On the cover: Illustration by Simone Martin-Newberry. For more of Martin-Newberry's work, go to heysimone.com.

We’re heading into our third week of intensive election coverage here at Reader HQ, and it’s starting to get weird. Unexpected missives from public offices, strange requests from elected officials. A refreshing enthusiasm for speaking to our reporters, on the record and in depth. It’s a big difference from our usual goings-on, which largely focus on the cuteness of certain dogs and whether or not we should hyphenate “face sitting.” Should all return to normal by May.

In this issue Maya Dukmasova gives us her piercing look at the 13th Ward—Michael Madigan Country. The Illinois house speaker’s officemate, longtime alderman Marty Quinn, is the popular candidate, or so the volume of signage in the ward would have us believe. But Quinn’s got a challenger this year—a 19-year-old college student—and residents aren’t entirely ignoring the new kid. Isn’t election season just the most fun?

We’re also looking at the mayoral race, and we’ve got a short interview with candidate Amara Enyia by Ben Joravsky. In it, she outlines a few of her platforms and ideas. For a broader view of her campaign, we sent comics reporter Anya Davidson out to an event in Edgewater put on by her north-side supporters.

Of course we’re always thrilled to bring new writers to our pages, and Pete Saunders’s cover story this issue is a timely and compellingly argued demand to look more closely at the city’s legacy of segregation. Our look at the Chicago Independent Venue League (CIVL) is no less thoughtful, and its suggestion that city policy could be much more protective of our local music scene is deeply appreciated by those of us who came up in the clubs and bars of CIVL.

Quick correction: last week we incorrectly identified the Rogers Park clothier known to snakeskin-boot enthusiasts and steer-horned belt-buckle fans as Jessica’s Western Wear.

Finally, I can announce with intense gratitude and no small amount of love that our very own Kate Schmidt has returned to the office! That refreshing clean-text feeling washing over you right now? That’s her work. We’ve missed it, and her, terribly. Welcome back, Kate!  v