Good Thursday morning, Illinois. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took the stage Wednesday to “Move on Up” by the late, great Curtis Mayfield of Chicago.
The latest looting spree in Chicago’s business district has led to renewed calls for federal help in handling protests expected in the coming days — and more finger-pointing about how to stop the violence.
Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara is hand-delivering a letter today (Page 1, Page 2) to U.S. Attorney John Lausch Jr. calling for his federal team to step in and prosecute looters who ransacked the Magnificent Mile after a police-involved shooting on the South Side. Catanzara has cc’d President Donald Trump, too.
Catazara said officers were subjected “to threats both verbally and physically” as well as being “battered with all types of bricks and rocks” and that Kim Foxx’s Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office “has showed little or no interest in prosecuting these individuals.”
The extra help from the feds is needed, Catanzara says, because a protest on the Dan Ryan is expected over the weekend.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot had no response to the letter, referring Playbook instead to comments she made Monday. Lightfoot said federal help is not needed and neither is the National Guard. “Period. Full stop.” Instead, the city is working with state police to beef up law enforcement on the streets.
“I’m sure the president will have his way with this incident but I’m calling on him to do the things that we do need,” she said. “We need common-sense gun control.”
The mayor had also pointed to Foxx’s office for contributing to the problem by pulling back on prosecuting retail theft cases. It’s a point examined by the Tribune — though retail theft is different from looting, Foxx said in pushing back at the suggestion.
That brief public exchange prompted them to get on the phone to iron out some issues, though sources tell Playbook they didn’t go so far as to mend fences.
Now in an opinion column in the Tribune, Foxx called for an end to finger-pointing and said: “If, as it has been alleged, policies of my office are proven to contribute to looting or lawlessness, I will be the first to change them. I ask that others make the same pledge and that we all hold ourselves to the highest standards of honesty, transparency and effectiveness.”
State Rep. Kam Buckner, whose district encompasses Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood where the shooting took place and much of the Gold Coast area that was ransacked by vandals, told Playbook he’s concerned how the whole incident was handled — starting with officers not wearing body cameras: “There was a complete and utter breakdown of the system.”
— Pritzker backs Black Lives Matter but adds ‘anybody who is looting … should be held responsible’: "First of all, anybody who is looting, shooting or breaking the law should be held responsible. Period. End of sentence. So, let’s set that as a baseline… People who are protesting and voicing their concern and standing up for people’s rights and doing it in a peaceful fashion, they have every right to do that. But those are two very different things,” he said. Tribune’s Rick Pearson reports.
— ‘Winning has come through revolts’: A Black Lives Matter activist on why she supports looting: “This most recent looting was different, and it’s exact genesis remains unclear. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, ’This is not legitimate First Amendment-protected speech. … This was straight-up felony, criminal conduct,’ but some activists disagree. WBEZ talked with Black Lives Matter organizer Ariel Atkins on why she supports people looting and looting as protest,” reports WBEZ’s Rob Wildeboer and Chip Mitchell.
— Downtown aldermen balk at Foxx’s re-election bid: “Signs are growing that looting may take a political toll on the Cook County state’s attorney,” writes Crain’s Greg Hinz.
Arne Duncan has a solution for Chicago’s violence problem and it involves hammers.
The former U.S. education secretary and co-founder of Chicago CRED, which works with young Black men to get them off the streets and into jobs, wants the city to build housing on its vacant lots that lay wasted across the South and West sides of Chicago. “Let’s build homes, let’s build parks, let’s build playgrounds,” Duncan told Playbook.
There are cranes and construction downtown, but there’s nothing in Black and brown communities, he said. “People see it. And if we could put people to work from the community, people with criminal backgrounds, put them to work and rebuild the community, that’s what we need to do.”
Duncan talked to Playbook about the recent looting, civil unrest and how the city might look to new solutions to the problem that has plagued Chicago for generations.
Chicago is “in a really bad spot,” he said of crime that’s devastated the South and West sides for years and especially in recent months.
“We’re in a death spiral,” Duncan said. “There’s too much violence, so families move out, their tax base goes down, schools get depopulated and then close. It’s cycling in the wrong direction.”
Along with “creating opportunity,” Duncan said nothing can be accomplished without every arm of government working together.
“If guys who have shot at each other can find peace and work together and commit to building a strong community, how can political leaders do less than that?”
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Joining mayors and police chiefs to announce recommendations by the U.S. Conference of Mayors Working Group on Police Reform and Racial Justice.
At Wood n’ Hog BBQ in Urbana at 10 a.m. to announce the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) in Urbana. Then, at the Bloomington YMCA for another “BIG” announcement. Watch live
On vacation and back to work Aug. 24.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 20 new deaths and 1,549 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 7,657 deaths and 196,948 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from Aug. 4 to Aug. 10 is 4.1 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is 5.1 percent.
— The next unprecedented vaccine hurdle: Making hundreds of millions of doses: “The U.S. government has now signed six deals with vaccine-makers to produce coronavirus shots, even before it’s clear any are effective — and with a risk the companies won’t be able to ramp up production in time to deliver hundreds of millions of doses. Some of the experimental vaccines use technology that has never before reached the market, so there is no precedent for producing hundreds of millions of doses,” by POLITICO’s Zachary Brennan.
— Bleaker-than-ever picture for Illinois restaurants: “At least 20 percent of the state’s 24,000 restaurants ‘will never reopen,’ said Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia. Statewide, 321,000 restaurant employees have been laid off, and 86% of restaurants are ‘unlikely’ to turn a profit within six months,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Coronavirus trends in Illinois not looking good: ‘My concern is growing each day,’ says public health director, by Tribune’s Jamie Munks
— Pritzker says mask mandate applies even while ‘outside and walking around,’ via NBC/5. "…if you’re outside and walking around and can’t maintain social distance."
— ‘A Proud Moment’: Black female leaders in Illinois celebrate the historic choice of Kamala Harris: “As Harris is nominated as the first Black woman VP of a major party, leaders say regardless of political leanings, that’s something to celebrate,” by WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel.
— ‘One of us’: South Asians celebrate Harris as VP choice: “The fact that she is both Black and brown is what makes this so exciting. The Asian American experience is one that is complicated and nuanced and robust,” via the AP.
— Kanye flops among Black voters: “Democrats aren’t sweating West at this point — and Republicans don’t view him as a boon to their cause, either. For good reason: In a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, West garnered 2 percent support overall among registered voters, 7 points behind the “no opinion” option. His support among African American voters is just as meager — 2 percent — and Biden’s 9-point national lead over Trump is unmoved with or without West on the ballot,” by POLITICO’s Maya King and Alex Isenstadt.
… Some political snark: Before trying to sneak a ringer on the ballot, Trump should have consulted with a few Chicago political operatives: “Don’t make it obvious, Mr. Trump. Make reporters work to establish Kanye West’s ties to your campaign,” writes Abdon Pallasch in the Sun-Times.
BIG HIRE: "David Jackson, one of the most influential journalists in Illinois, has accepted a position as a senior investigative reporter at the Better Government Association," the BGA announced this morning. Jackson joins the Chicago-based nonprofit as a senior investigator after nearly 30 years at the Chicago Tribune, where his work often focused on the failures of government. He’s revealed sexual violence against students in Chicago’s public schools, helped put officials in jail, and exposed abusive cops.
— Lightfoot announces review of Chicago monuments as part of ‘a racial healing and historical reckoning project’: “The Lightfoot administration also said it will commission ‘a series of temporary public artworks that focus on a broader range of topics around COVID-19, inequality and racial reconciliation,’” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt, Blair Kamin in Kori Rumore.
— City’s No. 3 cop was suspended for ‘rape’ comment before announcing retirement: “‘Grope me, don’t rape me,’ an internal affairs investigation found Fred Waller said at a meeting to discuss shifting officers from patrol to the police academy and other units,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main and Fran Spielman.
— Message to mayor: ‘The homeowners we represent do not feel safe’: “The head of a property management firm representing residents from Hyde Park to Edgewater blasts the Lightfoot administration: ‘This is not a way to live, not a way to work, and this is not the Chicago I know,’” by Crain’s Wendell Hutson.
— Senn H.S. Council votes to remove in-school police: “Senn is at least the 10th CPS high school to eliminate in-school police officers,” by Block Club Chicago’s Joe Ward.
— Feds subpoena records of Bridgeport home belonging to Chicago Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson: “In a grand-jury subpoena sent to Cook County officials on Sept. 4, 2019, prosecutors asked for property records dating back to 2011 for the brick house in the 3500 block of South Lowe Avenue,” by WBEZ’s Tony Arnold and Dan Mihalopoulos.
— ‘Nine times out of 10, I was completely brushed off’: Black Chicagoans confront bias in health care, hope for change: “When it occurs in medicine, it can have devastating consequences for patients, and may be one factor leading to worse health outcomes for Black people, such as higher rates of deaths from COVID-19, experts say,” by Tribune’s Lisa Schencker.
— Optimistic that Rogers Park shoreline projects will withstand winter, Chicago Park District to look at other spots that need protection: “Funding for shoreline protections and improvements to eroding harbors were among the issues brought before the Chicago Park District board Wednesday during the district’s first full meeting in months,” by Tribune’s Morgan Greene.
— ‘The Tamale Guy’ restaurant opening in Ukrainian Village: “I am very excited, especially with everyone who helped make this dream possible. This has always been my dream," said Claudio Velez, the "Tamale Guy." By Block Club’s Hannah Alani.
— COMMENTARY: The precedent for cutting off the Loop: “Cordons of entire neighborhoods have happened before, but this week’s was unusually swift and in response to comparatively small-scale disorder,” by Whet Moser for Chicago magazine.
Three men charged in plots to bribe, threaten R. Kelly’s alleged victims: “One man allegedly discussed paying a victim $500,000 to keep her from cooperating with the feds, saying ‘She got too much.’ Another harassed a woman who filed a lawsuit against Kelly, the feds say,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.
— 5 more tornadoes confirmed, for total of 11 in northern Illinois during Monday’s storms: “Chicago alone has logged more than 7,000 requests to 311 for downed trees and related emergencies since Sunday, according to city data. By Wednesday afternoon, almost 175,000 Commonwealth Edison customers remained without power,” by Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas.
— Students sing to beloved music teacher as she died in isolation: “As the music teacher at Western Avenue Elementary School for 35 years, Judy Kirby taught thousands of kids to use their voices. So when her former Flossmoor students learned their dying teacher could no longer speak herself, they sang to her one last time,” by WGN/9’s Erin Ivory.
— DATAPOINT: Half of Illinois’ students poised to start the year with only remote learning: “Districts with all-remote plans are concentrated in the Chicago metro area, new data from the state Board of Education shows,” by Chalk Beat’s Sneha Dey.
— Illinois doles out small business grants with more on the way: “Karen Freeman Wilson, CEO of the Chicago Urban League, said the money is a lifeline for many employers,” by NPR Illinois’ Sean Crawford.
— ICE cancels plans for Dwight detention center: “ICE has cracked on its plans to build a detention center for undocumented immigrants in Dwight. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights cheered word Tuesday that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has canceled plans for the facility, proposed for up to 1,000 prisoners, to be built on a 40-acre farm on the outskirts of Dwight, just northeast of Pontiac,” by One Illinois’ Ted Cox.
— She was fired after wearing a Black Lives matter mask, by State Journal-Register’s Brenden Moore.
TODAY at 10 a.m.: State Sen. Ram Villivalam is hosting the GENERAL ASSEMBLY’s FIRST OFFICIAL VIRTUAL HEARING. The subject matter hearing and testimony will focus on transparency and diversity goals as it relates to contracts with the Illinois Tollway Authority. Villivalam is chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee. The meeting will be conducted remotely via Zoom and broadcast live on www.ilga.gov. Speakers will represent the Illinois Tollway Authority, Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, African American Contractors Association, American Council of Engineering Companies, Hispanic American Construction Industry Association, and Federation of Women Contractors.
— As universities reopen, no one has more uncertainty than this year’s freshman class: “As universities in the Chicago area and around the country scramble to resume classes during the COVID-19 pandemic — be that with online coursework, students in class or a hybrid of both — they acknowledge they must plan in particular for this year’s freshman class, and figure out how to welcome new students with orientations that in past years would have included weeklong receptions, dorm move-in shindigs and get-to-know-you social events with fellow students,” by Tribune’s Doug George.
— College football is disappearing. MAGA world is blaming the left: “Some arguments are cultural. But the undercurrent is also political: Don’t let the left win,” by POLITICO’s Tina Nguyen.
Illinois to issue 75 cannabis dispensary licenses in coming weeks: “After months of delay, state regulators announced they are almost ready to award new recreational marijuana retail licenses,” by Patch’s Jonah Meadows.
— Opinion: ‘How Trump administration assault on Postal Service is slowing mail delivery’: “During this unprecedented time — the confluence of a deadly pandemic and an election where voting by mail will be more necessary than ever — an effective Postal Service is vital to public health and our democracy,” writes Sen. Dick Durbin.
— The FBI considers QAnon a domestic terror threat, reminds the New York Times … Rep. Adam Kinzinger speaks out against QAnon in a tweet: “Qanon is a fabrication. This ‘insider’ has predicted so much incorrectly (but people don’t remember PAST predictions) so now has switched to vague generalities. Could be Russian propaganda or a basement dweller. Regardless, no place in Congress for these conspiracies.”
— Route 66 Centennial Commission clears Senate: “U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin announced Tuesday they’d passed a bipartisan bill through the Senate to create a Route 66 Centennial Commission. It would be charged with coordinating and organizing events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the iconic route in 2026. Route 66 is also known as the “Main Street of America” as what’s believed to be the first fully paved roadway in the U.S. highway system,” by One Illinois’ Ted Cox.
— As a grim fall approaches, Trump team feels increasingly confident, by POLITICO’s Nancy Cook and Adam Cancryn
— Will Michigan voters really turn out for a virtual campaign? By POLITICO’s Tim Alberta
— The epic blandness of the Joe Biden campaign, by POLITICO’s John Harris
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association has been named one of the “100 Associations That Will Save the World” for the group’s efforts to respond to the coronavirus. The designation comes from the American Society of Association Executives, which recognized the IMA’s partnership with the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization that led to a coordinated effort of companies to increase production of personal protective equipment, medicine, and therapies.
Chicago mayoral press secretary Anel Ruiz and her husband, Sean, welcomed a son in the wee hours of Wednesday. Baby, mom, dad, and big brother, Elliott, are doing well. Ruiz says she’s officially outnumbered in her household — but the press corps knows it’s nothing she can’t handle.
Rent too damn high: Harold’s Chicken Shack on 87th and Dan Ryan has closed: It was “considered the best of the fried chicken franchise chain based in Chicago, and the location made famous by Chance the Rapper, has closed permanently,” by Tribune’s Louisa Chu.
— Service Employees International Union-Illinois President Tom Balanoff, state Sen. Ann Gillespie, LBH Chicago political fundraiser Liz Houlihan, journalist Michael Miner, America’s Voice Comms Director Doug Rivlin, and attorney Tom Skallas.
— And happy 100th to Vito & Nick’s, via Tribune’s Louisa Chu
August 13, 2020 at 07:51AM