Chicago News Roundup: Ald. Sophia King joins the mayoral race, a conversation with chef Virtue Damarr Brown and more


Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. This is an approximately 5 minute read that will educate you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be sunny with a high of nearly 84 degrees. Tonight clouds will increase with a low near 69. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 78.

Afternoon Edition

The most important Chicago news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus number on Saturday dives into the city’s history.

top story

Aldus. Sophia King joins the race to overthrow Lightfoot

Aldus. City Council Progressive Caucus Chair Sophia King (4th) threw her hat into the ring today, seeking to send Mayor Lori Lightfoot into political retirement.

King, 57, declared his candidacy for mayor the same way Lightfoot launched his uphill battle for a second term: by releasing a carefully crafted campaign video.

In it, King targets Lightfoot’s most glaring weaknesses: violent crime and its perception, and the mayor’s combative and dictatorial style of government.

King described violent crime as “problem No. 1, no. 2 and no. 3″ with Chicago voters.

She told the Sun-Times she would begin to address the issue by firing the Chicago Police Superintendent. David Brown, giving more time off to “exhausted, overworked and underappreciated” police officers and authorizing the incentives needed to fill 1,408 sworn police positions.

She is also reportedly seriously considering reinstating some or all of the 614 vacant police positions that Lightfoot eliminated to help balance her 2021 budget.

Regarding Chicago’s $33 billion retirement crisis, King said there are “progressive ways to get sustainable, progressive income” to avoid bankruptcy of the city’s four employee pension funds. .

“It’s something we’ll be rolling out soon,” she said.

Appointed by former mayor Rahm Emanuel after Ald resigned in 2018. Will Burns, King has close ties to Cook County Board Chairman Toni Preckwinkle, the defeated mayoral candidate who chairs the ‘Cook County Regular Democratic Organization.

King’s husband, Alan, a Chicago house music DJ and lawyer, is a basketball-playing pal of former President Barack Obama.

That’s, in part, how she was named by Emanuel, who served as Obama’s first White House chief of staff. This is also how she edged out her four opponents in the special election for the 4th arrondissement in February 2017 by a margin of nearly six to one.

Fran Spielman has more on King here.

More news you need

  1. A man at a block party in Bronzeville drew a gun and opened fire following an argument in June, killing a man and injuring a woman, County prosecutors said today. Cook in court. The 23-year-old was arrested in Brainerd on Sunday and charged with the June 12 murder of Vincent J. Barnes, Chicago police said.
  2. In reply to Ald. King’s ‘amazing’ plan to fire Brown if elected mayor, Mayor Lightfoot today reiterated his ‘complete confidence’ in the police commissioner. The mayor said King and others calling for Brown’s removal sound like people who “know nothing about public safety.”
  3. Federal prosecutors admitted yesterday that a private email account using a false name was set up to obtain an advance copy of a 2019 book about R. Kelly. But “none of the emails exchanged using the account were in any way misleading,” federal authorities said.
  4. Kelly will stand trial again in a Chicago courtroom next Monday, and this time he will be surrounded by new lawyers and prosecutors and a new judge. Our Jon Seidel and Alison Martin break down who’s who in the lawsuit here.
  5. Willie Wilson, who is also running for mayor, today outlined a six-point plan for the CTA, which includes bringing back conductors for every train and adding more dedicated CTA transit police. He also said he would consider hiring armed private security guards – up to 800.
  6. Chicago faces a modest budget shortfall of $127.9 million, allowing Mayor Lightfoot to cut his automatic property tax increase to $42.7 million. Our Fran Spielman details the budget forecast here.
  7. Chicago will seek to deploy new signal timing technology that will give buses priority at traffic lights throughout the city after receiving a $3.9 million federal grant today. It is one of 10 projects across the country to receive a federal grant to develop advanced intelligent transportation systems technologies.

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A bright

Chef Damarr Brown’s Southern roots at the heart of his culinary success

“At the start of my career, you couldn’t pay me to make collard greens,” says Damarr Brown over coffee with our Michael Loria inside Virtue, the Hyde Park restaurant where he’s worked for four years and which has won two Michelin awards. Bibb Gourmand Award. But now, every week, he cooks 400 pounds of leafy greens, a staple of southern black cuisine.

Showcasing the techniques he learned growing up in Harvey is exactly what made Brown stand out on the final season of “Top Chef” and what helped make Virtue such a hit in Chicago.

As head chef, Brown runs Virtue on a daily basis. He creates new dishes, alters the plates before they land on the tables and, at the end of the day, orders the ingredients for the next day.


Damarr Brown, head chef at Virtue and ‘Top Chef’ Season 19 contestant, is pictured inside the restaurant in Hyde Park.

Brown cooked in restaurants for nearly a decade before returning to her culinary roots at the restaurant on 53rd Street.

Free to cook like it was a Sunday dinner at home, Harvey learned Brown-centric techniques, such as the “holy trinity” – Louisiana’s answer to a mirepoix or sofrito made with onions, celery and peppers. It provides the base for dishes like rice and gizzards, or “dirty rice.”

“All of this work goes into it, but it’s not bragging, it’s just meant to be delicious whether or not you understand what went into it,” Brown says.

Loria has more of her encounter with Chief Brown here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s the best place to save money in Chicago?

Email us at [email protected] and we might publish your response in the next afternoon edition.

Yesterday we asked you: what do you want to do before the summer ends in Chicago?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Swim as much as I can in Lake Michigan!” —Erika Hoffman

“Lose 50 lbs. But that’s not gonna happen, so I guess I’ll settle for another cold beer. —Jim O’Connor

“Go to as many outdoor festivals and concerts as possible.” —Thamara Dittmeier

“Go golfing at Jackson Park or the South Shore Cultural Center.” —Maurice Snell

“Lunch or dinner cruise on Lake Michigan. A fireworks show from Navy Pier would be a bonus afterwards. — Jeanette Samuels Battle

“A day’s sailing on Lake Michigan in a two-masted yacht.” —Jim Rafferty

“Swimming in the lake at sunrise.” —Douglas Black

“Cycle along Dusable Lake Shore Drive. — Thomas Michael

“Visit Graceland Cemetery and see the SS Eastland Memorial.” —Connie Blando

“CSO Concert at the Pritzker Pavilion.” —Denise

“Take the architectural boat tour. Take the water taxi from Michigan Ave to Chinatown for lunch. — Mona Lisa Smith

“Take a nap in my hammock above the lake.” —Jerry Kublank

“Go to the Shore Club at North Ave. Beach.” — Tracie W-Chi

“I want to go fishing and play golf!” I was overwhelmed with work! —Denis Turner

“Take the day off and go to a baseball game, drink beer, eat hot dogs and yell at the umpire!” —Denise Ruffin

Thanks for reading the Chicago afternoon edition. Think we missed a story? Email us here.


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