Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, road congestion, and the Illinois primary

Categories: News

Just a few months into 2018 and things have been busy.

This Sunday (3/25) the Washington Post will publish a feature I wrote on the Obama Presidential Center. I tell a national audience about the controversy that’s been brewing on the South Side since the OPC was announced last year. Many of the same issues involved in the pushback — fear of displacement, lack of transparency, gentrification — are the same that have consumed black residents in the neighborhoods surrounding Hyde Park for decades. Read it here

This month I also took a look at why road congestion in Chicago has gotten so bad. Anyone with a car will have noticed that it’s getting longer to get anywhere on the main arteries that connect to downtown. No surprise, researchers I worked with at DePaul came to the same conclusions as the same in other studies — It’s due to ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. It makes sense. You can’t add a fleet of thousands to city streets, not accommodate the influx of cars, and expect that driving will be the same as before. The story was for Crain’s Chicago Business and you can read it here. The story has helped open a debate in editorial pages here, plus I talked with WGN’s Amy Guth about it on Saturday. 

Illinois just went through a primary and I covered it for the Washington Post. My story on the governor’s race looked at what it means to potentially have a face-off between two billionaire businessmen with no political experience and who won’t release their full tax returns. Does this sound familiar? The story is here. Then I spent primary day talking with voters all over Chicago and ended the day at an election party by Marie Newman, the progressive Democratic challenger to Dan Lipinski for US Congress. Lipinski won. Here is some of the coverage from that very long day!

I also was given the opportunity to dive into the gun control debate following the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead at a high school. In Wheaton, Illinois — Home to the Billy Graham Center – a local gun show decided to ban sales of the AR-15 assault rifle. That made national news because it was seen as the first sign of the right self-regulating opposed to the hardline stance following previous mass shootings. I went to the gun show that weekend to report for the Washington Post. What I found were some gun owners and sellers who agreed that some kind of compromise is needed. But there was also a lot of ugly shouting. Here is the story to read for yourself. 

Finally, I covered POLITICO’s Playbook for two weeks during the election and will be back on duty this coming week into April. 

And the Loyola Rambers are winning March Madness! I went to Loyola for my BA, so it’s nice to see an underdog get some attention for what is the feel-good story of 2018. See you next month!

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