The Spin: Chicago’s puppy mill loophole is closed | David Brown marks one year as Chicago police superintendent | It’s ‘full steam ahead’ on plans for city casino, Lightfoot says

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Chicago Tribune staff, Chicago Tribune
·7 min read
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It’s been a year since the Chicago City Council confirmed David Brown as the city’s police superintendent. It’s been pretty much uphill since then.

Meanwhile, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx acknowledged in an interview with the Tribune today that she had not viewed video of the Adam Toledo fatal police shooting before prosecutors gave their first description of the killing.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the city is now “full steam ahead” with plans to bring a casino. There’s still a long way to go, but the Lightfoot administration today put out a request for proposals from would-be Chicago casino operators today.

And, a long-standing loophole in the city’s anti-puppymill ordinance, exposed by a Tribune investigation, has been closed. That means Chicago pet stores are prohibited from passing off high-priced purebred and designer dogs as rescue animals.

Welcome to The Spin.

Chicago police Superintendent David Brown’s first year saw unending challenges

“David Brown’s first year as Chicago police superintendent started in a time of unprecedented difficulty for his new city, and it was only a trying, uphill path from there.

“Brown immediately had to navigate the Police Department through the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, with some 2,000 officers eventually being stricken with the virus and four losing their lives. He has had to constantly retool as the city continues to deal with violence levels rarely seen since the 1990s.

“He has faced criticism from the city’s government watchdog for his department’s poor response to unrest following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. He has had to convince longtime critics of Chicago police that he’s serious about reforming the embattled department by adhering to a federally mandated consent decree to professionalize a force of more than 12,000.

“And once again, all eyes are on the Chicago Police Department as it grapples with another fatal shooting of a teen by one of its officers. The March 29 shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, whose final moments were captured on graphic video footage, sparked protests, vigils and exacerbated the divide between his department and Chicago’s minority neighborhoods.

“Brown was confirmed by the Chicago City Council a year ago Thursday, though to many — perhaps including him — it might seem like much longer ago. Now, with warm months looming, Brown faces a crucial stretch of proving himself to Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the rest of the city.” Read the rest of Tribune reporter Jeremy Gorner’s recap here.

All Chicago mass COVID-19 vaccination sites to open for walk-in appointments starting Friday

From the Tribune’s Alice Yin and Jenny Whidden: “Citing a long-awaited increase in COVID-19 vaccine supply, Chicago’s public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady on Thursday said all city mass vaccination sites will accept walk-in appointments starting Friday.

“The locations, which include the United Center site that is run in conjunction with the federal government, will open up access in order to accommodate residents who don’t want to or cannot schedule appointments ahead of time, Arwady said during a Thursday question-and-answer session. The announcement comes after three Cook County mass vaccination sites in the south suburbs — Matteson, Summit and Tinley Park — also opened up to walk-ins this week.”

At last count, “50.99% of Illinois residents 16 and older have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, state officials said. The number of residents who have been fully vaccinated — receiving both of the required shots, or Johnson & Johnson’s single shot — reached 3,572,205, or 28.04% of the total population.” Read the rest here.

* Chicago nursing homes had 22 COVID-19 infections among the fully vaccinated, CDC report says, making ‘breakthrough’ infections rare. Story here.

* Will County clinic reports more vaccines than appointments: ‘There’s no interest in the younger crowd.’ Read more.

* Illinois COVID-19 questions answered: Do vaccinated people still need to wear masks outdoors? My period is abnormal after receiving my vaccination. Why? Answers here.

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Supporters of union-backed energy bill that benefits ComEd question audit from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office that called for lower nuclear plant subsidies

“State lawmakers sponsoring a union-backed proposal that could raise ComEd customers’ bills sought to poke holes Thursday in a study commissioned by Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office that argues for smaller subsidies for two nuclear plants owned by the utility’s parent company.

“During a Senate committee hearing Thursday, Democratic Sen. Michael Hastings of Frankfort and Republican Sen. Sue Rezin of Morris, both sponsors of the labor-backed energy bill, questioned the assumptions in the governor’s audit and the credibility of the outside experts hired to prepare it.

“Because the report from Massachusetts-based Synapse Energy Economics was created using internal Exelon data, large portions were blacked out before it was released to lawmakers and the public.

“‘I find that to be extremely problematic and unprofessional, quite honestly,’ Hastings said during the hearing of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee.

“The push for additional subsidies for Exelon comes nine months after ComEd admitted in federal court that it engaged in a yearslong bribery scheme aimed at winning support for favorable legislation in Springfield, including a successful push in 2016 for a nuclear plant bailout.” Read the rest from Tribune reporter Dan Petrella here.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot says city’s ‘full steam ahead’ on path to a Chicago casino, but a long road lies ahead

“The city is ‘full steam ahead’ on the road to a Chicago casino, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said this week, while also laying out significant steps that still need to be cleared before the mega-gambling emporium could open, years into what would be her second term.”

The Lightfoot administration on Thursday “put out a request for proposals from would-be Chicago casino operators, asking them to present their full visions for the location and scope of the facility in packages the mayor will use to pick her preferred plan.

“The proposal would then go to the City Council and state gambling regulators for approval.

“If all goes well, the new casino would open in 2025, though there would be slot machines at Chicago airports and likely a temporary casino somewhere in the city much earlier, as the mayor counts on gambling revenue to help close huge police and fire pension shortfalls.” Read Tribune reporter John Byrne’s story here.

* Delivery fee cap for Chicago restaurants lapses, alderman seeks to reinstate it. Story here.

Puppy mill loophole closed: Chicago pet stores banned from passing off purebred, designer dogs as rescues

From the Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair and Christy Gutowski: “Pet stores in Chicago can no longer pass off high-priced purebred and designer dogs as rescue animals under new restrictions that close a long-standing loophole in the city’s anti-puppy mill ordinance, a furtive practice exposed by a Tribune investigation.

“Under 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins’ revamped measure, stores will be permitted to sell only shelter dogs for a nominal fee. The price restrictions would make it harder for brokers and breeders to exploit the law and pass off commercially bred dogs as shelter animals, as some have done in recent years.” Read more here.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx acknowledges she did not see video of Adam Toledo shooting or read errant statement before court hearing

From the Tribune’s Megan Crepeau: “Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had not yet seen the footage of 13-year-old Adam Toledo’s fatal shooting at the time prosecutors were giving their first description of his killing by police, Foxx told the Tribune on Thursday.

“And, contrary to what Foxx said was standard practice in such high-profile cases, she did not review the words of that now-controversial description before it was read in court.

“‘I recognize the significant public interest in this case, the horrific end of a life for a 13-year-old boy at the time when police engagement is under tremendous scrutiny,’ Foxx said. ‘And (I recognize) that our version of events at that time was the only version of events that people had, and people give great trust to that.’

“The office has been under heavy fire for a week after publicly disavowing their in-court statement about Toledo’s shooting, saying they should not have phrased it in a way that could imply Toledo was armed at the moment an officer shot him.” Read the rest of the story here.

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