The Week in Review: No School for CPS Kids; City Workers Get Two Hours Off

Chicago Public Schools took Friday off to give families time to get COVID-19 shots on what the mayor is calling “vaccine awareness day.”

CPS is planning more than 100 vaccination events throughout November and December, Martinez said Tuesday. But the district will not be canceling a second day of classes in two weeks to allow kids to get a second dose. Martinez instead said CPS will work with families to make its mobile, school-based and regional clinics open and available so students can get that second vaccine.

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Kyle Rittenhouse’s case goes to the jury next week. The Wisconsin governor has called in the National Guard for fear of violence with a verdict in the teen’s murder trial.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Police Department has also canceled days off to prepare for any civil unrest here with the verdict the Sun-Times reported.

Avis LaVelle resigned her post as president of the Chicago Park District board over the handling of a sex abuse scandal.

An investigation from the Park District’s acting inspector general found at least four lifeguards abused, assaulted and harassed girls at Chicago’s pools and beaches between 2015 and 2020. 

LaVelle, who was appointed to the board in 2011 by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel picked by him to serve as president in 2019, said in a statement that she was “stepping off this stage and on to the next with my head held high and with the knowledge that I have done my best to serve.”

“Let me be clear. I am not being forced out. Mayor Lightfoot did not ask me to resign,” LaVelle said. “She has been resolute in her support of me publicly and privately. For that I am profoundly grateful.”

A spokesperson for the mayor declined to confirm LaVelle's statements. Lightfoot allowed laVelle to stay on as president of the parks board for more than two years.

“I thank Ms. LaVelle for her decades-long service to the City of Chicago,” Lightfoot said in a statement.

Board vice president Tim King, the founder and CEO of the Urban Prep charter schools, will serve as interim president of the Park District board while a search for LaVelle’s replacement is conducted, Lightfoot said.

Mayor Lightfoot slammed COPA for recommending slain police officer Ella French for discipline in the Anjanette Young botched raid report.

The decision to recommend a suspension for slain Chicago officer Ella French was the “height of tone-deafness,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday, two days after a police watchdog agency issued disciplinary recommendations for those involved in the 2019 raid at Anjanette Young’s home.

Lightfoot said the Civilian Office of Police Accountability could have “taken different actions” this week rather than releasing the report, completed in April, which recommended French be disciplined for her conduct in February 2019 even though she was killed in the line of duty this past August.

“As we all know, painfully, Ella French gave her life in service to the city,” the mayor said during an unrelated press conference Friday. “It is disappointing to me in light of that fact, in light of her passing that COPA still felt the need to include her name and a recommendation for discipline.”

French was killed and her partner seriously wounded in a shooting after they pulled over a vehicle in West Englewood on Aug. 7. Emonte Morgan and his brother Eric have since been arrested and charged with her murder.

Back in February 2019, French was one of the officers on scene during the botched raid that left Anjanette Young handcuffed while naked and pleading for help. In its report, COPA recommended significant suspensions or termination for three of the officers on scene.

It also recommended shorter suspensions for five other officers who were at the raid. In its report, COPA found French “failed to timely activate her body-worn camera and failed to document the detention and search” of a man at the scene. After French’s death, Young herself maintained that French was the only officer involved in the raid who showed her any “dignity or respect.”

The sergeant who led the botched raid in February 2019 that left Anjanette Young handcuffed while naked and pleading for help should be fired, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown told the Chicago Police Board.

Sgt. Alex Wolinski violated eight departmental rules when he and six other officers raided Young’s home, handcuffing the naked social worker while ignoring her pleas that they were in the wrong home, according to the charges filed by Brown against the sergeant on Nov. 4.

The Chicago Police Board will begin the lengthy process of considering Brown’s recommendations at a hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 3, according to the Chicago Police Board.

In politics, billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin has promised to fund whoever can beat billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the Sun-Times reported. So, will Kirk Dillard jump in the race for governor for a third time? 

City Council’s Latino and Black caucuses battle over the new ward map.

The Chicago City Council’s Rules Committee held the first of three public hearings on the remapping effort Tuesday afternoon. Committee members heard from just five members of the public, and adjourned less than an hour later. The final two public hearings are set for 3 p.m. Wednesday and 3 p.m. Monday.

While the full City Council is set to meet Nov. 17, Rules Committee Chair Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward) said a special meeting would be held before the Dec. 1 deadline to consider the maps. 

Harris, the mayor’s floor leader, has yet to propose a ward map. Nor has the City Council’s Black Caucus, which is led by Ald. Jason Ervin (28th Ward.) 

Ervin told WTTW News on Thursday that his caucus would not support a map that had fewer than 18 wards with a majority of Black voters.

At the same time, a map released by the Chicago City Council’s Latino Caucus would reduce the number of wards with a majority of Black voters by two to 16 wards, while increasing the number of wards where a majority of voters are Latino from 13 wards to 15 wards.

Groups are also pushing the Chicago City Council to create a ward centered around Chinatown that has a majority of Asian American voters.

Chicago’s Latino population rose 5% from 2010 to 2020, while Chicago’s Black population dropped 10%, according to the 2020 census. At the same time, Chicago’s Asian American population rose 31%.

The people of Chicago are 31.4% white, 29.9% Latino, 28.7% Black and 6.9% Asian, according to the 2020 U.S. census. In 2019, a majority of the 50 alderpeople elected to the Chicago City Council were Black or Latino.

If 10 alderpeople agree on an alternative map — either the one drawn by the Latino Caucus or another group— it would force a referendum that would put the competing maps up to a vote, officials said. The deadline to trigger a special election on ward maps is Dec. 1.

And, with the new Congressional map, Ald. Gilbert Villegas announced he’s running for Congress, the Sun-Times reported.


Ravi Baichwal, ABC 7 News | @BaichwalABC7 @ABC7Chicago

Laura Washington, Chicago Sun-Times, ABC 7 News | @MediaDervish @SunTimes

Greg Pratt, Chicago Tribune | @RoyalPratt @ChicagoTribune

Kim Bellware, Washington Post  | @BellwaK @WashingtonPost  

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