Stories by heather cherone

New Chicago Property Assessment Pushes Tax Burden from Homeowners to Businesses, Assessor Fritz Kaegi Says

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 22, 2019.

The value of commercial properties increased 56% from 2018 to 2021, compared with 10% for single-family homes and small apartment buildings, according to the data released by the Cook County assessor’s office. That could result in a consequential change in how Cook County’s property tax burden is carved up. 

Lightfoot Moves Up Weekend Curfew for Teens to 10 p.m. After Downtown Violence

Mayor Lori Lightfoot addresses downtown violence on May, 16, 2022. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday she had no choice but to act after the murder of 16-year-old Seandell Holliday just before 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the heart of Millennium Park amid what Lightfoot called “chaos and unnecessary violence.” 

Chicago City Council Votes 43-7 to Approve New Ward Map After Racially Polarizing Debate

Members of the Chicago City Council meet on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (WTTW News)

While the map set to take effect in time for the next round of municipal elections in 2023 has been the subject of more public scrutiny than any other revised map in Chicago’s history, it still allows incumbent alderpeople to pick their own voters and punish their enemies.

After 16-Year-Old is Killed in Millennium Park, Lightfoot Bans Unaccompanied Minors After 6 p.m. on Weekends

A Chicago Police Department vehicle is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

Seandell Holliday, 16, was shot around 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the chest near The Bean in the heart of Millennium Park and downtown, according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Chicago Ward Map Backed by Black Caucus Set for Approval

(WTTW News)

If approved at a special City Council meeting set for 11:30 a.m. Monday, the map will be the second major piece of legislation that would have failed to pass without the support of some of the City Council’s most progressive members.

Rosa Escareño Tapped as Permanent Head of Chicago Park District Amid Scandal Aftermath

Rosa Escareño appears on Chicago Tonight on July 31, 2021. (WTTW News)

Rosa Escareño planned to retire in July as commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection after 30 years with the city, but agreed to lead the beleaguered park district after the scandal erupted.

State Rep. Kam Buckner Launches Bid for Chicago Mayor, Offering a Progressive Challenge to Lightfoot

State Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, announces his campaign for mayor on May 12, 2022. (WTTW News)

Buckner told WTTW News he decided to run for mayor because Chicago needs a leader who is “fearless and compassionate.”

Three-Peat: Chicago Ranks No. 1 In Corruption, Report Finds

(DesignOil / Pixabay)

“The sheer number and political stature of the Illinois elected officials and business leaders who were implicated, indicted or convicted in the 2020 is staggering,” University of Illinois at Chicago professor and former 44th Ward Ald. Dick Simpson said.

City Expands Eligibility for Lead Service Line Program Again, as Program Stutters

A water lead testing kit. (WTTW News)

Lead service lines connect approximately 400,000 Chicago homes with water mains buried under city streets, and can leach a brain-damaging chemical into drinking water. 

Biden Pledges to Replace All 400,000 Lead Service Lines in Chicago

President Joe Biden pledged Wednesday to replace all 400,000 lead service lines in Chicago, saying Mayor Lori Lightfoot had urged him to make it a high priority. (WTTW News)

The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill approved in November 2021 includes $15 billion to fund lead service line replacement efforts and $3 billion is set to flow to states and cities in 2022. A Biden administration plan calls for all of the lead service lines to be removed in a decade. That would cost $45 billion.

Lightfoot’s Casino Pick Not a Done Deal, City Council Members Say

(WTTW News)

While Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her administration have touted the proposal from Bally’s as the most lucrative proposal the city received and said the casino would be an “iconic” addition to Chicago’s riverfront, members of the City Council continue to greet those claims with skepticism.

Despite Calls for Reform, Chicago Ward Map Deal Once Again Protects Incumbents, Punishes Losers

(WTTW News)
Chicago city council members say that — after a lot of haggling — they have an agreement on a new ward map. This means there are likely 41 votes in council to confirm what the wards will look like for the next ten years, and it will not be put to the voters in a public election. But some good government groups have blasted the proposal as another typical backroom deal.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Casino Pick Gets Cool Reception from Chicago City Council Members

Bally’s casino and resort would be built on what is now the Chicago Tribune printing plant and newsroom near Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street. (Provided)

While members of the Lightfoot administration touted the proposal from Bally’s as the most lucrative proposal the city recieved and said the casino would be an “iconic” addition to Chicago's riverfront, nearly all members of a special City Council committee formed to consider the plan greeted those claims with skepticism.

Tentative Agreement Reached on Chicago Ward Map Backed by Black Caucus

Members of the Chicago City Council meet on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (WTTW News)

To avert the first ward map referendum since 1992, 41 alderpeople must agree on a map no later than May 19, the deadline for the June 28 primary election ballot to be finalized.

Chicago to Use $500K to Ensure Access to Abortions, Lightfoot Says

Mayor Lori Lightfoot addresses the news media Tuesday April 19, 2022. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has vowed to ensure Chicago remains a safe haven for women seeking an abortion or other reproductive health care.

Step Aside, Iowa, New Hampshire: Illinois Democrats to Compete for Early Presidential Primary

(Regina Shanklin / Pixabay)

Illinois’ population closely represents the nation as a whole, whether measured by race, age, income or education, U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Chicago), the chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois, wrote to Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison, adding that Illinois not only includes Chicago, but also rural areas devoted to agriculture dotted by small towns.

COVID-19 Poses ‘Medium’ Risk Across Chicago, Cook County: Federal Health Officials

(WTTW News)

Residents of seven northeast Illinois counties — McHenry, Lake, Cook, Kendall, DuPage, Will and Grundy — face a medium level of COVID-19 risk, according to the CDC. Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Chicagoans should consider the CDC’s medium level of risk warning as “a yellow light of caution.”

Lightfoot Shows Her Cards, Picks Bally’s Casino Proposal in River West

Bally’s casino and resort would be built on what is now the Chicago Tribune printing plant and newsroom near Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street. (Provided)

Lightfoot’s support for a casino on what is now the Chicago Tribune printing plant and newsroom near Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street will bounce the roulette ball to the Chicago City Council to consider Bally’s plan.

3 Years After Watchdog Warned Police Gang Databases Were ‘Deeply Flawed,’ New System Yet to Launch

(WTTW News)

Police officials, including Superintendent David Brown, have repeatedly told members of the Chicago City Council that the new gang database — dubbed the Criminal Enterprise Information System — would be up and running shortly, only to see those deadlines repeatedly missed without explanation. 

Chicago Unveils Bid to Host 2024 Democratic National Convention

An image from the video released by the committee announcing Chicago's bid for the 2024 convention. (Credit: Chicago 2024)

A convention hosted in Chicago would “invite the nation to explore the Land of Lincoln and Obama,” Gov. JB Pritzker said. 

Chicago’s New Inspector General Vows to Not ‘Back Down From Difficult Questions’

Deborah Witzburg appears on “Chicago Tonight” on May 2, 2022. (WTTW News)

Inspector General Deborah Witzburg vowed to tackle Chicago’s “legitimacy deficit” by holding city officials who abuse the public trust accountable while working to reform the Chicago Police Department in order to reduce violence. 

‘I Fear No One’: Lightfoot Welcomes Re-Election Challenge Amid Spate of Downtown Violence

Mayor Lori Lightfoot addresses the news media Monday, May 2, 2022. (Heather Cherone / WTTW News)

“I’ll take on all comers,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a news conference Monday afternoon. “I fear no one.”

Mike Quigley Won’t Run for Mayor — But Says He Would Have Beaten Lightfoot

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Nov. 25, 2019. (WTTW News)

While weighing a bid for mayor, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley said a poll he conducted showed he would force Mayor Lori Lightfoot into a runoff and beat her by 10 percentage points.

45th Ward Superintendent Charged with Trying to Sell Illegal Machine Gun

Ald. Jim Gardiner declined to respond to questions from WTTW News about the reports of an FBI probe while at City Hall on Tuesday for a meeting of the Chicago City Council. (WTTW News)

Charles Sikanich is accused of trying to sell an MP-40 fully automatic machine gun, which is illegal to possess in Illinois, to an undercover ATF agent while on the clock in a city vehicle, according to Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. 

City Council Approves Lightfoot’s $12.5M Plan to Give Away $150 Gas Cards, $50 CTA Passes By 26-23 Vote

(WTTW News)

The program was narrowly approved after several members blasted Lightfoot’s plan as an election-year stunt that would benefit oil companies without offering Chicagoans real relief from the pain at the pump.

90,000 Chicagoans Apply for Chicago’s Guaranteed Basic Income Program in 24 Hours: Lightfoot

(benscripps / Pixabay)

The $31.5 million program has enough funding to send just 5,000 Chicago families $500 per month for 12 months, officials said.