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Election day in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs is April 4, 2023.

Manuel Martinez

The Rundown: Election Day, or Election Week?

Good afternoon, and happy Opening Day! Both Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field have lots of new food and drink options, which is great for people like me who don’t understand baseball. Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. Chicagoans may not know the winner of the mayoral runoff on Election Day

That’s according to veteran political strategist Joe Trippi, an adviser for Paul Vallas’s campaign, who tells the Chicago Sun-Times the number of mail-in ballots will likely be larger than the margin between the two candidates next Tuesday. [Chicago Sun-Times]

And the voters who will decide Chicago’s next mayor could look very different from those who favored either Vallas or Johnson in the Feb. 28 general election, my colleague Amy Qin reports for WBEZ. [WBEZ]

WBEZ, the Sun-Times and the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics will hold a forum with the candidates at 6 p.m. tonight at the Logan Center for the Arts in Hyde Park. You can listen live to the forum and analysis on 91.5 FM tonight or a rebroadcast at 11 a.m. tomorrow. [WBEZ]

2. Chicago Police have increased traffic stops in an effort to seize guns

Police have stopped hundreds of thousands of Black and Latino drivers for minor infractions on the South and West sides as part of an effort to seize illegal guns, Block Club Chicago and Injustice Watch report.

An analysis from the two newsrooms found that “Chicago police have made more than 4.5 million traffic stops since 2015. In 2021, the year Chicago police were most successful at finding weapons in cars, officers made 156 traffic stops for every gun arrest.”

The rise in traffic stops comes after a 2015 settlement over stop-and-frisk pedestrian stops.

Critics of the traffic stop strategy say it doesn’t reduce violent crime and alienates Black and Latino communities.

Neither Paul Vallas nor Brandon Johnson responded to questions about continuing the strategy if elected mayor. [Block Club Chicago]

3. The Chicago Department of Transportation released a plan to add 150 miles of bike lanes

The department’s plan for making the city’s roads safer for cyclists emphasizes protected bike lanes, neighborhood greenways and off-street trails, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Funding “has been identified” and the 150 miles of bike lanes would come “in the next few years,” the department told the newspaper.

But a timeline for the rest of the strategy hasn’t been released. And some of the projects CDOT identified are already under construction, while officials are in the early stages of getting community input on others.

Some advocates worry a new mayor could scale back or significantly change the plan. [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. Chicago City Council claims independence from the mayor as it expands committees

The plan approved today increases the number of council committees from 19 to 28, Tessa Weinberg reports for WBEZ.

And the maximum size of most committees was reduced from 20 to 11.

Council members allied with Mayor Lori Lightfoot came up with the plan. Proponents hope the reorganization will make it easier to get legislation approved. But critics say legislation will now be able to pass out of committee with only a handful of votes.

And, as Weinberg reports, some good-government groups wanted to table the plan. “Advocacy groups like the League of Women Voters of Chicago and Better Government Association had urged aldermen to hold off on voting on the proposal to allow the public and incoming council members to have a say.” [WBEZ]

5. Fall Out Boy’s new album is a return to the band’s familiar sound and lyrics

Two of the band’s members, bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz and vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stump, told NPR they know how polarizing their last album was and have returned to their roots.

So Much (For) Stardust is a more recognizable sound. It’s also a show of the maturity and experience that the band members have garnered in the two decades working together – and some of the absurdity that has prevailed,” the station reports.

The new album came out earlier this month.

Fall Out Boy, from the north suburbs, will play at Wrigley Field in June. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • An American reporter for the Wall Street Journal has been jailed in Russia on espionage charges. [AP]

  • The Vatican says Pope Francis has “improved” after being hospitalized with a respiratory infection. [AP]

  • Illinois has one of the highest tax burdens. [NPR]

  • A Woodlawn megadevelopment stirs hope and fear in the Chicago neighborhood. [WBEZ]

Oh, and one more thing …

Chicago’s vibrant drag scene goes back to the late 1890s and includes gatherings at the Dill Pickle Club and political fundraisers for the city’s 1st Ward.

To understand more about the role drag performers have played in Chicago, my colleagues at Curious City took a look back at several different eras of drag in the city — in particular, the 1960s and ’70s, when the art form was becoming more popular in the early days of gay liberation.

What has set the city apart is the diversity and the variety of performances, many of which are more DIY than theatrical. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

The “road construction season” is upon us, as you can tell from the traffic on the Kennedy. What podcasts do you play when you’re stuck in traffic?

Renuka says:

“ ‘Home cooking.’ Talented hosts with an appetite!”

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

Correction: Before we go, we misidentified a witness yesterday in the ComEd Four trial. Fidel Marquez is the onetime ComEd executive who secretly recorded colleagues for federal authorities.

The Latest
It’s election day, and hundreds of teens are serving as election judges. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a case that could impact more than one million student people in Illinois with college debt. Local groups are stepping up to provide shelter for asylum seekers arriving in Chicago.