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Hal Dardick
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Cover Chicago City Hall and Cook County government for the Chicago Tribune
Cover Chicago City Hall and Cook County government for the Chicago Tribune

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How times change. Facing rising pension and debt costs, Cook County Board President wants to restore the the penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase of predecessor Todd Stroger - 2 1/2 years after she completed rolling it back: http://trib.in/1CpkTpc

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Chicago schools' debt rating drops again, could trigger $228M in penalties

A second major bond rating agency has downgraded Chicago Public Schools' debt, which could trigger as much as $228 million in penalty payments and is likely to fuel the debate over Mayor Rahm Emanuel's financial stewardship in his runoff contest with Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

The triple downgrade by Fitch Ratings lands the school system at one notch above junk status, which is the same rating Moody's Investor Service gave CPS earlier this month.

Story by +Heather Gillers and +Hal Dardick 

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Reelection efforts of somebody that somebody sent (Deb Mell), and somebody nobody sent (Natashia Holmes), could affect Mayor Rahm Emanuel's control over the Chicago City Council: http://trib.in/1CJWmgq

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This is a fine piece of probing, thorough and revealing journalism by my colleagues Bill Ruthhart, Jeff Coen and John Chase about how Mayor Rahm Emanuel raises loads of campaign cash, sometimes from folks who have something to gain by his actions. Part I: http://trib.in/1AkdQBK & Part II: http://trib.in/1DpoeWn

Here's a tale about one Chicago alderman's unusual outside job, one that nets her $72K on top of her $108K city salary. What does she do? Help an obscure arts foundation scout out recipients of no-strings-attached grants: http://trib.in/1zZtZwc

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See your alderman's salary here: http://trib.in/1rHg9WA

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As Chicago aldermen consider raising the city's minimum wage for folks now making $8.25 an hour, many accept boosts to their own $100,000-plus salaries: http://trib.in/1rFJVAF

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This series by my colleagues Heather Gillers and Jason Grotto on the complicated (money losing) borrowing deal used to fund Chicago Public Schools is a must read. 1st part: http://trib.in/1EpLViF 2nd part: http://trib.in/1xusClV 3rd part: http://trib.in/10QZSqM

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Chicago aldermen may be ready to swap 1 watchdog for another: http://trib.in/1qLgngZ

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All kale, no tamales, under Mayor Rahm Emanuel? Trib reporter John Byrne explains how newspaper vendors get to sell upscale food downtown, while food cart vendors can't get licensed in the neighborhoods: http://trib.in/1sajaPS
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