Saturday, June 24, 2017

Obama Library’s Wish List Is Long, But Who Will Pay For It All? – Hyde Park – DNAinfo Chicago

Plans for a place for concerts, a farmers market and community events first proposed as part of a new visitors center by Project 120 for the eastern side of the park are now listed among the amenities the center wants to incorporate. Sledding hills, a public garden, children’s play areas and walking and bike paths are also on in the works.

Dems to nix Rauner official as potential pick for top fed Chicago spot – Chicago Sun-TImes

Congressional Republicans from Illinois have recommended four lawyers to the Trump White House for the U.S. Attorney post in Chicago, with one of them, Maggie Hickey, likely out of the running because Democrats don’t want Hickey — now a top official for GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner — in the spot, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

City Colleges of Chicago Fund Balance Continues to Decline – The Civic Federation

Fund balances are down to just 4.8% of annual operating expenses, far worse than a recognized standard of 16.7%.

No Buyers for Chicago School Bonds Causes Rates to Hit 9 Percent – Bloomberg

"The spiraling interest bills are reminiscent of the chaos that erupted in the wake of the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy in 2008."

U.S. Supreme Court decision could have big impact on mass actions in Cook County, elsewhere – Cook County Record

"This ruling could prove to be a powerful tool in stopping the kind of venue abuse we see all of time in Cook County."

Chicago NOT most dangerous U.S. city, new report says – WGN

In gun violence per capita, Chicago isn’t even in the top 10 — or the top 15.

Chicago Public Schools borrow $275 million at sky-high interest rate – Chicago Sun-Times

More than four times the interest rate a typical government would pay on the same borrowing deal, financial experts say.

Packers fan sues Bears over dress code – Crain’s

A Green Bay Packers fan is taking the Chicago Bears to court over his right to wear Packers apparel on the field during a pregame warmup session he had access to through the team's rewards system.  

Chicago goes high-tech in search of answers to gun crime surge – BBC

In a cramped office in a police station in Chicago's 11th district, the sound of gunfire is a little computerised ping that rings out a few times a day.

Chicago’s slow housing recovery has a huge price tag – Crain’s

The Chicago area's slow housing market recovery comes at a price: $107 billion. That's the difference between the current market value of all residential property in the six-county area and what it would be worth if the Chicago real estate market's recovery were keeping up with the nation's.

Oak Park businesses brace for wage hike, raise doubts about future – West Cook News

“Let me be clear: Every one of my employees is paid more than minimum wage, and I am a Democrat,” Morava said. “But to have my village, my county and my state dictating compensation levels for my business when they haven't paid their bills -- already paid for by our tax money -- owed to our neighbors for over two years is ludicrous. It is so easy to spend other people’s money.”

Emanuel donor and alderman’s husband face fines for improper lobbying – Sun-Times

  Alan King, husband of Ald. Sophia King (4th), and James Abrams — whose wealthy North Shore family owns Medline Industries and sold the city the Michael Reese Hospital site — are the latest targets of the reinvigorated Board of Ethics.

Democrats strangely mum on Berrios – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

"Let me just pose the question: Can you imagine the outrage if the assessor were a Republican?"

Setting the stage for the end of the Chicago Public Schools fiscal year – Truth in Accounting

A casual observer might infer that if they are regularly balancing the budget, expenses would run in line with or below revenue, and debt would not be increasing.  That is not the case, for CPS or the City of Chicago.

Forgotten Illinois: Round Lake – united by nature, divided on paper – Illinois Policy

According to data from the Tax Foundation, the median Lake County property tax bill is almost $7,000 each year, the highest in the state and one of the highest in the country. This is a problem for the Round Lake area – nearly 25 percent of homes in the greater Round Lake area are “seriously underwater.”

Immigration Not Enough to Halt Exodus From Biggest U.S. Cities – Bloomberg

Chicago -- beset by crime, economic and budgetary woes and high taxes -- is the net exodus leader among 100 metro areas tracked by Bloomberg using Census Bureau data for the year through July 1, 2016.

Moody’s Downgrades Chicago Transit Authority Sales Tax Bonds to A3 from A1; Outlook Negative

"The downgrades are driven primarily by the authority's exposure to the State of Illinois...."

Home-buying incentive for police officers sails through committee – Sun-Times

   Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to “stabilize” high-crime neighborhoods by offering police officers and firefighters “forgivable loans” to purchase homes cleared a key hurdle Tuesday.

Cook County, Illinois, Experiences Disastrous Rollout of Its Soda Tax – Reason

Comment: "The rollout of a soda tax in Cook County has been a complete fiasco." Yeah, well, so is the whole county, but read the article for just one chapter.  

Group demands University of Chicago pay slavery reparations – Campus Reform

The group also calls capitalism a “monstrosity,” writing of the need to think “beyond the legal framework of ‘damages,’ or the neoliberal ordering of private property rights, or the monstrosity of capitalism.”

Chicago property taxes are about to go way up – Crain’s

Chicago homeowners are about to get whacked with a 10 percent increase in their property taxes. Owners of commercial properties will have to dig almost as deep. The average hike there is 9.3 percent.

Competence at the assessor’s office: Too much to ask? – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

Cook County homeowners expect to pay property taxes based on a fair determination of their home's worth. In short, they want the Cook County assessor's office to do its job well. Is that asking too much?

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios makes a dicey situation worse – Crain’s

In the wake of a biting media probe and statewide howls for reform and property tax freezes, the Cook County assessor yesterday declared that he sees nothing wrong with accepting campaign cash from tax appeals lawyers whose job it is to influence his office and that he intends to continue doing just that.

Spotlight on Chicago, the Brand Hub That’s Become a Capital of Culture – Adweek

"This week, Adweek is digging deep into the world of Chicago’s marketing, media and tech."  

What an Algorithm Reveals About Life on Chicago’s High-Risk List – The New York Times

"We analyzed that information and found that the assigned risk scores — and what characteristics go into them — are sometimes at odds with the Chicago Police Department’s public statements and cut against some common perceptions."

School funding overhaul dispute centers on Chicago Public School dollars – Associated Press

Comment: You'd think more would notice that the funding per student for Chicago, when you combine state, federal and local, is much higher than the state average. See data linked here.

The Chicago Tycoon Who Battled Canadian Elitism (in Hockey) – The New York Times

Long before President Trump turned a protectionist eye to the iniquities of Canadians, another opinionated American tycoon decided that he had had enough. Eighty years ago, the cross-border irritant wasn’t Nafta or softwood lumber. As Maj. Frederic McLaughlin saw it, Canada was flooding American markets with too many hockey players. In 1937, his short-lived America-first campaign was all about making his Chicago Black Hawks great again.

An Era of Errors – Chicago Tribune

Part 3 of the Tribune's detailed look at Cook County property taxes. For more than a decade, the Cook County assessor’s office hid a secret inside the massive computer programs used to calculate property tax assessments for single-family homes.

Inspired by Sanders, activists in Chicago push Democrats to left — or out of the way – Chicago Tribune

Sanders was the star of this year's People's Summit, which has quickly become the country's largest progressive political conference. At least 4,000 people trekked to Chicago for a weekend of teach-ins, panels and dance parties.

Anti-Sharia Protest, Counter-Demonstrations Held in Chicago Saturday – NBC Chicago

It was supposed to be a rally against Sharia law, but those demonstrators were quickly outnumbered by counter-protestors in Chicago on Saturday afternoon.

JPMorgan to purchase new debt for struggling Chicago schools – Reuters

Comment: Mortgaging to the hilt. "The new borrowing is secured by about $467 million of CPS' delayed grant funding from the state of Illinois, which is struggling through a second-straight fiscal year without a complete budget."

The problem with appeals – Chicago Tribune

Assessor Joseph Berrios encourages homeowners to file appeals. But the process makes the property tax system even less fair. Part 2 of the Tribune's detailed look at Cook County property taxes.

Two Chicago pension funds slip amid state’s continued inaction – Fidelity Investments

By The Bond Buyer's Yvette Shields. The funded ratios of Chicago’s municipal and laborers' pension funds further eroded last year and prospects remain bleak for both as they careen toward insolvency. The funded ratio of the Municipal Employees' fund fell to 30.5% in 2016 from 32.9% in 2015 and the funded ratio of the Laborers’ Fund fell to 50.36% from 52.99%.

Block 37 apartment sale could be biggest here since 2007 – Crain’s

The developer of a big brand-new Loop apartment tower has put the property on the market, the first step in what could be the biggest Chicago multifamily sale in a decade.

Illinois owes billions to suburban non-profits, companies, government agencies – Daily Herald

The amount is roughly 15 percent of the $14.7 billion the state owes all vendors. Chicago-based vendors are owed close to $5.6 billion, according to the comptroller's figures.

Major video group sues Chicago over online game tax – Chicago Tribune

Playing Minecraft online in Chicago is 9 percent more expensive than it used to be. That’s because the city of Chicago reinterpreted its longstanding Amusement Tax in 2015 — one half of the controversial “Cloud Tax” — and it’s a move a leading video game industry group says was illegal.

‘Kind of the calm before the storm’ for downtown Chicago apartments – Crain’s

Developers will complete a record 4,500 apartments in downtown Chicago this year and another 3,500 in 2018, a potential downer for landlords enjoying the best rental market in decades.

School funding equity loses out to Chicago greed – Editorial – Daily Herald

Chicago Democrats used the issue as a means to maneuver a bailout of the mismanaged Chicago Public Schools system that for years has wildly overspent while overpromising its powerful unions.

For taxpayers, a window into Chicago’s union contracts – Chicago Tribune

In 2007, the City Council signed off on dozens of city worker contracts, all in force for 10 years. It was an unusual and risky move, meant to buy labor peace until after the 2016 Summer Olympics, which then-Mayor Richard M. Daley hoped to bring to Chicago. Oops.

Chicago emigration is warning of Detroit endgame – Opinion – Reuters

"Chicago is already in a big hole. If it can’t hold on to its people, Detroit’s fate will loom even larger."

Chicago sees decrease in violence so far this year after long, bloody 2016 – ABC News

There were 56 homicides and 257 shootings in the city in May 2017, down from 68 and 316, respectively, in May 2016, the Chicago Police Department said.

Chicago phone tax could rise by 28 percent to save pension fund – Chicago Sun-TImes

Instead of $3.90 a month per phone number, Chicagoans would pay $5 per number. The increase flew in under the radar because it was tucked away into a broader telecommunications bill that covers funding for 911 emergency centers across the state. The bill is awaiting Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature.

City of Chicago fire brass warn they may quit ‘exempt’ jobs and return to ranks – Sun-Times

The fire officials are seeking pension changes, expanded health insurance benefits and pay raises — and have been unable to persuade Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago to sweeten the pot for them.

How the Hyperloop Could Transform the Midwest – Chicago Inno

In the Midwest, a Hyperloop proposal is moving forward that would connect Chicago to Pittsburgh in just 47 minutes. Dubbed Midwest Connect, it’s part of call for proposals by Hyperloop One, a startup founded in 2014 that’s raised $160 million to bring Musk’s vision to life (though the company is not officially affiliated with Musk).

Ferguson urges Emanuel to seize moment, renegotiate union contracts – Sun-TImes

Lucci: Emanuel spins as Chicago reels from population flight – Opinion – INN

Chicago might be bleeding manufacturing jobs, but city pols are still world-class when it comes to manufacturing a fake reality.

City watchdog offers Emanuel cost-saving ideas as dozens of union contracts expire – Chicago Tribune

Comment: The report is a ripping indictment of the the city's collectively bargained labor agreements. The full report is linked here.  And closely related, skim through the database of City of Chicago salaries we just posted.

Kane County may resort to layoffs to address midyear budget deficit – Daily Herald

Layoffs for Kane County government employees may become a reality for the first time since 2010 as officials scramble to address a midyear budget deficit of $2.8 million.

Where rising assessments are boosting property tax bills most – Daily Herald


The assessed value of residential properties in 50 suburban townships increased an average of 11 percent over the past three years. But the rise in assessments varies widely, from 32.7 percent for homes in Kane County's Plato Township to as little as 1.3 percent in Lake County's Antioch Township.

CPS Chief Makes Plea To Save District From ‘Brink Of Insolvency’ – WBEZ

He said there is nothing the district can do on its own to escape from impending financial doom driven by rising pension costs.

Case Shiller: Chicago Area Home Price Gains Lag The Nation – ChicagoNow

Comment: This author, Gary Lucido, always has the best and most objective look at the monthly Case-Shiller Index, which is the best available means of tracking home prices.

Governor Kills 911 Legislation Supported by Chicago – NPR IL

The nixed deal involved letting Chicago increase its fee per phone from $3.90 to $5. All other cell phone bills in the state would see an increase of $1.50 from 87 cents.

Cubs owners launch agency to promote Wrigleyville ventures – Crain’s

In a move aimed at streamlining the family's ability to take advantage of its growing footprint around Wrigley Field, the new agency will be led by Cubs executives and book business across multiple properties, including the team, the Park at Wrigley adjacent to the stadium, rooftop properties beyond the Wrigley Field bleachers and the new Hotel Zachary set to open next year across the street from the ballpark.

Singed by census report, Emanuel turns to U-Haul – Chicago Tribune

But the U-Haul study did not analyze the number of one-way rental departures out of the city -- or how many people or families left town with a truck. U-Haul even included this disclaimer in its news release: “Destination cities do not account for departing traffic and thus do not necessarily reflect growth like U-Haul Growth Cities.” And where does Chicago rank on the U-Haul’s list of Top 25 growth cities? It doesn’t.

RTA Worrying About State’s Backlog In Public Transportation Funding – CBS Chicago

What’s really worrying RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden and her chief deputy, Jill Leary, is how badly the state has fallen behind — $484.5 million.

Popular Chicago floating and sensory deprivation studio coming to Schererville – NWI Times

A floating and sensory deprivation studio has proven popular in Chicago's River North neighborhood, getting booked weeks in advanced and lining up notable clients like Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.

Chicago Teachers Union Pet: South Suburbs’ Hutchinson leads charge for CPS bailout – South Cook News

State Sen Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) doesn't represent the City of Chicago. But she's isn't shy about her support for Chicago's public schools.

The illogical reason your electricity bills are going up – Crain’s

Much of it is actually quite logical, though foolish. The cost of the renewable energy elements in that Com Ed bill went entirely unmeasured. Neighboring states rejected similar proposals because the cost is in the billions, effectively a regressive tax on consumers.

Pritzker company loses $100M contract after Ald. Reilly insults San Antonians – Chicago Tribune

Just two weeks after Ald. Brendan Reilly went viral for mocking San Antonio's touristy waterfront as "cheap and crappy-looking," his counterparts on the San Antonio City Council snubbed a Chicago boat business in Reilly's 42nd Ward, instead handing a $100 million contract to run San Antonio's tourist boats to a local company.

Supreme Court decision puts dent in ‘patent troll’ cases, may put companies on defense in Chicago court – Cook County Recod

“The potentially far-reaching implication of this case is that instead of seeing cases brought by mainly Illinois-based patent owners, the Northern District is likely to see patent owners from around the country suing Illinois corporations here. In other words, the Northern District could go from being more offensive-based to a more defensively-based venue.”

Chicago firm will run $1 billion overhaul of Union Station – Associated Press

Chicago-based Riverside Investment & Development is calling redevelopment of the iconic building a "transformative" project for the city. It's expected to include retail, hotel and office space. Officials say there'll also be a pair of 12-story residential towers.

April home sales down in Chicago as limited choices discourage buying – Chicago Tribune

Sales were down 2.3 percent compared with a year ago, but prices rose 5.2 percent as sellers raised prices amid a limited supply of homes for sale. There were 10,157 homes sold.

Karen Lewis finds J.B. Pritzker’s progressive credentials ‘hilarious’ – Chicago Tribune

"Can one oligarch replace another oligarch?" Lewis asked, rhetorically. "What's going to be different?"

Record number of city homes under contract – Crain’s

In the week that ended May 13, buyers put 874 homes under contract in the city, according to data posted Monday by the Chicago Association of Realtors. (It's the latest week for which data is available.) The contract figure is on pace to end May as a record-setter. Both weeks of May have had more contracts than any week in March, which saw more contracts signed than any month going back to 2007. If the momentum continues through the later weeks of May, the monthly total will eclipse March's 3,141 contracts.

Hartford latest U.S. city on the brink of bankruptcy – Fox News

Hartford, is just the latest city to mull over the bankruptcy option. Since 2010 a total of nine municipalities have filed for bankruptcy protection—which is on top of an additional 42 utilities, water districts, hospitals and other municipal agencies that have actually gone full-fledged bankrupt.

Trial begins for West Side nonprofit head accused of using funds for spending spree – Chicago Tribune

As the leader of a small nonprofit in Chicago's poverty-stricken West Garfield Park neighborhood, Franshuan Myles was supposed to use a $60,000 state grant to help impoverished youth learn new skills and stay out of trouble over their summer break. Instead, federal prosecutors allege that Myles started stealing the funds the moment they hit her bank account

Preckwinkle: Soda tax will stand – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle believes efforts to repeal a countywide sweetened beverage tax before it takes effect in July will come to naught.

Rahm’s latest plan to stave off Chicago financial collapse under fire – from Dems – Opinion – American Thinker

"The crash is coming.  The Dems are just looking for opportunities to blame Republicans for the consequences of their bribes to unionized public employees."

Helping the ‘most broken’ of Southland’s homeless – Chicago Tribune

There are few options, even for a former Marine who was shot, stabbed, run over and had his left hand nearly "chopped off" and sewn back on before he was discharged for playing Russian roulette. He pushes back a sleeve to show the scars. Living under a bridge

The Nasty Women Art Show, an important first step for female artists in the Trump – The Reader

"We're here today to represent every nasty woman across America. I know I'm nasty at what I do," said one participant.

Butterball to close 600-employee Illinois meatpacking plant – A.P.

Turkey processor Butterball has announced it will shut its meatpacking plant west of Chicago, resulting in the loss of about 600 full-time jobs.

‘Racism’ Painted On U. of C. Frat House After Controversial 5 De Mayo Party – DNAinfo Chicago

A University of Chicago fraternity's construction-themed Cinco de Mayo party has sparked racial tensions on campus, the latest in a series of polarizing incidents on the South Side campus.

How a Chicago alderman has used zoning law and political strong-arming to control private businesses – Project Six

An ongoing battle between Chicago’s Double Door music venue, the venue’s building owners and Alderman Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward) is a telling example of how zoning laws, zoning changes and political threats can be used to inflict personal agendas and punish those who aren’t politically connected.

CPS to borrow against late state block grants to pay for end of year – Sun-TImes

Aldermen will be told Friday that the Chicago Public Schools will get through the end of the school year and pay for teacher pensions by short-term borrowing against $467 million in late block grants owed by the state, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Wealthy blacks just as likely to be segregated as poor here – Crain’s

n Cook County, affluent black people are more likely to live near poor blacks than near white people of their income level—or any income level—according to a new study from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Analysis: CPS has overspent budget 15 years straight, by total $6.6 billion – Chicago City Wire

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have blown their annual budgets in 15 of the past 15 years by a collective $6.6 billion, amassing debt to continually increase spending on operations while district student enrollment has steadily fallen.

John Hancock Center could change owners — and names – Chicago Tribune

The owner plans to sell. In addition to 897,000 square feet of office space and a 730-space parking garage, a buyer would acquire control of the naming rights.

New study: Chicago City Council is growing a spine — ever so slowly – Sun-Times

It shows that there have been 67 divided roll call votes — roughly three per month — in the two years since the new City Council was sworn in. That’s twice as many as there were during Emanuel’s first term.

Police and Fire finally switching to electronic time-keeping – Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Police and Fire departments — which together spent nearly $200 million on overtime last year — are finally coming out of the Dark Ages when it comes to employee time-keeping.

CPS cancels presentation to pension fund – Chicago Tribune

Without short-term borrowing or some other rapid cash delivery, officials said the district will fall far short of making the pension contribution. At the same time, the state pension code doesn't specify what course of action the fund could take in the event CPS doesn't make the full payment. CPS owes the fund roughly $716 million, though the district is expected to pay a little less than $470 million of that tab by the end of June.

A decade later and still down – Crain’s


Homeowners in many Chicago-area ZIP codes have yet to share in the recovery that is boosting values in hot city neighborhoods and a handful of suburbs.

Chicago losing some of its allure as a convention city – Chicago Business Journal

In Cvent's 2017 annual rankings of top convention cities, Chicago dropped to third place from the No. 2 spot in 2016.

Emanuel’s CPS rescue plan gets cool reception from aldermen – Sun-Times

Chicago aldermen reacted coolly Tuesday to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to tax downtown businesses, high net-worth individuals or both to dig the Chicago Public Schools out of a $596 million hole without state help.

New Algonquin Township highway commissioner fires predecessor’s sons-in-law in first minutes on the job – Northwest Herald

Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser fired the two sons-in-law of predecessor Robert Miller immediately after taking office, sparking a battle with the union that now represents his employees.

Emanuel considering taxes on rich, downtown businesses to fund CPS – Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel may seek new taxes on downtown businesses, “high net-worth individuals” or both to dig the Chicago Public Schools out of a $596 million hole without state help, City Hall sources said Monday.

Eldorado Trading is latest Chicago firm to wind down – Crain’s

Many of the small- and mid-sized trading firms in the city have been squeezed out of the industry in recent years as technology, exchange and regulatory compliance costs rose just as trading volatility and volumes—which create opportunities for nabbing price discrepancies in the markets—shrunk in the face of economic and geopolitical conditions.

Chicago water commissioner resigns amid IG probe into racist, sexist emails – Chicago Tribune

Out is Barrett Murphy, who made $170,000 a year leading the Department of Water Management after taking the job in April 2016. He's a city government veteran who is married to Lynn Lockwood. She's the former chairman and treasurer of one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's political funds, as well as a friend of Chicago first lady Amy Rule.

Alderman Profited Off The 606 — But That Doesn’t Mean He Wants You To – DNAinfo Chicago

Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) rode the wave of soaring property values along the popular 606 trail to flip four properties, pocketing $300,000 in profit two years ago.

In South Loop, plans for city within the city begin taking shape – Chicago Tribune

Over the next two decades, the developer envisions creating a city within the city on the 62-acre parcel along the Chicago River, south of Roosevelt Road, that eventually will link the South Loop and Chinatown. It is one of the most ambitious developments ever conceived in Chicago.

Class action says Fannie May bumps box size to ease sales of 7 oz candy boxes for $10 – Cook County Record

Iconic Chicago candymaker Fannie May has been hit with a class action lawsuit by consumers who claim they overpaid for $10 boxes of candy after discovering the boxes were only about 60 percent full.

Report: Cook County Short Nearly 190,000 Affordable Rental Units – WTTW

Cook County's affordable housing supply has not kept up with demand, according to a report issued by the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University.

University of Chicago frat’s construction-themed party called ‘racially insensitive’ – CampusReform

The "FIJI" fraternity at the University of Chicago had to apologize for holding a construction-themed party to celebrate progress on renovations after students deemed it "racially insensitive" because it happened to occur on Cinco de Mayo.

Obama Library Will Give $3.1 Billion Boost To Cook County, New Report Says – Woodlawn – DNAinfo Chicago

Comment: That number may sound exaggerated, and maybe it is, but don't be so sure. Money coming in from visitors from outside the state is gold -- it doesn't cannibalize internal spending that might have gone somewhere else. Put a multiplier of 4 or so on that and you get big bucks.

Police Assign ‘Heat Score’ To 398,000 People To Track Violence – DNAinfo Chicago

Over 398,000 people are on a Chicago Police Department database used by police to identify and track those who are most likely to be involved in gun violence.

Florida woman seen hitting herself with fallen sprinkler piece highlights fraud case – Sun-Sentinel

Comment: This story is from Florida, but anecdotal stories of widespread worker's comp fraud in Chicago have been rampant for decades. Sure wish somebody would get to the bottom of it.

For J.B. Pritzker, mansion’s disrepair has saved $230K in taxes – Sun-Times

Comment: And that, my friends, is what high property taxes incentivize owners to do. Imagine if you live in Chicago's south suburbs where taxes average over 5.5%? Are you gonna improve your property or do what you can to get the appraisal down?

Chicago will short teacher pensions by $250 million, taxpayers to pick up tab – WBEZ

"One thing is clear: the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund won’t be getting the full $715.9 million owed to it on June 30. CPS plans to subtract $250 million from that total."

Rahm willing to consider head tax to bail out CPS – CBS Chicago

Comment: A special tax based on how many jobs you give makes great sense, don't you think? Let's also put a special tax on inner city kids who graduate from high school with honors.

Chicago Startup TurboAppeal Acquired by Paradigm Tax Group – Tech.Co

Comment: They deliver an online platform for challenging property taxes, so they were we wise to launch in Cook County as their first market.

Emanuel won’t say why he waited so long to reveal depth of CPS money woes – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Let me speculate with this explanation: Because he's pathologically dishonest.

Peapod moving headquarters from Skokie to Chicago, exec says – Chicago Tribune

Peapod plans to relocate its headquarters from Skokie to downtown Chicago this year, an executive said Wednesday — a move that could affect 180 employees.

CPS says it may fall short on upcoming pension payment – Chicago Tribune

Officials say that without short-term borrowing or some other rapid infusion of money, the district will fall far short of making a $700 million-plus contribution to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund. Making a late or incomplete pension payment could violate state law and prompt a negative response from bankers the district needs to stay afloat.

Sinclair Bid for Tribune Gives Conservative Voice a Big-City Perch – Bloomberg

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.’s deal for Tribune Media Co. would give a broadcaster known for its conservative leanings fresh reach into leading media markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

More gloom for Chicago department stores – Crain’s

Sales at Chicago-area general merchandise stores, a category that mainly covers department stores, fell by a whopping $1.3 billion, or 10.3 percent, last year, to $11.5 billion, according to a new report from Melaniphy & Associates, a Chicago-based consulting firm.

City issues plan for 760 acres along Chicago River, likely to bring building boom – Tribune

Billions of dollars in commercial real estate development, as well as new sports fields, bridges, a new Metra station and other infrastructure could soon be coming to a 3.7-mile stretch along the Chicago River, after the city on Monday unveiled its final draft of proposed zoning and land use changes.

How a $500,000 green card started fueling Chicago hotel developments – Crain’s

Now it's hard to find a Chicago hotel developer that isn't exploring the program. EB-5 investors helped finance the Godfrey Hotel in River North, which opened last year, and the builders of the 93-story Wanda Vista tower along the Chicago River may raise more than $100 million in EB-5 money. In Rockford, a venture including a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is using EB-5 financing to convert an office building into a hotel and convention center.

Here’s hoping the spirit of WGN stays in Chicago – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

What happens to WGN radio and WGN-Ch. 9 once they lose local ownership? On Monday, Tribune Media — which owns the WGN combo as well as 41 other TV stations across the country — announced plans to sell itself to Sinclair Broadcast Group of Maryland in a deal valued at $3.9 billion.

Actuary’s model shows Chicago pension plan depleted in seven years – Chicago City Wire

The Municipal Employees' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago will run out of money by the year 2024, according to a model developed by actuary Mary Pat Campbell.

Anthony Rizzo’s Foundation Announces $3.5 Million Donation to Lurie – NBC Chicago

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has gained a well-earned reputation as a philanthropist during his time in the Windy City, and on Monday morning his foundation announced yet another massive charitable donation.

Chicago mayor Emanuel posts EPA’s deleted climate change page – Sun-Times

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s response to the Trump administration pulling down its website detailing information about climate change: putting up his own.

Ex-Aide To Dorothy Brown Indicted – WBEZ

A former high-ranking official in Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown’s office has been indicted on federal charges for lying to a grand jury that’s investigating hiring and promotion practices in the clerk’s office, federal prosecutors announced Friday.

Chicago’s South Side Golf Courses in Line for a Tiger Woods Upgrade – The New York Times

Source: Chicago’s South Side Golf Courses in Line for a Tiger Woods Upgrade - The New York Times

CTA spends $200 million to rebuild 1 train station – Crain’s

is the Chicago Transit Authority doing the right thing by spending $203 million, to be exact, to rebuild just one el stop, the hoary Wilson Avenue station on the Red Line in Uptown? Are taxpayers really getting a good deal?

McHenry County Board begins to brainstorm ways to cut property tax levy by 10 percent – Northwest Herald

A working group of just less than half the McHenry County Board has started looking at ways to fulfill its promise to cut its property tax levy by at least 10 percent.

Former owner in failed car-charging station project pleads guilty to fraud – Tribune

The former owner of a California company selected to install a vast network of electric vehicle charging stations in Chicago and elsewhere pleaded guilty Tuesday to fraudulently obtaining at least $1 million in federal grants related to the failed green initiative.

Chicago police department struggles with officer suicide – Reuters

"Chicago is a war zone," said Alexa James, the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Chicago. "They (officers) are seeing the worst day of everybody’s life every day."

Can Chicago become Big Agriculture’s innovation hub? – Opinion – Crain’s

There is no greater need in the world than sustainable ways to feed the growing number of people on earth. There is no more logical place for Big Food research, entrepreneurial activity, systems development, to take place than right here.

Illinois legislation would ensure payment to wrongfully convicted – Journal Star

The bill sponsored by Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, would provide continuing funds — even without a state budget — for payments for time unjustly served in Illinois prisons.

Lawyer: Zillow ‘Zestimate’ illegal appraisal hampering home’s sale; Zillow: Only estimate, not appraisal – Cook County Record

A lawyer in suburban Glenview who is attempting to sell her home has asked the courts to step into her dispute with real estate listing site Zillow over the site’s “Zestimate” of her home, calling the site’s approximation of her home’s value a “sloppy, computer-driven appraisal” of her home, created without her consent and in violation of state law.

Surburban Chicago assessors inundated by appeals – Crain’s

In what's becoming Cook County's own rite of spring, homeowners who have received the county's latest estimate of their homes' taxable value are inundating assessors' offices with appeals.

Among Major Cities, Chicago Ranks Worst In Home Value Recovery – Chicagoist

The conventional real-estate wisdom says that the U.S. housing market has for the most part recovered from the recession, at least in terms of individual home values. But a new report says not so fast—especially in Chicago. Nationwide, only 34.3 percent of homes have gone past their pre-recession peak values. In Chicago, that figure plummets even more dramatically, all the way down to 7.6 percent.

Barack Obama Has Big, Bold, Optimistic Plans For The South Side – DNAinfo

"This isn't just about buildings," Obama said, "I tell people, Chicago's never looked more beautiful. It has never sparkled more.

Crime’s toll on a neighborhood: Violence that crushes lives also crushes parts of Chicago – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

Witnessing the decline of South Shore is sad and frustrating. This attractive neighborhood on the lakefront, within easy commuting distance of the Loop, should never have lost its place as a bastion of Chicago's African-American middle class.

Rogers Park Effort Aims To ‘Ruin’ ICE’s Plans – WBEZ

A group of Rogers Park residents are mobilizing to interrupt and protest immigration raids with the hope of making the process so inefficient for enforcement agents that the federal government will stop trying.

Bank of America to anchor planned skyscraper along Chicago River – Chicago Tribune

Bank of America will be the anchor tenant in a 51-story office tower to be built along the Chicago River.

Chicago last among major cities in real estate recovery – Crain’s

Of the nation's ten largest metro areas, Chicago has the smallest share of homes that have recovered to their pre-recession peak values. The culprit: Chicago's slow growth in three inter-connected spheres—jobs, income and population—relative to the other big cities.

How much trouble is the city’s economic development chief in? – Crain’s

A flurry of internal turmoil has hit World Business Chicago, the city's public/private economic development unit, with staff departures, an outside consultant's review and an extraordinary open apology of sorts from​ CEO Jeff Malehorn.

IDOT: Six firms interested in South Suburban Airport – Daily Southtown

Six firms recently responded to the Illinois Department of Transportation's attempt to gauge developers' interest in building, operating and maintaining the planned South Suburban Airport, the agency said.

‘There’s a story behind why we shoot’ – WBEZ

Two young Chicagoans talk about why they picked up a gun, and how it changed their lives.

Chicago once again ranked top metro for corporate investment – Curbed Chicago

For the fourth year in a row, the Chicago metropolitan area has taken the top spot on Site Selection magazine’s list for corporate growth.

Illinois House passes bill to allow dissolution of township road districts – Illinois Policy

House Bill 607 would allow for the consolidation of a duplicative layer of government, something Illinois taxpayers desperately need.

New home sales highest in Chicago almost four years – Crain’s

The sales figure for the quarter was the second-highest of any quarter since new-home sales tumbled in 2008 in the wake of the housing crash. In the second quarter of 2013, builders sold 1,317 new homes in the Chicago area.

Northwestern suit promises big load of dirty laundry – News Gazette

The fuse has been lit. When and if the bomb goes off, prestigious Chicago institutions — Northwestern University, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, prominent media outlets — and people — a sitting judge, a former state's attorney, prominent journalists — will have more than egg on their faces.

How millionaire’s gang fantasy ‘blew up the West Side’ – Chicago Sun-Times

In 2012, he won an astonishing $25 million in a wrongful-conviction lawsuit against the city of Chicago. Half went to his lawyers. And he showered millions of what was left on his street gang, the Simon City Royal.

Judge OKs Work on Illinois Highway Some Say Threatens Bee – A.P.

The court had earlier ordered a halt to work, but now the plaintiff's bee expert failed to show up.

McHenry County a model for reforming government – Opinion – INN

"According to the United States Census Bureau, McHenry County residents pay higher property taxes than 99.99 percent of other Americans," but the county is moving towards cutting those taxes by 10%.

Illinois Tollway approves $4 billion Tri-State widening project – Illinois Policy

Despite the massive size and scope of the project to widen the Tri-State, the Illinois Tollway board suggests new tolls and taxes won’t be needed ­– but history shows that promises related to tolls in Illinois haven’t held up in the past.

John Kass: The lies we were told about who would silence free speech – Chicago Tribune

Safe spaces are not about learning or critical thinking. Safe spaces belong to education camps, where future bureaucrats are trained in the Orwellian shaping of language and the culling of threatening ideas.

Chicago fintech, the rising star in innovation – Chicago Business Journal

With names such as the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Citadel, Discover, DRW Trading, JPMorgan Chase, Morningstar and Northern Trust, these financial titans lead this industry as some of the most respected firms in the world.

New FOP president claims victory in early battles with city – Chicago Sun-Times

The battles stem from what FOP President Kevin Graham called the “unilateral expansion” of body cameras to all Chicago Police officers, and the Chicago Police Department’s proposed “disciplinary matrix” for “complaints registered” against officers.

New Grants Available For Struggling Shopping Areas On South, West Sides – DNAinfo Chicago

With the City Council's blessing, the city has earmarked $16 million from Tax Increment Financing districts to spruce up commercial corridors in Austin, Back of the Yards, Bronzeville, Chatham, Englewood, South Shore, West Humboldt Park and West Pullman.

State’s ‘illegal’ streaming tax described as rerun from Chicago – Sangamon Sun

lllinois failed to learn from a court-challenged Chicago ordinance when it tried to tax streaming services as part of the failed "grand bargain" in the Legislature, an attorney with a Libertarian justice advocacy group said recently.

Giant Puffball Mushrooms The Size Of Soccer Balls Grow Around Chicago – DNAinfo Chicago

The mushrooms can grow to massive sizes: A 5-foot, 50-pound specimen is on record, according to

Faisal Khan: What has Chicago learned from the Barbara Byrd-Bennett scandal? – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

Why is Byrd-Bennett, the former chief executive of Chicago Public Schools, going to spend so much time incarcerated? No-bid contracts. There are flaws with every process, but the city should be awarding contracts based on a company's value and performance, not political connections.

City could deal blow to Trump wall contractors – Chicago Sun-Times

“It would be much like an ordinance proposed years ago banning any Chicago bank doing business with a Swiss bank resisting cooperation in reparations to victims of Hitler’s Holocaust,” said Ald. Edward Burke (14th), who is familiar with the proposal.

World’s Largest Starbucks to Open in Chicago in 2019 – NBC Chicago

Whoopee. It's the end of the week and we're short for news.

Emanuel leads cheer for latest corporate HQ to move to Chicago – Chicago Sun-Times

Great Wolf Resorts’ CEO Rubén Rodriguez calls the office “Wolf Den Chicago.” It’s home to 45 Great Wolf Resort “pack members” and has room to grow to 100 employees to accommodate future company expansion.

Harris Associates’ Oakmark Fund excels at stock-picking – Crain’s

Touting stock-picking expertise in the face of an industry swing toward index-investing takes a certain amount of guts. But glance at graphs charting the performance of Harris Associates funds, and you understand why they're sticking to stock-picking.

New ax throwing venue open in Chicago – Chicago Tribune

The second one in Chicago and a growing sport.

Single-Family Home Prices Are Highest Ever In 4 Areas Of Chicago: Study – DNAinfo Chicago

But citywide, single-family homes are still 23.4 percent below their highest levels in 2007.

Google Building’s Newest Perk? A CTA Train Car On Its Roof – DNAinfo Chicago

When complete, the train car will serve as a focal point and casual place to sit on the green rooftop for employees and others. The deck will also have raised platform with views of the Chicago skyline, a green lawn and landscaped areas.

Redfin migration study suggests Chicagoans looking to stay

Among the dominant trends:  Chicago, Boston and Seattle had perhaps the most dedicated residents, with more than nine out of 10 local users planning to stay in the area. Comment: Interesting data, but whether this really shows intent to stay is questionable.

Lawyer, guns and liquor — gunplay for the country club set – Chicago Sun-Times

Joe Neveril’s fervent desire is to bring the Chicago area its first “guntry club,” which he describes as kind of a country club for gun enthusiasts.

Case Shiller Home Price Index Up Again in Chicago Area – ChicagoNow

Looking at the seasonally adjusted numbers it does seem as though the Chicago area is now performing better than most of the other metro areas so we should continue to rise in the rankings.

Data Points: In the Chicago region, when white people leave jobs tend to follow – Metropolitan Planning Council

The invisible barriers that generally separate people by race and income in the Chicago region also appear to serve as barriers to population growth and job growth, critical factors for strong economic development.

Who’s lending to South Side homebuyers? – Crain’s

In a region where home values have sputtered and many people have damaged or poor credit, who's writing mortgages? Marquette Bank, for one. Its small loans have been a staple since the bank opened in 1945 on the Southwest Side.

U.S. Supreme Court deals struggling taxi industry another blow – Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago’s taxicab industry is likely to turn into a “Wild West” dominated by independent drivers, with fleets disappearing and the city losing control, after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt the struggling industry a final flow.

Chicago aldermen propose $33 per employee ‘head tax’ on city employers – Illinois Policy

Eighteen aldermen signed on to legislation that would introduce the “head tax” to Chicago employers with 50 or more employees. Comment: An attempt to revive one of the stupidest taxes in history -- one that's specifically on how many people you employ.

The Vote is in for Chicago Growth at Conference on Fiscal Future – MuniNet

Comment: This event was a whitewash that the Chicago Fed and The Civic Federation should be ashamed of. The best presentation was from Harrison J. Goldin, a veteran of New York's turnaround in the 1970. He emphasized the importance of the first step -- honestly measuring the full depth of the problem. We haven't even done that, and conferences like this are part of the reason.

Obama to deliver first post-presidency speech in Chicago – Associate Press

Comment: Hey Obama, you came to office with the stars aligned as they do only a couple times a century. You had both houses of Congress and all the political capital in the world, yet you didn't do squat for Chicagoans or anybody else, so spare us your wisdom.

Clout-rich janitor firm accused of job offer mess – Sun-Times

The city contractor that allegedly “reserved jobs for individuals based on political considerations” is United Maintenance Co. Inc., according to City Hall sources and the alderman whose office blew the whistle on the firm.

March for Science: Dispatches from Chicago – The Scientist Magazine®

Comment: The anointed celebrate their monopoly on truth and evidence.

Testing Chicago MEABF to Destruction – Stump

A look at one of Chicago's pensions, the Municipal fund, by actuary Mary Pat Campbell.

Inundated with gunshot victims, Chicago doctors and nurses face ‘compassion fatigue’ – Chicago Tribune

Comment: A friend who interned at Cook County Hospital said their unofficial motto in the E.R was "The life you save may take your own."

Emanuel shoots down stripping aldermen of control over menu money – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday he is not about to strip aldermen of their cherished control over infrastructure projects in their wards and hand it to professional engineers in the Chicago Department of Transportation.

GOP leader files ethics complaint over Chicago schools letter – Chicago City Wire

The CPS letter began with an accusation that Gov. Bruce Rauner "decided to attack those who need the most help." It continued with a claim that the governor, a Republican, blocked $215 million in funding for the city schools. It referred to the loss of the funding as stealing from the children.

The Rebuilders: A set of pioneers is buying property on the South Side and in the south suburbs – Crain’s

They're staking a claim, hoping to recapture something that has been lost: a community that may not be prosperous now but could be again if more people were to follow their lead. Comment: Wonderful job on this article by Dennis Rodkin capturing the spirit of those who are fighting back.

How Mathematicians in Chicago Are Stopping Water Leaks in Syracuse – Politico

Using an algorithm developed by a team at the University of Chicago, the city put reams of information, scattered among various departments, to work. With a predictive system that can point to the hotspots along its 550 miles of pipes, the city hopes to save millions of dollars a year by fixing mains before they break.

Justice Department moves against Chicago, other sanctuary cities – Chicago Sun-Times

The Justice Department took its first steps on Friday to strip Chicago and Cook County of some crime fighting grants as part of a drive to deny federal money to so-called “sanctuary cities” shielding illegal immigrants.

Teachers Claim CPS ‘Harassing’ Members Over Sick Leave – WTTW

The Illinois State Board of Education released data last year that showed almost one in four CPS teachers missed 10 or more days of school a year—most of those teachers serving low-income areas of the city. Comment: How dare CPS for questioning time spent on their political work.

Witness To Street Robbery Shoots Thief In The Butt As He Runs Away – DNAinfo Chicago

The thief is in the hospital, where his butt is listed as "stable." Comment: Fortunately, the shooter is unidentified, or he'd probably get charged and sued.

Chicago’s ‘menu’ program for aldermen: 50 ways to waste your money – Chicago Tribune

"We can't think of a worse way to spend a too-small pool of tax money than to split it into 50 equal parts and let 50 people decide how to use it. That's what Chicago does every year with $66 million in aldermanic "menu" dollars, allotting each of the city's aldermen $1.32 million for residential infrastructure needs in their wards."

Homeowners Trying To Lower Cook County Property Taxes Hit ‘Record High’ – DNAinfo Chicago

Based on the board's report for 2015, some 64.1 percent of appeals by property owners in the city of Chicago resulted in a tax reductions, saving property owners $125 million.

Even being seen with gang member sends 1,000s to jail – Chicago Sun-Times

Under pressure to reduce gun violence, the Chicago Police Department has increasingly used the parole-violation law as a tool to get convicted felons off the street – though in many cases they’ve been accused of nothing other than being around neighbors or long-time acquaintances, the Chicago Sun-Times found.

Toxic soil at Pullman monument limits use of Chicago’s national landmark – Chicago Tribune

The National Park Service has grand plans in store for Pullman National Monument, but it could take years before visitors have full access to the former factory grounds as state and federal agencies first need to undertake a massive cleanup of contaminants left at the site from decades of rail car production.

Caterpillar Names Deerfield, Illinois, as New Global Headquarters

The company expects about 100 employees to relocate this year, with about 300 people in the new headquarters when fully operational in mid-2018.

Young Cubs fan gets emotional after receiving surprise tickets to Wrigley Field – ABC

In the beginning of the video, Kolt’s dad, Andy Kyler, said he was testing his work ethic that day, “and he never once complained,” said Himes.

Decision On Closing Chicago Public Schools Early Rests On April 28 Court Ruling – WBEZ

A Cook County judge said Wednesday he plans to rule April 28 on Chicago Public Schools’ civil rights lawsuit against the state over school funding, a move CPS hopes will clarify whether it can keep schools open until June 21 or whether it will end classes three weeks early.

Chicago aldermen don’t need licensing approval powers: Faisal Khan – Opinion – Crain’s

An ordinance currently sitting in committee, would require city departments to alert an alderman about each license application filed in his or her respective ward. The alderman could then veto any application as long as he or she provided a reason for denial. And if the alderman doesn't like the application, well . . . that is where the application dies.

Illinois road project stung by judge’s endangered-bee ruling | The Seattle Times

Because of the bumblebee’s status, construction on a multimillion-dollar suburban Chicago road project has to stop. Court documents say the bee was found along the parkway’s route in the Brunner Family Forest Preserve.

Ethics chief blasts aldermen for pushing ‘unhealthy secrecy’ – Sun-Times

The chairman of Chicago’s reinvigorated Board of Ethics on Tuesday accused aldermen of injecting a “very unhealthy secrecy into government for a privileged few” by changing the definition of “city employees” to exclude independent contractors.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Teams Up With Betsy Devos on Chicago’s Schools – Observer

Comment: Don't see where the "teaming up" is.

Most of 2016 Increase in National Murder Rate Came From Chicago: Study – NBC Chicago

"Chicago alone was responsible for 43.7 percent of the rise in urban murders in 2016," the study finds.

Political Scientist Dick Simpson On The Past And Present Of Chicago Machine Politics – Video — Upstream Ideas

Comment: Great, extended interview on the current nature of corruption in Chicago (though Simpson is far too sanguine about the city's financial straights).

City contractor accused of ‘reserving’ jobs for alderman’s office – Chicago Sun-Times

"There has been speculation that city contractors may be picking up the slack by hiring candidates recommended by Chicago aldermen." Comment: "Speculation"? Why, yes, there has been some of that.

Documents show Ald. Reilly accepted campaign contributions from Wanda Vista Tower developer – Chicago City Wire

Despite his campaign promise not to accept money from developers, records indicate Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly received more than $72,000 from Magellan Development or its officers between 2011 and 2016, according to documents provided to Chicago City Wire by a source who requested to remain anonymous.

O’Hare growth badly lags peer airports – Crain’s

Specifically, figures drawn from U.S. Department of Transportation reports indicate that over the past decade, the total number of departing passengers dropped 1.5 percent at O'Hare even as it grew 8.1 percent nationally. That leaves O'Hare far behind competing hub airports such as New York's JFK, Los Angeles International, San Francisco International and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Jackson Jr. copped to another possible crime, said he’d help feds – Sun-Times

But no indication what the crime is. Comment: This guy is a gift that keeps giving for reporters.

A fragile hope in Ford Heights IL – Washington Examiner

"It is difficult not to be moved by the blight and sorrow of this town; impoverished, bypassed by the world, it is a part of America that is dying in plain sight. The people who live here are no different than their Appalachian cousins who are watching their own ways of life decay."

Parade of police abuse settlement continues — with $1M more – Chicago Sun-Times

The parade of settlements stemming from allegations of police abuse that cost Chicago taxpayers $30 million last year will continue next week, with $925,000 in additional payments.

Park district police described as $5 million redundancy – Chicago City Wire

It costs Illinois municipalities $5 million to maintain park district police forces that cover areas already under the watchful eye of the regular police department, the Better Government Association reported recently.

The damaging effects of Chicagoland’s latest tax hikes – Illinois Policy

Chicagoans have been burdened with a slew of new taxes and the full damage has yet to be felt. A state income tax hike, like the one proposed in the Illinois Senate’s so-called “grand bargain,” would only further harm struggling Chicagoans.

Claims overwhelm commission investigating Burge torture – Chicago Tribune

The influx of cases brought the total the panel is required to investigate to nearly 400, pushing the commission not only to reach out to established law firms, but also law school interns and even high school students, who do clerical work. "We can't deal with those numbers the way we're set up now."

Asia’s Richest Man Is Building Chicago’s Priciest Penthouse – Bloomberg

When the 95-story Vista Tower is completed in 2020, it will be the third-tallest building in Chicago, and at its very top will be a 7,000-square-foot duplex penthouse, currently offered for $17.1 million.

Detroit’s downtown revival is real, but road to recovery remains long – Chicago Tribune

So you think Chicago is a tale of two cities? The gulf between its booming downtown and its violence-plagued neighborhoods is nothing compared to the gaps that a visitor witnesses in Detroit. Comment: There are no short term solutions. Get used to it.

Former Uber executive runs afoul of Chicago’s lobbying rules, city hands down $90K fine – Cook County Record

Comment: In fairness, it's too easy to run afoul of these rules. "Any form of written or verbal communications, including formal or informal in-person meetings, phone conversations and email communications can be considered lobbying." Many well-intentioned people violate that regularly.

Chicago high-speed trading firms draw overseas talent – Crain’s

Chicago's high-speed trading industry is so secretive, it's easy to overlook the worldwide magnet the city has become for the business.

Should North Shore public schools set lower academic, discipline standards for black and hispanic students? Activist to make the case. – North Cook News

In two presentations at Elm Place Middle School, 2031 Sheridan Rd., Noguera will explain why he believes public school teachers should stop focusing on overall student achievement and instead pursue what he calls “equity,” or ensuring students of different races and ethnicities in their schools are achieving at the same level. Noguera believes racially-biased teachers are to blame for the fact that white students consistently outperform black and hispanic students on standardized tests.

Rahm’s private email still being filled by fans, foes, citizens – Chicago Sun-Times

Powerful people and average Joes are continuing to use Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s personal email to counsel, praise and lambast him, knowing full-well that their communications will be made public.

Chicago to Q-C rail takes ‘pretty exciting step’ forward – QC Times

Local officials say they have been told there is a memorandum of understanding between the state of Illinois and the Iowa-Interstate Railroad, owners of the 53-miles of track between Wyanet, Illinois, and Moline, where the bulk of rehabilitation is needed to accommodate passenger service.

A Four-Foot-Long Chicago Style Hot Dog Made This Chef’s Birthday Epic – DNAinfo Chicago

Trump's response: "Weak. Believe me, I could show you a yuge one."

6 Chicago TV stations will change channels after broadcast frequencies sold for wireless use – Chicago Tribune

Six Chicago-area TV stations, including Fox-owned WPWR-Ch. 50, NBC's Telemundo outlet WSNS-Ch. 44 and PBS affiliate WYCC-Ch. 20, will be changing channels after selling their over-the-air broadcast frequencies to wireless carriers. The combined Chicago TV frequencies sold for about $758 million in a Federal Communications Commission spectrum auction, which repurposed a chunk of the broadcast airwaves for wireless mobile use.

Chicago should annex adjoining suburbs – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Just a reminder that we post lots of things here that we don't necessarily agree with.

Houses taking longer to sell in Chicago – Crain’s

Single-family city homes that sold last month were on the market an average of 113 days, the longest selling time since February 2015, when the average also was 113 days.

Suspect charged in Illinois judge’s murder; not believed to have acted alone – Reuters

"The motive of this crime is robbery, which we do not believe was random, nor do we believe Smith acted alone."

Chicago State dean accused of taking $650,000 from national organization for personal gain – Chicago Tribune

The Student National Pharmaceutical Association contends Carmita Coleman, Chicago State's interim dean of the College of Pharmacy, siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars from the organization's bank accounts for clothes, food and trips during five of the years she was executive director.

Want to help Chicago teens? Teach them finance. – Opinion – Crain’s

"Knowledge of financial planning and management, as basic as it can be, seems meant for other kinds of people, leading other kinds of lives. The good news is that it's knowledge easily shared— and, shared at the right time in a person's life, it can make all the difference." Amen. Good work, Magnetar.

Chicago, suburban students get together to solve issues plaguing the city – WFLD

They live in worlds apart - some in crime-infested Chicago neighborhoods and others in million dollar north suburban homes. But they have more in common than you might think. A bus ride of less than 20 miles brought inner city high school students to the sprawling New Trier campus Thursday afternoon in the heart of one of the most affluent areas in the country.

Uproar Over United Video Imperils Chicago Airport Police – Bloomberg

The video of a passenger being dragged by an officer from a United Express flight shined an unwanted spotlight on the little-known police force that guards Chicago's two main airports and could threaten the agency's future.

Cook County judge indicted over mortgage fraud scheme – Cook County Record

A Cook County judge has been indicted for her alleged role in a mortgage fraud scheme, which took place a few years before she was elected to the Cook County bench. A federal grand jury in Chicago returned an indictment against Jessica Arong O’Brien, accusing O’Brien of fraudulently obtaining mortgages and commercial loans to buy, refinance and maintain investment investment properties in Chicago.

Am I blue? No, but I have a right to speak, radio host argues – Chicago City Wire

Proft cited the apparent hypocrisy of critics dismissing his news outlets as not being objective while their own work is published by companies with far less transparent political biases.

Chicago Schools Miss Out On Retirement Incentive Savings – WBEZ

The retirement incentive program was one way the district tried to sell its teachers' contract as a good deal for taxpayers. Initially, it would have cost the district as it paid out bonuses to retirees, but getting veteran, higher-paid teachers and aides off the district’s payroll could have produced up to $90 million. Comment: Maybe it would be better to report as "news" anything truthful promised in Chicago about its finances.

Why Send A Firetruck To Do An Ambulance’s Job? – WBEZ

Getting answers can be difficult. That has a lot to do with the political power of fire departments and their unions — and the challenge of trying to change that.

Judge to Rule on CPS, Rauner Motions Next Week – WTTW

An answer to the lingering question of when this school year will end for Chicago Public Schools could become more clear next week, when a Cook County judge will rule on a pair of motions in the district’s ongoing suit against Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Suburban school districts holding millions of dollars more in reserve than state recommends – Daily Herald

While suburban school officials say it's prudent to build up reserves, critics complain about school districts levying more property tax money than they need. Stockpiling money means school districts can fund building or renovation projects without getting voters' OK in a tax-increase referendum.

Chicago Entices Companies to Return Downtown – WSJ (Subscription)

Nearly 90% of the more than 330,000 jobs created in Illinois from 2011 through 2016 were added in the metro area.

Rail service to Chicago could get the ax – USA Today

Long-distance Amtrak service, including the historic New York-to-Chicago train that carries tens of thousands of Rochesterians to the Windy City each year, would be eliminated by President Trump's proposed budget.

Alcohol bill aimed to help special interests, further status quo – Illinois Policy

An amendment to Illinois’ longstanding Liquor Control Act creates curious guidelines that seem likely to favor a few specific Chicago businesses, while keeping the status quo intact for the rest.

Chicago transit lending bill called bailout, risky for taxpayers – INN

"This language is horrific for the taxpayers of the state of Illinois," Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, said. "These state funds that are intercepted are actually meant to go to real services that the CTA and its customers depend on."

Emanuel, Cubs Quick to Note No Tax Dollars Used in Wrigley Renovations – NBC Chicago

The Ricketts family is spending nearly $600 million over five years to update the Friendly Confines.

Chicago wants to become a renewable energy powerhouse – CNBC

The commitment would make Chicago the "largest major city" in the U.S. to supply its public buildings with 100 percent renewable energy. Comment: Any info about, um, cost? Nah. Nobody cares.

Chicago, United lambasted over man dragged off plane – ABC News

The incident risks a backlash against United from passengers who could boycott the airline as the busy summer travel season is about to begin. For Chicago, it is another public relations nightmare, adding to its reputation as a city unable to curb a crime wave in some neighborhoods.

Deficit in Dallas: How One of the Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Ended Up With Billions in Debt – Governing

The city has created a huge problem for itself -- one so big that bankruptcy isn’t off the table.

CSX Transportation prepares for rise in freight volumes – Crain’s

A freight "tsunami" is sweeping toward Chicago from the Eastern Seaboard, and a proposed train-and-truck facility in suburban Will County could help railroad CSX ride the wave.

Employers have options handling employees skipping work to engage in political protests – Cook County Record

In the wake of the Day Without An Immigrant and Day Without Women strikes, and with other political protests yet planned amid the nation's currently charged political climate, employers may be wondering what their legal obligations are if employees miss work to protest.

900 Chicago government buildings to switch to renewable energy – Chicago Sun-Times

Chris Wheat, City Hall’s chief sustainability officer, wouldn’t say how many of the 900 buildings will have space for “on-site generation” nor provide specifics on costs. Comment: As always, costs be damned if it's green.

In ‘Scary’ Episode, This Employer Is Hoisted in Effigy by Anti-Trump Agitators – Daily Signal

100 to 200 protesters, depending on who is counting, descended on the Bank of America Building on South LaSalle Street, in effect looking for Saliba. His business offices are on an upper floor of the 45-floor structure.

Paul Vallas, ex-public schools chief, dean picked for Chicago State post – A.P.

Board members tapped former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas Friday for an interim administrator post at Chicago State University, an appointment recommended by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Regime Change Finally Comes to Orland Park and Tinley Park After Years of Scandal – Illinois Leaks

On April 4th 2017, fed-up voters in both Orland Park and Tinley Park toppled longstanding political regimes that have been embroiled in one scandal or another for the last several years.

Waukegan Mayor Wayne Motley will collect two pensions when he retires – Lake County News-Sun

But between the two pensions he'll collect, based on his service as mayor and city clerk and for the Waukegan Police Department, Motley, 66, will still make nearly six figures next year, according to a News-Sun analysis.

Is Chicago ready? ‘The Doomsday Squad’ works to predict disaster – WGN-TV

Scientists are exploring the cascade effect of major infrastructure failures. “The important thing isn’t what takes out an infrastructure asset but what happens afterward and the domino effect,” Argonne strategy and innovation director Megan Clifford told WGN.

Trump Tower among Chicago’s most desirable refugee employers – abc7chicago

Officially known as the Trump International Hotel and Tower, the 98-story skyscraper on Chicago's riverfront has become so popular with refugees because they are paid up to $18.00 per hour for entry-level jobs. That's according to a Chicago-based organization that helps refugees who are "fleeing war, terror and persecution."

Out-migration caused Lake County population to shrink by nearly 400 from 2015-2016 – Illinois Policy

Newly released census data show more than 5,100 Lake County residents moved to other U.S. locales last year, causing the county’s population to shrink.

Judge turns lights out on exotic dancers wage class action vs Pink Monkey club – Cook County Record

They alleged the establishment wrongly classified them as independent contractors and shorted them pay in the process.

DuPage County population shrank by nearly 2,500 from 2015-2016 – Illinois Policy

Newly released census data show more than 9,100 DuPage County residents moved to other U.S. locales last year, causing the county’s population to shrink.

No Post-High School Plan, No Diploma: Rahm Touts New Graduation Requirement – DNAinfo Chicago

Students would be prevented from graduating unless they can prove they have a post-high school plan in place, whether it's acceptance to a university, a trade school or a job offer in hand, under a plan announced Wednesday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Voters in Evanston, Oak Park Support Property Tax Hike – CBS Chicago

Both districts said larger class sizes and the cancellation of arts and enrichment programs were real possibilities if the increases were not approved.

Why Did State Lawmakers Approve of Cook County Tax Sale Law? – WTTW

A push to change the system by some public officials has simply raised more questions, such as: Why would state lawmakers nearly unanimously pass a bill to shorten the timetable property owners have to pay their taxes, especially when it hits homeowners facing financial hardship? And why does this system exist in the first place?

Suburban woman celebrates 110th birthday by sharing 110 memories – abc7

"Keep busy doing something worthwhile by making other people happy. Keep looking up. There's always bad things but you can't dwell on them. I seldom think about the bad things. I choose to focus on the positive," she said.

Is venture capital coming ‘down to earth’ in 2017? More cash going to fewer companies in Chicago area – Chicago Tribune

Venture capitalists made fewer deals but invested more cash to kick off 2017 in the Chicago region, according to a new report — and experts think it could be a sign VCs are exercising more discipline.

Exactly How Screwed Are Chicago Pensions? – Stump

"Very," says actuary Mary Pat Campbell.

Roskam moves to limit IRS seizure tool used in Hastert case – Crain’s

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, says his bill only would protect innocent taxpayers from having their bank accounts locked without notice and would not have affected the Hastert prosecution.

Local pols seek to hike towns’ share of state tax revenue –

Comment: Harmon forgot to mention that if bills being sponsored by his party pass, this money -- and other money already coming from Springfield -- would be mortgaged to bondholders. They would get first dibs if they need it. See the articles linked here and here.

City home contracts highest in 10 years – Crain’s

Buyers put more homes in the city under contract in recent weeks than during any comparable stretch of time since spring 2007, according to the Chicago Association of Realtors.

CBRE reports rise in downtown Chicago office vacancy rate – Crain’s

With two new office towers on the Chicago skyline, a key statistic has risen right along with them: the downtown vacancy rate.

DePaul Arena — Beautiful ‘game-changer’ or ‘foolhardy project’? – Chicago Sun-Times

The 10,000-seat, $164 million basketball arena for DePaul University that will double as an “event center” for McCormick Place will open this fall with a pair of gala fundraisers, officials said Monday.

Illinois Tech Jobs Grew in 2016 – Chicago Inno

Tech jobs in Illinois are on the rise, but employment in Chicago took a dip last year.

Valerie Jarrett Reveals Post-White House Plans – NBC Chicago

She said she wants to "continue to be a force for good.”

After Arrest In Facebook Live Rape, Top Cop Slams Viewers Who Did Nothing – DNAinfo Chicago

Comment: I generally read every article I post, but I admit I haven't been able to bring myself to read this one or the others I've seen on this crime.

How bad are the City of Chicago’s finances? – Truth in Accounting

Scranton PA basically flunked its audit yet its bonds trade better than Chicago's. Hmm.

Property tax brouhaha highlights work of Westside Justice Center – Chicago Sun-Times

Westside Justice Center, embraced the spotlight offered by a tax relief campaign that began last month to help low-income homeowners at risk of losing their homes because they were unable to pay tax bills.

Chicago bank tangled up in intrigue over ex-Trump aide Manafort – Chicago Tribune

The Federal Savings Bank, whose chief executive was an economic adviser to Trump's presidential campaign, made about $6.5 million in loans in January to Manafort and his wife for a Brooklyn property, documents show.

Moved by elderly, disabled, Willie Wilson makes tax loans ‘gifts’ – Chicago Sun-Times

Willie Wilson, the Chicago businessman, philanthropist and former mayoral candidate, who put $150,000 into a loan fund to help low-income Cook County residents avoid having their property taxes sold, turned that money into a gift.

Judge orders end to police pension-padding tactic used by suburban officers – Chicago Tribune

For years, retiring police officers in west suburban Countryside had been given a one-time $850 pay bump that, through a controversial interpretation of Illinois pension law, dramatically boosted a retiree's pension. It has boosted the amount some retirees have individually collected over the years by more than $200,000.

New app to alert undocumented immigrants of ICE raids – FOX32

Notifica allows undocumented immigrants to alert family, friends, and attorneys if they become victims of immigration raids from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Moody’s and Illinois — which comes first, the screw or the screwdriver? – Truth in Accounting

It looks like our media continues to slavishly report what comes out of these credit rating “agencies” (paid by governments, for the “ratings”) as authorities, even after their contribution to the greatest financial and economic crisis since (at least) the Great Depression.

Rahm Emanuel email takes center stage in retiree health care case – Sun-Times

That email was Rahm's reaction to a Wirepoints article about what his budget address should say. That background is linked here. In my unhumble opinion, it's the suggested budget address that should be getting the attention, not the email.

Bridgeview seeks to rename its debt-ridden soccer stadium – Crain’s

The sea of empty lots that surrounds the stadium has seen little change in the dozen years since Bridgeview officials predicted that a new soccer stadium would transform into an economic engine for the area and pay for itself. That lack of development has forced the village to borrow furiously and raise property taxes drastically to meet its annual debt obligations. Property taxes for its 16,000-plus residents doubled between 2009 and 2013.

2 Numbers That Show How Screwed Chicago’s Pension Plans Are – Reason

During 2015, the two pension plans for Chicago city employees paid out $999 million in retirement benefits to 29,286 retirees. During that same year, the two funds generated just $90 million in investment income.

Chicago Has Struggled to Build Mixed-Income Housing for 50 Years – Chicago Magazine

It’s been the CHA’s goal since long before the Plan for Transformation, but resistance and mismanagement have dogged it since the 1960s.

Ethics Board flexes muscle against independent contractors – Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago’s reinvigorated Board of Ethics is flexing its muscle again—this time by threatening hefty fines against “independent contractors” employed by aldermen who fail to file statements of financial interest.

Chicago PMI nudges up in March to mark best quarter in more than two years – MarketWatch

A reading of Chicago-area economic activity nudged higher in March to cap the strongest quarter in more than two years, a sign of the growing business optimism since the election of President Donald Trump.

S&P: Sanctuary cities won’t see ratings dip with Trump order – A.P.

Comment: Maybe because that's who hires them and pays them.

Governor Rauner Vetoes Chicago Municipal and Laborers’ Pension Reforms – The Civic Federation

Identical legislation, Senate Bill 14, was approved by the newly seated Illinois Senate on January 25, 2017 by a vote of 38-11. The legislation is currently in the Illinois House Personnel and Pensions Committee.

Windy City residents blow town as Southwest populations rise – Chicago City Wire

Cook County experienced a greater population loss than any other county in the United States between mid-2015 and mid-2016. Meanwhile, sunnier climes like Arizona and Texas continue too see a boom in growth.

Mishandling of energy project cost Chicago taxpayers millions, watchdog reports – Chicago City Wire

Chicago's former legislative inspector general turned government watchdog has called on the mayor and Infrastructure Trust to explain how officials permitted large portions of city-owned buildings to be liened to a private bank to finance an energy upgrade project.

Chicago Teachers Union Pushing For Broader Strike And Bargaining Rights – WBEZ

A bill that would give the Chicago Teachers Union the right to strike over more issues — including class size, length of the school day and layoffs — got the go-ahead from an Illinois House committee on Wednesday.

Chicago Hides Critical Info On Illegal Immigrants From Feds – The Daily Caller

The city of Chicago moved forward to protect illegal immigrants through their municipal identification program in an effort to stifle the federal government’s move to crack down on sanctuary cities.

Chicago – The Best Incubator in America? – Venture Connects

Chicago could be the “Goldilocks City” for early-stage companies. There is a massive capital opportunity from the volume of people, headquarters, and wealth in the Chicagoland area. Combine the opportunity with relatively inexpensive costs to operate the business – from both an HR and real estate perspective – and the environment may be “just right.”

Minors in Chicago authorized to sell and serve alcohol – Chicago Sun-Times

Minors working as cashiers at Chicago grocery stores will no longer have to summon their bosses to ring up the sale of a six-pack of beer or a bottle of wine.

Report: City Misuses Affordable Housing Funds – WTTW

Comment: The entire ordinance is hairbrained virtue signalling. Huge cost and little to show for it. Our earlier article on it is linked here.

Why some people choose to stay in (or move back to) Chicago – Curbed Chicago

“The fact is, if you want a true urban lifestyle in the US, you have two choices: New York or Chicago. That’s it.”

Monthly Case Shiller Index: Chicago Home Prices Are On A Roll Now – ChicagoNow

Chicago is finally rising in the rankings of the 20 metro areas tracked by the Case Shiller home price indices. Forever we have been ranked 4th from the bottom (17th place) in terms of year over year home price appreciation but for January we rose to number 13 on the list.

Inspector general hits Emanuel on affordable housing fees – Chicago Sun-Times

Emanuel’s administration “did not appropriately account” for more than $4.5 million in fees collected from developers to build affordable housing, but is refusing to replenish the fund, the city’s inspector general concluded Tuesday.

S&P: Chicago’s rating at risk without pension funding plan – Reuters

S&P said the latest bill is likely to receive enough votes to overturn a subsequent veto based on strong bipartisan support for the original measure. But it noted that Chicago must still come up with additional money for pensions in 2023 when larger contributions will be needed.

Illinois House speaker’s letter rebukes governor’s claims – A.P.

Speaker Michael Madigan wrote the Republican a letter Tuesday. It said Rauner made "false statements" a day earlier that Madigan was blocking sale of the state-owned Thompson Center in Chicago.

We Gat Some Jokey Leaders – YouTube

Catchy. Just heard it. Should be revised for Chicago.

Valerie Jarrett joins Ariel Investments board – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Ariel is already a massive recipient of minority set-asides. Now the rich will become even richer.

Chicago CFO Tries to Calm Investors After Pension Veto – The Bond Buyer

"We are pretty confident or optimistic ….we would have enough votes to override," chief financial officer Carole Brown said in an investor call following Gov. Bruce Rauner's Friday veto of the original legislation written to put in place revised funding formulas for two funds.

Rauner: No more kicking can on pensions – INN

The Chicago bill, vetoed by Rauner Friday, would have allowed city officials to lower the amount they have to contribute to two of their severely underfunded pension funds and pay more years down the road.

AG Sessions: Feds could ‘claw back’ funds from sanctuary cities – Sun-Times

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday a crackdown on “sanctuary” cities and states – of which Chicago is one – with a pledge to “claw back” or cut all Justice Department federal funds from localities sheltering illegal immigrants.

After Midway deal, restaurateurs gave big to Rahm – Sun-Times

Not long after the Midway Airport deal was finally approved, restaurateurs with a stake in the winning proposal showed their love for Mayor Rahm Emanuel — in the form of big contributions to the mayor’s campaign fund.

$999 million out, $90 million in: Chicago pension funds see the abyss, shrug it off – Chicago City Wire

In 2015, the City of Chicago’s two employee pension funds paid out $999 million to 29,286 retirees. But, according to the Illinois Department of Insurance, which tracks public pensions, the two funds themselves only generated $90 million in investment income that year.

Undisclosed medical issue for ex-Mayor Daley raised in Burge-related federal lawsuit – Chicago Tribune

Efforts to take a sworn deposition of former Mayor Richard Daley in a federal lawsuit over alleged Chicago police torture have hit a snag over an undisclosed medical issue Daley is reportedly suffering. Comment: What hogwash. Get his corrupt butt into the court.

Consistency amidst inconsistent governments – Truth in Accounting

The “Data Coalition” is a group dedicated to streamlining government financial information, with a view to promoting transparency and lowering costs.

Rauner vetoes bill to bail out Chicago municipal workers pensions – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: What's important here is that the bill lowered near term pension contributions required of the city but ramped them up over the next five years. Now, the city will be stuck with a bigger near term pension obligation.

Why The Chicago Housing Authority Failed To Meet Its Mixed-Income Ambitions – WBEZ

More than 17 years and $3 billion later, only 7.81 percent of the 16,846 households under the Plan For Transformation live in mixed-income communities.

Chicagoans take triple hit on old Wrigley factory – Chicago Sun-Times

The abandoned factory that the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. left behind in Bridgeport has been like a wad of gum stuck to the shoes of Chicagoans.

Migrating Owl Perches on Table at Chicago Restaurant – NBC Chicago

A tapas restaurant. Wise choice.

Chicago Bloat of Education: The Sequel – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

So how could an elected school board — democracy in action! — do any worse than the mayor-appointed board? Many ways.

In New Trier, is a right-wing plot unfolding? – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Emanuel’s Wrigleyville ‘surge pricing’ for parking could be just the beginning – Chicago Tribune

New higher "surge pricing" at parking meters near Wrigley Field hasn't even kicked in yet, but a top aide to Mayor Rahm Emanuel told aldermen Thursday that the city could eventually look to broaden the program to areas around Chicago where parking is highly sought-after for other types of popular events.

Rahm Emanuel gung-ho about U.S. Steel project, alderman says – Sun-Times

Top mayoral aides met this week with developers planning to build 12,000 modular homes, along with a factory to manufacture them, on the 430-acre site of the old U.S. Steel South Works plant amid word that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is gung-ho about the project.

In the Midwest, Immigrants Are Stemming Population Decline – WSJ

Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago, saw the biggest numerical drop in population. It lost 66,000 more people to domestic migration than it gained. But this was partially offset by 18,000 people who moved in from outside the country.

Cubs prez Theo Epstein named world’s greatest leader by Fortune – Chicago Sun-Times

“Um, I can’t even get my dog to stop peeing in the house,” he wrote. "It’s baseball — a pastime involving a lot of chance. If Zobrist’s ball is three inches farther off the line, I’m on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I’m not even the best leader in our organization; our players are.” Comment: The modesty shown in that quote only affirms his glory. Confucius say,  "The superior man is modest in his speech,...

Sanctuary City Status Set To Be Renewed, Protection For Veterans Sought – Pilsen – DNAinfo Chicago

The City Council is poised to renew — for a second time since President Donald Trump took office — the city’s "sanctuary city" policy designed to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Chicago area leads U.S. in population loss, sees drop for 2nd year in a row – Chicago Tribune

Of the country's 10 largest cities, the Chicago metropolitan statistical area was the only one to drop in population between 2015 and 2016. The region, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the city and suburbs and extends into Wisconsin and Indiana.

John Kass: No speed limit on the Chicago Way – Chicago Tribune

Another whopper from Rahm: "I have a practice that my political and personal (business) stays on my private email and city business is on the government and that's how I operate," Rahm insisted in a TV interview.

Ethics board to look into possible lobbying violations in Tribune report – Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Board of Ethics chairman said Tuesday the panel will look into questions raised in a Chicago Tribune report about whether some emails to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's personal accounts crossed the line into lobbying and violated the city's ethics law.

Pockets of strong Trump support in deep blue Democrat Chicago – Chicago Tribune

Pockets of intense Trump support exist in the broad-shouldered city of deep blue Democrats, particularly in Brancato's Mount Greenwood on the Far Southwest Side, in Edison Park and Norwood Park on the city's Far Northwest Side and in sections of Sauganash/West Ridge on the North Side — neighborhoods with substantial populations of police and firefighters.

Funeral home directors call for law to reduce violence at funerals – Chicago Tribune

Among grieving families and friends mourning their lost loved ones are revenge-seeking gang members.

Sears Voices ‘Substantial’ Worry Over Staying a ‘Going Concern’ – TheStreet

The retailer, battling years of plunging sales, profits and cash flow, voiced concern about its ability to continue as a going concern in its annual report filed Tuesday evening.

Red-light changes nowhere near enough, alderman says – Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel took a “small step” by tripling the “grace period” before slapping motorists who blow through red lights with $100 tickets, but the change does not go nearly far enough, an influential alderman said Tuesday.

Tech jobs are on the rise in Chicago – Chicago Business Journal

The Chicago metro area added 10,000 tech jobs between 2013 and 2015, according to a Brookings Institute study, a 5.8 percent compound annual growth rate.

Chicago’s Failed Olympic Bid Still Draining City Finances – CBS Chicago

Chicago agreed to pay $91 million for the South Side site in 2009. It would have served as the Olympic Village, had Chicago prevailed with the IOC. Since then, taxpayers have shelled out more than $50 million, but the city still owes over $72 million because most of the payments went toward interest on the loan.

Chicago real estate developer Edward Ross dies – Chicago Business Journal

A major figure for decades in Chicago real estate, he was also a first class guy. RIP.

Former KU and Chicago Bears great Gale Sayers is battling dementia – The Kansas City Star

Over time, the family came to realize people they trusted had taken advantage of him in various ways. “You have people who have a little less moral stature than you would like to see in society,” Sayers’ brother Roger said in a phone interview from Omaha, Neb.

Cook County Board member cashes in on video gambling boom – Sun-Times

Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri, who for years moonlighted as village president of Elmwood Park, took on a new side job in 2013 — as a sales agent for a video gambling firm that, months later, began installing poker and slot machines in the west suburb.

Obama Library Officials Say New Nonprofit Will Guide Economic Benefits – DNAinfo

Who serves on the board of a nonprofit meant to channel the benefits that flow from Barack Obama’s presidential library into surrounding neighborhoods looks increasingly important with the Obama Foundation indicating it will play more of a passive role in economic development.

Cubs title a big factor in record $194M police and fire OT bill – Sun-Times

The city spent more than $18.8 million on overtime for public safety, traffic management and street cleanup during the Cubs’ march to their first World Series title in 108 years.

Chicago takes trophy for rising office rents – Chicago Tribune

The bill for high-end office space in Chicago rose almost 20 percent in 2016, the biggest increase in the U.S. and second-highest in the world. Chicago's one-year jump is especially striking considering the city is typically known for less dramatic fluctuations in property values and rents than those seen in coastal markets such as New York and San Francisco.

Judge orders Chicago Army veteran deported to Mexico – abc7chicago

Perez, 38, was a legal permanent resident when he joined the Army and said he thought he became a legal U.S. citizen when he enlisted. However, that was not the case. About four years after leaving the military, Perez served prison time for a felony drug offense which sparked the deportation proceedings.

It’s finally time to decide the fate of the proposed south suburban airport – Editorial – Daily Southtown

In the nearly 50 years since a college professor first proposed a third Chicago airport in the south suburbs, the idea has been known by a number of names: the airport in the lake, Peotone Airport, South Suburban Airport, Hegewisch Airport. Also, "boondoggle," "property theft" and "disaster," to mention just a few.

Jack Franks wants McHenry County to reduce property tax levy by 10 percent – Northwest Herald

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks wants a committee to work with county officials to trim at least $7.93 million from the 2018 property tax levy – a 10 percent cut that could affect what services the county provides to residents.

Bluetooth-enabled vibrator maker settles digital privacy class action for $3.7M – Cook County Record

The maker of a high-tech Bluetooth-enabled personal intimacy device has reached a $3.7 million settlement with a woman, on behalf of classes of other plaintiffs, who had accused the company of improperly collecting private information in a class action complaint filed last year.

Amazon Books starts new chapter with Chicago store opening in Lakeview – Chicago Tribune

Amazon launched its online bookstore nearly 22 years ago. On Tuesday, it will open the doors of a brick-and-mortar store in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, giving customers a chance to test the e-commerce giant's take on offline shopping.

Ending residency a sticky subject for generations – Sun-Times

Records show 63 cops have resigned because of complaints about residency since 1981. Another five officers were fired, with 23 more suspended and four reprimanded.

The Great Squirrel Mystery – WTTW

There are two squirrel species in Chicago, and they are very particular about where they live. Gray squirrels tend to live in ritzy neighborhoods, while fox squirrels thrive in more affordable areas. A local biologist thinks he’s finally figured out why.

Cook County hiked the minimum wage, but maybe not really for you – Sun-Times

The Cook County increase is supposed to put the suburbs in line with its largest city, Chicago, which gradually is raising the minimum wage to $13 an hour by July 2019. The city will go up to $11 from $10.50 on July 1. But many suburbs are pushing back, citing the toll a wage increase could take on small businesses.

Trump supporter: Chicago is “a city I can no longer call home.” – Opinion – Crain’s

My husband and our music store. Our store has had to cut employee hours due to the bullying, and soon we will have to cut our employee altogether. We will close at the end of April, because we are no longer willing to subject our staff, our customers, our neighbors and ourselves to the daily risk. So, after 25 years, after a lifetime for my husband, we have to leave. Read the comments on Crain's below her piece which validate her...

Northwestern student government endorses ‘viewpoint diversity’ –

It’s rare to see anyone on college campuses – especially students – demanding to hear opinions that differ from their own these days. But at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, the student government recently passed a series of resolutions aimed at bolstering “viewpoint and intellectual diversity.” Comment: A ray of hope! And it was initiated by students. Smarter than the faculty perhaps.

Woman in construction front scheme gets 12 months – Chicago Tribune

Perino's company posed as a legitimate woman-owned business, allowing Chicago-based Diamond Coring Co. to meet its requirements for hiring disadvantaged businesses in order to win a multimillion-dollar runway repair contract at O'Hare International Airport. Perino did no work for the bills submitted by her company.

Pearachute, a business for kids, now counts their parents as investors – Chicago Tribune

Pearachute, the Chicago-based kids' activity booking platform launched last year by GiveForward founder Desiree Vargas Wrigley found parents who use the service raising their hands to invest after the company used a Portal called Republic to launch an equity crowdfunding campaign.

Emanuel’s short-term budget solutions will cost $1 billion in interest – Chicago Tribune

A Tribune analysis of the city's latest bond sale, a $1.2 billion offering earlier this year, shows that the mayor will continue to run the city with borrowed money, at great long-term expense, through the rest of his term in 2019. Comment: The game remains the same -- deny, delay, extend, pretend, borrow, borrow, borrow.

Trump, Rauner target business restrictions and rightly so – Opinion – Crain’s

Many regulations are regressive. Broadly speaking, this means they make the poor worse off. Occupational licensing regulations make it harder to get good jobs as barbers, florists, contractors, interior designers, and countless other professions. Zoning regulations tend to be regressive because they make it harder to build housing, thereby raising the price of rent. Environmental regulations often raise the price of energy, which consumes a disproportionate part of a poor person's budget.

City set to enforce ordinance regulating short-term rentals – A.P.

Chicago officials are set to start enforcing a new ordinance that imposes tougher regulations on short-term rental companies like Airbnb after a federal judge's ruling in the city's favor.

Chicken Parm with a side of political profanity – Chicago City Wire

An owner of the River North landmark restaurant Club Lago has taken outspoken and sometimes inflammatory political positions that might alienate some customers and encourage others.

Cook County government employees paid double the state average, reform group says – Cook County Record

Cook County leads the state in the highest-paid government workers, according to information posted by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR). The web post by the organization analyzed annual payroll expenditures in Illinois’ 102 county government counties using 2015 county government financial reports and U.S. Census data.

‘Due or Die’: Thousands of Homes at Risk in Cook County Tax Auction – NBC Chicago

Cook County's treasurer says many homeowners have no idea their home is at risk.

Foreclosures shrink in Chicago Area – Crain’s

Only eight out of more than 250 Chicago-area ZIP codes had more than a slender sliver of their housing stock in foreclosure in February. That's according to data provided to Crain's Chicago Business yesterday by Attom Data Solutions, an online real estate data service based in Irvine, Calif.

First step to new CTA rail cars: Build the factory in Chicago – Chicago Tribune

Construction is expected to begin in Chicago this week on a Chinese state-owned rail company's assembly plant that will produce up to 846 new rail cars for the Chicago Transit Authority.

CPS and CTU: The War of Bad Ideas – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Public Schools leaders and Chicago Teachers Union officials are tussling over who can rob city students of more class time in the upcoming weeks. Call it: The War of Bad — OK, Terrible — Ideas.

Rahm Emanuel, universities partner to lure tech entrepreneurs – Sun-Times

City Hall plans to announce that it’s forging a partnership with five Chicago-based universities to create what it calls Global Entrepreneur in Residence programs.

Gentrification Along The 606 Could Be Curbed Under New Law, Aldermen Say – Logan Square – DNAinfo Chicago

A proposed ordinance would increase the demolition fee for residential properties along the western part of The 606 and charge a "deconversion fee" that would essentially make it more expensive to tear down multi-unit buildings and build single-family homes in their place.

City Pension Plans See Varying Rates of Success – Chief Investment Officer

The health of city pension funds varies widely. The typical plan is 70% funded, but Chicago’s pension is just 23% funded. Indianapolis has the best-positioned plan at 98% funded, S&P Global Ratings says. Pension liability as measured by the plans’ potential cost to taxpayers follows a similar trend. Chicago’s plan imposes the biggest burden by far, at $12,427 per Chicagoan. Indianapolis’ pension liability is just $66 per person.

The Richest Man In Town – The Distance

Cullinan’s Stadium Club and Beverly Records sit next door to each other in the Chicago neighborhood of Morgan Park. The owners of the two businesses have been friendly since Dan Cullinan opened his bar and grill in 1989. But even Dan couldn’t imagine how John Dreznes of Beverly Records would rush in to help when Cullinan’s Stadium Club ran into financial trouble in late 2016.

Supporters of minimum wage claim victory in La Grange – Chicago Tribune

Participants in a La Grange rally supporting Cook County's new laws imposing a minimum wage hike and paid sick time law are calling the event a victory because the Village Board will not seek to opt out of the laws.

Chicago Infrastructure Trust put city equipment on lien to private bank, wasted millions in tax dollars – Project 6

An investigation by Project Six into Retrofit One shows how major parts of city-owned buildings were used as collateral for a private loan to fund the project. Project Six’s investigation also found millions of tax dollars being wasted on labor and overhead costs for work that easily could have been done by existing city maintenance employees.

Here’s What Causes Violence And How To Stop It: Former Top Federal Lawyer – DNAinfo

Zachary Fardon may no longer be Chicago's top federal law enforcement officer, but on his way out the door Monday he left Chicago officials with a detailed look at the violence that he said left many in his office with a "sense of frustration and despair." Comment: No, the cause is having children before you have a committed partner and the financial means to raise a child.

Schakowsky’s time with terrorist called into question – North Cook News

Paul Miller, executive director and president of the Haym Salomon Center in Northbrook, lambasted the media in general for not taking issue with Schakowsky, who was appearing at an anti-travel ban rally in Chicago when the picture was taken.

Why Are So Many Trump Tower Condos For Sale Right Now? – DNAinfo

There were 62 condominiums listed for sale in the Trump International Hotel & Tower at 401 N. Wabash Ave. as of Friday afternoon. Take away the 14 listed "hotel-condos" likely owned by investors, and the tower still has double or triple the number of active listings of any other comparable condo building in Downtown Chicago.

Emanuel-connected group launches effort to employ 10,000 at-risk young Chicagoans by 2020 – Crain’s

Thrive Chicago says its new "reconnected" plan is aimed at both helping 10,000 people aged 16-24 who are neither in school nor at work, some of them potentially in trouble with the law, and improving on the help they get.

Chicago Union Tells Teachers: Protest Cuts By Refusing To Work Extra Hours – DNAinfo

"We know this will be difficult for many of you, who put your students first, but please consider the powerful message it will send, highlighting to the world how much we do for our students on a voluntary basis," union leaders wrote to teachers.

Great Lakes Funding Threatened – WTTW

Environmental groups and local public officials are condemning these proposed cuts and calling on Congress to not approve them. They would result in a drop in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from $300 million to $10 million.

Rahm was wrong: Students have been leaving Illinois for at least 15 years – Illinois Policy

Emanuel politicized Illinois’ loss of students to other states by placing the blame squarely on Rauner. Wrong.

Tab for DOJ probe of CPD — $4.5 million and counting – Sun-Times

Chicago taxpayers have paid $4.5 million in legal and consulting fees tied to the federal civil rights investigation triggered by the 2014 police shooting of Laquan McDonald — and the meter is still running.

Emanuel releases private emails, ending court fight – Sun-Times

After fighting in court to keep his private email accounts completely concealed from public view, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday released a trove of messages from throughout his nearly six years in office and announced a new city ban on using private email to conduct official business.

”Knuckle-dragging and generally subhuman:” Northwest Side Chicago Alderman fires insults at constituents on social media – Chicago City Wire

Some politicians try to catch flies with honey. Chicago Ald. John Arena (D-45th) douses them with vinegar: “I am not ready to cead (sic) this country to the racist, classist, knuckle-dragging and generally subhuman puddle of DNA that makes up the base of (President Donald) Trump supporters,” he recently wrote recently.

Chicago: A Compilation – Stump

For fellow number wonks, a collection of posts by actuary Mary Pat Campbell on Chicago's crisis.

Failed Seaway Bank gets yet another new owner – Crain’s

The remnants of failed Seaway Bank & Trust are changing hands again. The owners of the Texas bank that acquired Seaway from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in late January now are selling Seaway's branches and deposits to a North Carolina-based credit union. Greensboro, N.C.-based Self-Help Federal Credit Union, which specializes in lending to low-income and minority customers and already owns a Chicago lender focused on Hispanics, will take over Seaway's franchise beginning in May.

Heroin buyers on Chicago’s West Side getting help, not handcuffs – Sun-Times

Friday’s operation targeting low-level buyers was different from most drug busts. These addicts were given the choice to go into treatment instead of jail. Forty-one of them took the police up on their offer.

The Video Game Trying to Stanch the ‘Carnage’ in Chicago – Politico

Based on extensive interviews with the inhabitants of the city’s badlands, We Are Chicago is part of a growing number of “serious games” focused on using the fun and interactive nature of games to tackle social justice issues such as poverty, the environment and the Syrian Civil War.

A Chicago Phone Number To Buy Heroin Got 1,000 Calls A Day, Feds Say – DNAinfo

Chicago Police and federal prosecutors said Friday they’ve arrested 15 people involved in a heroin operation that included buyers first calling a hotline to set up a meeting spot.

Adapting to the patchwork: Communities, employers consider options in wake of Cook Co. labor rules – Cook County Record

Taking advantage of state law allowing them to essentially ignore some dictates of Cook County’s government, a growing number of Cook County suburban communities are opting out of labor ordinances passed by the Cook County Board last fall.

Chicago Wants to Be a Hub for China Stock Trading – Bloomberg

After more than a century in the shadow of New York’s Big Board, the Chicago Stock Exchange has been short on cash and searching for relevance. Now the exchange, which handles less than half a percent of U.S. stock trades, is approaching the final hurdle in an audacious plan to become a player in international equity markets.

Chicago Pension Woes Top Charts – Fidelity Investments

By The Bond Buyer's Yvette Shields: Chicago is a standout as the worst among its big city peers in key pension system measurements, according to a new S&P Global Ratings report.

Sugary drink tax would be a bitter pill to swallow – Illinois Policy

Illinois holds more than $66 million worth of stocks and bonds in PepsiCo, Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper Snapple alone.

University of Chicago proposes ‘free speech deans’ to prevent disruptive conduct – Campus Reform

A recently-released faculty committee report also suggests establishing "free speech deans-on-call" trained to "deal with disruptive conduct" in order to ensure students are not prevented from expressing themselves on campus.

Rep. Will Guzzardi proposes rent control for Chicago – Crain’s

"I think it's the proper position of government to provide protections against the excesses of free-market capitalism," said Guzzardi, Comment: Whether to give equal time to wack jobs is a constant question for us on this site. The problem is we we'd be short of material if we didn't.

Construction set to begin on $230M intermodal; hundreds of jobs expected – Daily Journal

A massive project, which has been relegated to the drawing board for nearly 10 years because of a slow economy, finally appears ready to break ground in nearby Crete. The $230 million, 500-acre CSX Intermodal, to be located between in the Will County community of Crete, is expected to begin construction early next year, the developer said. The project is expected to provide 200 full-time jobs, as well as 100 to 200 construction jobs.

Preckwinkle: GOP health care plan will ravage Cook County budget – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Lemme guess. Another tax increase needed for Toni Taxawanker.

S&P: Chicago worst among 15 major cities grappling with pensions – Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago performed the worst across the board — registering the highest annual debt, pension post-employment benefits costs as a percentage of governmental expenditures and the highest debt and pension liability per capita.

Report Finds How Much Money is Saved Living in Chicago Suburbs vs. City – NBC Chicago

In Chicago, the study found that people in the suburbs save an average of $18,472 per year by choosing to reside outside of the city. It’s an average of $1,539 in extra costs per month in housing and childcare costs for a city-centric families, according to the report.

‘Slow and painful death’ for fire district without tax increase: chief – Elgin Courier

If Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District's upcoming referendum question seeking to increase the property tax levy by 95 percent fails, Fire Chief John Nixon said the District would likely fold within two years.

Report: Chicago a winded city financially – Chicago City Wire

Chicago ranks near the bottom in fiscal strength from among 116 cities with populations of at least 200,000, an analysis by the non-profit group Truth In Accounting (TIA) has found.

Furby creator in deal to buy Wacker Drive office building from American Realty Advisors – Crain’s

A venture of Randy Rissman, who sold Tiger Electronics to toy giant Hasbro nearly two decades ago, has struck a preliminary deal to buy the 31-story office tower at 150 N. Wacker Drive. Rissman is now managing director of Leo Capital Holdings, a venture capital firm he founded in 2000. The Northbrook-based firm invests in "early and later stage private companies," with a focus on consumer-oriented technologies, according to its website. Grubhub, which is now publicly traded, is listed among...

Chicago’s Growing Tech Community – Points and Figures

No doubt, the state is confronting huge financial issues caused by the Chicago Machine, but the tech community hums along. There are a lot of confluences of trends that are driving it.

Rauner: Drain TIF Funds To Fill CPS Deficit – DNAinfo

Emanuel has long resisted using TIF funds to bolster the CPS budget, saying that it was inappropriate to use money from a one-time revenue source to pay for school operations.

Karen Lewis: Invest in Chicago’s schools, teachers to reduce violence – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

Karen Lewis is president of the Chicago Teachers Union. She was a high school chemistry teacher in Chicago Public Schools for 22 years and is a co-founder of United Working Families, a citywide independent political organization. Presented without comment.

Despite borrowing limit, tiny Skokie school district seeks to get around state law for new school – Chicago Tribune

A Tribune investigation last spring showed districts statewide were about $20 billion in debt, in part with the help of lawmakers who push through exceptions in the debt-limit law. The Tribune found that several dozen districts over the years have gotten permission to borrow more than their debt limit.

Soon-To-Be-Empty CPS School To Get $535,000 In Air Conditioners – DNAinfo

CPS is planning to spend $535,000 to install air conditioners in a school that will be empty before the summer.

Chicago in top 10 as future global tech hub – Crain’s

It ranked sixth among cities around the world among executives asked by KPMG to name three locations outside San Francisco/Silicon Valley that will be seen as leading technology innovation hubs in the next four years. Shanghai ranked first, followed by New York, Tokyo, Beijing and London. Also tied with Chicago were Washington, D.C., and Berlin, followed by Tel Aviv and Boston. That's a big step up from last year's survey, when Chicago was tied for 18th.

Chicago’s Infrastructure Trust falls short of expectations – Crain’s

As it prepares to embark on a sweeping overhaul of city streetlights, the infrastructure trust that Mayor Rahm Emanuel once hailed as a model of out-of-the-box thinking to jumpstart public works has proved anything but.

Second-installment property tax bills may rattle some suburbanites – Cook County Record

“It would be in the second installment that there is the possibility that they could see a big increase if their property was reassessed or if there was a major referendum by one of the taxing bodies.”

Mayor Emanuel Suddenly Criticizing White House For Not Helping Chicago – Townhall

Where, some are wondering, was this ire when President Obama was in charge? Obama's policies, such as strict gun control measures, did little to curb the violence and may have even contributed to an uptick in crime.

Tab for clout firefighter’s fight with Chicago cop: $1.6 million – Sun-Times

Chicago taxpayers have now spent more than $1.6 million as a result of a fight between a clout-heavy firefighter and a cop at a rescue scene five years ago, records show.

CTA buses rack up red-light, speed tickets; you pay – Sun-Times

CTA bus drivers racked up more than 400 red-light-camera and speeding-camera tickets the past two years while on the job, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show — and taxpayers were stuck having to pay.

Basketball attendance sinking as DePaul heads downtown – Blogs On Sports – Crain’s Chicago Business

The once-great college basketball program that debuted at Allstate Arena with a roar 37 years ago is saying goodbye with a whimper. And the timing is bad for Illinois taxpayers. Wintrust Arena on the McCormick Place campus will be the new home of DePaul men's and women's basketball this fall.

Dorothy Brown Offers Political Advice — For A Price – Better Government Association

The day after federal prosecutors said Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown received what they described as bribe money from an employee, Brown was collecting money in a different way - by selling political advice for nearly $200 a head. Comment: The scary part is that she probably really does know how to get votes in Chicago.

National group’s backing of New Trier ‘white privilege’ seminar criticized – North Cook News

Comment: Well, well, well. After all the dishonest claims that our group that criticized the seminar was funded by outside interests, look who helped the seminar's supporters. Hypocrisy is no obstacle to the intolerant left.

Railroad thefts and guns: A deadly mix in Chicago – Associated Press

The 2015 heist of the 111 guns, as well as one in 2014 and another last September from the same 63rd Street Rail Yard highlight a tragic confluence. Chicago's biggest rail yards are on the gang- and homicide-plagued South and West sides where most of the city's 762 killings happened last year.

Solomon’s take from companies in CPS fraud scheme: $5.68 million – Sun-Times

Former Chicago Public Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett wrecked her career for virtually nothing, but the man to whom she illegally steered CPS contracts personally pocketed more than $5 million from the company at the heart of the scandal, newly released court documents show.

Where Refugees Who Migrate To Chicago Come From – DNAinfo

Since 9/11, 15,037 refugees have moved to the United States, starting with Chicago as their first home, according to data from the U.S. State Department's Refugee Processing Center. Last year, 49 percent of Chicago's incoming refugees came from one of the seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — on President Donald Trump's travel ban list.

Weekend parking crackdown yielding thousands of tickets – Sun-Times

To create parking turnover that helps businesses serve more customers and reverse a 5 percent drop-off in ticket writing, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2017 budget called for having the city’s parking enforcement aides work in tandem with “contractor teams” on weekends.

Former Obama Commerce lawyer to head Civic Committee – Sun-Times

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago on Wednesday announced Kelly Welsh, a former Obama administration official, will replace Ty Fahner as the business organization’s president. Welsh was General Counsel at the U.S. Commerce Department. Question: Any experience with bankruptcy law?

Politicians rally for O’Hare western access—good for Chicago – Crain’s

Over the past month, U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, Gov. Bruce Rauner and all but one member of the Illinois congressional delegation added their muscle to the push for a western access point at O'Hare International Airport.

A Project That Could Double Heating Bills In Chicago Gets A Closer Look From Regulators -WBEZ

Chicago residents could see their gas bills skyrocket because of a controversial project from Peoples Gas to replace all its aging gas mains.

Emanuel may go it alone — without feds — to push police reforms – Sun-Times

To the cheers of the police union, Sessions sent his strongest signal to date that he was more concerned about supporting demoralized police officers than he was about negotiating a consent decree culminating in the hiring of a federal monitor to make certain police reforms are implemented in a timely fashion, no matter what it costs local taxpayers.

West Side Factory Aims to Beat the Pants Off Apparel Industry – WTTW

It's hard to believe now, but Chicago was once a hive of clothing manufacturers that kept sewing machines humming and immigrants employed into the early 1920s. Chicago Tonight visited a small company on the West Side of the city that is hoping to revive the Chicago apparel industry with a combination of American materials and immigrant know-how.

New Trier should focus less on race, more on economic inequality. That’s Problem One. – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

By Corey B. Brooks, pastor of the 1,500-member New Beginnings Church in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood.

Chicago shops in struggling neighborhoods to get grants – Crain’s

City Hall today began to parcel out some of the money it raised by squeezing some downtown developers to contribute to a special neighborhood development fund in exchange for winning project approvals. The city announced $9 million in grants will go to local businesses in eight shopping areas on the South and West sides. Each new business will get up to $250,000 for building renovation and related startup costs.

Trouble brewing for Deputy Commerce Secretary nominee Todd Ricketts – CBS News

The requirements and difficulty of divesting from family business ties could force Ricketts to withdraw his nomination, two sources told CBS News. That move, the sources said, could come as early as Wednesday.

Chicago PMI jumps to two-year high in February – MarketWatch

A gauge of Chicago-area manufacturing shot higher in February, according to data released Tuesday. MNI Indicators said the Chicago PMI rose by 7.1 points to 57.4 in February, marking the highest reading in more than two years. It also was the biggest single month gain since January 2016.

Parents revolt after high school forces students to attend all-day social justice seminar – The College Fix

“Die motherf—er, die," wrote one of the panelists.  

Chicago worries China may reduce investment in city’s real estate – Crain’s

Chinese investors poured more than $2 billion into Chicago real estate the past two years after flying over the city forever. Yet just as Chicago finally is on​ the radar in China, two forces may keep more investors from landing here: President Donald Trump's tough talk toward their country and China's own tighter controls on money leaving the nation. Comment: Also, foreign investors haven't so far been bothered by our fiscal problems, but whether that continues is an open question.

Unreal: Chicago Names City Street After Terrorist – Townhall

On Wednesday, aldermen approved the measure honoring Lopez Rivera, the terrorist whose 70-year sentence was recently commuted by Barack Obama.

Veering left, education advocacy group pushes identity politics at New Trier – North Cook News

Led by Wilmette’s Mimi Rodman, the group’s executive director, Stand for Children Illinois has pivoted away from its mantra of “pro-parent” school reform and into a more polarizing arena. Rodman’s efforts at New Trier represent the first time her Illinois chapter, its parent, Stand for Children, Inc., which spent nearly $17 million in 2016, or any of the group’s other twelve state chapters have expressly advocated for the right of public school teachers and administrators to promote their own political...

For Chicago museums, it pays to be on public land – Crain’s

Since 1903, the city's Museums in its Parks have received tax money to fund operations, and maintain and care for their buildings. This year, the 11 museums will receive a total of $30 million. It adds up: For instance, in 2015, tax levies accounted for just north of 10 percent of the Museum of Science & Industry's $46 million in revenue.

Media Ignores Alliance Between Jan Schakowsky and Convicted Terrorist – The Observer

"I could never have imagined that the congresswoman, who represents one of the largest Jewish constituencies in the country, would be willing to share the stage with a killer."

Chicago Braces for an Austerity Double Whammy – CityLab

The state of Illinois and the Trump administration are both mulling potentially draconian budget cuts.

Phil Kadner: County says it has a real plan to help south suburbs – Sun-Times

Comment: Any plan will fail unless it addresses suicidal property taxes there that average 12.7% for commercial and 5.2% for residential.  

Senator Harmon’s law firm cashes in on state deals – Chicago Sun-Times

State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, is one of the most powerful people in Springfield, talked about as a possible future president of the Illinois Senate. He’s also a partner in a Chicago law firm that’s been paid more than $9 million in the past five years for doing legal work for state agencies, government workers’ pension funds and local governments whose citizens he represents in the Senate, a Chicago Sun-Times examination has found. Comment: H