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Newsletter: Lightfoot ‘Concerned’ As Teacher Strike Looms

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Lightfoot Strike

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools leaders called a press conference Monday morning about Chicago teacher contract talks. Lightfoot said she’s “definitely concerned” about the pace of talks ahead a strike deadline, accusing the union of lacking urgency. The CTU says the city also isn’t modifying its positions.

Hey, it’s Monday! And it’s a gorgeous fall day — please go out and enjoy it. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. Lightfoot on teacher negotiations: “I am definitely concerned”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she’s concerned about the slow pace of negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union, which has authorized a strike on Oct. 17 if the two sides can’t reach a deal on a new contract.

“We can’t bargain against ourselves,” Lightfoot said today. The mayor also said the union is not bending on their demands, and lacks a sense of urgency.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Teachers Union says they are still waiting on proposals on many key issues, and that the city’s offers on staffing and class sizes are unacceptable. [WBEZ]

WBEZ has been tracking what the teachers want and what the city has offered. Take a closer look at each issue. [WBEZ]

2. Supreme Court will rule on abortion, guns and gay rights

The U.S. Supreme Court began its new term today, and the justices are scheduled to take on a number of cases involving controversial issues.

Among them? Abortion, gun rights and protections for LGBTQ employees, as well as presidential power and the fate of about 700,000 DREAMers brought to the U.S. by their parents without legal authorization.

It’s the first time many of these issues will come before a court that includes conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who replaced swing voter Anthony Kennedy.

NPR’s Nina Totenberg explains the cases, and says the upcoming term “will almost surely be a march to the right.” [NPR]

3. U.S. announces major policy shift in Syria

The White House said late last night that Turkey will soon launch an offensive operation in northern Syria and U.S. forces there would stand aside.

The announcement is “renewing fears that America is abandoning Kurdish allies who stood on the front line in the years-long fight against ISIS,” according to NPR.

The U.S. views Kurdish fighters in Syria as allies while Turkey considers them terrorists. American forces in Syria previously recruited and trained Kurdish fighters, who were responsible for most of the ground combat against the Islamic State.

Many Republican and Democratic lawmakers warned that letting Turkey attack the Kurds would send a troubling message about America’s commitment to its allies. [NPR]

In response, President Trump tweeted “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars.” He later added, “if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).” [New York Times]

4. A second whistleblower has firsthand knowledge of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine

That’s according to the legal team representing the initial whistleblower, whose complaint sparked the House impeachment inquiry into the president.

The issue at the heart of the impeachment inquiry is a July phone call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine. During that call, Trump allegedly withheld military aid to the country to push for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Trump and his supporters have said the president did nothing wrong on that call.

The news of a second whistleblower follows days of Trump and his backers claiming the first whistleblower’s account was based on hearsay. [NPR]

Meanwhile, congressional Democrats today issued subpoenas to the Pentagon and the White House budget office, requesting documents related to the president’s decision to withhold military assistance to Ukraine. They gave a deadline of Oct. 15. [Reuters]

5. Chicago named “Best Big City” in America

That’s according to Condé Nast Traveler readers, who rated Chicago the country’s best big city for the third year in a row.

The magazine made note of the city’s architecture, museums, chefs and breweries, adding that Chicago has “some of the most pleasant people you’ll find anywhere.”

Rounding out the top five were Minneapolis, Boston, New Orleans and Washington D.C., in that order.

What about New York, you ask? It came in seventh. [Chicago Tribune]

Here’s what else is happening

A federal judge ruled that President Trump must release eight years of his tax returns, a decision that was quickly appealed. [NPR]

Environmental activists plan to demonstrate in downtown Chicago today during rush hour. [Chicago Tribune]

Two Chicago Police officers go on trial today facing federal charges of theft, fraud and obstruction of justice. [WBEZ]

A deported Army veteran from Chicago attained American citizenship Friday. [WBEZ]

Oh, and one more thing …

The classic horror film Candyman, which was set in Chicago, is getting a reboot thanks in part to Jordan Peele, the creative mind behind a new era of horror films like Get Out and Us.

Filming for the new Candyman finished last week, and WBEZ’s Natalie Moore spoke with members of the crew and the community about the role of the now-transformed Cabrini-Green area.

One particularly interesting tidbit: The Chicago Housing Authority allowed the crew to film in some of Cabrini-Green’s vacant row houses, but only on the condition that CHA residents be hired as extras and given contracts. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

Speaking of Candyman, now is the best time of year for scary movies. What’s your favorite scary movie or TV show?

I’ll give you a couple favorites: The Blair Witch Project (which did a number on my adolescent brain) and The Ring (which surely contributed to the death of VHS tapes).

Email or tweet us your answers to or @whuntah and they might appear here this week.

Thanks for reading and have a nice night! We’ll see you tomorrow. And if you like what you just read, you can subscribe to the newsletter here and have it delivered to your inbox.

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