Axios Chicago

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πŸ—³οΈ Happy Tuesday! It's a non-election day in Chicago. Take a deep breath, because 2024's election cycle is right around the corner.

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Today's newsletter is 912 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Our sanctuary city's future

Illustration of the Chicago skyline cut out of a ballot.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

City Council is expected today to resume a heated debate about putting Chicago's sanctuary city status up for a referendum vote next year.

Why it matters: Several alders are calling for the status to be reconsidered in response to the more than 20,000 migrants who've recently arrived in Chicago, but others say sanctuary protections are largely irrelevant to the current crisis.

Context: Chicago has been considered a sanctuary city since 1985, when then-Mayor Harold Washington issued an order prohibiting local officials from withholding city services, investigating or prosecuting people solely based on their immigration status.

Driving the news: The debate has divided the council, culminating in Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa's resignation from his role as floor leader yesterday after acknowledging that he had acted disrespectfully toward a fellow alder over the issue last week.

What they're saying: "When … Harold Washington did this, times were different. We didn't have people coming into this city by the thousands," Ald. Anthony Beale said at last week's contentious council meeting.

  • He says the proposed referendum is "a non-binding question" to ask taxpayers funding millions a month for migrant services "if they want to continue down this road."

The other side: "The people who are attacking the sanctuary city ordinance don't know what they're talking about," Ramirez-Rosa told ABC 7 on Thursday. "[The ordinance] has nothing to do with refugee resettlement and has nothing to do with the current crisis."

Reality check: Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights spokesperson Brandon Lee points out that sanctuary rules apply to undocumented residents, while most new arrivals are asylum seekers and those with Temporary Protected Status β€”Β statuses that carry federal protections.

Plus: Even if the referendum made it to the ballot, was approved and somehow became binding (it's not), the state's Trust Act, signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2017, would still prohibit the Chicago Police Department from cooperating with immigration authorities, ICIRR tells Axios.

What to watch

2. Chart of the day: Bus arrivals drop

Source: Data: Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications; Chart: Axios Visuals
Source: Data: Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications; Chart: Axios Visuals

Daily arrivals of buses carrying migrants are slowing from a high of 14 a day in early October, according to city data.

By the numbers: As of yesterday, nearly 11,940 new arrivals were living in 24 city shelters, while almost 3,250 were awaiting shelter spots. That includes:

  • 2,691 people temporarily housed in police stations
  • 551 at O'Hare
  • 5 at Midway

3. Exclusive: Chicago's budding biotech hub

illustration of a person looking into a microscope and hands holding a beaker on a background made of dollar bills and science notes

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

The federal government is investing in a new Chicago-area hub designed, in part, to keep local medical researchers from leaving for the coasts, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The hub could help Chicago inventors get their research into commercial products faster and create more jobs in the area.

Driving the news: The National Institutes of Health is contributing to a new $10.4 million investment to help promote the discoveries of medical scientists and pair them up with capital to get their innovations to market.

  • $4 million will come from an NIH grant, while the Chicago Community Trust and the Walder Foundation are donating the remainder.
  • The hub will bring together nine local institutions, including Northwestern University, University of Chicago and University of Illinois Chicago.

What they're saying: "We have so many great researchers here," Chicago Biomedical Consortium executive director Michelle Hoffmann tells Axios. "But when it comes time to spin out those ideas into companies, they go to the coasts, because that's where the capital is."

Between the lines: Local biotech companies don't receive nearly the same amount of venture capital funding as their coastal counterparts, according to numbers from the CBC.

  • Although biomedical innovation is just a sliver of what Chicago's tech scene produces, the new investment offers a shot in the arm to the sector.

4. Tips and hot links

Illustration of the Chicago municipal device made out of Chicago-style hot dogs.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

βš–οΈ Robert Crimo Jr., father of the alleged Highland Park shooter, pleaded guilty to seven counts of misdemeanor reckless conduct before his trial was to start yesterday. He was sentenced to 60 days in prison. (Tribune)

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Gov. J.B. Pritzker donated to the campaign of a Charleston, South Carolina, mayoral candidate, signaling to some political analysts that he's considering a presidential run in 2024. (Axios)

πŸ‘ Another former Blackhawks player is suing the team, alleging then-video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him in 2010. The player's lawyers say the team "allowed and perpetuated the conduct." The Blackhawks didn't comment on details of the lawsuit. (AP)

🚘 Victory Auto Wreckers is closing this month after 77 years. Does this mean our old car is no longer worth money? (WGN)

New jobs to check out

πŸ’Ό See who's hiring around the city.

  1. Vice President, PR at Team Lewis.
  2. Associate Director, Medical Content Development and Training at Argenx.
  3. VP, Content Marketing at Circle.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

5. Cubs crash MLB offseason party

baseball manager

Manager David Ross during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at the end of last year. Photo: John Fisher/Getty Images

πŸ‘‹ Hi, it's Justin!

MLB free agency opens today, and what better way to usher it in than with a shiny new manager?

Why it matters: The Cubs look to be major players in free agency, signaled by the big move to fire David Ross and bring in Brewers skipper Craig Counsell.

Context: Counsell is considered one of the best managers in the game, turning the Brewers into perennial playoff contenders. He is also now the league's highest paid manager.

Yes, but: Rossi was a World Series hero, while Counsell's job was to get in the way of the Cubs winning it all.

The intrigue: The Athletic reports the Cubs are looking at the trade market, which could mean blockbusters. They need help at the corners and, of course, in starting pitching.

πŸ‘€ Possible options: All eyes on Shohei.

6. πŸ“Έ Where in the world is … Monica?

woman looking at tower

Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Here's a poetical hint:

  • I'm in a close burb just north of the city
  • Where a white tippy tower stands tall and so pretty
  • I learned how to swim in a warm pool nearby
  • But that pool is now closed, and I still don't know why

Hit reply with the correct guess, and you'll be entered for a chance to a win Axios swag.

Edited by Alexa Mencia and copy edited by Rob Reinalda and Keely Bastow.

Our picks:

πŸ₯€ Monica is torn by Coca-Cola's Toss In, Take Out promotion today giving folks a free slice and drink when they bring a plastic bottle into Lou Malnati's on Randolph. She likes recycling and pizza but is concerned about reports of greenwashing by big beverage companies to justify disposable plastic.

🎭 Justin is worried about his political junkie friends on this non-election day in November. If you need a fix, go see Steppenwolf's new show "POTUS."

Carrie is off today.

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