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Matthew Blake

Fioretti says he would be a more inclusive mayor

Alderman Robert Fioretti (2nd) did not reveal at a City Club of Chicago speech Monday if he would run for mayor in 2015. But, as one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s most outspoken critics, Fioretti said that he was “honored and encouraged by all the responses that I hear” throughout the city about a possible run.

Fioretti said that if he ran City Hall, he would take a different approach. “If I was mayor,” Fioretti said. “We’d have everybody at the table. We would make things together. We would raise the city up.”

Torture reparations, paid sick days among city ordinances in limbo

At a press conference before an October City Council meeting, Aldermen Howard Brookins (21st) and Joe Moreno (1st) proposed the creation of a $20 million reparations fund for people allegedly tortured by former Chicago Police Department Commander Jon Burge.


Cook County Board: Ban on large, for-profit pet breeder passes; Preckwinkle says county pension bill taking shape

The Cook County Board of Commissioners Wednesday unanimously passed an ordinance banning pet stores in Cook County from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits from most for-profit breeders.

Authored by Commissioner John Fritchey (D-Chicago), the measure builds on a law the Chicago City Council adopted in March that bans for-profit breeders – which many ordinance supporters derisively refer to as “puppy mills” – from supplying animals to city pet stores.

CPS school annex construction process begins

The Chicago Public Building Commission on Tuesday started the selection process for companies to build annexes for four Chicago Public Schools projects that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said will improve school options and ease overcrowding.

Cook County’s Alvarez focuses on domestic violence, Chicago gang crackdown

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced a new, consolidated unit of her office Tuesday that will handle sexual assault, domestic violence, and cases involving sexual and Internet crimes against children. The announcement came during a City Club of Chicago speech. Alvarez also pointed to her office’s success taking on Chicago gangs and overturning wrongful convictions, but she bemoaned county budget cuts that have reduced the office’s resources.


Aldermen await at least one vote to hike property taxes

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s fast-moving state bill to address laborers and city workers pension finances puts Chicago aldermen on the spot to vote for at least one property tax increase – and possibly another if Emanuel wants a further tax hike to deal with police and fire pensions.


Ordinance curbing petcoke held following environmentalists’ complaints

Southeast Side Alderman John Pope (10th) elected Tuesday to defer a committee vote on a measure imposing stricter regulations on petroleum coke facilities in Chicago after environmentalists assailed last-second changes to the proposed measure. The deferral further complicates city efforts to regulate petcoke, a by-product of oil refining. Southeast Side residents and public health advocates say the substance causes respiratory illness but state and federal regulators have not judged it to be a hazardous material.

Transit Task Force co-chair: RTA is out of chances

The Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force issued its final recommendations Monday, including a plan to scotch the Regional Transportation Authority and consolidate the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, and Pace Suburban Bus Service into one “superagency.”

The recommendations will now go for consideration to Gov. Pat Quinn, who convened the panel, and the General Assembly. Task force members said that they were optimistic that the state Legislature, which created the RTA in the early 1970s, would adopt at least some of their recommendations.

Q+A with Dr. John Jay Shannon, CCHHS interim CEO

Dr. John Jay Shannon, 53, was slated on Monday to begin serving as interim CEO of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, a mammoth system taking steps to shed its reputation as simply an emergency provider of last resort.

Just last Friday the CCHHS Board approved a $1.8 billion contract for an Illinois company to help run CountyCare, the managed health care plan started by departing CEO Dr. Ram Raju for Medicaid-eligible residents under the Affordable Care Act.

Finance committee roundup: Clean-up cash for Englewood Whole Foods, tree injury settlement approved

The City Council Finance Committee on Monday advanced a $10.7 million-plan for cleaning up a largely-vacant corner in Englewood that is the proposed site for a new Whole Foods.

Aldermen approved an ordinance that will take money from two special property taxing, or tax increment financing, districts and put it toward clearing debris and prepping 63rd Street and Halsted Avenue for the Whole Foods. The money goes directly to Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, a nonprofit developer that partnered with the city on other blockbuster projects like a Wal-Mart in Pullman.