Happy Friday! This “mostly chill, sometimes grumpy and always in charge” Rogers Park “aldercat” sounds like an ideal neighborhood leader. Here’s what you need to know today.
Mayor Brandon Johnson campaigned on raising the real estate transfer tax on homes worth more than $1 million, and now his City Council allies are working on how to word a binding referendum that would allow Chicago voters to decide whether to approve what the mayor calls his “mansion tax.”
But the increase, which would help combat homelessness, could be a smaller tax hike than originally proposed, my colleague Fran Spielman reports for the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Retiring Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara disclosed that a ‘marginal’ tax is under consideration that would apply the dramatically higher tax only to that portion of the sale above $1 million,” Spielman writes. “If a home is sold for $1.2 million, the first $1 million would be taxed at 0.75%. The 2.65% transaction tax would apply to the remaining $200,000.”
Housing advocates and their City Council allies believe they have the votes to put the referendum on the ballot — and that voters will approve the increase. [Chicago Sun-Times]
2. Hot, humid weather and unhealthy air hit Chicago today, but conditions should improve this weekend
The heat index, which measures temperature and humidity, was expected to reach 110 degrees. Environmental officials are also warning of high ozone pollution levels in the area.
Seniors and those with health conditions are most at risk and are urged to stay hydrated and seek shelter in air-conditioned places. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Thunderstorms are expected tonight, and the highs the rest of the weekend are only expected to reach the 70s. [National Weather Service]
The Chicago area isn’t the only place seeing dangerously hot temperatures. More than half of Americans are under heat alerts, The Associated Press reports. [AP]
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Labor is increasing protections for workers against extreme heat, including expanding inspections of heat-safety violations in certain sectors, such as agriculture and construction. [Axios]
3. Some Edgewater residents rally against interrupting community programs to house migrants at Broadway Armory Park
The Save Our Broadway Armory Park Coalition is calling for Mayor Johnson to sit down with concerned community members to come up with a solution that helps migrants without closing the facility to the neighborhood, Emmanuel Camarillo writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Under the city’s plan, some park programs like gymnastics and the Girls P.L.A.Y. Sports Camp will move to other locations, and the fitness center inside the armory will close. Other summer programs will either move or have their last days today. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Broadway Armory Park will continue serving as a senior satellite center while migrants are housed at the facility. [Block Club Chicago]
An influential group of U.S. House conservatives, called the House Freedom Caucus, is OK with a shutdown, NPR reports.
The group takes a hard-line stance on government finances, and wants a temporary shutdown to push Democrats to accept a Republican spending bill.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is under pressure from conservatives to draft spending bills below the limits agreed upon earlier this year, when McCarthy and President Biden made a deal to avoid a debt default and set spending limits for two years.
As NPR reports: “Central to the deal was a two-year agreement on top-line spending for the 12 annual appropriations bills that would keep nondefense spending flat for fiscal year 2024 and provide only a 1% increase for fiscal year 2025.”
Some of the cuts conservatives want are about social programs related to gender and identity, as well as tightening abortion restrictions. [NPR]
Many people associate “Chicagoland” with television commercials and advertisements, but there was a time when the word brought to mind the Chicago Tribune, my colleagues at WBEZ’s Curious City report.
Robert R. McCormick, the Tribune’s publisher in the 1920s, commissioned novelist James O’Donnell Bennett to write about traveling in the region. The story would come to be titled “Chicagoland’s Shrines: A Tour of Discoveries” — the word’s first appearance in print.
Though the term used to encompass a whole swath of the Midwest, these cities stopped being part of Chicago’s orbit as they grew and developed their own local newspapers.
Today, Chicago Tribune articles and WGN broadcasts still use “Chicagoland,” but good luck finding the term in other media outlets (including WBEZ). [Curious City]
Here’s what else is happening
Western Illinois University revokes, then reinstates scholarships for students of color. [WBEZ]
Lime tests scooters with seats in Chicago. [Chicago Sun-Times]
A piping plover chick found on Montrose Beach is related to Monty, the famous bird that arrived in 2019. [Chicago Tribune]
Beyoncé gave out $10,000 grants to 10 Black-owned businesses while in Chicago last weekend. [WBEZ]
Oh, and one more thing …
You can learn to vogue in Chicago — but be prepared to do your homework, as the dance isn’t just a series of poses and a sick beat, my colleague Erin Allen reports for the Rundown podcast.
The dance form started in New York City’s Black and brown queer communities before it was popularized by Madonna’s song “Vogue.”
Dance studios like TEXTUREDance will teach anyone to vogue, though TEXTUREDance founder and owner Damon Green says anyone who doesn’t share Black or brown queer identities won’t automatically be invited into the voguing community.
“We do get to gatekeep this form, and we get to allow people into it,” Green says. “You want to maintain every aspect of its nature, its heritage, its culture.” [Rundown podcast]
Tell me something good …
I was one of the many people who saw Barbie over the weekend, and it got me thinking about my favorite toys and games as a kid. What were some of yours?
“The pogo stick! My sister got it for her birthday but she never boinged! I took it up and started bouncing like hell. I made competitions for myself, eg 50 bounces without falling off, then 100, then I pogo-ed our front steps, first up and then the challenge! DOWN!
Thanks for all your responses this week! I’m sorry we couldn’t share them all, but it was great hearing from everyone.