Good morning, Chicago.

“Why do we keep letting this happen?”

After a gunman shot and killed 19 children at a Texas elementary school — adding to a yearslong series of mass killings in America — President Joe Biden pleaded for action to address gun violence in an address to the nation Tuesday night.

The massacre at Robb Elementary School in the heavily Latino town of Uvalde was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, almost a decade ago. Hours after the attack, families were still awaiting word on their children. At the town civic center where some gathered, the silence was broken repeatedly by screams and wailing.

It was just a week earlier that Biden traveled to Buffalo, New York, to meet with victims’ families after a hate-filled shooter killed 10 Black people at a grocery store.

“These kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world,” Biden said.

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Following the slaying of at least 19 students and two adults at a Texas elementary school, gun violence and Chicago crime became the dominant issues in dueling televised debates among the six men seeking Illinois’ Republican governor nomination. State Sen. Darren Bailey of downstate Xenia called Chicago “a crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole” when asked about gun violence.

Bailey’s comments were made at a debate where he appeared alongside businessman Gary Rabine of Bull Valley and cryptocurrency venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan. They came right after a separate televised forum that featured Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, Paul Schimpf of Waterloo, a former state senator, and Max Solomon, a lawyer from Hazel Crest.

The Tribune’s Rick Pearson and Dan Petrella recap the key takeaways from the debates.

It’s no secret that Michael Madigan, the indicted ex-speaker of the Illinois House, for years generated a conga line of Democratic staffers and others who toiled in the legislative arena and then cashed in as lobbyists. But it was rare to catch Madigan allegedly playing matchmaker.

Now a recently unsealed federal court filing has documented a secret federal recording of Madigan allegedly talking about connecting a lobbyist looking for work to one of the cash cows of the state’s lobbying interests — the gambling industry.

After a welcome lull in new COVID-19 cases in March following the winter omicron surge, cases are once again spiking, another uptick in the seemingly endless cycle of the pandemic’s virus spread. This time, though, masks are optional.

Public officials and businesses appear reluctant to return to a mandate and individuals are taking a wide-ranging approach, with some continuing to mask in some settings while others have little appetite for it. Chicago’s public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady has said she does not foresee a reinstatement of the mask mandate unless hospitals begin to be overwhelmed.

After multiple false starts, Cook County’s 17 commissioners, board president and other elected officials will get significant — and indefinite — salary bumps under a proposal that gained final approval by the County Board.

Commissioners voted 13-4 Tuesday to increase compensation for the elected officials by 10%, starting with the new term beginning this December and with increases of up to 3% scheduled annually after that. That approval came despite objection from a civic group over what it says is a lack of transparency on perpetual pay increases.

With Chicago office vacancy rates at an all-time high and companies tentatively beginning to herd employees back into communal settings, co-working spaces are making a comeback.

Two major co-working spaces opened this month in Chicago, including an expansive Fulton Market location from the once high-flying WeWork, and a new entry from Minnesota-based fitness chain Life Time, which launched a 39,000-square-foot space adjacent to its recently opened athletic club in River North.

Marquee Sports Network — owned by the the Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group — created a Sunday morning talk show called “The Reporters.” The Tribune’s Paul Sullivan says that for those in sports media, the announcement of the Marquee show was welcome news. But some wondered how much candor reporters could exercise on Cubs-related topics while on a station run by the Cubs and Sinclair.

“Would a reporter be allowed to criticize the spending of Chairman Tom Ricketts?” Sullivan writes. “Could anyone say manager David Ross was an issue? Would the Cubs run interference to make sure top executives weren’t ripped? One of those questions was answered Sunday. No, the network would not let a reporter criticize upper management.”

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