• Inspector General Deborah Witzburg on bad systems and good people in government

    Deborah Witzburg was confirmed on April 27 as the city’s new Inspector General after the office spent more than six months in a transitory state. She sat down last week with The Daily Line’s Alex Nitkin to talk about how she got involved in government oversight, how she plans to balance simultaneously investigating and collaborating with the City Council, what meaningful police reform would look like and how the process to choose her eventual successor should change so the six-month waiting period is not repeated.

    Listen in below!

  • How Chicago is preparing for the June 28 Primary

    Chicagoans are set on June 28 to vote for everything from governor and Secretary of State to county commissioners and, likely, a new Chicago ward map. But how does a city prepare for a primary, general and municipal election all set to occur in less than a year’s time? The Daily Line’s Erin Hegarty talked to Max Bever of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners about election prep, what’s on the June ballot, the variety of ways Chicagoans can cast their ballots and what’s next in the evolution of how people vote.

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  • Ald. Anthony Beale on the City Council's power balance

    Ald. Anthony Beale (9) has been pushing since last June for members of the City Council to have their own legal counsel, separate from Chicago’s Corporation Counsel charged with representing the city’s interests as a whole. The addition would also bring aldermen their own parliamentarian to advocate on their behalf when there are disagreements over process during City Council meetings. But Beale’s proposal has hit delay after delay as other aldermen seek to introduce their own proposals for legislative legal counsel. Beale talked to The Daily Line’s ErinHegarty about his proposed ordinance, which ward map he supports and what the rest of the year holds for the 9th Ward.

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  • How to fix the Department of Children and Family Services

    Since the beginning of 2022, Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith has been found in contempt of court multiple times by a Cook County judge for failing to place children in appropriate care settings in a reasonable amount of time. Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert explains what is going on in an interview with The Daily Line’s Ben Szalinski. The department has also been mourning the murder of Diedre Silas., a DCFS employee who was killed visiting a home in Sangamon County. Sen. Steve McClure (R-Springfield) also sits down for an interview to explain legislation moving through the General Assembly to improve employee safety.

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    Hilco. General Iron. MAT Asphalt. You've likely heard about high profile clashes between industry and the health and well-being of the people who live nearby their facilities. These incidents have ignited another spark in the fight for environmental justice across Chicago. Daily Line reporter Caroline Kubzansky spoke with Ald. George Cardenas (12) and Alfredo Romo of Neighbors for Environmental Justice about recent development decisions, the work that remains for lawmakers in ensuring clean air and water for Chicagoans and the challenges the city faces as it starts to adapt to climate change. 

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    For months, Illinois’ top elected officials, including Gov. JB Pritzker, House Speaker Chris Welch and Senate President Don Harmon said ethics reform was one of lawmakers’ top priorities for this year’s legislative session. Little significant action was taken until May 31, the last scheduled day of session.

    Despite the new proposal, good government groups and even the sponsors of the ethics reform package said more work is needed on the issue.

    This week on the CloutCast, Joel Ebert interviews Alisa Kaplan, executive director of Reform for Illinois, about the latest new ethics bill, which now heads to the governor for action.

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    In 1969, an idealistic young lawyer named Michael Shakman filed a lawsuit with the goal of breaking the stranglehold that the Democratic Organization of Cook County — the political “machine” run by Mayor Richard J. Daley — held on Chicago’s government and elections. More than a half-century later, Shakman isn’t finished yet. The Daily Line’s Alex Nitkin talked to Shakman about the history of the “Shakman decree,” how it’s transformed the way governments work in Illinois, why it’s so hard to root out Chicago’s decades-old legacy of patronage — and what it will take to end the 52-year-old federal legal case.

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    Erin Hegarty spoke with Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35) and Desmon Yancy, director of community organizing for Inner-City Muslim Action Network, about their ordinance and challenges in getting it approved without the mayor’s support.

    Advocates behind the Empowering Communities for Public Safety ordinance are urging aldermen and Mayor Lori Lightfoot to approve the newly proposed measure that would establish civilian oversight of the Chicago Police Department. The measure, which comes as a result of coalitions behind the Civilian Police Accountability Council and Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability agreed on a unity ordinance, has stalled as Lightfoot says her own proposal on police oversight is on the way.

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