Today, in his first time presiding over City Council, Mayor Brandon Johnson stood attentively throughout the three-hour-plus meeting and injected levity with occasional jokes as he began advancing his agenda.

Johnson convened the meeting by saying, “This City Council meeting is being recorded live—from Naperville.” The joke referenced The TRiiBE’s report that found a “Fox and Friends” live interview filmed on the day of Johnson’s inauguration was staged.

The next City Council meeting will be next week, when the body will take up a measure on $51 million in funding for support for asylum seekers that was delayed today.

The measure would provide funding support for recently arrived asylum seekers that would, if passed by the city council members, “provide additional staffers for seven city shelters, respite centers, meals, legal services and transportation for migrants,” a WBEZ report.   

Ahead of today’s city council meeting, Ald. Bryon Sigcho-Lopez hosted a press conference to announce his proposal to assist both asylum seekers and residents experiencing homelessness. Sigcho-Lopez was joined by newly elected alders Julia Ramirez (12th) and Jessie Fuentes (16th) and community members. During the presser, a group of protestors interrupted a staffer from Lopez’s office as they were addressing the media. 

In the City Council chambers, public commenters were variously for and against the funding measure.

Alds. Anthony Beale (9th), Ray Lopez (15th) and Anthony Napolitano (41st) moved to postpone a final vote of the funding measure through a parliamentary maneuver that is known as “defer and publish.” Some council members opt to “defer and publish” when they oppose or seek to delay a piece of proposed legislation. That means a final vote on the measure to add additional funding support for asylum seekers is on hold until next week’s city council meeting. 

The council spent much of today’s meeting honoring Chicago residents. A resolution honoring the Kenwood High School boys’ baseball team, who won the citywide championship earlier this week at Guaranteed Rate Field over Payton, drew sustained applause. The team’s 2-0 win was led by starting pitcher Kevari Thunderbird, who threw a 12-strikeout gem, giving up only two hits over six innings.

Many alders wore blue lapel pins in support of Stand Up to Jewish Hate, and Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th Ward) introduced a resolution honoring the contributions Jewish people have made to Chicago. May is Jewish American Heritage Month.

May is also Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Newly elected 48th Ward Ald. Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, the council’s first and only Filipino member, and 11th Ward Ald. Nicole Lee spoke passionately about their experiences as well as the contributions Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Indigenous Hawaiian people have made to the city and the nation.

Mayor Johnson’s council committee reorganization proposal, which he dubbed the “Unity Plan,” passed easily, despite parliamentary maneuvers by alders who opposed it. In March, council members passed a plan to expand the number of committees and pick committee chairs themselves. Choosing committee chairs has historically been the sole purview of the mayor. Earlier this month, Johnson unilaterally increased the number of committees by just one, from 19 to 20, and installed his allies in many key chair roles.

Third Ward Ward Ald Pat Dowell, a key Johnson ally during the mayoral election, was confirmed as chair of the powerful Finance Committee, making her the first Black woman to hold the role. 

Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward) will serve as Johnson’s vice mayor. He is the first Black man in that position.


At the end of the meeting, 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins presented a “Civility Pledge” for alders to sign. The pledge was meant to usher in a fresh era of collegiality in a chamber that periodically devolved into contentious discord over the past four years.

In a press conference following the meeting, Johnson joined restaurant owners and Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection commissioner Ken Meyer to introduce a measure to create permanent expanded outdoor seating for bars and restaurants. Outdoor seating was started during the pandemic, but expired in 2022.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 31 at 10:00 a.m.

is a multimedia reporter for The TRiiBE.
is the digital news editor for The TRiiBE.