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.
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 ...
JAN 10, 2022
City Council rules committee chair Ald. Michelle Harris (8) and Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11) during a committee hearing on Friday

A chaotic and abortive meeting of the City Council Committee on Committees and Rules on Friday showed that aldermen remain as divided as ever over the city’s decennial remap as the drop-dead deadline to avoid a voter referendum draws nearer.

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Remap stalemate hardens as inaugural 2022 hearing breaks down into process squabbles

City Council rules committee chair Ald. Michelle Harris (8) and Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11) ...
JAN 06, 2022
Ald. Pat Dowell (3) during a Dec. 15, 2021 City Council meeting. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

Ald. Pat Dowell (3) on Wednesday became the first candidate to throw in her hat to succeed Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) in Congress since Rush announced he will not seek a 16th term representing Chicago’s South Side and south suburbs.

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Dowell announces run for Rush’s Congressional seat, leaving behind SoS bid

Ald. Pat Dowell (3) during a Dec. 15, 2021 City Council meeting. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line] Ald...
JAN 03, 2022
Starting this year, expired smoke detectors with detachable batteries must be replaced with more modern hard-wired devices.

The new year brings a panoply of fresh rules into effect for Chicago residents and businesses, including a litany of measures designed to help the city’s most vulnerable residents while simultaneously making life easier for entrepreneurs.

The following is a roundup of major city legislation that took effect when the clock struck midnight on Friday night, as well as subsequent city policies set to take place in the months to come.

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New city rules for sign permits, wage theft, smoke detectors take hold after Jan. 1 implementation

Starting this year, expired smoke detectors with detachable batteries must be replaced with more ...
JUN 24, 2022
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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Aldermen to grill city departments, sister agencies on summer safety plans in mega-committee hearing

Chicago Police Department Supt. David Brown speaks during a news conference in April 2021. [Colin...
JUN 23, 2022
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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Lightfoot allies delay vote on hiking threshold for speed camera tickets: not “the proper step for us to take today”

Ald. Anthony Beale (9) and Mayor Lori Lightfoot during Wednesday’s City Council meeting. [Don Vin...
JUN 22, 2022
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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Lightfoot’s reduction in speeding threshold for tickets to face critical challenge in City Council

Speed cameras have captured drivers who exceed the speed limit by 6 mph or more near schools or p...
JUN 21, 2022
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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Lightfoot picks Monique Scott, sister of recently resigned alderman, to replace him in 24th Ward

Monique Scott (left) and Michael Scott. [Facebook; Colin Boyle/ Block Club Chicago] Monique Scott...
JUN 21, 2022
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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Zoning committee to vote on new cooling requirements for buildings in wake of heat-related deaths

The James Sneider Apartments in Rogers Park [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago] In addition to the d...
JUN 20, 2022
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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With all 3 business licenses awarded, e-scooter companies up and rolling throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods

Spin scooters parked outside Wrigley Field [Spin] E-scooters are back in Chicago’s neighborhoods ...
JUN 17, 2022
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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Vote on Beale’s push to raise speed camera threshold stalls again, now set for a Tuesday vote

Ald. Anthony Beale (9), left, and Chicago Department of Transportation Comm. Gia Biagi speak duri...
JUN 17, 2022
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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License committee delays votes on citywide car booting, tobacco sales moratoria

An ordinance to allow the booting of cars all over the city stalled on Thursday. [Don Vincent/The...
JUN 16, 2022
Department of Family and Support Services Comm. Brandie Knazze presented details on the guaranteed income pilot program during a committee meeting Wednesday.

City officials expect to send out the first $500 checks for Chicago’s guaranteed income pilot program at the end of the month, they told aldermen during a Wednesday City Council committee hearing.

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DFSS officials update aldermen on guaranteed income program, expect first $500 checks to go out this month

Department of Family and Support Services Comm. Brandie Knazze presented details on the guarantee...
JUN 16, 2022
The Chicago Plan Commission is set to consider plans for the old Laramie Bank building.

The Chicago Plan Commission is set to hear plans for the restoration of the Austin Laramie Bank building and construction of an adjacent 78-unit apartment building as part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Invest South/West program.

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Plan Commission to hear plans for Laramie Bank building development, Shedd Aquarium renovations

The Chicago Plan Commission is set to consider plans for the old Laramie Bank building. The Chica...
JUN 15, 2022
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2), left, and Department of Planning and Development Deputy Comm. Tim Jeffries speak during a committee meeting on Tuesday.

Aldermen unanimously and without much hesitation approved a proposed property tax incentive for the owner of a Bucktown building near Lincoln Yards despite word from a city department official that Mayor Lori Lightfoot opposed the incentive.

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Aldermen unanimously approve tax incentive near Lincoln Yards over opposition from planning officials, Lightfoot

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2), left, and Department of Planning and Development Deputy Comm. Tim Jeffrie...
JUN 15, 2022

Activist Ja’Mal Green became the seventh person to officially announce a run for mayor in 2023. A key City Council committee is set on Wednesday to consider a $5 million grant transfer and hold a hearing on American Rescue Plan spending. Another council committee will take up a ground lease agreement designed to smooth the path for telecommunications upgrades at O’Hare Airport. And Cook County leaders revealed their long-awaited redesign of the county’s flag.

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News in brief: Green announces run for mayor; ARPA hearing, O’Hare electrical lease on tap; Cook County unveils new flag

Activist Ja’Mal Green became the seventh person to officially announce a run for mayor in 2023. A...
JUN 14, 2022
Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference on Monday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other city officials on Monday announced a $3.1 million expansion of city-funded mental health services through the city's network of Trauma-Informed Centers of Care.

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Lightfoot touts $3.1M in new grants for city’s mental health services

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference on Monday. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other ci...
JUN 14, 2022
Aldermen gave an initial OK to measures that will allow former 24th Ward Ald. Michael Scott, Jr. and his wife Natashee Scott to pay $8,000 for two vacant city-owned parcels next to their home in North Lawndale. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line; Byrnes & Walsh LLC]

Members of a key City Council committee unanimously approved proposals that will allow former 24th Ward Ald. Michael Scott and his wife Natashee Scott to use a city-backed land deal to buy two vacant lots adjoining their North Lawndale home.

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Housing committee approves sales of vacant city-owned lots to recently retired alderman, wife at low cost

Aldermen gave an initial OK to measures that will allow former 24th Ward Ald. Michael Scott, Jr. ...
JUN 13, 2022
The James Sneider Apartments in Rogers Park [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago]

Aldermen are set on Monday to hold a hearing on the heat-related deaths of three women at the James Sneider Apartments in Rogers Park last month.

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Housing committee to hold hearing on heat-related deaths of 3 women in Rogers Park senior housing building

The James Sneider Apartments in Rogers Park [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago] Aldermen are set on ...
JUN 10, 2022
Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16) and Kamm Howard, national co-chair of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, speak during a committee meeting Thursday.

Advocates and aldermen continued during a committee meeting Thursday to push city officials on progress in creating a plan to offer reparations to Chicago’s Black residents and descendants of enslaved Africans as little work on the effort has gotten off the ground since a subcommittee was created to explore the issue nearly two years ago.

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Aldermen, advocates still pushing for city’s work on reparations to begin 2 years after creation of subcommittee

Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16) and Kamm Howard, national co-chair of the National Coalition of Black...
JUN 08, 2022
AIS acting Comm. Sandra Blakemore and ComEd President Terry Donnelly speak during a committee meeting on Tuesday.

Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) executives on Tuesday painted an optimistic picture for aldermen on their progress toward a new franchise agreement with the city that would set updated ground rules for the company’s operation as Chicago’s sole electricity provider. But nearly 18 months after the last agreement expired, a deal remains elusive.

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ComEd and Chicago still ‘not there yet’ on new franchise agreement as city leaders cite gaps in equity and climate goals

AIS acting Comm. Sandra Blakemore and ComEd President Terry Donnelly speak during a committee mee...
JUN 08, 2022
Some scooter companies are seeing a delay in the launch of their scooters across the city due to an administrative dispute. [Hannah Alani/Block Club Chicago]

One month after city transportation officials allowed Lyft to pepper its electric scooters around the Chicago’s downtown, appeals filed by two competing e-scooter companies that were denied licenses are holding up the proliferation of scooters across the city’s neighborhoods.

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Appeals from spurned e-scooter companies holding up citywide launch of scooters in Chicago

Some scooter companies are seeing a delay in the launch of their scooters across the city due to ...
JUN 07, 2022

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday launched a program that offers residents and business owners rebates for new surveillance cameras and car GPS trackers. An indicted Chicago alderman suffered a decisive defeat in court. And Lightfoot raised eyebrows when she said people accused of violent crimes should all be considered guilty.

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JUN 06, 2022

More than 500 people cast ballots during the beginning of early voting last week. And Mayor Lori Lightfoot last week spoke about gun violence at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Reno, Nev.

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News in brief: More than 500 people cast early ballots at Loop ‘supersite;’ Lightfoot urges bipartisan legislation to curb gun violence

More than 500 people cast ballots during the beginning of early voting last week. And Mayor Lori ...

Bio

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