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Police crime scene tape hangs from a fence post on the southeast corner of the N. 900 block of Pulaski road in Humboldt Park on June 17, 2024.

Jim Vondruska/For the Chicago Sun-Times

The Rundown: Mayor Johnson responds to weekend violence

Plus, Pizza Hut sells tavern-style pies now. Here’s what you need to know today.

Good afternoon! Here’s when downtown streets will begin reopening now that this year’s NASCAR race is over. And here’s what else you need to know today.

1. Mayor Johnson hardened his stand on gun violence after more than 100 people were shot over the holiday weekend

Mayor Brandon Johnson took an unfamiliar, tough-on-crime approach this morning and vowed to hold gunmen accountable after 19 people were killed and 86 others injured in shootings over the extended Fourth of July weekend, my colleagues Tom Schuba, Sophie Sherry and Fran Spielman report for the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I will not stand idly by. We will not be passive in this moment,” he said. “We need to ensure that we are holding every single individual accountable for the pain and trauma and the torment that they have caused in this city. There will be consequences for the violence. We will not let criminal activity ruin and harm our city.”

The holiday violence included four mass shootings in Greater Grand Crossing, the Near West Side, Douglas and Austin. Twenty-four people were shot, four fatally, in those attacks.

As of this morning, there hadn’t been arrests in any of the weekend’s fatal shootings. [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. The Chicago Teachers Union criticized CPS leadership over the state of contract negotiations

The union called Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez a “Lightfoot Leftover” and isn’t ruling out a potential strike vote if they don’t see progress in bargaining by the end of the summer, my colleagues Nader Issa and Sarah Karp report.

“Hopefully, we won’t face that,” CTU Vice President Jackson Potter said in an interview. “Part of us raising our concerns in an animated and sharp way right now is because we want to do everything in our power to avoid that kind of impasse.”

The union is under pressure to deliver a good contract for its members, especially after spending big money to get former CTU organizer Brandon Johnson elected mayor. But the school district faces a budget deficit of more than $400 million and even more in future years. And lobbying efforts by the mayor’s office, CPS and CTU for more state funding didn’t yield results this spring.

School district officials say they plan to ramp up negotiations to two full days per week and agreed to public bargaining sessions for the first time. [Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ]

3. What President Joe Biden told Rep. Jan Schakowsky about his staying in the race

The Illinois representative, who strongly urged Democrats on MSNBC to stop calling for Biden to step aside and unite behind the Biden-Harris ticket, said the president called her to express his appreciation when she got home from the TV appearance, Lynn Sweet reports for the Chicago Sun-Times.

“We can do this, and I’d really like you to come to the White House next week,” Schakowsky says Biden told her during the call.

Schakowsky, a veteran of decades of campaigns, said she would like to take Biden up on his offer — and that she has ideas to share with his staff to make Biden “look better and stronger.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

Biden has told Democrats he will not be leaving the race despite his poor debate performance. [NPR]

4. NASCAR Chicago Street Race concerts drew sparse crowds

Even before attendance numbers for the event were released, one thing was clear over the weekend: Barely anyone showed up for the music, Selena Fragassi writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Though NASCAR offered big names like Keith Urban, The Chainsmokers, The Black Keys and Lauren Alaina, the crowds at Festival Field were a fraction of those at other Grant Park festivals, including Lollapalooza.

Some festivalgoers told the Sun-Times the music didn’t add anything to the racing festivities, and others critiqued the choice of artists.

“I think the music missed the mark completely to appeal to a Chicago audience … Country music is not a big part of Chicago,” and attendee from the Chicago area said. “They’re appealing more to the Southern NASCAR audience with the music rather than our tastes.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. A naming contest is underway for four newly hatched piping plovers

Organizations taking care of the chicks will accept suggestions through Thursday, WTTW reports.

Each entry can include up to four names, which “should reflect Chicago’s heritage, culture and diversity. Names of elected officials or political figures will not be accepted,” the station reports.

Wildlife officials monitoring the plovers will ID each chick with a band with unique numbers or dot colors to tell the birds apart.

The chicks belong to Imani and Searocket, who returned to Montrose Beach this summer. The beach has been a sanctuary for piping plovers since the famed Monty-and-Rose duo was spotted there in 2019. [WTTW]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Hurricane Beryl weakened to a tropical storm after flooding coastal Texas communities and knocking out power for more than 2 million people. [NPR]
  • Boeing accepted a plea deal to avoid a criminal trial over the recent 737 Max plane crashes. [AP]
  • The French legislature was split between the left, center and far right after yesterday’s elections. [AP]
  • Entertainment companies Paramount and Skydance merged. [AP]

Oh, and one more thing …

Pizza Hut now sells Chicago tavern-style pies, Block Club reports.

Crust Fund Pizza’s John Carruthers tried out the national chain’s new offerings so you don’t have to. He ordered the cheese, spicy chicken sausage, ultimate and custom options.

The verdict?

These pizzas don’t come close to what local spots have to offer — but the national rollout is a good thing because “it’s a universal good if cheap, widely available tavern-style pizza turns more folks on to the style and stems the tide of deep dish jokes at family Thanksgivings nationwide.” [Block Club Chicago]

Tell me something good …

It’s no surprise Pizza Hut’s new tavern style isn’t as good as our local options. So I’m wondering, what’s your favorite place to get tavern-style pizza in the Chicago area?

Feel free to email me and your response may be included in the newsletter this week.

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