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Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Tuesday, May 2, 2017.
The first day of May, commonly known as May Day, is a well-known day for workers' protests and demonstrations across the country. In Chicago, students from Social Justice High School in Little Village got to participate in the protests across from the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. Twenty students from Hector Sanchez's "democracy in action" program attended to see how "regular people" lobby elected officials. Eventually the crowd of activists marched to Union Park for a rally where Senator Dick Durbin spoke. "The election of Donald Trump is a challenge to all of us, whether we will stand up and speak up for our values," the Democratic senator told the crowd. [Tribune]
Former president Barack Obama will reportedly return to Chicago to attend two events Wednesday. The events will be held at the South Shore Cultural Center and the Chicago Club, but other details haven't yet been released, according to the Tribune. Obama held his first public event since leaving office at University of Chicago last week. [Tribune]
Billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker will be endorsed by a "series of trade unions" in the Democratic primary for governor Wednesday, according to Politico. The early endorsements could help propel Pritzker to the head of the crowded pack of candidates, which includes state senator Daniel Biss, businessman Chris Kennedy, alderman Ameya Pawar, and downstate school official Bob Daiber. "There is a segment of the Democratic Party that believes Pritzker is the only candidate with the financial resources who can ultimately defeat Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner," Politico reported. "There's another segment, though, that believes the move aims to serve up roadblocks to other candidates, including Chris Kennedy, who has so far enjoyed a polling advantage." [Politico Illinois Playbook]
Neighbors aren't happy that chaotic "gang parties" with up to 200 people attending are taking place at Touhy-Herbert Park, just three blocks from the United Center. The noise level and occasional violence at the park, which is in neutral gang turf, has the neighborhood concerned. In order to deter the disruptive parties, alderman Walter Burnett wants to make the area around the park a residential permit parking zone to make it more difficult for gang members to park nearby. Some residents are skeptical that the plan will work. [DNAinfo Chicago]
Fifth Ward alderman Leslie Hairston has introduced measures to downzone the 71st Street commercial corridor in South Shore to allow new construction of single-family homes, according to Curbed Chicago. "Business and property owners in the affected area learned of the proposal when they received formal letters about it over the last couple of weeks," neighborhood resident Eric Allix Rogers wrote in a blog post. "Other neighborhood residents first learned of the proposal when [public notice] signs were posted on 71st Street during the week of April 24th." It's the same controversial strategy that has been used in other gentrifying neighborhoods like Pilsen and Logan Square. "A lot of people on the southeast side are pinning crime and violence on problem business," Rogers told Curbed Chicago. "This is effectively a scorched earth policy to stop all new businesses." [Curbed Chicago]
The Chicago Bears have paid 141 former players almost $12.5 million in workers' compensation claims over the past 20 years for injuries sustained while playing with the team, according to the Sun-Times. Another 55 players, including stars Brian Urlacher and Matt Forte, have filed 144 claims, and the team is hoping to change state laws in order to pay out less money in settlements. There have been four times as many workers' compensation claims filed against the Bears as the other professional sports teams in town—the Blackhawks, the Cubs, the White Sox, and the Bulls—combined. Only two injury claims have been filed against the Bulls since 1997 (and neither were by a player), compared to the 410 claims filed against the Bears during the same time period. [Sun-Times]