Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. Under the "don’t hold your breath" heading: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are scheduled to talk this afternoon to see if they can salvage a Covid relief deal.
Chicago businessman Bill Brodsky told Playbook he doesn’t want to get overconfident about polls showing his friend, Joe Biden, edging President Donald Trump in the presidential election.
Brodsky, the former chairman of the Chicago Board Options Exchange and one of the city’s most notable civic leaders, holds a special place in history alongside the former vice president. Brodsky was the first person to beat Biden in a head-to-head election. And, Brodsky hopes he’s the last.
The two got to know each other while attending Syracuse Law School. Students back then sat in alphabetical order, so Biden and Brodsky were always near each other.
As law school freshmen in 1965, they ran against each other for class president. It was on a lark for Brodsky, who didn’t realize until later that Biden had been running — and winning — student elections since he was a kid.
“I had never run for office,” Brodsky said. The two have had a good laugh over the years that Brodsky would be the first person to outright beat Biden.
After college, Biden returned to Delaware to work at a law firm and raise a family, and Brodsky landed in Chicago working in finance. The two men and others from their graduating class have kept in touch.
Brodsky has donated to every one of Biden’s campaigns, going back to Biden’s first race on the New Castle County Council and when Biden ran for Senate.
The cost of those races seemed like peanuts compared to the fundraising required to run for president in 2020.
“This is prime time,” said Brodsky, who organized their law school class to donate to Biden’s latest campaign and rallied Chicago’s corporate elite to donate a combined nearly $2 million.
“I’ve been supporting him for 50 years,” Brodsky said. Then and now, “He’s an exemplary human being.”
Rick Bayless, who owns the famed Frontera Grill and three other restaurants in Chicago, is worried his empire won’t make it through the winter, a signal that smaller and lesser-known restaurants will have an even tougher time making it.
“When you have 100 percent of your fixed costs and you’re doing 50 percent of your volume, there’s no way that’s a sustainable model… It’s nip and tuck all the time,” Bayless told Playbook. “We’re looking at the future and saying ‘Winter in Chicago is the slowest time of the year.’ And if we slow down from what we are now, we’ll run out of money pretty soon. Do we get a loan? We operate on such small margins, it’s hard to pay that off.”
Bayless is hoping for federal Covid relief funding, which is becoming more urgent with each uptick of the positivity rates of the virus and the weather gets nippier. Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday said that starting Friday, restaurants in DuPage, Kane, Will, and Kankakee counties must halt indoor service. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is also threatening to bring back rigid restrictions in indoor dining to stop a “second surge” of the coronavirus. WBEZ explains the science that prompted the decision.
"There is no easy fix for the effects of this virus on our economy and our public health,” Pritzker said in announcing the mitigation efforts. “But we can and will manage through this. We’re Midwestern tough.”
Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia said the renewed mitigations could devastate restaurants. “We’re an independent restaurant town [in Chicago]. We’re not like Tampa or Houston with lots of chain restaurants,” he told Playbook. “We really need the federal government’s help to step up with a stimulus bill…especially to help the Midwest and northern states where the weather is colder. If we don’t see that stimulus bill, we’ll lose independent restaurants throughout the country.”
Bayless’ restaurant group is located in the River North area of Chicago, surrounded by 11 hotels that have seen a sharp decline in occupancy. “Having been a restaurateur for many decades in Chicago, I can say without a doubt this is the hardest thing any of us have gone through because it’s so incredibly uncertain.”
5 states added to Chicago’s travel quarantine order, by Tribune’s Alice Yin
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In City Hall Council Chambers at 10 a.m. to deliver the 2021 Budget Address.
Touring DLV Printing in Chicago at 10 a.m. to highlight the Business Interruption Grants program for small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Then at the Thompson Center at 2:30 p.m. for the daily coronavirus briefing. Watch live
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 41 new deaths and 3,714 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 9,277 deaths and 350,875 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from Oct. 13 through 19 is 5.5 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 6.1 percent.
— POLITICS OF COVID: White House looks at cutting Covid funds, newborn screenings in ‘anarchist’ cities: “Documents show funding for a host of health programs is at risk under the president’s order targeting liberal strongholds,” by POLITICO’s Brianna Ehley and Rachel Roubein. "New York, Portland, Ore., Washington, D.C., and Seattle could lose funding for a wide swath of programs that serve their poorest, sickest residents after the president moved last month to restrict funding, escalating his political battle against liberal cities he’s sought to use as a campaign foil."
— Goofy but important: Fresh off the Bears’ 23-16 win over the Panthers Sunday, state Comptroller Susana Mendoza has posted a video from Chicago Bears mascot Staley the Bear reminding folks to wear a mask and to make sure there’s 20 seconds on the clock when washing your hands. This follows public service ads she has posted from Mr. T, the Chicago Fire soccer team, the Chicago Sky, and others.
— BLAGO BACKS WILSON: Rod Blagojevich is backing third-party candidate Willie Wilson for U.S. Senate. Watch for an official announcement today. In a statement, Wilson said he was “pleased” by the endorsement. In the same statement, Blagojevich took a swing at incumbent Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat. “We need a senator with new, bold and fresh ideas. A senator that will listen to the people and not party bosses.” Of course Blagojevich was once a member of the same Democratic Party. After President Donald Trump granted Blagojevich clemency, the former governor declared himself a Trumpocrat.
— Voters offered a clear contrast in race between Underwood and Oberweis: “The two candidates agree on one point: each believes their opponent is out of step with voters in the district that sprawls from Lake County west into DeKalb County and south to Interstate 80. The district, which favored President Donald Trump by 3.9% in 2016, is a mix of dense suburbs, new subdivisions, small towns and farmland,” writes Tribune’s Patrick M. O’Connell.
— Pat O’Brien promising law and order in bid to unseat State’s Attorney Kim Foxx: “The bottom line is: You’ve got to be able, at times, to take calculated risks in murder cases,” O’Brien said. “If you haven’t tried them, and taken those risks and seen them pay off … then you don’t know how to do it,” he says. Story by WBEZ’s Patrick Smith.
— Civic Federation opposes Pritzker’s income tax plan: “‘While the Civic Federation is not opposed to the concept of a graduated income tax and understands the state’s need for more revenue, the rate structure enacted by the General Assembly is anything but ideal,’ a statement from the group reads,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Vote with confidence, in person or by mail. But vote: “Running a safe and secure election isn’t easy during a pandemic. State and local election officials throughout Illinois are rising to the challenge,” by Better Government Association’s Joann Wong .
— Madigan pours in $550K to help Dem Illinois Supreme Court justice’s bid to stay on the bench: “The Democratic Party of Illinois led by Speaker Michael Madigan has started to pour money into an effort to keep Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride on the bench with two weeks until Election Day. Election records filed Tuesday night showed the Democrats put $550,000 into the Nov. 3 Kilbride retention campaign. That pushes the total political spending by both sides in the contest to nearly $7 million,” by Tribune’s Ray Long.
— Insurance mogul Pat Ryan has given $1 million to the Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike Amendment, and Jennifer Pritzker has donated another $250,000 to that effort. Both Ryan and Pritzker are billionaires. Pritzker, whose cousin is the governor, gave $500,000 to the same coalition earlier this month.
— Fred Eychaner, a Democratic donor based in Chicago, has given $100,000 to Kim Foxx’s re-election campaign for Cook County state’s attorney.
ELECTIONLAND: POLITICO is partnering with Electionland, a ProPublica project that works with newsrooms to track voting issues around the country. The Electionland project covers problems that prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots during the 2020 elections. We’re part of a coalition of newsrooms around the country that are investigating issues related to voter registration, pandemic-related changes to voting, the shift to vote-by-mail, cybersecurity, voter education, misinformation, and more. Tell us here if you’re having trouble voting.
— Covid-19 has dealt a blow to government budgets. What that means for Illinois: “With slimming odds that the federal government will agree to another coronavirus stimulus package before the election, Illinois lawmakers are watching to see if political tides may change, raising hopes for a bailout to help it and other states cope with the free-falling revenues and increased spending instigated by the coronavirus,” by WTTW’s Amanda Vinicky.
— Redistricting looms: The end of the census means it’s the beginning of map-making. The Better Government Association has kicked off a giant redistricting project to make it interesting.
— Opinion: Praise for the Just Transition Fund: It provides: “three to five years of wage, health care, and benefits replacements, along with three to five years of tax revenue lost in those communities, in addition to other supports. That’s thinking big on a very big issue, and it’s about time,” write Ameya Pawar and Ted Cox in One Illinois.
— LIGHTFOOT EXCHANGED EMAILS WITH LOBBYIST about O’Hare client as city ethics board declined to enforce lobbying ban, records show: “Flossmoor trustee Gyata Kimmons emailed Lightfoot in August on behalf of Unibail‐Rodamco‐Westfield, a real estate company he lobbies City Hall on behalf of with tenants at O’Hare International Airport airport, records show. The back-and-forth occurred months after Lightfoot introduced her own plan that would have rolled back part of the city’s lobbying ordinance that prohibited elected officials such as Kimmons from lobbying city officials while keeping his suburban elected post,” by Tribune’s John Byrne and Gregory Pratt.
— As Lightfoot prepares to release a new budget, here’s a look at last year’s $1B increase: “The $1 billion increase in Chicago’s budget last year is only partially due to ballooning pension obligations. Here’s a look at how increases across the city added up,” by WBEZ’s Becky Vevea
— CPS gets TIF windfall, but takes on pension, crossing guard costs in Lightfoot’s 2021 budget: “The mayor will declare a $350 million surplus in tax increment financing funds — the largest in city history. CPS would receive $189 million of that — but lose $55 million as other responsibilities are shifted to the school district,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Feds investigating city after civil rights complaint filed by environmental groups: “The Department of Housing and Urban Development opened a formal inquiry after Southeast Side groups accused Chicago of environmental racism,” by Sun-Times’ Brett Chase.
— Rohingya Americans in Chicago venture out to local polling place en masse to cast first-ever general election votes: “Denied citizenship and other basic rights for decades by Myanmar’s government, the Rohingya people are a predominantly Muslim, ethnic minority group that has for years faced an apparent systematic campaign of attacks by the military and local militias in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar,” by Tribune’s Kelli Smith.
— Six years after Laquan McDonald shooting, activists rally for justice for slain teen, by Tribune’s Morgan Greene
— Ex-McDonald’s CEO behind a new $35M fund to invest in West, South sides: “Don Thompson’s venture capital firm and Illinois’ treasurer are teaming up on the effort,” by Crain’s Lynne Marek.
— Chicagoans say they will spend less on the holidays this year: “A Deloitte survey in Chicago finds a 32% expected cut in spending as households grapple with a tough economy,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.
— Macy Gray, Andra Day behind global virtual event to push police reform, honor moms of those killed by cops: “Friday’s event is to renew the push for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, passed on June 8 by the U.S. House but since stuck in the Senate, and honoring mothers of those killed by police during arrest or in custody,” by Sun-Times’ Maudlyne Ihejirika.
— The judgment of T Rex: “This summer, long-simmering grievances against the doyenne of Chicago’s drag scene exploded, and Boystown will never be the same,” by Rebecca Makkai in Chicago magazine.
— Wild squirrel story from the AP: “Flying squirrels were being trapped in Florida, driven to Chicago and shipped to South Korea, Florida wildlife officials said Monday while announcing charges against seven people they say ran an illegal wildlife trafficking operation,” according to Fish and Wildlife officials in Florida.
— Foxx’s attempt to shut down questioning of ex-top deputies in wrongful conviction case ‘untenable’: Court filing: “The city of Chicago is pushing back on the attempt by embattled Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to block lawyers for the city and several Chicago police officers from questioning two of her former top deputy prosecutors, to nail down precisely why Foxx’s office decided to reverse itself on pursuing a new trial for two men who are now suing because they claim they were coerced into confessing to a brutal sex assault and murder,” by Cook County Record’s Jonathan Bilyk.
— Rep’s DUI case continued to December: “State Rep. Kam Buckner’s court case following his March 2019 DUI arrest outside of the Illinois State Capitol has been continued to Dec. 21 in Sangamon County. ‘The parties are still working towards a resolution towards the case, and if we cannot agree on a resolution, then we will be setting up for a trial at some point in 2021,’ said Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray H. Noll (R), who is prosecuting the case," by Hyde Park Herald’s Aaron Gettinger.
— Man who hung off Trump Tower for more than 13 hours escapes from private ambulance, located hours later, by Sun-Times’ Sam Charles
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. This week’s feature focuses on the Texas state House. Winning U.S. Senate races or its Electoral College votes are still a reach for Democrats in the state. But if the party can flip the state House — an unthinkable goal even a few years ago — they could hold the key to a longer-term transformation. Check it out!
— Illinois universities cancel spring break: “The state’s flagship University of Illinois campus nixed the holiday this week, joining Northern, Southern and Western Illinois universities in revising its schedule amid the coronavirus pandemic,” by Sun-Times’ Michael Lee.
— ‘Disgusted’ NU president condemns student protesters: “A group of Northwestern University students urging the school to cut ties with local and campus police departments is now calling on President Morton Schapiro to resign after a protest outside his home this weekend prompted him to rebuke the movement and characterize its recent actions as violent,” by Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney and Genevieve Bookwalter.
— Biden braces for Trump’s attacks on Hunter at debate, by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki
— Obama goes full throttle for Biden, by POLITICO’s Holly Otterbein
— Bloomberg knocks Trump back on his heels in Florida, by POLITICO’s Marc Caputo and David Siders
— MAGA world, GOP unite on social-media bias after Hunter Biden story, by POLITICO’s Tina Nguyen
PAY-TO-PLAY NEWS SITES: Here’s a list of pay-to-play local news sites targeting Illinois. Many of their stories are ordered up by conservative political groups and corporate P.R. firms, a New York Times investigation found.
Oct. 27: David Axelrod and Mike Murphy, who ran the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain, respectively, will sit down with journalist Jim Warren “to analyze the internal dynamics and general mood as President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden head into the last week of a tumultuous, unprecedented and often confusing race for the White House.” The Chicago Humanities Festival event will be livestreamed with a live Q+A. Details here
— Carlinville Mayor Deanna Demuzio dies: “‘We are extremely saddened with word of her passing and we will miss her leadership along with daily conversations,’ a statement on Facebook said. Circumstances of her death were not immediately available. Demuzio was elected mayor of Carlinville in 2013. She had earlier served in the state Senate,” by State Journal-Register’s Bernard Schoenburg.
TUESDAY’s GUESS: Congrats Rob Christie, senior VP of external affairs for Northwestern Medicine, for correctly answering that William Dawson was the former Republican Chicago alderman who switched parties to run for Congress and later became the first African American to chair a standing committee in the U.S. House.
TODAY’S QUESTION: Which Illinois lieutenant governor, other than George Ryan, was a pharmacist prior to entering elective office? Email your answer to [email protected].
Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st), political fundraising consultant Maureen O’Sullivan Artl, attorney Coco Soodek, and Playbooker Rosemary Hall.
October 21, 2020 at 07:39AM