Fran Spielman Show

Veteran City Hall reporter Fran Spielman’s interviews with Chicago’s movers and shakers.

The name was part of an emotional and potentially high-risk coming out for Timmy Knudsen after he graduated law school and joined a buttoned-down Chicago firm he was not at all certain would welcome an openly-gay attorney.
Lewis’ son, Rev. Bobby Lewis, joined Welz Kauffman, former president and CEO of the Ravinia Festival, to discuss the life and legacy of the jazz legend with the Sun-Times.
Podcast
The Fran Spielman Show
Retiring Bears president Ted Phillips said the Bears have hired Goldman Sachs to “explore every possible option” and develop a “specific ask” of the village and state.
Maurice Cox said a dome over Soldier Field will remain “one of the options that extends its use for 365 days a year.” The possibility of the Bears leaving for Arlington Heights, he added, “really forced the city to look at utilization of that amazing event venue.”
Since arriving from Detroit three years ago, Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox has focused on delivering Lightfoot’s mayor’s signature plan to leverage $750 million in public money already in the pipeline” to lure private investment to areas neglected for decades.
A former teacher and an organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union, the county commissioner told the Sun-Times he is “grateful for the vote of confidence” from working people urging him to run. He promised a final decision in the next few weeks.
A University of Chicago Crime Lab model offered a way to assign officers, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Supt. David Brown chose a more timid approach. Ald. Sophia King said if elected mayor, she’ll act more boldly.
Ald. Jason Ervin said with so many Black candidates, the community risks “losing it all.” But the newest mayoral challenger, Ald. Sophia King, called it “shortsighted” to think “Black candidates will only get Black votes.”
Five-term Ald. Tom Tunney, chairman of the Zoning Committee, told the Sun-Times he plans to take time during the council’s August recess before deciding whether to call it quits — or even run for mayor.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a $2.2 billion plan for a domed, revamped Soldier Field. But the former governor wants to take away the only revenue source Lightfoot has revealed so far: selling the naming rights.
Four years ago, candidate Lori Lightfoot got a huge boost from Ald. Matt O’Shea’s endorsement in the mayoral runoff election against Toni Preckwinkle. It won’t happen this year, O’Shea told the Sun-Times on Thursday.
Friends of the Parks Executive Director Juanita Irizarry is excited about plans for more green space, which is at least a start on keeping a long-ago promise to move Soldier Field parking lots to the west side of DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
“We need to have a true speaker of the city, where the speaker presides over the City Council and not the mayor. You don’t see the governor presiding over … the General Assembly,” Ald. Anthony Beale said.
Dr. Helene Gayle is leaving Chicago to become president of Spelman College in Atlanta. But she’s not leaving quietly.
It might sound like sour grapes from a man who was pushed out. But former Inspector General Joe Ferguson says “relative to the rhetoric of the campaign, certainly performance has not lived up to” what she promised.
Joe Ferguson’s 12-year run made him Chicago’s longest-serving watchdog. Now he wants to take a deeper look at the mayor’s office, city departments, the City Council, local government agencies under the mayor’s control — all to show it is “different from everywhere else” and how those differences “tie to our chronic ills.”
The surprise departure of Ald. Michael Scott Jr., Education Committee chairman, gives Mayor Lori Lightfoot the ability to appoint her second alderperson. The first was 11th Ward Ald. Nicole Lee, who replaced Patrick Daley Thompson.
“We’re already struggling with a major crime problem in this area of River North. To layer this on top ... you’re giving the police department an assignment they don’t have the resources to handle,” Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said.
Stacy Escamilla and Julie Troglia shared their stories with the Chicago Sun-Times, hoping to embolden their colleagues to seek help before they reach the breaking point.
“If city officials feel warm and fuzzy about the watchdog, the watchdog is probably not entirely doing their job,” Deborah Witzburg told the Sun-Times.
Bill Conway’s father, William E. Conway Jr., helped found the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, and has a net worth pegged at $3.5 billion in 2020. He donated $10.5 million to his son’s 2020 run for Cook County state’s attorney.
In round one of the 2019 mayoral sweepstakes, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas finished with 5.43% of the vote. Vallas believes the outcome will be dramatically different if he runs again.
“Applying to a selective enrollment school is sometimes harder than getting into college,” Ald. Nicole Lee told the Sun-Times. “And we need better quality options ... if you don’t happen to get that perfect score or score high enough.”
Wilson, who has held four town hall meetings on a possible mayoral campaign, sounds like he’s already made up his mind to challenge Mayor Lori Lightfoot, whom he endorsed in the April 2019 runoff, and is just waiting until next month to make the official announcement.
Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez is furious over the tavern license granted to the Giant Penny Whistle, defying a moratorium along a three-block stretch of Blue Island Avenue. Sigcho-Lopez joined the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council in suing to nullify the license.
State Rep. Kam Buckner said he will decide after the spring legislative session whether to challenge Lori Lightfoot in the race for Chicago mayor.