Cozen Cities - May 22, 2024 

May 22, 2024

Gig Economy & Technology

CHICAGO — Ordinance Requiring City Data Be Stored in U.S. Held in Committee

The Chicago City Council Committee on Economic, Capital & Technology Development held an ordinance requiring city data to “be processed, stored, transmitted and disposed of” within United States jurisdiction. 

Labor & Employment

CHICAGO — Chicago Youth Joblessness Rates Outpacing National Average

Black Chicago teenagers are experiencing higher jobless rates and slower recovery from the pandemic, a new study reports.

CHICAGO — Teachers Union Demands Big Raises, Time Off, Paid Transit

Big pay raises and more days off are on the table for teachers in Chicago Public Schools. The Chicago Teachers Union is advocating for members to get a minimum raise of 9% annually and up to 45 days off during the school year.

PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Parker Calls All City Employees Back to Full-Time Office Work

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker announced that all City workers must return to the office five days a week beginning July 15, with the goal of enhancing workplace interaction and boosting Center City’s economy.

RICHMOND — City Council Approves Three Union Agreements with Employees

The Richmond City Council approved labor agreements for city police, fire, and administrative and technical employees bargaining units after decades of advocacy for collective bargaining rights.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego Unified Rescinds Almost All Teacher Layoffs

An agreement between the San Diego Unified, the local teachers union, and the School District saved some educators from layoffs. Meanwhile, about 60 non-educator employees are still set to be laid off.

Policy & Politics

BALTIMORE — Mayor Scott, City Councilmember Cohen Secure Primary Victories as Ballot Tallying Continues

During last week’s Democratic primary, former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon conceded to incumbent Mayor Brandon Scott, while City Councilmember Zeke Cohen (District 1) secured the Democratic nomination for City Council President over incumbent Council President Nick Mosby. Three City Council races remain too close to call.

CHICAGO — Protesters Plan Gaza-Focused DNC March, Will Not Apply for Chicago Permit

The organizers of many of Chicago’s biggest pro-Palestinian rallies are planning a march during this summer’s Democratic National Convention (DNC), and vowed Thursday not to apply for a City protest permit.

DETROIT — Detroit Sees Population Growth for First Time Since 1957

After decades of decline, Detroit’s population is growing. Between July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023, the city gained 1,852 residents, increasing its population to 633,366.

LOS ANGELES — City Council Advances Ethics Reform for November Ballot

The Los Angeles City Council amended and approved a series of proposed ethics-related changes to the Los Angeles City Charter that are expected to go before voters in November.

LOS ANGELES — Search for Next L.A. City Council President Under Way

Term-limited City Council President Paul Krekorian has approximately seven months left in office, and behind the scenes, his colleagues have begun discussing who should succeed him. 

NEW YORK — Citywide Crackdown Prompts Shutdown of Several Illegal Smoke Shops

The first week of Mayor Eric Adams’ “Operation Padlock to Protect” ended with 75 of the estimated 2,900 illegal smoke shops closing their doors and the City issuing $6 million in fines to vendors selling illegal cannabis products.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Passes Bill to Prevent D.C. Council from Altering Sentencing Laws

The U.S. House approved a bill preventing the D.C. Council from altering local sentencing laws, despite concerns from local leaders about its impact on crime responses, youth offenders, and home rule.

Public Health & Safety

BOSTON — BPD Renewing Contract with ShotSpotter Maker

The Boston Police Department (BPD) plans to move forward with an expansion of ShotSpotter technology, which Commissioner Michael Cox claims allows officers to respond more efficiently to shootings.

MINNEAPOLIS — City Launches “Operation Safe Summer” to Curb Seasonal Rise in Violence

Minneapolis City leaders are kicking off the third year of “Operation Safe Summer,” an effort to reduce crime and increase safety.

PHILADELPHIA — City Council May Block Fairmount Triage Center

The Philadelphia City Council may block Mayor Parker’s plan for a triage center in Fairmount, after plans raised concerns among residents.

SEATTLE — City’s Homeless Population Hits All-Time High

Data from the Regional Homelessness Authority cites more than 16,000 people experiencing homeless living conditions in Seattle on a daily basis, a 23% hike since the City’s last data collection in 2022.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — City Clears Homeless Encampment

D.C. officials cleared out the last large-scale homeless encampment in Foggy Bottom last week, citing health and safety concerns, prompting criticism from advocates and residents alike.

Real Estate Development

BALTIMORE — BGE to Broaden Incentives for Builders of Energy-Efficient Homes

Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) will provide incentives to builders that meet new federal energy efficiency standards, part of the Energy Star NextGen certification program aiming to enhance energy savings in new homes, funded through EmPOWER Maryland.

CHICAGO — Mayor Johnson Commits to Sustainable Development in Bi-National Pledge

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced last week that he and the mayors of Montréal, Québec City, and Milwaukee signed a bi-national pledge “to transform the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin into a thriving blue-green economic corridor.” 

DETROIT — City Council to Establish Commission Representing Renters

The Detroit City Council approved the creation of a tenants rights commission to represent and advocate for residential renters. 

LOS ANGELES — L.A. Voters Support More Housing but Doubt it Will Benefit Them

A strong majority of Los Angeles voters support building more housing across the city but are skeptical that it will benefit them or ease cost pressures in their neighborhood, a new poll by the L.A. Business Council has found.

NEW YORK — Atlantic Yards Project Remains Stalled

Pacific Park’s promise to deliver thousands of prospective affordable housing options to Brooklyn residents remains stagnant, as few proposals have emerged to revitalize the stalled Atlantic Yards project.

PHILADELPHIA — Parker Administration Hopes to Streamline ZBA

The Philadelphia City Council is working with the Parker Administration to streamline operations at the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) to ensure smoother processes for developers and business owners.

Taxes & Spending

BOSTON — City Business Leaders Cite Concerns Over Mayor’s Tax Plan

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Mayor Michelle Wu opposing proposed tax hikes on commercial properties, instead advocating for a reduction in her spending plan.

CHICAGO — Loop Restaurants Clawing Their Way Back to Health

More than 300 downtown Chicago restaurants closed during the first three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, but surviving eateries are adapting through strategies like online ordering, securing reduced rent, and hosting special events, with signs of recovery and new opportunities emerging.

MINNEAPOLIS — MPS Says Budget Deficit “May Increase” After Labor Deals

In a retraction from a previous statement to Axios, Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) officials now say a new teacher union contract could worsen the district’s budget shortfall.

MINNEAPOLIS — Though Optimistic, Mayor Frey Advises Council to Curb Spending

In his recent State of the City address, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey acknowledged that the city is still rebounding from the pandemic, and faces challenges including an expected bump in the property tax levy to make up for high office building vacancy rates downtown.

RICHMOND — Richmond City Council Approves Nearly $3B Budget

Last week, the Richmond City Council approved a $3 billion FY25 budget, which prioritizes essential services such as public safety, infrastructure maintenance, and education, including a significant investment in Richmond Public Schools’ maintenance.

SAN DIEGO — Mayor Gloria Rolls Back Some Proposed Budget Cuts

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria is walking back some budget cuts he proposed last month that the City’s independent budget analyst said would fall especially hard on low-income neighborhoods, communities of color, and people experiencing homelessness in an updated FY25 budget

SEATTLE — City Council Passes $170M in Retroactive Raises for Police Officers

An estimated $60,000 in backpay and $20,000 increase in annual salary make the Seattle Police Department the highest paid in Washington.

Transportation & Mobility

CHICAGO — Civic Federation Urges “Cautious” Spending, Warns of “Looming Fiscal Crisis” for Transit Agencies

As Illinois lawmakers work to finalize a budget and revenue package, the Civic Federation is urging the state to be more cautious in its spending levels and warned that the CTA, Metra, and Pace are “fast approaching a looming fiscal crisis.”

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Bass Calls for More Law Enforcement on Metro Buses, Trains After Violent Attacks 

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board of Directors Chair Karen Bass stated that she and other Board members will introduce a motion this week calling for an increase in law enforcement patrols and visibility on the transit system’s buses and trains.

PHILADELPHIA — SEPTA to Receive $578K to Support Free Transit Pilot

The City of Philadelphia received a $578,340 grant from the William Penn Foundation to support a free fare pilot program for low-income residents launched by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

RICHMOND — GRTC Ridership on the Upswing

Ridership on Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) continues to rise, with the Pulse experiencing a 14% increase from last year, and significant growth on the newly expanded 1A line.

RICHMOND — Speed Symposium Highlights Work Addressing Speeding Drivers

More than 60 fatalities have occurred in crashes on Richmond’s streets in the past three years, prompting initiatives to address speeding and improve safety infrastructure.

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Rose Christ

Co-Chair, New York Practice, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies

(212) 883-2248

John F. Dunn


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Joseph Hill

Managing Director, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies

(215) 665-2065

Katie Schwab

Co-Chair, New York Practice, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies

(212) 883-4913

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