Taken from the mayor's office.
Chicago: December 2, 2019
“Today, I am announcing that I have terminated Eddie Johnson’s employment with the City of Chicago, effective immediately. Upon a thorough review of the materials of the Inspector General’s ongoing investigation, it has become clear that Mr. Johnson engaged in a series of ethical lapses that are intolerable. Mr. Johnson was intentionally dishonest with me and communicated a narrative replete with false statements regarding material aspects of the incident that happened in the early morning hours of October 17. Had I known all the facts at the time, I would have relieved him of his duties as superintendent then and there.
“Perhaps worst of all, Mr. Johnson has misled the people of Chicago. The 13,400 sworn and civilian members of the Chicago Police Department who work hard every day deserve a leader who they can believe in. In public life, we must be accountable for our actions and strive to do better every day. And to achieve the reform and accountability in the department that we know is urgently needed, we require a leader whose actions reflect the integrity and legitimacy of what it means to be a Chicago Police Officer. I am confident that incoming Interim Superintendent Beck is such a leader, and that both he and the eventual permanent superintendent will serve with honor.”
CHICAGO December 2, 2019— To ensure legalized cannabis is implemented in a safe, fair, and equitable manner for all communities, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced that the City of Chicago will host two community information sessions this week to provide community members with opportunities to submit questions, provide public input, and learn more about the upcoming legalization of recreational cannabis in Chicago and statewide starting on Jan. 1, 2020.
These meetings build on continued engagement the City has undertaken to ensure community perspectives are considered as new cannabis regulations are developed. Earlier this year, the City partnered with aldermen and zoning administrators to gain input on zoning regulations, which have been approved by City Council. Approvals on zoning for new cannabis dispensaries and businesses will be taken up only after community meetings are held, starting in 2020.
“From righting the generation-old wrongs of our past to building equitable opportunities for our residents, the legalization of cannabis in Illinois represents nothing short of a historic, transformative moment for all communities in our state," said Mayor Lightfoot. “Transparency and inclusion have been at the heart of our efforts since day one, and these additional community meetings serve an important role in ensuring Chicago’s residents continue to have a voice in shaping smart and effective cannabis regulations to guide implementation next year.”
Led by the Mayor’s Office, the upcoming community meetings will convene advocacy organizations, public safety officials, medical professionals and local legal aid organizations to lead a dialogue regarding efforts future municipal code changes, enforcement reforms, consumption licensing, expungement, and public health education implemented by the City to ensure safe and responsible sales and use of cannabis in Chicago.
Each meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. and take place at the following locations on the South and West Sides of the city:
Representatives from the Mayor’s Office, Chicago Police Department (CPD), Chicago Department of Public Health and local legal aid organizations will conduct presentations on the City’s latest rules and regulations passed at City Council this fall, including CPD’s reformed enforcement policies to reduce fines and decriminalize unlawful consumption or possession of cannabis. Additionally, the City will seek public input from residents on additional factors regarding the upcoming legalization, including onsite cannabis consumption licensing, and ways to further social equity and opportunities for small, local businesses as new policies are created.
Following the presentations, community members will have an opportunity to provide public comment and submit questions. Each meeting will also be live-streamed on Twitter and Facebook @ChicagosMayor to ensure members of the community who are not able to make it to the meetings are able to watch and listen in real-time.
The Mayor’s Office continues to work with community advocates, business leaders, policy experts and cannabis professionals to ensure residents understand the impacts of recreational cannabis ahead of its legalization. Residents are encouraged to visit https://www.chicago.gov/cannabisfactschi to learn more about safe and responsible use of cannabis.
# # #
CHICAGO—Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced the next phase in a series of comprehensive reforms designed to reverse regressive debt collection policies and bring relief to low-income residents. Beginning today, the latest of these reforms will take effect and allow residents to apply for debt forgiveness on City Sticker tickets. Residents who have purchased a City Sticker by October 31, 2019 may be eligible to have at least three of their oldest tickets forgiven and access payment plans with lower down payments and more time to pay.
To apply for debt forgiveness and to learn about the City’s various debt relief programs, a new website, “A New Start Chicago,” launched today making it easier for those with debt to get access to payment plans with a goal of helping them to come into compliance, and stay in compliance. To visit the site, click www.chicago.gov/newstartchicago.
”My administration is relentlessly focused on lifting people out of poverty. So when we first set out to overhaul Chicago’s regressive fines and fees system by making it more equitable for people of all financial circumstances, we made it our mission to remove barriers that trap residents in a cycle of debt,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Since then, we have worked collaboratively with residents and advocates to put together a comprehensive package of reforms that ends some of the most harmful enforcement practices and gives people a pathway to compliance. Today we are building on these efforts by giving residents a chance at getting a new start.”
Beginning today through December 15, the City Sticker Ticket Debt Relief program allows eligible motorists with a valid City Sticker the opportunity to apply to have at least three of their oldest sticker tickets forgiven. Motorists currently compliant with the city sticker can visit the“New Start Chicago” website, to learn about the sticker debt forgiveness application process. Residents who no longer own a vehicle or no longer live in Chicago can also apply for City Sticker debt relief.
The New Start Chicago website provides a menu of information on Mayor Lightfoot’s new payment plans, including hardship qualifications, and other FAQs related to fines and fees reform. Residents will be able to access payment plans with lower down payments and more time to pay, allowing them to get in compliance and stay in compliance. The website also details the Fresh Start program, which offers the chance for residents facing Chapter 7 bankruptcy to have previous debt cleared if they complete a payment plan.
“These new reforms will address the disproportionate impact that fines and fees has been having on low-income communities,” said Reshma Soni, City of Chicago Comptroller. “We believe these changes will provide much needed relief for our most vulnerable residents and lives up to our values as a City to create a fair system that ends the practice of regressive and harmful fines and give everyone a chance to build economic health.”
Providing debt relief for Chicagoans living in poverty is a top priority for the Lightfoot Administration. Earlier this month, the City announced the Utility Billing Relief program, which provides low-income Chicago residents with a reduced rate on their water, sewer and water-sewer taxes without late payment penalties or debt collection activity, including water shut-offs. Debt relief is also being extended to those who consistently remain on a year-long payment plan, without any accrued balance.
In October, the City revealed a new policy to eliminate library late fees and remove outstanding debt for Chicago Public Library patrons, making Chicago the largest city and largest public library system in the United States to eliminate outstanding overdue library fines.
In August, the City passed legislation that ended the practice of referring motorists for driver’s license suspension to the State of Illinois for non-payment of non-driving and vehicle compliance violations. Those reforms also ended the doubling of City Sticker tickets from $200 to $400 for failure to purchase them within a time limit, reinstated the 15-day grace period for City Sticker purchase after expiration, and created more accessible payment plans by lowering down payment entry requirements. The City also extended the time to pay for low-income motorists whose vehicle has been booted.
These reforms are at the center of Mayor Lightfoot’s efforts to provide much needed ticket debt relief and improve the economic health of Chicago’s families and communities. In addition to tackling City Sticker debt with more accessible payment plans, Mayor Lightfoot’s comprehensive fines and fees reforms address the following: makes Chicago Public Libraries fine-free, introduces boot reform policies for those experiencing financial hardship, and overhauls the City Sticker fines structure which has become one of the most regressive penalties residents face, throwing some into a cycle of debt.
# # #
CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) and the Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC) to break ground on a new state-of-the-art facility for the Engine Company 115 fire station in Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood. Building on the city’s continued efforts to provide the latest tools, technology, and training for first responders, the new facility will be the second-largest fire station in the city, housing a CFD District Office, an Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) radio communication tower, and three ambulances.
“From running into burning buildings to coming to our rescue in a time of need, Chicago's firefighters and paramedics are nothing short of superheroes and they deserve nothing more than state-of-the-art resources and equipment to keep our residents safe,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Today represents more than an investment in public safety infrastructure, but also an investment to stimulate growth and new jobs for our south side communities."
With sleeping quarters, locker rooms, a workout facility, full-service kitchen with pantry and dining area and a laundry room, the 27,000-square-foot, single-story fire station will be a home-away-from-home for approximately 20 firefighters/EMTs and eight officers. Additionally, the facility will also feature a state-of-the-art emergency communication hub, watchtower, open office spaces and a 4-bay apparatus room with a hose drying tower.
"The West Pullman community and the department members who will staff this house will reap the benefits of a world-class facility", said Fire Commissioner Richard C. Ford II. "This brand-new firehouse will allow the Chicago Fire Department to more efficiently serve the residents, business owners, and visitors of the South and South East sides of Chicago."
Managed by the PBC, the design and construction of the project will be led by the minority-led firm, UJAMAA/Trice Joint Venture. The $30 million project is expected to support 94 full-time jobs, at least half of which are required to be filled by local Chicago residents as part of the City's ongoing effort to build career opportunities for community members of a project’s surrounding neighborhood areas, both in the construction trades as well as skilled and unskilled workers.
“This state-of-the-art fire station will not only represent a community anchor for West Pullman residents, it will ensure Chicago’s firefighters are better equipped to serve those who live and work in this neighborhood,” said Alderman Carrie Austin. “I look forward to cutting this ribbon and making this vision for our community a reality.”
“This modernly designed space will embody the ‘spirit of service’ of each man and woman who serves as a firefighter or first responder and provide them with the necessary facility to fulfill their mission to promote fire safety, provide emergency care and extinguish fires,” said Carina E. Sanchez, Executive Director of the Public Building Commission.
Anticipated to be open by summer 2020, the new fire station will be built on vacant land located at 119th Street and Morgan Street, replacing the existing Engine Company 115 located at 11940 South Peoria Street.
Mayor's Press Office 312.744.3334
Attached please find press releases announcing various measures introduced to the Chicago City Council today. Below is a list of the releases attached for your convenience:
Attached please find press releases announcing various measures approved by the Chicago City Council today. Below is a list of the releases attached for your convenience:
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Lyft announced today the launch of the Divvy Community Tour, a summer series of events on the city’s South Side. The Divvy Community Tour will provide an opportunity for residents to engage with the Divvy team and inform the next phase of Divvy’s expansion across the city. The City Council approved plans to expand the Divvy bike system to all 50 wards and will add another 10,500 electric-assist bikes (e-bikes) and 175 stations by 2021.
“Chicago is working to expand transportation resources citywide, which is why we’re excited about expanding Divvy with new options for residents who live and work on Chicago’s South Side,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “This community tour will allow us to hear from residents on how to build the best network for Divvy bikes, making it a more accessible transportation option across all neighborhoods.”
Starting later this month, event attendees will also have the first chance to demo the new Divvy e-bikes, which provide an electronic motorized boost to complement traditional pedaling and can be docked at a Divvy station or any other legal bike parking location. There will also be family-friendly events, including live music, complimentary food and soft drinks and activities for kids.
“CDOT is pleased to kick off the community engagement process for Divvy’s expansion,” said CDOT Managing Deputy Commissioner Kevin O’Malley. “The feedback from the community will be instrumental in siting new stations and allow us to hear from residents about what types of bikeways and safety improvements are needed in their neighborhood.”
At each event, Divvy outreach team members and CDOT staff will engage with community members to discuss where Divvy stations and bike racks are needed, and gather feedback on how biking can support the community. Residents across the city are also welcome to visit Divvy's suggest-a-station page to share ideas for new Divvy locations. Users can click on "Suggest station" and leave comments. They can also boost other people's suggested locations with a "like" feature.
Under the expansion plan, Lyft is making a $50 million investment in new bikes, stations and hardware and is also providing the city with an additional $77 million in direct revenue for transportation improvements over a nine-year period.
“Our goal is to engage with Chicago residents at the neighborhood level to learn how we can best support the community’s transportation needs through the Divvy expansion process,” said Lyft’s Head of Micromobility Caroline Samponaro. “The Divvy Community Tour is a fun way to get people together to hear from residents and ensure that we are designing the most equitable bikeshare system possible.”
Divvy Community Tour Event Schedule
CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Choose Chicago announced that for the third year in a row the readers of Condé Nast Traveler have voted Chicago as the best big city in the U.S. Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry.
“This wonderful recognition not only reflects the beauty and excitement of our great city but also our tourism industry’s dedicated efforts to attract people from across the country and around the globe,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Chicago will always roll out the welcome mat for visitors and continue showcasing the sights and sounds of our world-class institutions and cultural life throughout our dynamic neighborhoods and communities, as well as in our magnificent downtown.”
This year, more than 600,000 Condé Nast Traveler readers across the globe submitted a recording-breaking number of responses rating their travel experiences to provide a full snapshot of where and how we travel today. The “Best Big City” category was first added in 2015 with New York nabbing the top spot in 2015 and 2016. Chicago first was voted Best Big City in 2017, repeating the selection in 2018 and has now won for the third year in a row.
“Chicago being named best big city to visit is a true accolade for all of us in Chicago’s hospitality and meetings industry,” said Glenn Eden, chair of Choose Chicago’s Board of Directors. “This recognition validates the momentum that we have been able to build upon these past few years but further underscores the City's impact on the nation and world as a destination that everyone should experience."
The award comes as the city continues to be recognized for its world-renowned culinary scene, including a growing number of Michelin-starred and James Beard award-winning restaurants, the buzz created by the expanded Riverwalk, top rankings of numerous Chicago museums, attractions and tours, a thriving entertainment scene, including the ongoing celebration of the Year of Chicago Theater and the city’s international acclaim for architecture and music. Adding to this momentum, Chicago has opened 26 new hotels in the past four years, including many that are located in emerging neighborhoods, further adding to the breadth and impact of the visitor industry.
“It’s always significant when a leading travel publication and its savvy and knowledgeable readers vote you the number one big city destination in the nation,” said David Whitaker, President & CEO of Choose Chicago. “To be selected now for a third year in a row speaks volumes about the kind of city and destination that Chicago is and the incredible potential that we have to further build on our emerging reputation. It’s also a tribute to the overall effort and investments of so many in our community who are working hard every day to invite, serve, and welcome the world to our home.”
The recognition from Condé Nast readers coincides with a strategic decision three years ago to expand the focus to attract more leisure visitors to Chicago from major feeder markets throughout the United States as well as a concerted effort to garner more overnight visitors. According to hotel occupancy reports generated by Smith Travel Research, Leisure Room Demand (rooms consumed) has grown 14% in the past three years, with the majority of this growth generated from visitors outside of Chicago’s traditional market of nine neighboring states. This growth trend has continued in 2019 as Leisure Room Demand (rooms consumed) is up 4.7% for the first eight months of the year.
Choose Chicago’s recently redesigned website, www.ChooseChicago.com, has generated more than 6.3 million site visits in the first eight months of 2019 representing a year-over-year increase of 10.7%.
About Condé Nast Traveler
Condé Nast Traveler is the world’s most distinguished travel title providing inspiration and advice for discerning travelers. Authoritative and influential, Condé Nast Traveler is a multi-platform, transatlantic brand. Publishing US and UK print editions under Editor-in-Chief Melinda Stevens, Condé Nast Traveler offers award-winning expertise in luxury travel from around the world. For more, visit www.cntraveler.com.
About Choose Chicago
Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. For more information, visit choosechicago.com. Follow @ChooseChicago on Twitter and Instagram @choosechicago. Like us on Facebook.
# # #
CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. today broke ground on Phase One of the Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Project. The largest reconstruction project in the agency's history, CTA's RPM Phase One project is designed to modernize and replace century-old rail structures and stations, effectively improving the reliability, comfort and convenience of CTA service for decades to come. Today's groundbreaking is the latest project to modernize the Red Line, CTA’s busiest line that serves more than 30% of all rail customers.
“Today is a historic day for Chicago transit as we begin the largest project in CTA history to modernize CTA rail service for the next century and rebuild the Red Line, the CTA’s busiest line,” said Mayor Lightfoot. "Public transit is the great connector of our city — and with this monumental project, we are building on our obligation to ensure Chicago’s transportation network is accessible, reliable and affordable for all residents of this city so that our neighborhoods and communities are connected to jobs, education and opportunity."
As part of today's groundbreaking, CTA is beginning construction on the new Red-Purple Bypass to unclog a 100-year-old junction where Red, Purple and Brown Line trains currently intersect. A major component of RPM Phase One, the Bypass construction will also rebuild four Red Line stations and century-old rail structure between the Lawrence and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations.
“CTA customers will see a significant improvement in service with increased accessibility to rail service, less crowding on trains and rail platforms and shorter commute times,” said CTA President Dorval Carter. “The benefits of this project extend beyond riders of the Red Line to Chicago’s neighborhoods and small businesses across the city through training, job and contract opportunities that will be a model for future CTA projects like the Red Line Extension.”
Work performed as part of the $2.1 billion RPM Phase One project will make commuting better for all CTA riders with improved service and modern rail stations that are fully accessible to people with disabilities. All RPM Phase One work will be completed in 2025.
“Chicago’s future depends on our ability to improve our existing infrastructure to meet new demands. The Red-Purple Line Modernization Program will do just that by ensuring the CTA's aging infrastructure can keep pace with the growing demand for its services,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. “Senator Duckworth and I will continue to fight for federal funding to invest in Chicago's transportation infrastructure in order to create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, and strengthen our local economy.”
Rebuilding all Red and Purple Line track structures and stations from Belmont to Linden in Wilmette, the RPM Phase One Project includes three major components:
“The ‘L’ is a critical part of Chicago life, enabling thousands of people to get to work, school, and around the city every day. CTA’s Red Purple Modernization project will target the lines most in need of updating and ensure that the ‘L’ remains a reliable transportation option for all Chicagoans,” said U.S. Representative Mike Quigley. “The benefits of this project will not only improve the lives of those who use the ‘L’ every day but also bring benefits to every community, small business, and resident around the city.”
This fall, CTA’s contractor, Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team, will begin constructing new track structure foundations in the Lakeview community for the bypass bridge that will allow Kimball-bound (northbound) Brown Line trains to cross over north- and southbound Red and Purple Line tracks just north of Belmont station. This will replace the current Clark Junction, built-in 1907 to connect what was then the Ravenswood Line (today called the Brown Line) to the Red and Purple lines, which began rail service in 1900.
“The Red and Purple lines are vital connections for the residents of my district, both in Chicago and the Northern Suburbs,” said U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky. “This historic $1 billion dollar investment in our infrastructure will create hundreds of jobs for people in the Chicagoland area. Upon completion, this project will allow more frequent train service, less crowded trains, and make stations fully ADA accessible.”
The project will be an economic engine for development for neighborhoods in the project corridor and throughout the City of Chicago. RPM has already created 1,400 jobs and is expected to create hundreds of construction jobs annually. In this project and others, CTA has demonstrated its firm commitment to connecting training and career opportunities with a diverse and inclusive workforce.
“The project benefits extend beyond just the 44th Ward, providing faster, more reliable transportation to all communities as well as creating career and small business opportunities across Chicago,” said 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney.
“Today marks the first step in a longterm critical investment that will represent the future of Chicago transit,” said 21st Ward Alderman Howard Brookins, chair of the Committee on Transportation and Public Way.
CTA's Red Line provides more than 200,000 rides on average each weekday and more than 70 million rides a year, serving some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the nation.
# # #
Cultural Affairs and Special Events
Listing for 2019 is now listed.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.
Cultural Affairs and Special Events
Foot note: Well that went well with the teachers union they get a big raise and the citizens get an increased in property taxes
From the Illinois Treasure's Office
©Copyright 2019 International Press Club of Chicago
Brought to you by; internationalpressclubofchicago.world