TGIF, Illinois. Wishing all who celebrate a good and sweet new year. Shana tova.

Faced with a $1.2 billion budget shortfall in fiscal 2021, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration and the City Council are eyeing the police department, which accounts for more than half of the city’s spending, for cuts.

The reduction plans prompted a fierce debate Thursday about budget realities in wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the rise of the movement to “defund the police” after new instances of police brutality surfaced across the country.

The debate is further complicated because it’s all happening in the context of a criminal justice crisis across the country and at a time when violence has spiked in Chicago — not to mention the police union contracts. And while folks calling for defunding the police are often the loudest in the room, neighborhoods across the city want to see more police.

“We knew debate around the budget would be healthy this year. Compound it with the pandemic, and it will be very robust,” Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) told Playbook.

What Lightfoot’s team is suggesting: Not filling the positions of retired officers or those who leave their positions. Personnel makes up 89 percent of the police department’s budget.

It wouldn’t be the first time the police budget felt the brunt of spending cuts. During the Emanuel administration, some 1,400 police vacancies were targeted as part of cutbacks.

The question, said city Budget Director Susie Park: “What is the right number of officers? What do we need to meet operations? We’re looking at everyone’s vacancies across the city, to be honest. CPD is no different.” She said there are 847 vacant police positions being examined.

“We won’t solve budget problems without seriously looking at efficiencies in departments,” Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) told Playbook after the hearing.

What the Council’s financial analyst suggests: Cutting “perks” from the police budget, including uniform allowances and tuition reimbursement. The problem with that is those can’t be touched because they’re part of the police contract (speaking of which, that’s another issue on the mayor’s mind).

What some community members want: Reducing the police budget by 75 percent and to move those funds to programs that address mental health and social service programs.

How it could play out: The idea that money would be diverted from CPD to other services isn’t likely to happen. Instead, watch for a message urging the police to do more with less.


Ald. Gilbert Villegas, as head of the City Council’s Economic, Capital and Technology Development Committee, has pulled together 15 IT companies to look at ways to find technology efficiency in city government. Villegas wants the group “to look under the hood” and get creative to modernize city government — and trim budgets in the process. The group’s focus: modernization, innovation, revenue, efficiency and diversity. The acronym is MIRED. It’s a good fit, says Villegas, “because technology will get us out from being stuck in the mud.”

Cook County judges are pushing back at the Democratic Party, which is headed by county Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and it’s not clear what the fallout will be for any of them.

The judges are refusing to pay the $40,000 that they’re each required to fork over to the party whenever they’re up for retention, reports Mark Brown in the Sun-Times. The money is used to send out literature to constituents.

This year, the judges are taking a stand. They don’t like how politics is being used to dictate whether one of their own, Judge Michael Toomin, should be retained.

The party claims it’s not backing Toomin because of his record as a juvenile judge, “an attack that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny even if he does have some detractors,” Brown writes.

Judges worry it’s politics at play. Tooomin is the judge assigned to the Jussie Smollett case who called for a special prosecutor to look at how State’s Attorney Kim Foxx — a Preckwinckle ally who’s also up for reelection in November — handled that imbroglio.

“Whether this turns out to be a revolt from the Democratic Party itself or just a revolt from Preckwinkle’s leadership of the party remains to be seen,” writes Brown.

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

At Engine 70 on North Clark Street at 10 a.m. with Ald. Andre Vasquez, Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza, and CFD Local 2 Union President Jim Tracy for a signing ceremony for the recently approved collective bargaining agreement with Chicago firefighters and public safety employees.

At Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Rock Island at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the 2020 census. Then at Macomb City Hall at 1 p.m. to talk census. Watch live

Making introductory remarks at the Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff Event at 11 a.m. The event is a discussion about how Covid-19 has affected Latinx communities. At 3 p.m. she’ll give remarks at a story-telling event for the country’s Racial Equity Week (both events can be seen live here). And at 5:45 p.m. she’ll attend a ribbon cutting at the Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood & Bar restaurant in Country Club Hills.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 25 new deaths to Covid-19 Thursday and 2,056 new confirmed cases. That’s a total of 8,392 deaths and 268,207 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Sept. 10 through 16 is 3.6 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 4.8 percent.

Vaccine distribution isn’t as easy as Trump wants people to think: “State officials say they’re still unclear about key details, and the CDC chief warned states need billions of dollars more to ensure people get shots,” by POLITICO’s Rachel Roubein and Dan Goldberg.

As they focused on others with Covid-19, Illinois health care workers bore the brunt of pandemic’s fury: “More than 100 lives of professionals working in the health care field have been lost in Illinois this past six months since COVID-19 began its deadly march through the state,” by Tribune’s Christy Gutowski.

42 Wisconsin players and staff test positive for coronavirus: “Health officials in Madison and Dane County are urging fans not to gather to watch football games when the Badgers begin their season in October,” by the AP.

A snapshot of Chicago’s economy six months into the pandemic, by Tribune’s Katie Surma and Jonathon Berlin.

Many schools are closed, but the SAT goes on. Why that’s a problem for some.: “Some parents and educators are pushing back, questioning whether sticking with this requirement amid the pandemic is worth the health risks of in-person testing. They point out that most colleges and universities across the country have at least temporarily moved away from requiring the test for admissions this fall,” by Chalkbeat Chicago’s Mila Koumpilova.

WHITE SOX CLINCH 1st postseason berth since 2008: “Jose Abreu hit a grounder to deep short. He raced down the line and beat Jorge Polanco’s throw to first as Jarrod Dyson scored to tie the game. Eloy Jimenez followed with an RBI double to give the team the lead, and the Sox held on to beat the Twins 4-3 and in the process clinch their first postseason berth since 2008,” by Tribune’s Lamond Pope.

5 reasons the White Sox can win the World Series: “With only the Los Angeles Dodgers boasting a better record in baseball, the White Sox look capable of winning the whole thing,” by NBC/5’s Vinnie Duber.

Mayor’s tweet of approval “Best team since 2005. Let’s get the same result. Go Sox!”

City knew of youth baseball field contamination a year ago but didn’t tell residents: “After city tests in 2019, EPA confirmed high manganese levels at Babe Ruth Field in Hegewisch and said the chemical must be removed but Illinois officials gave a youth league the go-ahead to play,” by Sun-Times’ Brett Chase.

Systemic racism blamed for city’s nearly 9-year life expectancy gap between Black and white residents: “A growing life expectancy gap between Black and white Chicagoans has a stark and clear cause, city health officials said in releasing a report on the issue Thursday: decades of segregation and systemic racism. The report, titled ‘Healthy Chicago 2025,’ detailed a nearly nine-year life expectancy gap overall between Black residents and white residents. Chronic disease is the largest contributor, according to the document, with the city’s endemic gun violence as the second-leading reason for the disparity,” by Sun-Times’ Annie Sweeney.

— Coleman to head reparations panel: Ald. Stephanie Coleman has been named chair of the City Council’s new Subcommittee on Reparations. Ald. Andre Vasquez will serve as vice chair. “This new Subcommittee will review issues of systemic racial disparities, inequities, and social injustices,” Ald. Roderick Sawyer, head of the Health and Human Relations Committee and former chairman of the Black Caucus, said in announcing the new committee appointments.

COPA chief concedes agency has ‘faced challenges in the release of video material’: “COPA’s chief administrator sought to clarify the findings of a recent inspector general’s report that found 33 instances in which the agency failed to meet the 60-day deadline to release video, audio and documents related to incidents involving officers’ use of force,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.

I’m a Chicago principal overwhelmed by ‘what ifs.’ Here’s how I got unstuck: “These rough couple of days after Chicago’s Aug. 5 announcement that school would begin fully remote led me to realize how much support my team might need. Was I ready to provide it?” writes Wendy Oleksy for Chalkbeat Chicago.

Protesters voice their opposition to a developer’s plans for the Little Village Plaza: “The youth-led protest featured speakers who said this fight is one that will either stop gentrification in Little Village — or will open up the floodgates to displacement in the Mexican neighborhood,” by WBEZ’s María Inés Zamudio.

U.S. attorney spells out rules of the road for legislators investigating Madigan: Republicans see it as a “green light to pursue all avenues of the investigation,” while Democrats say it confirms that hearings must limit what can be discussed. By Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.

Ex-Daley operative Victor Reyes once again in midst of a big political storm: “The Chicago lobbyist or one of his firms has come onto federal authorities’ radar in two cases they’re investigating. He has business and personal ties to others under scrutiny,” by Sun-Times’ Robert Herguth and Tim Novak.

Alderman lavished with cash, luxury trips by program for Caribbean med students: “Ald. George Cardenas was a consultant for a Chicago business where one partner is suing another, accusing her of misusing company funds — in part to benefit Cardenas,” by Sun-Times’ Tim Novak.

Mobilizing the National Guard doesn’t mean your state is under martial law. Usually.: “The idea of ‘calling in the National Guard’ can mean different things in practice and perception. We spoke with a public information officer for the Illinois National Guard about rumors, reality and fear,” by ProPublica Illinois’ Logan Jaffe.

Two Springfield Council members propose police reforms: “Ward 2 Ald. Shawn Gregory and Ward 3 Ald. Doris Turner introduced the ordinance (PDF) that outlines nine proposals at Tuesday’s city council meeting. It’s set to come up for debate at the committee meeting on September 29, and could be voted on as early as October 6,” reports NPR Illinois’ Mary Hansen.

THE FIFTY: Governors and mayors have never mattered more to the future of the nation, and The Fifty, a new series from POLITICO, takes you inside the role they’re playing in the pandemic and more.

Netflix’s ‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris charged with producing child pornography: “Chicago-area native Jerry Harris rocketed to fame earlier this year as the breakout star of the Netflix docuseries ‘Cheer,’ parlaying his contagious exuberance into talk show appearances, an Oscars gig and more than a million Instagram followers. But the young star’s image was shattered Thursday when FBI agents arrested him on child pornography charges, alleging he repeatedly coerced minor victims to send him obscene photos and videos of themselves and solicited sex from boys as young as 13 at cheerleading competitions.”

Chicago family defends freshman accused in Western Illinois campus shooting, by Sun-Times’ David Struett

ISU to begin requiring students get tested for Covid-19 ‘very soon’: “Currently, students with or without symptoms have the option to be tested on campus, but it’s not required (with the exception of a few select groups, like those doing clinical experiences for their major). That will change ‘very soon,’ although the details on who and how many will be regularly tested are not yet finalized, said ISU’s testing coordinator John Baur, a chemistry professor,” reports NPR Illinois’ Ryan Denham.

Emotional arguments as voters consider Illinois’ biggest taxation shift in four decades: “Before Illinois voters consider any candidate on the Nov. 3 ballot — the presidential contenders, a member of Congress, a state lawmaker or a local judge — they will be asked to cast a simple yes or no vote on whether the Illinois Constitution should be amended to replace a mandated flat-rate income tax with a graduated-rate tax structure that increases the levy as income rises,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.

Federal judge rules against Cook County GOP’s effort to prevent expanded vote-by-mail: “The judge rejected as conjecture allegations that the program was a scheme aimed at disenfranchising GOP voters. “U.S. District Judge Robert Dow ruled the Cook County GOP also was tardy in filing its lawsuit in August seeking a preliminary injunction over the law approved in May as an effort to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic by offering an alternative to traditional in-person voting,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.

— Campaign trail tracker: Where Trump, Biden and their running mates have traveled in presidential race’s final weeks, by Tribune’s Bill Ruthhart and Jonathon Berlin

— The Sierra Club has announced its endorsements for the Illinois General Assembly and other offices. Full list

Trump’s bluster and millions hasn’t stopped universal mail-in voting plans, by POLITICO’s Anita Kumar

— ‘Talk about losers’: Top moments from CNN’s kid-gloves town hall with Biden, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelgo

Biden’s weakness with Black and Latino men creates an opening for Trump, by POLITICO’s Laura Barrón-López, Marc Caputo and Elena Schneider

Cash-strapped Trump campaign awaits a bailout from big donors, by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt

Barr creates firestorm with comments that appear to boost Trump’s reelection campaign, by POLITICO’s Quint Forgey and Josh Gerstein

Sept. 24: Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., long-time co-chair of the Presidential Debates Commission, is among headliners during The Virtual Table: 2020 Presidential Debates Preview moderated by Sun-Times’ columnists Laura Washington and Lynn Sweet. Details and RSVP here

Maggie Crotty to resign as Bremen Township supervisor, officials say: “Mary Margaret ‘Maggie’ Crotty, 71, of Oak Forest, has been township supervisor since 2005. She previously held elected positions as a state senator, state representative and Democratic Party committeeman for Bremen Township,” by Daily Southtown’s Ted Slowik.

Mary Rose Loney, Chicago’s first female aviation commissioner, dies at 68: “Mayor Richard M. Daley was so impressed with Loney he hired her twice. After four years as first deputy aviation commissioner, she left to run Philadelphia International Airport. In 1996, Daley lured Loney back to be Chicago’s first female aviation commissioner,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Frank Zuccari, who oversaw 2-year El Greco restoration at the Art Institute, has died: “For 18 months, the revered art restorer brightened and touched up the 16th century work ‘The Assumption of the Virgin.’ He worked on the frame for another six months, by Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell.

Michael Jacobson, CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, and his wife, Sarah, program manager for Amazon Web Services, welcomed Owen Michael on Wednesday. Pic!

THURSDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Brett Gustafson for stumping everyone with the fact that Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison once helped bankroll a failed women’s reality fighting show?

TODAY’S QUESTION: What Illinois political family produced a vice president, a United Nations ambassador and a U.S. senator? The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next Playbook. Send your best guess to [email protected].

Today: Former Bulls Coach Phil Jackson, and GrowthPlay co-founder and women’s advocate Amy Dordek.

Saturday: state Rep. Karina Villa (49th), former state and U.S. Rep. Tom Ewing, ProPublica reporter Jodi Cohen, and Better Government Association policy director Marie Dillon.

Sunday: state Sen. Tom Cullerton (23rd), state Rep. Joyce Mason (61st), Kevin Artl, CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois; attorney Louis Cairo; and Frank Shuftan, former Cook County comms chief.



via Illinois Playbook https://ift.tt/2NknKhq

September 18, 2020 at 07:08AM

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