal. Lightfoot’s deputies and committee chair Ald. Tom Tunney (44) are holding on — for now — to a schedule that would keep the plan on track to move to a final City Council vote this week.

But as a range of aldermen beg for more details and language tweaks to a nearly 150-page agreement between casino developer Bally’s and the city, Tunney made it clear that the mayor’s target of a floor vote on Wednesday is no sure bet.

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Casino plan stumbles but remains on course for approval this week as aldermen demand more oversight

Aldermen quizzed Chicago Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett (top right) and Deputy Mayo...
MAY 17, 2022
A coach house on Chicago’s Northwest Side. [Lichter Realty]

Chicago property owners have applied to build 361 new basement or attic apartment buildings and 166 new backyard coach houses in the approximately one year since their construction has been legal, city officials said Monday as they weigh whether they should accelerate the legalization push. But while some aldermen point to the numbers as a sign that the new homes — known as Accessory Dwelling Units or Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs) — have been a success, others remain skeptical.

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City Council remains divided on coach houses, basement additions as ADU pilot readies for 1-year check-in

A coach house on Chicago’s Northwest Side. [Lichter Realty] Chicago property owners have applied ...
APR 11, 2022
Photo by Manuel Martinez, WBEZ / Treatment by Jason McGregor, Crain’s Chicago Business/iStock photo

Virtual public meetings and better systems of accountability have sharply boosted aldermanic attendance rates at City Council meetings since 2019, according to a joint analysis by The Daily Line, WBEZ and Crain’s Chicago Business. The average Chicago alderman showed up to do the work of the City Council about four out of every five times they were required to since the start of the term in May 2019.

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Some of the most powerful Chicago aldermen show up to work the least

Photo by Manuel Martinez, WBEZ / Treatment by Jason McGregor, Crain’s Chicago Business/iStock pho...
APR 11, 2022

WBEZ, Crain’s Chicago Business and The Daily Line analyzed publicly available attendance records for 519 City Council meetings and committee meetings that occurred between May 2019 and December 2021 and found that Chicago aldermen attended an average of about 86% of the meetings required of them.

You can look up your alderman’s meeting attendance rate using our tool below.

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We ranked City Council members by meeting attendance. Check your alderman’s score.

WBEZ, Crain’s Chicago Business and The Daily Line analyzed publicly available attendance records ...
MAR 24, 2022
Nicole Lee will be nominated by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to be the next alderman for the 11th Ward. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

Less than a day after Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she needed “more time” to settle on a pick to succeed convicted Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11) in the City Council, she announced she had settled on United Airlines executive and Chinatown native Nicole Lee as her pick.

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Who is Nicole Lee? 11th Ward alderman pick has background in corporate giving, Chinese American organizing and oil consulting

Nicole Lee will be nominated by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to be the next alderman for the 11th Ward. [...
FEB 23, 2022

Chicago leaders confirmed the city will loosen its COVID-19 mask and vaccination requirements on Monday. A 42-unit apartment proposal in West Lakeview was the largest development proposal to earn approval from an uncharacteristically light zoning committee meeting on Tuesday. And the City Council is set to vote on a measure approved by a key committee on Tuesday that would allow electronic voting during council meetings.

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News in brief: Mask & vax mandate to end Monday; Lakeview apartment complex among zoning approvals; remote voting comes closer to reality

Chicago leaders confirmed the city will loosen its COVID-19 mask and vaccination requirements on ...
SEP 30, 2022
Imperial Zinc Corporation's new building in Pullman. [City of Chicago livestream]

Aldermen sent a pair of property tax incentives for a Pullman zinc manufacturing company to the City Council for final approval but delayed a vote on another tax incentive until the local alderman can learn more about the proposal.

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Committee approves tax incentives for Pullman zinc company, delays vote on incentive for scaffolding business in North Lawndale

Imperial Zinc Corporation's new building in Pullman. [City of Chicago livestream] Aldermen sent a...
SEP 30, 2022
Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg speaks during a committee meeting in April. [City of Chicago livestream]

Chicago’s Inspector General found “shortcomings” in the city’s data collection on legal claims against the Chicago Police Department and its employees that resulted in more than $250 million in payments from 2017 through 2020.

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City’s top watchdog finds ‘shortcomings’ in law department, CPD data collection on litigation

Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg speaks during a committee meeting in April. [City of C...
SEP 29, 2022
The above map shows locations of the city’s current special service areas. [City of Chicago]

A City Council committee on Thursday will hear proposals for three new special service areas across the city and consider a property tax incentive for a company that manufactures zinc in Pullman.

The council’s Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development will consider the proposals and appointments to existing special service areas (SSAs) during its 2 p.m. meeting Thursday.

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Aldermen set to consider proposals for three new SSAs, tax incentive for zinc manufacturer in Pullman

The above map shows locations of the city’s current special service areas. [City of Chicago] A Ci...
SEP 28, 2022
A car booting company has donated more than $11,000 to aldermen this year. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

Aldermen last week delayed a proposal to legalize private car booting citywide but the only private booting company in the city has spent more than $11,000 on donations to aldermen and their campaign committees.

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Car booting company has donated more than $11K to aldermen this year as measure to expand private booting citywide stalls

A car booting company has donated more than $11,000 to aldermen this year. [Don Vincent/The Daily...
SEP 27, 2022
A map of the new 34th Ward [Chris Kanich]

The Chicago municipal election is five months away and the race for the city’s new 34th Ward is already expensive with two candidates making large donations — $50,0000 and $12,000 — to their own campaigns.

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Race for the new 34th Ward already pricey with Conway pumping $50K into his own campaign, netting out-of-state dollars

A map of the new 34th Ward [Chris Kanich] The Chicago municipal election is five months away and ...
SEP 27, 2022
Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference Monday.

Flanked by other city officials and downtown leaders, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday unveiled a new plan to offer city funding to revitalize downtown’s LaSalle Street Corridor and add virtually nonexistent affordable housing to the city’s center.

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City will offer TIF dollars, other incentives to bring housing and businesses to LaSalle Street

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference Monday. Flanked by other city officials and ...
SEP 26, 2022
Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference last week. [Erin Hegarty/The Daily Line]

Three aldermen last week proposed measures that would retool the salaries and pay raises for members of the City Council, but Ald. Greg Mitchell (7) sent two of the measures to the council’s rules committee, effectively placing the proposals in purgatory.

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Aldermen block proposals to rethink aldermanic salary, Lightfoot cold on City Council choosing committee chairs

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference last week. [Erin Hegarty/The Daily Line] Thr...
SEP 23, 2022
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2) speaks during a committee hearing Thursday.

As a preview of budget discussions to come in the next few weeks, aldermen on Thursday prodded city officials on a potential new way to fill vacancies in the Chicago Police Department.

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Aldermen examine CPD leave of absence policy as another potential way to fill officer vacancies

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2) speaks during a committee hearing Thursday. As a preview of budget discuss...
SEP 22, 2022
Ald. Timmy Knudsen (43) stands beside Mayor Lori Lightfoot after Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

The City Council in a split vote on Wednesday approved a controversial plan for a Chicago Fire soccer training facility to be built on land formerly occupied by public housing and delayed a vote on a proposal to allow banning of cars citywide.

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Plan for Chicago Fire soccer facility nets approval despite concerns from aldermen, Knudsen confirmed as alderman

Ald. Timmy Knudsen (43) stands beside Mayor Lori Lightfoot after Wednesday’s City Council meeting...
SEP 21, 2022
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.

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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 ...
SEP 21, 2022
Proposal for the Chicago Fire soccer facility [City of Chicago]

The City Council’s zoning committee on Tuesday blocked a controversial proposal for a Chicago Fire soccer facility on the former site of public housing, but the committee will reconvene Wednesday morning to “reconsider” the proposal, Ald. Tom Tunney (44), who chairs the committee, said Tuesday.

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Zoning committee will ‘reconsider’ Chicago Fire soccer facility proposal after aldermen initially block its passage

Proposal for the Chicago Fire soccer facility [City of Chicago] The City Council’s zoning committ...
SEP 20, 2022
Aldermen during a Monday committee meeting approved funding for Grace Manor in the 24th Ward. [City of Chicago]

Aldermen on Monday approved paying $25.9 million for four settlements including a $15 million payment to the family of a woman who was killed during a police chase in 2020.

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Aldermen send $25.9M in settlement payments, millions in funding for affordable housing to council for final approval

Aldermen during a Monday committee meeting approved funding for Grace Manor in the 24th Ward. [Ci...
SEP 20, 2022
The Chicago Plan Commission last week approved plans for the Chicago Fire soccer training facility [City of Chicago]

The City Council Committee on Zoning, Building and Landmark Standards on Tuesday will consider plans for a Chicago Fire soccer training facility to be built on land formerly occupied by public housing, marking the controversial proposal’s likely last stop before a final vote in City Council.

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Zoning committee will consider plans for Chicago Fire soccer facility, controversial Chatham car wash

The Chicago Plan Commission last week approved plans for the Chicago Fire soccer training facilit...
SEP 19, 2022
Timmy Knudsen [Friends of Timmy Knudsen]

Timmy Knudsen could become Chicago’s newest alderman if his potential new colleagues approve his appointment during a committee meeting Tuesday.

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

Timmy Knudsen [Friends of Timmy Knudsen] Timmy Knudsen could become Chicago’s newest alderman if ...
SEP 19, 2022
Tobara Richardson speaks during a committee meeting.

Tobara Richardson is one step closer to becoming the city’s new deputy inspector general for public safety following approval from a key committee last week.

The City Council Committee on Public Safety approved Inspector General Deborah Witzburg’s nomination (A2022-127) of Richardson and discussed vacant civilian positions within the police department being filled with sworn officers.

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Committee sends deputy inspector general for public safety nomination to full City Council for approval

Tobara Richardson speaks during a committee meeting. Tobara Richardson is one step closer to beco...
SEP 19, 2022
Aldermen are set to consider payments to settle lawsuits against the police department.

The City Council Committee on Finance is scheduled to consider paying $25.9 million for four settlements, three of which are related to the Chicago Police Department including a $15 million payment to the family of a woman who was killed during a police chase in 2020.

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Finance committee to consider $25.9M in payments to settle lawsuits against CPD, the city

Aldermen are set to consider payments to settle lawsuits against the police department. The City ...
SEP 15, 2022

A key City Council committee on Wednesday approved 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.

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Aldermen approve $9.5M+ in new grant funding, local organizations concerned about federal grant dollars running dry

A key City Council committee on Wednesday approved more than $9.5 million in new grant allocation...
SEP 15, 2022
A rendering for the Chicago Fire soccer training facility [City of Chicago]

The Chicago Plan Commission during its monthly meeting Thursday will consider plans for a controversial Chicago Fire soccer training facility proposed for a vacant site of a former public housing development.

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Plan Commission to consider controversial proposal for Chicago Fire soccer facility on site of former ABLA Homes

A rendering for the Chicago Fire soccer training facility [City of Chicago] The Chicago Plan Comm...
SEP 14, 2022
Aldermen approved the sale of the former Northtown branch of the Chicago Public Library.

A key committee on Tuesday approved the sale of the former home of Chicago Public Library’s Northtown Branch for a price more than $300,000 above the property’s appraised value.

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Aldermen give initial OK to sale of former Northtown library branch for more than $960K

Aldermen approved the sale of the former Northtown branch of the Chicago Public Library. A key co...
SEP 14, 2022
CTA President Dorval Carter speaks during a City Club event in August.

CTA officials are set on Wednesday to undergo questioning from aldermen about “inconsistent” bus and train service and delays on public transit.

The City Council Committee on Transportation and Public Way will hold the subject matter hearing during its 1 p.m. meeting. Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35) called for the hearing in a resolution (R2022-688) he filed in June with the support of more than 30 other aldermen. 

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Aldermen to grill CTA leadership on ‘unreliable service’ and ‘inconsistent train schedules’ during committee hearing

CTA President Dorval Carter speaks during a City Club event in August. CTA officials are set on W...

Bio

Covering Chicago City Hall for @thedailylinechi. Send tips to [email protected] More coffee, always.