Erin Allen: Good morning. It's Tuesday, I'm Erin Allen and this is The Rundown. So the votes from last week’s election are still being counted. But so far it looks like Voter turnout is officially higher than the past two city elections. Election officials have been counting up the more than 162 thousand mail-in ballots they’ve received so far. Those ballots have pushed the city’s turnout tally to about 35.5% of registered voters, which is only less than a tenth of a point more than in 2019. Ballots postmarked no later than February 28 could still be counted if the city receives them by March 14. There are still nearly 47 thousand ballots yet to be returned. The mail in votes probably won’t change the standings of the candidates for mayor. But, they could change who no longer faces a runoff for city council.
As for those police district councils, remember they were created to give community members more say over how policing works in Chicago. Well the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 worked pretty hard to exert influence over the elections. They hired lawyers to get some progressive candidates off the ballot and then they endorsed 19 of their own candidates. And my colleague Shannon Heffernan is reporting that at least 8 of those candidates appear to be winning. And some of them are former cops. But let’s be clea, 8 is far from a majority. 42 of the other people who appear to be winning have received training or support from a progressive coalition that favors strong police oversight.
Gloria Gibson was the first Black woman hired as the president of Northeastern Illinois University. If you don't know it, it’s a school on the north side. But now she’s on her way out. And my colleague Dan Mihalopoulos is reporting that she’s citing racial and gender discrimination as one of her reasons. And she says the unfair treatment was coming from the NEIU board. In an email to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office, Gibson alleged board members at the university also asked her to give scholarships to students who did not qualify. But Ex-Board Chairman Jim Palos denies it.
Jim Palos: There is not a person on that board who is bigoted in any way.
Erin Allen: Palos and another board member named in Gibson’s email to the governor’s office say NEIU’s ethics officer cleared them of wrongdoing. So, have you been to the theater lately? A live show? Anything? If the answer is no, you’re definitely not the only one. Performing arts centers in Chicago are on the struggle bus. And it’s because of a dual financial crisis – Emergency COVID-era funds are drying up and attendance has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Jeannie Lukow is the executive director of Porchlight Music Theatre on the Near North Side. She told WBEZ's Reset that the pandemic shifted people's entertainment habits.
Jeannie Lukow: You have to give people a reason to get out of their soft pants, shut off the Netflix and get back to the theater.
Erin Allen: Lukow says inflation and the rising cost of labor have also made budgeting for productions difficult. She says additional funding from the city and state could help, but theaters may need to rethink their business models for future seasons.
And now for a few quick hits, endorsements are rolling in for Chicago’s next mayor, naturally. The first endorsement from a former Chicago mayoral contender happened yesterday, sixth Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer said he’s supporting Paul Vallas in The Runoff. Sawyer said the former Chicago Public Schools CEO has the leadership experience to get the city, quote “back on track.” U.S. Illinois Congressman Danny Davis on the other hand is throwing his support behind Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson. Davis has represented Illinois’ 7th Congressional district since the mid-90s, which includes parts of the west Englewood, Chinatown, and Austin neighborhoods. This endorsement from the veteran Black political leader could help sow confidence in Johnson among older voters on the South and West Sides who initially voted for Lightfoot.
And in the weather, it’s gonna be sunny with temperatures in the low 40s most of the day, some wind and some clouds but overall a nice one out there. Tonight, it’s going down to the mid 30s, partly cloudy.
And that's it for The Rundown today. Thank you for listening. I'm Erin Allen, and I'll talk to you tomorrow morning. Bye!
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