Happy Wednesday, Illinois. With smaller Thanksgiving gatherings, let’s hope it’s easier to avoid the political food fights, though the idea, from Axios, that President Trump might pardon Michael Flynn will be hard to avoid.
If you see Chicago as a glass half full, then the City Council passing Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s property tax hike and a $12.8 billion “pandemic budget” Tuesday are big wins for the city and for her ability to negotiate with aldermen.
“This was a significant victory. She demonstrated she can work with these folks. It’s going to be easier down the road,” said David Orr, the former Cook County Clerk and alderman. “The road ahead is still very challenging with the pandemic, a failing economy and the reality that federal dollars aren’t flowing to the millions of Americans that are becoming more desperate. Still, the mayor and a majority of aldermen found ways to handle the current crisis. This could bode well for future collective collaboration.”
But it’s hard to ignore the numbers. The property tax hike passed 28 to 22 and the budget squeezed by with a 29 to 21 vote (she needed 26). Chicago’s City Council and mayor haven’t been this out of whack on a vote since the council wars during Harold Washington’s administration.
Lightfoot’s experience negotiating legal settlements shined during these budget talks. She got it all passed by giving just enough to enough members to get her over the hump.
But the fact that Lightfoot had to cut a deal with the unions to avoid cutting personnel — albeit a move that won over some aldermen — shows she will have to rely on the unions in the future.
And it’s hard to imagine the latest property tax hike can fix the city’s long-term financial problems.
The best way Chicago can dig itself out of the financial morass is to get people back to shopping, traveling and spending to generate revenue. Until then, it’s a glass half empty.
— NUTS AND BOLTS OF THE BUDGET: “Despite the close vote that followed weeks of rancorous debate, Lightfoot vowed to work with aldermen who disagree with her — as well as those who voted against her,” reports WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— From Tribune’s John Byrne and Gregory Pratt: “West Side Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) said the budget has ‘some meat for everyone.’… Not everyone was convinced by the argument. South Side Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th) said the budget is unfairly balanced on the backs of taxpayers. ‘Don’t give me crumbs and tell me it’s cake,’ she said.”
— From Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman: “The ‘no’ votes were concentrated in wards that comprised Lightfoot’s political base.”
— This map by political consultant Frank Calabrese shows yes and no votes by ward.
— Vote switch: Lightfoot’s usual allies, Tom Tunney (44th), Matt O’Shea (19th), and Brendan Reilly (42nd), voted against her budget plans (they also opposed former Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2015 property tax hike), but Maria Hadden (49th) and Andre Vasquez (40th), both members of the council’s socialist wing, voted in favor. Vasquez was swayed by the city’s dire economic situation, and Hadden liked the funding element for a program that will team social workers with police officers. By the end of the day, Hadden was already taking heat for her vote. “Seeing some of you so quick to discard and dismiss me w/o talking to me hurts,” she wrote on Facebook. "But I’ll keep striving to do my best; that’s all I can do.”
How Lightfoot planned to celebrate: With a steak, a Scotch and a cigar.
Cook County’s $7B budget sails through, by WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch: “Despite a pandemic that has gutted government budgets across the U.S., the Cook County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a nearly $7 billion spending plan for 2021 that doesn’t include any new taxes or massive layoffs.
“’I’m very grateful to the commissioners,’ Democratic County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a media briefing after the board meeting. ‘For the last 10 years we’ve made difficult decisions and structural changes rather than look for one-time fixes…And as a result we’re in pretty impressive shape given the fact that we’re in a pandemic and economic collapse.’”
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The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 125 additional deaths and 9,469 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 11,677 deaths and 674,089 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from Nov. 17 through 23 is 10.4 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 12.9 percent.
— Illinois’ initial vaccine shipment may be a fifth of what was originally expected: “Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Tuesday that the latest word from federal officials is that the first shipment may contain only about 80,000 doses, or one-fifth of the 400,000 doses that state officials were expecting as recently as last week. ‘We know that even if everything goes through smoothly in the next couple of weeks and the vaccine is shipped, there won’t be many doses,’ Ezike said,” by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock.
— Contact tracing in Illinois may not slow coronavirus. But data is helping guide state decisions: “The governor singled out the data, along with scholarly studies, when defending his late October decision to shut down indoor dining. Experts on contact tracing say that using contact tracing data in this way is valid and part of the reason contact tracing is done in the first place, particularly when cases are surging,” by Tribune’s Hal Dardick.
— Covid clampdown hurts more than restaurants; fitness studios pushing back, too: Boutique fitness studios argue “the ban on group classes will further decimate revenue and force more gyms to permanently shutter. The latest restrictions went into effect Nov. 20, capping capacity at 25 percent and nixing yoga, cycling and other group sessions altogether,” by Crain’s Ally Marotti.
— HOLD THE PHONE: Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other Chicago-area mayors have cut a promotional video reminding folks to stay at home for Thansgiving. The mayors can be seen talking to loved ones about why they need to celebrate apart.
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 examines how Gov. J.B. Pritzker and eight other governors are tackling the latest wave of the coronavirus epidemic. Check it out!
— BIDEN TEAM CALLS LIGHTFOOT: During a Tuesday presser, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Joe Biden’s team has “reached out” to her office: “It was like a breath of fresh air, given what we’ve been through over the last four years. But we need action. We need action now in order to save those businesses that are struggling, in order to meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents.”
— Cubs owners would get to defer infrastructure payment under city proposal: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Wrigleyville’s alderman on Tuesday proposed letting the Chicago Cubs put off the team’s annual $250,000 payment into a fund to pay for infrastructure upgrades around their historic North Side ballpark because the team played without fans in the seats this year due to the pandemic. The ‘CubFund Project’ payment would instead be made in 2024 under the ordinance Lightfoot introduced to the City Council,” by Tribune’s John Byrne.
— Lieutenant reassigned after William Barr’s trip to Chicago catches CPD brass, mayor’s office by surprise: “Sources said Mayor Lori Lightfoot and police leaders learned of the visit just a day before the nation’s top law enforcement officer was scheduled to arrive in the city,” by Sun-Times’ Sam Charles.
— NW Side alderman had staffer falsely report cellphone stolen — then had a constituent arrested, lawsuit alleges: “Benjamin George says he found a phone that belonged to one of Ald. Jim Gardiner’s staffers — but when he went to the police station to return it, he was arrested for theft,” by Block Club’s Bob Chiarito.
— Chicago, Hammond to offer competing pitches to sell Joliet Lake Michigan water: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday laid out her plan to try to convince Joliet officials to let Chicago provide the city’s water. As Joliet looks to sign a contract to start getting its water from Lake Michigan, both Chicago and Hammond want the potentially lucrative deal to deliver it,” by POLITICO’s John Byrne and Alexandra Kukulka.
— Concerns about General Iron’s move to Southeast Side are ‘unfounded,’ Lightfoot Administration says: “A city lawyer accuses community groups of exaggeration and says fears about air pollution are unwarranted,” by Sun-Times’ Brett Chase.
— As Jews mourn the Standard Club, some refuse to say goodbye: “The announcement came in early March: The Standard Club, a nexus of Jewish life in Chicago for 150 years, would be closing its doors May 1 and its building, a 13-story, 1920s high rise designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn, would be sold. Thanks to the coronavirus, the club didn’t last even that long. It shut down March 23. Yet eight months later, some members continue to pay dues in the hope that the Standard Club can overcome great odds and unforgiving trends to become once again the place where accomplished Jews schmooze, dine, exercise and play a vital role in civic and Jewish life,” by Mark Caro in Forward.
— CHA grants boost resident-owned businesses during the pandemic: “CHA CEO Tracey Scott said 31 residents applied to the program. The public housing agency matched money given to the relief efforts from the Federal Home Loan Bank. In all, CHA will dole out $35,000. Many of the resident-owned businesses are in the construction industry, and Scott said the program was specifically targeted to other types of small businesses,” reports WBEZ’s Natalie Moore.
The annual Serafin holiday party at Butch McGuire’s was replaced with a video Tuesday night and all the usual characters popped in, including political operative Richard Streetman singing a rendition of “Let It Snow” — with the lyrics switched to “stay at home, stay at home, stay at home!”
There were plenty of toasts, stories about the good old days, a yarn about Dan Rostenkowski, and hat tips to the diverse guest list of elected officials from both sides of the political aisle, journalists and political operatives.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul smiled (maybe through gritted teeth) when he praised the party for bringing together political opponents and “journalists who may have been critical of our work in the past.”
Tribune’s John Kass was there, too. “Everybody has their swords down because of you,” Kass said of Thom Serafin, who hosts the party with Serafin operations director Jim Webb and his political consulting team.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot made an appearance. “For decades this event has served as the unofficial holiday kickoff for Chicago’s political world,” Lightfoot said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to celebrate in person again next year.”
Also spotted: Reps. Robin Kelly, Bobby Rush, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, Secretary of State Jesse White, Ald. Gilbert Villegas, Ald. Emma Mitts, Ald. Stephanie Coleman, and Cook County Circuit Judge Diane Shelley.
This video event was packed with names, but it’s nothing like the real thing, noted MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos. “If there’s one party that definitely couldn’t take place in a Covid world, it’s this one.”
Just like the live event, the show had a philanthropic component. Viewers were encouraged to support Mercy Home for Boys and Girls.
“The theme is friendship, sticking together, being thankful for each other, kind to each other and leaving your differences at the door,” Serafin said.
Amen and Happy Thanksgiving, folks.
— Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day events in Des Plaines canceled due to the coronavirus: “Religious leaders are encouraging the faithful to stay home to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito.
— The Cook County Land Bank Authority has launched "Home for the Holidays Mortgage and Rent Relief Giveaway" to provide $1,000 mortgage and rent relief to struggling families this holiday season. Any Cook County resident can enter the drawing now through Dec. 17 to receive the relief. The drawing is free assistance, not a loan, and will be paid directly to winners’ banks and property managers.
— Former lawyer for Van Dyke ousts lone Republican from Board of Review: “A final tally of votes from the Cook County Clerk’s Office and from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners showed Wendt ahead of Dan Patlak, who has served on the board since 2010,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Final election results show one Cook County judge lost her seat, others hold on by a thread: “Three weeks after Election Day, final tallies show that Cook County Circuit Judge Jackie Portman-Brown lost her retention bid by less than 12,000 votes, while Judge John Mahoney III held onto his seat by about 2,100 votes,” by Injustice Watch’s Carlos Ballesteros and Emily Hoerner.
— Cook County judicial candidate says vote totals changed after deadline to make him lose: Republican Frank DiFranco “weighs options for a recount” in race against 12th Circuit Cook County Judge Patricia Fallon, by CBS/2’s Dana Kozlov.
— State launches investigation into coronavirus outbreak at LaSalle Veterans’ Home, where 27 died of Covid-19: “The reports released by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs found employees of the home attended the same Halloween gathering and later tested positive for the virus. The veterans’ home was also stocked earlier this month with hand sanitizer found not to be effective against Covid-19,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
… Rezin calls out Democrats: State Sen. Sue Rezin “said she’d like to see the same urgency from Democrats who control the legislature regarding the LaSalle Veterans’ Home Covid-19 outbreak as they displayed in an investigation into a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak and 13 resulting residents’ deaths in 2015 under former Gov. Bruce Rauner,” by NPR’s Hannah Meisel.
— He’s fought for his country in the Army and FBI. Now, he’s fighting for himself, other vets: “Jim Rudisill has battled terrorists and white supremacists. Now, he’s fighting for better GI Bill college benefits for himself and up to 1.7 million of the nation’s longest-serving veterans,” by Sun-Times’ Stephanie Zimmermann.
— Kifowit favors allowing the Illinois House to meet remotely: “There are a lot of issues the House should be addressing and bringing up in remote committee meetings…The House is stymied and we definitely need to have the ability and every method that’s available to us to do the people’s work,” she said on WSPY News.
— The speakership used to be meaningless: “George Ryan once gave up the job to become lieutenant governor, an office so worthless his predecessor had quit out of boredom. What changed?” by Edward McClelland in Chicago magazine.
— Commentary: The two theories on Michael Madigan: Master politician or misunderstood? Is the speaker “a larger-than-life political icon or a wounded political animal? The answer, at this unique moment, is both,” writes Andy Shaw, former ABC/7 political reporter who now chairs the Change Illinois Action Fund.
From dorms to dating, what it’s like to navigate college during the Covid-19 pandemic: “This fall, we’ve been checking in with Elizabeth LeBeau, a freshman at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, as she navigates her first semester of college during the coronavirus pandemic,” by WBEZ’s Libby Berry and Katherine Nagasawa. "Before heading home for an extended break, she took over the WBEZ Instagram account and answered some of your questions about how COVID-19 has impacted campus life."
Naperville man charged in scheme to illegally obtain coronavirus relief aid to benefit small businesses: “A Naperville man and six people in Texas have been charged for their roles in obtaining about $16 million in coronavirus small business relief aid and using it to purchase high-end luxury cars and other items, according to a recent federal indictment. Siddiq Azeemuddin, 41, of Naperville, faces charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering,” by Naperville Sun’s Suzanne Baker.
What do you get the stoner who has everything? Green Wednesday offers discounts on legal weed: “Green Wednesday, which takes place the day before Thanksgiving, has been around for several years in other states but is making its debut in Illinois during the state’s first year of legal recreational marijuana sales,” reports Tribune’s Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz.
— Column: History will be kind to Rep. Adam Kinzinger and other Republicans who stood up to Donald Trump: “Kinzinger told me Tuesday that callers to his district office were at first ‘overwhelmingly against’ his criticism of Trump, accusing him of being part of ‘a deep-state conspiracy to steal the election for Biden.’ But he said that the anger seems to have dissipated as the inevitability and legitimacy of Trump’s defeat sink in,” writes Tribune’s Eric Zorn.
— MS. MAGAZINE SAYS: Future of breastfeeding is no longer over toilets — Thanks to Duckworth’s Friendly Airports for Mothers Improvement Act: “Bipartisan legislation…will ensure all airports support breastfeeding travelers.”
Rahm Emanuel and a spot in Joe Biden’s Cabinet: The story so far: “Whether there is a slot for Rahm Emanuel in Joe Biden’s cabinet depends on if he fits into the emerging mosaic. Maybe yes. Maybe no,” by Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.
— Trump carries on a fight everyone else is abandoning, by POLITICO’s Meridith McGraw
— The inside story of Michigan’s fake voter fraud scandal, by POLITICO’s Tim Alberta
— Immigrant advocates to Biden: Be better than Obama, by POLITICO’s Sabrina Rodriguez
Dec. 2: University of Chicago’s Dr. Emily Landon, in a partnership with the Tribune, will answer questions about Covid-19. Tribune’s Darcel Rockett has the details here
Brady Chalmers has been named the first digital director for the Cook County Democratic Party, a move seen modernizing the organization. Brady, who lives in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, has most recently been a policy forecaster for Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology. He was previously deputy digital director for J.B. Pritzker’s gubernatorial campaign.
Jesse Evans, former South Side alderman convicted in Operation Silver Shovel, dead at 83: “Evans was convicted in 1997 of accepting $7,300 in bribes to send a city street sweeper to clean a private construction site and extorting $10,000 from the operator of a rock crusher in the ward,” by Sun-Times’ Sam Charles and Evan F. Moore
TUESDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Claude Walker, a longtime adviser to former Gov. Pat Quinn and curator of Illinois Bicentennial-by-Buttons, for correctly guessing that the Reutan was the steamship that ran aground in Lake Michigan and led to Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood being created.
TODAY’S QUESTION: Harkening back to the Council Wars, what name did Mayor Harold Washington call Edward “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak? Email your answer to [email protected].
Today: Empower Illinois strategy director Juan Rangel, Advocate Aurora Health government relations director Angela K. Waller, and Rightpoint’s Salesforce VP John Hergert.
Thanksgiving Day: State Senate President Don Harmon, lobbyist and former state Rep. Louis Lang, Mac Strategies Group’s Ryan McLaughlin, and Resolute Public Affairs’ partner and EVP Rob Nash.
Friday: Cor Strategies operations marshal Ryan Kilduff, and journalist Robert Reed.
Saturday: Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, former Illinois GOP press aide Patty Schuh, and not-for-profit and political fundraiser Lisa Wagner.
Sunday: Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cara nonprofit CEO Maria Kim, Walgreens’ national director for local government relations Donovan Pepper, and Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter.
via POLITICO https://ift.tt/2i74uEb
November 25, 2020 at 07:25AM