Ald. Sophia King joins mayoral race, Virtue chef Damarr Brown dishes on his career and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

SHARE Ald. Sophia King joins mayoral race, Virtue chef Damarr Brown dishes on his career and more in your Chicago news roundup

Ald. Sophia King (4th), chair of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus, threw her hat into the ring today, seeking to send Mayor Lori Lightfoot into political retirement.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be sunny with a high near 84 degrees. Tonight will see increasing clouds with a low near 69. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 78.

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Afternoon Edition
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Top story

Ald. Sophia King joins race to unseat Lightfoot

Ald. Sophia King (4th), chair of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus, threw her hat into the ring today, seeking to send Mayor Lori Lightfoot into political retirement.

King, 57, declared her candidacy for mayor the same way Lightfoot launched her uphill battle for a second term: by releasing a carefully-crafted campaign video.

In it, King targets Lightfoot’s most glaring weaknesses: violent crime and the perception of it, as well as the mayor’s combative, dictatorial style of governing.

King described violent crime as “issue no. 1, no. 2 and no. 3” with Chicago voters.

She told the Sun-Times she will start attacking the problem by firing Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, giving “burned-out, over-scheduled and under-appreciated” police officers more time off and authorizing incentives needed to fill 1,408 sworn police vacancies.

She would also take a serious look at restoring some or all of the 614 police vacancies that Lightfoot eliminated to help balance her 2021 budget.

As for Chicago’s $33 billion pension crisis, King said there are “progressive ways that we can get sustainable and progressive income” to stave off bankruptcy at the four city employee pension funds.

“That’s something we’re gonna roll out soon,” she said.

Appointed by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel after the 2018 resignation of Ald. Will Burns, King has close ties to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the vanquished mayoral challenger who chairs the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization.

King’s husband, Alan, a house music DJ and Chicago attorney, is a basketball-playing buddy of former President Barack Obama.

That is, in part, how she came to be appointed by Emanuel, who was Obama’s first White House chief of staff. It’s also how she out-raised her four opponents in the February 2017 4th Ward special election by a nearly six-to-one margin.

Fran Spielman has more on King here.

More news you need

  1. A man at a block party in Bronzeville pulled out a gun and opened fire following an argument in June, killing a man and wounding a woman, Cook County prosecutors said in court today. The 23-year-old was arrested Sunday in Brainerd and charged with the June 12 murder of Vincent J. Barnes, Chicago police said.
  2. In response to Ald. King’s “astounding” plan to fire Brown if elected mayor, Mayor Lightfoot today reiterated her “total confidence” in the police superintendent. The mayor said King and others calling for Brown’s removal sound like people who “don’t know anything about public safety.”
  3. Federal prosecutors acknowledged yesterday that a private email account using a fake name was created to obtain an advance copy of a 2019 book about R. Kelly. But “none of the emails exchanged using the account were in any way deceptive,” the feds said. 
  4. Kelly will be back on trial in a Chicago courtroom next Monday, and this time, he’ll be surrounded by new lawyers and prosecutors and a new judge. Our Jon Seidel and Alison Martin break down who’s who in the trial here.
  5. Willie Wilson, who’s also running for mayor, outlined a six-point plan for the CTA today that includes bringing back conductors for every train and adding more dedicated CTA transit police. He also said he’d consider hiring private armed security guards — as many as 800.
  6. Chicago faces a modest $127.9 million budget shortfall, allowing Mayor Lightfoot to reduce her automatic property tax increase to $42.7 million. Our Fran Spielman breaks down the budget forecast here.
  7. Chicago will look to deploy a new signal timing technology that will prioritize buses at traffic lights across the city after being awarded a $3.9 million federal grant today. It is one of 10 projects across the country to receive a federal grant to build advanced intelligent transportation system technologies.
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A bright one

Chef Damarr Brown’s Southern roots at the heart and soul of his cooking success

“At the beginning of my career, you couldn’t pay me to make collard greens,” Damarr Brown says over coffee with our Michael Loria inside Virtue, the Hyde Park restaurant where he’s worked for the past four years and which has won two Michelin Bibb Gourmand awards. But now, every week he prepares 400 pounds of the leafy greens, a staple of Black Southern cuisine.

Showcasing the techniques he learned growing up in Harvey is exactly what made Brown stand out on the most recent season of “Top Chef” and what helped to make Virtue such a success in Chicago.

As chef de cuisine, Brown runs Virtue on a daily basis. He creates new dishes, touches up plates before they land on tables and, at the close of the day, orders ingredients for the next day.


Damarr Brown, Chef de cuisine at Virtue and a “Top Chef” season 19 contestant, is photographed inside the restaurant in Hyde Park.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Brown cooked in restaurants for nearly a decade before returning to his culinary roots at the restaurant on 53rd Street.

Free to cook like it was a Sunday dinner at home, Brown centered techniques learned in Harvey, like the “holy trinity” — the Louisiana response to a mirepoix or sofrito that consists of onions, celery and bell peppers. It provides the base for dishes like rice and gizzards, or “dirty rice.”

“All this work goes into it, but it’s not boastful, it’s just meant to be delicious, whether you understand what went into it or not,” Brown says.

Loria has more from his sit-down with Chef Brown here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

Where’s the best place to go thrifting in Chicago?

Send us an email at and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What’s something you want to do before summer ends in Chicago?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Swim as much as I can in Lake Michigan!” — Erika Hoffmann

“Lose 50 pounds. But that ain’t gonna happen so I guess I’ll settle for another cold beer.” — Jim O’Connor

“Go to as many outdoor festivals and concerts as I can.” — Thamara Dittmeier

“Go golfing at Jackson Park or South Shore Cultural Center.” — Maurice Snell

“Lunch or dinner cruise on Lake Michigan. A Navy Pier fireworks show would be a bonus afterward.” — Jeanette Samuels Battle

“A day sail on Lake Michigan in a two-masted yacht.” — Jim Rafferty

“Swim in the lake at sunrise.” — Douglas Black

“Bike along Dusable Lake Shore Drive.” — Thomas Michael

“Visit Graceland Cemetery and see the S.S. Eastland Memorial.” — Connie Blando

“CSO concert at the Pritzker Pavilion.” — Denise Abatte

“Take the architectural boat tour. Ride the water taxi from Michigan Ave to Chinatown for lunch.” — Mona Lisa Smith

“Take a nap in my hammock over the lake.” — Jerry Kublank

“Go to the Shore Club at North Ave. Beach.” — Tracie W-Chi

“I want to go fishing and play golf! I’ve been swamped with work!” — Denise Turner

“Take a day off work and go to a baseball game, drink beer, eat hotdogs and yell at the umpire!” — Denise Ruffin

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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