In the MIXX: Illinois State Budget, Violence Escalates and SummertimeChi

In the MIXX | Updated digital version
The 4th of July festivities began on an early foot last week, carrying into this week as folks reluctantly find themselves back at work. Unfortunately, the constraints of passing a state budget for our Illinois lawmakers was a frustrating and dueling task among both parties.
On Sunday, the Illinois General Assembly moved Amendment 3 to Senate Bill 9, which includes a state income tax hike, passed by a 72-45 vote that included 15 Republican votes. The vote total was one more than the super-majority necessary.
According to the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance, the House then immediately moved to Senate Bill 6, a balanced budget bill, which passed by an 81-34 vote. That bill included $350 million additional education funding for the evidence-based school funding model as well as increased funding for regular transportation for schools.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded to the efforts of the House and Senate’s swift actions. “I want to thank the host of Democrats and Republicans who came together tonight in bipartisan fashion to put the people of Illinois ahead of political party. This bipartisan budget is a major step forward to ending three years of inaction in Springfield. This bipartisan budget will prevent Illinois’ most vulnerable from losing their safety net, keep road projects active and keep people at work, ensure schools across the state open next month, and prevent Illinois from being downgraded to junk status,” he said.
Latest update: 

Recently, Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan’s House assembly voted to approve a tax hike in order to push through the budget with a 71 approved vote. This is also needed to override the Governor at today’s session in Springfield. If Democratic lawmakers get their way, this override would stop the budget stalemate that has put an incredible strain on social agencies and state contractors awaiting overdue payments owed by the state. Let’s see how this political version of Game of Thrones pan out between both Madigan and Rauner kingdoms. Winter is coming…

Troubling Times
Last week’s tweets by 45 has received criticism from both sides of the political aisle as he continues to degrade media outlets who tend to call him out on a regular. His latest rant about sending federal troops to Chicago as a result of the city’s gun violence crisis is becoming more real by the day. There is no fear from offenders.

Crime in Chicago continues to climb 2017.

The 4th of July weekend violence stats stands at 102 shootings and 15 fatally shot throughout Chicago. Many of us living within the city limits was on edge as the noise from fireworks, firecrackers and other similar paraphernalia rang throughout neighborhoods. The difference between the celebration of one of our favorite summer holidays and the reality of gun shots was very slim.
The latest incident which involved a federal agent’s car being stolen at a West Loop gas station while he left the vehicle running—is a bold but dangerous move. The unmarked car had several firearms inside as the suspect sped off. We are deeply in troubling times and it is a citywide problem that captures more headlines in Black neighborhoods than predominately White communities.  There have been a series of vehicle thefts in the Bronzeville community and it has placed the city in defense stance with other neighborhoods being hit as well.
Taste of Chicago Kicks Off
One of the most anticipated Chicago festivals kicks off this week; The Taste of Chicago takes place in Grant Park from July 5-9. The food and entertainment festival is the largest in the Midwest and attracts nearly half of a million attendees to the beautiful downtown lakefront.
There is so much to look forward to at this year’s festival from cooking demonstrations, live performances and DJs, kid friendly activities and a variety of food booths showcasing the best of Chicago’s signature restaurants.
The O’Jays PHOTO: Raymond Boyd

On Wednesday, performances by The Boy Illinois at the Bud Light Stage; Alessia Cara and Eryn Allen Kane at the Petrillo Music Band Shell kicked it off. On Thursday, the steppers come out at Chicago’s SummerDance for “A Tribute to Herb Kent” with music by Eric ‘ET’ Taylor. On Friday, live painting with artists Tyrue “Slang” Jones and others at the Street Art & Graffiti Alley from 12pm-6pm. Concert headliners Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals take place at Petrillo Music Shell and the party continues for the househeads with Chicago SummerDance and Steve “Miggedy” Maestro. On Saturday, M.A.D.D. Rhythms perform at Stomping Grounds Chicago and Salsa dancing with Chicago SummerDance. On Sunday, kid-friendly entertainment and cooking demonstrations from 10am-7pm, DJ Julio Bishop wraps up final day at the CH Distillery Cocktails and the legendary O’Jays perform at the Petrillo Music Shell.

There is too much to do at this year’s festival and for a full schedule, please visit:
WGCI Summer Jam 
One of the more anticipated concerts of the summer is the WGCI Summer Jam which takes place this Saturday, July 8 at United Center. This year’s line up is a top level fusion of the biggest and more familiar names in hip hop including Lil Wayne, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Jeezy, Yo Gotti, YFN Lucci and many more will hit the stage. Wow, the folks at iHeart Media keeps the party going and the shorties will be out in their latest creative outfits so shout out to Succezz, DTLR, Leaders, and VILLA for providing Chicago’s finest in their latest threads.

DigiStar Photo Group/ Bruce Chapman–05/13/10–Leon Rogers performs.

Birthday Shout-Outs
We know why we love these wonderful 4th of July babies! Happy belated birthday wishes to Cook County assistant state’s attorney Natalie Howse; DJ Titus Gunn; actor and music producer Brian Keys; and one of my favorite DJs Boolumaster. A Westside native and great DJ, DJ Bo; ABC-7 sportscaster Jim Rose and 2017 Men of Excellence recipient Marcus Betts celebrate July 5. The celebration continues with a special shout-out to my little sister Janea Datcher; PR maven Micaeh Johnson; and DJ Kwest. Throw your hands in the air for Judge Travis Richardson; WGCI morning show host Leon Rogers; Phaedra Leslie; and community powerbroker Rev. Leon Finney, Jr. on July 7. On July 8, the birthday roll call continues with music and entertainment photographer Raymond Boyd; Merlin Fozzy Barnes and forever Chi-town—former WGCI FM Operations Director Elroy Smith.
Celebrity Sightings
Chicago is one of the best cities to go “below the radar” but still make an impact. Celebrity hairstylist and star of the break-out hit Bravo’s “Invite-Only Cabo” Larry Sims was spotted at Portillo’s. The Chicago native is in town spending time with family and hosted an intimate viewing party on Sunday evening at the swanky LuxBar with his closest BFF’s. Long-time friend, fellow cast member and Westside native Jermane Britton was also on hand.
Pictured l-r: Mya, Cece Peniston and John Blu backstage at the 27th Chosen Few DJs House Picnic. PHOTO: Mary L. Datcher

In town for the Good Vibes Music Festival in Aurora, R&B artist and dancer Mya made an appearance at the 27th Annual Chosen Few DJs House Music picnic this past Saturday. Other appearances included Empire star and singer Jussie Smollett, who wowed the crowd—stopping for selfies and hugs. Platinum recording artist and hometown star R. Kelly stopped by the House music festival on Sunday afternoon. City Winery had a packed-out venue with back-to-back shows featuring neo-soul favorite Eric Roberson on Friday and Saturday evenings.
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