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Jesus Chuy Garcia

U.S. Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García speaks during a news conference at City Hall, Wednesday morning, Sept. 7, 2022.

Ashlee Rezin

The Rundown: Chuy’s in — and the race for mayor heats up

Hey there! What a beautiful day. Enjoy the weather, because we could see snow flurries on Saturday. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. U.S. Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García enters the crowded race for mayor, portraying himself as a ‘coalition builder’

The race for mayor of Chicago shifted into high gear today after U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García told my colleague Fran Spielman at the Chicago Sun-Times that he is officially seeking the top spot at City Hall.

García may pose one of the biggest threats to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, as he enters the race with the kind of name recognition that other contenders lack.

But García is running against other self-proclaimed progressives, among them Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, who is backed by the Chicago Teachers Union.

And García and Johnson are running on similar platforms, promising to “reopen shuttered mental health clinics, resurrect the Department of Environment and raise the real estate transfer tax on high-end home sales to create a dedicated source of funding to reduce homelessness and ease Chicago’s affordable housing crisis,” Spielman reports. [Sun-Times]

García will also have to do a better job of assuring voters he’s the right person for the job, something he struggled with in his 2015 bid for mayor, veteran political strategist Rebecca Williams told my colleague Mariah Woelfel.

“His big weakness in 2015 was that while voters really trusted Chuy’s motivation for running — that he wanted to do good things, and had the right values — there was reticence about his ability to do the job. Can he actually run a city? Can he manage a really big city?” Williams said. [WBEZ]

2. Reforms aimed at preventing botched police raids in Chicago fail to clear their first hurdle in the City Council

The City Council’s Committee on Public Safety today rejected sweeping search warrant reforms proposed in response to the wrongful police raid on the home of social worker Anjanette Young, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Young, who gave an emotional plea to council members before today’s 10-4 vote, was forced to stand naked before an all-male team of police officers.

“When they entered my home, I did not have any clothes on. And they were more focused on finding handguns and ammunition and drugs than securing the dignity of a female citizen. It was clear that my safety and dignity was not top of mind. Where was the serve and protect for me?” said Young, whose lawsuit against the city was settled for $2.9 million.

The chief sponsor of the reforms, Ald. Maria Hadden, has called them “stronger in 17 different ways” than the internal reforms authorized by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Supt. David Brown. [Sun-Times]

3. Inflation may finally be cooling off

In a hopeful sign for Americans struggling with higher prices on everyday items, federal data released today shows inflation may be turning a corner.

Consumer inflation rose 7.7% in October compared to a year ago. That’s less than what analysts were expecting and lower than the 8.2% reported in September.

There are also other promising signs for the economy. Supply chain problems have largely been worked out, and rising new rent prices are anticipated to drop in the coming months, reports the Associated Press.

And as some economists forecast a recession next year, the “job market has remained resilient,” the AP reports. “Employers have added a healthy average of 407,000 jobs a month, and the unemployment rate is just 3.7%, close to a half-century low. Job openings are still at historically high levels.” [AP]

4. Trump is urged to delay his 2024 campaign announcement after Republicans suffered a string of election loses

Former President Donald Trump faces growing criticism from fellow conservatives after the GOP saw disappointing results in this week’s midterm elections, reports the Associated Press.

Now, some of Trump’s allies are urging him to postpone a planned announcement next week that he will campaign for another term in the White House in 2024.

These allies say the focus should instead be on Georgia, where Republican Herschel Walker and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock are headed toward a runoff election that could determine which party controls the Senate.

“I think he needs to put it on pause,” said former Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Fox News. [AP]

Speaking of Fox News, the network and other parts of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire have shifted and are portraying Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the future for the GOP. [Washington Post]

Today, the editorial board for the Wall Street Journal blasted Trump as the “Republican Party’s Biggest Loser.” [WSJ]

5. Should Chicago city workers plow sidewalks when snow falls?

Advocates for people with disabilities want the city to take up the responsibility, and a member of the City Council plans to press the issue in an upcoming proposal, reports my colleague Manny Ramos at the Chicago Sun-Times.

“There is a huge mobility issue here where people with disabilities can slip and fall, or motorized wheelchairs can get stuck, or they have to go onto the street with cars driving by,” said Kyle Lucas, co-founder of Better Streets Chicago, a transit advocacy group promoting safe streets.

Ald. Gilbert Villegas says he is working on a plan to create a pilot program that could cost $750,000 to pay for staffing, materials, equipment and an impact study.

“Advocates hope to test the program in 15 zones before it’s implemented citywide. Each zone is about 2.5 square miles, consisting of business corridors and residential streets,” reports Ramos. [Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Chicago-area forest preserves are slated to get a $40 million annual boost in funding. [WBEZ]
  • Amid a national teacher shortage, the University of Chicago appears to be dissolving its teacher training program. [WBEZ]
  • Liz Abunaw is bringing healthy, fresh produce to Chicago’s Austin neighborhood — with white glove service. [WBEZ]
  • You might want to sit down for this, because a trailer is out for the next John Wick movie. [EW]

Oh, and one more thing …

The Chicago Transit Authority faces a crisis that includes unreliable service and rising crime on trains and buses, problems that jeopardizes its efforts to woo back commuters lost during the pandemic.

My colleagues at WBEZ want to hear from you about your experiences commuting on the nation’s second largest transit system. How would you fix it? And what questions do you have for the people in charge?

All you have to do is fill out a short survey in the link. Your comments will be used to guide our reporting and help determine which questions we put to agency officials. And with your permission, your experiences could also appear in future stories on the issue. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

I got to see this precious sweet angel last week. His name is Ernie, and he is a big dog who thinks he is a small dog.

But he’s got me thinking: What is one of your favorite pets?

Leslie writes:

“I grew up with cats. We had sibling cats named Bonnie and Clyde. Clyde was a loving, gentle black cat. Bonnie was a rare-ish female orange tabby. She was the best cat I’ve ever known.

“Bonnie never jumped on counters or tables, didn’t climb the Christmas tree, she would snuggle by my head and played gently with my hair, and she would often drag the newspaper up the driveway to the front door — we never taught her that. She was smart, curious and never a jerk. I still miss her 30 years later.”

And Paul Lockwood writes:

“Favorite pet — our sweet, loving calico, Cali! She may be scared of storms, landscapers, or virtually anybody who enters our condo. But she’s also very attached to both me and my wife, whether falling asleep on my arm while I’m on the sofa to watch TV or cuddling with my wife when she’s napping. We especially like the photo I’ve attached — it shows Cali seemingly emerging from the clouds like the feline guardian angel she usually is!”

Feel free to email me, and your response might be shared in the newsletter this week.

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