The week that was in Chicago politics and government (October 22-26).
Chicago and Cook County News
We reported Wednesday from the Chicago City Council budget hearings, where aldermen scrutinized Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy, but did not fully push the idea that the city should spend more money on police hires. Aldermen asked mostly informational questions about a budget presented this month from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
One idea that did emerge from McCarthy's testimony is that private downtown businesses could hire off-duty cops.
Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th), head of the city council education committee, pledged to hold a hearing on possible Chicago Public School closings.
Twenty Walmart workers sued the company and two Chicago area staffing agencies, Labor Ready Midwest and QPS Employment Group, for alleged failure to pay overtime and less than the minimum wage on Monday. PI examined Thursday why there has been several recent anti-Walmart actions in Chicago and nationwide.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn stumped this week for Illinois 10th House district candidate Lance Tyson, a member of the ad hoc Unity Party who is running against federally indicted Derrick Smith, the Democratic nominee. Despite the federal probe and an expulsion from the Illinois House, Smith is ahead in the polls.
We looked Thursday at an election day referendum concerning public employee pensions. The measure would, if approved by voters, install a state constitutional amendment to raise the number of legislative votes needed to pass pension increases for public employees.
Early voting began in Illinois this Monday, and is open to any registered voter with a valid photo ID. Cook County Clerk David Orr said that turnout was higher in the first day of early voting compared to the 2008 election.
Foreclosures are up statewide as the Illinois housing market continues to show little signs of recovery.
Joliet City Manager Tom Thanas has met with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Washington, D.C. regarding a possible immigrant detention center in the Will County city. The village of Crete killed a similar ICE detention center plan in June.
With the election less than two weeks away, President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney held their final debate Monday night. The debate was on foreign policy, but both candidates often steered the discussion to economic issues.
One matter Romney and Obama clashed over was outsourcing. PI looked Wednesday at how outsourcing, particularly of manufacturing jobs, has emerged as a central part of both the presidential race and 17th congressional district race between U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) and Democratic challenger Cheri Bustos of Moline. Locally, the issue has focused on 170 jobs at the Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport moving to China.
A major Republican fundraiser will be held next Friday in Chicago for Romney and Republican congressional hopefuls.
On Friday, the Chicago Tribune gave their endorsement to President Obama. The newspaper applauded the president for his work in foreign affairs and his steadfast approach to the U.S. economic crisis.
A Chicago Tribune/WGN poll released Friday has Democratic U.S. House candidate Tammy Duckworth enjoying a ten-point lead over U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-McHenry) in Illinois' 8th district race for Congress.
The Walsh-Duckworth race has been nationally watched, and we noted Monday that neither candidate is focused on issues of specific interest to 8th district voters.
U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Hinsdale) and Democratic challenger Bill Foster of Naperville debated Wednesday night on several issues that have cropped out of their tight 11th congressional district race, including gay marriage and immigration.
PI took a closer look Tuesday at the Biggert-Foster race, a contest where both candidates are using national money to run local attack ads.
We reported Friday on the flurry of congressional campaign ads running across Illinois. The outcome of at least five different congressional races in the Land of Lincoln are still in question, and many ads of late have appealed to older voters by focusing on Social Security and Medicare.
Democratic congressional candidate Brad Schneider and U.S. Rep. Robert Dold had their own debate on Tuesday, with each candidate following their party's line on the Bush tax cuts. PI looked more Friday on what Schneider might do if elected to Congress.
Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Chicago) returned to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for further treatment this week. Jackson, who has been on medical leave since June, recently sent out a robo call to his 2nd district constituents, stating, "I am human. I am doing my best."