Fran Spielman Show

Veteran City Hall reporter Fran Spielman’s interviews with Chicago’s movers and shakers.

Days after announcing his departure from the job growth agency known as World Business Chicago, Michael Fassnacht urged City Hall and the two major carriers to work out their differences on a massive project that started at $8.7 billion but has ballooned to $12.1 billion.
Ald. Brian Hopkins told the Sun-Times he fears Bally’s will run out of money to build a permanent casino in River West. He also offered an update on plans to revive Water Tower Place.
The Fran Spielman Show
One day after the mayor cast the tie-breaking vote that saved Ald. Carlo Ramirez-Rosa from a Council censure, senior mayoral adviser Jason Lee said it was not a mistake for Johnson to empower the chair of the Council’s Socialist Caucus as both floor leader and Zoning Committee chairman.
A top official said Chicago could be forced to raid its reserves, even though that would almost certainly cause Wall Street rating agencies to reduce the bond rating, increasing how much it costs the city to borrow money.
“You’ve got to look at history in Israel,” Rahm Emanuel, the former Chicago mayor now serving as ambassador to Japan, told the Sun-Times. “It’s pretty clear how the public reacts ... when it comes to protecting Israel.”
If Springfield doesn’t step up and cover half of Chicago’s costs and “operate its own shelters,” Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa warned a supplemental appropriation may be required mid-year.
“The driving force has always been inequity and injustice that Black and Brown students and their families experience in this city,” CTU President Stacy Davis Gates said. “And that injustice did not roll away on April 4. We just got another gladiator in a place of power.”
Fred Waller, Chicago’s temporary top cop, blamed “miscommunication” for error and said the issue has been remedied.
Mayor Brandon Johnson did not rule out budget cuts or tax increases to pay for a burgeoning humanitarian crisis already costing Chicago upward of $30 million a month.
John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he’s fed up with having Chicago police officers “babysit” migrants at district stations.
In wide-ranging interview, mayor reveals he’s more concerned about building consensus than he is about checking boxes on his list of campaign promises.
The pace of progress will depend on the amount of new revenue Mayor Brandon Johnson can get and when he can get it, Chicago’s COO John Roberson said.
A rising star in a more progressive Chicago City Council, Fuentes shared her inspirational story hoping it will blaze a positive trail for young people making destructive choices. “I got lucky to have people who introduced me to a world of organizing and movement,” Fuentes told the Sun-Times.
Inspector General Deborah Witzburg said Thursday that whenever there is a state of emergency and a haste to deliver financial aid, there is an inevitable shortage of oversight that invites abuse.
Attorneys Parker Stinar and Patrick Salvi Jr. said they have heard from Northwestern athletes who describe abuse that is far worse in women’s sports than in the football program formerly run by fired head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
Anthony Driver Jr., president of the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, has a favorite among the three finalists sent to Mayor Brandon Johnson, who has 30 days to decide. But Driver won’t say who it is.
The three-year agreement, with a two-year renewal option, calls for the Park District to receive a $500,000 permit fee. That pales by comparison to the $8 million to $9 million Lollapalooza pays every year to rent Grant Park.
The mayor risks disappointing progressive voters who put him in office, but deputy chief of staff Cristina Pacione-Zayas isn’t concerned. In fact, the former state senator expects her fellow progressives to keep the heat on.
Over the years, the Civic Federation has repeatedly advocated for cutting the 50-member City Council in half, only to have alderpersons protect their fiefdoms.
Jack Lavin, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce president, still isn’t willing, however, to back $800 million in business taxes Mayor Brandon Johnson wants for social programs that are key to his anti-violence strategy.
Ald. Jeanette Taylor argued that CHA CEO Tracey Scott deserves to be ousted because the agency has failed to deliver on its fundamental mission — and the same goes for CTA President Dorval Carter Jr.
“My accountant and my lawyers are working on that. It’s fine. It hasn’t gone anywhere. We’ve just got to reconcile it. And it will be reconciled,” Burnett said Thursday.
Ald. Walter Burnett expected to be stuck in the political wilderness. Instead, he became vice-mayor, with a $400,000 budget, keeping the staff he had as chairman of the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety.
On June 30, Mike Flannery, political editor of Fox 32-Chicago, will retire after 50 years on the beat. He sat down with the Sun-Times, where he got his start, to reminisce about his storied career and the “blind spots” of the Chicago mayors he has covered.
“Mayor Lightfoot, in her final days, really worked to harm this incoming administration. It’s sad. It’s unfortunate. But we now have to come together as a city and clean up the mess that she left us,” Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, the mayor’s City Council floor leader, told the Sun-Times.
Rich Guidice, who spent nearly 20 years running the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said he has never seen an emergency quite like the thousands of asylum-seekers who have poured into Chicago since September, with scores more on the way.