TGIF, Illinois. There was no shouting, but someone played shy with the mute button.
With just over a week before Election Day, billionaire Ken Griffin has wedged himself into two high-stakes political battles, waging a war, indirectly at least, on two of the most powerful Democrats in Illinois: Gov. J.B. Pritzker and House Speaker Michael Madigan.
THE TRIBUNE REPORTS: Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel hedge fund company, sent an email to 1,000 employees criticizing Pritzker and the graduated income tax amendment he wants passed.
Griffin, who’s donated $46.75 million to the Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike Amendment, called Pritzker “a shameless master of personal tax avoidance.”
“I am not willing to stand by as, once again, spineless politicians try to sell a trick disguised as a solution. Particularly not from a governor who, having inherited a great deal of wealth, has worked so diligently to avoid paying taxes himself,” Griffin wrote in an email obtained by the Tribune, which was verified by a company spokesman.
Griffin also offers a veiled threat that his company could leave Illinois for a place with friendlier tax rates. “Governors of Florida, Texas and other states have made compelling pitches for businesses — like Citadel — to leave Illinois,” he wrote.
If it passes, the amendment would change Illinois’ flat personal income tax system to one where wealthier residents pay a higher rate. Supporters say people who earn $250,000 or less make up 97 percent of Illinois residents, and would pay the same or less in taxes.
The impact on wealthy residents must be profound if you consider the eight-figure amount Griffin has spent just trying to defeat the ballot measure.
In a second race, Griffin donated $2.5 million to the group opposing Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride’s retention. Griffin is a Republican who sees Kilbride as a puppet for Madigan.
Griffin’s efforts are fueling the two campaigns the state Republican Party cares about most this election. Successfully keeping Kilbride off the bench and stopping the graduated income tax would be a victory for Republicans, and they’d have Griffin to thank for it.
The Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike Amendment just received $150,000 from DRW Trading CEO Donald Wilson, and $25,000 each from Motorola CEO Gregory Brown and his wife, Anna.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown says the police department has made “fragile improvements” since the height of the summer violence. “We’ve seen a 35 percent reduction in murders since we formed two large city-wide teams and a 15 percent reduction in shootings,” he told attendees of a virtual Economic Club meeting this week.
Important numbers: Chicago Police have recovered 8,700 guns from the streets of Chicago so far this year. “That’s more gun recovery in a single year than New York and L.A. combined,” Brown said. “And we’re risking our lives — 67 officers have been shot at or shot. That’s a record. In a normal year, 10 to 15 officers are shot at or shot.”
How to solve Chicago’s violence problem: “If you’re only asking the police department: ‘What are we doing about violence?’ [then] you’re asking the wrong question. Our solution is arrests.” He said the question should be: “When are we going to do something about poverty on the South and West sides. When are we going to invest in social service access and quality mental health care?”
The other solution: “Building trust is the key component to lowering violence,” Brown said. “That should be the litmus test.”
Anecdotally: The police chief, who previously worked in Dallas, acknowledged being taken aback by the segregation that still exists in Chicago — surprising, he said, because he thought he had seen it all growing up in the South. Brown described visiting Chicago neighborhoods that weren’t just separated by race, but by poverty, too.
Economic Club President & CEO David Snyder moderated the discussion that also included Yale professor Tracey Meares, a former Chicago resident, and Rev. Michael Pfleger, who said if he were given $1 million to spend on public safety in his Auburn Gresham neighborhood, he wouldn’t spend a dime on policing.
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No official public events.
Touring The Woodlawn restaurant at 11 a.m. to highlight the Business Interruption Grants program for places affected by Covid-19. Then to the Thompson Center for a 2:30 p.m. press briefing on the virus. Watch live
Attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. in for the Aspire of Illinois Career Academy Training Center in Hillside.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 44 additional deaths and 4,942 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 360,159 cases, including 9,387 deaths in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Oct. 15 through 21 is 5.7 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 6.7 percent.
— Lightfoot imposes 10 p.m. curfew on city bars, restaurants and nonessential businesses: As coronavirus cases spike, the mayor says: “It’s like we’re back in the spring,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt, John Byrne and Dan Petrella.
… Birx says Lightfoot’s efforts aren’t enough: “White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx cautioned that closing public spaces won’t be enough to stop the illness’s spread,” by Tribune’s Lisa Schencker.
— How coronavirus is reshaping America’s job market: “About 1 in 3 people were either working in a different job in September than they were in February or were unemployed, researchers say,” by POLITICO’s Eleanor Mueller.
— National take on Chicago: Why Covid is battering Black Chicagoans: “Despite only accounting for 30 percent of the city’s population, Black people make up 60 percent of Covid cases there and have the highest mortality rate out of any racial or ethnic group. Most Chicago Covid-19 deaths are hyper-concentrated in majority-Black neighborhoods such as Austin on the West Side and Englewood and Auburn Gresham on the South Side,” by Gloria Oladipo in the Guardian.
— Food fight: Pritzker vows to crack down on restaurants ‘helping to spread this disease’ through dining defiance: “As Illinois reported another daily record high of nearly 5,000 new coronavirus cases, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said suburban bars and restaurants that don’t follow his order to stop seating customers inside will face stiff penalties,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.
— Another lawmaker tests positive for Covid: “In a Facebook post, State Representative Dave Severin announced he and his wife started feeling sick on October 10, and have both tested positive for the coronavirus. The Benton Republican says they have been isolating since they developed symptoms, and have only had contact with medical staff since the diagnosis,” by WSIU’s Jennifer Fuller.
— 10-year-old survives severe inflammatory syndrome associated with Covid-19: “The condition now known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is believed to be a rare but severe complication following a Covid-19 infection that shares some similarities with Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome,” by Tribune’s Angie Leventis Lourgos
— Trump’s sideshow fizzles out: “Donald Trump tried to turn debate day into a trial of the Biden family’s allegedly shady business dealings. It didn’t go smoothly,” writes POLITICO’s Ryan Lizza.
… Trump came out strong. But is it too late? Asks POLITICO’s David Siders.
… What we actually learned about Trump’s and Biden’s policies, by POLITICO’s Michael Stratford.
— LIGHTFOOT PENS OP-ED FOR THE ADVOCATE: “[Donald Trump] allowed the pandemic to become the number one issue in our nation and certainly one of the biggest challenges we have ever faced in Chicago. If that wasn’t bad enough, Trump has also attempted to use the pandemic to build his base and drum up far-right conspiracy theories. For us, this attempt to gin up a mass right-wing movement and to encourage and incite violence is particularly dangerous. For LGBTQ folk of color, all the more so. Our civil rights, liberties, and personal safety are at risk.”
— In bid for his fifth term, Durbin faces opponents who stress religious faith and question pandemic response: “Republican Mark Curran, a former Democrat-turned-Republican ex-Lake County sheriff, points to his Catholic faith in opposing abortion and supporting immigration rights, as well as in his outspoken disapproval of state restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19….Running as a third-party candidate is Willie Wilson, who twice ran unsuccessfully for Chicago mayor and made a brief quixotic bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination before casting his vote for Republican Donald Trump,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.
— Two angling to replace Dorothy Brown pledge to reform court clerk’s office – from nepotism, to ‘cloud of deception’ to ‘landmines’: “Democratic state Sen. Iris Martinez and Republican Dr. Barbara Bellar both vow to usher modernization and accountability into the important but obscure office,” by Sun-Times’ David Struett.
— Shootout at the Illinois Supreme Court Corral? If you thought Justice Thomas Kilbride’s retention bid was nasty, the Fifth Judicial Circuit contest between Appellate Justice Judy Cates and Justice David Overstreet is even worse. “I have challenged Overstreet to a shootout, but he refuses to meet me at the gun range or even show that he has an FOID [Firearm Owner’s Identification Card],” Cates told News-Gazette’s Jim Dey. The invitation to gun play follows charges last week by Cates’ trial-lawyer supporters that Overstreet is sympathetic to child molesters.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: A supporter of Republican Peter Breen is headed to court today to file a lawsuit against Breen’s opponent, Democratic Rep. Terra Costa Howard. Salvatore Falbo claims Costa Howard concealed $160,000 in contributions from the Democratic Party of Illinois State Committee, which is funded by party leader Michael Madigan. The filing obtained by Playbook says Costa Howard claimed instead the funds were from a federal committee, which Madigan isn’t connected to. The filing also states Costa Howard “did not report over $5,000 of in-kind campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood Illinois Action PAC.”… Breen and Costa Howard are in a fierce rematch for the 48th House District. Last week, Costa Howard filed a complaint claiming Breen was the one not complying with campaign disclosure laws.
Blago to Black Trump supporters: ‘I’m one of your homies’: “Blagojevich lauded President Trump’s economic policies and criminal justice reform efforts during an event Thursday that was hosted at the billionaire’s namesake downtown skyscraper by a controversial Black Republican,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
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.
WEST WON’T VOTE FOR MADIGAN: Democrat incumbent Rep. Maurice West told WIFR/23 News in Rockford that he won’t vote for Michael Madigan to be re-elected as speaker in January. “I’m hoping that there’s a strong state representative that could vote for. Someone who believes in term limits like I do. Someone who will be an advocate for strong, immediate ethics reform so we can regain trust in our government. Someone who believes in bipartisanship so I’m looking forward to another option,” said West, who is favored to win re-election in the 67th District race against Republican Kathleen Jo Hansen. West is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, which has firmly supported Madigan even as he’s come under scrutiny in an influence peddling investigation involving ComEd. Madigan has not been charged with anything.
— Lightfoot hints strongly that she won’t re-appoint Inspector General Joe Ferguson: “He’s to be commended for the really good and hard work that he and his team have done on investigations,” the mayor said. “But … I’m somebody who favors terms limits. And I don’t think people should stay in office indefinitely.” Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman reports.
— Lobbyist resigns from elected position in Flossmoor after controversy about city’s lobbying rules: “Gyata Kimmons stepped down as a Flossmoor village trustee on Wednesday, pointing to the tougher lobbying restrictions which became law in Chicago in April, according to a village of Flossmoor news release,” by Tribune’s John Byrne and Gregory Pratt.
— Ex-Gangster Disciples ‘governor’ now distributing food boxes, not crack cocaine: “James Yates once helped run one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs. Now free after 20 years in prison, he says he’s trying to ‘fix some of the stuff that we played a part in messing up,’” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.
— Rep. Curtis Tarver II was “robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight” Wednesday in his 25th District in Hyde Park. Tarver told Playbook he was “going for a run” after dropping his daughter off for Spanish tutoring. University of Chicago Police caught the culprits and recovered a gun, Tarver said. “Important to note,” he adds. “I made it back in time for daddy-daughter date night.”
— INVESTIGATION: Names, private information of child sex crime victims were illegally made public in court records: “Cook County officials left the personal information of child sex crime victims in public court records, violating a state law that requires those details be kept hidden. The person charged with protecting those victims’ privacy in the records, Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, refused to restrict access to them for more than a month after being told about of the problem,” according to CBS/2’s Samah Assad, Christopher Hacker and Brad Edwards.
— ENTERPRISE COLLABORATION ON COURT STATS: Decades of criminal court data from the Cook County Court system has been gathered and organized in a massive data visualization project pulled together by Better Government Association, Injustice Watch and The Chicago Reporter (before it took a break). The first piece shows every major case filed in Cook County between 2000 and 2018. The data is displayed by charges and on a timeline to help show trends regarding caseloads. Watch for more stories to spill out about the court system works — or doesn’t work — for the county’s 5.2 million citizens.
— New York Hospital exec will lead Cook County Health: “In a 17 to 0 vote, commissioners picked Israel Rocha Jr., who comes from New York City’s public health system, where he oversees two hospitals in the biggest public hospital network in the U.S. He’ll replace Debra Carey, who became interim CEO of Cook County Health after the health system board last year voted not to keep then-chief executive Dr. Jay Shannon,” by WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch.
— 25 years later, Fox River Grove Metra-school bus crash still haunts engineer, other survivors: “The engineer still dreams about it. The mom of one teenage victim drank for years to escape the pain. A survivor pulled through despite a fractured skull but lives in pain and lost years of his memory,” by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito.
— Can we eat our way out of the looming Asian Carp eco-disaster? It’s worth a try, says WTTW’s Patty Wetli: Josina Morita, a commissioner with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, “kicked off the Asian Carp Challenge in mid-October as a lighthearted, social media-friendly way to raise awareness of a simple stopgap response to the Asian carp problem, one that’s been staring us in the face ever since the fish reared its ugly head….Companies like Peoria’s Sorce Freshwater have answered the call on the supply side, harvesting and processing fresh, local Asian carp. Now it’s a matter of creating demand, Morita said.”
— ‘Catastrophic’ state supreme court decision ‘a blow to law enforcement accountability’ sheriff’s office says: “The state supreme court ruled Thursday to allow a lawsuit brought by sheriff’s officers suspended without pay pending disciplinary proceedings to move forward, a decision that could end up costing taxpayers millions,” by Sun-TImes’ Matthew Hendrickson.
— Advocacy group sues Kim Foxx’s office over alleged transparency failures: “Despite publicly touting a commitment to transparency, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office has repeatedly stonewalled a local advocacy group’s requests for more complete felony case data, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in county court,” by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau.
— Family members, activists call for outside investigation into Waukegan police shooting: “The Illinois State Police are tasked with investigating the shooting, as is common in suburban police shootings. A WBEZ/BGA report in 2018 found that the ISP’s investigations into such shootings almost never find the officer at fault,” by WBEZ’s Patrick Smith
Illinois launches statewide plan to boost monarch butterfly population: ‘If enough people get on board, we can turn this thing around’: Plans are in the works “to get a better handle on how much milkweed there is, how far there is to go to reach the state goal and develop tracking mechanisms to mark progress, using 2014 as the counting baseline. Based on research so far, the 150 million number seemed “within the realm of possibility,” Iris Caldwell, the project’s coordinator and a program manager at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Energy Resources Center, told Tribune’s Morgan Greene.
— Northwestern’s president, students in heated dispute over abolishing campus police: “Northwestern University students are continuing daily protests this week as part of an increasingly heated and personal dispute with President Morton Schapiro over their demand for the abolition of campus police. The rancor has led Evanston’s NAACP branch to offer to mediate,” by WBEZ’s Minju Park.
— Jewish students at UIUC have faced ‘unrelenting campaign of anti-Semitic harassment,’ complaint alleges: “I’ve been called a genocide supporter, a white supremacist, and harassed; all for being publicly Jewish,” one student said, by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— That was a pretty good debate. Who cares? By POLITICO’s John F. Harris
— Bernie Sanders makes a play for Biden Labor secretary, by POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein, Megan Cassella and Holly Otterbein
— Senate panel paves way for Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation, in spite of Dems’ boycott of meeting, by POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine
— Lesley Stahl says Trump and Pence insulted her and ‘60 Minutes,’ by POLITICO’s Caitlin Oprysko
THURSDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to former congressional and Interior Department staffer Victoria Dixon, who correctly guessed that Bill Daley served in the Clinton cabinet as secretary of Commerce. It turns out he wasn’t the only one from Illinois to serve. Also correct would be Jesse Brown, who was secretary of Veterans Affairs (born in Detroit but grew up in Chicago) in Clinton’s cabinet. Before Brown, former Illinois Congressman Edward Derwinski held the position in the Bush administration.
TODAY’S QUESTION: We touched on pharmacy earlier in the week, now the question is: Which state representative also was an optometrist? Email your answer to [email protected].
Today: Evanston City Clerk Devon Reid, Advance Illinois comms director Taryn Williams, Silverman Group VP Elizabeth Neukirch, Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens, Tribune Life + Culture Content Director Amy Carr, Tribune/Pioneer Press contributor Dan Dorfman, and orchestra leader Chris Sarlas.
Saturday: state Rep. Mike Murphy (99th) and Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. Chairman of the Board John Hart.
Sunday: state Sen. Brian Stewart (45th), Appellate Court Judge Jesse Reyes, and former Ald. Brian Doherty.
October 23, 2020 at 07:34AM