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Brandon Johnson

Flanked by members of his transition committee and supporters, Mayor Brandon Johnson discusses the newly-released Mayor’s Transition Committee Report during a news conference at Greater Harvest Baptist Church on Thursday,

Ashlee Rezin

The Rundown: Mayor Johnson soon faces a big decision

Good afternoon! I recently discovered old episodes of The Real World are streaming on Paramount Plus, and it’s amazing how ’90s fashion is coming back. (I just finished my favorite season from New Orleans.) Anyway, here’s what you need to know today.

1. Mayor Johnson will soon face ‘a choice that could define his tenure and even how long he remains in office’

Mayor Brandon Johnson is expected to soon receive the names of three finalists for the most important appointment any Chicago mayor can make — police superintendent.

The Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, a civilian-led body created in 2021 to provide more oversight of the Police Department, is expected to vote on advancing three finalists during a public meeting tonight at Kennedy-King College.

As my colleague Fran Spielman reports, two candidates are seen as favorites to make it to this final stage in the process. They are Larry Snelling, Chicago Police counterterrorism chief, and Angel Novalez, chief of constitutional policing and reform.

Johnson will have 30 days to make a decision once the names are submitted to him. The mayor does have the power to reject them and ask for another nationwide search, but that scenario is seen as highly unlikely. [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. Activists demand an update on a sexual misconduct investigation involving police and migrants

Activists gathered this week outside the offices of the city’s independent police oversight agency, criticizing its nascent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct involving Chicago Police officers and at least one immigrant housed at a police station.

The activists want an update on the investigation and the names of the accused officers, reports my colleague Michael Loria.

Local authorities last week announced they are investigating the allegations, which include one officer allegedly impregnating a teenager. Many details surrounding that allegation are unknown, including whether the teen is a minor.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has not provided any updates since it acknowledged its investigation on Friday. A spokesperson for the agency said it takes an average of 562 days to close an investigation. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. The FDA approves the first over-the-counter birth control pill

Federal regulators today approved a daily oral contraceptive pill for use without a prescription, a move that may dramatically increase access to contraception at a time when many states have created barriers to birth control and abortions.

The medication, called Opill, is more effective at preventing pregnancies than condoms and other birth control methods sold over the counter.

The pill’s manufacturer, Perrigo, said Opill will most likely be available in stores and online in early 2024. Pricing hasn’t been released, but the medication is expected to be sold in boxes containing a 28-day supply.

“Today’s approval marks the first time a nonprescription daily oral contraceptive will be an available option for millions of people in the United States,” Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. [NPR]

4. The Black Lives Matter movement turns 10 today

And activists across the nation plan to mark this milestone with a renewed push to defund police departments and reinvest in Black communities that have disproportionately suffered from police brutality, reports The Associated Press.

“Ten years in, we’re getting a glimpse at what would happen if there were no Black Lives Matter,” said Melina Abdullah, who is a director of BLM Grassroots Inc, a collective of organizers across the country. “We’re not just going to fight when it’s popular, but we’re going to fight because we need to fight.”

The organization is encouraging supporters to push local and national officials to designate July 13 as “Black Lives Matter Day.” [AP]

5. An environmental activist becomes the first Black trans woman appointed to public office in Cook County

Precious Brady-Davis made history this week when she was sworn in as the newest commissioner for the region’s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

“It’s humbling,” she told WBEZ’s Noah Jennings.

“I may be the first, but I don’t want to be the last. I think it does show young people that you can be whatever you want in this life, no matter the stigma or the barriers that surround us. It’s really a victorious moment.”

The district’s board makes decisions on water use and conservation in Cook County — from wastewater and stormwater to protecting Lake Michigan.

Brady-Davis entered the national spotlight in 2016 when she became the first trans bride to appear on the hit TLC reality show Say Yes to the Dress.

She also released a 2021 memoir, I Have Always Been Me, where she shares details from her tumultuous childhood and talks about her life as a trans woman.

Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot displayed the book in her office during her time at City Hall. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The Secret Service says it can’t figure out who left cocaine at the White House. [AP]
  • TV and movie actors are going on strike, joining screenwriters in an industrywide shutdown of Hollywood. [New York Times]
  • Vice President Kamala Harris is coming to Chicago on July 24. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • The London-based Frieze announced it will buy the EXPO CHICAGO art fair and New York’s Armory Show. [New York Times]

Oh, and one more thing …

Borrowers with federal student loans will have to resume making payments in October after a more than three-year-long pause during the pandemic.

And even though the U.S. Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s loan forgiveness plan, there are still plenty of resources available to borrowers, reports WBEZ’s Lisa Philip.

Among them is a “federal Income-Driven Payment plan that caps their monthly payments at 10% of their discretionary income,” Philip writes.

“Experts encourage people to start applying now. Application processing can take some time.” [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

What’s your favorite song to listen to in the summer?

David Kraft writes:

“ ‘Summer in the City’ by The Lovin’ Spoonful.”

Andrew writes:

“I think that my all-time favorite summer song is, oddly, ‘Fat Old Sun’ by Pink Floyd from the album Atom Heart Mother. Hardly a song you’d normally associate with this band, the lyrics and melodies take me back to a simpler time but of course, the David Gilmour guitar solo is pretty good too. David really does the song justice in his Live From Gdańsk solo album.”

And Jeanine writes:

“Declan McKenna’s brand new song ‘Sympathy’ is my favorite song of the summer. Both catchy and wise (best line: ‘If you don’t speak your thoughts aloud, you just feel them forever’), I have its campy beachy video on repeat. Plus, Declan McKenna will definitely be playing this tune live when he hits the stage at Lollapalooza in August — you can’t get more summery than that!”

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

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