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Politics

Political news, including Chicago City Hall, Cook County government, Chicago and county elections, the latest from Washington and Springfield and more.

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CPD restricts time off for officers as union fights Lightfoot on COVID-19 vaccination reporting mandate

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Chicago cop who accused ex-Supt. Eddie Johnson of sexual harassment seeking on-duty disability checks, citing PTSD

Cynthia Donald also is suing Johnson in federal court, saying he made her have unwanted sex with him for three years in his headquarters office and on out-of-town work trips.

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City clerk running for secretary of state got 2 contributions from trucking exec linked to government mole

Anna Valencia says she has no ‘personal connection to William Pacella or his company. . . . Given that Mr. Pacella has been a supporter of Democratic campaigns in the past, he was a part of our early donor outreach efforts.’

Podcast

The Fran Spielman Show

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Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Cole Stallard

Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman is joined by Cole Stallard, a Streets and Sanitation “lifer” who worked his way up through the ranks and earned the right to replace retired Commissioner John Tully. Stallard embraced the idea of adding a ten-cent deposit to the cost of bottles and cans to reduce the mountain of plastics and other containers overwhelming landfills and discussed plans he's put in place to combat snow season that's mere weeks away in Chicago.

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‘Zombie foreclosure’ no joke for Chicago widow, 70, facing city fines for home she lost in 2008

Wanda Carter lost her house 13 years ago. City Hall ended up demolishing it. But the city is still fining thousands of dollars for not keeping up the property she hasn’t owned for years.

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New Streets and San boss proposes adding 10-cent deposit on bottles and cans

Newly appointed Commissioner Cole Stallard told the Sun-Times that bottle deposits "work in other locations" to boost recycling and "shift responsibility to manufacturers ... [to] use plastics that are sustainable."

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Illinois Dems unveil new congressional map Friday as Republican Kinzinger reviews his options

The new proposed map is designed to yield 14 Democratic and three GOP members of Congress from Illinois and will likely face court challenges.

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Colin Powell, former secretary of state, has died from COVID-19 complications

Powell’s family says he died of complications from COVID-19. He was 84.

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County Democrats rebuke Ald. Jim Gardiner, strip him of committee posts for ‘rude, vulgar conduct’ in texts

Toni Preckwinkle, the chair of the party, also stripped the Northwest Side alderperson of his posts on party committees.

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In Illinois, new reports reveal Trump Republicans’ fundraising strength

On the Democratic side, Rep. Danny Davis fundraising slows to a trickle; Rep. Lauren Underwood stockpiles millions; and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi’s $10 million war chest.

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Postal delivery delays slammed at congressional field hearing in Chicago

Even after Eddie Morgan Jr. was brought in as Chicago’s executive postmaster to improve service, the city remains the second worst served postal district in the country, members of Congress were told Friday.

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Dem Rep. Marie Newman slams new Democratic Illinois congressional map

The first-time congresswoman is in a district with GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Rep. Bobby Rush also doesn’t like his remapped district, which remains heavily Democratic.

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Judge orders FOP president not make any public comments on city’s vaccine policy

A judge on Friday ordered Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara to stop using social media platforms to urge his members to defy the city’s mandate to enter their vaccine status on the city’s data portal.

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County Democrats hear candidate pitches — including challengers to Sheriff Dart calling for ‘change over complacency’

Candidates for state and county offices were among those who kissed the rings of Cook County Democratic Party heads Friday. Sheriff Tom Dart told them he’s tried his best to make sure his office is engaged "in every community throughout this county. ... We’re always trying to be as responsive as we can."

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Gov. Pritzker and wife report earning $2.2 million in taxable income last year, paying $760,000 in state, federal taxes

A billionaire heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune, the governor and Illinois first lady M.K. Pritzker reported $5,143,972 in adjusted gross income last year. Of that, $2,201,946 was taxable.

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Another COVID-19 Halloween: Officials urge trick-or-treating caution as statewide numbers improve

"Although we’re still in the pandemic, this Halloween and fall festivities season will look a little different than last year thanks to the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines that are readily available," Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

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Some pot shops would have to prove social equity status to City Council members — not just the state — under proposed ordinance

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) and Roderick Sawyer (6th) want companies seeking to open new cannabis dispensaries in Chicago within 1,500 feet of existing dispensaries to provide "certified evidence" every year that they are indeed "social equity" applicants.

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Austin shootout investigation moves forward despite heated Foxx-Lightfoot meeting

Evidence still being processed in the case could potentially lead to charges against two alleged members of the Body Snatchers, sources said.

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Mayor hopes gift cards will persuade the unvaccinated to get the COVID-19 shot

The city is also launching a new website to encourage donations to fund the effort.

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Former President Bill Clinton hospitalized for non-COVID-19-related infection

"He is on the mend, in good spirits and is incredibly thankful to the doctors, nurses, and staff providing him with excellent care," a Clinton spokesman said via statement.

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Danville VA nursing home where 11 residents died didn’t follow COVID guidelines, report finds

‘I don’t want their condolences,’ daughter of vet who died says of VA officials’ response to an inspector general’s report on the outbreak. "‘I want my dad.’

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New COVID drugs could reduce virus’s ferocity; treatments aim to ease symptoms

Each drug fills a slightly different role, but together they could change the course of the illness, at least in the United States.

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Lightfoot blinks — sort of — on vaccine mandate

The mayor still plans to enforce Friday’s deadline for city workers to disclose their vaccination status, apply for exemptions and agree to testing if they aren’t vaccinated. But no one will be sent home immediately, even if they defy the mandate.

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Lightfoot spars with Hispanic Caucus over hiring record

"It was unnecessarily combative. … It showed that she takes things very personally. I don’t think those are good attributes for a leader to have. … The mayor is approaching government the wrong way," said Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.

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Rahm Emanuel’s Senate confirmation hearing for U.S. Ambassador to Japan post to be held Wednesday

Emanuel’s hearing will be before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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Pritzker announces over $15 million in funds for science labs to help foster ‘the talent and technology of tomorrow’

The governor said Illinois must "put the pedal to the metal" when it comes to the life science sector, which includes biology, botany, biochemistry because its success is "so critical to our future economic security."

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Council member wants to deny valet license renewals to Chicago bars

"There is no reasonable explanation for issuing valet permits to serve taverns and nightclubs that have built a business model around bottle service and rounds of shots," said Ald. Brendan Reilly, whose goal is to prevent patrons of Chicago’s lively bar scene from driving home drunk.

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FDA panel endorses lower-dose Moderna COVID shot for booster

Advisers to the agency voted unanimously to recommend a booster shot for seniors, adults with other health problems, jobs or living situations that put them at higher risk.

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Jan. 6 panel sets vote on contempt charges against Steve Bannon

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said that the panel will vote Tuesday to recommend the charges. That would send the recommendation to the full House for a vote.

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Lightfoot, police unions continue high-stakes game of chicken on vaccine mandate for city workers

The mayor says Chicago will be protected this weekend, even if half of the city’s police force is placed on no-pay status for refusing to report their vaccine status. One City Council member, however, predicted "pure melee."

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First lady Jill Biden — ‘community college educator for forever’ — visits Chicago classroom to learn

On Day Two of her visit, Biden appeared with U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona for a charla at the Arturo Velasquez Institute. "I think our administration is trying to really wrap its arms around all Americans — all Americans," she said.

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Chicago’s post office delivery problems to take center stage in House hearing Friday

Members of the Illinois Congressional delegation for months have been pressuring the U.S. Postal Service – run by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy - for improvements.

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City Hall veteran Rosa Escareno tapped as interim parks chief

Escareno agreed to come out of her recent retirement to oversee the Chicago Park District, still in the midst of an investigation into rampant sexual harassment and abuse against lifeguards at the city’s beaches and pools.

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Patrick Daley Thompson’s trial on hold

The case had been set to go to trial Monday, less than six months after a federal grand jury charged Thompson with filing false tax returns and lying to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. But late Tuesday, prosecutors filed an emergency motion to delay the trial over a medical issue.

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City proposes new Metra station on Ashland Avenue to serve Fulton Market, West Loop

The new station would improve connectivity to the Illinois Medical District, Kinzie Industrial Corridor, Fulton Market, the United Center and educational institutions.

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Electric scooters go from pilot to permanent in Chicago — for two years, anyway

The ordinance approved by the City Council allows the city transportation department to issue up to three licenses to scooter-sharing companies. Each could deploy up to 2,000 scooters per day, from 5 a.m. to midnight.