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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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Lightfoot, lawmakers hold ‘robust’ but ‘cordial’ meeting on elected school board bill Pritzker is on verge of signing

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2,500 Cook County workers look set to strike Friday

Cook County Health nurses also could be on the picket lines Thursday for a one-day strike.

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Plan proposed to shift electric scooters from pilot to permanent in Chicago

Weeks after a barrage of aldermanic complaints, Transportation Committee Chairman Howard Brookins unveiled an ordinance paving the way for electric scooters to become a permanent part of city transportation.

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The Fran Spielman Show

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John Kass

Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman is joined by her long-time competitor and friend, former Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass. Topics include their time together covering City Hall, his recent controversies, and what's next for Kass as he launches his own site, johnkassnews.com.

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Wall Street agency upgrades Illinois’ credit outlook, citing state’s ‘sustained economic recovery’ since pandemic hit

Fitch Ratings pointed to the state’s economic recovery as well as the "unwinding of certain nonrecurring fiscal measures" as reasons for the change in outlook, though it affirmed its actual bond rating of BBB- — an "investment grade" ranking just one notch above "junk bond" status.

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Michael Saunders of Englewood Four, who got big settlements after being cleared in 1994 rape-murder, shot to death

He and three others said the Chicago police coerced them to falsely confess, and they were exonerated. He helped other exonerees and planned to go back to school, his lawyer says.

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Chicago in spotlight as Biden targets guns with summer anti-crime agenda

Amid rising violence in Chicago and other big cities, Biden’s plan calls for increased enforcement of gun laws along with a greater emphasis on community programs.

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Senate confirms Jackson-Akiwumi for 7th Circuit Court of Appeals: Only Black judge on Chicago panel

Jackson-Akiwumi is part of the first wave of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees — picked to reflect diversity in race, gender and, in the case of tapping public defenders, life experience.

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Downstate man is first to be arrested for assaulting media during U.S. Capitol breach

Shane Jason Woods, 43, is also accused of assaulting a U.S. Capitol police officer who had been pursuing another individual who sprayed officers with bear mace.

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Taylor demands apology from Lightfoot, likens mayor to schoolyard ‘bully’

"Who stands up to her? This is not the first time she did this to somebody. She does this all the time, and people let her get away with it," Ald. Jeanette Taylor said a day after Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s finger-pointing confrontation with the alderman.

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The mayor isn’t very good at this, is she?

Some reluctant thoughts on watching Lori Lightfoot operate from a distance.

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Guitarist Winston Marshall quits Mumford & Sons to ‘speak freely’ on politics

Marshall was accused online of endorsing the far right, but said Thursday that "nothing could be further from the truth. I condemn unequivocally all political extremism, be it of the Right or Left."

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Cook County Health nurses go on one-day strike

The nurses are protesting what they say are chronic staffing shortages.

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Aldermen warn Lightfoot to follow rules of procedure during City Council meetings

In a letter, 22 aldermen are demanding that the mayor "honor and consistently follow" Robert’s Rules of Order, citing "numerous occasions" when she made parliamentary rulings that contradicted those rules.

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New York court suspends Rudy Giuliani’s law license

The ruling, signed Thursday, will prevent Giuliani from representing clients as a lawyer.

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Fran Spielman interviews former Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass

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DuSable compromise back on again, sponsor says

Ald. David Moore said the compromise that collapsed earlier this week was revived after the Black Heroes Matter Coalition offered to accept the hybrid name — as long as it is voted on Friday and not sent back to committee,

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Red ink fading under ‘recovery?’ Cook County expects smaller $121 million budget shortfall and no new taxes — ‘at this time’

County officials on Wednesday laid out their preliminary forecasts for the remainder of the 2021 fiscal year and projections for the upcoming budget year, which actually begins Dec. 1. No layoffs or new taxes are in the mix at this point.

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Mayoral ally proposes ban on ‘single-use foodware’

Sealed bags — filled with everything from plastic silverware, chopsticks, wipes and condiments to salt, pepper and napkins — would no longer be automatically included in take-out meals and deliveries.

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City Council abruptly adjourns; no vote on renaming Lake Shore Drive

A move to delay a mayoral appointment led to Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Ald. Jeanette Taylor facing off in the Council chambers. "I told her to get her finger out of my face and to stop yelling at me," Taylor said. "I’m not a child. I don’t work for Lori Lightfoot. We are co-workers. The sooner she understands that, the better off she’ll be."

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Lightfoot’s pandemic protection package stalled by abrupt City Council adjournment

A midnight curfew on liquor sales has drawn the most attention. But the package also includes reforms and worker protections to help businesses and employees recover from the economic devastation caused by the pandemic.

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Alderman offers to OK post-Labor Day midweek concert by Guns N’Roses at Wrigley

Ald. Tom Tunney is willing to grant the Sept. 16 concert a one-time exception to rules governing night games and concerts at Wrigley Field, which are intended to ensure residents get some sleep on work and school nights.

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Lightfoot floats hybrid name change to avoid first City Council defeat and first mayoral veto since 2006 — but deal falls apart

Lightfoot offered a compromise to rename Chicago’s most iconic roadway "DuSable Lake Shore Drive." Ald. David Moore was willing to entertain the compromise because he’s not certain he has the 34 votes needed to override a veto. But, the deal fell apart.

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Biden’s Justice Department launching drive to curb gun trafficking in Chicago

The Biden administration wades into the crime issue as Chicago’s chronic gun violence problem was dramatically underscored when 52 people were shot, seven fatally, over the last weekend.

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Last day of school year for CPS brings mayor to South Loop Elementary

As Chicago Public Schools students prepare for summer break, South Loop Elementary School plans for the upcoming school year, which will be entirely in person.

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Doses and dinner at your door? City offers in-home shots to all Chicagoans — plus GrubHub gift card

Anyone with a Chicago address can now have a COVID-19 vaccine administered right in their home and get a $50 gift card. "Anything that keeps people talking about vaccine is a good thing," said Chicago Public Health chief Dr. Allison Arwady.

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Developer Tony Rezko’s son proposes West Loop building

The $95 million project would include apartments and maybe a hotel, but the alderman says community review is needed.

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‘I really want to leave’ — Immigrant kids describe desperation to leave shelters Biden administration set up

They described hard conditions, isolation and desperation to get out of facilities opened to cope with a rise in the arrival of minors on the nation’s southwest border.

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Aldermen push ordinance that would force city to spend federal relief on social services, but Lightfoot won’t tip hand until September

The mayor has said she wants to spend over half of $1.8 billion in federal relief on debt. The dozen alderman backing the ordinance want the money spent on things like rent relief, child care and mental health treatment.

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How Big Tech created a data ‘treasure trove’ for police departments

Data compiled by four tech giants show law enforcement requests for calls, emails, texts, photos, shopping histories, driving routes have more than tripled in the U.S. since 2015.

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Mayor Richard J. Daley’s press secretary Francis J. ‘Frank’ Sullivan has died at 91

The former Sun-Times reporter started the Chicago Police Department’s news affairs office, then shifted to mayoral press secretary.

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Lightfoot expands year-old program aimed at bridging digital divide

Chicago Public high school graduates would be guaranteed three additional months of free, high-speed internet service — and those going on to City Colleges would get the perk for up to three years.

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Lightfoot vows to find those responsible for ‘horrific’ Humboldt Park murder

"As you saw from the horrific video, it wasn’t just one person. There’s one person who dealt the fatal shot. But, there were others who were standing by who dragged that poor woman out of the car," the mayor said Monday.

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Not an emergency? Don’t call cops, CPS tells administrators in new policy

Advocates for police-free schools have called for de-escalation and restorative justice in place of policing and punitive punishment that leads students into the school-to-prison pipeline.

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Could downtown become a ‘pot paradise’ after all?

An ordinance filed Monday would allow new cannabis dispensaries to move into the downtown "exclusion zone" Mayor Lightfoot fought for and has continued to defend.

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As Parkway Gardens struggles, owner raises stakes on downtown bet

Owner Related Midwest put the South Side complex on the market, then pulled it off amid code violations and as it presses its case for a casino license in the South Loop.