The Balbo monument just east of Soldier Field, near Burnham Harbor Credit: Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Friday, August 18, 2017. Have a great weekend!

  • Aldermen want to remove Italo Balbo monument given to the city by Mussolini

Aldermen Ed Burke and Gilbert Villeagas want the city to remove a monument to Italian fascist Italo Balbo near Soldier Field, according to the Sun-Times. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini gave the monument of his air comandante to Chicago in 1933. “I’m amazed the citizens of Chicago have not demanded that these symbols of fascism—a street and a statue bearing Balbo’s name, donated by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, a sidekick of Adolf Hitler—be removed decades ago from the city’s landscape,” Burke said. “It is now time Chicago does something permanent about this embarrassing anomaly.” [Sun-Times]

  • Cook County officials say they’ve fixed the soda tax as Bloomberg bankrolls pro-tax radio and TV ads

The federal government’s $87 million in funding for Illinois’s food stamp program is no longer at risk of being withheld due to the controversial new Cook County penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax, Cook County officials say. Food stamp purchases are exempt from the tax, and the legislation originally gave merchants unequipped to process this at point of sale the option of charging the tax, then refunding the customer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the food stamp program, warned officials that charging the tax, then issuing refunds, ran afoul of a rule prohibiting retailers from taxing food stamp recipients at any time. The county has since resolved the issue by getting rid of language in the law that allowed refunds. Retailers affected must now find an alternative such as manual overrides. Separately, Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC has purchased a “seven-figure broadcast and radio buy” for ads to support the tax, according to the Sun-Times. [Tribune] [Sun-Times]     

  • Jesse White changes his mind about retiring, announces he’s running for sixth term

Illinois secretary of state Jesse White has changed his mind about retirement and is planning to run for a sixth term as secretary of state in 2018, he announced Thursday. White was first elected to the office in 1998. [Associated Press via the State Journal-Register]

  • Democratic gubernatorial candidates speak out against Trump, Rauner

The Democratic candidates for governor slammed President Donald Trump and incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner during Democrat Day at the Illinois State Fair Thursday. Trump is “a racist and a bigot and a xenophobe and a liar,” according to billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker. State senator Daniel Biss charged both the president and the governor with flip-flopping on their Charlottesville reactions. [Sun-Times]

  • Nearly 100-year-old Lincoln bust vandalized in Englewood

A bust of President Abraham Lincoln that has been in Englewood for nearly 100 years was vandalized. Alderman Raymond Lopez is spearheading its restoration and plans on starting a GoFundMe page to pay for it. “We preserve it,” Lopez said. “It was dedicated in the 1920s. Considering the history of racism on the southwest side, particularly the Nazi headquarters being located in Marquette Park in the 1970s, this disgusting act sends a horrible message to West Englewood.” [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Stranger Things fans: A pop-up bar based on the show is coming to Logan Square

Stranger Things fans should get ready for a pop-up bar based on the popular Netflix show. The bar, located in the event space next door to Emporium Logan Square at 2367 N. Milwaukee, opens Friday and closes September 23. It will serve six cocktails, two of them slushies, along with Schlitz, and DJs will spin music from the 70s and 80s.  [DNAinfo Chicago]