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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, June 24

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A Tale of Two Cities

In a NYTimes op-ed, Megan Stielstra juxtaposes tonight's Chi-Town Rising event, which was once free but now costs $99-150 to attend, with the protests that are bringing people together for a very different reason. Meanwhile, Rick Perlstein writes in the New Yorker about "The Sudden But Well-Deserved Fall of Rahm Emanuel."

Chicago Women Who Owned 2015

I'm stealing the headline from FoGB Veronica Arreola, because it is perfect. There are so many Best of lists at this time of year, but if you want to know 15 (thankfully there are far more) women who did awesome stuff in Chicago this year, then go read about them. They're all awesome.

Animal Abuse at the Pound

The Emanuel administration released a video of a city pound worker choking a dog to death with a catch pole and then dragging it to a cage. The worker was suspended.

What a Year it Was

The Reader's Ben Joravsky takes a look back at the year in politics.

Thin Blue Line to the 5th Floor

Retired police officer and IPRA investigator Lorenzo Davis spoke with the NYTimes about the code of silence that keeps IPRA and other officers from acknowledging wrong-doing by police. DNAinfo's Mark Konkol tracks the control of CPD not to the superintendent, but to City Hall.

Pitch in with the Investigation

The Department of Justice has asked for community input regarding its investigation of CPD patterns and practices. Call 844-401-3735 or email to share relevant info. [via]

Pick Out the Bad Apples

FiveThirtyEight digs through the recently released police complaint data and finds bad cops are easy to spot.

Christian Professor Suspended for Hijab

Wheaton College political science professor Larycia Hawkins was suspended for wearing a hijab during Advent "in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book."

This morning, I partook of the Eucharist, the culmination of the Christian liturgy where Christians through the...

Posted by Larycia Alaine Hawkins on Sunday, December 13, 2015

Save the Files

Earlier this month a judge ruled that CPD must notify the media before destroying police misconduct files, but the Fraternal Order of Police is still fighting to keep the files private. Explore what's already been released here.

Rahm's Biggest Fans

Rahm's Accomplishments and Rahm Love.

"Police perjury is so common here in Chicago that we call it testilying."

Salon reports on a recent investigation in which State's Attorney Anita Alvarez chose not to prosecute an officer who admitted to lying on the stand.

"Superintendent's Dialogue Tour"

Before he was fired, former CPS superintendent Garry McCarthy went on a "listening tour" aimed at improving communication between police and the community. DNAinfo obtained a draft of the PowerPoint presentation McCarthy prepared based on what he heard.

Another Teacher Strike is Possible

Chicago Teachers Union members voted 96.5% yes on authorizing a strike should current contract negotiations break down.

Evans Acquitted

Police Cmdr. Glenn Evans was acquitted of misconduct and aggravated battery charges related to a 2013 incident in which he allegedly forced his gun down the throat of a suspect, despite DNA evidence on his gun.

If the Election Were Today...

In an Aldertrack/DNAinfo/WGN Radio poll, most voters wouldn't be going for Anita Alvarez if the election were held today, and Latino, African-American and white voters all disapprove of Mayor Emanuel, though Latinos are still fairly confident in the police.

Feel the Old Bern?

A semi-famous photo of Bernie Sanders helping organize a sit-in protesting discriminatory housing practices in 1962 when he was a University of Chicago student actually may depict one of his classmates.

Stuck with Rahm

There are only three ways Chicago's citizens can be rid of Rahm Emanuel as mayor: indictment, death or resignation. There's no recall or impeachment option. UPDATE: There's now a bill in Springfield that would create a system for recall of a Chicago mayor.

Further Heat on Rahm

Two freshman alderman have called for a Department of Justice investigation into Mayor Emanuel's office in addition to the police department. Meanwhile, a Politico poll shows 51% of Chicagoans think Emanuel should resign.

Our Changing Opinions on Guns

The Supreme Court refused to review Highland Park's ban on assault weapons, five years after the court struck down Chicago's handgun ban and just a year and a half after an appeals court overturned the ordinance prohibiting gun shops within city limits.

Taking it Seriously

Black Youth Project 100 leaders took claims of sexual assault very seriously and suspended one of their own.

Feds to Investigate CPD

There will be a Justice Department investigation into patterns and practices of the Chicago Police Department. In totally unrelated news, Independent Police Review Authority chief Scott Ando has resigned. (Also worth reading: Steve Rhodes' column on Rahm's editorial.)

Police Probe Proposal Gains Steam

Mayor Emanuel is now in favor of a federal probe of the Chicago Police Department, and so are Sen. Dick Durbin and, surprisingly, State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. Meanwhile, DNAinfo is tracking statements from aldermen regarding the Laquan McDonald video, and the Emanuel approved the release of video from another year-old police shooting.

More Calls for a Police Practices Probe

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton joined Lisa Madigan in calling for a federal probe into the police practices, as did a group of retired Chicago police officers. Seems like a good idea, especially since police are generally bad at investigating themselves.

Don't Talk About Rahm's Kids

Mayor Emanuel appeared at a Politico event this morning (presumably booked long before the Laquan McDonald video was released.) Things got a bit testy when his family's holiday vacation plans came up.

It's not the first time the mayor has gotten upset about perceived violations of his family's privacy.

"Chicago is corruption itself."

Forget Detroit, the National Review's Kevin D. Williamson compares Chicago to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with Rahm Emanuel its despot leader.

Madigan Calls for Federal Investigation

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan called for the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to investigate the Chicago Police Department for potential civil rights violations.

Letter from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to Letter to United States Attorney General Loretta Lync...

McCarthy's Out

Mayor Emanuel fired Police Supt. Garry McCarthy last night. In a news conference this morning, he said, "The public trust in the leadership of the department has been shaken," and announced that a task force has been appointed to find ways to increase police accountability.


Darryl Holliday and Martin Macias talked with black activists about why "black space" matters in the current black activism movement.

Pressure Mounts Against McCarthy & Alvarez

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, former mayoral candidate Chuy Garcia and several Latino aldermen joined the calls for police chief Garry McCarthy and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez to resign.

Further Thoughts on the Laquan McDonald Case

From Britt Julious, Mary Mitchell, Amara Enyia, Brandon Smith, John Kass, Neil Steinberg, Eric Zorn, Steve Bogira, Tio Hardiman, Shaun King, Greg Hinz, Mark Konkol, Phil Huckelberry, Dan Mihalopoulos, Steve Rhodes, the Sun-Times and Tribune editorial boards, and students at North Lawndale College Prep.

Free the Malcolm London

Among the protesters arrested last night was Malcolm London, a poet and activist who witnesses say was falsely accused of hitting a cop. Black aldermen are calling for his release, and the Chicago Community Bond Fund is accepting donations to help cover bail for London and the others who were arrested. UPDATE: Charges have been dropped against London. No word yet regarding the others arrested.

Digesting the Laquan McDonald Video

Protesters marched through the Loop and outside of the 17th District headquarters last night, while the Chicago Reporter explained how the police attempted to cover up Laquan McDonald's murder, and Daily Beast talked with detective Lorenzo Davis about three other murders allegedly covered up by the CPD and the Independent Police Review Authority.

School Board Loses a Dissenting Voice

CPS students are 45 percent Latino, but there's only one Latino school board member, Jesse Ruiz -- and Mayor Emanuel is pushing him out. Ruiz is moving to the board of the Park District, and his replacement has yet to be named.

Fundraising in the Elements

Hundreds braved the snow and cold to sleep on Cricket Hill as part of the Out in the Open Sleep Out fundraiser this weekend.

Student are Activists

Students who have been protesting CPS budget cuts and school closures are part of a long tradition in Chicago.

Not Letting the Terrorists Win

City Council passed a (symbolic) resolution establishing Chicago as a "sanctuary city" for Syrian refugees -- rebuking Gov. Rauner's (equally symbolic) declaration that Illinois was off-limits.

They're Coming to America

In spite of Gov. Rauner's assertion that Illinois will no longer accept Syrian refugees, a family of five is arriving in Chicago today with the assistance of Exodus World Service.

No Longer a Safe Haven

Gov. Rauner announced that Illinois would temporarily stop accepting Syrian refugees, citing the attacks in Paris.

Goodbye, Get Out

Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan, whose funding to be the city's watchdog was cut earlier this year, spoke with Politico about his last day in office this past Friday, when a FBI van showed up unannounced and hauled away office computers and files. "I could never have envisioned a city like Chicago being so devoid of ethical morals and values when it came to our elected officials," he said.

Sanctuary in Little Village

Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission, long known for its anti-deportation activism, is providing sanctuary for Miguel Sanchez Olguin, an undocumented immigrant from Kansas City who faces deportation. The church recently won a visa for a Mexican woman who was the victim of domestic violence.

"Punishments for Exercising Constitutional Rights"

Chicago writer Emily Zanotti posits in The Federalist that the City's proposed tax on bullets is misguided and unlikely to raise much money.

What's in the Budget?

Aldertrack just released a Cook County 2016 budget overview [PDF] for those interested in what's going on over there.

Here We See a Pattern

A database of police misconduct complaints went live today, allowing journalists and the public to research bad cops and connections between them over time. WBEZ tells the story of the fight to make this public. One of the first discoveries from the data is that while blacks are more likely to file misconduct complaints, those filed by whites are more likely to be upheld.

The Campaign Gets Close

Ohio Gov. John Kasich made a campaign stop at the Billy Goat yesterday. Meanwhile, Donald Trump got booed for mentioning Chicago at a rally in Springfield -- at which he also jumped on the Starbucks red cup controversy bandwagon.

Kirk on the Ropes?

Politico calls Sen. Mark Kirk "the most endangered Republican in the country" in next year's election.

Rauner's No Sollozzo

Gov. Rauner took all the menace out of the message "sleeps with the fishes" by buying frozen tuna steaks for Rahm Emanuel at a butcher shop as a publicity stunt related to the state budget battle. Emanuel didn't take the bait.

Screwed Both Ways

You already know the bad news for your bottom line in the latest city budget, which passed City Council Wednesday. Illinois Policy Institute introduces you to the the politicians who stand to profit from the property tax increase through the appeals system. (Incidentally, here's the list of aldermen who voted no.)

The Force is Strong

It's not a surprise, but the City Council overwhelmingly approved the Lucas Museum on Wednesday. And the design "revised" using community input is still basically the same as the original.

Recall Rauner?

A petition to recall Gov. Rauner was launched three months ago, but signatures seem to be accelerating. Meanwhile, Crain's says even Republicans are losing patience.

Using Human Decency as a Wedge

Gov. Rauner instituted limitations to day care subsidies that help homeless families and domestic violence survivors survive. As a Capitol Fax commenter noted, Rauner's tactic was to make this a wedge issue against unions.

Trains Wait for the Capital

CTA's budget is balanced, meaning no fare increase in 2016 -- but only if deadlocked Springfield approves.

Restore Justice to the Justice System

CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy is part of a group, calling for changes to the justice system including reducing penalties for non-violent drug offenders. The group is meeting with President Obama today. Read McCarthy's column in USA Today.

Better Money Management

Treasurer Kurt Summers thinks he has a solution to at least part of the city's budget woes: take some cash out of the "piggy bank" of short-term investments.

Bookmark for the Primary

Chicago startup BallotReady hopes to improve election turnout through comprehensive online voter guides.

Cash for Guns -- but Only if They Work

Mayor Emanuel announced a $250,000 gun buy-back program in an effort to get more guns off the street; the last such program was in 2012. This time, they won't accept inoperable guns, giving pro-gun groups less incentive to "game the system."

Clearing the Tent City

This summer, Chilean journalist Mathias Meier documented protests against the City's efforts to clear the homeless out of Uptown.

Permit to Change

At Bisnow, Chuck Sudo profiles the City's new buildings commissioner, who's trying to modernize and streamline to get rid of some of the bureaucratic red tape tying up building permits.

CPD Disappearing Act

The Guardian continues its investigation of Homan Square, the Chicago Police Department's alleged secret interrogation center, and finds that at least 7,185 suspects were taken there between Aug. 2004 and June 30 of this year.

Court Circuit Clerk Now Part of Federal Probe

Federal agents seized the cell phone of Court Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown last week as part of a federal investigation of her husband's involvement with a state-funded anti-violence program, as well as a land deal with a campaign donor.

Sunglasses not Included

Mitch O'Connell has a couple of Donald Trump t-shirts that fans of They Live will appreciate.

SUPES Awkward

Barbara Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges Tuesday -- but her co-defendents pleaded not guilty, setting up an opportunity for her to cooperate with investigators for a lenient sentence.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, there's a "Barbara Byrd-Bennett Professional Development Center" standing vacant, [via]

Amusingly, Watchdog Arena, the citizen journalism arm of the conservative libertarian Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, described Catalyst Chicago reporter Sarah Karp, who broke the no-bid contract story, as a "mother with a blog."

The New Sins

Toni Preckwinkle is proposing taxing cable, bowling, golf and vapes in an effort to balance the county budget.

What Do We Want? Term Limits! When Do We Want Them? Eventually!

Interesting point: While Gov. Rauner is withholding state funding for services demanding term limits for legislators, the bill that would do that wouldn't have an effect until the 2026 elections.

Leaving the State

Gov. Rauner has proposed that the state government sell and move out of the Thompson Center, Crain's Greg Hinz reports. The building, never a beauty, is in terrible shape, and could fetch attention as a potential tear-down.

Save the Neighbors

With the Heat Light Water Project and ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen, Chicago-based artists are hoping to start the renaissance of the city of Gary.

Abolishing Columbus Day? Whaddja say Chicago?

Eight cities around the US have abolished Oct. 12 as Columbus Day in the past two months and instead have named it Indigenous People's Day. Seattle, Minneapolis, Berkeley are some of the big ones who have agreed with this trend. With the Columbus Day Parade and kids getting the day off, ChicagoNow blogger Teresa Puente makes a great argument. What do you think, Chicago?

Funding Cut for Tourism, Violence Prevention

The state budget stalemate has meant cuts all over -- and the latest belt-tightening comes at Choose Chicago, which is laying off staffers. CeaseFire has also seen its state funding frozen, and so it's shutting down even as its services are more and more needed.

Byrd-Bennett Indicted

Former CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett, as well as SUPES Academy and its co-owners, Gary Solomon and Tom Vranas, have been indicted on federal fraud charges in connection to the no-bid contract awarded to SUPES for professional training.

Take the Train Tomorrow

Taxi drivers plan a "Day Without a Cab Driver" 24-hour strike Thursday morning till Friday morning in protest of Mayor Emanuel's proposal to allow rideshare drivers to pick up passengers at the airports and McCormick Place and fare increases.

Karen Lewis Removes her Hat

CTU President Karen Lewis talked with Channel 5's Carol Marin and Mary Ann Ahern to talk about her brain cancer, and took off her hat to show her scars publicly for the first time.

Divvy for the People

Divvy workers unionized last year, and are now petitioning to earn a living wage. Lend your support here. Meanwhile, StreetsBlog looks at how the Divvy for Everyone program, intended to bring bikesharing to underprivileged communities, is going.

Enyia Mulls Congressional Bid

Amara Enyia, executive director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce and a candidate for mayor last election, is exploring the possibility of running against Rep. Danny Davis for the for the 7th District.

Aldermen: McCarthy Must Go

The City Council Black Caucus called for the firing of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, saying he hasn't done enough to prevent violence in their wards.

Duncan's Coming Back

Secretary of Education and former CPS chief Arne Duncan announced today that stepping down and returning to Chicago. No word on what he'll be doing here, short of "spending time with his family."

Shades of Hillary

The Tribune is suing Mayor Emanuel because he's failed to fully comply with a FOIA requesting private emails and text messages regarding city business. (Read the lawsuit here.)

Another Salvo in the Taxi-Uber/Lyft War

As cabbies shut down taxi travel at the airports Wednesday in protest of Emanuel's budget proposal allowing rideshare services access to the airports, another battle was waged in the courtroom. A federal judge paved the way for an equal-protection lawsuit against the City for treating rideshare services different from taxis.

Food Carts Get Recognition; Regulation Next

City Council committee approved an ordinance allowing food cart vendors to be licensed, taking another step toward providing a level of legitimacy to a long pseudo-illegal industry that's been asking for regulation for years. The ordinance next will go the full Council for approval.

Streaming Fee Fight

Users of streaming services are suing the City over its recent addition of a 9% Amusement tax on providers like Netflix, Spotify, and XBox Live.

Wiki City

Aldertrack's Cloutwiki is a primer on Chicago's political players. Reporter-written entries profile Chicago's politicians in City Hall, Cook County, and Springfield.

More Bucks for Trump

Two recent Northwestern grads are starting a PAC to support Donald Trump's run for president.

Bill is Due

Mayor Emanuel is set to call for the largest property tax increase in recent history so the City can make a major payment towards police and firefighter pensions, according to the Tribune.

Fight for Dyett Continues

The Dyett hunger strikers entered their third week of protest after Mayor Emanuel would not say definitively that their school proposal would be accepted.

Collecting on Corruption

The City is suing red camera maker Redflex for over $300 million after its executives were convicted on corruption charges for bribing local officials.

Hearing the Public

Mayor Emanuel agreed to meet with hunger strikers from Dyett High School for the first time after they and other protesters disrupted a public hearing on the budget.

Anything's Possible, Except Compromise

Illinois lottery winners won't get paid until the state legislature passes a new budget, but as Democrats continue to battle with Gov. Rauner, it might take awhile.

Crime Seen

While people are horrified by video of the killings in Virginia, many kids in Chicago see gun violence in person on a regular basis, writes the Tribune's Peter Nickeas.

Not Just Black and White

Data on gun-related homicides collected by the Cook County Medical Examiner classifies Latinos as "white" and often classifies other ethnicities as "Other."

Dunked by Donald

Donald Trump said he would no longer eat Oreos because of plans to close a Chicago-area factory and move its business to Mexico.

Politicians Gone Rogue

Over on Illinois Issues, GB contributor Thomas Gradel writes about latest round of Illinois politicians in legal trouble.

Seniors in the Streets

Senior activists stopped traffic on Michigan Ave. to protest planned state cuts to home care services.

Shedding Light on Dark Winds

Civic hackers built to warn people living near petcoke piles about windy conditions that could spread the oily substance.

Left with a Library

It looks like President Obama probably won't live in Chicago after his term is over.

Shutting it Down

Demonstrators calling for CPD to fire Detective Dante Servin for the killing of Rekia Boyd in 2012 shut down a meeting of the Chicago Police Board.

Mic Check

CPD purchased equipment capable of intercepting cellphone traffic back in 2005, further confirming suspicions that they've been eavesdropping on calls.

A Real Disaster

Implying Hurricane Katrina had an upside because it led to New Orleans' "rebirth," a column by the Tribune's Kristen McQueary stirred up a huge storm of criticism online.

Man vs. Ventra

GB's Jason Prechtel shares the story of his investigation into how Chicago ended up with Ventra, and how he ended up suing the CTA for answers. You can read his coverage of Ventra in Mechanics.

Suing for Answers

A journalist is suing the Chicago Police Department to get them to release dashboard camera video of an officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald last fall.

Double Stuff It

A local activist is trying to lead an Oreo boycott in response to Mondelez International laying off 1,200 employees from its plant on the Southwest Side.

On Our Own

Gov. Rauner said there will be no "special deals" for Chicago as Springfield works to broker deals on pension reform and other major issues.

Changing Times

Chicago may become the largest municipality in the country to cover gender reassignment surgery for transgender city workers.

In four more years?

The Daily Beast explores the beef between current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and rapper/political hopeful Chief Keef, who tweeted his intent on Monday.

Justice Delayed

About 1,000 rape evidence kits from Chicago victims were submitted for analysis every year since 2008, but only 271 came back last year; the rest remain untested. Aldermen are calling on CPD to explain the backlog.

Housing Hangups

Fixing Chicago's housing issues should start with enforcing existing laws and tapping into the cash reserves at the Chicago Housing Authority to provide affordable places to live, writes Matt Hoffmann.

Keef 2019?

Chief Keef tweeted he's running for mayor as his beef with Mayor Emanuel continues.

Keef's recent performance via hologram at Crave Fest in Hammond was billed as an anti-violence effort but was still shut down by police. And it's not the first time local politicians tried to censor speech, writes Neil Steinberg, adding that doing so also elevates Keef to folk hero status.

A Call to Service

A local American Legion commander is calling on fellow veterans to help prevent gun violence.

Off the Record

Gov. Rauner doesn't want to share who he meets with by releasing his schedule to the public, according to the Reader's Mick Dumke.

A Walk in the Park

Chicago Magazine's Whet Moser took a stroll down the 606 with Mayor Emanuel to talk about his plans for the Riverwalk and other parks in the city.

Monumental Inequality

There are plenty of statues of fictional females around Chicago, but none to actual, real women. Meanwhile there are 48 statues and busts of men. There are efforts afoot to change that.

You Shall Not Pass

Ald. John Arena parked his car in front of a bulldozer to stop construction crews from closing a road in his ward in order to put up a digital billboard.

Investigator Ousted

An investigator who deemed several police shootings unjustified was fired after he ignored orders to change his findings, according to reporting by WBEZ.

City of Big Taxes

Chicago's sales tax will be the highest of any major U.S. city when it goes up to 10.25 percent, after the Cook County Board approved a one percent increase to pay for pensions and more.

Chopping TIFs

The City is eliminating some TIF districts used to funnel tax dollars into development projects in order to divert some of the money to CPS.

Nonprofits Sound the Alarm

Nonprofits and childcare organizations are scrambling to stay open as the budget impasse in Springfield delays (or potentially cuts) state funding.

Gradin' the Governor

Chicago Magazine gives Gov. Rauner barely passing grades for his first six months in office, with very low marks on major issues like pension reform and the budget.

Panhandle City

Is that a map of Chicago or Florida? Some people can't tell the difference.

Suing Over Solitary

A class action lawsuit filed against the Illinois Department of Corrections on behalf of thousands of inmates alleges the prison system misuses and overuses solitary confinement.

Not too Past Due

Bankruptcy isn't inevitable in Chicago despite its massive pension obligations because the city could raise enough money to cover regular payments on its debts, writes Saqib Bhatti in In These Times.

Bigger Tax Bills

Property taxes in Chicago will go up 2.8%, or about $90 per homeowner on average, starting next month.

Using It While Losing It

Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett made money from an income tax loophole while working to close it, the BGA reports.

Dirty Money in the Meters?

The FBI are investigating an executive at the firm managing Chicago's parking meters for allegedly taking a bribe in return for steering business to a company.

Water Damage

The City is changing the way it charges new building owners for water after an audit found it missed out on millions dollars of revenue.

Team of Rivals

Newly-elected Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd ward) hired one of his electoral opponents as his chief of staff.

Chiraq Tax

Some aldermen don't want Spike Lee to get any tax breaks from the state for making "Chiraq" in Chicago, unless he changes the title.

No Party for You

Ald. Moore refused to grant Spike Lee a permit to hold a Chiraq block party -- but the party will go on anyways.

Warranted Police Eavesdropping

While police Supt. Garry McCarthy is on a "listening tour" around the city, details of his stops remain scarce; but WBEZ received an itinerary of planned events.

Death and a Thousand Cuts

As Chicago passes the 1,000 mark for shooting victims this year, activists are blaming cuts to social services for the increase in violence compared to last year.

A Perp Walk Down Memory Lane

Dennis Hastert is just the latest politician to make the walk through the media gauntlet on his way into Chicago's federal courthouse.

Hastert to Face Charges

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert will be in court in Chicago next week facing charges of bank fraud after attempting to pay over $1 million in hush money for "sexual misconduct;" the family of a now-deceased man claims Hastert sexually abused him in high school.

Protests at U. of C.

Firefighters cut through a barricaded door after protestors calling for a trauma center locked themselves inside an administration building Wednesday, and students protested budget cuts with a sit-in Thursday.

Signs of the Times

With the City trying to save every dollar it can, it may be losing millions from the way it handles sign installations, according to the inspector general.

Still Running

Willie Wilson is joining the presidential race.

Corruption Capitol

The federal judicial district based in Chicago saw 1,642 public corruption convictions from 1976-2013, more than any other district.

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's the Feds

The FBI is using its own planes to gather video and cellphone surveillance in Chicago and beyond, reports the AP.

Byrd-Bennett Bounces

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigned amid the ongoing federal investigation into a no-bid contract for a training firm she had ties to. She went on paid leave in mid-April. Read more about CPS's long history of corruption scandals.

Worth 1,000 Bad Words

Two (now former) Chicago cops pose with guns while standing over an African-American suspect wearing deer antlers in a photo taken over a decade ago but recently made public.

@POTUS Breaks Twitter (Record, that is)

Last night, President Obama demolished the record for the fastest time to reach one million followers on Twitter with the creation of his personal account, @POTUS. The account reached one million followers in less than five hours. #recordbreaker

Day One

It's inauguration day for the mayor, aldermen, and other city officials - their four-year terms begin with a swearing-in ceremony at the Chicago Theatre.

He's Back

Willie Wilson announced he's running for president in 2016.

The South Side's Got It

The Barack Obama Foundation announced this morning that they've selected the South Side as the future location of their museum and presidential library. A more formal press conference will be held at noon today. The President and First Lady gave their thoughts on the decision in a YouTube video.

Pension Problems

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled legislation cutting government worker benefits was unconstitutional, seriously complicating any efforts to address the state's $105 billion pension debt.

Burge Reparations Pass

City Council approved an ordinance creating a reparations fund for victims of police torture under the former commander Jon Burge. In addition to $5.5 million for victims and their families, there will also be a public apology and the history of the case will be taught in CPS schools. The ordinance borrows from the UN's Convention against Torture and other international reparations plans.

CTU Turns Down CPS Pay Cut

Chicag Public Schools ask the Teachers Union for a 7 percent pay cut in their next contract. The CTU filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board yesterday.

Look at Those TIFs

While tax increment financing is one of the most convoluted parts of Chicago politics, at least a new map shows where they are and what projects they're funding. (via)

Fighting for C4 Answers

Staff, clients and supporters marched Tuesday in protest of the closure of C4, one of the city's largest mental health services agencies.

We Got the Library

After months of waiting, news outlets report that the Obama Presidential Library will be built in Chicago, on the University of Chicago's proposed site in Washington Park. The official announcement is expected today.

This is Not a Game

Tonight's White Sox game versus the Orioles was postponed amid the Freddy Gray protests in Baltimore. The Sox supported the decision, and Orioles COO John Angelos eloquently expressed his support of the protestors.

Not Prosecuting Possession

The Cook County state's attorney will no longer prosecute people for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

"We thought he was honest and had a bright future."

According to the Daily Beast, one of Aaron Schock's donors is suing for a refund from the disgraced former U.S. representative.

The #chicagoGirl on Film

Chicago college student Alaa Basatneh talked with Channel 5 about her efforts to support the Syrian revolution and the documentary about her. #chicagoGirl screens at the Family of Woman Film Festival at the Wilmette Theatre tonight.

Hint of Red

Newly-elected alderman Anthony Napolitano will be City Council's lone Republican.

When Winning is Losing

While pundits attribute Chuy Garcia's loss to his lack of concrete plans, they say his candidacy exposed Mayor Emanuel's political vulnerability, making the election win a loss for Emanuel, and a possible victory for the progressives who oppose him.

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

While Mayor Emanuel was re-elected, it looks like many of the 12 incumbent aldermen on Tuesday's ballot will be voted out, with estimated voter turnout near 40 percent.

Not too Late to Vote

Polls close at 7pm tonight, but a few will close at 8pm due to late starts this morning.

The City's Shrinking Middle

Edward McClelland argues that while Chicago's overall statistics may have improved under Mayor Emanuel, things are actually worse in neighborhoods beyond downtown.

Last-Minute Studying Material

You can check out election guides by DNAinfo, the Tribune, and the Sun-Times before heading to the polls.

Don't Forget to Vote

Chicago's runoff elections are in the international spotlight -- so let's make a good impression and head to the polls tomorrow.

Vote Digger

"Rahm + Kanye = Rahmye" is the math behind a short film criticizing Mayor Emanuel, produced by the Young Fugitives and the Grid's Ben Kolak.

Dick's Moves

Sen. Dick Durbin (IL) is battling with Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY) for the Democrats' top spot in the Senate after Harry Reid announced his retirement.

As Chicago Goes

Does Mayor Emanuel have a big lead against Chuy Garcia, or is the race too close to call? Either way, progressives around the country are watching for strategies they could use to challenge Hillary Clinton.

Checking Chicago's Credit

Investors concerned with Chicago's major pension shortfalls are growing wary of investing in the city.

Checking the Record

Truthout investigates how police shootings are handled by CPD, raising questions about the accuracy of official statistics.

Making Memories Pay

Jason Narducy and his band Split Single drove to Walkerton, IN to not eat at Memories Pizza, the shop that announced it wouldn't cater gay weddings after the state's RFRA law passed. Instead they bought $100 of pizza from the other pizza place in town, and fed it to the gathered journalists. Meanwhile, people have threatened Memories and defaced its Yelp page, leading to the owners closing the pizzeria for the time being.

Last Words

WTTW hosted Rahm Emanuel and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia for their final debate ahead of the mayoral runoff elections. Questions about the criminal past of Garcia's son did not go over well.

Closing Arguments

Mayor Emanuel and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia will debate for the final time before the runoff elections tonight on WTTW's Chicago Tonight.

Who Funds the Runoff?

The Tribune provides a way to explore the campaign donors for Mayor Emanuel and Chuy Garcia.

Fioretti Endorses Rahm

Outgoing 2nd Ward Alderman and mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti endorsed Rahm Emanuel in the runoff. Bit of a surprise considering Fioretti's outspoken criticism of the mayor over the past four years.

Duckworth's Next Move

Rep. Tammy Duckworth is planning to run for Senate against Sen. Mark Kirk.

Little Dog Lost

When a lost pet is picked up off the street, it's often down to luck for it to find its way back to its owners. Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey and activists are trying to change that.

Progressive Panic

Claims progressives would "make Chicago another Detroit" are not new, writes Edward McClelland in Belt Magazine, arguing those fears are probably unfounded.

Mayor 37 Cents

An Instagram photo of Mayor Emanuel by a health food store employee back in April is making the rounds this week. In These Times talked to the photographer, who said Emanuel is a notoriously bad tipper, and once tipped 37 cents on a $7 shake.

The Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel came by my job, still can't stand this muthafucka tho

A photo posted by Albert Griffith (@gqthateacha) on

Arriving at Obama International Airport?

Mayor Emanuel floated the idea of renaming either Midway or O'Hare after President Obama, saying that "we have airports named after battleships." (Um, not exactly, Mr. Mayor.)

Pay Up, Rich Guy

Adam Andrzejewski of American Transparency writes in Forbes that pay to play among Chicago's elites is still commonplace under Rahm Emanuel's tenure as mayor.

The Mayor vs. the Media

Mayor Emanuel's combative relationship with the press is more typical for Washington, D.C. than Chicago, say reporters.

Turnout Turnaround

A record number of voters headed to the polls for the first day of early voting Monday.

Voting Blocks

The New York Times looks at which areas may decide the mayoral runoff election.

In the Red

The rate of murders solved in Chicago is the lowest it's been in decades and is declining, according to an investigation by WBEZ.

Chicago's Stop and Frisk

Last summer, African Americans were subjected to almost three-fourths of 250,000 stops by CPD officers where the subjects weren't arrested, making the controversial practice more widespread in Chicago than in New York, according to the ACLU.

Vote Early

You can now cast your ballot at any Early Voting site around the city for the April 7 runoff election.

Who Watches the Watchmen

Documents obtained by the Reader confirm that Chicago police have been spying on activists (previously). But they don't say why.

Nowhere to Go

The City has been borrowing from funds earmarked for affordable housing to pay pensions and other projects, while 280,000-plus people are on the waiting list for homes.

Doesn't He Have a Say in That?

President Obama told the Tribune he hopes his presidential library ends up in Chicago.

The Price of of Police Misconduct

Dan Weissman did a two-part story for "Marketplace" looking at the cost of police misconduct in Chicago and why the CPD doesn't seem to ask itself why are we getting sued?

A History of Library Land Acquisition Fights

The LA Times compares the controversial plan to site the potential Obama presidential library on Chicago Park District property to previous presidential library plans.

Chicago and the Women's Movement

The Reader interviews Chicago women featured in the feminist documentary She's Beautiful When She's Angry, at the Music Box this week.

Taking Stock After Two Decades of Demolition

It's been nearly 20 since the demolition of the Henry Horner Homes, presaging much of the Chicago Housing Authority's Plan for Transformation. How is everything going? For another look at what life was like before the demolition, take a look at this Henry Horner Mothers' Guild video from 1991.

14 Percentage Points Apart

In case you're looking for an article about the mayoral race written for a national, rather than local, audience, the NY Times published a major story on it.

504 on the 606

The next phase of development of the 606 is being affected by the state spending freeze enacted by Gov. Rauner. Fear not, though, the park will still open in June.

Not That Schocking

More trouble for Rep. Aaron Schock, this time for allegedly accepting money from The Global Poverty Project to pay for his friend Jonathon Link to travel with Schock to India in August 2014.

Giving a PAWS-out

PAWS Chicago is going door-to-door to see how pets and animals are faring around the city, bringing services to the streets instead of just building another animal shelter, writes blogger Vanessa Smetkowski.

What Deals Are Made Of

Former mayoral hopefuls Willie Wilson and Ald. Bob Fioretti are among the high-profile figures who still "need to hear more" before endorsing a candidate.

Innovating for the City

The University of Chicago hopes to find which approaches to solving urban problems are the most effective by funding new and old ideas, and measuring the results.

Garcia Endorsed

Chuy Garcia was endorsed by both Jesse Jackson and Congressman Danny Davis.

Prepare for the Polls

Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote online or by mail ahead of the April 4 runoff election.

Galena Oil Train Explosion Triggers Concerns

A train of carrying 103 tanks of crude oil derailed while on route to the Chicago area, prompting everyone from Senator Durbin, the state's Emergency Management Agency director and environmental activists to warn about such an event happening in Chicago. You can check how close you live to "oil train" routes via the environmental group Forest Ethics.

Surely Just Coincidence

On Friday, mayoral candidate Chuy Garcia announced that if elected he'd shut down all the red light cameras in the city. On Sunday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the City would turn off 50 cameras at 25 intersections.

So This is What Democracy Looks Like

The April elections will include the most ward runoffs since 1947 in addition to the first mayoral runoff ever.

CeaseFire Standing Down

CeaseFire halted all its anti-violence efforts after budget cuts by Gov. Rauner drastically reduced its funding.

He's Mean Because He Cares

Mayor Emanuel admits he "can rub people the wrong way" in a new campaign ad.

Litigating the Election

Opponents of incumbents Ald.Joe Moreno and Ald. Deb Mell filed suits calling for ballots from last week's election to be recounted.

Called to Civic Duty

If you're not registered to vote but the runoff has you suddenly motivated, you're in luck, there's still time to register. You have until March 9 for absentee and March 10 for in-person voting. Early voting will run March 23 through April 4.

Your Campaign Dollars

WBEZ created Campaign Finance Explorer, which lets you see who donated to the election campaigns all of the mayoral and aldermanic candidates. Dig deeper into the data yourself at Illinois Election Money.

Shedding Light on a Black Site

Further coverage and reaction to the Guardian's story about Homan Square, CPD's alleged "black site" for CIA-style interrogation: Police spokesman Marty Maloney says the station is no different from any other, Chicago Justice Project Executive Director Tracy Siska talks with The Atlantic, and Dan O'Neil offers the open data perspective.

Staying on Track

After thoroughly covering the run-up to yesterday's election, Aldertrack is going year-round with its e-newsletter covering Chicago politics. Subscribe by April 1 for a 10 percent discount off the annual rate.

It's a Runoff

In case you somehow didn't hear, Mayor Emanuel received 45.4 percent of the vote, triggering the first mayoral runoff in history against Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who received 33.9 percent. Get ready to vote again April 7.

Thinkpiecing About the Election

Both John Kass and Mick Dumke call loudly for a runoff, which Carol Felsenthal says would be humbling. And in the NYTimes, Megan Stielstra wonders, "If we don't like the guy ... why are we resigned to his re-election?"

"Haters are gonna hate"

"Downton Abbey" fan Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock apparently enjoys modern perks as well. According to the Associated Press, Schock used campaign and taxpayer funds on private flights, massages, and Katy Perry concert tickets for his interns.

To Have, and Not Need

Despite running unopposed, Ald. Ed Burke reportedly has over $8 million in campaign cash on hand, far more than any other alderman.

Endorse This!

If you want to get feedback on who to vote for tomorrow, here's some help: Independent Voters of Illinois, the Trib, the Chicago Defender, Equality Illinois, the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Chicago Citizen. Happy voting! Polls are open from 6am to 7pm.

Save Transit Funding

After Gov. Rauner proposed funding cuts to the Regional Transportation Authority in his state budget, the Active Transportation Alliance launched a petition to fight it.

Meet the (Would-Be) Mayors

WBEZ put together a guide to the mayoral candidates' views on major issues like public safety, education, and jobs.

Freeze Out the Vote

Why are Chicago's municipal elections held in February, anyway? Curious City finds out.

Coming Down the Home Stretch

Aldertrack is offering its Racing Form for free until Election Day; it includes details on aldermanic candidates, ward maps, and more.

There's Money in Jails

The Chicago Reporter examines the economics of prisons in a story snappily titled "Orange is the New Green."

Just PICK Already

Currently on a media tour to promote his new tell-all book, former Obama advisor David Axelrod said on "CBS This Morning" yesterday that Chicago will most likely get the Obama Presidential Library, although Sneed claims Michelle wants it to be in New York.

Civic Duty Helpers

The Tribune's endorsements and DNAinfo's election guide are worth checking out before you head to the polls.

RIP JoAnn Thompson

Sixteenth Ward Alderman JoAnn Thompson passed away last night during open heart surgery. She was 58.

Early Voting Begins

Early voting starts today for the Municipal Election. The Board of Election Commissioners has a full list of early voting sites, should you want to cast your vote before the election on February 24.

What Green Can Do for You

Aside from the health benefits of medical marijuana, a bill legalizing adult possession of up to 30g of pot could mean far fewer black men in Illinois prisons, HuffPo's Kim Bellware points out.

The Topic That Mayoral Candidates Dare Not Broach

The thing that doesn't get talked about enough in race for mayor? Racial segregation. So the Reader talked with most of them about it.

The First Cuts

The state is withdrawing its support for youth jobs programs in Chicago and other initiatives promised in the closing weeks of Gov. Pat Quinn's administration.

The Brave Ones

The Sun-Times editorial board released its aldermanic candidate endorsements, saying those on the list seemed most willing to tackle taxes and pensions.

Seeing Schock-ing Red

The interior decorator who recently gave Congressman Aaron Schock's office a "Downton Abbey"-themed renovation is likely in the dog house after giving a Washington Post reporter an impromptu, private tour of the space, which is bedecked with feather arrangements, chandeliers and mirrors; the politician's staff later unsuccessfully tried to have the photos and story removed.

Survival of the Fittest

A timeline in the Reader shows how Mayor Emanuel's stance on the minimum wage evolved amid fallout from the school closings and ongoing public pressure.

Rahm es Mas Macho?

Congressman Luis Gutierrez endorsed Rahm Emanuel in a new Spanish language ad -- but Payton Prep student Karina Pantoja wonders: Is the sexist language necessary?

A Campaign Stunt Too Far?

McKinley Park residents were surprised and angered by 10,000 fake parking tickets on their cars, which turned out to be campaign flyers for 12th Ward aldermanic candidate Pete DeMay.

A Complicated Relationship

In These Times wonders why unions are supporting Mayor Emanuel after he clashed with the Chicago Teachers Union during his first term.

Promises, Promises

As the municipal election nears, WBEZ assesses Mayor Emanuel's first(?) term.

The Next Obama

In the Sun-Times, Laura Washington writes about some of the African-American politicians vying to be "Obama 2.0."

Getting Rid of the Competition

Three more aldermen will run for reelection unopposed after challenging the signatures that got their would-be challengers on the ballot.

Schools Closing Film Opening

The School Project (previously) debuted a new documentary yesterday at the Logan Center for the Arts at UofC. Chicago Public Schools: Closed is the second of a six-part series.

Our Privatized Metropolis

Rahm Emanuel is escalating the pattern started by his predecessor, Richard M. Daley, in selling off parts of the city to private enterprise. In These Times reports on how everything from school services to infrastructure is being sold to bulk up the city budget.

Willie Wilson Keeps it Real

Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson's autobiography includes details of him hiring a prostitute as a teen, hitting his wife, and clashing with his estranged daughter, while also chronicling his rise from the son of a sharecropper to a millionaire.

Ready for Their Close-Up

Police will be trying out body cameras for the first time starting this week in the Northwest Side district including Logan Square and Wicker Park.

Open Data Gets Testy, Pimply

Chicago's commitment to open civic data and the community that's built up around it are an example of how to do it right in Next City's overview of "the open data movement's turbulent teenage years."

When Recording is a Crime

A new state eavesdropping law expands the ability of police to record conversations while making it illegal to record someone while they have a "reasonable" expectation of privacy.

Standing Apart from Da Mayor

Nobody's asking for Daley's endorsement now, notes Mick Dumke.

Filling in Cracks in Crime Data

Convicted in Cook, a new crime data site from the Chicago Justice Project (previously), is a great resource, but there are plenty of gaps in the data.

The Green Mayor?

Mayor Emanuel got a perhaps unexpected endorsement: the Sierra Club of Chicago, on account of his expansion of parkland and other environmental improvements.

Wilson Swings on "Hardball"

Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson was on "Hardball with Chris Matthews" Wednesday. The appearance did not convince many pundits of his readiness for the Fifth Floor.

Yet Another Proposal for Jackson Park

The University of Chicago isn't the only institution that wants to build in Jackson Park. Yoko Ono is working with a group called "Project 120 Chicago" on a redesign and reconstruction of the park to, among other things, "introduce the sky to introducing a medicinal food..." Whether or not residents will take their medicine remains to be seen.

Still Pissing People Off

Piss Christ, the controversial photo by Andres Serrano of a plastic cross in a jar of urine, is back in the news thanks to the Charilie Hebdo attack and subsequent opinionating about free speech and censorship. So far, nobody's brought up What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag?, but it's just a matter of time.

Huberman Still in Schools

Former CPS Superintendent Ron Huberman is still involved in the school system -- running a company that places teachers at charter schools.

Meeks to Lead Board of Ed

State Senator Rev. James Meeks was appointed chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education by incoming Gov. Rauner. Meeks is a strong proponent of school vouchers.

An Innocent Man Imprisoned

The Reader investigates whether Cook County prosecutors ignored evidence that would have exonerated Alstory Simon.

If I Were Mayor...

The Mikva Challenge Project Soapbox contest asked Chicago students to answer the question, "If you were the next Mayor of Chicago, what is the first community issue you would tackle, and why?" WBEZ shares the 13 winners' responses.

The Battle for Logan Square

In 2008, young Green Party candidate Jremy Karpen ran against Toni Berrios for the state congressional seat covering Logan Square. Now, 26-year-old Carlos Ramirez-Rosa is fighting Rey Colon for 35th Ward alderman.

Obama Library Drama

Chicago's two proposals for the Obama Presidential Library are allegedly losing out to New York due to problems with the proposals. But are they really in jeopardy?

New Year, New Laws

A bunch of new laws go into effect on Thursday.

A History of Prejudice

Related to the previous, Subuk Hasnain recounts the political legacy of the KKK in the Chicago Reporter.

#BlackLivesMatter on the Red Line

On Friday, activists took over a Red Line train as part of a protest highlighting the nation's -- and the city's -- racial divide.

RIP Berny Stone

Former 50th Ward Alderman Bernard Stone passed away last night. He was 87.

Stone was one of the city's longest serving alderman, and served as vice mayor from 1998 until 2011. He lost the 2011 aldermanic election to Deborah Silverstein.

Real Chicago PD Drama

While an arbitrator is deciding whether decades of complaints filed against cops will be made public, a United Nations committee expressed support for a resolution in City Council that would pay reparations to victims of torture during the Jon Burge era.

Eyes on Justice

A pilot program approved by the Illinois Supreme Court will add cameras to courtrooms in Cook County.

Get Rid of the Comptroller

Rich Miller argues in Crain's that the best way to honor Judy Baar Topinka is to combine the treasurer and comptroller's offices.

Open for Business

Mayor Emanuel wrote a piece for CNN Money about what the City has been doing for small businesses through a grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge.

After Judy

As the state mourns the passing of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, the matter of replacing her arises. A special election may be called.

Not OK to Record Cops Once Again?

An amendment to a bill headed for Gov. Quinn's desk would make recording conversations with law enforcement a class-3 felony -- and allows police to perform warrantless audio-visual/electronic surveillance on suspects in serious crimes for 24 hours with permission of a state's attorney instead of a judge. [via, via]

UPDATE: The ACLU praised some aspects of the bill while panning others, noting that it does not explicitly ban recording of police -- however the language of the bill is vague enough on what a "private conversation" is that you can bet it'll be used by officers to stop recordings.


Following the Leader

City Council agrees with Mayor Emanuel more often than it did with the Daleys, according to a UIC professor, although the current mayor compromises more often.

A Big Outside Bet

South Side millionaire Dr. Willie Wilson plans to spend up to $3 million of his own money on his mayoral campaign.

Pay Hike Without Fare Hike

Cab drivers will receive as much as an $8,000 increase in annual income -- without a taxi fare increase -- under an ordinance passed by City Council yesterday.

RIP Judy Baar Topinka

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka passed away today after suffering a stroke on Tuesday. She was 70. She had just won her second term as comptroller, her most recent role in a long political career.

CPD is Listening

The Chicago Police Department is using a controversial "stingray" device to monitor and mess with cellular calls by protestors.

"I couldn't believe what I was hearing."

A Chicago Police Department escort for today's #BlackLivesMatter die-in and demonstration blared "Sweet Home Alabama" while rolling by Madison and Pulaski.

"We can't breathe!"

Hundreds of protesters marched around downtown in response to a New York grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner.

"How do the police investigate the police?"

The Daily Beast reports on "the most egregious uses of lethal force by Chicago police" and how such incidents are -- or aren't -- investigated.

Raising the Wage

Chicago City Council voted to increase the minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2019.

Black Friday vs. Ferguson

Activists will be outside Water Tower Place today, protesting the Ferguson Decision in a spot that maximizes exposure.

Challengers Enter the Arena

Both Ald. Bob Fioretti and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia officially filed to challenge Rahm Emanuel in the mayoral elections.

DIY Immigration Reform

President Obama came to Chicago Tuesday to make the case for his executive actions preventing the deportation undocumented immigrants with children born in the U.S.

The Somebody Nobody Sent

Former congressman and judge Abner Mikva received the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, from President Obama yesterday. He is the founder of the Mikva Challenge, a foundation encouraging civic engagement among students.

Ferguson Decision Protests in Chicago

Demonstrators protesting the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO shut down Lake Shore Drive for an hour and marched to the Thompson Center before being prevented from heading up Michigan Avenue by police. Check the #chi2ferguson hashtag for the play-by-play.

Ask an Also-Ran

2011 mayoral candidate and former City Clerk Miguel del Valle reflects on Jesus "Chuy" Garcia's chances in the upcoming elections, and the state of Latino and progressive issues, in a lengthy interview with the Chicago Reporter.

City Pays its Bills

City Council passed a $7.3 billion budget, including $62.4 million in new revenue from increased fees on things like water, parking, cell phones, and cable television.

Throwing a Red Flag

Local lawmakers are asking the SEC to investigate donations to Mayor Emanuel from executives of financial firm who manage city pension funds.

On the Ballot

Potential candidates for mayor, alderman, and other city posts filed their petition signatures to get on the ballot for the Feb. 24 election.

RIP Jane Byrne

Former Mayor Jane Byrne passed away. The city's first and only female mayor was 80.

A New Pension Problem

Executives of investment firms that manage Chicago's pension funds donated over $600,000 to support Rahm Emanuel's bid for mayor, possibly violating federal pay-to-play rules, according to the International Business Times. And Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner received $140,000 in campaign donations from the firms that manager state pension funds.

Activists File Torture Claims with UN

Activists We Charge Genocide presented a report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture on alleged torture of suspects by the CPD.

Who's for Chuy?

Assuming he can get onto the ballot, will Chuy Garcia get support from the progressives? Can anybody stand up against Rahm?

House of Jarretts

Two recent profiles of Obama senior advisor (and former CTA chair) Valerie Jarrett in Politico and The New Republic show the extent to which she holds sway over the White House...for better or worse.

Mayor Emanuel by the Numbers

Crain's shares some hard data about how the local economy, city finances, crime, and education have fared during Mayor Emanuel's first term.

Election Judge Robocaller IDed

The voice on the robocalls to election judges telling them to report for additional training was identified as 19th Ward Republican committeeman and Water Reclamation Board candidate Jim Parrilli, but that leaves plenty of questions yet to answer.

"He really is a Democrat"

Now that Rauner is governor-elect, the Reader's Ben Joravsky returns his attention to Mayor Emanuel

Quinn Concedes

The governor just held a press conference to announce that despite ongoing vote counts, he has lost his re-election to Bruce Rauner.

Documenting Electoral Dysfunction

Voters who encountered long lines, broken machines, or other problems on election day can share their experiences and hopefully help improve the next election.

Extreme Voting

Some voters who went to polling places with same-day registration waited for over eight hours to cast their ballots.

Rauner Wins, Quinn Doesn't Lose Yet

Bruce Rauner appears to have won the election for Illinois governor, but Pat Quinn refused to concede, noting that it was too close to call with so many precincts and early votes left to tally.

Bad Political Machines

Dozens of election judges quit or failed to appear at the polls after receiving misleading information from robocalls and phone calls, according to officials.

Late Voting in Rogers Park

Voters in southeastern Rogers Park can vote until 8pm tonight because their polling place, the Leona's on Sheridan Road, didn't open for voting this morning. Police and firemen had to break into the restaurant to let election judges set up.

Do It for Democracy

Don't forget to vote today, even if you won't get one of those "I Voted" stickers for the effort.

How to Lose Friends & Influence Policy

Politico looks at the impact of Mayor Emanuel's political style on his reelection and career prospects.

Chicago's Situation Room

The Reader's Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky will be offering their own election night coverage live at the Hideout, which will also be on cable and streaming on CAN TV.

Endorse This!

If you want to get feedback on who to vote for tomorrow, here's some help: Independent Voters of Illinois, Vote for Judges, the Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Council of Lawyers, the Chicago Federation of Labor [PDF], the Chicago Citizen, and the Daily Herald. Happy voting! Polls are open from 6am to 7pm.

Risky Raffle Business

Election officials are investigating Ald. Leslie Hairston after her office offered raffle tickets to people for voting, although she has since admitted it was a mistake.

T-Shirt Activism

A group of DePaul students are selling "Consent the D" t-shirts to support the movement against sexual assault on campus.

Chuy for Mayor?

Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia may be entering the mayoral race, telling the Sun-Times, "I think this city is not headed in the right direction."

Robbed for Rauner?

Burglars stole about $8,000 from the church of Pastor Corey Brooks, best known as the "rooftop pastor" for his time on the roof trying to close a problem motel. Brooks claims it's because he endorsed Bruce Rauner for governor.

How'd Your Alderman Rate?

Take Back Chicago aims to educate voters on how their aldermen stands on a variety of hot-button progressive issues, from charter schools to the $15 minimum wage. [via]

Irony on the Wall

A cockroach climbed the walls of City Council while the commissioner in charge of pest control was testifying.

The Ballad of Bruce Rauner

Via Beachwood Reporter, the political song "Plutocrat."

Protesting Police Abroad

Activists are taking their allegations of torture and mistreatment by Chicago police to the United Nations in Switzerland.

Dog Bites Mayor

City Council watchdog Faisal Khan is suing Mayor Emanuel and some aldermen for hindering investigations by underfunding the agency in charge of them.

McKinney Leaves the Sun-Times

Sun-Times political reporter Dave McKinney resigned today due to management's actions in response to pressure from the Bruce Rauner campaign following an investigative report on Rauner's lawsuit with the former CEO of LeapSource, a company the gubernatorial candidate's investment firm backed. CapitolFax, Reader and Crain's provide more of the backstory.

Joking with POTUS

A man told President Obama, "Don't touch my girlfriend," while the Commander-in-chief was casting his vote here.

Early Voting Starts

Early voting for the 2014 General Election starts today. See the election board website for a full list of voting locations that will be open from today through Sunday, Nov. 2.

Growing the Rolls

A coalition of civic and community-based organizations signed up 100,000 new voters in four months.

Karen Lewis Will Not Run for Mayor

It was annoucned today Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis will not run for mayor. She was recently hospitalized for a "serious illness" The current candidates are Frederick Collins, William Kelly, former Ald. Robert Shaw, Amara Enyia, Ald. Bob Fioretti and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Taxing Property for Those with None

A group tasked by City Council to find a way to raise money for services supporting the homeless is proposing a progressive tax on real estate purchases over $1 million.

Who's On Your Side?

A short quiz put together by makes it easy to find which midterm election candidates and ballot measures line up with your own beliefs.

Politics as Sport

Aldertrack is back with a new "2015 Chicago Race Form" for following the city's elections. Keep your eye out for a paper copy, or buy a digital version for $5.

Poll Rage

Potential voters rated morning traffic on the Eisenhower more favorably than Mayor Emanuel in poll paid for by his challenger Ald. Fioretti.

"Chicago has always been a target."

New warnings of terrorism threats mostly get tuned out, but there's been growing evidence that ISIS may be recruiting in Chicago.

Rauner & Round

Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner talked with Crain's about his platform this week. Greg Hinz already sounds skeptical, but Beachwood Reporter's Steve Rhodes absolutely shreds him. You may also wish to read Carol Felsenthal's profile of Rauner in Chicago magazine.

Mapping the Data

Plenario is a new open platform for working with civic data, developed by former Chicago CIO Brett Goldstein and Charlie Catlett at the University of Chicago Computation Institute's Urban Center for Computation and Data. WBEZ talked with Goldstein about the project's goals and uses.

LollapaDaley Doozey

Former Mayor Daley cut a sweetheart deal with Lollapalooza's organizers, and it's still paying off: Daley's TUR Partners is helping C3 Presents create a redevelopment plan for a downtown Austin park.

Cook County Hospital's Future

Chicago Architecture Foundation is partnering with Cook County to discuss future uses of the old Cook County Hospital, beginning with an online poll and a discussion tonight. [via]

Nobama College Prep

Mayor Emanuel has decided not to name a selective enrollment high school after President Obama after all.

Passing the PAC test

Ben Joravsky has a few tips for anyone considering running for alderman on how to avoid the ire of Mayor Emanuel and the (officially unaffiliated) Chicago Forward political action committee.

Cost of Criminalization

Drug possession is the most common reason people are held in Cook County Jail, but 1 in 3 of these cases are dismissed, costing taxpayers millions of dollars without offering treatment, according to the Chicago Reporter.

Support Your Local Presidential Library

Proposals submitted by UIC and U of C are among the four semi-finalists named today for the future site of the Obama Presidential Library; the other sites are Columbia University and the University of Hawaii. Barack and Michelle will select the winner early next year.

Bob's in the Race

Current 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti announced this weekend that he's running for mayor.

The Future of Street Food

Despite years of legal limbo, the largely immigrant food cart vendors still aren't technically legal. In These Times takes a look at their current plight and what's being done to change it.

Fight for $15 Continues

Fast food workers in Chicago and across the country are going on strike again today, calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour and the right to form a union.

Digging Up Mud to Sling

WBEZ's Alex Keefe digs into the dirty business of political dirt digging.

Mayor $13

Mayor Emanuel is committed to raising the minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2018 regardless of any other wage increase passed by the state.

Jane Byrne Memorial Spaghetti Bowl

The Circle Interchange will be renamed the Mayor Jane Byrne Interchange by Gov. Quinn on Friday. (Previously.)

The Daley Show

Longtime Alderman James Balcer is stepping down for health reasons, giving a third-generation Daley the opportunity to run for a City Council seat.

Greasing the Wheels

Political hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation continued even after Gov. Quinn replaced Rod Blagojevich, according to a state ethics investigator.

Fioretti's Future

While redistricting will leave Ald. Bob Fioretti without a ward, he may have a chance as the "anyone-but-Emanuel" mayoral candidate in February.

Blame Daley

A majority of Chicagoans polled by the Chicago Tribune blamed former Mayor Richard M. Daley for the city's current financial problems.

Let's Have a Moment of Silence

The local event for National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) is tonight at 6pm in Daley Plaza. Wear something red.

Incremental Progress

Supporters of a new TIF in Washington Park say it would support growth in the area, but some local property owners fear subsequent gentrification would force them out.

Keeping Tabs on CHA's Coffers

In light of the Center for Tax & Budget Accountability's fiscal review of the Chicago Housing Authority, which found that the CHA has $432 million in unused federal money, activists are calling for more oversight of the agency by City Council.

The Fugitives

"Surge teams" of llinois State Police officers will patrol four neighborhoods in Chicago and seek out any wanted fugitives living there.

Getting Ready to Run

While Ald. Bob Fioretti hasn't announced whether he will run for mayor, he's already recruiting staff members to help with the campaign.

Not so Livable Wage

Last week, Rep. Jan Schakowski tried the Minimum Wage Challenge, along with several other congressmen, to live on $77 for the week. She failed.

Out from Behind the Bar

Ald. Rey Colon decided against volunteering as a "celebrity bartender" following his arrest for a DUI last week.

Jane Byrne Commemorated

City Council voted to rename the small park surrounding the Water Tower downtown "Jane M. Byrne Plaza." (Previously.)

Dollars & Pounds

The BGA investigates a city worker who was hired -- with no animal welfare experience and a hefty salary increase -- to help run the city's Animal Care & Control department. Shortly after starting his new job, he relinquished his own dog to the pound, and stranger still, the pup was immediately scooped up by PAWS. (Don't blame the dogs -- there are tons of great dogs available at CACC.)

Bienvenidos Niños

The City is offering temporary shelter for up to 1,000 Central American children who entered the U.S. unaccompanied over the past few months.

Let's Honor Jane Byrne

There is not a single thing named in former Mayor Jane Byrne's honor, WBEZ's Curious City reports, but efforts are afoot to change that.

Who Needs Truth in Advertising?

Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's latest attack ad against Gov. Quinn includes several made up headlines.

Red Flags

Aldermen are calling on the city's top watchdog to investigate unexplained spikes in ticketing by red light cameras uncovered by a Chicago Tribune investigation.

All Hands on Deck

Mayor Emanuel held a closed-door summit with local officials, clergy, activists, and law enforcement to discuss community-wide solutions to violence in the city.

Man vs. Segway

Ald. Brendan Reilly is on a mission to get Segways off the sidewalks.

The New Progressives

As CTU President Karen Lewis considers a bid for Mayor, the Sun-Times asks whether Chicago is facing a progressive movement like the one that took over politics in New York and other cities.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Spreads to Chicago

Thousands of protestors marched in front of the Israeli consulate Sunday in protest of the invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli military forces. Meanwhile, someone put threatening anti-Jewish flyers on cars in the Pulaski Park neighborhood.

Election Blues

The Reader's Ben Joravsky mourns Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's decision not to run for mayor.

Ticket Off

A feud between Chicago Police and city parking enforcement workers is getting heated.

Check was in the Mail

Communities in the Chicago area still recovering from severe storms and flooding that swept the area in April of 2013 will receive over $31 million in federal aid.

Cullertons Give Up Their Seat

Ald. Tim Cullerton is not running for re-election, ending an era in which someone from his family was a member of City Council for 111 of the last 143 years.

Tracking TIFs

A new TIF Viewer introduced by Cook County Clerk David Orr shows how much money has been collected for the notoriously opaque financing districts (once it works -- it seems to be down right now).

Emanuel's Opposition

CTU chief Karen Lewis has formed an exploratory committee to consider a run for Mayor against Rahm next year. Meanwhile, Toni Preckwinkle is officially out (despite a poll saying she'd easily win), and Amara Enyia, former alderman Robert Shaw and William J. Kelley are already running.

Airing Dirty Blue Laundry

The City will make (redacted) complaints against cops available to the public.

Serious Opposition

Mayor Emanuel received less voter support than both Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and CTU President Karen Lewis in a poll of residents' potential mayoral picks.

Uber Expansion

Uber plans on growing its presence in Chicago, promising over 400 new jobs so long as Gov. Quinn kills or changes proposed ride-share regulations.

What Medical Hardship?

Lawyers for former mayor Richard Daley claim he's too sick to testify in the City's lawsuit against owners of the Park Grill restaurant. But just last week John Daley told reporters his brother was in "excellent health."

Gov. Ryan is a Free Man

No longer on probation and permitted to travel, former Gov. George Ryan reflects on the deaths of the Willis children and his wife, the prison system, and continuing his work to end the death penalty.

Fiscal Responsibility

Here's one you don't hear every day: a politician, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, is giving back $113,918.54 in unspent funds from her congressional office allowance.

The Workers, Divided

The Supreme Court ruled home health care workers in Illinois can't be required to pay union dues, partly because they're not considered full-fledged state employees.

Pushing Rahm Forward

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle hasn't thrown her hat in the ring for mayor yet, but Chicago Forward, a super PAC backing Rahm Emanuel, is ready for her.

Pimping Their Rides

From pickup trucks to jeeps with over 80,000 miles, politicians use their cars to show they're just like everyone else, even if they're really millionaires.

Freebies Under Fire

A program offering free rides for low-income seniors and the disabled, and another providing free trash pickup, are facing increasing scrutiny after the inspector general found Chicago spends millions on free garbage collection for units that don't qualify.

Pressing Pause on Pensions Again

The City and AFSCME, a union representing over 3,000 workers, agreed on a tentative five-year contract, although it does not include any measures to address the city's looming pension issues.

Fly-by-night Feds

The Sun-Times reports federal officials released incorrect information about how runway updates at O'Hare would affect nearby communities prior to public hearings.

Budget Bomb

If Chicago's credit rating drops again, the city could end up owing banks and investors nearly $200 million.

Deals Gone Bad

The Sun-Times reports that the City may be stuck with a $200 million charge if its bond rating drops further, due to Daley administration-era financial moves.

The Mayor's New Clothes

Vanity Fair dubbed Rahm Emanuel one of the best-dressed mayors in the country for his denim shirts, pinstripe suits, and other sartorial choices.

Your Complaints, Mapped

Chicagoans dial 311 when they want a pothole fixed, graffiti blasted, or rats taken care of, and a map shows Archer Heights residents make more calls to the City on a per person basis than any other 'hood.

Painting the Town Red

Members of the Community Party USA returned Chicago, where the party started, to celebrate its 95th anniversary.

Rahm's Fight

The Economist breaks down Chicago's pension crisis and Mayor Emanuel's efforts to get it under control.

The Do-Not-Care List

Aldermen are refusing to abide by a do-not-hire list used by other city agencies to ensure people fired for misconduct are not re-hired.

Saving the People's Bank

After the FDIC shut down a bank in Little Village, a grassroots partnership turned it into a credit union focused on helping residents avoid foreclosure.

Selective Placement

The Reader's Steve Bogira examines the case for picking a different location for the propsed Obama High School.

Still "Saving" Neighborhoods

Chicagoans in certain neighborhoods are still paying taxes set up in the 1980s to stem white flight, WBEZ's Natalie Moore reports.

There Goes Another One

Rep. Derrick Smith was found guilty of corruption charges for accepting a bribe.

Pension Fix Part One

Governor Quinn signed a bill backed by Mayor Emanuel increasing the amount some city workers pay into pension funds and decreasing the amount they get after retirement.

Weighing in on Wages

The Mayor's task force on the minimum wage hosts its first public hearing tonight, giving residents a chance to weigh in on whether Chicago workers should be guaranteed wages of $15 an hour or some other amount.

Two Takes on the Mayor

Politico compares public perceptions of Mayor Emanuel inside the Beltway in Washington, D.C., with those here in Chicago.

Wither the 2nd Ward?

The 2nd Ward went from being one of the least gerrymandered to the very most over the past 80+ years, as WBEZ demonstrates with a .gif.

Driving for a Fair Wage

While half of Chicago cabdrivers earn less than the minimum wage, the cab industry generates $30 million for the City every year, leading some drivers to demand they be recognized as City employees.

Critical Pedicab Mass

Critical Mass is tonight, and this month there's something extra: a protest against the City's new pedicab ordinance.

Illegal Cheese

Federal investigators say secretly recorded conversations reveal state Rep. Derrick Smith asking how much "cheddar" (bribe money) people were willing to pay in return for his support.

Guns & the Man

The NYTimes editorial board weighs in on Mayor Emanuel's proposal for limits on where and how gun shops may operate within city limits.

Raising the Wage

A proposed ordinance raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour received support from 21 aldermen, only five votes short of a majority.

Safety On

Mayor Emanuel proposed new regulations for gun shops restricting them from doing business in most areas of the city and requiring them to videotape every sale.

Blasphemy vs. Anti-Authoritarianism

Sun-Times political reporter Dan Mihalopoulos wrote about a column about how Pussy Riot members' upcoming performance at RiotFest is an affront to Chicago's Orthodox Christians. Whet Moser argues that he might be missing the point behind the band's actions. (In Russia, reaction to their guerrilla performance in Christ the Savior Cathedral was mixed.)

Build Your Own Machine

Political organizations upset over school closings and other City Council decisions are getting behind residents who want to run against their aldermen in the next election.

Cuts Everyone Can Get Behind

Governor Quinn really needs to mow his lawn.

Greenwald to Speak on Snowden & the NSA

Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who worked with Edward Snowden to reveal widespread surveillance by the NSA, is on tour with Haymarket Books this summer, and will be speaking June 26 at the Socialism 2014 Conference in Rosemont. GB's Jason Prechtel interviewed Greenwald at the Socialism Conference in 2012.

Still not Equal

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates makes the case for slavery reparations by way of introducing us to Clyde Ross, a Mississippi-born son of share croppers who settled in North Lawndale, and Chicago's ongoing problems of segregation. You may want to save this one for weekend reading.

Shutting Down the Golden Arches

McDonald's was forced to shut down part of its corporate headquarters when over 2,000 protesters gathered outside for what may have been the largest demonstration ever faced by the company.

Business As Usual

While the departure of the federal hiring monitor from Chicago signaled the end of patronage hiring in City government, Sun-Times' Carol Marin says that oversight never applied to City Council, and political hires are still happening today.

Nice Driving, Glasshole

Chicago State Senator Ira Silverstein proposed a ban on wearing any kind of computer display while driving.

Pot Arrests Continue

Despite City Council passing new rules decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, Chicago police are still more likely to take someone to jail than write them a ticket, according to a new study.

End of Corruption

A federal monitor tasked with investigating city hiring practices and combating political patronage is ending its oversight role, satisfied new measures will keep politics out of the hiring process.

Fight for 15 Continues

Many fast food workers in Chicago are on strike today, calling for $15 an hour and better working conditions.

Trotting Out the Propaganda

A new video by the conservative Illinois Policy Institute tells the story of Pickle the carriage horse and her owner, who would be put out of business if the city passes a ban on horse-drawn carriages.

Seeing Green in Red Lights

Unsealed court documents detail huge bribes taken by a former City Hall official in return for sending City business to red light camera operator Redflex Traffic Systems.

Who is Fred Eychaner?

He's a Chicago businessman who's given more than $14 million to liberal super-PACs but stays out of the public eye.

The People's Picks

Residents of three different wards chose how they wanted aldermanic "menu money" spent in their area, selecting projects like street resurfacing, bus stop benches, and walkway lights.

On McStrike

Hundreds of local fast food workers will join a national strike against the restaurant chains on May 15.

Backing the Opposition

Yesterday, the Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates passed a resolution to join the growing national opposition to Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Socking it to Rahm

Tribune editorial board member Kristen McQueary takes Mayor Emanuel to task for being more swagger than substance while letting expenses pile up.

Citizen Kids

A higher rate of 17-year-olds voted in Cook County's March primaries than people old enough to be their parents.

Tough Timing

A grand jury is investigating an anti-violence program connected to Gov. Pat Quinn, giving some major ammunition to rival gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.

Not Our Bags, Baby

City Council passed a citywide ban on the use of plastic bags by chain and franchise stores.

Documentary Choreography

Despite being part of an "unscripted" series, Mayor Emanuel's interactions on CNN's "Chicagoland" may have been set up by his staff and the show's producers. CNN denies the administration had editorial control.

Working for the School

The NYTimes looks into Northwestern's campaign against the potential football player union, including mandatory one-on-one meetings with Coach Pat Fitzgerald, threats to cancel the construction of a new athletics center and warnings that a union vote would mean fewer employment opportunities after college. Additional details can also be gleaned from the university's internal response to anonymous questions, as published by CBS Sports.

Riot-Free Since 1996

Chicago might host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Latest Pot Headlines

Springfield lawmakers decided not to ban medical marijuana cardholders from also being concealed carry cardholders. Meanwhile, would-be medical marijuana growers are complaining that it's too expensive to get licensed.

Pension Cutting Posse

Mayors from across the state will probably join Mayor Emanuel if his next budget battle is with the costly pensions of firefighters and police officers.

Flash Card Favoritism

Metra released copies of more than 700 index cards documenting when politicians used their clout to influence staffing decisions at the agency between 1983 and 1991.

The Job Situation

The unemployment rate in Illinois isn't going down as quickly as in other Midwest states. The WSJ points to Springfield's economic policies as the reason.

Stitching to Remember

Fourteen women embroidered the names of every homicide victim in 2013 onto a quilt. It's on display at the Craft/Work exhibition at Beauty and Brawn Gallery through the end of the month.

The Chicago Cop -- Who's Tough on Cops -- Who Would be Mayor

Mayoral candidate Frederick Collins announces plans for his campaign, and ousting the city's police superintendent.

How the Clout's Shifting

As the ward map shifts, the relative clout of each alderman changes. The Sun-Times maps it all out as it updates its Clout Meter.

Bobby Rush Ethics Probe

The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Rep. Bobby Rush following a Sun-Times/Better Government Association investigation into where $1 million earmarked for a South Side tech hub went.

Political Insider Trading?

The hedge fund company Citadel, owned by billionaire Emanuel campaign contributor Kenneth Griffin, bought stock in Marriott just before the City gave the company the contract to run a new hotel next to thecontroversial DePaul basketball arena to be built next to McCormick Place.

Pension Fix Progresses

The Illinois House voted 73-41 to approve Mayor Emanuel's proposed fix of Chicago's pension system, including a property tax increase of $750 million over five years.

Beyond the City Limits

While Illinois has the second-highest unemployment rate in the country, the ten cities with the lowest percentage of out-of-work people in the state are all in the suburbs of Chicago. [via]

Crimes of Omission

Chicago police did not count a quarter of aggravated assault and battery victims for its 2012 statistics, according to an audit by the Inspector General.

Moving Out

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. was moved to a prison camp in Alabama after apparently clashing with officials at the federal prison where he was serving time by advising other inmates of their rights.

Should Have Called Dibs

A study by a Washington, D.C. think-tank found the City should at least consider tapping into TIFs for funds to address its pension issues instead of raising taxes.

A Regional Master Plan

Transit Future, a joint project of the Center for Neighborhood Technology and Active Transportation Alliance, have announced a vision of a massive public transit overhaul and expansion for the Chicagoland region. It has the support of many civic leaders; now to secure funding.

Pension Blitz Blocked

Mayor Emanuel's attempt to pass a pension reform bill raising both property taxes and contributions by city employees by getting it passed quickly in Springfield was delayed because any tax increases will need to be approved by City Council.

Tax Breaking Bad

The salvage yard holding dozens of cars CPD suspects are stolen received a property tax subsidy costing city taxpayers $162,000.

Preckwinkle's Prospects

While Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says she hasn't decided whether she will run for Mayor next year, a recent poll put her ahead of Mayor Emanuel in a head-to-head contest.

The Grid: Open Gov Hack Night

"Open Gov Hack Night," the newest installment in our documentary film series The Grid, spends some time with folks trying to put civic data to good use.

An Outsider in City Hall

Lacking connections and forced to apply for her job the old fashioned way, Chicago Magazine calls the 7th ward's Natashia Holmes "the Unlikeliest Alderman in Chicago."

You Can Go Home Again

Politico's Roger Simon, who's teaching at UofC's Institute of Politics this spring, recalls the lessons he learned in Chicago politics growing up on the South Side.

Coming to a City Near You

The City put together a movie trailer for Chicago, complete with a gravelly-voiced narrator and an exploding wok sound effect that would make Michael Bay proud.

Cutting Back in the Fine Print

After shutting down half of its mental health clinics two years ago, the City is dedicating remaining resources to uninsured people, apparently leaving those who signed up for health benefits under the Affordable Care Act to find care somewhere else.

Ending the Sister Act

Local aldermen want to end Chicago's sister city relationship with Moscow in response to Vladimir Putin's seizure and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

House Rules

The House Ethics Committee is investigating Rep. Luis Gutierrez, taking a look at annual payments of $50,000 made over 10 years to a contractor with connections to the congressman's former chief of staff.

Vacant Lots for $1?

Chicago wants to offer city-owned vacant lots to homeowners and nonprofits in Englewood for $1. It's been done in Gary, and Chicago is hoping this would put some of over 5,000 current vacant lots to use.

Large Sums for Stumblers

NBC Chicago reports the City spent almost $6 million between 2008 and 2013 on lawsuits from people who tripped and injured themselves on city sidewalks.

Candidate Call

The Primary Election results are in, and among the big winners is gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, while convicted felon and former alderman Isaac Carothers will not pass go in his pursuit of a seat on the Cook County Board.

Once Again Seeking Refuge

Elvira Arellano, the undocumented immigrant who took refuge in a local church, igniting a fierce debate over deportation of parents of American-born children, is seeking refugee status in the US after allegedly receiving kidnapping threats for her human rights activism in Mexico.

Rusty Machine

As of 2pm Tuesday, only six percent of voters made it to the polls for the primary elections.

Civic Duty Time

There's still time to get to your local polling place for today's Primary Election- polls are open until 7 p.m. tonight.

Endorse This!

If you're looking at your sample ballot for Tuesday's election and want to figure out who's getting your vote, here are some endorsements to get the ball rolling: the Tribune, the IVI-IPO, Vote for Judges, the League of Women Voters [pdf], and the Illinois AFL-CIO [pdf], Chicago Federation of Labor [pdf]. The polls open at 6am and close at 7pm.

Taxi Drivers Resort to Blackmail?

In an editorial last week, taxi newspaper Chicago Dispatcher threatened to out five aldermen if City Council doesn't pass regulations against ridesharing services. It reads as potentially satirical, but LGBT advocates are understandably outraged.

Gender, Stereotyping & Occupational Hiring

Two Chicago area business school professors helped coordinate a new study that demonstrates some of the ways women are discriminated against in scientific careers.

"Nobody's interested in your texts."

Our hometown president appeared on "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis" to promote

But He's not Mitt Romney

The 1% isn't elite enough for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. "Oh, I'm probably .01 percent," he said in an interview with the Sun-Times. Rauner has put $6 million of his own vast fortune into his campaign.

Bishop's Saga

Steve Rhodes takes a closer look at the story of Arthur Bishop, who resigned from his new post as head of DCFS after a WBEZ and the Sun-Times investigation found he pleaded guilty to stealing from clients at a social service agency 20 years ago.

Thumbs Down for Debt

Moody's downgraded bonds from the City of Chicago once again for having a level of unfunded pension debt higher than "any rated U.S. local government."

Our Polarizing Mayor

The Sun-Times debuted its new Early & Often politics section yesterday with an interview with an "unapologetic" Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Political Frenemies

Chicago's two most powerful politicians formed an uncommon alliance to oppose former alderman (and convicted felon) Isaac Carothers' candidacy for a seat on the county board, writes Mick Dumke.

Kids These Days

Most 17-year-olds will be able to vote in the upcoming primary elections on March 18, thanks to a new law.

Vote Early, but Not Often

Early voting for the March 18 primary elections begins today and runs through March 15.

Lip Service

Actor Seth Rogen, who appeared in front of a (sadly, near-empty) Senate chamber yesterday to talk about the need for more funding for Alzheimer's research, called out Senator Mark Kirk, who tweeted a picture with Rogen before skipping out on his testimony.

Ex-Chicago State U. Employee Receives Whistleblowing Reward

A Cook Country jury rewarded a former employee of Chicago State University $2.5 million after deciding he was fired for reporting misconduct by the university president. This verdict is the first resulting from a claim under the whistleblower protection clause of the state's ethics act, which was added in 2003.

Joe Walsh Calls LGBT "Constitutional Terrorists"

Chicago radio host and former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh called the LGBT community "a group of constitutional terrorists" on Twitter Tuesday, in reference to the Arizona bill allowing businesses to deny services to LGBT customers. Walsh's tweets continued, as he said he felt forced to respect other people's constitutional liberties but others don't respect his.

Impact Interrupted

An anti-violence program backed by Governor Quinn left out some of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods and lacked planning for how the $54.4 million dollars could be spent to reduce violence, according to an audit.

$25 Million to UC Lab School

Chicago investment executive Mellody Hobson and her husband, Star Wars creator George Lucas, are donating $25 million to support the creation of an arts center at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. The couple's donations make them one of Chicago's biggest philanthropists. With this donation, the couple has given at least $50 million to Chicago institutions since they were married here in 2013.

Heavy Hitters

The battle between rideshare startups and taxicab companies at City Hall is like a "heavyweight title fight," bringing out high-powered lobbyists for both sides, writes the Sun-Times' Fran Spielman.

Reynolds Arrested

Former Chicago congressman Mel Reynolds was arrested in Zimbabwe for allegedly making pornography.

Public Workers Uniting

Chicago's public workers' unions are working together to resist any pension cuts, insisting that budgetary issues be addressed by raising taxes instead.

Civic Duty Deadline

Tuesday is the last day to register for the primary elections on March 18.

The City's Power Rankings

Chicago magazine's annual Power 100 list is online. Number one is the mayor, number two is Michael Madigan. Beyond them, you may be surprised.

Banning Cars on Magnificient Mile Shot Down

A top aide to Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for a halt to talk of making North Michigan Avenue a motor vehicle free zone, referencing the failed experiment of closing State Street to traffic in 1979.

A Lot of Green

As Illinois officials try to determine how medical marijuana will roll out in Illinois, proposed rules would make it cost about $500,000 to open up a dispensary.

Not a Treasured Treasurer

A former employee of state treasurer/globetrotter Dan Rutherford filed a lawsuit against his ex-boss (and Rutherford chief of staff Kyle Ham) today, claiming he was sexually harassed and forced to work on state time for Rutherford's political campaign.

Double Budget Trouble

The number of beat cops is down 10% since 2011 and officers already on the street are picking up the slack- with some making more than their annual salary in overtime pay.

Stopping the Mills

Proposed rules banning pet stores from selling dogs and cats supplied by for-profit breeders would make sure area pets are not born in "puppy mills," according to City Clerk Susana Mendoza, who's championing the measure.

Christie Visits The Windy City

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey will be visiting Chicago on Feb. 11 for a Republican Governors Association fundraising event. He will also be giving a speech to The Economic Club of Chicago. His visit is scheduled in the midst of the George Washington Bridge scandal, upon which the RGA has remained neutral.

A Double Scoop

Chicago City Council is looking to borrow $1.9 billion by issuing a new round of bonds, much of which will go towards paying off interest on past debts.

A SOTU Response Closer to Home

Conservative blogger RebelPundit interviewed activists from Chicago after the State of the Union Address, who offered some pretty harsh criticism of President Obama.

Revenge Porn Hated & Now Soon-To-Be Banned

After Chicago said "hell no" to revenge porn kingpin Hunter Moore, a ban on revenge porn was introduced to Illinois legislature. The proposal would make it illegal for post revenge porn on the Internet without consent.

Quite the Tab

The total cost of Chicago's government pension debt is $18,596 for every single person living in the city -- more than any other city in the country -- according to a new study.

Public Costs of Privatization

The need to compensate private companies for any money they lose when the city handles public business- like paying a parking meter company when a street is closed- leads to many unforeseen costs that defeat the money-saving aims of privatization, writes Ellen Dannin in truthout.

A Tale of Two Rahms

Ted McClelland delves into the contradictions in Rahm Emanuel's mayorship for the American Prospect.

Dementia is Definitely a Problem

Susanne Atanus, a Republican challenger to Rep. Jan Schakowsky, said autism, dementia and tornadoes are sent by God to punish the people of the United States for advancements in LGBT rights and other misdeeds. [via]

California: Gun Experts

In crafting the city's new policy allowing for gun sales, Mayor Emanuel is turning to California for inspiration. Set to be active within six months, gun rights activists think that the Los Angeles influence will create strong restrictions on firearm retailers.

Movie Star Mayor

Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, the documentary "Chicagoland" draws from "unprecedented access" to Mayor Emanuel and his work behind the scenes.

Buy Less, Pay More

For the first time in its nearly two-year existence, Mayor Emanuel's Infrastructure Trust won approval of a project to improve public buildings using privately-invested funds, after drastically scaling back the plan due to a lack of market interest.

What a Dollar Buys

Part of the mayor's housing plan includes a proposal to sell some city-owned lots in Humboldt Park to a developer for $1 so they can build affordable housing there.

"Five Minutes is Too Close"

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists kept the Doomsday Clock at five minutes to midnight this year.

No Vaping Section

The City Council officially banned use of e-cigarettes indoors under the same rules that restrict the smoking of regular cigarettes, with Mayor Emanuel saying it's necessary to keep kids from getting interested in them.

6 Months 'til Gun Shops

A federal judge granted Mayor Rahm Emanuel's request for six months before firearm stores will open in Chicago so the city can craft new rules and regulations about where the shops can be located.

Belated Emergency

Gov. Quinn is pushing for new emergency rules for the handling of petcoke, the powdery petroleum byproduct which gained attention after South Side residents complained the substance was blowing off of piles and into their neighborhoods.

E-Smoke Outside, Please

City Council is picking back up that ordinance banning e-cigarettes from being smoked indoors (previously).

Foam Fight

Ald. George Cardenas and Ald. Ed Burke want to ban the use of Styrofoam and other plastic foam food containers in the city.

Rauner's Payton Problem

The Sun-Times reveals gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner gave $250,000 to Walter Payton College Prep, after he allegedly also pulled strings to get his daughter into the elite high school.

What's in a Number?

Mayor Emanuel agrees that police statistics are kind of crap, but he wants CPD to be more aggressive in getting those numbers to go down.

Second Chance for Sanchez?

The Cook County Electoral Board is deciding whether former Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez may run for a seat on the county board, despite formerly being convicted of felony corruption charges.

UNO to Zero

Chicago mag's Cassie Walker Burke and the BGA take a look at the rise and fall of Juan Rangel, former CEO of the United Neighborhood Organization, and
UNO's charter school mismanagement.

Rauner Hammers Home Wage Gap

GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner would like to lower the state minimum wage back to the national minimum of $7.25 an hour. Based on his annual earnings, Rauner makes $25,550 an hour.

Handgun Ban Hits Obstacle

Today, a federal judge found Chicago's ban on handgun sales within the city to be unconstitutional.

GOP, Get a New Chicago Storyline

Gawker thinks conservatives should "stop hating on Chicago" because our murder rate isn't nearly the story they make it out to be, last year or this year.

The Year Ahead

From Mayor Emanuel's re-election bid to the City's yet unresolved pension issues, the Tribune outlines the local political agenda for 2014.

Charter not Good Enough for Rauner's Daughter

Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner touts his support for charter schools and the need for CPS reform -- but took advantage of clout to get his daughter into Walter Payton College Prep.

Off the Map

Reading Chicago's ward maps is confusing enough, and local alderman are trying to find ways to serve people who live in their new and old wards.

Clout is a Concept

CPS wouldn't let Concept Schools Inc. open additional charter schools in Chicago because their Chicago Math & Science Academy wasn't meeting expectations -- but a state commission controlled by Speaker Madigan overruled and let them open two new schools, with more on the way. And somehow Turkish interests are involved, the Sun-Times' Dan Mihalopoulos reports.

Reagan's Welfare Queen

"In Chicago, they found a woman who holds the record," claimed Ronald Reagan in a 1976 campaign rally. The real story of Linda Taylor, Reagan's notorious Cadillac-driving "welfare queen" is more nuanced.

Petcoke Progress

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is unveiling new regulations today that will require large storage terminals in the city to store petroleum coke, coal and other bulk materials indoors to prevent pollution.

The GOP Strikes Back

The Chicago Republican Party is backing a slate of 18 candidates for the Illinois General Assembly, following an open vetting process described by party officials as similar to "American Idol."

Donor Due Diligence

Over $1 million was donated back in 2000 to build the Bobby L. Rush Center for Community Technology and help Englewood residents gain high-tech skills. The center was never built, so where did all that money go?

Mayor Fasting for Action

Mayor Emanuel is currently a little past halfway through a 24-hour fast he began last night at 7, along with some members of the Latino aldermanic caucus, in support of immigration reform.

Lakefront Subsidy

Is it really necessary to give TIF money to a developer building on lakefront property on the North Side? Apparently it is if it's the abandoned Cuneo Hospital (previously) in Buena Park, Ben Joravsky reports. On the other hand, it's just a little more than the City gave the owners of the Wrigley Building to modernize it.

Puff, Puff, Not Passed

A proposal to regulate e-cigarettes the same way as tobacco products in Chicago went nowhere in City Council.

An Unsound System

Chicago's public pension system was built with serious structural flaws, making a crisis inevitable, according to experts interviewed by WBEZ's Alex Keefe.

Rangel Out at UNO

Juan Rangel, the CEO of the United Neighborhood Organization, is stepping down today, months after it surfaced that UNO had awarded millions in charter school construction contracts to companies owned by family of board members.

Remembering Fred Hampton

More than 100 Black Panther party supporters commemorated International Revolutionary Day in Chicago by gathering at 2337 W. Monroe St., the place where Fred Hampton died, to honor the life of late party leader and film a re-enactment of his slaying. Party supporters will also celebrate this evening with a screening of Black Power! In Tribute to Fred Hampton from 8-10pm at the Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.

Back At It

A former alderman and a former Streets and Sanitation commissioner, both of whom were convicted on felony corruption charges, are running for the same spot on the Cook County Board (which was vacated by a politician who's now doing jail time).

Pension Overhaul?

State lawmakers are expected to vote on a major overhaul to Illinois government worker pensions after a special legislative conference committee advanced the bill today.

The Grid: Stickney Water Reclamation Plant

Want to know where your Thanksgiving meal went? If you stayed in the Chicago area, it probably ended up at the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant. Stickney is the largest wastewater treatment plant in the world and the subject of our newest episode of The Grid.

State Pension Overhaul

The NYTimes went over the proposed Illinois pension plan bailout on Friday; you can look at it yourself here.

Landslide Budgeting

Mayor Emanuel's $7 billion budget passed City Council today in a vote of 45-5, with its few critics saying it didn't do enough to hire more police officers or address the city's long-term deficits.

New Top Prosecutor

Zachary Fardon was officially sworn in as the new U.S. attorney based in Chicago, where he will prosecute cases involving government corruption, street crime, and terrorism.

Now Pronounced Wife & Wife

A federal judge ruled that one same-sex couple can get hitched before marriage equality goes into effect in Illinois on June 1 because one of the partners has terminal cancer.

The Madigan Political Industrial Complex

Chicago magazine takes a look at the political empire of Michael Madigan, Illinois speaker of the House and master politician.

The President or Profits?

A casino would generate more revenue for the City than a Barack Obama presidential library on the Near South Side, according to a new study.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Gov. Pat Quinn signed Illinois' marriage equality bill into law in front of thousands of supporters at the UIC Forum. Same-sex marriages can be performed in the state starting June 1, 2014.

Speed Cam Bait & Switch

Remember how the proceeds from those new speed cameras was supposed to go into a "children's fund" for after-school programs, crossing guards and other good stuff? Yeah, the fund doesn't exist.

The Vanishing Neighborhoods of Chicago's (Real and Imagined) Past

If you like urban history and film, you may want to check out tonight's event at Comfort Station. Preservation Chicago, the Chicago Film Archives and Kartemquin Films are teaming up to present three Chicago films about community change in the 1960s in 1970s in their original 16mm glory.

Opening the Municipal Code, created by the OpenGov Foundation, makes the city's municipal code Public.Resource.Org's easier to search and reference online. Here's Carl Malamud's speech introducing the project. [via]

Unfriendly Neighbors?

Coya Paz recently attended a contentious meeting of the South East Lake View Neighbors about the Broadway Youth Center, and was shocked at the bigoted comments made by attendees. She talked about it on Vocalo's "Morning AMp" Thursday.

City of Rahm's Shoulders

Politico's Jason Zengerle contrasts Rahm Emanuel's push for high-tech urban initiatives with his struggles over the "seemingly intractable problems" that come with running a city.

Rules Committee Blues

Two relatively popular measures, one that would return excess TIF funds to CPS and other agencies, and another that would call for a citywide vote on creating an elected school board, failed to emerge from the City Council's Rules Committee, "where good legislation goes to die."

A Century of Political Wrangling

The Newberry Library has digitized 175 volumes of the Chicago City Council Proceedings from 1865 to 1963 -- and now you can read it all online in the Internet Archive.

The Cultural Plan Turns 1

The Chicago Cultural Plan, launched last year after questionably inclusive town hall meetings, won the Metropolitan Planning Council's 2013 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning, but what has it actually accomplished? Deanna Isaacs takes a look.

Protect the Arts in Schools

Columbia College student Daniel Artaega founded Create Change with Art to raise awareness of how the high school arts programs he says kept him out of gangs are being cut by CPS.

It's Quinn-Vallas 2014

Gov. Quinn chose former CPS chief Paul Vallas as his lieutenant governor running mate in the 2014 election. He's currently running Bridgeport, CT's school system, where he's been controversial.

Bonded in Mistrust

The Tribune's investigative team takes a close look at municipal bond abuse, and Chicago's use of bond debt to take care of everything from trash cans to maintaining empty warehouses.

The Biking Transportation Wonk

What will be the legacy of outgoing transportation chief Gabe Klein? John Greenfield evaluates. (Previously.)

Let's Talk About the Budget

Mayor Emanuel didn't feel like sharing details about the city budget with the public, so a group of aldermen did it on their own.

Equal, Finally

Same-sex marriage passed in the Illinois House and Senate today. The bill will now head to Gov. Quinn's desk, and he is expected to sign it.

Sen. Kirk Speaks Out

In his first speech from the Senate floor since he suffered from a stroke, Sen. Mark Kirk endorsed a measure banning workplace discrimination against LGBT workers.

Illinois Marriage Equality

A measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois comes to the forefront as lawmakers gather for a final week of fall sessions.

Cops & Rec

CPD announced a new program that will place police patrols in 20 parks around the city where crime is a problem.

Petcoke Problems

Residents on the South Side filed a class-action lawsuit against the shipping company responsible for storing huge piles of the oil refinery byproduct petcoke, saying dust from it blows off and coats everything in the neighborhood.

Gabe Klein Rides Off into the Sunset

Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein is resigning, effective the end of November.

Kingmaker vs. "Kingmaker"

After a report from the Better Government Association on the Speaker Madigan's political footmen, the Sun-Times reports Madigan shot back with an angry letter to the Democratic Caucus, accusing BGA President Andy Shaw of trying to "become a kingmaker in Illinois politics."

The Students, United

In These Times reports that going to school during the teachers strike and school closures radicalized many CPS students, and they are organizing across the city.

Budget by the Boatload

Mayor Emanuel debuted a nearly $7 billion budget for Chicago today while calling on legislators in Springfield to pass pension reform.

Fight for Your Rights

A rally against governmental surveillance is being planned for Federal Plaza this Saturday, part of a national campaign in support of Fourth Amendment rights.

More Fun Taxes

In a continuing effort to close Chicago's budget gap, Mayor Emanuel will propose increasing the taxes on cable TV and hiking parking fines and towing fees.

CTO Steps Down

John Tolva, the City's CTO, is leaving the Emanuel administration Nov. 1.

Passing Grades

Local journalists give Mayor Emanuel mixed grades on his Midterm Report Card for his handling of school closings, violence, the city's nearly $1 billion deficit, and other issues.

Tax 'Em if You Got 'Em

Mayor Emanuel wants to increase the cigarette tax by 75 cents, making the total taxes on Chicago smokes the highest in the country.

What Else Can't Daley Recall?

Former Mayor Daley apparently doesn't remember much of the planning and politicking of Millennium Park, at least according to depositions he gave in the ongoing lawsuit pitting the Emanuel administration against the Daley-connected owners of Park Grill.

Read the whole deposition here:

Daley Deposition

UNO Problemo

Gov. Quinn suspended all payments to the United Neighborhoods Organization (UNO), the largest charter school operator in Illinois, while an SEC investigation of the organization is underway.

Historic Bronzeville Apartments to be Renovated

DNAinfo Chicago reports City Council approved $125 million in tax incentives on Wednesday to renovate Bronzeville's Rosenwald Courts apartment building that once housed Nat "King" Cole, Quincy Jones, and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Organizing to "Take Back Chicago"

An energetic crowd of thousands of residents, activists, and union members came together yesterday to call for an increase in the minimum wage, an end to school closures, and other progressive reforms.

CHA CEO Steps Down

Chicago Housing Authority CEO Charles Woodyard has resigned after being in the position for two years. According to WBEZ's Natalie Moore, it's to spend more time with his family.

A Political Marathon

Thousands of people marched downtown this weekend, calling on Congress to pass immigration reform and stop deportations.

No Challenger, but Plenty of Ammo

While the next election is over a year away, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has already raised over $5 million dollars, including over $1 million last month alone.

Red Dot in the Blue City

As Republican candidates for governor begin to make the rounds, they may even make a stop in Chicago at the GOP "clubhouse" in Lincoln Park.

Da Coach's One Regret

Mike Ditka said not running against Barack Obama for the senate -- a race he "probably would have" won -- was the biggest mistake of his life because he could have kept Obama from becoming president.

Sitting Down for Change

Reps. Luis Gutierrez and Jan Schakowsky were arrested during a protest outside the U.S. Capitol calling on the House to take up immigration reform.

Fun Tax

Tickets to live performances in Chicago could be the most taxed in the country if the City increases taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, and other amusements to address a $338.7 million budget shortfall.

Buy Your Own Robes, Too

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wants judges to pay the full cost of their health care benefits, instead of the $1 dollar each month they currently pay.

To Protect and Serve

An investigation found that Ald. Ed Burke's work as an attorney won local property owners more than $18.1 million dollars in property tax refunds, costing the City more than $3.6 million dollars in tax revenue.

Furloughed Military Workers Back On the Job

Associated Press reports that thousands of civilian military personnel furloughed at Illinois military installations due to last week's government shut down have returned to work on the orders of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Immigration on the March

Leaders from Chicago's major labor organizations are planning a "massive" march and rally on October 12 to call for an end to deportations and passage of immigration reform.

Dept. of Logical Conclusions

Ald. Deborah Graham has proposed banning BYOB at restaurants within dry precincts, in reaction to a new banquet hall within a dry district in the 29th ward. Graham is the same alderman who helped make it possible for a convicted felon to open a liquor store with TIF money in an area with a moratorium on new liquor license. Ward Room has a good perspective on it.

A Series of Tubes

City CTO John Tolva has a plan to put Chicago at the forefront of the tech world. Think broadband in sewer lines, among other things.

Pushing Liquor in Austin

Despite a moratorium on new liquor stores in the South Austin neighborhood, a convicted drug dealer was given special approval -- and TIF money -- to open a new one, the Tribune discovered. Twenty-ninth Ward Ald. Deborah Graham shepherded the arrangement, about six months after receiving a campaign donation from the owner. Smart Chicago's Dan O'Neil adds insight on the data side of the story.

One Term Mayor for Life?

Compare and contrast: "one term mayor" booed at African-American event; nobody is stepping up to run against him in 2015.

All that Glitters

Officials halted the auction of celebrity memorabilia that Jesse Jackson, Jr. bought illegally using campaign funds, saying a Van Halen guitar and other items may actually be fakes.

Chicago Works for You

Today Smart Chicago launched a new website for residents to track service requests by ward.

Perpetual Motion Machine

Chicago is the only one of America's ten largest cities without term limits of any kind, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.

Bill's Out

Citing the "enormity" of running for office, Bill Daley dropped out of the governor's race Monday night.

Own a Piece of the Legacy

A few fur coats and framed celebrity pictures that belonged to Jesse and Sandi Jackson will be auctioned off online tomorrow morning (no word on his $43,000 Rolex).

How to Protest Australian

A group of Australians came to Chicago to try and stop McDonalds from building a restaurant in their small hometown that borders a national park.

A Wal-Mart Reaction

Ken "artistmac" Smith attended the opening of the Pullman Wal-Mart opening earlier this week, and noted what a difference six years makes in terms of attitudes toward the big-box store.

Move That Bus

Buses will now make a special stop at the new super Walmart in Pullman, after Mayor Emanuel and Ald. Beale criticized the CTA for not extending service to the store in time for its grand opening.

Guns Go off the Books

Local gun owners no longer need to register their weapons with the city after state law forced the City Council to end Chicago's registry. Guns still need to be registered with the State of Illinois, however.

Mell Gets a Last Laugh

Recently retired Ald. Dick Mell shared some classic Chicago political advice during his farewell speech: "Listen, when you're on the telephone, just remember the FBI is on the other line."

Rahm & Dave

Mayor Emanuel was on "The Late Show with David Letterman" last night, talking about violence in Chicago, being chief of staff, and his thoughts on Syria. If you missed it, here's the full video.

Continuing Cost of Police Misconduct

City Council is set to approve $12.3 million dollars in settlements for two more victims of police torture, bringing the total cost of misdeeds under former CPD commander Jon Burge to nearly $85 million.

Midway Stays Public

The Emanuel administration canceled privatization plans for Midway Airport after one of two bidders dropped out of the running. The Trib provides a history of the city's first major airport.

So It Begins

Republican gubernatorial candidates are introducing their running mates and political platforms now that they can officially circulate petitions to get on the ballot in 2014.

Quitting Time for "Safe Passage" Workers

CBS 2 is reporting that some corners on "Safe Passage" routes are not covered by workers and some workers are already quitting. [via]

Whole Foods to Open in Englewood

Whole Foods is publicly stating what's been known by Englewood organizers for a few months: It will open a store at 63rd and Halsted ... by 2016. For what it's worth, while Whole Foods and the Sun-Times imply Englewood is like the neighborhood where the Detroit location opened, it isn't.

Hold on to Your Butts

Smokers who flick their cigarette butts out of a car window or otherwise drop them in public can face a $1,500 fine for littering anywhere in Illinois starting January 1.

Fast Food Workers Fight for $15

In Chicago and cities across the country, employees of McDonald's, Wendy's and other fast food chains walked off the job today, calling for the right to organize and an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Guzzardi Runs Again

Will Guzzardi announced that he will once again challenge state Rep Toni Berrios. Carolyn O'Donovan wrote about Guzzardi's campaign last election, which was close enough for a recount.

Your Garden Overfloweth

If you're lucky enough to have a space in a yard or a plot in a community garden, you're probably enjoying the bounty of tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers and more that your carefully tended plants are producing. But if you find that you're producing too much and you can't bear to watch the produce wither in your vegetable bin because going out sounds better than eating more zucchini, consider donating your excess to a local food pantry. Ample Harvest has created a nationwide database of all food pantries willing to take homegrown veggies and there are several in Chicago.

Buttons & Civil Rights

On this historic day, local button makers Busy Beaver Buttons blogged about some historic buttons relating to the civil rights movement.

Are All Contracts Created Equal?

Economist Dean Baker questions why Mayor Emanuel and other officials seem unwilling to break contracts made with private companies, like Chicago's parking meter deal, but do approve of forcing changes to pension benefits and other agreements made with workers.

Unite Together Among Ourselves

In March of 1963, Malcolm X was interviewed on WMAQ-TV's "City Desk" program about the "Black Muslim movement." [via]

Solis: La Casita Had to Go

Ald. Danny Solis told Pilsen residents Monday that the Whittier Field House demolition "had to happen" due to the poor condition of the building, while apparently dodging questions about why it had to happen under cover of darkness on a Friday night, with no permits.

Permit Skipped for Whittier Field House Demolition

Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times reports that Chicago Public Schools officials skipped applying for a demolition permit to raze the Whittier Field House. The article says an administrative order from the Department of Buildings was issued, allowing for an emergency demolition.

Whittier Field House, aka La Casita, Being Demolished

Police and other city agents are currently at Whittier Field House, aka La Casita, preparing it for demolition. Read here for background about the building and the related struggle. UPDATE: The building is still intact, and demolition crews are leaving the area; CPS will meet with area parents tomorrow morning, but it doesn't look good. CPS says the building is unsafe for use and resulted in complaints from community members. UPDATE #2: It's being demolished. UPDATE #3: View additional information, including demolition photographs, in Mechanics.

Hang Up and Drive

Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill today banning cell phone use in Illinois without a hands-free device. The bill goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 and violators can face fines starting at $75.

Former City Comptroller Indicted

Amer Ahmed, the former city comptroller who stepped down in July, was indicted yesterday on federal charges of corruption dating to when he was deputy treasurer and chief financial officer of the state of Ohio.

ACLU To CHA: No More Drug Tests!

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois filed a class action lawsuit today challenging the Chicago Housing Authority's policy of forcing CHA mixed-income housing development residents to be annually drug tested.

Mobile Rail Workers Vote to Unionize

Mobile Rail Workers Union at Chicago-based Mobile Rail Solutions has won their National Labor Relations Board election in a 17-5 vote. The employer has 7 days to challenge the results.

Reporting on Women's Work

The Ladydrawers have begun a yearlong investigation into international women's labor, with a focus on garment work and sex trade, for

JJJr gets 2.5 Years

Jesse Jackson, Jr. was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to misusing $750,000 in campaign funds. Sandi Jackson received a one-year sentence, which she'll serve after Jesse gets out.

Shuffling Seats, the Chicago Way

Now that state Rep. Deb Mell has succeeded her father as 33rd Ward alderman, one of Dick's top aides is replacing Deb in Springfield.

CPS Pensions: Can's Been Kicked Before

The executive director of the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund tries to clear up misconceptions about the pension situation at CPS. Short answer: blame state legislators back in 1995.

Hunger Strike Continues at Northwestern Hospital

Over a dozen demonstrators continued a hunger strike protest outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital today, demanding access to organ transplant procedures for undocumented immigrants.

IL Rep. Monique Davis Enters the No-Spin Zone

IL Rep. Monique Davis appeared on the O'Reilly Factor after saying on a radio show that some of her constituents "suspect that maybe the police are killing some of these kids" while discussing violence in Chicago. Rep. Davis reiterated that those were not her words and then discussed the real cause of urban violence with O'Reilly. [via]

L Seating to (Eventually) Improve

The CTA seems to have learned its lesson after introducing its 5000 series L cars to widespread complaint and is going to make its next order more "customer-friendly." View the diagram comparing the cars for a quick review of the changes.

UIC Unveils the Daley Archives

Speaking of former mayors, UIC opened its Richard J. Daley Library this week. Like his office on the Fifth Floor, it's accessible by appointment only, but WBEZ's Richard Steele got a tour.

Cook County Board News

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has killed plans for a county gun court that she'd previously supported, according to Commissioner John Fritchey. Meanwhile, Preckwinkle fired a member of the County ethics board who was pushing for punishment of Assessor Joe Berrios for nepotism.

LGBT Bars Boycotting Russian Vodka

Sidetrack decided to stop serving Russian vodka in protest of anti-gay legislation and attacks in that country. Several other bars have followed suit, part of a national trend. The boycott spurred Stolichnaya Vodka's CEO to write an open letter noting the brand's support of the LGBT community.

Out with the Old Mell, in with the New Mell

Democracy at work! Newly retired alderman Richard Mell will be replaced by his daughter Deborah, effective today.

New Bill to Bring Trauma Care Back to South Side

Congressman Bobby Rush has introduced a bill that would relieve the "trauma desert" on Chicago's South Side by providing $100 million to promote access to trauma centers in underserved rural and urban areas.

H.R. 2660: Trauma Relief Access for Universal Medical Assistance Act by Gapers Block

A Phone Call from the Alderman

Ald. Tom Tunney of the 44th Ward reportedly abused power by calling Mark Thomas, owner of The Alley and Taboo Tabou, according to a report from the City Inspector [PDF]. Tunney called Thomas regarding assistant state's attorney Sarah Naughton allegedly biting an employee at Taboo Tabou.

Ald. Moore Under Ethics Probe

Ald. Joe Moore is being investigated by Chicago's legislative inspector general for allegedly firing a staff member for blowing the whistle on campaign work being done by city employees. [via]

The Hottest Mayor in the Place

Would you like to see footage of Rahm Emanuel awkwardly dancing to "Blurred Lines" last week at Robin Thicke's appearance at Taste of Chicago?

Chicago Principal Speaks Out Against CPS Budget Cuts

At a City Hall news conference, Blaine Elementary Principal Troy LaRaviere excoriated CPS budget cuts for "turning a full school day into an empty school day."

Blago Appeals

Attorneys for former governor Rod Blagojevich have filed an appeal of his 2011 conviction on corruption charges -- just barely under the midnight deadline last night.

Chicagoans Rally to Protest Trayvon Martin Verdict

Over 200 people rallied Sunday at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago to protest the acquittal of 28-year-old Florida man George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The R.Kelly Question(s)

Jim DeRogatis has chronicled R.Kelly's career and brushes with the law. He leads a WBEZ investigation of various aspects of the musician's role in pop culture, and whether he should be headlining Pitchfork.

Annotating the City

The City of Chicago is on RapGenius's News Genius annotation site, thanks to the Smart Chicago Collaborative. TIF Illinois has a good number of documents on there, too.

Quinn Moves to Suspend Lawmaker Pay Over Pension

Governor Quinn announced today that he would issue a line-item veto of a budget bill on his desk to halt Illinois lawmakers' pay, including his own, until they come up with a solution for the state's nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

Chicago Ups Wind Energy

Mayor Emanuel's office announced a deal with Chicago's energy suppliers that will double the city's wind energy. Integrys Energy Services was chosen to supply 5 percent of consumer electricity, via ComEd, to save money and ease pollution.

Concealed Carry Now Law

The Illinois general assembly and senate overrode Gov. Quinn's amendatory veto of the concealed carry law, making it officially legal to carry a gun in public. See the Illinois State Police's guidelines on how the law will be enforced.

Mell Out, Mell In?

Longtime alderman and Blago father-in-law Dick Mell announced today that he will be retiring July 24; insiders speculate that he will get his daughter, state Rep. Deborah Mell, appointed as his replacement.

Crumbling Home

The CHA has expanded Section 8 housing subsidies over the past decade to house former residents of the projects, but more than half of Section 8 buildings have failed inspections in the past two years, with slumlords picking up the government check.

Quazzo & Education Innovation

Deborah Quazzo is Emanuel's replacement on the CPS board for Penny Pritzker, who was confirmed as the new Secretary of Commerce this week. Whet Moser digs into what Quazzo's appointment means for the future of CPS.

Chicago's New Data Chief

Mayor Emanuel nominated Brenna Berman to be the new Department of Innovation and Technology commissioner and chief information officer. She has been acting commissioner since Brett Goldstein, the city's first chief data officer, stepped down to take a fellowship at UofC's Harris School of Public Policy.

The CHA's Future Plans

NPR took a look at the Chicago Housing Authority's next steps in its transformation of public housing, as laid out in the "Plan Forward," a 33-page "eprint for
the agency's current and future work."

Read the CHA's "Plan Forward" here:

CHA Plan Forward by Gapers Block

No More Plastic Bags?

City Council is considering whether to ban plastic bags, per an ordinance introduced by Ald. Joe Mareno.

Pride & Politics

Conservative blogger Kevin DuJan has accused a CPS teacher of being a stripper and sometimes porn star who's made racist comments about his students.

Nico Lang at the Daily Dot points out that DuJan is in a relationship with an ex-employee at Sidetrack who's suing the bar for discriminating against his conservative Christian beliefs. In 2010, Michael Volpe wrote for GB about infighting among the Chicago GOP community, in which Hillbuzz was involved.

Is the Emanuel Era Over?

Mark Guarino makes the case in Salon that Mayor Emanuel has lost control of Chicago.

Addressing Violence in a Circle

The Sox and Bulls teamed up with Youth Guidance for an anti-violence campaign based on conversations team representatives are having with teenage boys.

Potholes, Pigeons & Pregnancy Tests

What do the aldermen do? WBEZ's Curious City finds out it's a lot more than just rubber-stamping the mayor's initiatives.

A Daley in Springfield?

Bill Daley, Obama's former chief of staff and brother of Richard M., is considering running for governor.

Turn Around Slowly

The Academy for Urban School Leadership, a charter school operator, has been picked to turn around six schools, despite 10 out of 12 "turnaround" schools it currently manages not meeting CPS standards. Curtis Black dives into the reasons and politics behind the decision.

Cronyism or Shrewd Human Resources Move?

Rep. Luis Gutierrez has employed his former chief of staff, now a registered lobbyist, as a contractor to work with his official staff, USA Today reports.

Rangel Stepping Down but not Out

Juan Rangel, CEO of UNO, announced that he is stepping down from the political organization's board as well as the board of its charter school system in the wake of the recent insider dealing scandal (previously). He'll remain CEO.

Learn from the Burris

The Roland Burris School of Politics (previously) is enrolling for its June session.

Faux Activist

An undercover police officer was discovered to have been spying on protestors as early as the NATO summits last March, after infiltrating Chicago Action Medical as "Danny Edwards." (Thanks, Arlene!)

Fardon Nominated for US Attorney

Zachary Fardon, a partner with Latham & Watkins, has been nominated for US attorney in the Chicago district, succeeding Patrick Fitzgerald. Fardon is best known for prosecuting ex-Gov. George Ryan.

"This is a longer conversation"

Joel Handley happened to run into Mayor Emanuel in the bathroom at a BuildOn fundraiser, and tried to talk to him about schools. It didn't go so well.

CPS School Closures Confirmed

CPS voted to close 49 elementary and one high school program today; four elementary schools were spared.

"Hey Rahm, we're no fools!"

Protestors delivered petitions with 10,000 signatures against the school closings to City Hall and vowed to "create chaos" if their voices weren't heard -- and began chanting, "Hey Rahm, we're no fools! We won't let you close our schools." Police arrested several protestors who blocked access to elevators.

Video streaming by Ustream

"Epton: Before It's Too Late"

Twenty years later, members of Harold Washington's 1983 mayoral campaign recall the role race played in the election.

Havin' Imaginary Fun on Navy Pier

WBEZ assembled a group of hilarious details from the Navy Pier redevelopment renderings.

2 Years of Mayor Emanuel

We're two years into Rahm Emanuel's tenure as mayor; how's he looked so far? His approval rating is low and voters on Chicago mag's informal poll give him mostly Ds and Fs, but City Council is still sticking close.

To Build a Stadium

The mayor is touting a $300 million basketball stadium for DePaul near McCormick Place that would be funded in large part with public money (and which many experts say is a terrible idea). Chicago mag's Whet Moser has done a good job of detailing the questions surrounding the deal and the risks with public funding of stadiums. Meanwhile, the Cubs upped their campaign for Wrigley renovations with a new website.

Barack Milhous Obama?

Dennis Byrne thinks comparing Obama to Nixon is apt after the AP phone record seizure scandal, the IRS 501(c)(4) scandal and the ongoing Benghazi embassy investigation. WSJ's Stephen Moore makes a similar comparison.

Fighting to Stay

The Chicago Reporter's May/June issue focuses on fast track deportation: thousands are being deported in Chicago and nationwide without a hearing. Tonight Rep. Luis Gutiérrez will discuss immigration reform legislation at the Reporter's event, Still in the Shadows?

Memorializing John Stroger

The late Cook County Board President John Stroger still has supporters, and they're hoping to preserve his legacy through a donation of memorabilia to the DuSable Museum of African American History.

Photos for Tamms

Laurie Jo Reynolds and Stephen F. Eisenman report on the impact of the Tamms Year Ten project (previously) and the campaign against the Tamms Supermax Prison, which closed in January. Tamms Year Ten produced many beautiful photographs based on requests from prisoners.

IL GOP Chair Steps Down

Pat Brady, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, is expected to resigned today over his support of gay marriage. Meanwhile, Republican State Rep. Ron Sandack reaffirmed to protestors his intention to vote for the bill legalizing same sex marriage yesterday.

Participation without Representation?

Although the 49th Ward has been a leader in the participatory budgeting movement, some residents think the concept leaves a lot to be desired in practice.

A Union in UNO

More than 400 teachers and staff at UNO's 13 charter schools have voted to unionize on Thursday.

Emanuel's Big Backers

Wondering who gave Rahm Emanuel money last year? The Trib has a list.

Pritzker Cabinet Nom

Philanthropist and former School Board member Penny Pritzker was nominated to be the next Secretary of Commerce today. Greg Hinz passes along some advice from a former cabinet member from another Chicago family dynasty: Bill Daley.

Everything Runs Through the 5th Floor

Curious about how the Boston Marathon bombing affected Chicago's emergency preparedness, reporter Howard Wolinsky contact the City. Instead of an interview with the people in charge, he was offered a video of the mayor.

Daley Donates War Chest to Charity

Former mayor Richard M. Daley is closing his campaign fund and donating $500,000 to charities, including $150,000 to After School Matters, which was founded by his wife Maggie.

Walking Out for Higher Wages

Some fast food workers are staging a walkout today, led by Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, to call for a $15 minimum wage and the right to unionize. Watch for picket lines in front of various Loop fast food joints.

Internet Sales Tax Looks Likely

Sen. Dick Durbin's Marketplace Fairness Act, requiring online retailers to collect sales tax, will be voted on later this week.

IL in Numbers

Try your hand at balancing Illinois' budget with Crain's interactive tool.

Insider Trade Work at UNO

The United Neighborhoods Organization has paid the company of an outgoing board member more than $1.8 million in school construction contracts, the Sun-Times reports. It's far from the first time UNO's been caught up in a scandal related to schools or clout.

Long Read on Trash Collection

The City's new garbage collection map greatly simplifies Streets & San's job and eliminates a vestige of Machine politics going back a hundred years.

Rubbing His Nose in It

The Trib's editorial board coined a new word in relation to the Emanuel administration's refusal to hand documents over to City Hall's inspector general: Rahmshaming.

Mayor Emanuel of Hollywood

Not many people around here are talking about the next mayoral election, but Hollywood is already fundraising for Rahm. Lynn Sweet has a list of donors.

Congress Theater May Be Shuttered by City

Citing unresolved building violations, the city is moving to immediately close Logan Square's Congress Theater. A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning in Cook County Circuit Court.

These Wacky Streets

Streetsblog Chicago has created an "Irreverent Guide" to Chicago planning highlights and lowlights to go along with the Complete Streets Chicago plan released last week.

A Costly Drug Habit

Prosecutors have been trying to shut down the heroin highway, and it's been costing millions.

Designing a More Pedestrian City

The Atlantic Cities digs into the new Complete Streets Chicago design guidelines from CDOT and finds pedestrians front of mind.

CDOT: Complete Streets Design Guidelines by Gapers Block

Ranking the Mayors' Control

Mayor Emanuel may have an even stronger rubber stamp City Council than Daley, but Michael Bilandic wielded even more control back in 1977. That didn't stop Jane Byrne from running against him, though.

2nd District, Your New Congresswoman

Robin Kelly won the election for the 2nd congressional district vacated by Jesse Jackson, Jr. Unlike her predecessor -- and her main opponent, Republican ex-con Paul McKinley -- Kelly is scandal-free. So far.

Activate Globally

If you're interested in making a difference in the world, hitting the Global Activism Expo this weekend isn't a bad place to start getting involved.

Kirk Supports Gay Marriage

Senator Mark Kirk released a statement in favor of same-sex marriage today, making him only the second Republican senator to do so.

Who's Counting?

The police estimated the crowd for Wednesday's school closure protest at between 700 and 900; the Chicago Teachers Union put the total at between 5,000 and 6,000. The real number was, of course, right in the middle.

Likes: Pro Wrestling, Tea Rooms, Conspiracy Theories

As if owning both a pro wrestling league and a suburban tea shop weren't weird enough, turns out Billy Corgan is a huge fan of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' InfoWars.

CPS Protest Coverage Roundup

Hundreds of protestors marched from Daley Plaza to CPS headquarters yesterday to protest the proposed school closings. Police arrested as many as 150 protestors who staged a sit-in in the street.

Catalyst spotified coverage of the protest, while the Sun-Times live-blogged it.

Milosh Kosanovich

I love the #Chicago education flag.
Veronica Arreola

School closings rally
WBEZ/Robin Amer

Almost-360 of #CPS school closing rally
Veronica Arreola

Watch the School Closure Rally

If you're not able to make it to the Loop to watch the rally against CPS school closures, the Sun-Times is live-blogging it.

The End is Nigh for Prentice

Earlier this week the city issued the wrecking permit for Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital, and now Northwestern is simply waiting for an asbestos abatement permit so it can ready the building for demolition.

Completing the Tests

Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky has launched Test400k, a nonprofit dedicated to clearing the backlog of untested rape kits sitting in police departments nationwide.

Beavers Going Up the River

A jury took less than three hours to find Cook County Commissioner William Beavers guilty of tax evasion today.

New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Wasn't getting a new mayor and new faces in City Council supposed to change the status quo in Chicago politics? So far, aldermen are still rubber-stamping for the mayoral machine, reports Steve Rhodes.

Meet Joe Lake

The 76-year-old Ravenswood resident wields his Facebook account and many groups as a means of political involvement.

Reuters Editor Indicted for Hacking Trib

The Justice Department indicted Reuters Deputy Social Media Editor Matthew Keys for allegedly helping Anonymous hack into Tribune Co. websites, including the and Interestingly, Keys' first article for Reuters was about Anonymous.

Matthew Keys Indictment by Gapers Block

Jonylah Forever

Lupe Fiasco penned and posted a new song imagining what could have been the life of murdered infant Jonylah Watkins.

Pritzker Steps Down to Step Up

Chicago philanthropist Penny Pritzker resigned from the Chicago School Board in anticipation of being nominated for Secretary of Commerce. CTU head Karen Lewis had a few things to say about her departure.

The Bloomingdale Trail is on its Way

After years of organizing, the Bloomingdale Trail and Park network is scheduled to break ground this summer [pdf].

Bloomingdale Park and Trail on Track for Summer Groundbreaking by Gapers Block

Seven More Threatened Buildings

Preservation Chicago just published its annual Chicago's 7 list of threatened architecturally significant buildings. Among those included is St. James Church [pdf], one of the buildings featured in To be Demolished. View our Google map of the properties in Mechanics.

Banning Lion Meat? Really?

Lion meat has only rarely been on menus in Illinois, but local state Rep. Louis Arroyo has introduced a bill to ban it anyway.

Out of the Art Loop

Time Out Chicago reports that financial problems will keep the Chicago Loop Alliance from launching Art Loop 2013.

Feeling Less Distressed?

Crain's breaks down the neighborhood differences in the rate of "distressed" housing sales throughout the city. The situation improved in 2012, although with an average of 46.7%, nowhere was near perfect. Riverdale had the worst record, 100%, but even Lincoln Park had an 11.3% distressed sales rate.

Assessing the Plan for Transformation

A new group of reports from the Urban Institute about the CHA's Plan for Transformation describes marginal improvements for housing conditions and some support services but crippling problems. Among them, serious crime, health and social mobility concerns.

Overpacking Classrooms for the Bottom Line

Ever wonder how the city reached the number of schools it could close? One big part of it is by upping the standard elementary class size to 30 students. That number is far higher than the district's average and nearly 10 students higher than the state's average kindergarten class size.

Ruminating on Chavez and Chicago

If you're interested in a good laugh, visit the conservative screed the Washington Times and learn all about how Hugo Chavez turned Venezuala into Chicago. A favorite line: "Venezuela saw rampant poverty, crime, and corruption, although not at the level of Chicago."

4 New Leaders Under 40

Four Chicagoans -- Veronica Arreola, Jarvis Houston, Evanna Hu and Justine Nagan -- are honorees in the New Leaders Council's 40 Under 40 list this year. They'll be honored at a reception this evening. (You might also want to take a look at this year's local NLC Fellows.)

Making the Vatican Vaguely More Progressive

Cardinal George is uncharacteristically publicly addressing sexual abuse and corruption while at the Vatican for the "general congregation."

No Red Light Camera Contract?

The recent bribery scandal involving Redflex Traffic Systems prompted Alderman Waguespack to ask the city to stop the search for a new red-light camera contract.

Let's Move! Didn't Really

Michelle Obama came to town last week to promote Let's Move!, her healthy exercise initiative for children. The plan may be uncontroversial, but a fifth grade teacher says that the local implementation of the event resulted in some unpleasant and unhealthy effects on the kids who participated.

"Only for ritzy people"

WBEZ marks the steady decline of Chicago's SROs with the likely closure of the Chateau Hotel.

It's Quittin' Time

As of today, Cook County's excise tax on a pack of cigarettes will increase by $1, bringing the total tax on a pack of cigarettes sold in Chicago to $6.67. Here's betting there'll be more false walls in convenience stores.

Are You Active on the South Side?

The U of C's Cultural Policy Center and the Southside Arts & Humanities Network want to know what you do on the South Side. The survey touches on civic engagement through art, music, work, worship, and research, and should take about 10 minutes.

A Particularly Imbalanced Race?

While a seasoned Democrat will be running for Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s seat, the likely Republican candidate is "a convicted felon who served nearly 20 years in state prison for burglaries, armed robberies and aggravated battery."

Gay Marriage House Vote Soon

The same sex marriage bill passed out of committee, so it's headed for a full House vote.

Our New Congresswoman (Probably)

Robin Kelly won the Democratic primary race to replace Jesse Jackson, Jr. in the 2nd Congressional District. Here's the final tally.

Hint: it's not Good

The Trib evaluates how the city and state will be affected by looming sequestration cuts. The White House has its own assessment [PDF].

Heck of a Job, Garry?

When Mayor Daley said he had 100-percent confidence in someone, it was often a kiss of death. We'll have to see if Mayor Emanuel's endorsement of Garry McCarthy will be the same.

A New NOI Land

Among Louis Farrakhan's pronouncements at the annual Saviours' Day event is that he wants the Nation of Islam to buy large amounts of land in the Midwest.

Time to Vote

The special election for the 2nd Congressional District (Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s old district) is today. Voter turnout is expected to be low.

Five Months in Harper High School, Continued

This American Life's second installment of its exploration of youth violence in a Chicago high school is online. If you missed the first part, listen to it here.

So it's Come to This

How are we going to fix our city budget problems? Apparently, we're going to crowdfund our budget, like the Windy City Hoops program. There are 54 days and $450,000 to go ... to reach $480,000.

Bye, Bye, Services

The Washington Post compiled a table showing how the sequester will affect each state. Make sure to select the "Illinois" profile in the drop down menu.

Sequester is a Flight Risk

Yet another potential effect of the sequester: more delays at O'Hare and Midway, says outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Influencing the Moral and Economic Might of Universities

In other student activist news, Chris Bentley surveys the current divestment campaigns on Chicago-area university campuses.

Infighting at the Gender Society

There's trouble brewing with the transgender advocacy group the Chicago Gender Society, whose president survived a call for impeachment and subsequently proposed dissolving the group.

Bad Job, Rahm

Mayor Emanuel's job approval rating is way down -- just 19 percent of respondents to a Crain's/Ipsos poll think he's doing a good job, vs. 50 percent who disapprove of his performance.

"X" Marks the Spot

GB flickr pool contributor Gabriel X. Michael is photographing Chicago buildings marked with Xs warning first responders of hidden dangers [PDF].


Welcome to "Gangsterville"

The National Review invokes memories of old Cabrini-Green in its cover story about Chicago's gang problem in the context of the gun control debate. (Beware, plenty of blatant racism in the comments.)

Fighting for Sex Workers

End Demand Illinois and Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation are working to shift the focus in prostitution from prosecuting the sex worker to going the johns and traffickers.

The Wrong Thing

The St. Louis-based Preservation Research Office blog uses Chicago's battles over Prentice and Michael Reese to evaluate each city's hospital preservation experiences. The verdict: "Alas, Chicago has done the wrong thing while St. Louis years ago made a wise choice."

Buying Guns Elsewhere

By now, it's clear that but Indiana's weak gun laws allow would-be criminals easy ways to circumvent Chicago's tough laws. The Trib documents how it's done.

The Grid: The Area

"The Area," the newest installment of our documentary film series, features Englewood residents who are struggling to maintain friendships and traditions while a freight yard is expanding into their neighborhood.

Last Thursday, Mayor Emanuel proposed that City Council approve the sale of 105 city owned properties to the company, Norfolk Southern, [pdf] for an average of just under $10,500 a parcel. While the press release trumpeted the creation of 300 jobs, it did not mention the remaining or displaced residents.

JJJr Charges Filed

Federal charges were filed today against former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife, former Ald. Sandi Jackson. Jesse was charged with conspiracy, making false statements, mail and wire fraud in connection with diverting $750,000 in campaign funds for personal use, while Sandi was charged with filing a false tax return. Don't miss the expenses list after the jump, which includes a lot of Michael Jackson memorabilia and even a mink cape.

United States of America vs. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. by Gapers Block

Obama Delivering Address in Chicago

The President is back in town and at Hyde Park Academy High School, where he will deliver a speech linking inequality and violence.

United States of X: Population Equality Edition

Chicago gets its own state in Neil Freeman's Electoral Reform Map, which creates 50 new states of equal population size. Oddly, the collar counties and Milwaukee end up in the state of Gary. [via]

One and Done for Simon

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon says she won't run for reelection next year. Meanwhile, Gov. Pat Quinn is trailing Attorney General Lisa Madigan in (really early) polls.

Bipartisan Fist Bump

Before giving his State of the Union address, President Obama crossed the aisle to share an exploding fist bump with Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, who is back in Congress after suffering a major stroke.


Joe Walsh is No Deadbeat

Ex-congressman Joe Walsh has asked to reduce his child-support payment since he's out of a job, the Sun-Times reports. The story, which noted that he caught flack during his reelection campaign for allegedly getting behind on payments, prompted Walsh to threaten to sue the Sun-Times for defamation.

The New Alderman

Mayor Emanuel has selected Natashia Lynnette Holmes, a former IDOT employee and current project manager for a civic policy and planning agency, to be the new 7th Ward alderman, replacing Sandi Jackson. WBEZ has a copy of Holmes' application.

Obama Coming

President Obama will visit Chicago Friday to talk about gun violence and the economy.

JJJr. to Sign Plea Agreement

NBC reports that Jesse Jackson, Jr. will sign a plea deal that will include no more than five years in jail on charges of mishandling campaign funds, confirming Michael Sneed's exclusive from yesterday.

Prentice Before Landmarks Commission ... Again

Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital is currently before the city's Commission on Chicago Landmarks. If you're interested in real time updates, you can follow the Save Prentice coalition on twitter and facebook. UPDATE: Prentice no longer has preliminary landmark status, allowing another step towards demolition. Next: another court date.

One Billion Will Rise

On Valentine's Day, the Chicago edition of VDAY's One Billion Rising will hold a rally and dance party to protest violence against women and LGBTQ people. Join in.

The State of Our State: Marriage, Money and Guns

Governor Quinn's State of the State speech went as planned today, in which he called for actually dealing with the state's fiscal woes, increasing the minimum wage, legalizing same-sex marriage and controlling guns. Read more from the Trib, Sun-Times, WBEZ and Chicago Business, or read it yourself.

RIP, Cardiss Collins

Former Rep. Cardiss Collins passed away at age 81. Collins was the first African-American woman to represent Illinois in Congress, taking over in 1973 for her husband George, who died in a plane crash.

Better Judge Retention?

There may be a fix to election law that would avoid situations like Judge Cynthia Brim, who was retained despite years of "unqualified" ratings from legal organizations and being charged with battery on a court security guard. Brim was found not guilty by reason of insanity yesterday.

Reagan Home Ridiculousness

While most people would tell you that the impending demolition of a Hyde Park apartment building where Ronald Reagan briefly lived is part of the University of Chicago Medical Center's long-planned expansion, at least one Fox News columnist is doubling down on the theory that it's to make way for an Obama presidential library.

"Industrial Shangri-La" in Trouble

Marktown, the landmark northwest Indiana community surrounded by industry, may be threatened by BP's expansion of its Whiting refinery. See an aerial view of the neighborhood after the jump.

Marktown, Indiana Aerial Looking East

Delivery Driver, Stone Cutter, Congressman

For the last several years, Rep. Mike Quigley has done "Undercover Congressman" days at businesses within his district. This Tuesday, he stopped by Dinkel's to help assemble some pastries.

All the Chicago Way Home

Former governor George Ryan will serve out the remainder of his prison sentence from his home in Kankakee instead of the West Side halfway house that has housed a few of his former colleagues after they were sprung from the joint.

Peaceful Protest Turns Physical

Four protestors were arrested following a sit-in at University of Chicago Medical Center this weekend intended to draw attention to the lack of trauma centers on the South Side. A petition has been created in response to the rather physical arrests by campus police, and the protest group involved has released a statement.

Prentice to Get Some New Kind of Hearing

Commission on Chicago Landmarks has taken the unusual step of adding the old Prentice Women's Hospital to its February 7 agenda [pdf]. As scheduled, it will receive a revised report regarding economic issues and then consider the decision to reject its preliminary landmark recommendation. The Trib has some background.

Pitting Dynasty Against Dynasty

If Bill Daley and Lisa Madigan go head to head in a race for governor, it'll pit the city and state's biggest political families against each other.

Aldermen Stuck Between 2 Ward Maps

Ward redistricting doesn't go into effect until 2015, but Ald. Danny Solis announced yesterday that he's going to start following the new 25th Ward boundaries right now. Other aldermen are doing their best to represent their old constituents as well as the new.

Workin' Overtime

A member of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications was paid more than $91,000 in overtime -- more than doubling her pay in 2012. RedEye has a top 10 of overtime earners.

Employee Overtime and Supplemental Earnings

Powered by Socrata

How to Close a School

The Reader's Ben Joravsky examines how the Emanuel administration is determining which schools to close.

Cook County Land Bank Approved

The Cook County Board voted unanimously to create a land bank (previously), which would take possession of vacant, foreclosed and tax-delinquent properties, clearing the way for redevelopment.

Panelist Bridget Gainer, Commissioner - 10th District explains land banks at "Housing on the Rebound" Policy Forum from ULI Chicago on Vimeo.

Talk Gun Control Here

Newt Gingrich suggested on CNN's "State of the Union" that hearings on gun control legislation should be held in Chicago.

Pictures of Mr. President

Artist Jeremy Tubbs created Presidial, a time-lapse video of more than 2,500 photos of President Obama over the past five years. Tubbs is also selling lenticular images on Etsy.

"Presidial is not political art," says Tubbs. "It is an artwork about the incessant media coverage of politics."

"This is OnStar. We detected a shot. Do you require more bullets?"

CBS2 Chicago reports that Ald. Willie Cochran has suggested using GPS devices on all guns. "Just like if your car gets stolen, OnStar can tell you where your car is. If your gun gets stolen, and you report it, we should be able to find that gun."

Just Scraping By

The Heartland Alliance's Illinois Poverty Report estimates that about one in three Illinoisans is in poverty or close to it, and Cook County is one of the worst hit.

Freshen Up that Camping Gear

It doesn't look like there will be officially recognized camping in Chicago for the foreseeable future, but the Forest Preserve plans to make camping viable in the county by 2014. Read the full plan here [PDF].

This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land

In an effort to help return vacant and abandoned properties to productive use, the Cook County Board unanimously approved an ordinance to create the Cook County Land Bank Authority today.

Commissioner Bridget Gainer gives us the details

Resistance on My Way to School

While we won't celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day until Monday, today is his birthday. The Neighborhood Writing Alliance posted in his honor the remembrances of K.C. Hagans from the fifth anniversary of King's death.

What the "Community" Wants from Lathrop Homes

Lathrop Community Partners, the organization coordinating community input for the redevelopment of Lathrop Homes, just released its summary of public input [PDF]. Among expressed opinions were a concern about the mixed-income character of the development, as well as preferences for reusing a "critical mass" of the existing buildings, maintaining a low-rise site and establishing high public transportation connectivity.

Ald. Sandi Jackson Resigns

Facing criticisms that she has been neglecting the duties of her alderman position (as well as the stress of her husband's recent woes), Sandi Jackson resigned today, effective Jan. 15. Jackson was elected alderman of the city's 7th Ward in 2007.

Ald. Sandi Jackson's Resignation Letter by Gapers Block

The Burris School of Politics

Former US Senator (among other things) Roland Burris taught a class in politics this week, and John Kass had a Tribune colleague attend.

"I got skin in the game."

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy has a bit more incentive to make same sex marriage a reality in the new congressional session: she just got engaged.

Making the Political Digital

The city recently launched a new website, Chicago Digital, to promote its digital initiatives. Some highlighted resources are Open Data applications, a developer forum and a list of city social media accounts.

Farewell to Mell?

Several news outlets reported that Ald. Dick Mell would soon retire and hand his seat to his daughter, Deb Mell. However, the city's longest-serving alderman denied the rumor, saying he was no closer to retiring than he was five years ago.

The Segregation of Murder

The NY Times takes a look at Chicago's 2012 murders and breaks down the demographic differences between those near and far from homicides.

Kirk Back to Work

Sen. Mark Kirk will return to the Senate today, for the first time since his stroke last January. "I have missed my colleagues in the Senate in the worst way," he told Greg Hinz.

Obama Backs State Gay Marriage Bill

President Obama threw his support behind the "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act," aimed at legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois. The bill, which was introduced by Chicago's state Sen. Heather Stearns and Rep. Greg Harris, could be voted on as soon as next week.

The Winner is: Rahm Emanuel

Well, not just him. The Reader's second annual Political Achievement Awards skewer many more local pols.

A Long Shot for Obama Library?

The Trib reported yesterday on the effort to bring Obama's presidential library to the site of the former Michael Reese Hospital in Bronzeville.

Midway Back on the Market

Mayor Emanuel announced new plans to privatize Midway Airport -- with significant differences from Daley's plan, but still another example of the city selling itself off piece by piece.

Coming to America

Local photographer Jon Lowenstein's photographs of South Side immigrant families were the launching point for a new series about Latin American immigration featured today on the NY Times' photography blog.

The Struggle on the Bus

A new set of CTA bus ads by Council on American-Islamic Relationsaims to promote a more positive interpretation of "jihad," the Arabic word that means "struggling in the way of God," not just holy war.(Previously.)

Chicago, Brought to You By...

What are the real costs of the advertising deals, privatization plans and outright sell-offs the City has made for public properties?

Alvarez Fights Back on 60 Minutes Segment

After being embarrassed by a "60 Minutes" segment about Chicago's history of false confessions, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez fired back, sending a letter to CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager calling the segment "one-sided and extremely misleading."

Letter from Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez to CBS's "60 Minutes"

Concealed Carry Law Tossed

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Illinois' concealed carry law as unconstitutional yesterday, potentially paving the way for another attempt to pass legislation allowing it. Illinois is the last state in the union where concealed carry of any sort is illegal.

Kirk's Ready to Go Back

Sen. Mark Kirk will return to the Senate on Jan. 3.

Musical Chairs at City Hall

Mayor Emanuel is renovating City Hall and consolidating department offices, which means a lot of shuffling of desks.

Special Election April 9

The special election for Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s 2nd Congressional District seat will be held April 9.

Candidates on Your Marks

The special election for Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s vacated congressional seat has been tentatively set for March 19, with a primary on Feb. 26 -- unless Gov. Quinn can convince lawmakers to let him move it to April 9 to coincide with local municipal elections. Already, the list of candidates is lengthening.

JJJ's Replacements Begin Lining Up

Former House member and State Senator Debbie Halvorson, who lost to Jesse Jackson Jr. in the March primary election, announced that she plans to run for the seat he resigned last week. Among her potential fellow candidates are former Blago attorney Sam Adam, Jr., Todd Stroger, and pastor Corey Brooks.

Engage with Your Rights

The ACLU of Illinois is holding an interactive conference on civil liberties and human rights this Saturday, featuring "Daily Show" correspondent Aasif Mandvi; there's still time to register.

Return of the Toddler?

The Sun-Times reports that Todd Stroger is weighing a bid for resigning Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s seat, which will be filled via a special election.

JJJr. to Resign?

According to Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s brother Jonathan, the congressman will announce his resignation today. UPDATE: Jackson has resigned.

Harold! 25 Years Later

This week marks 25 years since Mayor Harold Washington's death in office. The Sun-Times offers a timeline of his ascent to mayor.

"Thanks in Advance"

Gov. Pat Quinn launched a new website explaining the importance of pension reform. It features a quick video and an oddly childlike aesthetic.

The New Chicago Machine

Behind the scenes here in Chicago, a team of hackers led by former Threadless CTO Harper Reed were ensuring President Obama got reelected. Ars Technica and the Atlantic have excellent profiles of how it all worked, while Crain's talked with Reed to find out what's next. (The technology behind the Romney campaign didn't fare nearly as well.)

Budget's Approved

City Council passed the 2013 budget, 46-3.

Hate Speech on the Back of the Bus

Ten CTA buses are carrying controversial ads calling on American's to "Support Copts. Defeat Jihad." The ads are from the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and appear in New York, DC and elsewhere.

United States of X: Election Edition

America is not red states and blue states, just purple ones. A new map showing voting patterns in the 2012 presidential election with greater granularity than ever before demonstrates just how true that is.


Here's a closeup view of Chicagoland.


"I guess I don't like the 'politics' part of politics."

Chicago magazine interviews statistician of the hour Nate Silver.

Legislation Wish List

Mayor Emanuel says legalizing gay marriage is his #3 priority in Springfield legislation, behind pension reform and a casino, and he plans to be "very involved" in the fight to pass it.

Local Food Trucks Sign on for Lawsuit Against City

The libertarian Institute for Justice, an anti-regulation voice in the Chicago food truck battle, and owners from Schnitzel King and Cupcakes for Courage filed a lawsuit against the city today. Read the Institute for Justice's press release or watch their video (below) for their pitch.

Major Security Breach on Chicago Board of Elections Website

Local computer forensics company Forensicon discovered a security breach on that allowed basic personal information of 1.7 million voters -- and much more detail for 1,200 job applicants -- to be accessed online.

Controversial Judge (Finally) Resigns

Cook County judge Susan McDunn, whose 20-year career took a major turn when she recently claimed to be the target of "secret" legal cases that were "ruining her life," voluntarily resigned last week. McDunn received complaints for misconduct in handling adoptions by gay couples in the late 90s.

Is CeaseFire Curing Violence?

The Sun-Times reports that CeaseFire, now known as Cure Violence, has had "no significant success stories" in the three months since being given $1 million by the City to help curb gang violence.

Gapers Block has covered CeaseFire extensively over the years, both positively and more skeptically. Most recently, Jason Prechtel questioned the decision by Vice magazine to run a documentary about CeaseFire as part of a marketing campaign for a revenge-themed video game; Vice has since removed the documentary from the marketing campaign site.

JJJr. Leaves Mayo

Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. has left the Mayo Clinic as rumors swirl that he'll resign as part of a deal regarding the federal investigation into possible misuse of campaign funds. Meanwhile, the WSJ reports that the investigation has expanded to include Ald. Sandi Jackson, his wife and campaign manager.

To be Demolished: Oddity Division

Among the buildings recently added to GB's To be Demolished project are a heliport, a meat packing building and a building whose owner seems to have been embroiled in a fast food feud.

Illinois Pension Reform by Jan 9?

Crain's reports that Governor Pat Quinn wants the state to fix their pension problems by January 9.

Presidential Change in Chicago

The City of Chicago is likely to benefit greatly from Obama's second term in office. According to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the president has promised to invest in the education and infrastructure of his hometown.

Reliving Election Night

If you forgot to pick up a newspaper on Wednesday morning, the Reader has you covered with a souvenir cover and stories from election night around the city.

Also, Simon Edelman shot a great video from a unique perspective at the Obama election night party.

Reporting Poll Problems

If there were irregularities (or downright violations) at your polling place, WBEZ wants to hear about it.

Plea Deal for JJJr?

The Sun-Times' Michael Sneed reports that Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. is "in the midst of plea discussions with the feds probing his alleged misuse of campaign funds."

What a Difference an Administration Makes

A picture from the infamous Obama Election Day Basketball Game shows how the President and former state treasurer and senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias have changed since their last meeting at the hoops.

How We Voted

Nearly a million Chicagoans came out to vote in the election yesterday, and 84 percent of them voted for President Obama, according to unofficial results from the Chicago Board of Elections.

As you can see below, 2nd Congressional District residents voted for Jesse Jackson, Jr. by nearly the same high margin.

Chicago Unofficial Summary Report - General Election Nov. 6, 2012

Obama Victorious, McCormick Place Boomed

By now, you surely know the very big news, and while McCormick Place is no Grant Park, people sure seemed to have fun there last night.

Country First, Baby Second

A Dolton woman in labor made a pit stop to vote while on the way to the hospital this morning.

Don't Instagram Your Ballot

As it turns out, snapping a quick photo of your ballot is illegal in many states, including Illinois.

My smug #ivoted mug.

Not OK:

UPDATE: Actually, the rules are a little fuzzy. As Gizmodo points out, there's nothing in Illinois law explicitly forbidding photographing your own ballot. However, it is illegal to photograph other citizens voting. Here's "10 ILCS 5/29-9," the section of election code that might be at issue:

Sec. 29-9. Unlawful observation of voting. Except as permitted by this Code, any person who knowingly marks his ballot or casts his vote on a voting machine or voting device so that it can be observed by another person, and any person who knowingly observes another person lawfully marking a ballot or lawfully casting his vote on a voting machine or voting device, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

Crain's Chicago Business got hold of Steve Sandvoss, an election specialist with the Illinois State Board of Elections, who said that section 5/29-9 "could be interpreted to prohibit a voter from photographing his or her ballot and then posting the photograph. Whether or not facts exists establishing such a violation would be up to a prosecutor's office."

Mr. Sandvoss also noted that "there is no per se prohibition on bringing a cellphone or camera into the polling place." But, "if the election judges determine that using either one is disruptive of the voting process, or is otherwise a violation of one or more election laws, they are empowered in my opinion to instruct the person to refrain from using it."

So there you have it. Possibly illegal, definitely not something to make a big deal out of doing while you're in the polling place. And don't even think about photographing someone else's ballot.

UPDATE 2: Ken Menzel, deputy general counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections, was much less ambiguous when he discussed the issue with the Tribune. Illinois election code prohibits voting in a way that can be observed by others, and posting photos of completed ballots on social media obviously violates that code. The law was meant to discourage vote-buying ("Having a picture of the ballot is an important cog in vote-buying schemes. The buyers want to know they got what they paid for," Menzel told the Tribune) and makes it a Class 4 felony with a one- to three-year prison sentence and a maximum $25,000 fine.

If You Don't Vote, You Can't Complain

So by that logic, voters can complain all they want.

Cutler Picks Mitt

In case you're still undecided this morning, here's one last endorsement: Jay Cutler is voting for Mitt Romney.

No for You

The Chicago Elections website is down right now; however, you can find your polling location elsewhere in the interim.

Point-Counterpoint on Elected School Boards

Center Square Journal's Mike Fourcher wrote a column giving reasons why voting yes on the referendum on elected school boards is a bad idea. GB's own Ramsin Canon argues that it's a good one.

Wisconsin for the Win

Illinoisians have become heavily involved in Obama for America efforts, and since the president's home state is solidly behind him, volunteers have concentrated on neighboring swing states. The most recent increase in OFA volunteers is likely due to the campaign's promise to provide volunteers with tickets to his Election Night Party at McCormick Place tomorrow evening.

Your Voting Resources

Now that you know where your polling place is and who's endorsed who, here are some handy resources for to have in your pocket tomorrow. is a web app that acts as a palm card on your smartphone, listing your choices for national, state and local votes.

The Chicago Tribune Ballot Builder serves a similar purpose, although it doesn't show judge evaluation data; ChicagoBallot does. is just for the judge retention portion of the ballot. It's built with data from Vote For Judges, which collects judge evaluations from the Illinois Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Chicago Council of Lawyers and the Chicago Tribune.

The Chicago Bar Association has its own mobile guide as well.

Endorse This!

If you want to get feedback on who to vote for tomorrow, here's some help: the Tribune, Independent Voters of Illinois, Vote for Judges, the Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Council of Lawyers (pdf), the Chicago Federation of Labor, the Chicago Citizen, and the Daily Herald. Happy voting! Polls are open from 6am-7pm.

Find Your Polling Place

In preparation for tomorrow, make sure you know where to head -- some precincts and polling locations have changed since the last election.

Kirk Conquers the Sears Tower

Sen. Mark Kirk participated in the SkyRise Chicago stair climb on Sunday, which benefited the Rehab Institute of Chicago, where he continues to recover from his stroke.

After climbing 37 stories with the aid of a brace on his left leg, Sen. Kirk gave an interview to NBC5's Mary Ann Ahern.

Quaxelrod Quakes in Anticipation

Dan Sinker: "This election cycle, there's only one metric I care about:" Mayor Emanuel: "!"

Hailo Launches, Uber Fights

London-based Hailo today officially joins Uber and other services that help you find a taxi in Chicago. Meanwhile, Uber is fighting legislation that could kill its car service business.

Your Custom Palm Card

If you have a smartphone, helps you figure out who you're voting for in advance and provides a convenient reminder when you get to the polls -- especially for those easy-to-forget bottom of the ballot names and issues.

Landmarks Commission to Determine Prentice's Fate

Now that Mayor Emanuel has come out against the preservation of Prentice Women's Hospital, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks is hearing the case for the hospital during today's noon meeting in room 201-A at City Hall.

From Rock the Cradle to Rock the Vote

Sixty students from the Chicago-area headed to Wisconsin today to take part in the Mikva Challenge, a non-partisan organization, "Elections in Action" program. The students will spend the weekend learning about and taking part in the presidential campaigns.

Straight Dem Ticket?

President Obama stopped back into town yesterday to become the first sitting president to vote early in person.


Four Years Later

The Reader talks with five Chicagoans about how they're feeling about Obama as the nation returns to the polls.

The Bi-Partisan Bedroom

Tracy Swartz talks to people about how to handle a mixed party relationship.

The Early Bird Gets a Ballot

If you know you won't be in town for the all-important Nov. 6 election, you can take advantage of early voting beginning this Monday; locations are open 9am-5pm, Monday through Saturday through Nov. 3.

Obama's Election Night Plans

After spending the day criss-crossing the country, President Obama will hold his election-night rally at McCormick Place Nov. 6.

Romney Flag on Willis Tower?

Chicagoist reports that a rogue ironworker briefly hung a Mitt Romney flag on top of the Willis Tower antenna. Politics aside, the corresponding video will likely give you vertigo.

The Book Thief & Genocide

Paul Rusesabagina, activist and subject of the film Hotel Rwanda, does a Q&A with WBEZ's Jerome McDonnell about the Rwandan genocide and The Book Thief, this fall's One Book, One Chicago reading selection, tonight at the Harold Washington Library.

Jackson Recovering Well?

Gawker reports that Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. was spotted at two bars in Washington D.C. with different women last week. Jackson was released last month following a long stay at the Mayo Clinic for bipolar disorder treatment, and he has not yet returned to work.

"Let's save the Union. Together."

Wanna see what the 1864 Lincoln/Johnson re-election campaign looks like with an Obama/Biden branding? Freaky.

"Race to Diversity"

Steve Bogira penned a satirical plan for Mayor Emanuel to pay a neighborhood $10,000 to diversify itself.

Ebert's Disappointed in You

Well, only if you believe a word Mitt Romney says.

The Smith Problem

State Rep. Derrick Smith put the Illinois Democratic Party in a really awkward place. Ben Joravsky tries to explain how it happened.

Don't Forget: Register to Vote

Today is your last day to register to vote in the November elections. Get on that.

"Stay angry."

NewCity profiles Joe Walsh, the Tea Party congressman who wears his anger on his sleeve.

NATO Fixes the Parks

There was apparently a little money left over from hosting the NATO Summit, so the City is giving it to the Park District to improve neighborhood parks.

Get Right for November 6

This coming Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote or to change your registration address.

Is Chicago the Most Racist City in America?

Gawker makes a stop in Chicago as part of its investigative series to determine the country's most racist city.

Live-Tweeting Among the Millions

The Sun-Times' columnists -- Mark Brown, Roger Ebert, Steve Huntley, Carol Marin, Mary Mitchell, Richard Roeper and Neil Steinberg -- live-tweeting the debates tonight. (A couple of them have already started, actually.) Should be at least a little more focused than the #Debate hashtag stream [via]

Voter Registration Deadline is Coming

Have you registered to vote yet? The deadline is October 9, and there's a wealth of information on the Chicago Board of Elections website--including information on voting early, should you be busy on November 6.

Occupy Arrests Thrown Out

Associate Judge Thomas Donnelly ruled the mass arrests of Occupy Chicago protesters to be unconstitutional in a 37-page ruling today. The charges following the arrests of 92 protesters for violating curfew in Grant Park were thrown out.

Chick-fil-A, I Thought You Were Gonna Stop Hating on the Gay Folk

If you were excited about Chick-fil-A's recent decision to stop funding anti-gay organizations in response to Alderman Proco Joe Moreno's opposition to their plans to build a second restaurant in his ward, you might want to reconsider; Chick-fil-A owner Dan Cathy tweeted a pic of a fundraiser held yesterday for an anti-gay lobbying group, and encouraged his audience to give directly to the group rather than go through Chick-fil-A's philanthropy arm, the WinShape Foundation. So the money may not be coming directly from Chick-fil-A, but the sentiment is?

Chik-fil-A Changes Heart; So Does Moreno

Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno acquiesced on his opposition to Chik-fil-A building a branch in Logan Square after the chain agreed to stop funding anti-gay organizations and issued a company mandate supporting equality regardless of sexual orientation.

CPS Back in Session Tomorrow

The Chicago Teachers Union voted today to end their seven day-long strike.

Fox News Gets Punked

Max Rice, a Columbia College student posing as a former Obama supporter, managed to get an awkward, unfunny on-air interview with Gretchen Carlson from Fox News on Monday morning. Carlson cut Rice off after realizing that Rice "wasn't ready for prime time."

Electing to Play

Forty-five theater companies around the country (and possibly more to come) will mount the Neo-Futurists' 44 Plays for 44 Presidents as part of the Plays for Presidents Festival. The performances will be compiled into a video that will debut about a week before the election.

CPS Strike to Continue

The tentative agreement that would have ended the weeklong CPS strike was not reached; expect teachers back at the picket line tomorrow, with the possibility that students could return to the classroom by Wednesday. Update: A CPS attempt to block to the strike today failed.

Fighting for Prison Kids

The ACLU is suing the state over the poor conditions in juvenile prisons, WBEZ reports. Read more in BEZ's "Inside and Out" series.

Face Off

Chicago-based actor Deanna Moffitt spoke with HuffPo about stock footage of her face being used in a television ad created by conservative PAC American Crossroads.

Rapping with Chuck D

Public Enemy founder Chuck D will be in town tonight with the Rap Sessions tour for a panel discussion about hip-hop, politics and the upcoming election. The talk, "Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama / Tea Party Era," is free and open to the public. Check out Slowdown for more details.

But Does he Like Creed?

In the most important press clarification of the year, Mayor Emanuel's Press Secretary Tarrah Cooper proclaimed that the mayor does not like Nickelback. Sorry, guys. (No word yet on Creed.)

This is How You Remind Me that We Need a Compromise

The Teacher's Strike has taken a much-needed comical turn.

Talking About the Violence

Speaking of CeaseFire, the organization is cosponsoring a forum on community violence tonight at the Chicago Urban League at 6pm. Details in Slowdown.

Teachers' Strike National News Roundup

The CTU strike is all over the national news, with coverage from The NY Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, CNN, NBC News, Reuters, and pretty much everyone else. Back in Chicago, a demonstrator had some disappointing news about the mayor.

CPS, Teachers Unable to Reach Agreement

"We have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent a labor strike." CPS is implementing its "Children First Plan," in which 144 schools will provide supervision for part of the day, and many churches, community organizations, parks and libraries will provide activities and "safe havens" for students. Additional details about the conflict are available in the CTU statement and CPS statement.

Why Chicago's not a Convention Town

Past GB contributor Ted McClelland explains why the national political conventions don't come to Chicago anymore.

Certain Rubicon Lines

John Cusack talks with constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley about "death panels" and other constitutional sins of the Obama administration.

When the GOP Came to the Windy City

The Chicago Film Archives put together a collection of newsreel footage from the 1960 Republican National Convention, which was held in Chicago. There's no sound for most of it, but that's kind of a nice change compared to today's "wall-to-wall" coverage.

Obama's "New" Chicago Politics

The Daily Beast looks at how Obama's approach to Chicago (and similar city) votes differs from the Democrats of yesterday.

Get More Cops on the Street

Emanuel and McCarthy's anti-violence strategy gets poor reviews from residents of the neighborhoods that are affected, where they're calling for even more of a police presence. Meanwhile, 50 officers were sent to the Democratic National Convention.

Is America Ready for a 2nd Term with a Black President?

The main theme that hovers around the presidency of Barack Obama is race. Is America still uncomfortable with the ethnic background of the sitting president?

Michelle Obama Depicted as Nude Slave in Spanish Magazine

First Lady Michelle Obama is currently on the cover of a Spanish magazine called Fuera de Serie. The article is called "Michelle Tataranieta De Esclava, Dueña De América" (Michelle Granddaughter of a Slave, Lady of America), and features a portrait that superimposes the her head onto the body of an African Guadeloupean female slave painted by French artist Marie-Guilhelmine Benoist in 1800.Of course, people in the states are outraged.

AMA the President

President Obama got on Reddit yesterday for an AMA (ask me anything) session. It swiftly reduced Reddit's servers to a pile of rubble, but in the meantime Obama answered plenty of pretty bland questions.

No Nerdy White Music Journalists

Kyle Kramer is covering the Republican National Convention for VICE magazine, and was barred from entering a blogger party Sunday because of his tumblr.

"Don't Shoot, I want to Grow Up"

Columbia College Chicago has just compiled a booklet out of letters from 22 students about their fears of violence in Chicago.

Bookin' Down to Missouri

This past Thursday, a group of women from Chicago began driving to the office of Missouri politician Todd Akin to deliver some helpful information to the guy who took it upon himself to define "legitimate" rape. They're turning it into a listening tour of sorts; you can follow their travels online.

Either Way, There Will be Celebrating in November

Now that the elections are heating up, Mother Jones is featuring Tammy Duckworth in its current issue. It notes that her "alive day" anniversary is just a few days after the election.

"Yes, he was demanding."

Jacquelyn Heard describes her experience serving as Mayor Daley's press secretary for 14 years.

"Call Me Maybe" ...for a Campus Tour

The University of Chicago department of admissions did a nice riff on Carly Rae Jepsen's ubiquitous hit song. Not nearly as over the top as the Chicago Young Republicans' take.

New Kid on the Block

Check out the new ward maps that will go into effect following the November 6 election. By the way, do you need to register to vote or change your address with the Board of Elections?

Politics & Preservation in Palmer Square

In Mechanics, Jason Prechtel gives an in-depth overview of the battle between parishioners, preservationists and Alderman Colón over the future of St. Sylvester's rectory on Palmer Square. Meanwhile, Ben Joravsky reports in the Reader on another political preservation fight.

Update on Jesse Jackson, Jr.

The latest on Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s health condition: The Mayo Clinic announced that he's being treated for bi-polar disorder.

Two if by Sea

Two Navy vessels will be joined by the Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy docking at Navy Pier as part of Navy Week. They're on the first scheduled Naval cruise of Lake Michigan since 1999.

Cash and a Card

The president and first lady will be in Chicago this weekend to raise a bunch of campaign funds; three of the four fundraisers are birthday themed.

"Challenge Teachers, Not Books"

The Illinois Family Institute is recommending parents pull their children from classrooms led by gay or LGBT-friendly teachers.

ChallengeTeachers, Not Books

The Opposite of Robin Hood?

The Pritzkers' Hyatt Hotels Corp. is receiving a $5.2 million TIF as part of the Harper Court redevelopment project on 53rd Street. The seven schools surrounding the TIF district are losing $3.4 million from their budgets -- which happens to be the about the amount that CPS loses in property taxes because of the TIF. Meanwhile, Penny Pritzker serves on the CPS board. Curtis Black explains.

Chik-Fil-A Protest Today

The Gay Liberation Network plans to protest outside of the Chik-Fil-A on Chicago Avenue today at 4:30pm. Details on Facebook.

Mitt Meets Chicago

Mitt Romney is in Chicago today. If you want to catch a glimpse, he's got lunch fundraising stops at Harry Caray's and Maggiano's in River North.

Keeping Rosemont in the Family

A joint Tribune and Medill Watchdog investigation exposes the extraordinary level of control and corruption of Rosemont's ruling Stephens family.

How Jesse Jackson Jr. Ended Up in the Hospital

Ald. Sandi Jackson shared details of her husband's collapse and hospitalization with the Sun-Times' Michael Sneed. She said it was due to debilitating depression, possibly brought on by a recent gastric bypass surgery, exacerbated by an overloaded work schedule.

Kirk's Road to Recovery

Sen. Mark Kirk continues to make progress recovering from his stroke, and recently met with colleagues, but he's not yet ready to do fundraisers.

Playing Chicken Sandwich

Tomorrow is Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day (also Chik-Fil-Gay Appreciation Day), and the Chicago Republican Party is celebrating by holding a press conference at City Hall announcing the filing of civil rights complaints over Ald. Moreno and Mayor Emanuel's comments about the chain's opposition gay marriage. (On that note, read Ramsin Canon's thoughts on the matter.)

Alderman Thomson Hospitalized

Sixteenth Ward Alderman Joann Thompson was hospitalized after collapsing at an Englewood music festival on Sunday.

Speaking for 2.8 Million

Jason Prechtel already had some reservations about the draft Chicago Cultural Plan. Participating in one of this week's town hall meetings didn't make him feel any better.

Spread Some Holiday Magic to Election Day

Two Chicago folks want to build some whimsy and expectation for the upcoming election by producing the Election Day Advent Calendar. You can support them on Kickstarter. (See other local projects on our curated page.)

Food Truck Ordinance Now Law

The food truck ordinance was passed by City Council today, just after the lunch hour. In Drive-Thru, Robyn Nisi explains why this might spell the end of the fledgling food truck industry.

Hatin' on Chicago

The Romney campaign has decided to make Chicago a critique of President Obama, but NBC5 and The Daily Beast aren't having any of it.

LPAC Launches with (Laura) Ricketts Support

Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts was on "Eight Forty-Eight" this morning to talk about LPAC, the political action committee focused on lesbian issues that she helped launch this week.

Politics as Usual, in Other Words

Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson revealed a number of cases of fraud, graft and other corruption in his quarterly report, delivered yesterday. Download it here.

Q2 2012 Complete Report Final

Corey Brooks Makes a Pit Stop

Pastor Corey Brooks has been walking across the country (previously) to raise money to build a community center on the site of the seedy motel he helped get demolished. He stopped here at home this weekend, halfway through his journey.

On Disability but Working

The Chicago Police Department pays $18 million a year in disability payments -- including quite a bit to people injured years ago who have gone on to work other jobs.

Emanuel to Romney: "Stop Whining"

Mayor Emanuel, Obama's former chief of staff, weighed in on the Mitt Romney-Bain Capital story this weekend: "Stop whining," he said on ABC's "This Week." "If you want to claim Bain Capital as your calling card to the White House, then defend what happened at Bain Capital."

What's Wrong with Jesse Jackson, Jr.?

So either Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is in rehab for alcoholism in a facility in Arizona, or he's being treated for a mood disorder. Whichever it is, Jackson's ongoing, unexplained medical leave is no longer just a local story.

Comic Art of the NATO Protests

Illustrator and comic artist Luke Radl created a cartoon of his visit to Chicago for the NATO Summit protests last month, augmented with audio, video and photos.

McCarthy vs. the Murder Rate

Police Chief Garry McCarthy is "under the gun" to reduce homicides. Chicago magazine profiles the man and the mission.

Posner: The GOP is Goofy

"I've become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy," said Federal Appellate Court Judge and UofC Professor Richard Posner in an interview on NPR last week. He also thinks the patent system has gotten out of sync with modern business, particularly regarding technology.

Riding Around the 1st Ward

John Greenfield and Andrew Bayley (previously) biked the perimeter of newly redrawn 1st Ward, highlighting the tortuous shape it's been twisted into in the name of political gerrymandering.

Don't Smoke Nothing Nobody Smoked

Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke dissect the politics behind Chicago's new pot law.

Military Service is Not as Valuable as My Crazy

Congressman Joe Walsh criticized his opponent Tammy Duckworth on CNN yesterday, stating that "all she does is talk about her military service."

NATO Protests, Drawn

Today on Cartoon Movement, Luke Radl has posted "My Kind of Town", a multimedia comic depicting the NATO protests from May.

Another Day, Another Crook

Former alderman Ambrosio Medrano and former Cook County Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno were arrested today on corruption charges.

Slow & Steady Wins the Race

WBEZ does a roundup of some of the media outlets who had a hard time reporting on today's health care decision.

Jesse Jackson, Jr. is Tired & Hard to Find

Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. has been on medical leave for two weeks, but only announced it on Monday and nobody outside his inner circle is quite sure where he is. His wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson, isn't telling.

Pot Bill Passes

City Council passed the ordinance making possession of 15g or less of marijuana a ticketable offense. Potheads can expect to pay $250 for the privilege of not taking a trip to the slammer.

From Bosses to Goo Goos

NPR recommends four books to help you understand Chicago politics.

Southern Whites on the North Side

Newcity's David Witter provides a contemporary treatment of Uptown's Appalachian influences and history. For further reading, view Whet Moser's January post about the history of Appalachian migration to Chicago.

More Working Citizens

A new Brookings Institution report identifies Chicago as one of 10 US cities that account for 51% of all naturalized citizens. The report details that Chicago's population is 4% naturalized citizens and has a balance between high and low skilled labor characteristics.

Virtually Disconnected

Recently, a local activist posted an impassioned call to action recalling an incident at Lincoln Hall a few weeks ago. Her story is one of misunderstanding, judgment, fear and the lines that we all try so desperately to tow.

Agree with her or not, she represents the marginalization of our fair city and no matter how comfortable we may become in our isolated spaces created by the quiet segregation of the past several decades, we are all a part of the city at-large and perhaps the real point of her experience--and all those she represents--is that discrimination is a default reaction to so many of our interactions with strangers. We've all seen it, someone being accused of being a bigot and someone else defensively standing their open-minded ground. Chicago is better than its racist roots. But where does the real change begin? The Internet isn't small enough to hold everything we should be saying to each other.

Obama Lets Young Immigrants Stay

President Obama issued an executive order halting deportation and grant work permits illegal immigrants who arrived in the US before they were 16 and who have no criminal history, among other criteria.

High Noon, Starring the Portage Theater

Tomorrow, the Zoning Board of Appeals will meet to decide if the Portage Theater (previously covered by Gapers Block) will be converted into a church, consequently ending all film programming and inhibiting economic growth in the neighborhood. Supporters are encouraged to attend the meeting at 9 a.m., at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle, in the City Council Chambers on the 2nd floor. Find more information here, here, and at Alderman John Arena's site.

Deb Mell has Breast Cancer

State Rep. Deborah Mell has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Toyota Park's Broken Promise

The Chicago Fire's stadium in Bridgeview has crippled the suburb with debt, and homeowners have born the brunt while the town's political machine made out, the Tribune reports.

Joe Walsh vs. Joe Walsh

Musician Joe Walsh won't be endorsing Tea Party congressman Joe Walsh to represent Illinois' 8th Congressional district in this year's election. He's backing Walsh's Democrat opponent, Tammy Duckworth, instead.

Speaking of Faltering...

Chicago may be losing ground, but Mayor Emanuel's trying to shore up the city with the help of a non-profit board that'll seek private investors for public works projects.

Fresh Fruit: Coming Soon to a Curb Near You

Even though the term "food desert" has been the subject of some debate lately, the City Council's decision to allow mobile produce trucks has got to be good for folks who don't have easy access to grocery stores -- or who just want a really, really ripe peach.

Follow Pastor Brooks from Home

You can follow rooftop Pastor Corey Brooks' new cross-country walk "to end violence" on the project's website, as well as in more immediate words and photographs.

Chicago's Other Presidential Candidate

Jill Stein, a Massachusetts physician who was born in Chicago, has clinched the Green Party presidential nomination.

"What is a TIF?"

Most people have no idea how tax increment financing works, so the City made a video trying to explain it. Ben Joravsky has a lot of fun ripping it apart.

Wrigley Building Landmarked

The Wrigley Building is now an official Chicago landmark. For some reason, the building owners are going to celebrate by pointing blue lights at it for the next few months.

50 for Food

Lakeview Pantry's 50-year-old executive director will be hoofing it 50 miles -- from Kenosha to Chicago -- to raise money for the nonprofit organization. Every dollar donated buys 10 pounds of food, so skipping that one iced latte would make a 45.2-pound difference to someone in need.

Lawsuit Filed Against Illinois' Civil Union Law

The ACLU of Illinois and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against the state of Illinois and Cook County Clerk David Orr yesterday on behalf of 25 same-sex couples, claiming the state's civil union law violates the Illinois Constitution's guarantee of equal protection and due process. Learn more about it here.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

DC and Louisiana are ahead of Illinois in terms of political corruption convictions per capita, but the US district of Chicago makes up 84 percent of the state's convictions.

Mark Kirk (Kinda, Sorta) May Have Pulled a John Edwards

The senator's ex-wife Kimberly Vertolli has filed an FEC complaint alleging that the campaign intentionally hid over $140k in payments to Kirk's ex-girlfriend for public relations work.

Cops are Pissed Post-NATO

The Fraternal Order of Police has filed several grievances against the City in connection to the NATO Summit -- the latest being that officers aren't receiving overtime pay for their extra service.

"Pinstripe Patronage"

The City has paid more than $63 million in legal fees for police misconduct cases since 2003, the Chicago Reporter has discovered.

31 Days for Oscar Lopez Rivera

From April 29 to May 29, activists and community members are participating in 31 Days for 31 Years, an exhibit commenting on the imprisonment of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera.

Presidential Recreation in the Secure Zone

President Obama took some time to throw around ye olde pigskin in Soldier NATO Field on Sunday evening.


Secure, Surveil and Stimulate?

U of C Law professor Bernard Harcourt notes that while NATO will finish today, its local legal and policy ramifications will not.

NATO, Minute by Minute

Wondering what they're up to over there? Here's the NATO Summit schedule.

Wrigley Rebuild on Rickettsy Ground

Not surprisingly, Joe Ricketts' planned ad campaign against Obama (previously) pissed off Mayor Emanuel, putting the Rickettses' request for public funding of a Wrigley remodel on shaky footing. Joe Ricketts' Super PAC issued a statement that the campaign was just a proposal, and his kids spent yesterday doing damage control.

The Formation of Emanuel

Northwestern's alumni magazine has a long profile of Rahm Emanuel from childhood to first term as mayor -- along with a fun analysis of his rhetorical toolbox. [via]

The Conservative Chicago Cubs

Joe Ricketts, the head of the family who owns the Cubs, is preparing a major campaign to "defeat Barack Hussein Obama." The NY Times reports that one option is a $10 million racialization of the presidential race by reinserting Rev. Jeremiah Wright and others to influence voters who "still aren't ready to hate this president."

Chomsky Weighs In

What's a protest without Noam Chomsky? The veteran activist talks about the history of NATO and the protests in Chicago in a new video. [via]

Chicago's New Third Party

No, not the Greens. The 10th District Unity Party was formed by several Chicago Democrats in order to mount a challenge against indicted State Rep. Derrick Smith

NATO Protestors Might Get an Earful

The Guardian reports that Chicago police will have a new weapon to combat NATO protesters: the long range acoustic device, or LRAD, which can emit a high-pitched "deterrent tone" that is painful and potentially harmful to human ears. (h/t Dee)

Where the Protests Are

The NATO Summit isn't till the weekend, but the action starts today. has a list of all the week's activities.

The Night Watchman Endangers a NATO Protest

The City threatened to pull the permit for a May 18 NATO protest by National Nurses United, after musician Tom Morello was added to the rally. The protest may continue if it's moved to the Petrillo Band Shell instead of Daley Plaza; Morello, who was born in Libertyville, said "Mayor Emanuel is afraid of me, afraid of nurses and afraid of the truth."

"I think same sex couples should be able to get married."

President Obama affirmed today that he supports same-sex marriage, after years of wobbling back and forth on the issue. The Guardian made a great infographic of what rights each state affords gay, lesbian and transgender residents.

Chicago's Power Ranking

There are lots of rankings of cities' global influence, and Chicago is always near the top. A new study from the McKinsey Global Institute takes all the other ones and totals them up for an aggregate rating. Chicago still looks good.

RIP Chris Drew & the Eavesdropping Law He Fought

Activist artist Christopher Drew passed away on Monday after a battle with lung cancer. His last post on his blog April 1 questioned what was next after the state legislature failed to change the eavesdropping law that he'd protested for years, ultimately leading to his arrest in 2009. The felony charge against him was thrown out in March, but unfortunately, he didn't live to see the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago declared the law unconstitutional yesterday. He'll be missed.

Decision of Seventh Circuit US Court of Appeals in American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois vs. Anita Alv...

Not In My Backyard

44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney's not too happy with the mayor's proposal to renovate and revitalize Wrigley Field.

Clout & Ethics at City Club

Jay Doherty, president of the City Club of Chicago, is under investigation for allegedly using the club to help clients of his lobbying firm, Chicago magazine reports.

The Toxins in Our Bodies

A new Tribune investigative series looks at toxic products in our homes and the campaigns tobacco and chemical manufacturers waged to get them there. First up is flame retardants; more coming all week.

Why Guard the Mart?

The BGA wonders why there's a policeman assigned to patrol the Merchandise Mart while the CPD is understaffed and dealing with rising crime rates.

Stop Hogging All Your Talents

Better Boys Foundation, a North Lawndale community organization that provides kids with after-school and summer programming, is looking for -- among other things -- knitting instructors, bike mechanics, gardeners, dance teachers and playground monitors. (Thanks, The Needle Shop!)

The Emanuel Administration at 1

Crain's focuses in on Rahm's first year with a special section.

Our Five Star Mayor

How has Mayor Emanuel done on his campaign promises? Rate him yourself on Tabs On Rahm, a site by Chirag Patel and Matt Danzico, the guys behind the similar Tabs on Obama.

Infrastructure Trust Wins Approval

City Council approved the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, Mayor Emanuel's plan to garner private funds for public works projects. Read Ramsin Canon's piece on the Trust, and his latest thoughts now that it's passed, in Mechanics.

The Rumor of Fact's Demise

The Trib's Rex Huppke eulogizes Facts, which apparently are no longer with us.

Chicago Teachers Ask Illinois for Support

CPS teachers are seeking state support to increase The Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF), which is currently underfunded by millions of dollars. Senate Bill 3628 would allow $270 million to flow into the CTPF but, after that, state contributions would fall to ten percent of what it provides to the Teachers Retirement Fund, which is for teachers outside of Chicago. If the bill were to pass the senate it would still need to find support in the Illinois House. Controversial spending by the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) of Illinois adds an element of question to the debate.

City Council Passes Speed Camera Ordinance

After much debate, the City Council passed the Child Safety Zone Ordinance, aka the speed camera ordinance, 33-14. The council also approved an expansion of the bike share program.

Even Aldermen Run Red Lights

WBEZ reports that several aldermen have gotten nabbed by red light cameras.

Digging into CDOT Accident Data

City Council will be considering the speed camera ordinance tomorrow, and CDOT has provided some ward-by-ward accident data for them to review. The Expired Meter got hold of the report and provides some analysis.

Dressing with Hope

An Obama campaign fashion show? Yep, June 12.

The Occupation of Woodlawn Mental Health Center

Twenty-three people were arrested at an Occupy protest last night against the closure of Woodlawn Mental Health Center. Ramsin Canon reports in Mechanics.

Daley on the Stand

Former Mayor Daley has agreed to testify in a lawsuit against the City concerning the Jon Burge torture case.

Take the Man Out of Gerrymandering

Think that City Council did a shoddy job of redistricting wards earlier this year? Then do it yourself: researchers at UIC devised an interactive game to redistrict the city's wards, challenging users to create equally diverse boundaries. Harder than you think?

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

Rolling Stone's Rick Perlstein thinks Rahm has a problem with democracy.

Behind the Blago Administration

As former Blagojevich chief of staff John Harris does his 10 days of prison time, details about the chaos he had to manage emerge.

The Rock Hard Abs of Government

Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock has been reimbursed over $150,000 from his campaign committee for expenses ranging from Greek vacations to P90X exercise videos, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington reports. [via]

Necrophilia Might Become Illegal

The Illinois House voted 114-0 on Wednesday to make necrophilia a Class 2 Felony.

Selling Out Pays

Rod Blagojevich's former chief of staff John Harris received a ten day prison sentence for his role in the senate seat debacle that sent his old boss to jail for 14 years. Harris provided key testimony for the prosecution.

Bobby Rush Dons a Hoodie

Congressman Bobby Rush was removed from the House floor for wearing a hoodie while addressing the Trayvon Martin case. Acting Speaker Gregg Harper (R-MS) asked the sergeant-at-arms to enforce the House rule forbidding hats in the chamber.

Naughty Celebrities Need Magazines, Too

Goodie Mags is a service that sends magazines to your loved ones in the hospital, nursing homes, even jails and prisons. You can also send magazines to your favorite incarcerated celebrities! The first celebrity recipient? According to Goodie Mags founder and CEO Miriam Bhimani, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

The Language of Protest

Collectors Weekly traces the modern history of protest posters and manifestos from Chicago 1968 up to today's Occupy movement.

Power Bracket

Chicago Current has launched a Sweet 16 of Clout; vote for the most influential in each bracket and see who advances.

To Vote... or Not

In Mechanics, Ramsin Canon explains why he's not voting today, and Monica Reida tells why she nearly didn't either.

Pinocchio is Alive and Well in Illinois

Given today is the Illinois primary, The Washington Post's Fact Checker reviewed one of Romney's Illinois radio ads attacking Santorum. The verdict? Two Pinocchios.

United States of X: Corruptibility Edition

You'll never guess where Illinois lands on a study of corruption risk (not corruption itself) in each state. [via]

Endorse This!

Here's some resources for tomorrow's elections (you're gonna vote, right?): find your voter status, sample ballot and polling place (which will be open from 6am-7pm), and take a look at endorsements by the Tribune (note that the Sun-Times ended endorsements earlier this year), the Independent Voters of Illinois [pdf], Vote for Judges, the Chicago Bar Association, Chicago Federation of Labor, Chicago Council of Lawyers, and Planned Parenthood Illinois.

Light at the Polls

Voter turnout is expected to be particularly light for tomorrow's Illinois primary.

The Non-Party Alderman

Time Out profiles 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar, who's still trying to stay clear of party politics a year after getting elected.

About that Festival...

In Mechanics, Joe Macaré delves into the Occupy Festival and its implications for the movement it's co-opted.

The Republican Primary Gets Weird

While the Illinois Republican primary might actually matter this election season, a presidential candidate debate in Chicago this week featured zero actual candidates. Meanwhile, there are accusations of fraud circling the Chicago GOP chairman election.

State Rep. Arrested on Bribery Charges, Primary in Trouble

Yesterday federal agents arrested North Side State Representative Derrick Smith and charged him with bribery. He allegedly accepted $7,000 to support a grant to a day care center. The other effect of the arrest is the upcoming primary is going to be a nightmare.

What Really Motivates Street Violence

In These Times' Joel Handley makes the case that our understanding of gangs is outdated, and the city could do a better job of dealing with street violence if it had a better model of its causes.

What the Speed Cameras Might Look Like

Details of the speed camera revenue plan are starting to roll out of city hall, including that the cameras would be in operation by the end of the year.

Vote Early, Bowl Often

The Ward Room runs down some of the odder polling places around the city -- and includes sample Yelp reviews.

Go Downtown for NATO

The head of the NATO event welcoming committee recently met with business owners to provide a new level of details about planning and clearly asked for people to head downtown during the NATO meeting.

How Can We Rethink Ownership?

MAS Context's new issue (and redesign) is live, and the theme is "ownership."

Fighting for the 39th District

In Mechanics, Caroline O'Donovan profiles the campaign of Will Guzzardi, the latest challenger to the Chicago machine.

The City's Newest Public Pool

Everyone's favorite Chinatown park, Ping Tom Memorial Park, will be getting a new fieldhouse and pool as part of its massive expansion on the north side of 18th Street.

Catholic Schools Avoid Steppenwolf Play With Gay Bullying Themes

Catholic schools that ordinarily patronize the Steppenwolf for Young Adults series are steering clear of FML: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life, an original piece by Sarah Gubbins that touches on issues of bullying gay students. Sex columnist Dan Savage of the It Gets Better Project is making a special appearance this Friday in a post-show discussion with his brother, Bill Savage. The play runs through March 18, with matinee performances available for school groups, and public performances Saturdays and Sundays.

When We Can Kill You

In the wake of Chicago losing the G8 summit yesterday, you may have missed the speech US Attorney General Eric Holder gave at Northwestern Law School explaining when and why the US government can kill American citizens overseas in the name of terrorism prevention.

Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at Northwestern University School of Law

G8 No Longer Coming

The White House announced today that the G8 Summit will be held at Camp David instead of in Chicago. NATO is still on.

Shut it Down

After decades of protesting, Little Village and Pilsen residents celebrate a recent deal to shut down two coal-fired power plants, owned by Midwest Generation. Pollution from the plants has been blamed for illness, asthma attacks and even death in the community over the years.

Birthday, Interrupted

A celebration of Chicago's 175th birthday with Rahm Emanuel at the Chicago History Museum was interrupted by a group protesting the closure and consolidation of city mental health clinics.

NATO/G8 will be Pricey

The NATO and G8 summits could cost the City as much as $65 million according to Stand Up Chicago. Steve Rhodes digs further into that number.

Mike Madigan Tries Humor

Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan is feeling the heat a little this election season, so he's rolling out the big guns: campaign flyers poking fun at Rod Blagojevich.

$1.7 Billion to Fix the Grid

Bill Clinton joined Mayor Emanuel to announce a $1.7 billion "Infrastructure Trust" to fund projects like upgrading the city's energy infrastructure. Meanwhile, James Warren writes in The Atlantic about Emanuel's growth strategy for Chicago.

Fixing the Minority Set-Aside

The City announced an $11 million plan to overhaul the minority contracting program, and it's funding it on a settlement collected from Allied Waste Management, one of the companies tied to the hired truck scandal.

How Much Would You Pay Roland?

Sun-Times reporter Neil Steinberg reflects on how he could have handled a chance encounter with former Senator Roland Burris differently. (If you haven't already, listen to Burris' WBEZ interview from Friday afternoon.)

Help Plan the Plan 2.0

The Chicago Housing Authority is launching [pdf] the design process for the "Plan for Transformation 2.0," and they'd like your input.

Election Ads Were Always Bad

Mental_Floss collects eight campaign commercials from Adlai Stevenson's presidential bid in 1952. [via]

Another Occupation at Republic Windows Site

Serious Materials, the company that took over the Republic Windows factory after the 2009 sit-in, says it is closing the Chicago plant immediately. In response, workers are occupying the site again, asking for more time to explore the plant's future. Updates are being posted to the Occupied Tribune site, where it is reported that the workers and management are making progress with their negotiations. UPDATE: An agreement has been reached to keep the plant open for 90 days to explore options for new ownership.

To be Demolished: South Side Foreclosures

Today's To be Demolished entries, 1448 W. 62nd St. and 8537 S. Escanaba Ave., are both victims of the mortgage crisis.

"You done started something, you gotta keep it up now."

Buddy Guy got President Obama to sing a verse of "Sweet Home Chicago" with B.B. King during Blues night at the White House last night. The full concert, which also featured Mick Jagger, Trombone Shorty, Shemekia Copeland and Jeff Beck, will be broadcast on WTTW Monday, Feb. 27 at 9pm as part of the station's Black History Month programming.

President Obama sang a bit of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" on Jan. 19 at a fundraiser for the Apollo Theater.

Obama on Camera

Buzzfeed shares a timeline of Barack Obama on video going back to 1991. As Chicagoist notes, a lot of this is old news to Chicagoans.

Knight in Shining (Riot) Armor

The City is currently taking bids to outfit the Chicago Police Department's 30-man mounted unit with riot gear for the G8 summit. And not just the officers, but the horses too -- leather nose guards, wrap-around eye visors, high-impact plastic leg shields and a small sign asking you not to pull on their tail (not true).

Not One to Judge

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Vanessa A. Hopkins took over 200 sick days last year due to a shoulder injury and various undisclosed illnesses. Hopkins' tenure hasn't been without other controversy; she only had two years of professional experience when she became a judge in 1996, and every local bar group has deemed her unqualified for her position. Hopkins represents the first judicial subcircuit, which encompasses part of the South Side; she is up for re-election this fall.

CTU Rally in Support of Schools

There's a rally this afternoon at 4pm at Lake View High School, Ashland and Irving Park, in support of the schools on CPS's short list for closure and turnaround. The rally will then march up to Mayor Emanuel's home.

Emanuel Appeals the Census

The Emanuel administration is challenging the 2010 census count for Chicago, claiming that as many as 2,350 residents were missed. Since each resident earns the City around $1,200 a year in federal funding, adding even that few people to the 2,695,598 estimated population would mean an extra $2.8 million a year.

The Reader's NATO/G8 Primer

"Everything you wanted to know about hosting international summits but were afraid to ask."

The Fire is Out

Fire Commissioner Thomas Hoff has resigned after 35 years of service.

Things to Do in Denver

Visit Rod Blagojevich! He reports to prison there March 15 for his fourteen-year corruption sentence.

We're #1, For Very #2 Reasons

A UIC study led by professor and former alderman Dick Simpson shows that Chicago is the most corrupt federal district in the country. The study also finds that Illinois is the third most corrupt state in the nation.

3K NATO/G8 Police Face Shields

Chicago is spending about $193,000 for police face shields — Money well spent?

Emanuel's Inner Circles

Mayor Emanuel doesn't have one circle of advisers, he has several. Fran Spielman names some names.

Transcript of Tribune Interview with Rahm Emanuel

Check out the full transcript of Tribune reporter David Kidwell's Feb. 8 interview with Emanuel — an interview described as "sometimes contentious, sometimes humorous."

Pinning Your Hopes on a Candidate

The Busy Beaver Button Museum got attention in Time for its collection of political pins.

Been Caught Speeding, Now Paying

Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law this morning that will allow for tickets to be issued to drivers caught speeding within an eighth of a mile of schools or parks on the network of red light cameras. The law goes into effect July 1.

Expect Them May 1

Adbusters isn't the only organization planning to occupy Chicago during the NATO and G8 summits. Anonymous is on its way, too. [via]

Did Adbusters Bulldoze #OccupyChicago?

When Adbusters jumped on the NATO/G8 protest bandwagon last week, they did so without checking with #Occupy Chicago.

Newt's No Survivor

Newt Gingrich may want to be seen as rising up the the challenge of his rival, but he didn't check on whether Survivor was OK with him using "Eye of the Tiger" at campaign rallies, and now he's got a legal challenge on his hands.

If you liked my play on the lyrics up there, you'll love Samantha Abernathy's post on Chicagoist.

Teeny Tiny Obamas

If your indoor plants are seeming a bit lonely, why not get them a set of wee Obamas to keep them company.

Will We See #OccupyNATOG8?

Adbusters has put a call for protest of the NATO and G8 summits in Chicago this spring. But how many people will show up?

Miss Representation

Tonight at 5:30, Northwestern is hosting a free screening of the documentary Miss Representation. It premiered at Sundance last year, and looks at how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America

How Puzzling

IIT grad student Andrew Bayley built a jigsaw puzzle based on the new ward map. Unfortunately, you can't build the corners and sides first; all the pieces seem to be crooked.

Political Puzzle Pieces

Andrew Bayley thought the new ward map looked like a jigsaw puzzle. So he made it into one. Ward Room's Ted McClelland talked with him about it.

The City is a Jigsaw

Andrew Bayley, a graduate student at the Illinois Institute of Architecture has created a wooden jigsaw puzzle version of the new ward map. [via]

A Token of Appreciation

Protestors delivered a golden toilet to the CME's chairman, Terry Duffy, this morning in protest of the "corporate welfare" the organization received from the state.

Sen. Kirk Back on His Phone

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, after suffering a stroke and undergoing surgery on Monday, is in good condition. He even asked for his Blackberry, according to the Sun-Times. His Twitter account, which appears to be at least partially authored by the Senator himself, has been inactive since the stroke.

Rules for Republicans?

Richard Adams of The Guardian asks: "Saul Alinsky: who is he and why does Newt Gingrich keep mentioning him?"

Burnett: Man of the People?

The Reader's Mick Dumke gets up close and personal with Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. John Greenfield talked with Ald. Burnett about transportation for us last year.

Out with the Old Map, In with the New

The Tribune apps team makes it easier to see what changes have been made to ward map by putting it side-by-side with the old one.

Obama's Lovin' You Forever

We don't usually talk about him unless he's in town, but this is too good to pass up: Barack Obama sang the first line of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" last night at a fundraiser at the Apollo Theater -- with Rev. Al Green in the audience.

Read Between the Lines

After today's contentious City Council vote to redraw ward lines, you may have a new alderman starting in 2015. More in Mechanics.

Durbin and Kirk Websites Down

The official websites for Senators Durbin and Kirk are down, likely under tremendous burden from the PIPA/SOPA traffic. Still, the Senators' phone lines are active, even if Kirk is letting calls go to voicemail.

City Ethics Message Board

The City's Ethics Reform Task Force launched an online forum Wednesday that allows the public to make recommendations for strengthening city ethics rules. Of the few posts already up on the forum, all anonymous, there seem to be a few common suggestions for aldermanic ethics rules: term limits, more open meetings and a ban on lawmakers working for city contractors once they leave office.

Taxi Drivers Talk Back on Proposed Regulation

Author and cabbie Dmitry Samarov weighs in on Mayor Emanuel's proposed new taxi ordinance. Chicago Dispatcher has even more dissent.

DIY Ward Maps

Have a lot of free time or want something to do during this weekend? WBEZ has a guide to help people create their own ward maps. Data and links to required programs are listed, but assembly is required.

The Least Self-Aware Comment of the Week?

Yesterday CBOE Holdings Inc. CEO Bill Brodsky criticized the state's dire financial situation after his company recently received an estimated $6 million in new state tax cuts.

President Obama to be at UIC

President Barack Obama is confirmed to appear at the UIC Forum tomorrow, the latest addition to his scheduled fundraisers in the city.

Confounding Fathers

The year is 2012, and six of the Founding Fathers have been kidnapped through time to be props in the presidential election. Follow the antics of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison in the new transmedia series, "I Made America."

I'm Sure He'll Get Another Job Really Soon

Bill Daley has resigned as White House Chief of Staff, after a year on the job. Daley had planned to leave at the end of Obama's current term.

Your Lobbyist Representative

In Illinois, it's totally legal for a government official to simultaneously work as a lobbyist -- even when the issue they're lobbying for is being considered by a committee they sit on.

Fighting Back

To show support for the suburban woman who was brutally assaulted and raped on New Year's Eve in Logan Square, Rape Victims Advocates have organized a community meeting tonight at 5:30pm [PDF]. Meet at the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee; the group will then walk to the area where the woman was found.

Log an Square Community Response 2012

Hey Girl, You Might Not Want to Google His Name

Aaron Kraus has created a Tumblr (NSFW) with an intersection of the phrase "Hey Girl" from Ryan Gosling memes, Rick Santorum's positions women's rights and pictures of Rick Santorum. Submissions to the blog are being accepted (Still NSFW).


Our Cautionary Tale

The parking meter debacle is back in the news -- in LA.

Watching the Clock

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists hosts its third annual Doomsday Clock Symposium next Monday, Jan. 9, after which they'll adjust the clock if deemed necessary. It is currently at six minutes to midnight.

Parking Meters to Increase Again

On Monday, street parking rates will increase again. Parking will cost $5.75 an hour in the Loop, $3.50 in other business districts and $1.75 in neighborhoods.

The Stop Online Creativity Act

ReadWriteWeb's Alicia Eler talks with Chicago artists about the effect SOPA would have on online artists.

The State Wants You to Gamble Online

It looks like the U.S. Justice Department will allow states to sell lottery tickets online, and Illinois plans to get in on the action as soon as possible.

Treasurer & Comptroller Stay Separate

State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka and State Treasurer Dan Rutherford thinks their offices should be merged into one. House Speaker Michael Madigan doesn't agree.

Stereo too Loud? That's $750 for the City

A bevy of new fines and fee increases are scheduled for the new year. WBEZ provides some highlights.

Mapmaking Made Easy

"These 50 Democrats are chumps compared with party colleagues in the state legislature. Those guys know how to chew gum, draw a map and stick a knife in rivals' backs at the same time." -James Warren on the city and state's redistricting machinations.

Getting a Deal on Civil Disobedience

Whet Moser thinks Emanuel's proposed $1,000 fine for protesting the G8 summits next spring is a bargain.

Emanuel's PAC

The Reader's Steve Bogira takes a look at campaign finance and political action committees in Chicago, and notes that the CME, which won its tax break from the state this week, tipped its local representatives handsomely.

Have a Coke and a Smile, Richie

The former mayor just added *another* job title to his resume: board member of the Coca-Cola company.

Representing & Representing

Chicago magazine's special report on politicians currying favor with former and current gang leaders is a must-read.

Questioning CeaseFire

CeaseFire's visibility increased this year with the release of The Interrupters, but is it effective? Michael Moreci reports in Mechanics.

Campaign HQ in GQ

GQ takes you inside the Obama 2012 HQ.

Logan Square to Fight Alderman Over Zoning for McDonald's Renovation

Concerned residents, pedestrians and public safety advocates will be attending a hearing at City Hall tomorrow at 10am to protest an ordinance that Logan Square alderman Rey Colon is proposing that would allow a removal of a "Pedestrian Street" designation in order for a McDonald's (located at 2707 North Milwaukee) to undergo renovation.

Watching the Lobby charts the biggest lobbyists in the city. It's part of the Apps for Metro Chicago competition, on which you can still vote through Dec. 12.

Newspaper, 99%

Keep your eye out for a copy of the Occupied Chicago Tribune, in print and online.

Running the Numbers on Closing Police Districts

The Chicago Justice Project examines the crime rates in the police districts scheduled for closing. [via]

Rahm Wants Less PR

Mayor Emanuel is considering cuts to the City's communications department, according to the Chicago News Coop.

Blago Gets 14 Years in Jail

Our former governor's long trial is over.


CRO's latest political street art features a familiar pizza baron.

$9.99 (CRO)
Photo by Gabriel X. Michael.

Maneuvering Through Marijuana Laws' Moires

The Reader's Joravsky and Dumke dig into the politics of pot.

Maggie Daley Funeral Today

WGN will be streaming the event, which starts at 10:30am at Old Sat Pat's, 700 West Adams. Airspace restrictions at O'Hare indicate that Michelle Obama (who once worked for Mayor Daley) may be attending.

Maggie Daley, RIP

The former mayor's wife has died after a long history with cancer. She was 68 years old.

The World is Run by Below Average Students

Citing our "liberal policies [that] are an insult to the traditional values of downstate families," two Republican state reps from central Illinois have proposed a bill for Cook County to separate from Illinois and become its own state.

A Sunday Afternoon with Some Pepper Spray

Even Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" is getting in on the action following the UC Davis pepper spray debacle.


Talking Small, Thinking Big

Does an AV Club commenter who writes like Cookie Monster need to clearly explain the Occupy Wall Street movement to you?

So Much for the Theory that Immigrants Drain Resources

A new report [pdf] by Notre Dame researchers demonstrates that Latin American immigrants contribute more tax revenue to Chicago than the cost of the public services they receive.

City Budget Passes

Mayor Emanuel's budget was just passed City Council unanimously.

#OccupyChi's Success

While Occupy protestors in other cities have met with force, Chicago has been largely free of violence (a nice contrast to the city's reputation with protests) -- and as a result has seen its influence grow.

Meanwhile, a group of Occupy Chicago protestors were down in Hyde Park Monday night to protest the Condoleezza Rice/Henry Paulson talk. The talk was postponed, but the protest went on anyway.

Off the Record

Gawker is investigating Rahm Emanuel's use of his personal email account to communicate with Attorney General Eric Holder during his tenure as Obama's Chief of Staff, which is a violation of the Presidential Records Act. Government officials maintain that the exchanges were of a "purely personal" matter.

Occupy the Winter!

Remember that article about what might happen to Occupy Chicago in the winter? One idea from the demonstrators: move indoors.

Perspectives on Protest

Monica Westin examines Occupy Chicago with 13 different approaches, managing to make more sense of the whole than most so far.

Schulter's Ravenswood Shelter

The Ravenswood Community Council continues to receive city contracts despite being deemed unfit by the Dept. of Community Development. It's become former alderman Eugene Schulter's private fiefdom, according to a Center Square Journal exposé.

Walsh Loses Mind, Needs More Coffee

The tea party congressman and pro-family deadbeat dad turned a meeting with constituents at a restaurant in Barrington last weekend into a screaming match over the economy.

Plus Rahm

The Mayor's Office added Google+ to its arsenal of social media accounts.

Privacy in Politics

The Tribune finds out that Rahm's promise for "transparent government" applies to everyone but him.

Another Daley Gets Crafty with Job Responsibilities, Title

The WSJ is reporting that a large part of the duties of Obama's Chief of Staff William Daley are undergoing an unprecedented transfer over to fellow aide Pete Rouse. Daley will retain the title but will focus more on specific projects rather than day-to-day management of the White House.

Rape Survivor Forces Catholic Leaders to Apologize

Cardinal Francis George and the Catholic Conference of Illinois are doing some pretty fast backtracking after learning the actual facts of an event they protested without knowing the event's details.

Local Woman Accuses Cain of Harassment

A Chicago-area woman came forward today to accuse Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment.

Happy Bill Kurtis Day!

Later today Chicago's Cultural Affairs Commissioner will proclaim today in honor of Bill Kurtis and his partner, Donna LaPietra.

A Ward Redraw Plan, Gratis

The Pro Bono Thinking Society has a proposal for a rational, non-gerrymandered ward redraw, all ready for the City Council's consideration.

Adding and Subtracting Punitive Surveillance

Just as the state is thinking about expanding the abilities of Chicago traffic cameras, Naperville is eliminating the cameras a year early.

Property Tax Primer

To help make sense of the whirlwind of TIF talk, Ben Joravsky put together a beginner's guide about where your money actually ends up.

Occupying the Neighborhoods

Occupy movements have popped up in Austin and Bronzeville, and organized took action this weekend to draw attention to the foreclosure crisis in the city.

Who Gets the Mayor's Time?

Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke dug into Mayor Emanuel's personal calendar to find out who he talks to.

Children's Museum Likely Staying Put

It looks like the Children's Museum's plans to move to Grant Park's Daley Bicentennial Plaza are all but dead now that new renderings for the plaza are complete without a Children's Museum to be found.

Republicans Not Sold on Financial Exchange Tax Breaks

In a move that may demonstrate the reach of the Tea Party movement, Illinois Senate Republicans do not currently support a bill to reduce the tax burden of the CME and CBOE

Get That Dog a License

He may not be able to drive, but your pooch still needs a dog license in the City of Chicago, and less than 5 percent of Chicagoans have been buying them. Starting next year, you'll get fined unless fido has a bit of official City jewelry on his collar. Licenses range from $5 to $50.

Politically Bold

Former GB writer Daniel Strauss says, "The Economist seems to like what Emanuel is doing."

Occupy Chicago Occupies Grant Park, Part Two

Saturday night and early Sunday morning were busy times in Grant Park, where more than 1,000 Occupy Chicago members demonstrated. More than 100 were arrested.

Anti-Gay Vandalism or Hoax?

Over the weekend, someone posted an announcement on claiming to be a gay activist who threw bricks through the windows of the Christian Liberty Academy. Box Turtle Bulletin analyzed the message and smells a hoax. (Thanks, FoF!)

A Tea Partier at #OccupyChi

FOX News Chicago asked a Chicago Tea Party member to visit the Occupy Chicago protest. It went about how you'd expect.

$5 for Every "Obamacare" Reference

Watching the Republican presidential debate tonight? Scott VanDenPlas and other folks on the Obama for America tech team created GOPDebateWatch, where you can donate to the president's campaign every time a GOP candidate uses one of their buzzwords, like "9-9-9" or "Romneycare."

Friedman on Emanuel

Thomas Friedman paid a visit to City Hall and assessed our new mayor in the New York Times.

At Least the Cops Got Some Practice

The Tribune looks on the bright side of the OccupyChi arrests in Grant Park this weekend: it'll get us ready for the G-8 summit here next spring.

"This is our Tahrir Square"

Occupy Chicago moved to Grant Park Saturday night -- leading to police arresting more than 175 protesters at around 1am.

Protest Round-up

Need help catching up on the week's protest news? Curtis Black has your back.

Hey, that Building Looks a lot like a White Castle!

That's because it used to be one.

Balancing the Books Means Less Access to Books?

Mayor Emanuel included a proposal to cut Chicago Public Library hours in his 2012 budget.

Professor Rahm?

Education startup Dabble has launched a campaign to get Mayor Emanuel to teach a class. If he does, Dabble will donate all proceeds from the proposed $20 tickets to charities supporting education.

Columbus Day March

The parade isn't the only big march today: Stand Up Chicago has organized not one but three protest marches for 4pm today, advocating for jobs, homes and schools. The News Coop talks to the organizers.

Bloomingdale Trail Gets Public Feedback

Planners of the Bloomingdale Trail held public charrettes last week; Grid Chicago has a great rundown of what was discussed.

What #OccupyChi Wants

Occupy Chicago released a list of demands on Friday; that got The Wall Street Journal's attention.

Law Enforcement Criticizes Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants

Cook County's new amnesty policy for illegal aliens is getting some pushback from Sheriff Tom Dart as well as the Obama administration.

Out of State Republicans Want Illinois Jobs

Crains reports that Sears recently met with the Perry and Kasich administrations and the CME is meeting with the Daniels administration.

The Long Con

The parking meters and Chicago Skyway deals get mentioned in Matthew Taibi's new book, Griftopia. Rolling Stone has an excerpt.

Fading Hope?

Crain's assesses Obama's Chicago base's willingness to donate and volunteer.

Finding Your Speed

In case you missed MAS Context's newest issue launch: Speed is ready for viewing. The Chicago-based quarterly goes everywhere from the Town of Speedway, Indiana to the megalopolis of Mumbai, India.

23 get $56 Million

A Tribune-WGN investigation has discovered that changes to the state's pension code 20 years ago will net a handful of union leaders $56 million in retirement benefits. Former CFL president Dennis Gannon was rehired by the City for a single day in order to qualify him for the pension windfall.

So Much for Leading by Example

At least four Cook County Commissioners are currently refusing to take ten unpaid work days this year despite passing a budget requiring most other county employees to take the pay cut.

Lathrop Homes May Radically Change

The CHA has voted to proceed with plans to develop the riverfront Julia Lathrop Homes as a mixed-use community. Preservationists and residents alike have hoped it wouldn't come to that.

One Term President?

The Tribune's Steve Chapman thinks President Obama's best move right now would be to not run for reelection.

Trib Commenters Get Out of Hand ... Again

If you had any doubts that race and class are still issues in Chicago, this recent Chicago Tribune comment thread should pretty well eliminate them.

Fighting for the Dogs

The Puppy Mill Project is, you might have guessed, trying to end the practice of "puppy mill" commercial dog breeding. They're protesting outside alleged mill store Puppies R Us on Saturday. [via]

Interrupting for Peace

The Interrupters has gotten a lot of amazing reactions, but one recent event stands out: The UN will screen the film to its delegates as part of the International Day of Peace events.

Rahm on the Parking Meters

The Reader pieces together a timeline of his statements about the meter-lease deal, showing a bit less consistency than most of us would probably like.

Email on Wrongful Convictions

A judge has ruled that former Medill professor David Protess and students in the Center for Wrongful Convictions program must turn over emails relating to one of the cases they worked on.

Boston Federal Appeals Court OKs Recording Police Officers

A recent ruling [pdf] out of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston supports the capacity of individuals to record police officers, a potentially interesting development in light of the Chris Drew case.

New Redevelopment Project Kicking Off in Woodlawn

Yesterday HUD announced that it's funding a $30 million redevelopment in Woodlawn as part of the national Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. The bulk of the funds will go to the Grove Parc development, although other funds will go to CeaseFire and other programs.

Cheney's Advice to Rahm

Dick Cheney goes for a laugh with an anecdote about talking to then incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel in his new memoir, In My Time.

Not Bad, Mr. Mayor!

Mayor Emanuel ranked 8th out of the 90 competitors in his triathlon age group.

Look Where The Sun Don't Shine

Each year, the Sun-Times Charity Trust awards grants to Chicago organizations that support youth in education, art and civic engagement. This year, the Trust has set up the Sun Shine Project for the greater Chicago community to "shine a light" on worthy charities and select projects that deserve a grant. The nomination phase is happening right now!

More Illinois Eavesdropping Court Time

The controversial eavesdropping law used to charge Chicago artist Chris Drew is in the news before his trial due to another case involving the secret audio recording of police officers. The woman in this case was promptly acquitted because of an exception in the law for cases wherein there is a "reasonable suspicion" that a crime may be committed.

Finding a Small Amount of Solace

Nearly 50 years ago, Chicagoan and Peace Corps Volunteer Larry Radley was among 30 people who died in a plane wreck in the Colombian jungle. His brother vowed to visit the site, but didn't realize how difficult that would be.

MDW Fair To Return in October, Opens Call for Proposals

Chicago's breakaway-spirited MDW Fair will return this October to Bridgeport's Geolofts, and has announced that proposals for the sophomore installment are now being accepted.

Man Behind the Man

Chicago mag has a Q&A with Obama's chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod.

Rahm's First 100

Tuesday marks the first 100 days of Mayor Emanuel's first term. The Tribune, the Sun-Times and The Economist take stock. Offer your own assessment in Fuel.

Where is Chicago's Black Leadership?

Conservative political commentator Lenny McAllister talks with 2City News about the state of leadership in Chicago's African-American community today.

Have a Question for Mayor Emanuel?

Chicago Public Media is hosting an event with many of the region's elected leaders to assess Mayor Emanuel's first 100 days in office, and they want you to submit questions.

Look at Cook's Books

Chicago isn't the only local governmental entity with data to share. Look at Cook offers up information about Cook County's budget.

Bringing Recreation and Order to the South Loop

The construction of the new Jones College Prep building opens up possibilities for the old building site, including installing a park and straightening out the awkward Harrison/State intersection.

Mayor Chats with BGA Wednesday

On Wednesday, Aug. 17 from 12:15 to 1pm, Mayor Emanuel will do a live Q&A session online with the Better Government Association's Andy Shaw. Submit questions via Facebook or Twitter.

School for Scandal

The Illinois General Assembly Legislative Scholarships have been abused quite a bit over the years -- the latest being Rep. Dan Burke's award of a scholarship to a former secretary's daughter who may not have met the requirements of the program. Gov. Quinn has been trying to get the scholarships eliminated.

The Latest on TIFs

TIF districts are spread across the city, but not evenly. The Chicago News Cooperative visualized the spread of the city's TIF districts and looked at how the funds were spent. Meanwhile, the Reader's Ben Joravsky examined Mayor Emanuel's willingness to push for a TIF that would put a grocery store across from another one in Greektown, and the CME's refusal to finalize a $7 million TIF deal started last year.

Trash on a Grid

Mayor Emanuel announced plans to switch the city's trash pickup to a grid system. Over in Mechanics, Jeff Smith explains why this makes a whole load more sense over the ward map-based system.

The Repainted Lady of Hermitage

Mayor Emanuel's Ravenswood home has been getting a makeover in preparation for its owners' return.

Daley on Defense?

A judge ruled that former mayor Richard M. Daley may be sued in connection with the Jon Burge police torture case.

Candy and Restaurants Nearly Devoured by the G8

Two major trade shows have changed their annual show dates in order to accommodate next May's G8 summit and its security demands.

40 Preservation Successes of the Last 40 Years

Landmarks Illinois has had a busy forty years working to protect the state's historic buildings. Here are forty highlights [pdf]. Among the local successes are the Clarke House, The Chicago Theatre and the Historic Bungalow Initiative.

Landmarks Illinois 40 Over 40 Flyer

Accounting Advice

Got ideas for how the City could balance its budget? Share them.

The Bill for Burke's Bodyguards

The security detail Ald. Ed Burke's still holding onto decades after the Council Wars ended cost the City $600,000 a year, according to a Fox News/Better Government Association report.

Pros & Cons of Collective Bargaining

At the Bughouse Square Debates last weekend, former GB staffers Richard Lorenc and Kenzo Shibata debated each other on the question, "Should public employees have collective bargaining rights?" We've got video in Mechanics.

"Nothing like a good ol' Chicago coincidence."

After School Matters, the nonprofit founded by Maggie Daley, received a $6.5 million grant four days before Mayor Daley left office.

Fixing TIFs: the View from the South

Curtis Black shares some South Side neighborhoods' perspectives on TIF reform.

Educate Yourself, Poor Grad Student

A big downer of the to-be-signed debt relief bill means that starting in 2012, graduate and professional students will no longer have subsidized Stafford loans, making the cost of affording school even more difficult. Tune in to 101.1FM around 7:20am tomorrow to learn more about this from Tim Opgenorth, Director of Financial Aid at UIC.

Anti-Gay Group Unintentionally Invalidates Itself

The suburban anti-gay organization Americans for Truth about Homosexuality just lost its tax-exempt status for not filling out critical federal forms for three years. Read more about the organization and its 2010 anti-gay conference in Mechanics.

From the Jail to the Pound

Non-violent Cook County jail inmates have been chosen to work after-hours at Chicago's Animal Care and Control cleaning up kennels, a program that helps save the City money and gives the inmates useful services to perform.

The House that Betty Built

Former Cicero town president Betty Loren-Maltese watched her gaudy-ass house get sold at an onsite auction yesterday.

It's Missing a Few Books in the Ethics Section

A library in West Humboldt Park became the first public building to be named after Richard M. Daley, with both the former and current mayor in attendance at yesterday's dedication ceremony.

Fiscal Responsibility

Congressman Joe Walsh, a Tea Party member who represents the northwest suburbs, allegedly owes more than $100,000 in back child support payments, according to a lawsuit filed by his ex-wife.

Our Cheapest Alderman

Freshman alderman Amaya Pawar (47th) made good on his campaign promise to reduce his salary from the standard $108,000 to just $60,000. Meanwhile, his chief of staff is one of the best paid in the city.

Seven Up, 9.8% Down

There are only seven available jobs currently posted at the city's human resources site, and nearly 10% [pdf] unemployed in the metropolitan area. Happy Thursday?

The Gerrymandered Horseshoe

Illinois' fourth congressional district leads off The Awl's list of egregious gerrymandering.

Diffusing an Odd Future

Rolling Stone follows the punches that took the planned protests against Odd Future at Pitchfork from potent to paper fans.

Mayors Helping Mayors Amid Hard Times

Mayor Emanuel announced that 625 city employees will receive layoff notices today amid efforts to streamline the government and save money. Meanwhile, Bloomberg Philanthropies, controlled by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is giving Chicago $6 million in grants over the next three years.

Redrawing the Race Lines

The Tribune has put together an interactive map showing how the racial makeup of the city has changed, ward by ward, to help visualize how race may come into play as City Council redraws the ward map.

Nepotism Alive and Well in Cicero

Speaking of family collections, yesterday Cicero Town President Larry Dominick testified that he placed more than 20 relatives on the town's payroll.

Finishing What He Started

Following his brief (but lucrative) tenure as police chief, Jody Weis has accepted a new position as deputy director of the nonprofit Chicago Crime Commission.

Death Penalty Abolished

As of today, Illinois is the 16th state to abolish the death penalty. Some other laws go into effect too.

Rahm Hits Facebook for a Town Hall

Mayor Emanuel will hold a town hall meeting on Facebook today at 1:30pm. Submit questions in advance here.

Emanuel Offers Tough Decision to Unions

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has given City Hall labor unions a tough choice: Agree to $20 million in savings through work-rule changes or lay or lay off 625 union members. He made the proclamation while touting Walgreens' plans to add 600 jobs in Chicago over the next years. Of course, Walgreens employees don't have the same wages and benefits as the union members.

Blago's Brother Speaks

Chicago magazine has an exclusive interview with Robert Blagojevich regarding his trial and his brother's retrial.

Anatomy of a Verdict

Watch WBEZ reporter Tony Arnold and producer Andrew Gill as they walk us through their experience of the verdict announcement from yesterday's Blago trial.

Yippie Treasure Trove

The FBI released more than 6,000 documents related to its investigation of the Yippies today, including many related to the group's activity at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Meanwhile, BoingBoing notes graphic design similarities between a Yippie flier and Yahoo's logo.

Lura Lynn Ryan Dead

The wife of imprisoned former governor George Ryan died this morning at age 76 in Kankakee.

Patrick Fitzjailer

With Rod Blagojevich added to a list of convictions including George Ryan, Scooter Libby, Conrad Black, Daley's "Hired Truck Scandal" aides, and Jon Burge, it's becoming clear that you shouldn't mess around on U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's turf. Here's the NY Times profile of Fitzgerald from 2008. (Previously on GB.)

Breaking: Blago Guilty

Former governor Rod Blagojevich was found guilty of 17 of 20 counts of corruption. We wait for Rod's response.

Everybody Better Click It

Starting January 1, 2012, all Illinois car passengers, regardless of age or where they're seated in the car, have to buckle their seat-belts. Not a requirement just for drivers and front seat passengers anymore, you back seat drivers better get used to buckling up (except in buses, cabs, and emergency vehicles). Gov. Quinn signed the legislation into law today.

Burke Keeps his Bodyguards

Ald. Ed Burke is refusing to give up his security detail of on-duty police officers, which dates back to the Council Wars of the 1980s, in spite of Police Chief McCarthy's request that they be released and put back into active duty. The commenters at Second City Cop think Burke's nuts if he thinks he still needs protection.

The Battle for the Bathroom

For the transgender community, choosing which restroom to use in a public place can be both a political statement and a risk to one's safety. Joe Erbentraut explores the issue in A/C.

NATO, the G-8 and Our Fair City

The Obama administration and Mayor Emanuel plan to host two distinct meetings of very powerful people in Chicago next year, an event that would require unprecedented security preparations.

Time for Tunney to Recuse?

Karl Klockars questions whether Ald. Tom Tunney is in violation of City Council ethics rules for not recusing himself from the food truck legislation, since he owns several restaurants and has catered events for the City.

Meet Reggie Brown

That Obama impersonator who got yanked from the stage at last weekend's Republican Leadership Conference? He's Reggie Brown, and he's from Chicago.

He has also appeared on John Stossel's Fox News show in recent weeks.

Cubs Unveil 'It Gets Better' Video

Announced a few weeks ago, the Cubs' contribution to the "It Gets Better" project debuted today, starring second baseman Darwin Barney, outfielder Marlon Byrd, pitcher Ryan Dempster, manager Mike Quade, first base coach Bob Dernier and co-owner Laura Ricketts. (h/t SB Nation)

The High Cost of Being Wrong

An investigation by Better Government Association and the Center on Wrongful Convictions found that wrongful convictions of 85 men and women in Illinois has cost taxpayers more than $214 million, and imprisoned innocent people for 926 years. Meanwhile, the real perpetrators committed nearly 100 felonies. Read the report, and hear reporter John Conroy discuss it on "Eight Forty-eight" this morning.

Chicago Has The Best Political Mom Bloggers

It's no doubt that Chicagoans love politics. So it shouldn't be a surprise that the top two political mom bloggers in the country live right here. Circle of Moms, a social networking site for moms of all types, held a contest to see who were the favorite mom bloggers. First place went to occasional GB contributor Veronica Arreola of Viva La Feminista. A very close second place went to rocker-mom Gina Crosley-Corcoran of The Feminist Breeder.

Protest Stops Traffic

Michigan Avenue is currently blocked by a Chicago Teachers Union/Stand Up Chicago protest. Former GB staffer/current CTU organizer Kenzo Shibata is tweeting it live. (Thanks for the correction, Ryan!)

Free Libya

On Saturday, amid the zombies and blues fans, a group of Libyan Americans demonstrated on Michigan Avenue across from the Congress Hotel. It was just one of many protests here since the revolution in Libya began in February.

Libyan protest on Michigan Avenue

More photos here.

What They're Making

The City released a database of all current employees' salaries; Ramsin slices and dices it for you in Mechanics.

Nobody Nobody Sent, No More

As the new human resources commissioner assumes her duties, some aldermen long for the days of rampant patronage.

Cutting up the City's Credit Cards

Mayor Emanuel has ordered city agencies to cease using the government credit card after investigations by the BGA and Fox News Chicago found several departments, including the Park District, CTA and CHA, abusing the privilege.

Freedom of Information Denied

The Reader's Mick Dumke is suing the City over denied FOIA requests; Micah Uetricht talks to him about it in Mechanics.

March Against Sexual Harrassment

SlutWalk Chicago is tomorrow; Rachel Rabbit White talks with the organizers in Time Out.

Working for the Feds

CrowdSpring added an unusual logo project today: the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Obama's CTO is Awesome

It might be the worst kept secret in Chicago's tech scene of late: Harper Reed is the CTO of the Obama 2012 campaign.


Here are a few, uh, choice courtroom sketches of our former governor and his, apparently, tiny, creepy hands.

The City's Data Opens Up

The City is opening the tap on data, moving beyond the FOIA info that has filled the City Data Portal for the past couple years. (Meanwhile, Michael Miner worries that FOIA is becoming passé among journalists.)

It's not DiGiorno

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was in town yesterday, and had his leftover pizza from Gino's East delivered to President Obama's campaign headquarters.

The Making of Emanuel

The Reader taks a look at the 20 months. that led up to Rahm Emanuel becoming mayor of Chicago.

Thinking Ahead to Halloween

Fantasy Costumes already has a Rahm Emanuel rubber mask, available for $39.99 online. Shop employees told the Trib the store's owner figured Emanuel would win the mayoral election and got a jump on designing the mask.

U of C Students Protest Housekeeper Firings

A coalition of nine U of C student groups is working to stop a contract change that could lead to the firing of 56 U of C staff housekeepers. Their latest effort was a demonstration on Monday.

Greenpeace Occupying Fisk Generating Station

Eight Greenpeace activists climbed up and encamped themselves on the controversial coal-fired Fisk Generating Station in Pilsen, demanding that Fisk and the nearby Crawford Generating Station be closed. [Thanks, Michael!]

Cutting Up Turf

Dick Simpson shares his thoughts on congressional redistricting in Mechanics; Chicago Journal focuses in on the further slicing of downtown.

Taking the Long View

From permeable alleys to warm weather plants, Chicago is leading the way in municipal preparations for climate change.

Interstate Infighting

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs' Richard C. Longworth reflects on the economic battles being waged between states right now, on the Urbanophile.

Gambling with the City's Finances

Governor Quinn, Mayor Emanuel and Senate President Cullerton are all now officially on record supporting opening a casino in Chicago.

Alderman Maps

Speaking of duels, the Chicago News Cooperative and the Tribune both have interactive guides to the new City Council.

The New Regime Begins

Mick Dumke reports from the first new City Council meeting.

A Common Controversy

Chicago rapper and actor Common was invited to participate in a White House poetry event -- which became one of the points of debate between Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly.

Oh Come on, Emanuel

In what will surely be a familiar refrain, if not a tired cliché, soon, both John Greenfield and the Neo-Futurists made a play on the carrol "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" with regards to our incoming mayor.

(Thanks, Gretchen!)

Service to the City

The incoming chief technology officer for Chicago, FoGB John Tolva, said goodbye to IBM on Friday and today talks about where he's headed in his new role.

Envying Chicago from Canada

A Toronto Sun columnist took our new mayor's inauguration as a sign to compare the two cities. His verdict? Chicago is in good shape.

The Era of Emanuel Begins

Head down to Millennium Park at 10:30am this morning for the swearing-in ceremony for Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, treasurer Stephanie Neely, and City Clerk-elect Susana Mendoza. You can watch it online here. You can then take the party over to City Hall, where Emanuel hosts an open house between 2-4pm.

Felony Franks Wants More Time in Court

The owner of Felony Franks, the ex-convict employing hot dog joint that made headlines when it opened in 2009, is suing the city because it hasn't granted him a sign license.

Coming & Going

Time Out does exit and entrance interviews with mayors Daley and Emanuel.

Schock Value

Downstate Republican Congressman (and fitness nut) Aaron Schock went shirtless for this month's issue of Men's Health as part of their Fit for Life Summer Challenge. This is not the first time that Schock's abs have been given media coverage.

Daley & Duff

Newly released FBI files on James "Jack" Duff, Jr. also include another name: Richard M. Daley. Maybe someone visiting the open house could ask him about that.

Meet the Mayor

Mayor Daley is holding a public open house today; stop by the fifth floor of City Hall from 1 to 4pm for a chance to shake the man's hand.

Land of Lincoln's down to Pennies

So says the Illinois is Broke campaign.

Daley's Last Days

As the end of Richard M. Daley's reign nears, many are assessing his career. Read the thoughts of Ramsin Canon in Mechanics and John Kass in the Trib.

Riot for Health, Get Art

This fall, help the Chicago Women's Health Center move: you'll support health care, education, and counseling for people of all backgrounds and get bonus prints, minicomics, or uterus-sporting flags from illustrator Laura Szumowski.

Saving Homes One Mediation at a Time

Cook County's home foreclosure mediation program has kept 216 homeowners in their homes since it was created last year.

Farmers Market Opposition on Hold?

From this afternoon's City Hall hearing on the permit status brouhaha for the Logan Square Farmers Market: Alderman Rey Colon just withdrew his application for opposing the market's permit, but whether the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce will be allowed to run the Market this summer has not yet been decided.

Ask the BGA

Windy Citizen is hosting another "ask me anything" thread today, this time with the Better Government Association's investigative team.

Celebrating a New Mayor

The mayoral inauguration is coming up in two weeks. The optimistically named Chicago Together pulls together details of celebrations and info on the planned day of service May 14.

Know Your Alderman

City Council changed significantly this election cycle. The Reader has a guide to help you learn the new names and faces.

New Top Cop from Jersey

Mayor-elect Emanuel has hired Newark, NJ police director Garry McCarthy as police superintendent.

Golden Parachutes Smother State

More than two dozen retired politicians are still drawing six-figure pensions, even as pension payments threaten to bankrupt the state, according to a BGA report.

Quit Blaming the Victim

Following the lead of Toronto, SlutWalk Chicago plans a march June 4 "to combat the myth of 'the slut' and the culture of victim blaming that prevails the world over."

C-level Slots Fill Up in Emanuel's Administration

Former RR Donnelly CEO Mark Angelson was named deputy mayor, Lois Scott was named CFO and FoGB John Tolva was named CTO in the latest round of appointments from Rahm Emanuel's administration.

Claypool Transportation Agency

On a day when a derailment near Belmont caused all sorts of snafus, Mayor-elect Emanuel named Forrest Claypool to head the CTA.


That's how much it cost Mayor-elect Emanuel to fight the challenges to his residency.

Not Enough Nurses

In Mechanics, Samantha Winslow reports on the perceived "crisis in emergency room care" on the South Side due to staffing cutbacks.

Daley's Golden Years

Jane Byrne, Ed Kelly and five other former politicians share advice for Mayor Daley post-retirement.

Tracking the Plan for Transformation

Yesterday the Chicago Housing Authority released a longitudinal study of the Plan for Transformation [pdf] containing information like who is in public housing, what their income is and where they moved if their building was demolished. If you'd rather not read the whole report, the executive summary is relatively thorough [pdf], and coverage is ok.

Questions for Rahm

Next Wednesday, April 20, Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel will be doing a Q&A with Tribune editorial page editor Bruce Dold, and will take questions via Twitter as well. Tag yours with #AskRahm.

"A Storm in the Windy City"

The Economist on Illinois' and Chicago's pension troubles.

"Blindsided by a Blind Bill"

Religious and private adoption agencies would be exempt from the Human Rights Act in Illinois under an amendment slipped into a bill supporting services for the blind.

Derrick Rose Joins the Campaign

Eight months after Barack Obama hosted him on the White House basketball court, Derrick Rose is welcoming the president back to their hometown. The Bulls star and NBA MVP front-runner will attend the biggest (and least expensive) of three Obama fund-raisers set for Thursday in Chicago. Tickets for the 6:30pm event at Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom are $100 and $250.

Illegal Billboards

A few weeks ago, we wrote about these anti-abortion billboards which feature an image of President Obama on the south side of Chicago. Well, it turns out they're illegal and there is a petition to get them removed.

Berny, Burt & Bus

Outgoing alderman Berny Stone tries out a career in radio Saturday night on WLS-AM. Not to be outdone, Ald. Ed Bus of the 53rd Ward will be on WBEZ in the same 7-9pm slot, talking politics and who knows what else with former alderman Burt Natarus.

As One Campaign Season Ends, the Next Begins

The Obama reelection team is trying to capture the spirit of the 2007 campaign headquarters as they prepare for the President's 2012 bid.

Mayor Daley: Final Tour with Original Lineup!

That's right, Mayor Daley just kicked off his "Neighborhood Appreciation Tour." Catch him at a community center near you!

Updated Timeline: One Week to Go

Democrats and Republicans just passed a one week temporary budget, but here's a glimpse of what might happen locally if they can't reach a compromise next week.

Academic Freedom?

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is considered one of the most free-thinking colleges in the country, if not the world. But this article in F Newsmagazine describes the firing of Roxane Assaf and links it to her political thoughts related to how the United States media covers the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Redistricting Beyond Recognition

Illinois will be redrawing its congressional districts this year, and while this hypothetical map maximizes Democrat-held seats, it would probably be nightmare for, well, literally everyone. [via]

Dirty Pool in the Uptown Runoff

Uptown Update hints in an article about reporting election "shenanigans" that some people are receiving phone calls claiming that one of the 46th Ward aldermanic candidates has dropped out.

Runoff Election's Tomorrow

If you're in a ward with a run-off aldermanic election and you haven't made up your mind yet, Ben Joravsky's runoff overview might help. Well, in the 24th, 25th, 43rd, 45th and 46th, anyway.

Pro-Choice Response to Controversial Billboards

The controversial South Side abortion billboards have been temporarily covered by sheets protesting their message.

Billboards Kick Up Controversy

A controversial anti-abortion ad campaign debuted on three South Side billboards that feature President Obama's likeness. The Chicago Abortion Fund and Planned Parenthood have responded. Here is photograph of the billboards:

Life Always Anti-Choice Billboards on Chicago's South Side

Targeting Cabrini-Green

Now that the last Cabrini-Green high rise is on its way down, the CHA and Target are in discussions for a new Target store to be located on five acres formerly associated with the public housing project. The land would be swapped for other nearby property, and 75 CHA residents would be hired as employees.

The Fight for the 50th

The 50th Ward aldermanic run-off is heating up between Berny Stone and Debra Silverstein. (We covered the race just before the Feb. 22 election.)

Rooting Out Licentious License Plates

The Sun-Times goes behind the scenes with the crew who determines which personalized license plates are acceptable.

The United Midwest

Local folks Busy Beaver Button Co. and Ohio design firm Northcoast Zeitgeist team up to help Wisconsin protesters get their message out in style.

Public Housing Residents Still Resisting CHA

The Chicago Reporter reminds us that while most high-profile Chicago Housing Authority developments have been demolished, many public housing residents are still fighting to live in the remaining units.

The Indirectness of Direct Influence

WBEZ takes a look at the unintended consequences of ballot initiatives.

Early Voting Begins in Runoff Elections

If you live in a ward that's undergoing a runoff election, you can head to the early voting locations starting today.

Another Conspiracy Theory Averted

Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee feared that President Obama interfered in the FDIC's decision to try to save ShoreBank, so they asked the FDIC inspector to investigate. No wrongdoing was found.

Capturing Hizzoner

Photographer Art Shay shared more photos from his archives over on Chicagoist today -- this time the lens is trained on the Honorable Richard J. Daley.

Time Vortexes are Funny Things

Speaking of @MayorEmanuel, Dan Sinker was on "The Colbert Report" last night talking about it. And just the night before, ex-gov Rod Blagojevich made an appearance in what appeared to be Lincoln Square's Welles Park, which was standing in for Rockford.

Quaxelrod Mounted on the Wall

Saved for posterity by Josh Larios, @MayorEmanuel's tweets, along with contextual replies.

Transitional HMTL

Rahm Emanuel's transition team now has a website.

Stopping the R-word

The derogatory word "retard" is used 24,000 times a day on Twitter. The Social Challenge is a locally based effort hoping to change that.

The Emanuels Meet

Dan Sinker, the man behind @MayorEmanuel, will meet the real Rahm Emanuel on WLS' Roe & Roeper show tonight at 5pm. If you prefer video with your audio, NBC5 will stream the show live on its website. UPDATE: Sinker tweets that he will also be appearing on the Colbert Report next Tuesday.

The Art of Winfield House

Long-time patrons of the Chicago art scene Ambassador Louis B. Susman and his wife, Marjorie, have merged their love of art and their roles as the U.S. representatives to Britain with an American art collection anyone would envy.

TIFs Work for Big Corporations

Columbia College students took a look at who received money from TIFs between 2000 and 2010, and found that nearly half ended up benefiting corporations rather than helping economically blighted areas. A searchable map of TIF projects is online here. And Chicago mag's Whet Moser puts into further context.

The F*cking Mayor

@MayorEmanuel was none other than Dan Sinker, Columbia College professor, creator of the Chicago Mayoral Scorecard and founder of Punk Planet. He'll be on Eight Forty-Eight tomorrow to discuss the project.

The Second (Worst) City, If You're Black

African Americans in Chicago earn 45 cents for every dollar white people make, making us the second-worst city racial income inequality in the United States.

Further Reflections on the Election

...from Whet Moser, Steve Rhodes and Curtis Black, and a map of where the mayoral candidates won, precinct by precinct.

Revolution Every Day

Maybe our own Slowdown calendar isn't activist enough. Fortunately, there's Chicago Radicalendar.

Our First Asian-American Alderman

When Ameya Pawar won the 47th Ward race, he made history. The Center Square Journal interviewed him in the midst of Tuesday's celebration, and the Sun-Times and Tribune give you a more in-depth look at the 30-year-old incoming alderman.

Wednesday Morning Quarterbacking the Election

Chicagoist is hosting a live post-election chat with Andy Shaw, Esther J. Cepeda, Mario Smith, Ald. Ed Bus and their own Kevin Robinson today at 11am. Tune in and chime in with your own thoughts.

Well, That Was Fast

With 88% of precincts reporting, Rahm Emanuel is declared to be the next mayor of Chicago.

Political Programming Note

Our own Ramsin Canon will be on WBEZ tonight, and he will be a call-in guest on CAN-TV 21 tomorrow morning from 7 to 7:30am, discussing the election in both cases. Tune in!

Wisconsin Protest Field Trip

And speaking of Wisconsin, Mechanics contributor Micah Uetricht just posted a report from the protests in Madison.

Politicians Gone Wild

Perhaps inspired by Wisconsin Democrat senators who fled to Illinois to block a vote taking away collective bargaining rights from unionized government workers, congresspeople from Indiana are heading to Illinois (or Kentucky) to avoid a similar vote. Meanwhile, Arizonaesque anti-immigrant legislation has been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly, as well as in Indiana.

There Can Be Only One

@MayorEmanuel's journey looked like it was at an end, after an epic tale he told last night. More than a few people worried, but the account was back at full speed this morning.

Vote for the LOLs

In Mechanics, we've got a way to turn your favorite mayoral candidate into a macro.

Fighting for the 50th

Ald. Bernie Stone faces four challenger on Election Day this year, and whoever wins will inherit a ward struggling to get its economic engine restarted. Read more in Mechanics.

Rahmbo Pride

Those voting for Rahm Emanuel tomorrow may want to wear Shrink Boutique's Rahmbo shirt to the polls.

Endorse This

Looking for some guidance on who to choose tomorrow? Get a sample ballot and take a look at these opinions: Trib, Sun-Times, Independent Voters of Illinois (IVI-IPO), SEIU, Windy City Times, and the Chicago Defender. Polls are open from 6am-7pm.

The Candidates on Transit

The CTA Tattler checked into the major mayoral candidates' positions on public transportation, and found Gery Chico strangely silent.

Talk Politics with Dumke

WindyCitizen's last Ask a Reporter Anything before the election features Mick Dumke. He'll answer questions about TIFs, privatization and other issues this evening -- get your questions in now.

One Senator, One Twin Bed

If you're a Democrat State Senator from Wisconsin who is hiding out in Illinois until Governor Scott Walker starts working with (and not against) his colleagues, why not spend it in Logan Square? One guy will put you up for free.

Trahm Legacy

Coming soon to a political theater near you?

Vote at Lunch

If you're intent on voting early, today's your last chance to do so.

Aldermania in the Reader

Ben Joravsky takes a hard look at some of the more interesting aldermanic races around town.

Who is @MayorEmanuel? Stakes Raised

Rahm Emanuel told Roe Conn that he'll donate $5,000 to charity if the author of @MayorEmanuel reveals his or her identity.

Message to Carl Kasell: Lawyer Up

An email received today from the Emanuel campaign announced that anyone who orders this swag package and donates $5 or more today to Rahm will be entered into a drawing to have the candidate himself record a greeting on their voicemail.

Mayor T-Shirt Forever

Have you spotted Nick Adams' Mayor Daley Forever signs around town? Now you can get the t-shirt.

Political Theater

Mayoral Tutorial is a political performance piece with a purpose: to educate you on who the candidates are and what they stand for. The show runs through Feb. 19 at Center Portion.

Study the Cameras

Two never-released studies reinforce the notion that the Chicago Police Department's camera system is only effective in certain situations and can't be properly studied; one researcher recommends an improved approach. Shane Shifflett reports -- and provides interactive maps -- in Mechanics.

Civic Federation: Privatize the City

The Civic Federation doesn't think we've been privatizing the right things here in Chicago. They're advising the next mayor to save money by privatizing services such as trash pickup and the water system.

Buick Skylark Owners: Get on the Bus

Fictional (yet incredibly real) mayoral candidate Ed Bus held a press conference earlier today. If you weren't able to make it, he talked one-on-one with Edward McClelland of NBC's Ward Room beforehand.

The City's Blacklist

The Better Government Association has posted the City's Do Not Hire list, showing who is banned for life and who isn't. Some think the list doesn't go far enough.

Ed Bus Press Conference

Alderman Ed Bus of the 53rd Ward and candidate for mayor, is holding a press conference at City Hall Thursday morning at 10:30am. You're invited to ask him questions.

The City has Eyes

There are 10,000 cameras watching us in every day in Chicago, and the ACLU of Illinois would like the City to stop adding more. Download the report here [PDF].

Ask a City Hall Reporter Anything

Chicago New Coop's City Hall reporter, Dan Mihalopoulos, is will be answering questions about his job and the upcoming election over on WindyCitizen. It's the first in a series leading up to the election.

Legal Support

Those planning to take advantage of the new civil union legislation that goes into effect on June 1 might want to check out the Civil Union Tracker that "aims to ensure that same-sex and different-sex couples are treated fairly under Illinois law."

Who is @MayorEmanuel?

Mark Caro delves into the phenomenon of @MayorEmanuel on Twitter. Still no idea who writes it, unfortunately. (Previously.)

Guns are not the Only Weapons

A former guest lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School tells the story of getting on the wrong side of Mayor Daley on the gun issue.

Redefining Political Science

Senator Mark Kirk has changed his mind on his previous support of climate change legislation, citing Al Gore's "personal and political collapse" as his reason.

Grassroots YouTube Fact Checking

Robert C. Sullivan High School in Rogers Park created a video discounting Rahm Emanuel's claims that the top-rated CPS high schools were all charter schools. They also promote del Valle in the video, so it is hard to tell how much help they had pulling it together. But for a negative campaign piece, it is pretty nice.

Good Things *Do* Happen to Good People

Newbie Illinois congressman Joe Walsh, who was the only member of the GOP who refused health coverage offered by his new employer in protest against Obama's health care reform bill, got a nice little surprise from WalMart's political action committee: a $1,000 donation just for winning a close race against incumbent Melissa Bean.

"A Slap in the Face."

Meanwhile, in Mechanics, Samantha Winslow reports on the controversial firing of Rick Garcia at Equality Illinois

A More Civil Union

Today before a capacity crowd at the Chicago Cultural Center, Gov. Pat Quinn is signing legislation legalizing same-sex civil unions in Illinois. Watch it live on ABC7's website.

Vote Early, Vote Often

If you want to avoid the stampede on February 22, you can participate in early voting, which starts today at select locations (and ends February 17).

Red and Purple Lines Safe for Now

The CTA says it has no plans to close stops the Red or Purple lines.

Mayoral Debate Tonight

FYI, the Fantastic Four of mayoral candidates--Braun, Chico, del Valle and Emanuel--will debate tonight at 7pm on WGN; you can also catch them duking it out on WTTW on February 14 and WLS on February 17.

Too Legit to Have to Forfeit

The Illinois Supreme Court just ruled that Rahm Emanuel can run for mayor. You just know that this song is playing at full blast in Emanuel HQ right now.

Chico: End Residency Requirement

No, mayoral candidate Gery Chico wasn't referring to his competitor's plight. He's arguing that Chicago police and firefighters shouldn't be required to live within city limits.

The Young Mayoral Candidate

How would the Daley of 1983 run in the election of 2011? Let's go to the tape.

Get on the Bus

Ed Bus, alderman of the 53rd Ward, meets with former alderman Burt Natarus for advice on his run for mayor.

IL Supreme Court Puts Rahm Back on the Ballot

The Illinois Supreme Court is allowing Rahm Emanuel's name to remain on the mayoral election ballot while they consider his request for a hearing regarding yesterday's appellate court decision that would have removed him from the race.

Residency, Access & Rahm

In Mechanics, Ramsin Canon delves deeply into the Rahm Emanuel residency decision and what it means for this election -- and future ones.

Rally for Rahm Tonight

Join supporters of Rahm Emanuel's campaign at 5pm at Dearborn and Washington.

The New Boss

Baby Teeth just released Boss, a five-song tribute to Mayor Daley. [via]

No Rahm on the Ballot

2-1 Appellate Court decision says so, at least. Details to come, natch. The case will likely be appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. We've posted the 42-page ruling in Mechanics if you're so inclined.

Picturing Rockford

Minnesotan Alec Soth and Chicagoan Michael Catano headed to Rockford for a NYTimes project entitled "Portraits of a Job Starved City."

Mapping Mayoral Campaign Contributions

Chicago Mayoral Scorecard now includes a map showing where contributions to the four major mayoral campaigns came from.

Careful with that Recorder

Two Chicagoans face up to 15 years in prison for recording nonviolent interactions with Chicago police. The ACLU's second challenge to the Illinois Eavesdropping Act was dismissed earlier this month.

Welcome Back to Chicago, Obama Campaign

President Obama's reelection campaign office will officially open in Chicago by late March. The campaign will be the first one headquartered outside of the Washington, D.C. area at least since the 1960s.

How Many Jobs are in Your Ward?

There are probably fewer than there used to be.

Communications Connections Seem to Have Hampered Rush

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush has been passed over for the ranking member position on the House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology -- despite his seniority.

Our Noodle Mayor?

Rahmen Emanuel.

Candidates on the Issues

If you're running for office, everyone wants to know your position on their favorite topic. Here are a couple recent surveys:
on schools
on "green growth"
on taxi-related issues

"Dear Mayor..."

Chicago's youth send letters to our next mayor.

Schulter Retiring

Gene Schulter, 47th Ward alderman since 1975, has announced his retirement.

Not Registered to Vote? I'm Looking at YOU!

You didn't do anything wrong, but you can correct this heinous, deplorable oversight by registering to vote with the Board of Elections; you have until January 25 if you want to get your vote in for the February 22 General Municipal Election.

Homeless Through Childhood: Chicago HOPES

Over in Mechanics we feature Chicago HOPES, an organization that works to provide education and services for homeless children. Head over to learn about the organization's mission and accomplishments, and a little something about what it means to be a homeless child in our city.

Valued Employees

County Treasurer Maria Pappas' cleaning lady and chauffeur have somewhat different official titles on the payroll, it seems.

The People Behind Them

The Reader takes a look at the men and women running the mayoral candidates' campaigns.

Remember the Arts

There's a petition going around to remind the next mayor that the arts industry is important, too.

State Income Tax Rises 66% -- or 2 Percentage Points

Which sounds egregious, until you realize it went from 3 percent to 5 percent, which still leaves us middle of the pack. What's more noteworthy is increase from 4.8 percent to 7 percent for businesses, which could mean businesses move or lay off employees. Wisconsin's governor is already rubbing it in.

Laugh Early, Laugh Often

If nothing else, this mayoral election has been ripe for comedy.

Your Ad Here, There & Everywhere

As the City mulls selling ads on bridge houses, Chicago News Coop's James Warren wonders where else we could place ads.

Surprising Words

Chicago Surprise, a new Tumblr from the Tribune's Election Center team, collects candidates' responses to the survey question, "Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us."

2 New Chicago Chiefs of Staff in White House

President Obama announced today that William Daley will be his new chief of staff. Not surprisingly, this has met with criticism. Meanwhile, Michelle Obama has chosen Chicago attorney Tina Tchen as her chief of staff.

Carol Calls It In

When Chicago mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun was unable to attend an LGBT event in person, she did what anybody in her position would do: she called the event organizer, who held his phone up to a microphone so the attendees could (sorta) hear her speak to the gathering. [via]

Chinatown May Receive Political Protection

The Illinois House made a move to consolidate Chinatown political districts in a preview of the redistricting wrangling that will occur after detailed U.S. Census data are released.

I Don't Need Your Stinkin' Health Care Coverage

The newly elected Joe Walsh of the 8th Illinois congressional district has the distinction of being the only member of the GOP to refuse federal health benefits in protest of last year's health care reform bill.

Comparing Aldermanic Hopefuls Online

There are 349 candidates for alderman in this election, with varying levels of web savvy. AldermanicWebsites helps sort through them all. Unsurprisingly, a certain star makes a lot of appearances.

Danny Davis Exits Mayoral Race

The West Side state rep is now supporting Carol Moseley Braun, the lone African-American candidate in February's election.

With Sprinkles

Just in time for New Year's Eve, here's a recipe for the Rum Emanuel. (There's another recipe from some bar in New York, but it doesn't look as good.)

Chicago: Obama HQ in 2012?

President Obama is considering coming back to Chicago for his 2012 election campaign.

"Every one of us has erred in their personal lives"

Jesse Jackson, Jr. grants a rare interview with the Associated Press.

He's Staying

The city's election commissioners voted to keep Rahm Emanuel on the February mayoral race ballot.

Rahm Stays in the Race

Rahm Emanuel should be allowed to run for mayor, a hearing officer said in a recommendation to the Chicago Board of Elections. It's expected to be made official today.

Paying for Festivals One Fee at a Time

The Daley administration is circulating RFPs for the operation of major Chicago festivals that can include fees, naming rights and other new revenue sources.

The Business of the Supreme Court

New research by faculty at Northwestern and the U of C demonstrates that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.'s Supreme Court sees more business cases and sides more frequently with business than any court since the 1950s.

Turmoil at Equality Illinois

Equality Illinois has fired cofounder and longtime director of public policy, Rick Garcia. Garcia "refused to go quietly," and was removed from Equity Illinois' offices by police today.

A Waste of Good Canvas

Wow, those really are some Bad Paintings of Barack Obama. [via]

100% True Rahm Facts

In the latest Chicagoist podcast, Karl Klockars talks with the creators of Rahmfacts.

Not for the Meeks

Rev. Meeks put another foot in his mouth yesterday, saying in a WVON political forum, "I think that the word 'minority,' from our standpoint, should mean African-American. I don't think women, Asians and Hispanics should be able to use that title."

Rahm the Resident

Vanity Fair shares their ten favorite questions from Rahm Emanuel's Chicago residency hearing.

A Reminder About Online Sales and Use Taxes

You probably owe them, and the Illinois General Assembly wants to help you pay them.

Kirk Fits In

Missing from The Daily Show's homage last night to the Senate Republicans who voted effectively against the James Zagroda 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which would fund health care for the first responders of the World Trade Center collapse, is your new Republican Senator (and sometimes heroic vet and 9/11 sympathizer) Mark Kirk.

How to Pack a Book Release Party

You too can have the Vice President, the Second Lady, a Supreme Court justice and others at your book release party if your mother is the chief of staff for the First Lady.

Tune In, Vote Often

Early and Often has created a wall of political videos.

Winterization Cash from Our Political Overlords

Your alderman has $40 for you to use for that winterization project you've been putting off.

Thanks, But I Still Supported the Other Guys

A certain politician with the last name Palin celebrated U of C b-school professor Luigi Zingales in her recent book. While the right-wing professor likes the attention, he's still not going to buy her book.

Northerly Island Details Released

Those intrigued by yesterday's glimpse of the Northerly Island development proposal will love the full framework plan [pdf] and corresponding video.

"Illinois bill also applies to heterosexuals"

The Trib reminds us that everyone can join in on civil union fun!

Locks to Remain Open for Foreseeable Future

Remember the lawsuits that would force area locks closed to protect against Asian carp infestations of Lake Michigan? A federal judge struck down the last one yesterday.

Davis Wins Top Of The Ballot

Rep. Danny Davis's name will be at the top of the ballot for the Chicago mayoral race. Voting is on February 22nd.

A "Millennium Park of nature"

Later today the Chicago Park District will unveil a long-term concept for Northerly Island, and it's a looker.

Hey, That's Not My Signature!

Notary Public Maricela Rodriguez says that her seal and signature were forged more than 400 times on nominating petitions for mayoral hopefuls Rob Halpin and James Meeks.

Objectionable Candidates

Eleven of the 20 candidates for mayor and may of the 350 candidates for alderman face objections to their petitions. Early and Often has an unofficial list of the objections. Meanwhile, Danny Davis got the top spot on the mayoral ballot.

$3 Billion Gas Plant One Step Closer to Realization

The Illinois House passed legislation yesterday that could clear the way for a massive synthetic gas facility to be constructed along the Calumet River. It would burn refinery waste and coal to produce the fuel, which People's Gas argues would lead to considerable cost increases for Chicago users. Next up: the Senate.

Don't Look Back?

The small nation of mayoral candidates has until close of business today [pdf] to withdraw their paperwork from the Board of Elections. I'm just sayin'.

Help Wanted: Alderman

If you live in the 4th, 28th or 38th Ward and think you have what it takes to sit on City Council, the mayor would like to hear from you.

Bullying on the Agenda

Mayoral candidate City Clerk Miguel del Valle tells Gay Chicago Magazine that if elected, bullying in Chicago schools and community policing will be priorities for his administration.

Mark Kirk's Swearing In Could Be Awkward

CQ-Roll Call's Christina Bellantoni tweets that Vice President Joe Biden will do the swearing in for Mark Kirk on Monday. Hopefully Biden doesn't live up to his reputation as a gaffe-factory during the worst possible moments.

Want to Kick Someone Off of the Ballot?

Here's how.

For Mark Kirk, January Comes Early

Senator-elect Mark Kirk will be sworn in as Illinois' junior senator on Monday.

Bus for Mayor

Ald. Ed Bus, 53rd Ward, is just what this city needs.

Fight the Machine

Ever wanted to blow the whistle on wrongdoing? The Better Government Association has regular citizen watchdog training sessions. The next one is Monday, Nov. 29.

Surveying the Field

The Chicago Mayoral Scorecard has been updated to reflect the 20 candidates who filed by the deadline yesterday. Now the fun of petition challenges begins.

City Festivals Up for Sale

Jim DeRogatis reports on the City's plans to privatize its music and cultural festivals.

D-Day for Mayoral Candidates

Today is the last day for mayoral (aldermanic, and other city office) hopefuls to submit their required petition signatures to the Board of Elections in time for the February 22 election. You can see who is running so far here [pdf].

Four Simple Stars

You'd think that Danny Davis' campaign office would be familiar enough with the Chicago flag to put the right stars on a poster.

Green with Confidence

The Reader finds that despite losing their guaranteed place on Illinois ballots, the Green Party remains optimistic for the future.

A Cock in Every Pot

Cynthia Plaster Caster, the mayoral interview.

Rahm Residency Questions

Kass points out today that maybe Rahm Emanuel doesn't meet the requirements to run for mayor of Chicago. Election lawyer (and adviser to Sen. James Meeks) Burt Odelson found Emanuel was purged and reinstated on voter rolls twice.

Gee, Thanks Ray

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood declared Rahm Emanuel victor in next year's mayoral race yesterday, just hours after Emanuel filed for petitions to be a candidate.

At Least Others are Benefiting from Our Parking Deal

Our parking meter fiasco is empowering other cities to rework potential parking meter lease contracts and make key changes ... like adding serious exit clauses and opportunities for long-term revenue.

Drop the Beat

On an imaginary interview show, one fictional Chicago alderman challenges a potential Chicago alderman to a rap joke. [Caution: Some uncensored F-bombs.] (Thanks, Sandy!)

"Welcome to Chicago Politics"

It seems candidate for 20th ward alderman, Che "Rhymefest" Smith, has a rap sheet to go with his rap career.

Only One Building to (Maybe) Remain at Reese Site

Remember how Mayor Daley promised he would preserve the prairie-style main building of Michael Reese Hospital? Well, the administration didn't heed warnings about protecting the buildings and has reneged on the promise. Today it officially announced that the main building will be demolished along with two of the three other remaining structures.

Just Drinking Buddies

Giannoulias and Kirk got together for a beer yesterday. At the Billy Goat.

What Have You Done for Me Lately, Barack?

Apparently, a lot.

Call it Money Ball

We've got an examination of campaign contributions from the sports world in Mechanics.

Vote with Your Phone

Dan Sinker made a mobile-optimized version of the data compiled by the Committee to Elect Qualified Judges, aka

Elect This

The polls are open today from 6am-7pm! If you're looking for some help in deciding on who will get your vote, here is some help from the Sun-Times, the Trib, Vote for Judges, Chicago Bar Association, the Independent Voters of Illinois, the Chicago Federation of Labor, Illinois NOW, the Reader and Windy City Times. Good luck.

Things Just Got a Little Harder for Rahm

Cynthia Plaster Caster is running for mayor.

What Makes You Want to Buy Pistachios?

Perhaps you can add Blago to the list.

Cheat Sheets for Election Day

Wondering who to vote for tomorrow? has a convenient collection of voter guides.

Cuisine Fit for the President

Obama Foodorama has the details regarding President Obama's weekend dinner at Topolobombo and take-out breakfast at Valois.

Watching the Rally in Hyde Park

Approximately 35,000 people rallied with President Obama, Common and a veritable Who's Who of Chicago Democratic politicians on Saturday. Check out our photo essay of the event in Mechanics.

Wither the West Side?

Rev. Marshall Hatch wonders if the next mayor will remember than Chicago has a West Side, not just a north and south.

Rally News

The University of Chicago announced traffic restrictions for Saturday's get out the vote rally with President Obama and Common. Meanwhile, WindyCitizen will be liveblogging the Rally to Restore Sanity satellite event in Grant Park.

Disturbing Campaign Ad

Members of the band Disturbed found themselves, along with Avenge Sevenfold and Stone Sour, pictured as criminals on a Kentucky campaign flyer. They've sent the politician a cease-and-desist letter.

Chicago Rally to Restore Sanity Permit Denied

... but it's happening anyway. Here's how.

Studying the Treatment of Mothers in Prison

The Illinois Department of Corrections got decidedly mixed marks in a recent report [pdf] addressing the national treatment of women prisoners. Services for pregnant women received a "D" rating, while the state prison system is held up as a model for family-based treatment. [via]

The Gay Enthusiasm Gap

Might gays angry at Obama and the Democrats be the deciding factor in this year's election?

Office Raid or TV Show?

Michael Sneed says investigators raided Todd Stroger's office last night. The outgoing Cook County board president told WBEZ this morning that it was a film crew taping "Ride Along" for FOX.

The Next Vote

Who is the next Chicago voter? Find out in Mechanics.

Citizen Che

As was foretold, Che "Rhymefest" Smith announced his candidacy for 20th Ward alderman today.

Checking in on the Foursquarian Candidate

Chicagoist's Karl Klockers talks with of Kevin Lynch Proximity, the folks behind The Foursquarian Candidate. (Currently Rob Mowry is the guy to beat.)

The Post-Stroger Era

Daley's not the only dynasty coming to an end. Ben Joravsky takes a look at the race for Cook County board president.

Chicago and Poverty, Together Forever

The NY Times draws from research by current University of Chicago sociologist Mario Small and three former U of C sociologists, Maria Kefalas, Robert Sampson and William Julius Wilson, to draw attention to a renewed emphasis on studies of poverty and culture.

The Other Gubernatorial Candidates

The Green, Libertarian and independent candidates for governor won't be debating with Quinn and Brady in Chicago, but WBEZ gave them a forum to discuss the issues today.

Rhymefest to Make City Council Meetings Awesome

According to the Onion, Che "Rhymefest" Smith will be announcing his candidacy for alderman of the 20th Ward this Thursday.

Mayor Burris?

Sen. Roland Burris says he's been encouraged to run for mayor.

Big Typo

On the electronic voting machines in 23 different wards Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney is listed as "Rich Whitey." About half the wards are predominately African American according to the Sun-Times.

Many Books, One Mayor

Despite his flaws, Julia Keller points out a particularly nice thing Daley did: he built 59 public libraries. Not all by himself, of course, but you get the idea.

One Conversation, Multiple Takes

From one perspective, journalists protected Rahm Emanuel from a conservative radio host's questions. From another, journalists tried to get rid of a guy getting in the way of their soundbite.

Meet the Senate Candidates

Senate hopefuls Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk appeared on "Meet the Press" Sunday, an indication of how important that race is to both parties nationally.

Finger-Pointing and Self-Anointing

Senate candidates Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias will appear on this morning's edition of Meet the Press (airing at 11am on NBC Channel 5).

Minister Mayor

Rev. James Meeks says he wouldn't give up his ministry if elected mayor, leading some to question his commitment to the job. Ald. Carrie Austin said, "This is a seven-day-a-week job. This is not a part-time job. You can not serve two masters."

Heating the House

Speaking of home, the Whittier school occupation just got a little more politically interesting with City Council calling on CPS to reconnect gas heat service to the occupied field house.

Stroger Aide Arrested on Corruption Charges

Todd Stroger's Deputy Chief of Staff Carla Oglesby, who came under fire earlier this year for awarding County work contracts to both her personal business and friends, was taken into custody late this afternoon on corruption charges. She will be in court tomorrow.

RahmTracker Launches

It's like TamaleTracker, but for a certain mayoral candidate.

You Can't Go Home Again (Eighteen Months Later and Run for Mayor)

Because he rented out his North Center home while working for President Obama in Washington and it's been over a year since he's lived in Chicago, Rahm Emanuel may have a hard time convincing election judges that he meets the residency requirements to be a mayoral candidate.

Scared Straight: Rahm Launches Website

He will be coming to for you on his "Telling it Like it Is" listening tour all over the city in the coming weeks.

Respectable Reporting On Rahm

The Sunlight Foundation reviews Rahm Emanuel's visitor logs. What do you think Rahm and Sam Zell talked about?

Rahm's One to Carp

As a going-away present, Rahm Emanuel was given a dead Asian carp. Mr. Emanuel and deceased fish have a supposed history together.

Maybe ABRE, Maybe Not

The New York Times' Monica Davey looks at the pros and cons of the Rahm Emanuel candidacy.

Ina Pinkney for Senator

With all the attention focused on the upcoming mayoral race (and all signs pointing to Rahm Emanuel formally announcing his candidacy tomorrow), the soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat now occupied by Roland Burris has moved to the back burner. Culinary pun intended: the Breakfast Queen is running for senator.

Blago Lawyers: I'm Done

The most high profile defense attorneys for Blago are calling it quits.

Daley the Visionary

Mayor Daley is the 2010 Laureate of the J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development for a "21-year legacy of successful community building." OK, but is calling him an "Urban Artist" pushing it? (Thanks, Beth!)

The Foursquarian Candidate

"Check in. Become mayor. Become Mayor." (By these guys.)

Our Midwife Fugitives

The Chicago News Cooperative took a look at the state's midwife laws, the direct-entry midwives who are illegally assisting home births and the fight over legislation that could make most assisted home births legal.

Meet the Candidates

Since it seems everyone and their brother is running for mayor, A.V. Club Chicago has started a weekly series called "Me as Mayor," interviewing folks about what they'd do if they were on the Fifth Floor. So far, Graham Elliot and Vincent Falk have made their stump speeches.

A New Way to Pay for the CTA?

The CTA issued an RFP for a new payment system, ideally one that will let riders pay fares with RFID enabled credit and debit cards, as well as proprietary transit cards.

"Firemen, like cops, are street people."

Apparently, that's why Oak Brook needs to "fire 'em." Oh, and there's something about "namby pamby" in the article too, so pay close attention.

Rahm Emanuel Might Announce Candidacy Friday

Multiple news outlets are reporting that Rahm Emanuel might announce his departure from the White House this Friday so that he can run for mayor. Note though that Emanuel still hasn't made a definite decision on whether he will run.

The Grand Scheme of Things

Fran Spielman handicaps the likelihood of Mayor Daley's privatization plans and other projects will continue after he's out of office.

A Decade of Media Justice

Billed as a "gala celebration & tasting for friends, fans and foodists" the Chicago media-arts nonprofit, Beyondmedia, is celebrating 10 years of media justice, 10 top Chicago chefs and 10 honor awardees. Regrettably, another Chicago event dominates the 10-10-10 slot, so they bumped theirs to October 14th. Check Slowdown or the event site for tickets and details.

Presidential Debates Go Big Time

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy-Nixon televised debates, which were filmed at WBBM-TV's McClurg Court studios. To commemorate the event, former Kennedy confidant Ted Sorenson dispelled some myths about the legendary broadcast in the NY Times.

Green Against the Machine

Will this be the year Illinois elects its first Green Party state representative? Jeremy Karpen, running for the 39th district here in Chicago, certainly hopes so.

Rod Kafka

Governor Blagojevich's Metamorphosis, an interesting print by Wyoming artist Kim Harris.

Rahm Could Be October Surprise

Rahm Emanuel could leave the White House to run for mayor as early as October according to Time.

Break Up with Your Makeup

Local blogger (and senior BDSM profiler) Rachel Rabbit White is sponsoring a week for women to do away with the face paint, which is kickin' up a lot of discussion.

Vote Naked

One of the more unusual election campaigns you'll see this year. [via]

Alderman Tumbls

Nope, not a typo: 1st Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno now has a blog on Tumblr, where you can ask him anything. (He's on Twitter, too.)

Dart Not Running, Just Circulating Petitions

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart started circulating petitions over the weekend to test the waters for a mayoral run. Dart's spokesman says it's just to see if there's any interest among Chicagoans. To run for mayor, candidates must submit petitions with 12,500 valid signatures from Chicago residents.

Political News You'll Pay For

Nearly two months after the Chicago Current ceased publication, the launch of Early and Often, a subscription-based political news service covering Chicago's 2011 mayoral and aldermanic elections, was announced by the Chicago News Cooperative, AlderTrack and Mike Fourcher. It'll cost you $150 to read their stories when it launches Oct. 4.

Red Meeting in a Blue State

There's a political event called Right Nation happening out in Hoffman Estates this weekend, and apparently journalists aren't invited. Tickets are $77 to $1200.

Other People's Guide to Being Brown

In Mechanics, Ramsin Canon considers the consequences of identity politics.

Ben and Rich

The Reader's Ben Joravsky reflects on the end of his personal Daley era.

Mayoral Ambitions

Chicago Breaking News reports that Rahm Emanuel and Jesse Jackson, Jr. held a meeting yesterday. The two are considered possible successors to Mayor Daley, who announced last week that he will not seek re-election. The question remains...what, if anything, did Rahm and Jesse decide?

Before Pimps Were Pimps

DePaul researchers Jody Raphael and Brenda Myers-Powell released a research report [pdf] yesterday noting pimps' common histories of sexual abuse, prostitution and familial involvement in sex trade prior to becoming pimps. (Related: our feature on sex trafficking in Chicago.)

You Need a Scorecard Just to Keep Track

Fortunately, Dan Sinker has created And you can already move Manny Flores to the "In" pile.

The Sun Shined on the Disability Pride Parade

Camaraderie ran, walked and wheeled rampant at the 2010 Disability Pride Parade downtown last July. Ruthie Kott reports in A/C.

Little Richard

The Trib provides many, many photos of the mayor that never made the paper, including a frighteningly young one of him as a page at the 1960 Democrat Convention.

How They Get Paid

Dan O'Neil hopes the next mayor gets serious about the nitty gritty of city contracts.

Gutierrez Says He's Not Running For Mayor...

Rep. Luis Gutierrez still says he's only considering a run for mayor, but with volunteers wearing "Gutierrez for Mayor" t-shirts collecting signatures during the Mexican Independence Day parade today, it awfully looks like he's made up his mind.

Burris Goes SCOTUS

Sen. Roland Burris is going to the Supreme Court to contest the ruling that he not be allowed onto the Nov. 2nd ballot.

Citizen Journalists

Looks like it'll be easier for us to get press passes from now on. Theoretically.

Chicago Still Picking Up Steam in Washington

U of C economist and long-time Obama advisor Austan Goolsbee is moving up in the world to Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.


Oak Park is currently considering making some changes to their taxi ordinance, including a ban on drivers wearing "tank tops, swimwear, jogging suits, body shirts and sandals without socks" or "underwear as an outer garment."

A November to Dismember

Mayor Daley's decision to not seek re-election means that his potential successors will have to hustle to file some major paperwork [PDF] by November 22 in order to run in the February 22 primary. Have fun gathering 12,500 petition signatures in 75 days, candidates!

Durbin On Daley

Here's Sen. Dick Durbin's press release on Mayor Daley's decision to not seek relection.

Reacting to Mayor Daley's Retirement Announcement

While there will surely be countless tributes to the Daley years, here's a sampling of coverage of Daley's announcement.

What Really Happened in There

Reporters covering the Blagojevich trial share their stories at "Bleeping Golden: Insiders' Stories of Covering the Blago Trial" at Columbia's Film Row Cinema Thursday night.

Mayor Daley No More?

The Sun-Times has a terse announcement that Mayor Daley will not seek re-election, promising more to come. This election cycle just got very interesting. Chicago Breaking News has slightly more context regarding the announcement.

An Untouchable Backfire

The fallout from CPD Superintendent Jody Weis's surprise sit-down with gang leaders last weekend has been widespread: former gang members, clergy, the governor, and especially police officers have complained. Meanwhile, the Fraternal Order of Police is planning a march to protest low manpower.

"If You Build it, She Will Run"

Wicker Park dentist William DeJean has bought air time on television stations in New Orleans, Los Angeles and New York to run a (crude, weird) self-made commercial promoting Hillary Clinton's 2012 presidency bid, even though Clinton has repeatedly said she will not run again.

Major Federal Smuggling Case Run Out of Chicago

What was smuggled? Honey.

FBI to Release Files on Rostenkowski

Because of a flurry of requests the FBI plans on releasing files on the late Congressman Dan Rostenkowski in the coming months.

Designing Obama for Free

The book Designing Obama is now available digitally. It's $4.99 for the iPad version or free online or as a PDF.

What's the Appropriate Use of a Front Yard?

The controversial issue of the day in Northbrook is over a 69-year-old woman's garden in her front yard.

Illinois Politicians: "Corrupt or Just Dumb?"

On the heels of the Blagojevich's "not the sharpest knife in the drawer" defense, NPR wants to know what's up with Illinois politicians.

Eat Your Food, Even If You Hate It

Chicago magazine's food critic spent the afternoon with Nutraloaf, food for misbehaving inmates, a.k.a. "a thick orange lump of spite with the density and taste of a dumbbell."

The Threat Stage of Law Enforcement

Apparently at wit's end, the CPD is now telling gangs to clean up their acts "or else."

New Areas for City Revenue Announced

Mayor Daley reaffirmed his everything-has-a-price strategy today by adding the Taste and Fleet Management to the list of leasable options, while also introducing the idea of allowing video rental machines and ATMs in city facilities ... for a fee, of course.

An Easy Way to Figure Out Who Won't Run for Mayor

There's plenty of speculation about who will be the next mayor of Chicago but if history is any guide, it won't be a current alderman.

Have You Talked with Rep. Timothy Johnson?

If you live in his district, there's a decent chance you have. Why? He makes more than 100 phone calls to constituents a day.

Broadway Bank Closure Motivations Cleared

If you were skeptical about the motivations of the timing of the Broadway Bank closure, the FDIC says to put your mind at ease.

Chicago Sets an Example for New York

Rev up that second city chip on your shoulders gang! Streetsblog New York looks at the public hazard of privatizing infrastructure--using our own ignoble parking meter privatization as a case study.

Favorite Hairbrush?

Blago gets the animated treatment from Taiwan-based Next Media Limited studios. Just thank god they didn't show him shaking down a patient from Children's Memorial Hospital.

How Would You Describe Chicago's Relationship with Corruption?

The BBC gives it a shot with: "Political corruption and Chicago go together like fashion and Milan or surfers and Sydney."

Runaway Juror

Rich Miller asks the question on everybody's mind today: Who is the lone juror who held out against convicting Rod Blagojevich on more than one federal charge? It seems like the ex-governor owes her a fruit basket...

Blago Guilty on ONE COUNT

After 14 days of deliberations, the former governor of Illinois is only charged for lying to the FBI, a charge that carries a maximum of five years in jail and a $250k fine (prosecutors have until September 7 to decide if they want to retrial on the other 23 counts that the jury deadlocked on). Somewhere, Patrick Fitzgerald is stuffing his face with marshmallows.

Do Teachers Unions Hate Obama?

Chicago's In These Times has a feature on the anger brewing for Obama, Arne Duncan and the democrats within typically friendly waters: the national teachers unions.

Extra! Extra! Yellow Journalism Plagues Chicago!

The Chicago Justice Project today released a report on the sensationalized writing in the city's press, claiming that coverage of a huge new wave in violence this summer has been factually devoid.

Inside the Blago Jury Room

The Beachwood Reporter has a humorous list of counts the so-far deadlocked jury might agree on.

111 Feet of Lawsuit

A Chicago-area atheist is suing the state government and others over a $20,000 grant the state provided to the custodians of the Bald Knob Cross of Peace, a.k.a. the massive downstate cross.

Notes from the Anti-Gay Conference

In Mechanics, Timna Axel reports on her undercover visit to the recent Americans for Truth Academy conference.

8.33% Done (Sigh)

Blagojevich jurors have only decided 2 of the 24 counts in the former governor's corruption trial.

We Don't Got the Beat

The Reader's Ben Joravsky finds the city has fewer policemen on the streets than it would appear.

Refreshing Chicago

The American Indian Center of Chicago and Tabula Rosa are among the top 100 projects in Pepsi's "Refresh Everything" contest, and there are many more hoping to join them.

Good Bill for Bad Credit

Employers in Illinois can no longer run credit checks on job applicants, according to a new law signed by Gov. Quinn today. It's a rare bit of good news for unions.

If Rainbows Could Vote

They would probably elect Pat Quinn, who's just been endorsed by the state's leading gay rights group, Equality Illinois.

Who is that Guy?

It's not Blagojevich, but he does look a little like him.

I Am Woman, Hear My Buttons Roar

The Chicago Women's Liberation Union herstory project site is interesting in and of itself, but this article about feminist buttons is fascinating.

Representing the "Insurgent" Since 2003

Meet the Freeman Institute, a political consultancy primarily working on pro-business political campaigns in Chicago. Their website makes their orientation startlingly clear: click on "Invited" to enter the full site; if you're one of the "Others," they ship you off to google.

Welcome to Chicago, Visiting Taxpayer

Guess which city leads the tax pack with an average of $101 in travel and consumer taxes paid over a three day visit.

Rallying Against Prop 8 Tonight

Q: A federal judge in California just overturned Prop 8, which banned same-sex marriages in the state, what are you going to do now? A: Go to a rally at Daley Plaza at 6pm, of course! Celebrants are encouraged to bring rainbow flags. (Thanks, Marc!)

Fighting Fraudulent Debt Settlement

Attorney General Lisa Madigan writes on Huffington Post about Illinois' new law against predatory debt settlement companies, now supposedly the strongest in the nation.

This Week's Installment of The Tales of Mark Kirk

Republican Senate candidate Congressman Mark Kirk's newest doozy is that he singlehandedly established the unanimous Republican opposition to Obama's health care bill in the House.

The Ongoing Inquiry into Burge and Police Torture

Governor Quinn made appointments to the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission over the weekend, clearing the way for more official investigations into police torture in the state.

Month Of Peace

Clergy and peace activists have teamed up to declare "28 Days of Peace," a call for a citywide ceasefire which will end on August 28, the 55th anniversary of the day Emmitt Till was killed and the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. Considering the carnage this weekend, a month without violence may be a tad too ambitious.

Still A Labor Town

Chicago has a long and bloody union history, and it shows. According to a survey of America's ten largest cities, Chicago ranks second in the percentage of unionized workers. At 17.5 percent, we tie with Philly and stop short of New York City, where 22.3 percent of the work force is unionized.

The City's Budget Woes Run Deep

$655 million deep, in fact, for the 2011 budget, which has a lot of people eying those TIF funds. Progress Illinois thinks that's not a bad idea, but Daley wants City Hall to think real hard before tapping that nest egg.

From Chicago to Mexico, However Unwilling

The AP details a day in the federal government's deportation program by starting with a detention center in the suburbs and ending on a bridge between Texas and Mexico.

Stop! Wage Thief!

Gov. Quinn signed a bill tackling the issue of wage theft today--an issue we've covered in the past.

Immigration Law at the Forefront Here for Good Reason

Activists rallied in Chicago yesterday against Arizona's SB 1070, the same day a judge placed an injunction against many aspects of the law. Meanwhile, Fox News Chicago's Mike Flannery notes that Chicago has more undocumented immigrants than Arizona.

Political Quid Pro Quo

Mayor Daley is taking advantage of the recent Michigan oil spill to get back at the state for its Asian carp challenges.

Jesse Jackson Jr. Flexes Non-Political Muscles

In 1997, Jesse Jackson Jr. was featured in People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" issue. Looks like he's still got it. From Chicago magazine: "His career may be in the tank and his White House dreams shattered, but there's some good news for Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. this week: He made The Hill's "50 Most Beautiful People 2010" list--even cracking the coveted top ten." Jackson came in at number nine, beating the Cosmo-famous Scott Brown.

GOP Sex Scandal

The executive director of the Cook County Republican Party, Jeremy Rose, has resigned amidst allegations of sexual misconduct. [via]

The Blago Country Blues

"Do you think they'll let me play all the tapes in prison?" sing the Blue State Cowboys.

Fitzgerald's Greatest Hits

WBEZ's Steve Edwards totes up US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's top 10 prosecutions.

Meet Weston, Illinois

There aren't enough urban planning stories about nuclear scientists, the mob and the feds unwittingly working towards the same end.

What More Can the City Lease?

At least one company wants to lease the ability to decorate bridge houses.

Term Limits Over Coffee and Toast

Following a hearty breakfast, Chicago's Better Government Association will host a debate over term limits this Wednesday. Professor Dick Simpson of UIC, who served as Chicago's 44th Ward Alderman for two terms before retiring in 1979, will argue in favor of term limits as a reasonable way to check power. Professor Emerita Dawn Netsch of Northwestern Law, who was in the Illinois State Senate before being elected State Comptroller in 1990, will argue against term limits as an arbitrary restriction on the ability of citizens to retain elected officials. Register here for $25.

Hyatt Labor Demonstrators Take Arrest

In a massive civil disobedience event, protesters rallying against Hyatt's anti-labor practices occupied Wacker Drive yesterday afternoon. But only 25 of the planned 200 demonstrators took arrest. Read our coverage here.

Walk this Way

Gov. Quinn has signed a bill into law that requires motorists to come to a complete stop for pedestrians in all crosswalks.

Not Well Metered

The City has already spent most of the money it earned from the leases on the parking meters and Skyway. Fantastic. Further thoughts from The Expired Meter.

Flow with CRO

Chicago's best-known political street artist Ray Noland (a.k.a. CRO) was interviewed by Art Slant Chicago's Abraham Ritchie while he passed out Blagojevich-themed cupcakes outside the courthouse during his trial.

2040: A City's Odyssey

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's draft of Go to 2040, a plan for the Chicago area's next three decades, is available to read online. You can leave your comments for CMAP on the plan's site through August 6.

Illinois Still Fails to Test Rape Kits

Sarah Tofte of Human Rights Watch has penned a scathing article in The Huffington Post using her work from the first state-wide analysis of the rape kit backlog. The study found that the vast majority of DNA evidence collected from rape victims in Illinois is never tested. It might explain why the arrest rate for rape in Illinois of just 11 percent, half the national average.

Challenging Daley

In the wake of a poll showing Mayor Daley's support is dropping, Dick Simpson offers some tips on how he could be challenged in the next election -- if anyone would step up.

POTUS on Holiday

In the latest installment of president-tracking, Obama will vacation with family to Maine. But more importantly, is the presidential family cursed by a "travel hex?" And is Obama taking too much time off?

Things Are Getting Cheaper Around Here...

According to a new study, rents in Chicago are going down again this year, as they have been since 2007. But don't get any funny ideas -- demand for affordable housing still far outstrips supply in this city.

Losing Affordable Housing in Boystown

Residents of a Lakeview high rise that has long provided affordable housing may be forced to relocate if their rents rise to market rates.

40s at the Wilson Stop?

Ald. Shiller is trying to undo the liquor sales moratorium around the corner of Broadway and Wilson, one of the less savory areas of Uptown.

"It's a shame someone has to win"

Is the forthcoming race for Illinois's senate seat a "race between the worst candidates ever?"

A Greener Neighborhood

Today marks the start of Andersonville's Green Week, with seven days of cool and informative activities for residents and shoppers. Events include t-shirt recycling, shopping discounts, LEED home tours, eco-storybook making, free stuff, and more.

Baby Elephants

The Chicago Young Republicans held a fundraiser and networking event on Friday -- and Time Out was there.

Telecom Titan in Chicago: Congress v. Comcast

Yesterday members of Congress held a field hearing on the proposed Comcast-NBCU merger, a deal which could have drastic consequences for Chicago's media ecosystem. Find out why you should care in Part 2 of our series in Mechanics.

Chicago: A City in a Foreclosure Crisis

Chicago is in a "foreclosure epidemic," says a local writer -- but citizens are fighting back.

Blagojevich x 32

Remember that Chicago magazine Blagojevich portrait contest? Enjoy the results.

Daley and Guns

Over at the Chicago Reader, Mick Dumke says everybody's favorite Windy City villain benefits from the new gun control law. (OK, maybe Mayor Daley is everybody's second favorite Chicago villain, after Blago.)

Something's Not Right with Lake Shore Drive

Following the weekend's LSD lane closures, the city had to close two southbound lanes for additional buckling yesterday. Maybe it's time to look at a certain pavement contract.

Watching and Listening to the Governor

Meet Pete Cullen, the FBI agent in charge of the Blagojevich wiretaps.

Chicago Librarians Battle Fox

Fox Chicago drew heavy fire after suggesting that Chicago's public libraries are a useless waste of tax dollars. The response, a fiery 1000-word letter from Chicago Public Library Commissioner Mary A. Dempsey, is well worth reading.

Limiting Firearms in New Ways

Mayor Daley has already introduced new gun control proposals following the recent Supreme Court decision. For more background on the decision, including an interview with the lead plaintiff and an expert panel, check out WBEZ's Tuesday episode of 848.

Kirk Comes Clean

Senate candidate Congressman Mark Kirk apologized Tuesday for the many "misstatements" and factual errors in his official bio, nearly a month after news of his exaggerated military record broke.

Goose-20? G-312?

Obama toasted with a Goose Island 312 in a photo op with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the G-20 summit.

Analyzing the Lollapalooza Investigation

Jim DeRogatis has written one heck of a post analyzing Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's investigation of Lollapalooza's "radius clauses."

Burge Found Guilty

Big news out of the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse: former Chicago Police commander Jon Burge was found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection a number of allegations of torture from decades past.

Is Chicago America's Heroin Capital?

According to a new report by Roosevelt University's Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, there are more emergency room cases of heroin in and around Chicago than in any other major city. Other findings here.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Chicago's Gun Ban

In a 5-4 decision upholding the challenge to Chicago's 30-year gun ban, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the Second Amendment right to bear arms "applies equally to the federal government and the states." Meanwhile, 26 people across Chicago were shot this weekend. More from the Reader.

Obama Does Racine

If you just so happen to be in the Wisconsin area next Wednesday you'll catch President Barack Obama.

The "Absentee" . . .

. . . in "Absentee Ballot" doesn't stand for absence of ethics.

Pro-Walmart Demonstrators Need Fact Checkers

Two demonstrators photographed in a recent NYTimes article about Walmart's Chicago invasion claim "Benefits from Walmart better than AFDC." That should be no surprise, given Aid to Families with Dependent Children was retired in 1996.

Walmart's Invasion Plans Made Semi-Public

Remember those reports about Walmart wanting to invade Chicago? Today it unveiled its plan to build dozens of stores over the next five years through what it's calling the "Chicago Community Investment Partnership." Here's the press release.

I've Got a Sandwich & It's Effin' Golden

The cafeteria in the Dirksen Federal Building offered a special today: "The Innocent, aka Blago." Too bad we already had lunch.

Danger: You are Near a Coal-Fired Power Plant

The Rainforest Action Network and local artists are working with community groups in Little Village and Pilsen to alert residents about the dangers of area coal-fired power plants. This volley: warning street signs.

Brady Thinks He Could Beat Obama

Bill Brady thinks he could beat Obama if the president were running for Illinois governor right now.

Need Room for a Pool and a Deck?

Maybe you know someone in city hall who can help you out with removing that pesky garage.

Springfield Tire Fire, Here We Come!

Speaking of where Chicago ends, a 12-acre illegal dump site in Markham has yielded more than 25,000 tires. Maybe the state should burn the tires as a green fuel...

GLAAD Launches Chicago Leadership Council

GLAAD is launching a Chicago leadership council to help monitor issues and support local advocacy efforts.

Good Luck, Potential Public Housing Residents!

The Chicago Housing Authority opened its Family Housing Wait List yesterday in order to fill 40,000 units. The rub: it's already received 60,000 applicants, and there's still nearly a month for people to apply. In comparison, 232,000 people applied for 40,000 Section 8 slots in 2008.

Taking Stock of the Daley Years

As the election season grows closer, Crain's assesses Daley's performance as mayor since 1989. Be sure to check out the charts and graphs to get a fuller picture.

Soul Food Restaurateur Edna Stewart Passes Away

Edna Stewart, owner of the legendary Edna's Restaurant on the West Side, passed away on Friday. For background about Stewart, her restaurant and her role in the civil rights movement, check out this interview from the Southern Foodways Alliance Oral History Project.

BP Protest Goes On Without Bridge

The BP Bridge in Millennium Park was closed -- supposedly because of the Blackhawks parade several blocks away -- but the oil spill protesters held their flash mob anyway.

"I want people to know we exist."

Now that Berwyn's Mayor Robert J. Lovero has been in office for a year, here's your opportunity to read what he thinks about.

Sit Still, Blagojevich

Today U.S. District Judge Zagel asked Blagojevich to restrain his gestures while in the courtroom. I wonder if the same goes for his hair.

Oiling Up the BP Pedestrian Bridge

A silent protest against the BP oil spill is being planned for this Friday in Millennium Park. Details in Facebook.

Get to Know Blago

The Tribune has created an interactive special section that maps out the timeline of the Blagojevich case thus far.

Kirk's Many Misrememberings

Congressman and senatorial candidate Mark Kirk is building his reputation -- though not for what he probably what he'd prefer. MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" pulled together clips of some of his less-than-true statements last night.

Kirk's Apology: Doubleplusungood

Apparently Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk's excuse that he "misremembered" his military service wouldn't fly with an English professor at Prairie State College.

Tweeting from the Blago Courtroom

The Blagojeviches and their publicist have all taken their defense to Twitter recently, tweeting Rod's innocence from within the courtroom and beyond. Follow Rod, Patti and Glenn Selig.

Smiling on the Way to Trial

Does Blagojevich ever turn down a photo opp? No. Even in the face of a home court advantage.

The Three-Ring Blagojevich Trial

More Blago! The folks at the Christian Science Monitor provide an interesting, if not succinct, look at the Rod Blagojevich trial. They ask if Blago will try to turn the justice system into a circus. If anyone has been paying attention, the answer is a clear one.

Plenty More Games Where He's Going

On the eve of his court battle to fight federal corruption charges, former governor Rod Blagojevich went for a jog in his Ravenswood neighborhood and big-timed a kickball league.

Your First Amendment Tweets Rewarded

The McCormick Foundation started a contest today to promote the McCormick Freedom Project: Find a story on GB or our online counterparts that relates to one of our First Amendment rights, and tweet a link to it along with the hashtag #1amend. It'll enter you in a contest to win an iPad!

AZ Business Boycott Doesn't Include Cameras

The Cook County Board voted to boycott Arizona businesses in response the state's new immigration law -- but not before signing a contract with Scottsdale-based American Traffic Solutions for 20 more red light cameras.

Out in the Race

Is Congressman Mark Kirk gay? One gay activist says yes, and tells how he found out. [via]

Chicagoan Among the Missing in Israel

Fatima Mohammadi, a Chicago woman on the aid flotilla headed to Gaza, is missing following the Israeli raid on the ships.

Great Work, City Council!

Hyde Park Urbanist commemorates the unlikely occasion of it being a year since an alderman has been indicted.

Mayor Daley Identifies Suburban Texting Threat

To the barricades!

Food Trucks Soon?

On June 9, Ald. Scott Waguespack plans to introduce an ordinance allowing food trucks of the sort that roam LA and New York. He made the announcement at a National Restaurant Association panel discussing food truck culture.

We're Not as Bad as Montana!

Illinois ranks 47th out of 51 in Daily Beast's confusingly numbered list of the Most Corrupt States. (You see, it goes from cleanest down to dirtiest, and includes DC.)

A Presidential Memorial Day Weekend

With President Obama and the First Lady in town this weekend for a visit and for a speech at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, the Trib is starting to wonder about where they'll go in their free time.

13 Arrested for Gay Rights

Thirteen gay activists from the LGBT equality group Join the Impact were arrested at Sen. Dick Durbin's office yesterday, demanding he do more to pass the Employee Non-Discrimination Act.

Should the City Rent or Sell?

The Chicago Reporter takes a look at the Committee on Housing and Real Estate's decision to offer one year leases on 42 units and wonders if the shift indicates a change in city housing policy.

To Record and Consent

Should recording a police officer doing his or her job in a public space be illegal under Illinois' eavesdropping law? No, says Reason's Radley Balko.

Daley Busts a Cap

Oddest bit of tape you'll hear today: Mayor Daley threatening to put a gun up a reporter's butt.

TIF for Tat

The Reader breaks down how the city spends TIF funds, ward by ward. This is the latest in their long-running series of investigations into possible misuses of these "shadow budget" funds.

Residents to be Evicted En Masse from Cabrini Green Building

The Chicago Housing Authority has issued eviction notices [PDF] to the 31 remaining households of the Cabrini-Green high-rise 1230 N. Larrabee. Note: Contrary to ABC7's report, the building is not the last standing Cabrini Green high-rise.

Are You Ready for Herb Green Ceviche of Hawaiian Opah?

Perhaps you've reached Bayless saturation by now, but the official White House dinner press release is actually a pretty interesting read.

Celebrity Idiot

Chicagoist tap into their inner pop-punk rockers to comment on the revelations of Blagojevich's legal strategy.

Settlement Reached Over Derelict Road

After more than a decade of legal battles, Vulcan Materials Company, the operator of the mine that spectacularly closed Joliet Road, is to pay $40 million to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Twitter Troll Comes Clean...ish

Caleb Howe, the right-wing blogger who recently trolled Roger Ebert on Twitter, writes on Mediaite about why he did it, and comes close to apologizing for it. (Thanks, Glenn!)

No Genetic Tests for You

Remember those genetic tests being sold at Walgreens? That's as close as you're going to get to them.

Chicago Pols Like Sports...A Lot

Chicago politicians spent $350,000 on Chicago sports teams in 2009 the Chicago Current reports.

Deportees in Broadview

The deportations carried out in Broadview are pretty heartbreaking.

Keeping a Roof Over Their Heads

Fair housing activists are fighting to keep Carol Vialdores and her children in their Rogers Park apartment.

At the End of the Day, He's Still a Chicago Politician

Say it ain't so, Luis!

Olympic Failure = Sports for Kids

The $6.1 million left over from donations to the Chicago Olympic bid is funding World Sport Chicago's programs for inner-city kids. As the Sun-Times quips: "World Sport Chicago is the only remaining legacy of Daley's Olympic quest."

Swiss Stroger

With a new scandal congealing in his soon-to-end administration, Todd Stroger has had his ability to hire, fire, promote, and raise wages limited by the Cook County Board. His response: "I'm riddled; I have more holes in me than Swiss cheese."

Should You Need a License to Braid?

It's up to Gov. Quinn to decide whether or not hair braiders need to spend 1,500 hours and $15,000 to braid hair.

A Not So Routine Stop

Were U.S. Congressional candidate Ben Lowe and his friends pulled over by the Cicero Police Department for driving while appearing to be "Hispanic"?

Protest at Wrigley, Arizona Edition

Another protest is to take place today at Wrigley Field as the Cubs take on the Diamondbacks. This time, though, it's about Arizona's new immigration law and the D-Backs' alleged ties to the Republican Party. UPDATE: Chicagoist has photos of the protest.

The FDIC Hates Giannoulias?

Given the tense political environment, it's hard to believe it took so long for concerns to be publicly aired about political motivations regarding the collapse of Broadway Bank.

Deb Mell Pushes for Gay Marriage

State Rep. Deb Mell, daughter of Alderman Richard Mell, would like to not have to travel to Iowa to marry her fiancée, Christin Baker. She's introduced legislation to add Illinois to the list of states where same sex marriage is legal.

Rahm Isn't Smiling

Judy Woodruff made a wisecrack in her introduction of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel today at the Global Cities Forum. But most reports have Emanuel's response wrong.

African Americans leaving Chicago

According to some recently crunched numbers on Chicago's demographics, from 2000 to 2008, Chicago's African American population dropped while the suburban African American population grew. The 2010 census data may show an even greater exodus.

Counting Sex Ads on Craigslist

Craigslist continues to get itself into hot water over sex oriented advertisements around the country. Here, the state's Attorney General's office is keeping a particularly close eye on the site, tabulating more than 200,000 Chicago sex ads in just over two years.

Rahm Israel Emanuel's Got Talent

Whether or not the feasibility of a potential Mayor Rahm has you scratching your noggin, the Tribune compiled a list of interesting facts about the former ballet dancer turned White House chief of staff.

A Major Demolition, Some Plans and What Else?

Now that the city's 2016 Olympic bid is long in the tank, New City checks in on the bid's legacy.

Dive into the Candidates

The Illinois State Board of Elections launched its new website today, with some nice new features.

Muslim Youth in Action

Tomorrow is Illinois Muslim Action Day, and local Muslim youth are heading to Springfield in hopes of getting the attention of state politicians.

Watch the Save Our State Rally

There's a demonstration happening in Springfield today, and Chicagoans can watch it stream live starting at 11am.

Daley to Tweet About Rahm for Mayor

@MayorDaley: "Check back later this afternoon for news regarding Rahm Emanuel." Stay tuned... UPDATE: Ooh! Da Mayor played us! Emanuel will be speaking at the Global Cities Forum next week.

There's Nothing We Can't Fix

...with a little creative editing, courtesy of street artist Nick Adam.

Mayor Rahm?

So now Rahm Emanuel says he does want to be mayor of Chicago. Jeez, Rahm, make up your mind.

Privatizing the Pipes

The City is examining privatizing the water system, and lots of folks are none too pleased. If you're one of them, there's a meeting tonight you may want to attend.

Pitching Across The Aisle

The Verban Memorial Society, a bipartisan group in D.C. dedicated to supporting the Cubs, has inducted White Sox fan President Obama into its ranks. "'I know it will be hard for him to accept this accolade,' Mr. Durbin said. 'It's like telling him he was elected to the board of directors of the Republican National Committee.' Conservative columnist George Will, a Verban stalwart, says the president ought to embrace his induction. 'Diversity,' he says. 'It's a great liberal value.'"

Our Representatives at Work in Washington

Citizens Against Government Waste says that Illinois ranks 44th in federal pork per person. With a total of $191.6 million in projects, the state gets $14.84 for each of us.

Chicago May Still Find a Place in the Supreme Court

While the Supreme Court may be losing a Chicagoan, at least two of the contenders for his replacement have Chicago connections. Merrick B. Garland is from the region, and Diane P. Wood is currently a judge on Chicago's United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Crazy Vision of the American City

Chicago architectural icon had a dream: an America covered with "little villages" all connected by super highways as an alternative to "megacities." It, uh... it didn't go over well.

Does Sex Sell Conservative Ideals?

A Chicago GOP website currently features a photo of a topless woman, illustrating a post about Democratic "job creation" through women getting memoirs based on their affairs. (NSFW, obviously.) More details on WindyCitizen.

5040 Greenwood Sold

The Obamas' have some new neighbors moving in next door. The Kenwood mansion sold for a paltry $1.4 million.

Honoring Blagojevich with Your Art

Now that Blago doesn't get a portrait in the State House, Chicago magazine wants you to make one.

Aldermanic Art

The 50 Aldermen/50 Artists Project closes this Friday, but if you haven't seen it, fear not: the Reader has a gallery of all 50 portraits. Plus a quiz.

Another Shadow Budget

Daley's not the only one with his own secret fund. Alderman Bernie Stone has one too, through his position as vice mayor -- an "unpaid" position.

Street Sweeping Changes May Make a Mess

The new "grid" based street sweeping plan would mean dirtier streets and more difficult parking, Aldermen Joe Moore and Vi Daley say. It also takes the sweepers out of aldermanic control. A special City Council session is scheduled for Wednesday to discuss the plan.

Health Care and Hoth

A recent visit to an Iowa City bookstore shows the President's kind of nerdy. [via]

How the Lt. Gov. Sausage is Made

Chicago Public Radio's Sam Hudzik explains how this whole lieutenant governor picking process works.

Sheila Simon to Run as Lt. Gov.

The Sun-Times and Trib are reporting that Sheila Simon will be Gov. Quinn's choice for running mate.

Health Care Bill Reactions

The health care bill got Obama's signature today, and county health officials and random local people are bracing for the changes it will enact. Tell us how you feel in Fuel.

Long Weekends Every Weekend

While everyone is discussing healthcare, the Illinois House is clearing the way for four-day school weeks to reduce government spending.

NBC5 Wards Up

This morning launched Ward Room, a new political blog featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jack Higgins and author and occasional GB contributor Ted McClelland.

Finding the 50 Aldermen

The Chicago Alderman Project has gotten a ton of coverage, so Friday night's opening at Johalla Projects is likely to be a madhouse. Get there early! Here's a sneak peek at a couple pieces.

Supreme Court to Revisit Asian Carp Issue

The Supreme Court may be reassessing its position on the closure of the O'Brien Lock and Dam and the Chicago Controlling Works during its private conference on Friday.

Taxes, Fees, Cuts: Balanced?

The Trib runs down various efforts area municipalities are making to plug huge budget shortfalls.

Official Wrigley Field Renovation Details

Daniel X. O'Neil, Everyblock people person and former GB staffer, dug through the city's January 2010 Landmark Building Permits and uncovered detailed information about the Wrigley Field renovation, including renovation of the scoreboard, bathrooms and other changes. He also put the entire permit list into CSV format for your use.

Red-light Cameras Closer to Modification

It doesn't look like there will be any tremendous changes for red-light cameras, but the state Senate's Transportation Committee unanimously sent a bill to the floor that will curtail some of the more irritating aspects of the cameras.

City Council Live

As of today, people can watch City Council meetings online by visiting the City Council Video Archive.

Apparently, Not Everyone Wants to Live in Chicago

The Chicago Teachers Union is finding itself in an interesting political game with State Sen. Heather Steans, a charter school supporter. Steans is pushing for the elimination of the residency requirement for CPS teachers as a quid pro quo for earlier union concessions.

What's Hizzoner's Line?

Here's an interesting clip of the original Mayor Daley on What's My Line from August 5, 1956. Watch till the end when host John Daly offers a hilarious/discomforting comment about one of our fair city's talents.

Paper Signs and Rapidly Changing Names

Groups formerly affiliated with ACORN are dropping the name as quickly as possible, including the Chicago office of Affordable Housing Centers of America.

Don't Tase Me, Bro

Chicagoans will now have the opportunity to be shocked by 380 new Tasers. The announcement nearly immediately follows the death of a southwestern suburban man who was Tased by Midlothian police officers.

Blago is Everywhere

This time he was on David Letterman reading the Top 10.

Characterizing Gov. Quinn's Proposed Tax Hike

The Trib proclaims "Quinn wants 33% tax hike" on its front page, while the Sun-Times opts for "Quinn calls for raising income tax to 4 percent." Ah, politics. (Note that the links reference articles with slightly longer titles.)

Live-blogging the Budget

Our own Ramsin Canon appears on WBEZ's second Lunchbox web talkshow Wednesday at noon, along with Dan Sinker, Marcus Gilmer, Anna Tarkov and Mike Fourcher. They'll be delivering live commentary on Gov. Quinn's budget speech. Tune in!

A Race with More Than Just Two Runners

With the Republican and Democrat Gubernatorial candidates chosen from the primaries (well, barely), Green candidate, Rich Whitney (a former journalist) has a bone to pick with how the race is being covered.

Remember Donald Rumsfeld?

Well, he has another reason to dislike the home of Obama and Daley: a Chicago federal judge allowed a case against Rumsfeld to proceed that will explore his role in setting detainee handling policies in Iraq.

No, I Actually Want a Beverage

The popularity of a certain political movement is making those who are interested in tea a little frustrated.

Couldn't Make Blago's Northwestern Lecture?

Well, here are a couple of reviews, including highlights involving "testicular virility" and Thomas Jefferson.

Demolition and Sludge Combined

Demolition enthusiasts will appreciate Noah Vaughn's latest post about the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District's Sludge Disposal Building removal.

The Second Amendment and the Second City

The New York Times editorial page took an, um, shot at the Chicago handgun case in advance of today's Supreme Court hearing.

Goodbye, M

Lee Bey bids farewell to the CPD's M license plate with some references to it in popular culture.

Is Logan Square Chicago's Artiest Neighborhood?

35th Ward Alderman Rey Colon would like to think so. Check out his entry about his commitment to art on Studio Chicago's blog.

Blago on Ethics

Rod Blagojevich will discuss political ethics at Northwestern on March 2.

President's Biffles

Obama keeps two best friends from Chicago around to share the good times. You know, like when he wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

Going, Going, Gone

Ryan Flynn took full advantage of living across the street from one of the last Cabrini Green high-rises by creating a stop-motion video of its demolition.

Spreading Like a Plague

The Cubs are the newest ambassadors of our Tax Increment Financing system in Arizona, where they are proposing a TIF to fund the construction of their new spring training stadium.

Now Auditioning: Alderman

If you think you've got what it takes to be an alderman, consider applying for the job: Mayor Daley has posted a help wanted ad to fill the 1st and 29th Ward seats left open (for very different reasons) by Manny Flores and Ike Carothers. UPDATE: We've got a leak of the intake application in Mechanics!

Behind the Triumph of Chicago Snowplows

"[I]n Washington, they called it 'Snowpocalypse' ... in Chicago, they called it 'Tuesday.'"

From 2.7% to 71.8%

We all know that the recent primary had low voter turnout, but that turnout was far from evenly distributed. The Chicago Reporter highlights some outlying polling sites and wards.

The Other Bad Lieutenant

Steve Rhodes wonders how soon we'll be seeing the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, Jason Plummer, drop out of the race amid questions about his past.

Check the County's Checks

Did you know Cook County's check register is online and searchable? It's part of the Open County Initiative. (The Current noticed last week that not everything was immediately available as promised.)

Defending Scott Lee Cohen

Evan Miller makes a case for the embattled "wife-abusing hooker-dating roid-raging pawnbroker who spent two million dollars of his own money to be the next lieutenant governor of Illinois." [via]

Daley Wants More War Protests

Mayor Daley went off message at the 16th Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards and lamented the fact that there aren't more anti-war protests on the streets of Chicago.

The Legacy of Sam Cooke

In Transmission, we take a look back on the brief life of Sam Cooke and his contributions to not only Chicago's musical history, but that of the Civil Rights Movement as well.

Whoever Wins, Loses

Gail Collins of The New York Times compares Illinois to New York, asking whose political culture is the worst.

No More Foam?

Finance Committee Chairman Edward Burke drafted a citywide ban of Styrofoam today. If approved by City Council, Chicago Public Schools will have to find another way to serve lunch.

Potentially Landmarking the Hansberry House

The Chicago City Council may vote today to confer landmark status to 6140 S. Rhodes Avenue. The house was owned by Carl Hansberry, a prominent progressive African American businessman and father of playwright Lorraine Hansberry. A court case related to his ownership of the building ultimately struck down one form of racially restrictive covenants.

Have We Learned No Lessons from Poltergeist?

A Bensenville cemetery whose graves date as far back as 1849 will be relocated to build a new runway at O'Hare. Here's hoping they, uh, get all of them out.

38 for 1

Now that Scott Lee Cohen is out of the lieutenant governor race, WBEZ has provided a little background about the process to replace him.

Scott Lee Cohen Possibly Will Dropped Out

Rich Miller reports that Scott Lee Cohen will possibly drop out of the race for lieutenant governor tonight. UPDATE: Cohen is out -- and chose to announce during the Super Bowl halftime.

Democrats Coming Together

Sen. Durbin will chair Alexi Giannoulias's senate campaign.

City Hall Stinks

Waterless urinals that were installed as part of a plan to make City Hall more "green" were removed when the stench of urine corroding the copper pipes made the second floor smell less than rosy. When this happened to five O'Hare urinals in 2005 it cost $20,000.


Former Illinois Senator Adlai Stevenson III would run as an independent if he were in Governor Quinn's shoes.

Cohen on "Chicago Tonight"

In case you missed it last night, here's Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Scott Lee Cohen and his ex-wife's appearance on "Chicago Tonight" answering questions about his domestic battery charge and other allegations. Steve Rhodes has some thoughts on the scandal.

It Gets Worse

Man this really isn't a good day for Scott Lee Cohen...or Democratic voters... Turns out Scott Lee Cohen "allegedly abused steroids."

Double Trouble For Blago

Blago was re-indicted today on corruption charges. The move is meant to stop Blago from delaying the U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on his case.

Scott Lee Cohen Everybody

Pawnbroker, shrewd media operator, defendant in a domestic battery case involving a knife and the throat of a convicted prostitute and now...the Democratic candidate for Illinois' Lieutenant Governor. UPDATE: The gov has something to say about the issue.

Hynes Concedes

Dan Hynes has conceded the governor's race, making current Governor Pat Quinn the democratic nominee.

Yet Another East Chicago Mayor Indicted

It's hard to believe that yet another East Chicago mayor has run afoul of the law, but George Pabey may have done just that. This time the indictment involves city employees working on his Miller Beach house.

Empty Homes Get Out the Vote

Foreclosed homes made for convenient billboards for the primaries, Chicago Muckrakers discovered.

You Have No One to Blame But Yourself

If you didn't vote yesterday, that is. Voter turnout in Chicago and the state in general was "embarrassingly low."

Listen/Read Primaries Coverage Tonight

From 7 to 10pm tonight, Chicago Public Radio will be running a group liveblog commenting on the primary election results in addition to its on-air coverage. GB's Andrew Huff and Ramsin Canon will be on at 7-8pm and 9-10pm, respectively, and plenty of other Chicago personalities and pundits -- as well as the candidates -- will be popping in. Tune in!

It's Not Gonna Take a Nation of Snowflakes to Hold Us Back (from Voting)

Snow, schmow! Voting for today's elections runs from 6am to 7pm. You can find your polling place, registration status and a lot more resources here.

Print Ye Ballot Before Ye Vote

The Trib has an interesting interactive primary ballot builder feature in their "Election Center" right now. Before you head out to vote tomorrow (and you can find out where your polling location is, too) check it out. You can print, email, or share your ballot selections online.

Comics and Local Politics

Not that you need another reason to vote in Chicago's elections Tuesday, but Challengers Comics offers a 15% Civic Duty Discount to to anyone who can present a voter receipt.

Meister Out Of Race

Jacob Meister has dropped out of the race for the Democratic senate nomination.

Eddie, Not So Fast

A slap on the wrist for 'Fast Eddie' wasn't enough for two out of three appeals court judges.

Endorse This

If you're looking for some help in deciding on who will get your vote in this Tuesday's election, here is some help from the Sun-Times, the Trib, Vote for Judges, Chicago Bar Association, the Independent Voters of Illinois, the Chicago Federation of Labor, Crain's, and finally, further coverage from the Reader and Windy City Times. Good luck.

The Feds Like Ike

The Sun-Times reports that Ald. Ike Carothers is expected to plead guilty to bribery charges on Monday.

Our "Successful Fiasco"

A former mayor of Indianapolis turned Harvard professor looks at Chicago's parking meter privatization and says it's a good deal no matter what the public thinks. (Further comments here.)

Slave Sculpture to Return to Chicago State

As if Chicago State didn't have enough problems, State Representative Monique Davis and the institution have some explaining to do after a $25,000 sculpture owned by the school ended up in her office.

$366 Million of Traffic Management

The north-south leg of Wacker Drive will get an overhaul over the next three years, after which automotive and pedestrian traffic should move more efficiently. The state estimates 4,000 jobs will be created by the project.

A Thousand Bucks. Each.

According to the Civic Federation, Illinois will be $12.8 billion in the hole by 2011. A Crain's blogger puts that into perspective: one thousand dollars of debt for every man woman and child.

Need To Catch Up On The 10th Or 14th Congressional District Races?

CNBC has a nice overview of the 10th and 14th Illinois Congressional District races including who the candidates are, the main issues under debate, and how each candidate is doing.

GOP Solidarnosc

Lech Walesa, Polish Solidarity Movement leader, will be in Chicago next Friday to speak at a fundraising luncheon for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski.

Turn Down the Heat!

Following a new ruling by the Illinois Commerce Commission, Peoples Gas customers will be paying about $50 more a year for service.

Madigan's House Rules

Speaker of the House Michael Madigan's "day job" is as a property tax lawyer. The Trib finds that his two gigs often intersect.

Sweet Relief

This Saturday, several of Chicago's beloved bakeries and celebrated sweet shops will join forces for a charity bake sale, hosted by Medici on 57th. All proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam for their ongoing relief efforts in Haiti.

Not Helping the Helpless

Urban policy magazine City Journal takes a look at "Why decades of community organizing haven't stemmed the city's youth violence."

Who's Getting the Subsidies?

The subsidizing housing world has been aflutter in the last few days due to investments to prop up a mixed-income development at Cabrini Green and an extraordinary salary at the CDA.

Get Involved -- Volunteer

The devastation in Haiti has lots of people thinking about volunteerism. The recently formed International Volunteer Network of Chicago is holding a kickoff networking event Feb. 3; put it on your calendar!

Codifying Wiggle Room

Daley seems to be attempting to diffuse the parking meter bomb by allowing drivers to contest one ticket a year that's issued within five minutes of a meter expiring.

Doom O' Clock

The minute hand of the Doomsday Clock will be moved tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM Central time. Watch it on-line at [via]

State of the State, Live-blogged

WBEZ will be live-blogging the State of the State address at noon today, with several guest commentators (including me).

No Emanuel Administration

Rahm Emanuel has no intention to run for mayor against Daley, Lynn Sweet reports. (Previously.)

Our Junior Senator

Senator Burris' tenure may not be something you wish to dwell on, but he does represent our state in the 111th US Congress. We're a year in and the WBEZ blog has a progress report.

Early Voting Opens, Trib Launches Voting Helper

Today is the first day of early voting in the Illinois primary. The Tribune's Election Center has plenty of resources to help you vote, including a handy ballot builder to act as a cheat sheet at the polls Feb. 2.

The Case for Handguns

The Supreme Court will hear a lawsuit against the City of Chicago next month which will determine whether local governments can legally ban ownership of handguns. Chicago Mag recently discussed the case and profiled the plaintiffs, who may not be what you'd expect.

Rod Blagojevich has a Cold

Rod Blagojevich talked at length to Esquire's Scott Raab, variously comparing himself to Galileo, Mordecai in the legend of Purim, and Robin Hood -- and claiming he's blacker than Obama. (He's already apologized for that. Further thoughts in Mechanics.)

State Comptroller Candidate Caught Stealing ...Video

"If you're going to steal, at least steal the joke," says Schadenfreude's Stephen Schmidt, after Jim Dodge used part of one of the comedy troupe's Judy Baar Topinka skits without permission in a campaign ad slamming his Republican opponents for state comptroller.

Ask Blago

Windy Citizen's Brad Flora is meeting with ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon. He's soliciting questions you'd like to see Blago answer. UPDATE: Here's an account of the encounter.

You Can Vote Early

Early voting begins Monday for the February 2nd primary. Voting centers are open to cast an early ballot through the 28th. According to Crain's, "All statewide offices starting with governor are on the ballot. So is President Barack Obama's old Senate seat."