Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. The Onion takes on the Chicago mayor, Chicago police and the CTA and it stretches the truth enough to be pretty funny.

On a more serious note: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot criticized Gov. J.B. Pritzker on national TV last night, and took a swipe at President Donald Trump, too. In both instances, the mayor expressed frustration that higher levels of government aren’t talking to mayors about what’s working for their cities.

Speaking on the PBS NewsHour, Lightfoot said Pritzker’s renewed restrictions prohibiting indoor dining and bar service in Chicago aren’t “reaching the right people” and will shut down “a significant portion of our economy at a time when those same businesses are really hanging on by a thread.”

In a statement to Playbook, Lightfoot reiterated, “We will continue our efforts with the governor and his team to better understand their metrics” for shutting down indoor dining at restaurants. “The governor and I are aligned that we need residents to mask-up and follow the city and state’s guidelines… but we must remain in lockstep when it comes to the rollout of new restrictions.”

Lightfoot and the governor are scheduled to talk today after, apparently, missing each other earlier in the week — before Pritzker announced plans Tuesday to revive restrictions on restaurants and bars that go further than Lightfoot’s preference for stricter capacity limits. As of now, the indoor dining ban goes into effect 12:01 a.m. Friday.

The mayor is pushing back at Pritzker’s order because she says the city’s data shows that restaurants aren’t the culprit of Chicago’s latest coronavirus surge. “The greatest challenge is in people’s homes, in social settings that are not public,” she said in the PBS interview.

Lightfoot said two-thirds of Chicagoans who have tested positive for Covid and talked to contact tracers say “they got it from someone they know.”

Jordan Abudayyeh, the governor’s spokeswoman, followed with a statement highlighting business grants, saying: “Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t make exceptions, and it would be ill-advised to make exceptions to the rules we put in place as the best mitigations to stop the spread. As the CDC has noted, bars and restaurants are major places of transmission risk. We’ll continue to provide support to businesses that are hard hit through our $630 million BIG program.”

This isn’t the first time Lightfoot and Pritzker have butted heads about managing the pandemic, but it’s the most public. There was tension back in the spring when Pritzker’s team pushed Lightfoot’s office to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. And the two disagreed on how and when to close schools.

“We haven’t always agreed on every issue,” Lightfoot acknowledged during a recent discussion with the Economic Club. “But we try to do that privately.”

Lightfoot also showed frustration Tuesday with the White House for not including mayors in how it has managed the pandemic.

She said she and other mayors across the country “repeatedly” asked the president and vice president to include them in discussions. “They’ve ignored us at every turn. And they’ve frankly turned their IGA [intergovernmental agreement] function into a politicized bunch of hacks who attack Democratic mayors… They have zero interest in actually forging real concrete relationships with mayors across this country. It’s a total missed opportunity.”


Pritzker orders tougher restrictions for Chicago starting Friday, by Tribune’s Jamie Munks, Gregory Pratt and Dan Petrella

Critics say U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh cherry-picked a University of Chicago Law Review article to keep Wisconsin from counting mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 Monday against a six-day extension to accept ballots postmarked by Election Day.

“Particularly in a presidential election, counting all the votes quickly can help the state promptly resolve any disputes, address any need for recounts, and begin the process of canvassing and certifying the election results in an expeditious manner,” Kavanaugh wrote in a concurring opinion.

He quotes Richard Pildes, a New York University law professor, who wrote in the U. of C. Law Review that counting late votes could cause chaos and lead to allegations of a “rigged election.”

But critics say Kavanaugh took Pildes out of context. The article actually says “states SHOULD extend postmark deadlines,” explains CNN’s Marshall Cohen.

Ald. Michele Smith, a former prosecutor (and 7th Circuit clerk), also took to Twitter, saying she has an issue with both the professor’s article and Kavanaugh’s opinion. She said Kavanaugh latched onto the professor’s “reckless claim” and turned it on its head to disenfranchise thousands of voters.

“The professor used a ‘sky is falling’ idea to illustrate why reforms are needed,” she told Playbook. “The Supreme Court speciously used it against the very people he was trying to protect."


No apologies: McConnell says Barrett a ‘huge success for the country,’ by POLITICO’s John Bresnahan and Burgess Everett

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

In the Pullman neighborhood at 1:30 p.m. with Ald. Anthony Beale to launch the new Amazon Delivery Station.

At the Pullman Community Center at 10 a.m. to highlight the Business Interruption Grants program for community businesses impacted by the pandemic. At the Thompson Center at 2:30 p.m. for the daily Covid briefing. Watch live

At the Southwest Cook County American Job Center at 9:30 a.m. with Rep. La Shawn Ford and other officials to announce the $4 million Cook County Covid-19 Recovery Job Training and Placement program. Watch live

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 46 new deaths Tuesday and 4,000 additional confirmed cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 9,568 deaths and 382,985 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Oct. 20 through 26 is 6.4 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 7.6 percent.

Historic vaccine race meets harsh reality: “Pfizer’s admission that it still doesn’t know whether its coronavirus vaccine works is a dose of reality for the historic global vaccine race,” by POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle.

Illinois places high school basketball, other ‘high risk’ sports on hold: “High school basketball in Illinois — along with hockey and wrestling — won’t take place as scheduled as the state struggles against a resurgence of Covid-19,” reports NPR Illinois’ Sean Crawford.

Chicago adds Florida to its travel quarantine order; Michigan could be next in line: “That makes 31 states, as well as Puerto Rico, on the city’s list of places residents can’t travel to without quarantining,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.

Large Thanksgiving gatherings could mean Christmastime funeral, says Dr. Ezike: The director of the Illinois Department of Health “spoke about the danger of large family holiday gatherings and other issues related to the coronavirus pandemic during a virtual discussion of the impact of the disease on the Hispanic and Black communities Monday sponsored by Mano a Mano Family Resource Center,” by Lake County News-Sun’s Steve Sadin.

How the super-rich and ex-cons squeezed through loopholes in a Covid-19 ‘Small Business’ program: “Loopholes in a federal pandemic relief program allowed the approval of millions of dollars in “small business” assistance for Chicago-area companies tied to notoriously corrupt suburban contractors, the richest member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet and a wealthy Republican congressional candidate in next month’s election, a WBEZ investigation has found,” by WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos.

After their mom died from Covid-19, her kids give a final toast with a beloved, hard-to-find token of her youth: Tab diet soda, by Tribune’s John Keilman

After supporting Trump by one vote in 2016, a Wisconsin community reassesses: "In Ward 25A in Oshkosh, Wis., “251 voters and the choices they’re making for president could help determine another razor-thin victory in a state that is likely to be crucial to the outcome. As in thousands of other wards across Wisconsin, a vote shifting this way, a vote shifting that way, could matter enormously,” writes Peter Kendall for the Washington Post.

Dems struggle in rural America as Trump holds steady: “Even Rep. Ceri Bustos’ gerrymandered stretch of northwest Illinois is looking closer. Democratic lawmakers and strategists say they are confident most of these incumbents will hold on…But the closer-than-expected races show how quickly President Donald Trump has driven GOP gains in rural America, carrying a warning that Democrats still have work to do to win back some of those once-loyal voters,” by POLITICO’s Ally Mutnick and Sarah Ferris.

How Democrat Underwood, Republican Oberweis are closing their IL-14 race: “The government response to the Covid-19 pandemic is a top reelection issue for Rep. Underwood. State Sen. Oberweis is making ‘law and order’ a theme,” by Tribune’s Lynn Sweet.

All eyes on toss-up 13th District as Davis faces Londrigan again: “The sprawling 13th District stretches through Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, and Springfield down to the Metro East suburbs of St. Louis. A mix of college towns and rural areas are within its boundaries that were drawn by Illinois Democrats after the last census specifically to give the right Democrat a chance to win,” reports NPR Illinois’ Ryan Denham.

— Pat O’Brien is out with a new ad attacking incumbent Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

Alderman backs Joe Biden, but not Kim Foxx — tosses support to Republican challenger Pat O’Brien: “Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) voiced concerns about Foxx’s response to looting in his ward this summer, but he’s now officially backing O’Brien. Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who also became disenchanted with Foxx, said he’s sitting the race out,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton and Fran Spielman.

— Celebrity endorsement: Actor John Cusack tweeted to Illinois voters Tuesday: “Illinois encouraging you to vote YES on #FairTax and NO on retaining Judge Michael Toomin (a bad Republican judge).”

Suburban Cook voters can stop fretting over fate of mail ballots — but the final results? That’s another matter: “An online ballot tracking system showed many of those unaccounted for ballots to be located at a U.S. Postal Service facility. In reality, they were in limbo at the clerk’s new Cook County Elections Operations Center in Cicero, waiting to be checked in as received. That’s no longer the case,” writes Sun-Times’ Mark Brown.

Chicago election officials still looking to assign polling places for 7 precincts in the final stretch to Election Day: “There are at least 2,069 voting locations citywide. The coronavirus outbreak added an extra wrinkle to finalizing both early voting and Election Day sites, with some go-to polling locations from the past declining to participate this year or no longer available for other reasons because of the pandemic,” by Tribune’s Kelli Smith.

Feds monitoring elections: The U.S. Attorney’s Office will monitor the federal, state, and local elections in Chicago and surrounding areas on Election Day, John Lausch, Jr., the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said in a statement Tuesday. “As part of the monitoring effort, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will operate telephone hotlines for citizens to report complaints related to the voting process. Assistant U.S. attorneys and other office personnel will monitor the hotlines and respond to complaints, as needed. The hotline numbers, staffed on Election Day only, are (312) 469-6157 and (312) 469-6158.”

Will County Republicans question notification for daily mail-in ballot processing, by Daily Southtown’s Alicia Fabbre.

— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Spin the billionaire wheel! The folks supporting the graduated income tax proposal have come up with an interactive ad campaign to call attention to all the billionaires who oppose the ballot measure. The “Billionaires Against Fair Tax” microsite features businessmen Ken Griffin, Sam Zell, and David MacNeil, GOP mega-donors Dick and Liz Uihlein, and even former Gov. Bruce Rauner on its wheel of billionaires. Combined, they’ve poured more than $50 million into opposing the ballot measure that would replace the state’s flat income tax system to a graduated tax rate. If passed, it would allow the state to tax its highest earners at a higher rate, and those who earn less than $250,000 each year would see their tax rates stay steady or decline. Illinois Policy Institute and the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago oppose the idea, saying it could open the door to future tax hikes. In a statement to Playbook, Vote Yes for Fair Tax Chairman John Bouman said the “Billionaires Against Fair Tax” wheel brings to light “the special interests who benefit from the broken status quo.”

— By Crain’s Joe Cahill: This explains why Pritzker’s ‘fair tax’ idea is getting so much pushback: Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ report on property taxes shows “Property tax billings in Cook County have doubled [over the past two decades], far outpacing a 36 percent rise in the cost of living and a 57 percent increase in average wages in Cook County.”

— John Canning Jr., the chairman of Madison Dearborn Partners who once stood side by side with J.B. Pritzker at civic events, is no the opposite side of the coin. Canning just donated $100,000 to the Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike Amendment. Also known as the “Fair Tax,” it’s been a hallmark of Pritzker’s budget agenda.

— Gov. J.B. Pritzker has donated $57,800 each to Chicago Federation of Labor & Industrial Union Council PAC, which is supporting the graduated income tax amendment, and to Personal PAC, which supports abortion rights. Pritzker also donated $42,200 to Personal PAC Independent Committee.

— Republican House Minority Leader Jim Durkin has donated $50,000 to Amy Elik, who hopes to unseat Democratic Rep. Monica Bristow in the 111th District.

— We’re expecting lots of TV ads: Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride just received a flurry of financial support in his retention race, including $100,000 from businessman Michael Sacks, $370,000 from Illinois AFL-CIO COPE, $30,000 from Corboy & Demetrio law firm, and $50,000 from Illinois Political Action Committee for Education.

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.

— DEEP DIVE: How Trump maneuvered his way out of trouble in Chicago: “When his skyscraper proved a disappointment, Donald Trump defaulted on his loans, sued his bank, got much of the debt forgiven — and largely avoided paying taxes on it,” by the New York Times.

Lightfoot defends issuing speed camera tickets for cars going 6 mph over the limit, but city data shows a more complicated picture: “Lightfoot also said the city has seen “exponentially” more “speed-related accidents and deaths” this year, which she used to support her argument for implementing new speed camera standards that will catch more drivers….A Tribune review of publicly available city crash data shows a more complicated picture of the safety situation than Lightfoot presented, with total crashes actually down from the first nine months of 2019 when there were 88,757 compared with the same period in 2020 when there were 69,480, records show,” by Gregory Pratt, Joe Mahr and John Byrne.

Inspector general finds shortcomings in how Chicago Police Dept. supports officers involved in shootings: “An evaluation by the city’s inspector general of mandatory training for Chicago police officers involved in shootings found that not all department members complete the requirements before returning to the street. The report released Tuesday by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s office examined 52 cases since February 2017 and June 2018,” by Tribune’s Annie Sweeney and Jeremy Gorner.

Downtown Chicago faces an office glut: “Real estate firms’ analyses show downtown employers are shedding space, more leasing interest in the suburbs and industrial demand is strong,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.

Casino heavyweights, local developers ante up in early phase of Chicago project:The city sought input from gambling industry veterans and real estate developers on what they’d do if they won the bidding to build a Chicago casino. Local players as well as national names put their hands up,” by Crain’s A.D. Quig.

Parents don’t have much to go on when it comes to Chicago’s Covid-19 school data: “Chicago’s health department said it doesn’t have school and child care data “publicly reportable.” The state health department said it will begin sharing school-level coronavirus data in the coming weeks, but state officials haven’t said how much detail they will include,” reports Chalkbeat Chicago’s Mila Koumpilova.

Black Catholics celebrate Wilton Gregory’s elevation — knowing it took the George Floyd-era to bring this first, by Sun-Times’ Maudlyne Ihejirika.

Chicago businessman Mark Walter’s Dodgers won the World Series, via the Los Angeles Times.

As Evanston stares down major budget deficit, the town’s financial ties to Northwestern University become even more apparent: “Hotels are reporting significant drops in revenue as meetings and college athletic events are canceled or the number of spectators is greatly curtailed…Hotel demand is down 80-90 percent over 2019, in large part due to canceled Northwestern activities,” Paul Zalmezak, Evanston’s economic development division manager, wrote in a memo to the City Council. Pioneer Press’ Genevieve Bookwalter reports.

— Some relief for DuPage restaurants: The DuPage County Board on Tuesday approved a proposal that will provide $2.5 million in federal funding for DuPage County restaurants and bars struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

INVESTIGATION: Meet the Cook County judge attorneys least want to appear before: Attorneys have bounced veteran judge Diane Cannon from nearly one of every five criminal cases that are randomly assigned to her — more than any other judge at the criminal courthouse in Chicago. The reason, report Injustice Watch’s Emily Hoerner and Better Government Association’s Casey Toner: “Questions about bias against defendants of color, outbursts and bullying from the bench, and harsh treatment of probationers.”

Illinois pot shops are now rolling in bud, so why does an eighth of weed still cost $80? “Even as the state’s supply shortage appears to be over, a cannabis consultant claimed the ‘obscene’ prices being charged at dispensaries across Illinois are ‘artificially created’ by the state’s few growers,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.

Pot cultivation workers say Cresco is trying to stall unionization effort after company raises concerns over mail-in voting: “In addition to allegedly holding up the election, the cultivation center workers claim Cresco is cutting wages for union supporters, giving preferential treatment to those who oppose the unionization push and illegally granting benefits to employees in response to their union activity,” reports Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.

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 looks at Arizona and the hunt for bipartisanship. Check it out!

Is Twitter going full resistance? Meet the woman driving change, by POLITICO’s Nancy Scola

What Trump might do with the final 77 days of his presidency if he loses, by Garrett Graff for POLITICO Magazine

Beto O’Rourke is begging Joe Biden to visit Texas, convinced it’s going blue, by POLITICO’s Ryan Lizza

Juan Morado Jr., a partner at Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff law firm, has been appointed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to serve as a director on the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority board. MPEA, which owns McCormick Place, is the municipal organization charged with attracting trade shows and conventions to Chicago. The board has nine members — four appointed by the governor, four by the mayor and a chairman.

Monsignor Charles Meyer, Catholic archdiocese’s oldest priest, dies at 100, according to Chicago Catholic.

Jackie Robinson keeps echoing in MLB’s present as did the pioneering figures from the Negro Leagues: “Yu Darvish, the Chicago Cubs pitcher from Japan with Iranian heritage, wore his Black Lives Matter shirt often. Someone who grew up in a completely different culture found a way to support the spirit of an idea that is foreign to his nation,” writes Doug Glanville for The Undefeated.

Thursday at 1:30 p.m. World Business Chicago CEO Andrea Zopp headlines The Chicago Central Area Committee and Alliance for Regional Development webinar. Details here

TUESDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to estate planning attorney Dan Balanoff and retired educator Willie Hogan for correctly guessing that Ernie Banks, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, ran for Chicago alderman in 1962. (Dan and Willie tied with the same time stamp!)

TODAY’S QUESTION: How many national political conventions have the major parties (D, R and Green) had in Chicago? Email your answer to [email protected].

Former Illinois Senate President John Cullerton; election attorney Keri-Lyn Krafthefer, former aldermanic candidate David Krupa, and political strategist and Kivvit Director J.P. Valadez.



October 28, 2020 at 07:57AM

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