Cozen Cities – May 19, 2023

May 19, 2023

Gig Economy & Technology

CHICAGO — Mayor Lightfoot Announces Apprenticeship Program to Create, Grow Technology Talent in City Government, Improve City Services

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot Announces Apprenticeship Program to Create, Grow Technology Talent in City Government, Improve City Services Now former-Mayor Lori Lightfoot and various city departments announced an apprenticeship program to develop and maintain a pipeline of technology talent for the City of Chicago.

LOS ANGELES — Uber, Lyft Drivers Protest Low Wages, Unsafe Work Conditions

Dozens of Uber, Lyft, and delivery drivers rallied at LAX on May 4 claiming some have been unfairly terminated while others feel forced to accept unruly passengers because their rideshare wages are so low.

SEATTLE — Tech Jobs Still Growing Despite Recent Layoffs

Despite recent tech layoffs in Seattle, tech remains the main growth industry in Washington state, with the highest concentration of tech workers relative to the overall employment base. Nearly one in ten residents works in tech.

Labor & Employment

CHICAGO — More Than 700 Jobs Posted for New Chicago Casino Project, Bally’s Announces

Preparations are underway for Bally’s Casino to open their temporary home in Chicago, and the company has announced it is hiring more than 700 workers to help staff the facility.

PHILADELPHIA — Penn Sees Multiple Unionization Efforts Across System

Workers across the University of Pennsylvania — including residents and fellows at the University’s Health System, graduate employees, and resident advisers — have recently made strides in various stages of the unionization process.

RICHMOND — New Businesses, Workers Have Flocked to Richmond Over Past Year

According to recent reporting by the Richmond Times, the city has seen significant economic growth in the past year, including many new development projects, companies, and workers who now call Richmond home.

Policies & Politics

BALTIMORE — MONSE Director to Step Down

Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE) Director Shantay Jackson has announced that she will be stepping down from the position effective June 30.

BOSTON — Mayor Wu Proposes New Council Redistricting Maps

After a judge struck down the newly drawn maps, Mayor Michelle Wu proposed alternative City Council redistricting maps, with the goal of keeping neighborhoods intact within a single council district.

CHICAGO — Brandon Johnson Sworn in as Chicago Mayor

Brandon Johnson was sworn in as the city’s 57th mayor Monday, kicking off what he has promised will be four years of reform, progress and history making, amid complex challenges that await him at the door.

CHICAGO — Mayor Johnson Forges “Unity Plan” to Reorganize New Chicago City Council

Mayor Brandon Johnson has forged a compromise to shrink the number of City Council committees from 28 to 20 and replace Finance Committee Chairman Scott Waguespack (32) with Ald. Pat Dowell (3), whose endorsement of Johnson was a turning point of his mayoral campaign.M

LOS ANGELES — L.A. City Council Votes to Expand Anti-Camping Law in Woodland Hills

The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to expand the city’s anti-camping law to include two locations in Woodland Hills. Sitting, lying, sleeping and storing, maintaining or placing personal property that obstructs the public right-of-way will not be allowed.

PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Kenney Appoints Transition Committee

Ahead of this week’s mayoral primary, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced the formation of a transition committee to ensure a seamless transfer of power once his final term comes to a close at the end of this year.

PHILADELPHIA — Cherelle Parker Wins Democratic Mayoral Primary; Will Likely Become Philadelphia’s 100th Mayor

On Tuesday, former Pennsylvania State Representative and Philadelphia City Councilmember Cherelle Parker handily won Philadelphia’s highly sought after Democratic nomination for mayor. The odds-on favorite to win in November, she is all but guaranteed to become the first woman ever to hold the office.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Legal Challenge to Local Voting Law Moves to Federal Court

A lawsuit challenging a 2022 bill passed by D.C. City Council that allows certain noncitizens to vote in local elections has been moved to the federal court system.

Public Health & Safety

BOSTON — City Drops COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for City Workers

Mayor Michelle Wu announced that the city has dropped its COVID vaccine and testing mandate for city workers as of May 11, stating that the “public health landscape has changed considerably.”

CHICAGO — Mayor Lightfoot Declares Emergency Amid Surge of Immigrant Arrivals

Claiming Chicago’s migrant crisis has reached “a breaking point,” then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot on May 9 issued an emergency declaration as the city tries to deal with a surge of new arrivals in recent weeks.

DETROIT — Detroit City Council Discusses Creation of Gun-Free Zones

Detroit City Council discussed a resolution Tuesday on the potential creation of gun-free zones in certain parts of downtown Detroit.

LOS ANGELES — L.A. City Council Takes Another Step to Expand “Street Medicine” at Shelters

The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday, May 9, to approve a report calling for the appropriation of funding, staffing and other resources to expand “street medicine” teams and services at all city-funded interim housing shelters.

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia City Council to Consider Ban on Supervised Injection Sites in Certain Neighborhoods

Last week, Councilmember Quetcy Lozada introduced a bill to ban supervised injection sites in a zoning area that encompasses approximately half of the city, mirroring similar efforts made recently at the state level.

RICHMOND — $300,000 in Richmond ARPA Funding Allocated to Police Shields

In a controversial move, Richmond is planning to spend $300,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to purchase 120 ballistic shields for its police department as a means of protecting its limited “human resources,” a result of understaffing.

SAN DIEGO — Mayor Gloria Outlines Public Safety Priorities in Proposed Budget

Mayor Todd Gloria’s proposed budget, which he calls the “Get it Done Budget,” totals $5.12 billion. Out of that budget, approximately $971.7 million would go toward public safety.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mayor Bowser to Propose Law to Facilitate Detainment making it easier to detain people before trial

Last week, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that she would be introducing legislation that would make it easier to detain certain people awaiting trial for violent offenses.

Real Estate Development

DETROIT — Metro Detroit Commercial Real Estate Market Lags Post-Pandemic

Metro Detroit’s commercial real estate market currently has myriad stressors, including an office market vacancy rate that is now at 20.7%, an eight-year high.

LOS ANGELES — L.A. Adopts Strategies to Bring 135,000 New Homes to Downtown, Hollywood

Los Angeles City Council approved two major zoning plans for downtown and Hollywood on Wednesday that, if successful, would bring as many as 135,000 new homes to those areas over the next 20 years.

NEW YORK — Rent Guidelines Board Approves Increased Rent

The New York City Rent Guidelines Board has recommended allowing higher rent increases in rent-regulated apartments. The board’s staff recommended increases of 2% to 5% for one-year leases and 4% to 7% for two-year leases.

PHILADELPHIA — New Life Sciences Building Nears Completion in University City

University Place 3.0 — a $100 million, 250,000-square-foot University City building — is nearing completion, the latest in the city’s growing trend of life sciences development projects.

RICHMOND — Richmond City Council Approves $2.4 Billion “Diamond District” City Redesign Project 

On Monday, Richmond City Council approved the Diamond District deal, an ambitious $2.4 billion development project to redesign the city’s downtown area featuring a new baseball stadium.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego Formally Offers Sale of Former Ritz-Carlton Site to Developers; Will There Be Takers?

Three months after killing long-standing plans for a Ritz-Carlton, San Diego is hoping to entice developers across the country to reimagine the former East Village hotel site, so long as they include a substantial percentage of affordable housing units.

Taxes & Spending

NEW YORK — City to Receive $1 Billion for Asylum-Seeker Costs

New York State’s FY24 budget included $1 billion to New York City for costs related to asylum seekers. Providing shelter and other aid for asylum seekers is expected to cost $4.3 billion over the next year.

LOS ANGELES — L.A. City Council Won’t Rubber-Stamp Mayor’s Budget Proposal, Budget Chair Says

While Los Angeles City Council may share many of Mayor Karen Bass’ priorities, the Council is not planning to simply rubber-stamp Mayor Bass’ proposed $13 billion spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mayor Bowser Proposes Expansion of Property Tax Break for Conversion of Office Buildings to Housing

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has long advocated for addressing both the city’s housing shortage and its high rate of downtown office vacancies by converting many of the latter into residences, and has now proposed expanding a 20-year property tax break to incentivize such development.

Transportation & Mobility

BOSTON — BPL Launches “Browse, Borrow, Board” Pilot Program

Riders at 20 bus stops across Boston will now be able to access free digital content during the spring and summer as part of a pilot program from Boston Public Library (BPL) called “Browse, Borrow, Board.”

CHICAGO — CTA To Receive $200 Million in Federal Funds for New Train Cars

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will be receiving one of its biggest grants ever as part of the $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — $200 million for new el cars.

DETROIT — Detroit Transit Center Construction Underway at Old State Fairgrounds

Inside the old state fairgrounds, a $31.6 million transit center is coming into focus. That shell represents a project years in the making and the beginnings of the adaptive reuse of the fairgrounds’ Dairy Cattle Barn, a 50,000- to 60,000-square-foot structure that could have fallen to the wrecking ball despite its historic stature.

LOS ANGELES — Metro’s $9 Billion Budget Boosts Homeless Outreach, Train Cleaning, Running of New Lines

L.A. Metro has crafted a proposed $9 billion budget with a two-pronged goal: increasing ridership to fit a post-pandemic workforce and adding resources that will shift the perception that its transit system is unsafe to ride.

NEW YORK — Congestion Pricing Plan Has No Significant Environmental Impact

The Federal Highway Administration has approved the MTA’s Final Environmental Assessment for the Central Business Tolling Program, indicating a near-final approval of the tolls. The exact cost of the congestion pricing program must now be recommended by the Traffic Mobility Review Board and approved by the MTA Board.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego MTS Pulls in $60 Million for Trolley Upgrades, Electric Buses

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has secured more than $60 million in state funding to help maintain its trolley system and beef up its electric bus fleet, officials announced this week.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — D.C. City Council Passes FY24 Budget; Pauses Mayor Bowser’s Signature K Street Transitway Project

In an initial vote on Tuesday, D.C. City Council approved much of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed $19.7 billion FY24 budget, but paused a planned allocation to the K Street NW Transitway project.


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