Stories by Heather Cherone

(CNN)

Incumbent Democrats Appear to Hold Illinois Congressional Seats, Turning Back GOP Push for Upsets

Drawn by Democrats in the General Assembly and signed into law by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the map was designed to help the party keep control of the U.S. House by sending 14 Democrats and three Republicans to Congress from Illinois. That would represent a gain of one Democratic seat — and a loss of two GOP seats.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez. (WTTW News)

Push to Force Chicago Public Schools CEO to Testify at City Council Committee Hearing Fails

Pedro Martinez, appointed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in September 2021 to lead the Chicago Public Schools, has never answered questions during a City Council meeting.

Brandon Johnson speaks after receiving the backing of SEIU Local 73 in his bid for mayor on Nov. 9, 2022. (WTTW News)

SEIU Local 73 Endorses Brandon Johnson for Mayor, Joining Chicago Teachers Union

Dian Palmer, the president of SEIU Local 73, said Johnson was the “progressive candidate who will unite a multiracial, working-class coalition to unify Chicago into a city that works for all people.”

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, left, and attorney Kathy Salvi appear at the WTTW candidate forum on Oct. 27, 2022. (WTTW News)

Incumbent Sen. Tammy Duckworth Wins 2nd Term in U.S. Senate: AP

Duckworth, 54, was elected to the Senate in 2016 after serving two terms in the U.S House. Salvi, 63, is a Mundelein lawyer who has never before held elected office.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a City Council meeting on Nov. 7, 2022. (WTTW News)

Chicago City Council Approves Lightfoot’s $16.4B Budget After Tense Debate

The budget takes effect Jan. 1, 2023, approximately two months before Mayor Lori Lightfoot is set to ask voters for a second term as Chicago mayor, does not include a property tax hike to keep up with the soaring rate of inflation, or any other tax or fee hikes.

A Chicago Works sign hangs on the fence separating traffic from ongoing work to renovate the Dearborn Street bridge. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

With City Council Poised to Borrow $1.85B to Fund 2nd Phase of Infrastructure Plan, Results of 1st Phase Unclear

Representatives of the city’s Department of Transportation and the Budget Office declined to provide WTTW News with a full breakdown of spending during 2021 and 2022 under the banner of Chicago Works.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot addresses the news media Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. (Heather Cherone/WTTW)

$1.94B Budget for Chicago Police Not Being Used ‘Effectively or Equitably:’ Commission

The 16-page report was the first action of the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability after it finally launched at the end of August, more than eight months behind schedule. A final vote by the Chicago City Council on Lightfoot’s $16.4 billion plan is scheduled for Monday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivers her budget address on Oct. 3, 2022. (WTTW News)

$16.4B Chicago Budget Set for Final Vote as Lightfoot Rebuffs Demands to Create Department of Environment

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to close a projected $170.6 million budget gap in 2023 relies on booming tax revenues that she said proves Chicago’s budget has fully recovered from the economic catastrophe caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brandon Johnson appears on "Chicago Tonight" on Nov. 1, 2022. (WTTW News)

Mass Shooting ‘Example’ of Failures of Lightfoot’s Administration, Says Challenger Brandon Johnson

Brandon Johnson vowed to address the structural inequity that pervades Chicago and fuels violent crime, calling high-performing schools, affordable housing and health care all violence prevention measures.

George Cardenas appears in the WTTW News Voter Guide. (WTTW News)

McKinley Park Ald. George Cardenas Resigns in Preparation to Take Seat on Cook County Board of Review

Although George Cardenas will not take his seat on the Board of Review until January, he said his resignation will take effect Nov. 30, giving the mayor a chance to conduct a “thorough search for his replacement.”

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, left, and attorney Kathy Salvi appear at the WTTW candidate forum on Oct. 27, 2022. (WTTW News)

Tammy Duckworth, Kathy Salvi Spar in Only Joint Forum in Illinois US Senate Race

The Senate candidates faced off in the WTTW studio and wrangled over gun control, abortion and inflation.

Chicago police Superintendent David Brown talks about city crime rates on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (WTTW News)

Top Cop Defends Investigation into Chicago Police Officer’s Ties to Proud Boys

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said he had “zero tolerance” for police officers who are members of hate groups or associate with members of hate groups.

Brandon Johnson greets the crowd at Seward Park as he launches his campaign for mayor. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

Backed by Teachers Union, Brandon Johnson Launches Campaign for Chicago Mayor

Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, 46, launched his campaign in Cabrini Green’s Seward Park, near Jenner Academy Elementary School where he began his teaching career.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot listens during the Oct. 26, 2022, Chicago City council meeting. (WTTW News)

Lightfoot Asks City Council to Approve Annual Pay Raises for Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer to Keep Pace With Inflation

The last time the salary paid to Chicago’s mayor changed was in 2006, under former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel was paid $216,210 in each of the eight years he served as mayor, and Lightfoot will be paid the same through her first term in office.

Members of the Chicago City Council meet on Oct. 26, 2022. (WTTW News)

In Rare Move, City Council Rejects Lightfoot’s Attempt to Name Ally Education Committee Chair

Ald. Sophia King serves as the Education Committee’s vice chair, and was set to become chair under the City Council’s rules before Mayor Lori Lightfoot attempted to replace her with an ally.

(WTTW News)

Decision Not to Fire Police Officer Tied to Proud Boys Alarms Members of Groups Targeted by Far-Right Group

Both Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown have defended the decision to not to terminate the officer. The officer was “thoroughly investigated” and “given a lengthy period of suspension,” Lightfoot said.

Joel Brodsky. (Courtesy of Joel Brodsky)

Drew Peterson’s Former Lawyer Joel Brodsky Launches Bid to Represent Lakeview on Chicago City Council

Joel Brodsky represented Drew Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, when he was convicted in 2012 of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004. Peterson also was a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, who has never been found.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

As Chicago Budget Hearings End, Ratings Agency Gives Lightfoot’s Spending Plan Seal of Approval

The upgrade is likely to boost efforts by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to convince Chicago City Council members to support her budget, which she hopes to pass on Nov. 7.

(WTTW News)

Lightfoot Asks Alderpeople to Identify Vacant Warehouses, Big Box Stores to Shelter Immigrants Arriving from Texas

More than 3,600 immigrants, most of them from Venezuela, have arrived in Chicago since Aug. 31, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent the first bus of 75 people to Chicago. 

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle speaks about the county’s cash assistance program on May 18, 2022. (WTTW News)

More Than 233,000 Apply for 3,250 Spots in Cook County’s Guaranteed Basic Income Program: Preckwinkle

Approximately 62% of applicants have jobs, and nearly half have sought medical attention at a hospital’s emergency room in the past year, officials said. An initial lottery will identify 10,000 applicants to verify the information contained in their applications.

Chicago police Superintendent David Brown talks about city crime rates on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (WTTW News)

Top Cop Defends Decision Not to Fire Chicago Police Officer Who Lied About Ties to Proud Boys

During the Chicago Police Department’s annual budget hearing, under intense questioning from members of the Chicago City Council, Brown said he had “zero tolerance” for police officers who are members of hate groups or associate with members of hate groups.

A mural of Adam Toledo painted by Milton Coronado. (Matt Masterson / WTTW News)

Police Board Will Consider Firing Officer Who Shot Adam Toledo Over Top Cop’s Objection

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, known as COPA, recommended that Officer Eric Stillman be fired for shooting Toledo in the instant that the 13-year-old turned toward him and put his hands in the air, according to the video of the incident.

A residential street in Wicker Park in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Investors ‘Exploiting’ Illinois’ Property Tax Law at Expense of Black, Latino Communities: Study

Thanks to a “little-known loophole,” hedge funds, private equity firms and real estate investors have “siphoned” approximately $280 million from schools, parks, libraries, fire departments and other government agencies between September 2015 and September 2022 in Cook County. 

Lightfoot Defends Decision Not to Fire Chicago Police Officer Who Lied About Ties to Proud Boys

The FBI labeled the Proud Boys as an antisemitic white supremacy organization and several current and former members of the Proud Boys have been charged with seditious conspiracy for their role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

(Regina Shanklin / Pixabay)

Lightfoot’s Promises to Use Federal COVID-19 Relief Funds to Transform Chicago Falling Short: Data

One year after the Chicago City Council approved what Lightfoot calls the Chicago Recovery Plan, city officials have spent just $130.5 million of the $1.227 billion earmarked for a host of programs including affordable housing, mental health, violence prevention, youth job programs and help for unhoused Chicagoans, according to data released as part of the mayor’s 2023 budget proposal.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Police Officer Who Lied About Ties to Proud Boys Won’t Be Fired: Watchdog

The FBI labeled the Proud Boys as an antisemitic white supremacy organization and several current and former members of the Proud Boys have been charged with seditious conspiracy for their role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.