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Matthew Blake

Some council members want venerable aldermanic ‘menu’ program changed

Aldermen mulled over but delayed action Tuesday on two major adjustments to a city budget process not accustomed to change.

The City Council Budget and Government Operations Committee tabled a resolution examining the aldermanic menu program for infrastructure repairs. Also Tuesday, the newly-formed Council Office of Financial Analysis Oversight Committee – which falls under the purview of Alderman Carrie Austin (34th), chair of the Budget Committee – formalized its process for selecting a Financial Analysis Office leader.

City Council committee wants ‘upskirt’ photo crackdown

In response to what Alderman Ed Burke (14th) called “a lot of weirdoes roaming around” the City Council Finance Committee unanimously approved Friday an ordinance that bans “upskirt” photos and videos. The bill orders a maximum $500 fine for anyone caught taking an unauthorized picture “under or through the clothing worn” of the photographed individual “for the purpose of viewing the body of or the undergarments worn by that person without that person’s consent.”

Preckwinkle lobbies for county pension bill

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was in Springfield Thursday to push pension legislation that a key union fiercely objected to at Wednesday’s Cook County Board meeting.

Preckwinkle told reporters after the board meeting that she planned to talk with House and Senate Democratic and Republican leaders to drum up support for a bill expected to fully fund the county’s public worker pension system by 2034.

Hotel union weighs in on massive IMDC project

Members of the city’s biggest hotel union want Higgins Development Partners back in charge of an ambitious 9.5-acre mixed-used project for the Illinois Medical District at 2020 W. Ogden Ave.

CountyCare skewing to old and very young

Cook County’s landmark Medicaid managed care program serves the old and very young, and thousands of patients who struggle to find a home, but potentially not many Hispanic residents.

Those were some findings from a CountyCare member profile survey that Steven Glass, executive director of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, presented to the CCHHS board’s Finance Committee Friday.

River North development pushes northwest as residential tower advances

A proposed 29-story residential building for the River North neighborhood’s northwest edge was approved Thursday by the Chicago Plan Commission amid questions about how the tower would fit into a quickly changing neighborhood.

Project developer Steve Fifield assured commissioners that the 310-unit high-rise located at roughly West Chestnut and North Orleans streets is part of a “logical continuation” of the River North neighborhood “continuing to expand to the North and the West.”


City turns to land acquisition to help far South Side community

In an attempt to revive a stretch of vacant land in the Roseland neighborhood and ignite development in that community, the city’s Department of Planning and Development would acquire 13 acres of property under a plan green-lighted Tuesday by the Community Development Commission.

The property in question is parcels at 11420 S. Halsted St., 11400 S. Green St., and 830 West 115th St. Part of the property is currently owned by Jewel-Osco, and part is a foreclosed upon bank-owned property, according to Edward Lewis, of the Department of Planning and Development.

University of Chicago president says school giving back to community

University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer asserted Monday that “a whole re-conceptualizing of our civic engagement” has taken place at the prestigious private school on the South Side during his tenure.

Speaking at a City Club of Chicago event, Zimmer said, “Eight years ago we began to look at civic engagement in a new light” and focused on the question of what is the ideal relationship between “a great research university with the city around it.” Zimmer became university president eight years ago, in 2006.


Illinois moves gingerly on medical pot

In its implementation of a landmark medical marijuana pilot program, state government must get medical pot sales going in a timely way while also fielding concerns about the roll out. These issues include major fees for all involved, and questions about where stores selling medicinal marijuana will go.

State agencies are “doing very well being responsive to public comments,” said Dan Linn, executive director of Illinois NORML – the state’s chapter of a national organization dedicated to more permissive marijuana laws.

Special Olympics Chicago commences spring games; looks to develop new sports facility

Special Olympics Chicago convened its opening ceremonies Tuesday at Soldier Field as more than 1,000 athletes marched to kick off the spring games.

Competitions will last throughout the week, and will effectively commemorate the work of SOC, which bills itself as providing an opportunity for 5,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete in 22 different sports.