Hey there! I’m getting a much needed haircut today. I’m starting to look like a guy who, despite all the things he has to do during the day, will stop and be totally mesmerized by a construction site. Either way, here’s what you need to know.
1. Can Lightfoot overcome a low approval rating and win a second term?
A friend recently asked me, “Can he win?” The honest answer is that anything can happen when you have such a crowded race.
But a more interesting question is: What does Mayor Lori Lightfoot see as her path to victory?
“He’s banking heavily on building a base on the south and west sides, portraying himself as the mayor who finally invested in some of the city’s underserved areas after decades of neglect under Chicago’s political machine,” reports my colleague Mariah Woelfel .
There are downsides to this strategy, as other candidates will also try to woo voters in these communities. But the target here is likely to get enough votes in February’s election to advance to April’s runoff, which is a one-on-one race.
And the ballot presents a different problem that can be summed up by the Rev. Ira Acree, a prominent pastor who endorsed Lightfoot in 2019 but isn’t so sure this time around.
He said if Lightfoot gets on the ballot and faces a more conservative candidate, he’s on the “Bring in the Light” team. But things change when US Representative Jesús “Chuy” García enters the scene.
“If I went with my heart, I would go with Lori Lightfoot. Because she’s a black woman with a lot of struggles. I can relate to them,” Acree said. “But if I went with who do I think would be a better mayor, who is more competent, who is more prepared? Who has a history of fighting corruption? Then I’ll go with Chuy García. [WBEZ]
2. Organized labor makes waves among weed workers
Legal marijuana is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation. And it’s also among the fastest to unionize, with workers concerned about their safety, working conditions and pay, reports Zachary Nauth for WBEZ.
“I’m 27 and tired of working jobs that feel like a dead end,” said Cyndi Kazmirzak, a budtender at Windy City Cannabis.
“I want a career. Then I get here and feel like I’m working at “McDonald’s of Weed”, being treated like a teenager. I for one will not go down without a fight.
In the three years since weed became legal in Illinois, cannabis workers voted in 30 elections and reported a healthy 88% win rate, far better than the 61% win rate of unions across the country in fiscal 2021, Nauth reports. [WBEZ]
An abortion clinic opened in Carbondale state last fall, which “revealed tensions among residents that had been largely hidden,” he reports. The New York Times.
Carbondale is seen by abortion rights advocates as a crucial place to serve patients traveling from Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas.
One patient, Alyssa, drove five and a half hours from Mississippi, spending whatever money she had to make the trip.
A Carbondale resident who works at one of the clinics “helped raise enough money to cover Alyssa’s miscarriage while leaving her enough money for fuel for the long ride home,” the Times relationships. [NYC]
I know I talk a lot about the upcoming city election, but this year is especially consequential on multiple fronts.
Among the races that could have a dramatic impact on Chicago are the new police district councils, which were created by city officials last year as calls for civilian oversight of the police department grew.
Chicago’s 22 police districts will each have a three-member council. And more than 120 candidates hope to win one of the 66 seats in the next election.
But “three boroughs where rising crime is a major concern don’t have the minimum number of applicants,” my colleague Fran Spielman tells the Chicago Sun Times.
Other areas of the city have seen as many as eight or nine candidates vying for a seat on their councils. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Football fans in Iran lit fireworks and cheered in the streets after their national team lost 1-0 to the United States yesterday.
That’s because the World Cup defeat was seen by those who celebrated it as “the defeat of the Islamic Republic, not Iran,” NBC News reports.
The Islamic Republic has faced waves of protests over the past two months following the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who was arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the nation’s dress code.
The protests quickly turned into a much broader movement against Iranian theocracy, with some calling for the overthrow of the regime. [NBC News]
Here’s what else is going on
- Illinois Democrats introduced amendments to the SAFE-T Act in an effort to clarify more controversial parts of the law. [Chicago Tribune]
- U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y., today became the first black leader of a political party in Congress. [NPR]
- House lawmakers today also moved to avert a nationwide railroad strike. [AP]
- An experimental drug appeared to slow down Alzheimer’s disease. [NPR]
Oh, and one more thing…
One of the many things I love about this time of year is all the holidays.
And NPR has this, ahem, cool guide for “kicking things up” this year.
I’ll let the suggestions speak for themselves. One is creating a “vision board”. [NPR]
Meanwhile, Block Club Chicago has a nice guide to pop-ups and holiday bars that go all out for decorations. [Block Club Chicago]
Tell me something good…
What movies do you watch this time of year, no matter how old you are, and why do you love them?
“We love the new Grinch movie (starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones and Keenan Thompson) and Arthur Christmas. We also look at other things, but without those it doesn’t feel like Christmas!
“We have included Home alone last year and are just waiting Die Hard to be age appropriate for our kids hahaha.
Yippee ki yay!
And Jill CT writes:
“My favorite animated picks are A Charlie Brown Christmas And How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But for live action, I’m committed to watching Current love every year around this time. Lots of eye candy, lots of tears, lots of romance – what could be better?
“Usually I can even watch It’s a wonderful life but at one point I always change the channel when Uncle Billy goes to the bank. The finale is a teardrop fest guaranteed!
Feel free to write to me and your answer may appear in this week’s newsletter.