WBEZ | chicago politics http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-politics Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago announces plans to build 88-story skyscraper http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-announces-plans-build-88-story-skyscraper-111271 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/14773555050_6126cfb214_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago officials have announced that a Chinese developer is planning to build an 88-story hotel and condominium tower that would be the city&#39;s third tallest building.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced an agreement Thursday between the Beijing&#39;s Wanda Group and the Magellan Development Group for a $900 million project to build a downtown high-rise designed by Chicago architect Jeanne Gang. It will be known as Wanda Vista.</p><p>Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016 and when completed it would be the third tallest structure in Chicago, behind Willis Tower and Trump International Hotel &amp; Tower.</p><p>Emanuel&#39;s office says the project represents the largest real estate investment by a Chinese company in Chicago and will create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs</p></p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 12:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-announces-plans-build-88-story-skyscraper-111271 Topinka remembered as honest, tough at memorial http://www.wbez.org/news/topinka-remembered-honest-tough-memorial-111250 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/topinka_0.png" alt="" /><p><p>COUNTRYSIDE, Ill. &mdash; Late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has been remembered as a tough, honest leader with a signature sense of humor.</p><p>Crowds filled a union hall in suburban Chicago on Wednesday to pay respects. Individuals included the state&#39;s top leaders, lawmakers, local leaders and Illinoisans who knew her for more than 70 years.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-comptroller-judy-baar-topinka-dies-111213">Judy Baar Topinka in her own words</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Gov. Pat Quinn says Topinka took on tough challenges in life. She was also a former state treasurer, GOP head and lawmaker.</p><p>Portraits of Topinka lined an entrance, along with photos of past campaigns, her family and dogs.</p><p>Former Gov. Jim Thompson says Topinka would have appreciated the bipartisan crowd gathered at the memorial.</p><p>Topinka died last week after suffering complications from a stroke. She had won a second full term in November. A replacement hasn&#39;t yet been named.</p></p> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/topinka-remembered-honest-tough-memorial-111250 Chicago mayor's commission unveils plan for a safer Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayors-commission-unveils-plan-safer-chicago-111241 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP973232440855.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The city of Chicago released <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/supp_info/the-mayor-s-commission-for-a-safer-chicago.html" target="_blank">a report</a> today with 28 recommendations to address the city&#39;s youth violence problem.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Mayor&#39;s Commission for a Safe Chicago released the report. The recommendations include adding eight &quot;peace rooms&quot; in Chicago Public schools for conflict resolution and connecting families with counseling.</p><p>&ldquo;Every child in the city of Chicago deserves a childhood, and that childhood cannot be stolen from them,&rdquo; Emanuel said in unveiling the plan. &ldquo;And every adolescent deserves their adolescence free of violence. So I hope we take this work &hellip; not just as another report [but as] a call to action.&rdquo;</p><p>While it is billed as a strategic plan for 2015, most of the report&rsquo;s 64 pages are dedicated to celebrating past accomplishments by the Emanuel administration. Of the 60 violence prevention programs highlighted in the report&rsquo;s executive summary, 13 of them are new or updated for 2015.</p><p>One of the new ideas presented in the plan calls on the Chicago Police Department to explore alternatives to arresting first-time juvenile offenders.</p><p>&ldquo;We recommend exploring possible alternatives to arrest for first-time juvenile offenders such as tickets or &hellip; community service,&rdquo; said co-chair Eddie Bocanegra with the YMCA.</p><p>And the written report says the police department will do just that in 2015. But spokesmen for the mayor&rsquo;s office and CPD declined to provide any specifics on the plan.</p><p>The commission&rsquo;s plan focuses on youth violence because, according to the city, people 29 and younger have made up more than 60 percent of Chicago&rsquo;s homicide victims over the past five years. It aims to decrease crime by treating youth violence as a public health issue. That means a focus on education, trauma therapy and youth employment.</p><p>Emanuel pointed to <a href="https://soundcloud.com/afternoonshiftwbez/new-study-reveals-local-summer-jobs-program-reduces-youth-violence" target="_blank">a recent study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the University of Pennsylvania</a> that showed the One Summer Plus youth jobs program helped reduce arrests by more than 40 percent over a 16-month period.</p><p>This is the first report by the Mayor&rsquo;s Commission for a Safer Chicago. It was written after three forums held over the summer attended by government representatives, faith groups and community organizations.</p><p>The commission also sought out opinions from about 200 young people in more than a dozen Chicago communities.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow him on twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">@pksmid</a>. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayors-commission-unveils-plan-safer-chicago-111241 Unions sue to stop Chicago pension overhaul http://www.wbez.org/news/unions-sue-stop-chicago-pension-overhaul-111239 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/city hall chicago flickr daniel x o nell.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Current and retired city workers and their labor unions have filed a lawsuit arguing a law overhauling Chicago&#39;s pension systems is unconstitutional.</p><p>The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court also asks a judge to stop the law from taking effect Jan. 1.</p><p>Chicago has the worst-funded pension system of any major U.S. city.</p><p>Legislation approved last year seeks to eliminate a $9.4 billion unfunded liability in two pension systems by increasing contributions and cutting benefits. It would affect about 57,000 laborers and municipal employees.</p><p>The plaintiffs are 12 current and former workers and four unions, including AFSCME Council 31 and the Illinois Nurses Association.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the law is constitutional. He says the changes are needed to ensure pension funds remain solvent and retirees receive benefits.</p></p> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/unions-sue-stop-chicago-pension-overhaul-111239 Chicago raises its minimum wage as efforts stall at state level http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-raises-its-minimum-wage-efforts-stall-state-level-111179 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/springfield_0_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago aldermen have voted 44 to 5 to raise the minimum wage to $13 an hour over the next five years. But a very similar debate is bubbling up in Springfield, where legislation could be passed that would undo the work of the Chicago City Council.</p><p>The minimum wage, of course, isn&rsquo;t a new topic. Illinoisans have been bombarded with talk about the minimum wage, from the campaign trail for Illinois governor to the streets of Chicago where some fast food workers have been protesting about their low wages.</p><p>But suddenly last week, there was action from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s office.</p><p>&ldquo;Last week, there were rising forces that were talking about not allowing the city to move,&rdquo; he said Tuesday.</p><p>Those forces he referred to are Springfield lawmakers that Emanuel said were going to pull the rug out from under the City Council - locking them out of making any decisions on the city&rsquo;s minimum wage.</p><p>So the day after Thanksgiving, Emanuel announced aldermen would come together for a special meeting Tuesday to vote on his plan to boost the city&rsquo;s minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2019. After that, wages would be linked to inflation. Forty-four alderman supported that plan.</p><p>&ldquo;Dixon, Illinois, and Chicago, Illinois, are different economies,&rdquo; Alderman John Arena (45) said. &ldquo;So it is right that we are able to manage our affairs on this matter. That we are able to pay workers in Chicago who have higher housing costs, higher heating costs, higher costs of transportation, to have a higher wage to go along with that.&rdquo;</p><p>But five other aldermen say they&rsquo;re worried about the cost to local business owners. Tom Tunney is both the 44th ward Alderman and owner of Ann Sather restaurants and catering, and according to him, it&rsquo;s already tough enough for businesses.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s so much pressure on brick and mortar with the internet and how it&rsquo;s driving prices down. You&rsquo;ve seen it in your neighborhoods: the card shop is gone. The handy man shop is gone,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>But Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said the low wage workers can&rsquo;t wait. Especially since Illinois governor-elect Bruce Rauner&rsquo;s plan to boost the minimum wage won&rsquo;t happen overnight.</p><p>&ldquo;They want to do tort reform, tax reform, and a number of other reforms before we get to that - workers compensation. As someone who spent 11 years in Springfield - each and every one of those is a huge undertaking that will not be done quickly. Years will go by,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The first boost kicks in next July - when the Chicago minimum wage will increase from $8.25 to $10 an hour.</p><p>Meanwhile, Illinois state lawmakers are in Springfield for perhaps the final week until the new governor is sworn in next month. A lot of attention has been placed on what the state will do about the minimum wage.</p><p>The debate in Springfield has some wondering what it means for their own business, like Dan Costello. He runs Home Run Inn pizza restaurants in multiple locations around Chicago.</p><p>One location is in Chicago&rsquo;s Beverly neighborhood, which is just a few blocks from the city limits. Costello says Chicago City Council&rsquo;s vote for a higher minimum wage puts him at a disadvantage to his pizza joint neighbors and it&rsquo;ll force him to raise prices.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we have a great product, but at the end of the day, can I charge 10, 12, 15 percent more than the guy down the street? I don&rsquo;t know and that&rsquo;s what scares me,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p>Costello says he favors raising the minimum wage, he just wants the whole state to raise the wage, too.</p><p>&ldquo;Then we&rsquo;re all in the same boat,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>On the other side of the city limits is Park Cleaners, a dry cleaners in Evergreen Park. Cindy Custer is behind the counter, greeting customers on a first-name basis.</p><p>&ldquo;So what are you gonna do? You gonna make everybody get jobs in the city because the minimum wage is higher? What&rsquo;s gonna happen to the people that own businesses in other towns and villages, you know?&rdquo; she asked.</p><p>Both Costello and Custer - and even the mayor of Evergreen Park - feel that they&rsquo;re at the mercy of what&rsquo;s decided in Springfield this week. And what lawmakers are up to is still up in the air.</p><p>It could undo what Chicago&rsquo;s City Council passed yesterday, and make one uniform minimum wage rate for the entire state. There&rsquo;s no guarantee that has enough support, even though a referendum on last month&rsquo;s ballot asking voters about a higher minimum wage passed by a wide margin.</p><p>Lawmakers have until Thursday to pass a bill that would set a new minimum wage, and maybe put Chicago&rsquo;s wages at the same level as its bordering suburbs.</p><p><em>Follow Lauren Chooljian <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>. Follow Tony Arnold <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 02 Dec 2014 18:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-raises-its-minimum-wage-efforts-stall-state-level-111179 Former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne dies http://www.wbez.org/news/former-chicago-mayor-jane-byrne-dies-111106 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Jane_Byrne thing_1_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Jane Byrne, Chicago&#39;s first and only female mayor, has died at the age of 81.</p><p>Byrne&#39;s daughter, Kathy, says her mother died Thursday at a hospice in Chicago.</p><p>She&rsquo;s known as the woman who beat the Democratic Machine with the help of a snowstorm, but went on to serve just one tumultuous term.</p><p>But before she beat Chicago&rsquo;s Democratic political establishment, Byrne was a part of it.</p><p>&quot;The City of Chicago has lost a great trailblazer,&quot; current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement Friday. &quot;From signing the first ordinance to get handguns off of our streets, to bringing more transparency to the City&rsquo;s budget, to creating the Taste of Chicago, Mayor Byrne leaves a large and lasting legacy.&quot;</p><p>She was born in the city she would later run as Jane Margaret Burke on May 24, 1933.</p><p>Byrne didn&rsquo;t get into politics until volunteering with John F. Kennedy&rsquo;s presidential campaign, after the death of her first husband, a Marine Corps pilot killed in a plane crash.</p><p>Over several years, Byrne would prove herself a loyal Chicago Democrat and later caught the attention of Mayor Richard J. Daley.</p><p>In a 2004 interview with WBEZ, Byrne recalled a cherished bit of political advice from the Boss who became her mentor.</p><p>&ldquo;And you pretend the whole thing is a checkerboard,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And you let this guy make his move, and then make a move over here, make another move over there. And then you go, zoop zoop zoop zoop &ndash;&nbsp;King me.&rdquo;</p><blockquote><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/former-chicago-mayor-jane-byrne-dies-111106#tweets"><strong>Chicagoans remember Jane Byrne</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>Daley made Byrne the first woman to fill a City Hall cabinet post.</p><p>At the time, Byrne was a widow and single mother &mdash; her first husband, Marine Corps flier William Byrne, died in a plane crash in 1959 when their daughter, Kathy, was 17 months old. Byrne remarried in 1978.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Byrne, Bilandic and blizzards</span></strong></p><p>After Daley died, Byrne was fired by his successor, Mayor Michael Bilandic.</p><p>That&rsquo;s when Byrne made her political move.</p><p>She launched a mayoral campaign, as a reformer, she said, against Bilandic and the Machine that backed him, against corruption and favoritism, against a core of powerful insider aldermen, whom she derided as &ldquo;a cabal of evil men.&rdquo;</p><p>But even her earliest supporters admit she was a long-shot - until Mother Nature stepped in.</p><p>The snowstorms of 1978 and 1979 paralyzed Chicago&mdash;and Mayor Bilandic administration got blamed for the city&rsquo;s bungled response.</p><p>Bilandic went on to ostracize many black voters when his administration ordered CTA trains to skip over stops in inner-city neighborhoods, in order to get people to work in the Loop faster.</p><p>Byrne&rsquo;s camp looked at all this - and saw a way to beat the Machine.</p><p>Don Rose, who was Byrne&rsquo;s first campaign manager, quickly got his candidate in front of a camera, outside, to capture the drifting snowflakes gathering in her blonde cap of hair.</p><p>&ldquo; I used to walk her through the subway stations, and have her shaking hands and saying, &lsquo;Don&rsquo;t blame your neighbors, it&rsquo;s Bilandic who did this to you,&rsquo;&rdquo; Rose said.</p><p>It worked.</p><p>Byrne&rsquo;s defeat of Bilandic in the Democratic primary was an early chink in the Machine&rsquo;s armor, and she easily won the general election that spring.</p><p>But once she actually moved into the Fifth Floor of City Hall, something changed.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Jane Byrne&#39;s Legacy<a name="legacy"></a></span></strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="377" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1gLzQq7ISqUuKt5ufNFfQOVXPTrjL_BBaImlnDBuSTc0/embed?start=false&amp;loop=false&amp;delayms=3000" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Ray Hanania covered her administration for the Southtown Economist newspaper.</p><p>Within six months, she flipped over, dumped reform, and for the next three and a half years, ran the city pretty much the way the Machine ran the city,&rdquo; Hanania said.</p><p>Some of Byrne&rsquo;s early supporters in politics - and in the press - say they felt betrayed - especially when she tried to explain her new political alliance with the very aldermen she campaign against - that &ldquo;cabal of evil men.&rdquo;</p><p>The mayor developed a famously contentious relationship with reporters.</p><p>At one point, Byrne tried to spite them by stuffing the cramped City Hall press room with extra desks - so that reporters didn&rsquo;t even have room to sit down.</p><p>I remember her chief of staff once said that following Jane Byrne was like following a B-52. She would drop bombs all over the place,&rdquo; Hanania said.</p><p>Decades later, Byrne would chalk up charges like that to what she said was one of her toughest challenges in office: sexism.</p><p>I think the City Hall reporters felt they had always covered Mayor Macho, and now they&rsquo;ve got somebody in a pink suit and high heels and it&rsquo;s not their cup of tea,&rdquo; Byrne said.</p><p>&quot;Jane Byrne was truly a pioneer and an inspiration to all women in public service,&quot; Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement Friday. &quot;I&rsquo;m a history teacher by profession, and I know that Jane will have a significant place in this history of our great city.&quot;</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Jane in her own words: 2004 WBEZ interview<a name="2004"></a></span></strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/160299515&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>But for all the criticisms and nicknames - &ldquo;Calamity Jane&rdquo; and &ldquo;Ayatollah the Hen&rdquo; - Byrne took power during a tough time for Chicago.</p><p>Chicago firefighters went on their first - and only - labor strike in city history in 1980.</p><p>Byrne&rsquo;s tough talk didn&rsquo;t do her any favors with unions - she also faced strikes by Chicago teachers and CTA workers.</p><p>Meanwhile, the city was grappling with well over 800 murders a year.</p><p>So in the spring of 1981, Byrne pulled her most audacious PR move yet.</p><p>She and her second husband moved into an apartment in the Cabrini-Green public housing project to draw attention to the crime and poverty there.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re going to make certain that these children grow up and they don&rsquo;t have to think of Cabrini-Green the way society has thought of Cabrini-Green,&rdquo; Byrne said.</p><p>That Easter, Byrne threw a carnival for Cabrini&rsquo;s kids, and even led the crowd in a off-key rendition of &ldquo;Easter Parade&rdquo;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/9DCLCX1cqAc" width="620"></iframe></p><p>But the First Couple stayed at Cabrini only for a few weeks - all the while maintaining their luxury Gold Coast apartment.</p><p>When the music stopped, her critics claimed the move was simply a stunt to grab national headlines.</p><p>Byrne&rsquo;s tenure wasn&rsquo;t all bad press and labor strikes and crime.</p><p>Byrne started Jazz Fest, brought in the Taste of Chicago and began to resuscitate Navy Pier.</p><p>&quot;The formula was basic: The more attractions, the more people, the more life for the city,&quot; Byrne wrote in her 1994 book &quot;My Chicago.&quot; &#39;&#39;I vowed to bring back the crowds, to make Chicago so lively that the people would return to the heart of the city and its abandoned parks.&quot;</p><p>It was Byrne who let John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd film &quot;Blues Brothers&quot; in Chicago. She even granted Belushi&#39;s request to crash a car through a window at Daley Plaza, figuring loyalists of the late Richard J. Daley didn&#39;t like her anyway.</p><p>Karen Conner was Byrne&rsquo;s first Director of Special Events.</p><p>&ldquo;We had street troubadours, we had people playing instruments and dancing in the Els, and on the street corners&mdash;we had festival after festival,&rdquo; Conner said.</p><p>But the bread and circus wasn&rsquo;t enough to win Byrne re-election in 1983.</p><p>She lost a three-way Democratic primary against the man who had been her lifelong political rival&mdash;Richard M. Daley&mdash;and the man who would become Chicago&rsquo;s first black mayor, Harold Washington.</p><p>Byrne launched a few unsuccessful runs for public office in subsequent years - but largely stayed out of the public eye.</p><p>Her first campaign manager - Don Rose - says the caricature of &ldquo;Calamity Jane&rdquo; - isn&rsquo;t fair.<br />&ldquo;She was far from a great mayor,&rdquo; Rose said. &ldquo;She was not a good mayor, but I think she has been turned into - through media attacks and so on - into a very, very bad mayor. In fact, some academics once voted her the worst mayor Chicago ever had, which was absurd.&rdquo;</p><p>For her part, Byrne struck a conciliatory note when asked about her one term in office - back in 2004, by WBEZ&rsquo;s Steve Edwards.</p><p>&ldquo;What do you want your legacy to be for this city?&rdquo; Edwards asked.</p><p>&ldquo;I loved it and I tried,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Byrne&#39;s second husband, Jay McMullen, a former newspaper reporter who became her press secretary, died in 1992. Byrne is survived by her daughter Kathy and a grandson.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Chicagoans remember Jane Byrne<a name="tweets"></a></span></strong></p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/chicagoans-remember-jane-byrne/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/chicagoans-remember-jane-byrne.js?header=none&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/chicagoans-remember-jane-byrne" target="_blank">View the story "Chicagoans remember Jane Byrne" on Storify</a>]<h1>Chicagoans remember Jane Byrne</h1><h2>Twitter reactions from Chicago politicians and others about the passing of Former Chicago mayor Jane Byrne. </h2><p>Storified by <a href="https://storify.com/WBEZ">WBEZ</a>&middot; Fri, Nov 14 2014 19:38:07 </p><div>Jane Byrne was a consumer advocate who &quot;broke the mold&quot; of the male-dominated &quot;machine&quot;. She was tough &amp; tender. RIP http://t.co/EwFjW3W0qxRev Jesse Jackson Sr</div><div>I’m a history teacher by profession, and I know that Jane Byrne will have a significant place in this history of our great City.Toni Preckwinkle</div><div>As the first and only woman elected Mayor of Chicago, Jane was truly a pioneer and an inspiration to all women in public service.Toni Preckwinkle</div><div>She was a pioneer for women and a pioneer for #Chicago politics. RIP #JaneByrne @cbschicago http://t.co/7Jb05KgymgLiz V</div><div>Jane Byrne, Chicago's only female mayor, has died at age 81. Will never forget her 3-way race with Richie Daley and Harold Washington in '83Ken Rudin</div><div>Jane Byrne leaves a legacy of tireless service to Chicago that will never be forgotten. She will be missed. http://t.co/iuwzQZjHpbGovernor Pat Quinn</div></noscript></div><p><em>Alex Keefe, Lauren Chooljian, Tricia Bobeda and The Associated Press contributed to this story. </em></p></p> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/former-chicago-mayor-jane-byrne-dies-111106 Same-day registration means long lines for some Illinois voters http://www.wbez.org/news/same-day-registration-means-long-lines-some-illinois-voters-111063 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Voting banner AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Polls have closed across Illinois after voters cast their ballots in the state&#39;s 2014 midterm election.</p><p>The exception includes a handful of polling places in Chicago that were allowed to stay open later on Tuesday evening. That&#39;s because election judges arrived late and polls didn&#39;t open on time.</p><p>Some Illinoisans taking advantage of a policy adopted this year allowing Election Day voter registration have ended up in long lines.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/calls-aimed-election-judges-dissuade-attendance-111061">Dirty trick&#39; robocalls dissuaded Chicago election judges from polls</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen spoke to reporters about the issue during a Tuesday afternoon conference call.</p><p>Allen says it&#39;s the first time the city has dealt with Election Day voter registration.</p><p>Allen says the process is necessarily time consuming. He cited the need to cross-check data to ensure someone isn&#39;t registered elsewhere.</p><p>A judge also extended voting for same-day registrants in Lake County until 9 p.m.</p><p>That happened after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan argued that the Lake County clerk opened sites offering a new same-day signup option at 10 a.m. instead of 6 a.m.</p><p>The clerk says the sites opened late because of a shortage of poll workers.</p></p> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 19:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/same-day-registration-means-long-lines-some-illinois-voters-111063 Calls aimed at election judges dissuade attendance http://www.wbez.org/news/calls-aimed-election-judges-dissuade-attendance-111061 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/vote_4.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago election official says bogus automated telephone calls made over the weekend may have dissuaded hundreds of city election judges from turning up at the polls on Election Day.</p><p>Election board spokesman Jim Allen told reporters Tuesday that at least 2,000 judges out of more than 10,000 scheduled to work were no-shows.</p><p>Officials say the calls falsely told the judges they needed to attend additional training sessions.</p><p>Allen described the calls as a &quot;dirty trick&quot; and &quot;malicious.&quot; Allen didn&#39;t say if Democrat or Republican-affiliated judges were more impacted.</p><p>Allen says election officials are asking a court to extend voting at six Chicago polling stations. He says that at least in some cases a shortage of judges contributed to the delays.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 16:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/calls-aimed-election-judges-dissuade-attendance-111061 2014 Election Coverage: Citizens, here's your homework! http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973 <p><p>We&rsquo;re trying to make it a little easier for you to stay up-to-speed this election season. This is a hub for Illinois voters to study up on the issues and candidates before voting on (<a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/votinginformation/earlyvotinglocations.aspx" target="_blank">or before</a>) Nov. 4.</p><p>On election night, we&#39;re hosting a live watch party in Chicago with hosts Niala Boodhoo and Melba Lara. If you can&#39;t make it to the party, join us that night <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZPolitics">@WBEZPolitics</a>&nbsp;to get the latest updates.</p><p>Here&#39;s who we&#39;ll have covering races on election night:</p><ul><li><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">Tony Arnold</a> will cover Democratic incumbent <a href="https://www.quinnforillinois.com/00/" target="_blank">Illinois Governor Pat Quinn</a>.</li><li><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">Lauren Chooljian</a> will cover Republican gubernatorial challenger <a href="http://brucerauner.com/" target="_blank">Bruce Rauner</a>.</li><li><a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" target="_blank">Michael Puente</a> will cover Democratic incumbent <a href="http://www.dickdurbin.com/home" target="_blank">Illinois Senator Dick Durbin</a>.</li><li><a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews" target="_blank">Yolanda Perdomo</a> will cover Republican Senate challenger <a href="http://www.jimoberweis.com/" target="_blank">Jim Oberweis</a>.</li><li><a href="https://twitter.com/katieobez" target="_blank">Katie O&#39;Brien</a> will cover the 10th congressional district race between Democratic incumbent <a href="http://schneiderforcongress.com/" target="_blank">Brad Schneider</a> and Republican challenger <a href="http://doldforcongress.com/" target="_blank">Bob Dold</a>.</li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Election Coverage<a name="elections"></a></strong> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#heygov" target="_self">Hey Gov</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#debates" target="_self">Full Debate Audio</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#links" target="_self">Links You Need</a></span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="350" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/55986159&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#elections" target="_self">Election Coverage</a> |<strong> </strong><strong>Hey Gov<a name="heygov"></a> </strong>|<strong> </strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#debates" target="_self">Full Debate Audio</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#links" target="_self">Links You Need</a></span></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hey%20gov%20crop.PNG" style="height: 272px; width: 620px;" title="(WBEZ/Tony Arnold)" /></div><p>WBEZ reporters Al Keefe, Tony Arnold and Patrick Smith traveled <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/hey-gov-illinois-politics-road-trip-110657">around the state of Illinois</a> to understand <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/hey-gov">what&#39;s on the minds of voters</a> this November for the <strong>Hey Gov </strong>series.&nbsp;</p><ul><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/health-problems-facing-rural-and-urban-poor-illinois-110959">The health problems facing Illinois&#39; urban and rural poor</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/state-government-could-take-over-school-district-near-you-110943">How state government could take over your school</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/battle-over-state-facility-personal-political-110925">Picking up the pieces after budget cuts shut down a center for people with disabilities</a></li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#elections" target="_self">Election Coverage</a> |<strong> </strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#heygov" target="_self">Hey Gov</a><strong> </strong>|<strong> Full Debate Audio<a name="debates"></a></strong> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#links" target="_self">Links You Need</a></span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="250" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/55878303&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#elections" target="_self">Election Coverage</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#heygov" target="_self">Hey Gov</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#debates" target="_self">Full Debate Audio</a> | <strong>Links You Need<a name="links"></a></strong></span></p><ul><li><a href="http://www.elections.il.gov/votinginformation/RegistrationLookup.aspx" target="_blank">How to vote</a></li><li><a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/votinginformation/earlyvotinglocations.aspx" target="_blank">Early Voting Locations </a></li><li><a href="http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections/2014elections/Pages/110414Candidates.aspx" target="_blank">Nov 4, 2014 Candidates (Suburban Cook County)</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections/2014elections/Pages/AllReferenda.aspx" target="_blank">Nov 4, 2014 Ballot referenda </a></li><li><a href="http://www.elections.il.gov/infoforvoters.aspx" target="_blank">Other voter information</a><br />&nbsp;</li></ul></p> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973 Karen Lewis not running for mayor http://www.wbez.org/news/karen-lewis-not-running-mayor-110932 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/620-lewis_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, seen as Mayor Rahm Emanuel&#39;s most high-profile re-election challenger, won&#39;t run in 2015, a spokeswoman announced Monday.</p><p>Lewis, who often tussled with the mayor during the 2012 Chicago Public Schools teachers&#39; strike, didn&#39;t specify her reasons and a statement released on behalf of her exploratory committee made no mention of a recent illness she disclosed publicly.</p><p>&quot;Karen Lewis has decided to not pursue a mayoral bid,&quot; said a statement from committee spokeswoman Jhatayn Travis. &quot;Yet she charges us to continue fighting for strong neighborhood schools, safe communities and good jobs for everyone.&quot;</p><p>Lewis had been seen as the best shot so far to unseat Emanuel, who won his first term in 2011. For months, she had been circulating petitions and raising her profile at parades and political events, often harshly criticizing Emanuel and his policies. She even dubbed him the &quot;murder mayor&quot; because of the city&#39;s violence problem.</p><p>Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/karen-lewis-hands-over-leadership-chicago-teachers-union-110919" target="_blank">last week</a> said that Lewis has a &quot;serious illness&quot; and underwent successful surgery. Sharkey also said he had taken over Lewis&#39; tasks as president, but did not provide additional details on her illness.</p><p>Emanuel issued a statement after Lewis&#39; announcement Monday wishing her a quick recovery.</p><p>&quot;I have always respected and admired Karen&#39;s willingness to step up and be part of the conversation about our city&#39;s future,&quot; said Emanuel, a former congressman and White House chief of staff.</p><p>Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti, who announced his bid to run last month, said he was praying for Lewis&#39; health.</p><p>&quot;For Chicago&#39;s sake, I hope this is not the last we see of Karen Lewis,&quot; he said in a statement. &quot;I can understand the battle with illness, and how it can change the best thought out plans. But I also know that Karen is resilient and strong and will be back advocating for educators, students and Chicagoans in no time.&quot;</p><p>Political experts said only a handful of credible candidates would be able to mount a serious challenge at this point ahead of the Feb. 24 contest. Names floated in Chicago political circles included Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who has already said she planned to keep her current job and faces re-election, and Cook County Clerk David Orr.</p><p>Any candidate would have to be able to raise big funds and already have name recognition. Emanuel has banked more than $8 million, while campaign finance filings show Fioretti had about $325,000 as of June. Also, Emanuel&#39;s implied support from President Barack Obama as a former aide would be hard to counter in Obama&#39;s hometown.</p><p>However, political watchers said Emanuel&#39;s approval ratings have been low.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a mixed bag,&quot; said Chicago political consultant Don Rose. &quot;Many people feel he&#39;s ripe for the picking.&quot;</p><p>The February election is nonpartisan. If no candidate receives more than half of the ballots cast, a runoff between the top two candidates will be held in April.</p></p> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/karen-lewis-not-running-mayor-110932