February City Council: Who CARES about COVID-19 police costs?

In a discussion by journalists Dave Glowacz and Ben Joravsky, Dave and Ben picked through Febuary 2021's contentious meetings of the full Chicago City Council—where aldermen faced the administration's proposed allocation of $281.5 million federal COVID-19 relief (via the CARES Act) to the Chicago Police Department.

In the standard version of the episode, Dave played part of the remarks by Ald. Ed Burke (14) at the council's meeting on Feb. 24, 2021. Burke explained why he thinks his colleagues should not vote on the administration's proposal, but rather send it back to the budget committee for a do-over.

In the premium version of the episode, you can hear the entirety of Ald. Burke's argument against the police department reimbursement.

The premium version also features a now-infamous expletive from Mayor Lightfoot at the Feb. 24 meeting.

Ben called the outburst "probably the least significant thing of everything that went down" at the meeting—but its story will persist, because "it gets at the mayor's relationship with the aldermen."

In the premium version, Dave also played—and explained—the twisty parliamentary maneuvers by Burke, the mayor, and others that led to the unexpected adjournment of the Feb. 24 meeting.

Also in the premium version, Dave provided historical context of the police department reimbursement from federal COVID-19 funds—with Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35) questioning the city's budget director in a 2020 budget committee session.

In more premium-version audio from the City Council's Feb. 26 meeting, Ald. Ray Lopez (15) warned about federal scrutiny of the city's COVID-19 expenses. This audio prompted a debate between Dave and Ben about the likelihood of a federal audit.

Finally, in the premium version, aldermen expressed their concerns to Mayor Lightfoot about resuming in-person meetings—whereby the mayor revealed that she already has a plan.

Length 8.3 minutes standard, 50.6 minutes premium.

Music: "Cumbia Colombiana" by Julius H

Standard audio:

Premium audio:

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Premium content: Feb. 23, 2021 memo from Office of Budget & Management to aldermen, detailing COVID-19 police expenses:

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