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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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Nominee for state watchdog job steps down after social media posts surface bashing Trump

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The FTC can get money back for duped consumers after all, Chicago federal judge rules

The agency is still trying to recover $5.2 million for apartment-hunters who say they were duped into paying unwanted credit-monitoring fees to Credit Bureau Center.

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Illinois now boasts the ‘most equitable’ climate law in America. What will that mean?

Besides setting targets for a switchover to clean energy, it comes with promises of equitable job creation and an emphasis on helping communities hit hardest by fossil-fuel pollution.

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Rick Telander | Chicago Bears season preview

Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman is joined by sports columnist Rick Telander to preview the upcoming Chicago Bears season.

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Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson used same accounting firm that cleared Bridgeport bank before it failed

Defense attorneys in the alderman’s criminal case point to mistakes by the bank, the Bansley & Kiener accounting firm and even Thompson himself, writing that, "Mr. Thompson’s lack of organization and lack of attention to the details of his personal financial affairs are central to his defense."

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This Illinois school mandate isn’t controversial: 30 minutes of recess

Parents and advocates are cheering a new requirement that K-5 students get a half-hour of unstructured play time every day.

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Not a single ICU bed free, doctors and nurses bone tired — southern Illinois battles a virus and ‘a plethora of disinformation’

"We’ve been pounding away saying the disease is the enemy, not each other. But we’re running out of ways to say it," said Rosslind Rice, communications director for Southern Illinois Healthcare,

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‘No family left behind’ — Pilsen’s latest affordable housing project takes stand against gentrification

On Thursday, the Resurrection Project broke ground on their fifth affordable housing development in Pilsen.

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Who is Pedro Martinez, CPS’ new CEO?

The new head of public schools in Chicago, a CPS graduate, has dozens of relatives who either attend or work in the district. But some critics from San Antonio say his record as superintendent there doesn’t match his working class background.

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Hear the one about the Chicago pol saying no to some extra cash? No joke, five in City Council reject salary boost

The five taking a pass on the raise are a mix of North, Northwest and Southwest Side Council members. all in their first or second term — Raymond Lopez (15th), Silvana Tabares (23rd), Felix Cardona (31st), Gilbert Villegas (36th) and Matt Martin (47th).

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White House offers to answer Nicki Minaj’s COVID-19 vaccine questions

Minaj made headlines when she noted in a tweet that the Met Gala required attendees to be vaccinated, and that she wouldn’t get the shot until "I feel I’ve done enough research." She later issued a tweet sharing an unverified story about a cousin’s friend who "became impotent" and "his testicles became swollen" after receiving the shot.

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Chicago teams are betting on a Daley to win City Hall OK for ‘sports book’ wagering at arenas

Cook County Commissioner John Daley’s son is lobbying the Chicago City Council to approve sports betting at or near Sox park, Wrigley Field, Soldier Field and the United Center.

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Gov. Newsom’s big California victory: Trumpism and what it means for Illinois politics

Trump and Trumpism can play both ways in Illinois, said Democratic consultant Pete Giangreco. "The best precinct captain in the world right now is Donald Trump. He drives turnout on both sides."

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Dennis Hastert settles with accuser in lawsuit over hush-money payments

Hastert’s accuser sued him in 2016, just before U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin handed Hastert a 15-month prison sentence for a financial crime revolving around the sexual abuse of the man known publicly only as Individual A.

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‘There is no time to lose,’ Pritzker says as he signs energy legislation lawmakers say ‘gives our state a very clear future’

After months of negotiations on the bill, the Illinois Senate on Monday sent the legislation to Pritzker’s desk on a 37-17 vote — with three senators voting present — after the Illinois House voted last week to pass the measure.

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New Southwest Side aviation maintenance training facility ready for takeoff in less than two weeks

The 137-000-square-foot Aviation Institute of Maintenance facility will offer Federal Aviation Association certified maintenance training with classes for 40 students set to begin Sept. 27.

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Social Security could get biggest cost-of-living increase in 40 years amid COVID inflation surge

The Senior Citizen League says to expect an unusually big 6% to 6.1% COLA adjustment next year. The average retiree getting $1,559 a month would get $93.54 more — $1,652.54.

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New CPS CEO says a united district can be ‘best in the country’

Pedro Martinez, the superintendent of San Antonio public schools, was named CPS’ new leader at Benito Juarez H.S., his alma mater.

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Family of teenage drowning victim sues Chicago Park District, calls for life rings to be installed along entire lakefront

"This is not only about Miguel. It’s about preventing other families from going through this tragedy," said Maria Diaz, whose son, Miguel Cisneros, drowned last month.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom stays in power as recall fails

The recall, which turned on Newsom’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic, mirrored the nation’s heated political divide over business closures and mask and vaccine mandates.

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Sergeant files whistleblower lawsuit over order to guard his boss’s Bridgeport home during riots, looting last year

The police lieutenant, when confronted about his use of cops to guard his home, said "Mind your own f------ business, this is my unit and I will do what I want with my people," according to the suit.

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Parks IG steps down amid scandal

Mayor calls for state’s attorney to take over lifeguards probe.

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Pritzker pleased with state’s flattening COVID-19 numbers — but southern Illinois ‘chugging through some pretty bad days’

New COVID-19 hospital admissions have slowed down amid Illinois’ Delta variant coronavirus surge, but hospitals are still being pushed to the limit in southern Illinois — where all ICU beds were filled Monday night.

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Want plastic utensils in that takeout order? You’ll have to ask

An ordinance that passed the City Council Tuesday says restaurants can’t include single-use utensils unless customers request them. The Council also OK’d new guidelines for some city contracts and added new concessions at O’Hare Airport.

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Chinese students’ U.S. visas blocked under Trump-era policy to protect tech from China’s military

Students fume at the presumption they might be spies. ‘What do we finance students have to do with the military?’ a Washington University finance student says.

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Lightfoot’s anti-gang ordinance put on slower track

The ordinance was assigned to the Rules Committee — usually where legislation opposed by the mayor goes to die. But this time, Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez used the maneuver against Lightfoot. At the very least, it adds an extra step to the legislative process.

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Gardiner apologizes on Council floor for profane, threatening, misogynistic text messages

"I take full responsibility for my offensive words in those messages," Gardiner said. "Unfortunately those comments do not reflect my values ... I want to make it clear that I have never acted on those rants. ... It certainly was not my intention to demean anyone."

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Bar operator who admitted bribing Summit officials gets 18 months in drug case

Mariano "Mario" Martinez has ties to the late state Sen. Martin Sandoval and Ald. Edward M. Burke through Rudy Acosta Sr., who was charged in March with concealing material information from the FBI.

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Millions lifted out of poverty due to COVID-19 relief funds, census data show

The official poverty measure, however, still showed a one-percentage-point increase in 2020, with 11.4% of Americans living in poverty — more than 37 million people. It was the first increase after five consecutive annual declines.

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City Council stalls mayoral plan to relax marijuana zoning restrictions, shrink downtown exclusion zone

Aldermen Anthony Beale and Ray Lopez used a parliamentary maneuver to delay the vote until the next Council meeting. Lightfoot promptly set that vote for Monday’s special meeting, when she plans to introduce her 2022 city budget.

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3 winners share honors in Thompson Center design contest

A preservation panel backs proposals that imagine the Helmut Jahn design as a waterpark, a school or a vertical mix of uses.

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City Council approves eight-year police contract with 20% pay raise

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez was one of eight aldermen voting "no." He said the contract does "little to nothing to ensure that there is accountability when false statements are made" by officers accused of misconduct.

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Not a California man: GOP gov hopeful documents Illinois residency — says claim of firm’s West Coast HQ was ‘marketing’

While voting records do show Sullivan has lived — and voted in — downstate Menard County for at least the last five years, the main location of his business is murkier. Social media accounts and the company’s own website list Alter Global as being headquartered in San Francisco or the Silicon Valley. But Sullivan and a spokesman for his campaign said that is primarily for "marketing [and] branding purposes."

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Energy legislation passes Senate, Pritzker vows to sign it into law — and Exelon moves to keep nuke plants open

A spokesman said Exelon plans to refuel its Byron and Dresden nuclear plants ‘as a result of the action taken by the Illinois legislature to enact a comprehensive energy bill.’ The Byron plant was slated for defueling and closure beginning Monday, the Dresden plant to be taken offline in November.

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Arab and Asian American gas station owners call on City Council to investigate alleged racial targeting by inspectors

A group of Arab and Asian American business owners claim the city have been closing down gas stations over "frivolous" code violations.

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Banks vying to hold city deposits must provide more data on mortgages, home equity loans

The City Council’s Finance Committee approved an ordinance that would require banks seeking to hold up to $400 million of the city’s money to post even more detailed information on the city’s open data portal.