Council okays dog dining bill

The City Council today passed an ordinance allowing dogs to accompany their owners while dining at outdoor restaurant patios.

Ald. Gene Schulter [D-47th Ward], who sponsored the measure, said it was timely because many restaurants already are allowing dogs on their patios, which violates current law.

The goal, he said, is to provide "a healthy, safe and clean environment for those people who after a long day of work would like to bring their dog out for a light dinner."

The city's Health Department initially opposed the concept, due to concerns that dog droppings and food service are not a sanitary mix

In addition to health concerns, Ald. Brendan Reilly [D-42nd Ward], one of the co-sponsors of the bill, said it will help to make Chicago a desirable tourist destination, especially with Chicago in competition for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

In other business, City Council appointed Ilana Rosenzweig to head the city's newly independent Office of Professional Standards, which investigates cases of police brutality. Rosenzweig was previously a staff attorney at the independent agency overseeing complaints against Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies.

Aldermen also created a new agency to supervise hiring practices and legal compliance at City Hall.

Though Ald. Joe Moore [D-49th Ward] said the creation of the Office of Compliance is laudable, but expressed concern that it was an attempt to elude federal scrutiny of city hiring practices.

"I just hope that after the lights are turned off and the press moves on to other issues, the city will not revert back to business as usual," Moore said.