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Morning Spin

Chicago Tribune

Wednesday, October 11, 2017  |  Editorial  |  Editorial Board

The City Council on Wednesday will consider a financial plan Mayor Rahm Emanuel hopes will cut annual debt payments by tens of millions of dollars and help him close the city’s budget hole.

Some aldermen have complained they have too little information on how exactly the “securitization structure” would work and how much money it would save. Without a detailed analysis, Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, has said the proposal amounts to “playing Russian roulette with hundreds of millions of tax dollars a year.”

But there’s no appetite on the council for a broader tax hike of the kind the mayor has used to balance the budget in recent years, especially with Cook County commissioners on the brink of repealing county board President Toni Preckwinkle’s sweetened beverage tax in the face of overwhelming taxpayer anger. So Emanuel’s plan is likely to pass.

Also on the council agenda are tougher work rules for pharmacists, requiring them to take more breaks and fill fewer prescriptions per hour following a Chicago Tribune investigation that showed pharmacists in many cases failed to warn people who picked up pairs of drugs that could be harmful or fatal if taken together.

Aldermen also will consider new rules setting stricter affordable housing standards for some hot neighborhoods around downtown and on the near West and Northwest sides. The Emanuel administration argues the ordinances will help working-class families keep living in gentrifying areas like Humboldt Park and West Town. But some housing advocates say they don’t do nearly enough to keep rents affordable there.

And the council will consider two sets of hotel rules. One would hold the facilities accountable for securing and monitoring off-limits areas like kitchens and closed swimming pools, a response to the death of 19-year-old West Side woman Kenneka Jenkins last month in a walk-in freezer in a hotel in suburban Rosemont.

And they’re set to vote on a measure to require hotels to equip some workers with panic buttons so they can quickly call for help if they are being harassed or assaulted by guests in rooms. Hotels would also have to post sexual harassment policies and guarantee employees they would not face reprisals if they made complaints about harassment.

Aldermen are also set to approve the sale of an 18-acre city truck facility near Goose Island to developer Sterling Bay for $104.7 million, part of Emanuel’s move to transform a huge industrial corridor along the Chicago River by allowing builders to put in more lucrative residential, business and retail properties. Sterling Bay agreed to at least 12 acres of park space in land it will develop along the stretch, helping earn the support of local Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd. The city facility will be moved to Englewood. (John Byrne)



What's on tap

*Mayor Emanuel will preside over the Chicago City Council meeting.

*Gov. Bruce Rauner will attend a Chicago Southland Convention and Visitor Bureau meeting at the Oak Lawn Conference Center at noon. In the evening, he'll go to the Chicago Public Library Literacy Awards Dinner at the UIC Forum and later welcome a Chicago Honor Flight back to Midway Airport.

*The Cook County Board meets and likely will repeal its controversial sweetened beverage tax. Board President Toni Preckwinkle will preside.

*U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin will hold a news conference on gun control legislation.

*Democratic State Rep. Juliana Stratton, J.B. Pritzker’s running mate, will speak at a National Louis University restorative justice forum in the evening.

*The Chicago Park District will meet at Theater on the Lake. Raising Chicago History Museum fees is on the agenda.

*Ald. David Moore will hold a City Hall news conference to call for a hearing on what he described as the Water Department's "racist culture."



What we're writing

*Cook County pop tax one step away from repeal after 15-1 test vote.

*Lake County Republicans moving ahead with gun giveaway fundraiser two weeks after Las Vegas massacre.

*Fairley formally announces run for attorney general post to replace Lisa Madigan.

*CPS lays out specifics of tax hike during public hearings on revised budget.

*Chicago moves closer to easing pharmacist workload.

*Rauner vows to get newborn screening for Krabbe disease ‘done’ after Tribune report.

*Chicago hotels would be responsible for securing freezers under council plan.

*Cubs, Sox should exceed safety, netting standards, aldermen say.

*$105 million sale of city truck facility advances after promise of more parkland.

*Cook County taxpayers could be on hook for back pay in fired sheriff's deputy cases.



What we're reading

*Man suspected of shoving stranger onto subway tracks recently got Ph.D. from Northwestern.

*Billions in Illinois bills not sent for payment, AP reports.

*Eddie Vedder tosses souvenirs to bleacherites from Murphy's rooftop.


Follow the money

*The Illinois Republican Party reported getting $450,000 from Citizens for Rauner.

*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here


Beyond Chicago

*Trump aides use distractions and delays to manage him.

*New timeline emerges in Las Vegas shooting.

*Paltrow and Jolie now among Weinstein's accusers.

*Death toll rises in California fires.