TGIF, Illinois. The virtual conventions have wrapped up, and with 67 days to Election Day, we’re in for the most unconventional campaign ever.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: We’re taking off next week and will be back in your inbox Tuesday, Sept. 8. Please check in with for the latest on the presidential race.


Chicago should brace to be a pawn in President Donald Trump’s political campaign leading up to the Nov. 3 election.

He twice mentioned the city during his long speech Thursday to accept the Republican nomination for president. It’s become such a familiar refrain that most listeners’ ears probably glossed over it.

Trump condemned “the rioting, looting, arson and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities all, like Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago and New York, many others, Democrat-run.”

He reiterated that Democratic mayors just need to call the White House when there’s “violence and danger in the streets… We’ll take care of your problem in a matter of hours. Just call,” he said, sounding like an infomercial at that moment.

Chicago got a second mention when Trump referred to cities that face “left-wing anarchy and mayhem.”

The “law and order” talk certainly rallies his base (but it may not play as well with suburban white women as his campaign might hope) and it’s easier to talk about than his management of the coronavirus, which Democrats (and some Republicans) see as a leadership failure.

“If you give power to Joe Biden, the radical left will defund police departments all across America,” Trump said. “They will pass federal legislation to reduce law enforcement nationwide. They will make every city look like Democrat-run Portland, Oregon. No one will be safe in Biden’s America.” (Fact-check: Biden is opposed to defunding the police, much to the chagrin of the Black Lives Matter movement.)

The challenge for Trump is that the protests and violence set off by shootings of Black people by police have happened under his watch, notes Biden’s campaign.

Thursday night’s production, complete with fireworks and opera singers, seemed a deliberate effort to gloss over the pandemic. With some 1,500 in attendance on the White House South Lawn, there wasn’t much room for social distancing and next-to-no-one could be seen wearing masks.

Earlier in the day, Kellyanne Conway, the outgoing Trump adviser, even acknowledged that stirring up concerns about protests helps the president’s campaign. “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order,” Conway told “Fox & Friends.”

A quote by Trump rang true for Ds as well as Rs: “This is the most important election in the history of our country,” Trump said and paused for extended clapping. “At no time before have voters faced a clearer a choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies or two agendas.”

Trump’s speech played well to his base. Illinois Republican Chairman Tim Schneider issued a statement echoing Trump: "Voters are reminded of the clear choice they have.”


The most notable and quotable moments from the GOP convention finale: “President Donald Trump got the convention party he always wanted for his 2020 acceptance speech — he just had to put it on in his government-owned backyard,” by POLITICO’s Steven Shepard.

Trump’s blueprint for victory:It was a bracing, brazen and at times downright bizarre spectacle. But the president unveiled a strategy this week that could win back the White House,” by POLITICO’s Ryan Lizza.

Illinois Republicans: It’s a vote for Trump or against Trump: “I wish that it were different. I wish we had someone with a temperament of a Ronald Reagan, who was still able to get the kinds of things done that President Trump has gotten done. That would be the home run," congressional candidate Jim Oberweis told WBBM Radio’s Craig Dellimore.

— Rally in Illinois! A Trump campaign rally will be held live in Woodstock on Sunday. The “Keep America Great & Save Illinois” event will feature businessman Gary Rabine, Sheriff David Clarke and Cubs co-owner and Republican National Committee Finance Chairman Todd Ricketts. Details here

Protect Our Parks is pushing back at a federal ruling that allows the Obama Presidential Center to use part of the historic Jackson Park.

The parks group plans to file a motion asking the courts to reconsider allowing the Obama center to go up in the South Side public park. The move could potentially further delay the project that was first announced in the summer of 2016.

Last week, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a lawsuit filed by Protect Our Parks against the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago questioning the transfer of Jackson Park to the Obama Foundation to build the presidential center.

Now comes the parks group saying: “The opinion issued last week does not prevent Protect Our Parks from its legal right to stop — in an appropriate court and at an appropriate time — the defendants’ breach of Public Trust and Ultra Vires acts,” the group said in a statement Thursday, also saying it has the standing to sue on behalf of Chicagoans to prevent the land transfer.

The Obama Center didn’t respond directly to the park group, but issued a statement to Playbook saying: “We are pleased with the panel’s ruling in favor of the city in this lawsuit and remain eager to deliver on the many community and economic benefits of the Obama Presidential Center. We appreciate the inputs and involvement of the thousands who participated in the rigorous public process the panel referenced in its decision.”

It’s hard not to think about another parks group that put a crimp in a museum’s plans to build in Chicago. In 2016, Friends of the Parks successfully fought plans for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art to build in Chicago. Ultimately, movie mogul George Lucas took his museum to Los Angeles, where construction is expected to finish in 2021.

Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for the Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]

No official public events.

No official public events.

At Lakeview Pantry at 11 a.m. with Ald. James Cappleman, Democratic Committeeperson Sean Tenner, state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, state Rep.-elect Margaret Croke, and Zakat Foundation executive director Halil Demir.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 24 new deaths Thursday and 1,707 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 7,977 deaths and 227,334 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Aug. 20 through Aug. 26 is 4.1 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 5.3 percent.

U. of I. performed more than 17K Covid-19 tests on first day of classes, but high demand has slowed results: “On Tuesday, however, 120 positive results were identified from 15,850 new tests, the highest number found in a single day since the testing program launched in early July. Those results brought the rolling five-day positivity rate to about 0.75% for all tests performed, which is well within public health guidelines,” by Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney.

Abbott to hire 2,000 in Chicago area to make rapid Covid tests: “New hires will get on-the-job training to begin cranking out 50 million credit card-size rapid COVID-19 tests a month,” by Crain’s Jon Asplund.

‘We’re not budging’: Efforts to restart coronavirus talks sputter: “An effort to restart stalled coronavirus negotiations between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House went nowhere Thursday, with the top House Democrat saying the talks are fruitless until GOP negotiators agree to a massive $1 trillion concession,” by POLITICO’s Heather Caygle.

Lightfoot puts out request to gambling operators for possible Chicago casino: “The request for information asks applicants to talk about their thoughts on operating a temporary casino while a permanent one is under construction, and asks them to weigh in on what factors the city should prioritize for the location of the casino, including how many acres of land will be required,” by Tribune’s John Byrne.

McCormick Place loses its largest 2021 convention so far as coronavirus cancellations creep into next year: “The Chicago Dental Society has canceled its annual February meeting at McCormick Place and will move the event online, in a sign that the coronavirus’s toll on the city’s tourism industry will stretch into next year,” by Tribune’s Abdel Jimenez.

Police Prepare For Protests On Magnificent Mile This Coming Saturday, via CBS/2/s Jermont Terry.

Chicago’s push to buy computers for remote learning hits a snag: “An analysis by Chalkbeat Chicago and the Better Government Association of spring and summer purchase orders as well as interviews with technology experts, district leaders, and families also shows the district placed some device orders later than other large Illinois districts, left some families grappling with slower or malfunctioning devices from its stock and, in the case of the Meeting Tomorrow purchase, settled for buying used, older devices,” by Mila Koumpilova of Chalkbeat and Kiannah Sepeda-Miller of Better Government Association.

Billionaire Sam Zell invests in manufacturing incubator’s VC fund: “Among the fund’s managing partners will be former investment banker and Chicago ex-deputy mayor Steve Koch and Mark Tebbe, an entrepreneur and investor who leads ChicagoNext, the city’s effort to recruit and retain tech companies,” by Crain’s John Pletz.

R. Kelly attacked by fellow Chicago MCC prisoner, attorney says, via ABC/7.

The Chicago Teachers Union is pushing the boundaries of tweeting again. A tweet by a reporter for the Washington Examiner showing protesters building a guillotine outside of Jeff Bezos’ house (because he became the first man worth $200 billion) prompted CTU to tweet a response: “We are completely frightened by, completely impressed by and completely in support of wherever this is headed. #Solidarity”

Biden snags ‘Keep America Great’ domain in latest act of Trump trolling: “The Democrat’s campaign recently learned the web domain was available and snagged it,” by POLITICO’s NATASHA KORECKI

Escape from Wilmington: Biden set to finally hit the trail: “Criticized for hibernating in his basement, the Democratic nominee said he’ll start to travel likely after Labor Day,” by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki.

— House race to watch: The Illinois Democratic Party is targeting the 97th District state House seat now held by Republican Rep. Mark Batinick. The district covers a big part of Will County, northwest of Joliet. More than $95,000 was donated to Democrat Harry Benton, including $30,000 from Rep. John Connor and $57,800 from Rep. Natalie Manley — both of those donations come with a nod from Dem Party boss Michael Madigan. Another $7,500 came from Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 265. Benton is a trustee in the Village of Plainfield. Batinick, who’s represented the district since 2015, won by the narrowest of margins in 2018—676 votes, according to Ballotpedia.

— Column: Kim Foxx’s challenger also has some explaining to do about a high-profile case: “Patrick O’Brien, Foxx’s Republican challenger in the November election, handled the horrific and troubling case of four teenagers falsely accused of the October 1986 rape and murder of Rush University medical student Lori Roscetti. O’Brien, then a supervisor in the felony review unit under Cook County State’s Attorney Richard M. Daley, prosecuted the case,” by Tribune’s Eric Zorn.

Blagojevich hired to oppose Arizona electrical rate hikes, by Center Square’s Cole Lauterbach.

High-ranking CPS official charged with lying to FBI in contract probe: “A top aide to Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson has been charged with lying to the FBI about whether he passed secret bid information about a massive $1 billion custodial contract to a lobbyist working for one of the bidders,” by Tribune’s Jason Meisner and Hannah Leone.

Feds say suburban road commissioner took more than $280K in kickbacks: “Robert Czernek, 69, has been charged along with others with honest services wire fraud,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.

Welch to push for contracting diversity legislation in veto session: “State Rep. Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch said Thursday that he will demand passage of legislation in the upcoming fall veto session to give minority- and women-owned businesses a larger share of the estimated $20 billion in state purchasing and contracting dollars allotted annually,” by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock.

Exelon announces plans to close 2 nukes absent a state rescue: “The Dresden plant in Grundy County and the Byron station south of Rockford will shut in fall 2021. Exelon has warned that those plants would close without legislation to provide more revenue to them,” by Crain’s Steve Daniels.

Pritzker’s energy plan shakes up debate over nuclear and renewables: “A newly announced energy policy by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker could put an end to a dispute between clean energy advocates and renewable energy companies over capacity payments to the state’s power plants, a schism that has seen them backing competing clean energy bills,” by Energy News Network’s Kari Lydersen.

Survey: Local governments see drastic Covid-19-related revenue drops: “Illinois residents should expect fewer road repairs, community programs and other local government-provided services and higher locally-imposed tax rates as officials struggle with COVID-19-induced revenue shortfalls, a municipal government advocacy group warned this week. According to a survey conducted by the Illinois Municipal League, almost nine out of 10 city and town governments expect a 20 to 30 percent drop in revenue from March 1 through July 24,” by Capitol News’ Rebecca Anzel.

State unemployment claims rise slightly: “Some 25,000 idled Illinois workers filed for conventional benefits last week, up from 22,000 the week before. Claims for expanded federal benefits for independent contractors, freelancers, and so-called gig workers under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program inched up from 3,500 to 4,200,” by One Illinois’ Ted Cox.

Cannabis Cup gets underway for the first time in Illinois: “The Olympics of cannabis is underway in Illinois. The Cannabis Cup, well-known in the weed community as an imprimatur of quality, began Tuesday with the public buying samples to judge. Previously, the Cup has been held in marijuana strongholds from Amsterdam to Oregon, and featured celebrity judges like Snoop Dogg and Tommy Chong,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin

Law firm for teenager accused of Kenosha killings has represented Trump lawyer Giuliani: “The 17-year-old accused of killing two people during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has hired a law firm whose clients have included President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and former Trump adviser Carter Page. John Pierce told Reuters on Thursday that he and colleagues at Pierce Bainbridge would obtain justice for Kyle Rittenhouse, of Illinois, arrested and charged with shooting three people on Tuesday night, two of whom died,” by David Thomas.

Fledgling militia group put out call to arms in Kenosha and 5,000 people responded: “Now it’s banned from Facebook after fatal shootings during protests. ‘The Kenosha Guard Page and their Event Page violated our new policy addressing militia organizations and have been removed on that basis,’ a spokesman said,” by Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas.

Jacob Blake handcuffed to hospital bed, father says: “He can’t go anywhere,” the 29-year-old’s dad said, speaking of his son’s paralysis. “Why do you have him cuffed to the bed?” Sun-Times’ Clare Proctor reports.

Sports stars’ intensifying activism is a blow to Trump, by POLITICO’s Nolan D. McCaskill and Meridith McGraw

The battle for suburban women is remaking the 2020 electoral map, says Anna Greenberg, by POLITICO’s Zack Stanton

BLM organizers see the 1972 National Black Political Convention as a mode. What can they learn from it? By Jesus A. Rodriguez for POLITICO Magazine

— Nick Mathiowdis has been named press secretary for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Mathiowdis, most recently the comms director for the Housing Authority of Cook County, will work with comms director Nick Shields.

— Ugochukwu “Ugo” Okere has been appointed 25th Ward deputy committeeperson and will serve alongside Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez focusing on voter turnout and making sure the November election runs smoothly in the ward, which encompasses the Pilsen, Chinatown, West Loop, Tri Taylor, University Village, South Loop, and McKinley Park neighborhoods.

— Cristin Duffy has joined Crane and Norcross. She previously was deputy supervisor in the Real Estate Tax Division for the Cook County State’s Attorney. Duffy handled the amusement tax case against the Chicago Bears, which netted the county millions in outstanding taxes against the team. She also ran for circuit court judge in the March primary.

Clarence Burke Sr., ex-Chicago detective who managed his kids, The Five Stairsteps, dead at 90:Before retiring from the Chicago Police Department in the mid–1960s to manage the group known for its hit ‘O-o-h Child,’ he was one of the city’s few Black detectives,” by Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell.

Today: Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th), and PR pro Marilyn Katz.

Saturday: state Sen. Dale Fowler (59th), former state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger, Women’s activist Hedy Ratner, and Mario Treto Jr., director of the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Sunday: former Lake County Board member Adam Didech.

Aug. 31: Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22nd), and Clayco Economic Development director Dan Gibbons

Sept. 1: McDonald’s government & community relations director Ashli Nelson, and Miramar Group president and CEO Juan Ochoa

Sept. 2: state Rep. Curtis Tarver II (25th), Real Property Consultants president Stella Black, journalist Jim DeRogatis, attorney Maura Georges, and Block Club co-founder Shamus Toomey.

Sept. 3: United Working Families organizing director Candis Castillo, former Lake County Clerk Willard Helander, Strategic Energy Management Coach Marianne Lalonde, and author Rick Perlstein,.

Sept. 4: Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown, Chicago Plan Commission member Fran Grossman, DiversityMBA CEO Pamela McElvane.

Sept. 5: Development Specialists CEO William A. Brandt Jr., Chicago State University government relations director Monica Gordon, M. Harris & Co. CEO Melissa Harris (the former Chicago Confidential columnist), former state Comptroller Leslie Munger, U.S. House press secretary/digital manager Courtney Neale, and Winston Strawn Co-Executive chairman Dan Webb.




August 28, 2020 at 08:07AM

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