Mayor Rahm Emanuel, seen here Tuesday talking about gun legislation, will preside over Wednesday’s Chicago City Council meeting.
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The City Council holds its monthly meeting today, with votes expected on a major LED streetlight contract, city-issued IDs for immigrants and the appointment of a new deputy inspector general to audit police reform efforts.
Even if the council gives the go-ahead to the $160 million streetlight contract with energy efficiency company Ameresco, precisely how it gets paid for will remain an open question.
City officials say the costs will be covered with some unspecified mix of borrowing, tax dollars, “other funding sources” and energy savings realized from the project. The project calls for the replacement of 270,000 high-pressure sodium streetlights with LED fixtures over the next four or five years.
Likewise, some of the details of how the city ID cards will work aren’t yet in final form. The measure gives city Clerk Anna Valencia authority to begin the effort intended to help immigrants living in the country illegally and other people who have a tough time getting IDs. But the proposal doesn’t specify what kind of documents someone would need to prove identity, how those documents would be verified and how much the program would cost.
The new deputy inspector general for public safety, criminologist Laura Kunard, was picked by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson. She would audit the city’s Police Department reform efforts — a job seen as more important now that it seems unlikely U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will go to court to get a federal judge to oversee those changes.
Also on the agenda is Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to place tougher restrictions on so-called party buses after the involvement of several presumably intoxicated passengers in shooting incidents. Under the latest version, bus operators would have to install security cameras on the vehicles and hire security guards to ride buses with large groups who will be drinking. Banning guns on the buses has been left out.
Aldermen also are expected to vote on an ordinance that would allow gun ranges in more areas of the city, a change that comes after a federal appellate court struck down tougher restrictions. And aldermen could consider a change to no longer require independent contractors working for aldermen to disclose who else is paying them, abide by the city code of conduct or obey strict limits on outside gifts. (Hal Dardick)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Emanuel will preside over the Chicago City Council meeting.
*Gov. Bruce Rauner will talk about "changes to move Illinois foward" at a noon event in Elk Grove Village.
*The Chicago Board of Ethics meets in the afternoon. They’re scheduled to consider another 25 cases, all but one billed as involving unreported or unregistered lobbying. The new influx of cases comes after a Chicago Tribune report showed that Mayor Emanuel’s personal email accounts served as a private avenue of influence where executives and investors sought favorable action from City Hall, raising questions about whether some of the messages crossed the line into lobbying and violated the city’s ethics law.
*An abortion rights group will hold a Chicago news conference to blast Gov. Rauner for his recent pledge to veto a House bill that would quickly alter state law in the event the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
*A Cook County judge will hold a hearing on Chicago Public Schools’ lawsuit against the state alleging the state discriminates against its largely impoverished and minority students and violates Illinois civil rights law by contributing more money to teacher pensions outside CPS than it does to the district.
The district has asked the judge to issue a preliminary injunction that bars the state from distributing education dollars in what the district alleges to be a racially discriminatory matter.
*State House and Senate committees will hold a hearing in Chicago on a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
From the notebook
*Panic buttons for hotel staff? Employees working alone in Chicago hotels would have to be issued panic buttons to warn security of harassment or sexual assault as part of a new proposed ordinance aldermen hope will give housekeepers an added feeling of safety if they encounter potentially dangerous situations in guests’ rooms.
Hotels also would be required to post sexual harassment and assault policies and promise no retaliation against workers who report encountering such treatment in a bid to overcome the stigma and shame that often causes such employees not to report it. The plan is set to be introduced to the City Council on Wednesday.
Estella, a worker at a Chicago hotel who did not give her last name, talked at a City Hall news conference about twice entering rooms to clean them only to find guests inside naked and masturbating.
Ald. Michelle Harris, 8th, said women often second-guess themselves and opt to just get on with their lives rather than report such incidents to authorities.
“It’s a fear, it’s a shame and it’s the ability for you to be — as a victim — raked across the coals to kind of prove what’s happened to you,” Harris said. “The fact that you may have to fight, not physically fight but mentally fight, and be very aggressive in telling your story and getting people to believe that you are not at fault or you did not contribute to the incident."
The head of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association and the head of the American Hotel & Lodging Association issued a joint statement Tuesday noting the steps they have already taken to protect employees from sexual harassment and assault, and saying they haven’t yet seen the proposed ordinance.
“While we will await to see the final ordinance when it is introduced, we hope the elected representatives of the people of Chicago give this matter serious thought and work together with our industry to ensure commonsense policies that empower employees, maintain the proper role of law enforcement and provide a safe working environment,” the statement reads in part.
As with most city rules, the city would have to choose to enforce them to make sure hotels comply. Hotels that don’t provide the panic buttons and adhere to the other parts of the measure would face fines of $250 to $500. (John Byrne)
*Rauner’s ad: Gov. Rauner’s press shop didn’t shed much light when asked why last week’s two-day statewide tour was paid for by the campaign while similar stops Monday in Moline and Peoria were paid for by taxpayers.
On Tuesday, a clearer answer emerged: The governor was filmed during the tour, and the Illinois Republican Party promoted a web ad with footage.
The short commercial clocks in at over three minutes, and features generic uplifting music and plenty of sound bites from the governor.
*Diamond birthday for Madigan: A happy 75th birthday to longtime Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, who came into this world on April 19, 1942, according to his official bio.
The World War II baby was first elected to the House in November 1970 and convinced his Democratic colleagues to elect him speaker in 1983 (he was minority leader or majority leader for six years before that). As is often mentioned, Madigan has served as speaker for all but two years since then. (The Newt Gingrich-led GOP landslide in November 1994 swept Democrats out of power, but Madigan rebounded in 1996 to regain control of the chamber.)
If Madigan keeps control of the House and his chief nemesis, Republican Gov. Rauner, wins re-election next year, their historic stalemate conceivably could last through 2022. The speaker would turn 80 that year.
Rauner, for the record, just turned 61.
What we’re writing
*Trump returns to "America first" message in Kenosha speech.
*What we know about Trump’s "Buy American, Hire American" plan.
*Blagojevich’s lawyers: "Government wants him to apologize for crimes he didn’t commit."
*Chicago aldermen want their consultants exempt from ethics rules.
*Emanuel leaves gun ban out of party bus crackdown.
*Moody’s downgrades NEIU, warns of credit declines for 6 schools.
*Pharmacy lobbyists object to workplace rules proposed by City Council.
*Cook County jury awards $350,000 in damages in fatal CPD shooting of black teen.
*Rauner moves out of governor’s mansion during repairs.
*Chicago violence summit in Washington doesn’t include many Chicagoans.
*Challenger concedes to Bolingbrook incumbent mayor in race where Trump was issue.
What we’re reading (All-food edition)
*15 food award parties and dinners to put on your calendar.
*McDonald’s, fast-food chains find antibiotic-free beef, pork hard to deliver.
*Chicago’s best Mexican food.
Follow the money
*Here are the first-quarter campaign finance reports for the candidates for governor: Republican Gov. Rauner; Democrats Daniel Biss, Bob Daiber, Chris Kennedy, Ameya Pawar and J.B. Pritzker.
*And here is Mayor Emanuel’s report.
*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.
*Aircraft carrier wasn’t en route to near North Korea as U.S. suggested.
*Pence assures Japan: America is with you "100 percent."
*Homeland Security chief says congressional critics should "shut up" or change laws.
*Post-Brexit, British prime minister calls for early election.
*Democrat on way to forcing runoff in Georgia Republican district special election viewed as referendum on Trump.