Good Thursday morning, Illinois. I don’t know about you, but I’ve moved past the idea of ever returning to normal and am embracing outdoor dining, mail-in ballots, elbow greetings and Netflix forever.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Illinois Playbook won’t publish July 20-24. We’ll be back in the saddle July 27.
Illinois feels like an island in the middle of a churning Covid sea. Infection rates have inched up in recent days, but it’s not as scary compared to states that touch our borders — or places like Florida or Arizona, which are drowning in the virus.
Illinois reported 1,187 new coronavirus cases Wednesday and a 3.1 positivity rate, which is the percentage of people testing positive for the virus based on overall tests.
A week ago, the state’s positivity rate was 2.6, so you can understand why Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot are so concerned. The governor threatened Wednesday to close bars and end youth sports for the rest of the summer. And Lightfoot warned she’s not afraid to bring back restrictions. She compared herself to the mom who threatens to turn the car around if you act up. “It’s actually worse. I won’t just turn the car around. I’m going to shut it off,” she said.
The heavy-handedness in managing the coronavirus really does feel like parents scolding teenagers. It can feel patronizing at times. But as much as it might annoy everyone, disrupt kids’ education and create real financial struggles for families and small businesses, deep down we know it’s for our own good. The numbers back them up. Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center shows the difference between states that enforced restrictions, like Illinois, vs. those that didn’t, like Iowa.
Of course there are still those who see it differently. An opinion writer in the Tribune spins a yarn that Florida has managed the coronavirus better than Illinois. Just look at the deaths, he says. Right now, Florida hardly seems like the state to emulate. While, yes, Florida’s eye-popping number of positive cases lately hasn’t yet turned into a spike in deaths, Covid-19 deaths have been on the rise there this week. Last month, it wasn’t unusual for Florida to have a daily death toll in the single digits or as high as 70, with most figures in the 40s and 50s. But on Tuesday, 132 deaths were reported by the state health agency, while a 112 were announced Wednesday. Those figures may, hopefully, turn out to be outliers but the number of cases found in nursing homes there is also surging and we’re not looking to join the Florida Playbook team just yet.
This whole debate touched a nerve with Pritzker’s Chief of Staff Anne Caprara, who tweeted a screenshot of the column last night calling it “insane” and “dangerously stupid crap.” She went on a lengthy, intimate tweetstorm about it, adding that "No, JB Pritzker doesn’t know what it is to be broke – but he does know what it is to be grief stricken over personal loss… He knows THAT misery intimately."
Now, compare Illinois’ 3.1 positivity rate to its neighbors: Iowa is at 9.29; Indiana, 8.4; Wisconsin, 7.18; Missouri, 6.02, and Kentucky, 5.92.
We’re remembering Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ haunting words back in March, “We’re different here in Iowa than they are in New York.” Now the Big Apple has a 1.12 percent positivity rate. They’re certainly different.
Still, those nearby states seem like comfort zones compared to Arizona, where the positivity rate is 24.7, or Florida, 18.71. And poor California took the lead in enforcing restrictions and then loosened the rules, prompting a spike in cases. It’s now at 7.54, and had to shut down again. Any of hope of safely reopening schools there this fall is getting dimmer now that its two largest school districts — Los Angeles and San Diego — have scrapped all that this week and decided to go all-virtual, a harbinger for other schools in the state.
Pritzker reshuffles reopening plan, puts Chicago, suburbs in separate Covid-19 regions, by Sun-Times’ Neal Earley and Stefano Esposito
Lightfoot threatens to bring back Covid-19 restrictions if cases surge, reports WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch.
Freshman Democratic Rep. Sean Casten holds a big fundraising lead over Republican challenger Jeanne Ives in the 6th Congressional District, according to the second-quarter campaign filing reports. And Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan is besting Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in cash in the 13th District.
Casten raked in $748,802 to Ives’ $483,239. More compelling, Casten has $3 million in the bank compared to Ives’ $501,346. This puts the Democrat from Downers Grove in a position to start filling the TV airwaves with ads while Ives has to spend her time fundraising. Ives won’t go down without a fight—recall, she nearly beat former Gov. Bruce Rauner in the GOP primary last time around.
In the central part of the state, Londrigan raised $800,556 in the second quarter and has $2.2 million on hand, compared to incumbent Republican Davis, who raised $510,000 during the second period and has $1.8 million on hand.
This race is a repeat of 2018, when Davis, now a four-term congressman, just barely edged out Londrigan. She has a much stronger ground game this time, but Covid-19 could play a role in the outcome. The 13th District includes the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus, and if left-leaning students aren’t available to vote, that could impact the race.
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No official public event.
At Lockwood Park in Rockford at 10 a.m. to announce expansion of the Youth Employment Program; then at the Rockford City Market at 11:15 a.m. to discuss the Census. Watch both live here
In the Cook County Board Room presiding over a special meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners at 10 a.m.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 8 additional deaths to coronavirus Wednesday and 1,187 new confirmed cases. The state has seen 7,226 total deaths and 156,693 total cases. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from July 8 to July 14 is 3.1 percent.
— If you want to know why coronavirus is spiking in the U.S., compare Florida with Illinois: “The two states took two very different approaches — and now Floridians are paying with their lives,” writes Noah Berlatsky in the Independent.
— Illinois to spend additional $108.5 million in emergency funds on digital divide, higher ed: “The money comes from a discretionary fund for governors that was part of the first federal coronavirus relief bill. The governor had not said how he would spend his portion until now,” write Chalkbeat Chicago’s Samantha Smylie and Cassie Walker Burke.
— Congress faces pressure to deal with ‘roller coaster recovery’ amid pandemic: “As lawmakers return to work next week to debate a new stimulus package with a price tag in the trillions, the summer Covid-19 sequel is playing a lot like the spring original. The urgency this time isn’t so much to cushion the economic blow, but to keep the nascent economic recovery on track,” by POLITICO’s Rebecca Rainey.
— CDC study finds measures taken by Cook County sheriff mitigated Covid-19 spread in jail: “[T]the report found that jail staff were able to limit the spread of the coronavirus through physical distancing, limiting movement and expanded testing,” by WTTW’s Matt Masterson.
— What adults people say about Covid uptick among their peers: “I don’t think about it much,” Tribune staff reports.
— Trump replaces Parscale as campaign manager: “Parscale has been under the microscope in recent weeks, particularly following Trump’s half-capacity rally in Tulsa, Okla. Parscale was blamed internally for the rally after boasting beforehand that over 1 million people had signed up to attend. In private, the president repeatedly criticized Parscale for the episode,” reports POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt.
— The underappreciated shrewdness of the Biden campaign: “Trump can’t be counted out. But the Biden campaign is canny enough that it isn’t going to make it easy for him,” writes Rich Lowry in POLITICO.
— Kanye West qualifies to appear on Oklahoma presidential ballot: But confusion remains about whether he’s running, reports the AP.
— Willie Wilson launches cable ads for his third-party challenge of Durbin: “Wilson, a wealthy glove and medical supply importer who also promotes his Gospel singing on television and through advertising, is spending nearly $30,000 on more than 1,000 half-minute TV ads that are scheduled to begin airing on Thursday, industry records showed,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.
— Independent candidate Marcus Throneburg files in 37th Senate race: “Throneburg was among those seeking a reduction in the number of signatures needed for independents and third-party candidates to qualify for the ballot — a request granted by a federal judge, who also permitted petitions to be signed digitally,” by the Register-Mail.
— Aldermen advance an agreement on Chicago Police and anonymous complaints: “Aldermen advanced an agreement Wednesday that will allow anonymous complaints against Chicago police sergeants, lieutenants and captains to be investigated, despite concerns that the agreement does not go far enough to hold police brass accountable for misconduct,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Police aren’t helping ICE detain immigrants, report says: “In the last three months, federal immigration agents asked the Chicago Police Department to help detain immigrants 14 times. But CPD refused each time, citing the city’s sanctuary ordinance, according to a report obtained by WBEZ,” by WBEZ’s María Inés Zamudio.
— Yearslong federal review of Obama Presidential Center inches forward: The Federal Highway Administration has released a draft memo outlining “certain stipulations for how to pursue the project,” and a webinar today will address that, reports Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— Chicago teachers union demands remote learning-only in the fall: “The call for school buildings to remain closed comes as the school district is expected to release its plan for reopening schools this week,” by WBEZ’s Sarah Karp.
— Is there a school-to-prison pipeline? CPS gives conflicting reports to local school councils: “CPS met with Local School Council members from around the city Wednesday to help them in their votes on whether to keep officers at their schools,” Nader Issa.
— Artistic Chicago is hemorrhaging jobs: ‘We are looking at the decimation of an industry’: “The performing arts mean many things to a city: tourism dollars, fun times, a better quality of life for residents, superior educational resources for young people, moments for a citizenry to think about the most profound issues of life and death. And, of course, the opportunity to empathize with someone utterly different from yourself. But they are also job creators,” by Tribune’s Chris Jones.
— Art Institute set to reopen July 30: “As part of the reopening celebration, Illinois residents can enjoy free admission through August 3,” reports Sun-Times’ Miriam Di Nunzio.
— Museum of Science and Industry to reopen Aug. 1 with food on the lawn: The museum “will end its more than four-month coronavirus closure on Aug. 1, welcoming the public back with two weeks of free admission and some new features, the museum announced Thursday,” by Tribune’s Steve Johnson.
— My Block, My Hood, My City and My Community Table team up to raise funds to prevent Chicago violence: “With a simple click of an online food order, Chicagoans can now help support not just local restaurants but the non-profit organization My Block, My Hood, My City,” reports WLS/7’s Cate Cauguiran.
Alexander County judge issues TRO against Aperion Care Cairo: “An Alexander County judge issued a temporary restraining order against Aperion Care Cairo, barring the nursing home from involuntarily relocating residents for at least 10 days. Families worry about what’s next for their loved ones,” by Southern Illinoisan’s Molly Parker.
— Madigan: Republican calls to ‘drain the swamp’ should start with Trump, Roger Stone and other GOP allies: “The Southwest Side Democrat weighed in on the presidential election and Biden’s potential pick for vice president. But the state House speaker would not say whether he would call for a return to session to work on ethics reforms or legislation to address racial inequities,” by Sun-Times’ Neal Earley.
— Illinois to spend additional $108.5M in emergency funds on digital divide, higher ed: “The money comes from a discretionary fund for governors that was part of the first federal coronavirus relief bill. The governor had not said how he would spend his portion until now,” report Chalkbeat’s Samantha Smylie and Cassie Walker Burke.
— Covid pandemic worsens housing crisis: “Illinois worker must make $21.30 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment, more than that in collar counties,” writes One Illinois’ Ted Cox.
International students face a host of problems during the pandemic: “Immigration and Customs Enforcement had announced that international students must take some of their classes online. If not, they could be deported from the United States. The Trump Administration just rescinded that decision. But many international students continue to face uncertainty during COVID-19,” reports NPR Illinois’ Peter Medlin.
Deadline for Illinois’ first marijuana social equity grants is July 20: “The R3 — Restore, Reinvest and Renew — Program has $31.5 million in grants available for organizations in communities disproportionately impacted by poverty, gun violence or the war on drugs, and the deadline to apply is Monday, July 20,” writes Capitol News’ Raymon Troncoso.
— ELECTORS NAMED: House Speaker and Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan announced the 20 Illinois Democrats who will serve as electors to the Electoral College. And he took a dig at President Donald Trump. “We are taking nothing for granted in our fight to restore integrity to our country after four disastrous years,” Madigan said in a statement announcing the electors, which include at large electors Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and state Senate President Don Harmon. The others selected are: Congressman Chuy Garcia, Ald. Michelle Harris, former state Rep. Al Riley, Ald. Silvana Tabares, Pollution Control Board member Cynthia Santos, Central Committeewoman Nancy Shepherdson, Vera Davis (wife of Congressman Danny Davis), Schaumburg Area Democratic Committeeman Michael Cudzik, Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Michael Cabonargi, former state Rep. Lauren Beth Gash, longtime school board member Julia Kennedy Beckman, former Rep. Jerry Costello, former superdelegate Jayne Mazzotti, Central Committeewoman Kristina Zahorik, former state Rep. Brandon Phelps, educator Christine Benson, Rock Island County Dem Don Johnston, and nonprofit leader Sheila Stocks-Smith.
— DNC members named: The Illinois Democratic Party also named a new slate to take part in Democratic National Committee meetings next month (after the national Democratic Convention) and through 2024. They are House Speaker Michael Madigan (the state’s Democratic Party chairman), Reps. Danny Davis and Robin Kelly, Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes, state Sens. Cristina Castro, Iris Martinez, and Carol Ronen, Sen. Durbin’s Springfield Director Bill Houlihan, former state Sen. John Cullerton, and Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough.
— Trump team launches a sweeping loyalty test to shore up its defenses, by POLITICO’s Dan Diamond, Daniel Lippman and Nancy Cook
— Massive hack seizes Twitter accounts belonging to Obama, Biden and others, by POLITICO’s Eric Geller and Matthew Choi
— Struggling with Latinos, Trump hypes Goya food fight, by POLITICO’s Marc Caputo
— ‘Trump-y politics’ leave permanent imprint on the GOP, by POLITICO’s David Siders
— What the Redskins name and Confederate statues have in common, by Philip Deloria for POLITICO
Sam Wheeler, the state historian, has left the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield, by Illinois Times’ Bruce Rushton.
Ginny Clarke, Google’s director of Leadership Staffing, AL Media’s Maddie Conway, American Medical Association VP of Enterprise Comms Justin DeJong, New Trier Director of Comms Niki Dizon, and POLITICO Held Desk Engineer Kalon Makle.
July 16, 2020 at 07:47AM