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Carlos Ramirez-Rosa speaking to reporters

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward, speaks to reporters after Mayor Brandon Johnson presented the 2024 Executive Budget Recommendations during a Chicago City Council meeting at City Hall, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023.

Pat Nabong

The Rundown: Chaos in City Council

Happy Monday! The holiday movie season is just around the corner, and my colleague Richard Roeper has a list of new releases that should be on your radar. Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa stepped down from two City Council positions after being accused of abusing his power

Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward, said in a statement Monday he would be stepping down as Mayor Brandon Johnson’s floor leader and as chair of the powerful Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards next month after being accused of “bullying,” Tessa Weinberg writes for WBEZ.

Fellow alderpersons accused Ramirez-Rosa of threatening to block development in some of their wards and physically blocking another alderperson from entering City Council chambers before a special meeting last week.

“Such threats made by Alderperson Ramirez-Rosa were not mere legislative ‘horse trading’, but rather are a clear abuse of power reminiscent of the worst aspects of our City’s political history,” a draft of a letter detailing the allegations reads. “This body has seen the censure and expulsion of members for similar acts of misconduct throughout its history, and members have also resigned or been removed as Chair of a committee for similar conduct.”

Ramirez-Rosa said he reached out to apologize to his colleagues and make amends, but he’s pushing back on the allegations that he threatened to hold up zoning legislation. [WBEZ]

2. Jury selection begins in Ed Burke’s historic corruption trial

The former alderperson’s federal trial has been years in the making and comes after an aggressive investigation into his methods of consolidating power and challenging political rivals, my colleague Jon Seidel writes.

As Seidel writes: “Burke’s trial will be the most high-profile this year to result from federal public corruption investigations in Chicago dating back to 2014. Seven other people have been convicted since January in four separate trials. And jurors in those cases have sided with prosecutors on every single count.”

Burke, who along with his two co-defendants has pleaded not guilty, could face significant prison time if convicted. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. Voices from Chicago’s most violent neighborhood

West Garfield Park experiences the most gun violence in the city, with almost 1,000 shootings over the past five years, my colleague Andy Grimm writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.

The neighborhood’s population has fallen steadily since the 1950s and stands at about 17,000 people today.

Grimm spent months speaking with people who live in the neighborhood, including former gang members, business owners, a mother wanting to protect her children, a grandmother who has lived in the same house since the 1960s and anti-violence workers.

The 88-year-old grandmother, who didn’t want to be named for safety reasons, says the neighborhood used to have regular block parties. Now, she only lets her grandchildren stay in the back of the house.

Meanwhile, a restaurant owner says he intentionally created his business to offer healthy food and jobs for his neighbors. And former gang members described programs that have helped them with job training, psychotherapy, counseling and motivation.

Read their stories in the link. [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. The father of the Highland Park shooting suspect will serve 60 days in jail

Robert Crimo Jr. pleaded guilty today to misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct in the case involving his signing the gun ownership card for his son.

Prosecutors had said Crimo Jr. signed those papers despite knowing his son had expressed suicidal and violent thoughts, David Struett writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.

The plea deal also requires Crimo Jr. to serve 24 months of probation, 100 hours of community service and surrender his own gun ownership card and weapons. He is expected to turn himself in to the Lake County sheriff’s office on Nov. 15.

His son is accused of opening fire on a 4th of July parade crowd in Highland Park in 2022, killing seven people and injuring 48 others. [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. ‘The Bear’ was renewed for a third season

The hugely popular show is also up for 13 primetime Emmy Awards, Miriam Di Nunzio writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Starring Jeremy Allen White, The Bear follows chef Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto, who returns home to Chicago to operate his family’s rundown Italian beef sandwich shop and his staff.

The first two seasons are currently streaming on Hulu.

Winners of the Emmy Awards will be announced Jan. 15. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Former President Donald Trump took the stand in his financial fraud civil case in New York. [AP]

  • The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 10,000 since the Israel-Hamas conflict began last month. [NPR]

  • The Chicago Cubs fired David Ross as manager. [Chicago Sun-Times]

  • Another player from the 2010 Blackhawks is suing the team for an alleged sexual assault, a new lawsuit says. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Oh, and one more thing …

Since it began sending data around the clock in 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope has made fascinating discoveries. For example, scientists used one of the telescope’s first photos to find previously unseen stars and hydrogen pockets, which is the type of environment some believe our solar system formed in.

In case you haven’t kept up with all the discoveries researchers have made thanks to the telescope, The New York Times has a new, easy-to-digest guide with plenty of stunning photos.

All this new information not only helps us know more about the universe, but also challenges us to rethink what we thought we knew about how it formed. [New York Times]

Tell me something good ...

This story reminded me of when I used to sew back in high school and made me think about hobbies I should take up this winter. So I want to know, what are your favorite cold-weather pastimes?

Send us an email and your response might be included in the newsletter this week.

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