The Rundown: Chicago to part ways with ShotSpotter

Plus, Chicago Black Restaurant Week returns. Here’s what you need to know today.

ShotSpotter technology is installed at the intersection of North Lavergne Avenue and West Division Street in the Austin neighborhood. Pat Nabong / Chicago Sun-Times
ShotSpotter technology is installed at the intersection of North Lavergne Avenue and West Division Street in the Austin neighborhood. Pat Nabong / Chicago Sun-Times

The Rundown: Chicago to part ways with ShotSpotter

Plus, Chicago Black Restaurant Week returns. Here’s what you need to know today.

WBEZ brings you fact-based news and information. Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on the stories that matter.

Good afternoon! This taqueria offers an interesting option for a Valentine’s Day meal if heart-shaped pizzas aren’t your thing. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Mayor Brandon Johnson will end the city’s deal with ShotSpotter after this summer

The contract for the controversial gunshot detection system is expected to be renewed only into September, my colleague Tom Schuba reports for the Chicago Sun-Times. The extension means cops will have access to the technology through the violent summer months and the Democratic National Convention.

By canceling the contract, Johnson is making good on a campaign promise to get rid of the gunshot detection system, which critics say is ineffective and expensive.

With ShotSpotter’s roughly $49 million contract expiring on Friday, the city will have to enter into a new deal with parent company SoundThinking to cover the additional months.

Ald. Chris Taliaferro, 29th Ward, a former Chicago cop who chairs the City Council’s Police Committee, told the Sun-Times the decision will negatively affect officers’ response times. [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. The family of a bipolar woman run over by a CPD vehicle could receive a $3.25 million settlement from the city

The settlement proposed for the family of Martina Standley is the largest of four on the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting of the City Council’s Finance Committee, Fran Spielman writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Standley’s family said she was suffering a “mental health crisis” on Nov. 13, 2019, when she walked up to a Police Department SUV with Chicago Police Officer Brian Greene behind the wheel. After she touched the spotlight on the vehicle, Greene sped off, driving over her.

Standley was “lying in the street bleeding from her head and it took several minutes to get medical treatment,” said the family’s attorney, Andrew M. Stroth. She spent a week in the hospital, and another month in rehab attempting to recover from the traumatic brain injury. She died about two months later of “lethal arrhythmia and suspected stroke.”

The family’s lawsuit accuses Greene of violating departmental rules for interacting with people with obvious mental health issues and use of force — both issues that were highlighted in the federal investigation after the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald in 2014. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. CPS proposes cutting ties with controversial school cleaning management company

Chicago Public Schools officials are proposing dumping the Philadelphia-based janitorial company Aramark after years of complaints about filthy schools, lack of cleaning supplies and poor management of janitors.

The proposals, which officials plan to take to the Board of Education next week, would involve hiring about 70 custodial managers, giving the district more direct control over school cleaning. Principals would also have more authority over custodians in their buildings.

CPS would sign three-year contracts with seven new vendors to do custodial work. Dayside janitors will work for CPS, as they do now under Aramark, and those who work overnight will still be privately employed through those companies — but all will report to a CPS manager. The contract would start in March and average $110 million a year over the next three years. [Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ]

4. Ride-hailing and delivery drivers plan to strike on Valentine’s Day to demand fair wages and security

Drivers say they plan to rally at O’Hare Airports rideshare pickup spot tomorrow and shut off their apps and not pick up passengers.

The move is part of a nationwide strike, my colleague Cindy Hernandez reports for the Chicago Sun-Times.

“We’re sick of working 80 hours a week just to make ends meet, being constantly scared for our safety, and worrying about being deactivated with the click of a button,” the coalition of Uber, Lyft and DoorDash drivers said in a statement.

Along with calls for higher wages, groups that advocate for gig workers in Chicago have called for additional safety measures after recent attacks — some of them fatal — against delivery and ride-hailing drivers. [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. Chicago Black Restaurant Week features a wide array of menus

Now through Feb. 25, select Black-owned restaurants will offer specials, many of which include an appetizer, entree and dessert at a fixed price.

Lauran Smith, who started the initiative in 2015, emphasized the variety among the approximately 50 participating Black-owned restaurants.

This year features everything from New Orleans eateries and vegan joints to juice bars and popcorn shops, Smith told the Chicago Sun-Times.

And for the first time Chicago Black Restaurant Week will include “themed days,” such as “personal care professionals” day and “small business owners” day to encourage those workers to go out and treat themselves to a great meal.

You can see the full list of participants at [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The U.S. Senate advanced a plan to send more military aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. [NPR]

  • Inflation fell to 3.1% last month. [CNN]

  • The migrant crisis has become a major issue in New York’s special election to replace Rep. George Santos. [NPR]

  • Here’s what you need to know about Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day falling on the same day this year. [AP]

Oh, and one more thing …

Love in the time of COVID-19 could be the theme of Love Bug, a new album of original songs by Naomi Ashley, who has emerged as one of the busiest Chicago songwriters in recent years. Written primarily since the pandemic took root, Ashley’s songs span the many varieties of love — flirtatious love, deep love, love gone wrong and obsessive love.

So it’s fitting she chose Valentine’s Day to release Love Bug at a show at FitzGerald’s — and that her own love story unfolds throughout her album and on the stage.

Despite earlier recordings from as far back as 2006, the songs on Love Bug feel like a new beginning for Ashley. The pandemic gave her the freedom to experiment with a different set of musicians, namely guitarist Jon Williams, bassist Josh Piet and drummer Jason Batchko. Eventually she took the new band to legendary Chicago studio Kingsize Sound Labs, where she captured the players together in “a big live room” with recording engineer John Abbey. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

What are your favorite old-school Chicago diners?

Renuka says:

“Alexander’s on Clark st next to Centro Romero is awesome! Some of the best hashbrowns in the city.”

Feel free to email us, and your response might make it in the newsletter this week.