Chicago will elect a new mayor in less than two weeks.
Why it matters: Whoever wins the job—Paul Vallas or Brandon Johnson—will introduce new programs and goals to the city, and he’ll have to make difficult choices about whether to carry forward or scrap some of the ideas of his predecessors.
Zoom in: A couple of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s major initiatives could be abandoned by the incoming administration.
These are five that we’re keeping an eye on:
South/West investment: $2.2 billion has been invested by the mayor’s investment strategy in new facilities and services for Chicago’s Black and Brown communities. Some, though, have felt shut out of the process.
The fund was initially established by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, but Lightfoot gave it early priority in her term.
The Chicago casino: The new mayor may not be able to back out of the agreement about the casino, but he can influence its design.
The Bally’s casino design is “more suited for a stretch of I-15 in the Nevada desert going toward Las Vegas than for the ideal urban riverside site for which it’s scheduled,” Sun-Times editorial board member Lee Bey recently wrote.
They might also have a significant impact on preserving the shuttered Tribune printing factory in Chicago by finding a new location for it.
Removals of Columbus statues: Following violent altercations between police and protesters in Grant Park, Lightfoot ordered the city’s Columbus statues to be taken down and stored in a warehouse in 2020. She established a monument committee, which suggested moving the sculptures.Lightfoot and the Board of Education seek to construct a high school in the South Loop to educate students from several different communities close to the South Side high school.
Leaders in Chinatown and state representative Theresa Mah favor a high school location closer to their community.
There is precedent for this: As soon as Lightfoot assumed leadership in 2019, she promptly scrapped her predecessor’s plans for a high school in West Loop.
speeding tickets: When it came to reducing the speed limit for speed camera citations near parks and schools from 10 mph to 6 mph over the limit, the City Council nearly rebelled. Will it continue under a new mayor if Lightfoot wins?
Also, Lightfoot inserted a new rule that will equip buses and other downtown objects with cameras to deter double-parking.