Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. The latest political hand-wringing is over Joe Biden’s historic pick for defense secretary.
Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia is throwing her hat in the ring for the Secretary of State position that’s opening up in 2022 with the retirement of Jesse White.
“I want to see what the lay of the land is. I’ve done this work the past four years as city clerk,” Valencia told Playbook after announcing she’s formed an exploratory committee to consider a run. She also filed a change-of-committee statement with the Board of Elections, allowing her to fundraise for the Secretary of State race.
Valencia championed the CityKey ID program that she says mirrors the kind of resources offered through the Secretary of State’s Office. “I understand what it means to have an ID and use it for employment, housing and resources. It’s what the clerk’s office does and what Jesse White does.”
She says she’s dedicated to the “pillars of collaboration, openness, and accessibility” and has worked “tirelessly to ensure my office serves as the bridge between our community and our city government.”
Valencia joins a crowded field of potential candidates, though it’s still months away before we know who will be able to raise the money and gather the support needed for the statewide race.
The point of getting in the race now is to test the waters. Candidates want to see if they can raise the millions of dollars needed and if they can generate the buzz necessary to build a coalition.
Former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, state Sen. Michael Hastings, Ald. Walter Burnett, and Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough, are also among the potential candidates.
Valencia is a native of downstate Granite City and is the first member of her close-knit Mexican American family to graduate from college.
She was also an early endorser of Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign and later the Biden-Harris ticket, which means the Secretary of State race could see some high-profile attention if Valencia makes her run official.
Valencia said it’s time for a new generation of leadership and with that in mind, she joined the growing list of politicos saying House Speaker Michael Madigan should step down as leader of Illinois Democratic Party.
“I support whatever the House decides [in the January election for speaker], but I do not support the speaker continuing to run the party,” Valencia told the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman. “The party needs a change. That’s where we should start.”
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is reshuffling her management team as she enters her second term, installing women into three marquee positions.
Jennifer Coleman becomes first assistant, replacing Joseph Magats, who retired last month after 30 years with the office under five different state’s attorneys. He most recently oversaw the Jussie Smollett case.
Coleman will be Foxx’s top adviser on day-to-day legal operations in the State’s Attorney Office. She has been a Cook County prosecutor for 25 years with assignments in Domestic Violence, First Municipal, Felony Review, the Felony Trial Division and Narcotics divisions.
Risa Lanier becomes chief deputy, the position previously held by Coleman. A veteran prosecutor with more than 20 years of experience, Lanier has successfully prosecuted several high-profile cases, including the killing of Chicago Police Department Commander Paul Bauer. She is the first Black woman to have overseen the office’s Criminal Prosecutions Bureau and in her new role as chief deputy, Lanier will be responsible for guiding the office’s legal strategy, policy initiatives and court support.
Natosha Toller moves to become bureau chief of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, the largest in the State’s Attorney’s Office. Toller, who replaces Lanier in the position, was previously deputy chief of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau. In her new role, Toller will oversee more than 30,000 felony cases each year.
Other members of Foxx’s executive team include chief of staff Jennifer Ballard Croft, Chief Ethics Officer Muriel Coleman, general counsel Philina King, deputy chief of staff Alyson Miller, Chief Data Officer Matthew Saniie, and external affairs director Sarah Sinovic.
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In City Hall at 1:30 p.m. for a Covid-19 update.
At the Thompson Center for the 2:30 p.m. Covid-19 update. Watch the update live
On Facebook at noon to announce an initiative to prevent opioid overdose deaths and help people with opioid use disorder find community-based treatment and support. Watch the announcement live
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 145 additional deaths and 7,910 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 13,487 fatalities and 804,174 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Dec. 1 through 6 is 9.9 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 13.3 percent.
— State aims to alleviate skepticism of the Covid-19 vaccine in Black communities: “Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration is bracing for widespread reluctance in communities of color toward getting vaccinated for Covid-19 as the state awaits its first shipment of vaccine as early as this weekend. Both the governor and his public health director, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, told reporters Tuesday that they are worried Black Illinoisans, especially, may be resistant toward the public-health benefits of getting vaccinated for the virus as soon as possible,” by WBEZ’s Dave McKinney and Tony Arnold.
… President of Morehouse School of Medicine has life-and-death message for Black people about the coronavirus vaccine: “I would not recommend this vaccine if I did not believe that it was safe,” says Valerie Montgomery Rice in The Undefeated.
— Vaccine close, but Pritzker warns coronavirus precautions are still key: ‘All I can say is that the virus is deadly’: “The state’s average testing positivity rate fell below 10 percent for the first time in a month, but with a post-Thanksgiving spike still looming, officials are pleading with residents not to get complacent,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.
— Biden pledges to vaccinate tens of millions, reopen schools in first 100 days: “The new pledges came as Biden introduced his picks to lead key health agencies and coordinate the federal response to a pandemic that’s infected almost 15 million people in the U.S.,” by POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein.
— If Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine gets FDA approval, here’s what it will mean for Chicago and the rest of Illinois: “With possible approval of the Pfizer vaccine coming within days, officials in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois are preparing to receive the first doses, maybe as early as next week,” by Tribune’s Madeline Buckley.
— GOP Leader Jim Durkin calls on governor to release plans for spending cuts: The request follows Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan’s comments that he is ready to vote for an increase to the state’s flat income tax rate should Gov. J.B. Pritzker request it. Durkin wants to focus on cuts first as lawmakers try to wrangle the state’s $3.9 billion budget shortfall, reports Capitol News’ Sarah Mansur.
— Inspector General’s effort to block access to state hiring reports show IL not ready to lift feds oversight, according to court filing: “Attorneys Michael Shakman and Paul Lurie waded into a fight between the Illinois Office of the Executive Inspector General and a court-appointed hiring monitor over whether the OEIG must turn over documents from the state’s Hiring and Employment Monitor office concerning potential state hiring irregularities,” by Cook County Record’s Jonathan Bilyk.
THE FIFTY: This week’s feature examines how school districts have been slow to follow New York City’s lead in reopening schools. "Officials in other districts continue battles with unions over the science and politics of reopening or remain wedded to their own approaches — and teaching remains largely online," reports POLITICO’s Nicole Gaudiano and Madina Toure.
Hillary Clinton and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot drew a high-profile crowd at a virtual fundraiser Tuesday for the mayor’s LightPAC. Among the attendees: Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Lauren Underwood, City Clerk Anna Valencia, attorney Kevin O’Keefe, Conlon Public Strategies’ Executive VP Barbara Lumpkin, Advocate Aurora Health’s Jane Funk, Illinois Women for Hillary co-founder Kimberly Walz, 43rd Ward Committeeperson Lucy Moog, Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug, former Chicago Public Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey, cultural activist Lisa Lee, attorney Mary Smith, Lincoln Road Enterprises founder Ann Drake, Dayton Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley, attorney Elizabeth Yntema.
Topics of discussion: The challenges of leading and governing in a pandemic; the stress felt by frontline workers and parents home-schooling children; and unequal access to the internet. Funny moment: When Lightfoot talked about her wife Amy’s quarantine hobby of perfecting cocktails for friends and family. Most notable drink is a rum sensation called “The Hush and Wonder.”
— Deadline looms for CPD Supt. David Brown in Red Line police shooting case: “The city’s top cop has until Dec. 29 to decide if the officers involved in the shooting of an unarmed man on a busy Red Line platform earlier this year should face administrative charges that could lead to their firing,” by Sun-Times’ Sam Charles.
— Hospital bed breakdown: “Big hospitals in Chicago with highly trained specialists have treated the most patients during the Covid-19 pandemic, newly released federal data shows. But the data also shows that when small hospitals that mainly treat low-income people of color were full, these larger hospitals at times had plenty of beds to spare,” by WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch and Mariah Woelfel.
— Anti-gentrification measure extended for 6 months as officials craft new plan: “Rules designed to force developers of large projects in neighborhoods with red-hot real estate markets to build more apartments for low- and moderate-income residents will stay in place for an additional six months under a plan advanced Tuesday by aldermen. The extension until the end of June will give officials time to finish a proposal to revise the city’s affordable housing ordinance,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Tunney’s Ann Sather restaurant facing up to $10,500 in possible fines for indoor dining violations: “The city also cited an unlicensed event at 1257 N. Milwaukee Ave in Wicker Park. Officials responded to a call early on Dec. 5 and found ‘a bouncer outside of an event billed as the "Wicker Loft,”’ Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said in a statement,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt and John Byrne.
— CPS has no plans to reduce screen time for remote learners, despite complaints: “CPS CEO Janice Jackson said any families who are concerned about the long hours students are spending online should opt into the district’s forthcoming return to partial in-person learning,” by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa and Fran Spielman.
— Chicago charter school says in-person learning is boosting grades and attendance: “As Chicago Public Schools prepares to resume in-person classes early next year, one charter school says that model is working for its students,” by WBEZ’s Adriana Cardona-Maguigad.
— Gap closing Michigan Avenue store: “Ending its decades-long presence in the shopping district, the retailer leaves another big hole on the Magnificent Mile,” report Crain’s Ally Marotti and Alby Gallun.
— Is Chicago-born union protest ‘Scabby the Rat’ about to be exterminated? WGN/9’s Mike Lowe reports.
— A case of disappearing hoops in gentrifying neighborhoods: “In the last decade the Chicago Park District has removed 12 of 16 basketball courts from neighborhoods that have doubled and tripled in value, further marginalizing communities facing displacement,” by Alison Saldanha in the Reader.
— After prosecutors drop charges and CPD clears him of wrongdoing, Chicago detective sues Wisconsin cops for wrongful arrest: “A veteran Chicago police sergeant is suing two Wisconsin officers and several prosecutors for false arrest and malicious prosecution after the district attorney’s office dropped sexual assault charges against him, according to a federal lawsuit aimed at restoring the officer’s reputation and recouping the savings he exhausted fighting the case,” by Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair.
— Appellate Court upholds Deerfield’s ban on assault weapons, partially overturning a lower court ruling: “With the reversal, which was rendered Friday, the order goes into effect in the village immediately, as the permanent injunction meant to prevent the village from enforcing the ordinance has been removed, officials said,” by Pioneer Press’ James T. Norman.
— Chicago rapper G Herbo due in court to face federal fraud charges: “Herbert Wright III, 25, whose blunt lyrics of life on the South Side skyrocketed him to a recent appearance on the ‘Tonight Show,’ was charged in an indictment unsealed last week with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft… He is set to appear Wednesday in federal court in Massachusetts on charges alleging he and five members of his crew used stolen identities to make fraudulent charges for extravagant services ranging from private jet trips to ‘designer puppies,’” by Tribune’s Jason Meisner.
Chief Illiniwek was officially retired 13 years ago. U. of I. is still trying to remedy ‘painful impact’ on Indigenous people: “In its latest step to confront the controversial legacy of Chief Illiniwek, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s long-retired mascot, the school has announced new efforts to make amends, saying it will grow its American Indian Studies program and repatriate sacred artifacts to Indigenous people, among other reforms,” by Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney and John Keilman.
Illinois lawmakers to demand billions back from health insurers due to Covid-19: “Illinois paid more than $16 billion to managed care organizations in fiscal year 2020 to administer the state’s Medicaid program. Roughly half of state Medicaid payments are reimbursed by federal tax dollars. State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) and state Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Streamwood) say they plan to file a bill [today] in the General Assembly that would, in effect, give the state the ability to wrest back 20 percent of that money should the governor issue a disaster declaration, as he did on March 9, because of Covid-19,” by WTTW Paris Schutz.
Duckworth seeks update on contractor taken in Afghanistan: “A Democratic senator is calling on the State Department to prioritize the return of Mark Frerichs, an American contractor believed to have been taken by a Taliban-linked militant network in Afghanistan earlier this year. The letter from Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois comes weeks after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held what are likely his last meetings with the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators trying to hammer out a peace deal. It is unclear to what extent Frerichs, who is one of Duckworth’s constituents, was discussed during those meetings,” via the AP.
— Supreme Court rejects bid to overturn Biden’s win in Pennsylvania, by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein, Zach Montellaro and Kyle Cheney
— Republicans plot their first and last Trump rebellion over defense bill, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett and Andrew Desiderio
— GOP leaders block measure affirming Biden as president-elect, by POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle and Melanie Zanona
— Will Andrew Yang run for mayor of New York City? He’s been talking to Bradley Tusk, the political strategist who ran Mike Bloomberg’s 2009 mayoral race and was deputy governor of Illinois during the Blagojevich administration, according to POLITICO’s Sally Goldenberg.
Ricardo Alanis, founder of first pilgrimage from Chicago to Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine in Des Plaines, dies of Covi-19: “Although the traditional overnight celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe from Dec. 11-12 at the shrine and all pilgrimages have been canceled, some of Ricardo Alanis’ family will make their way to the shrine on foot starting Friday, getting as close as they can after taking the same route he followed for nearly 20 years,” by Tribune’s Laura Rodriguez Presa.
— Today at 7 p.m.: CMP, also known as Chicago Media Project, screens HBO’s “Between the World and Me,” a film adapted from the stage and based on the book of the same name by Ta-Nehisi Coates. A panel discussion follows with the filmmakers. The event is being held in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services’ initiative Healing Illinois and the Chicago Community Trust. Participation is free but registration is required.
— Thursday: “Building Wealth Today for Tomorrow,” a free, day-long virtual seminar, will introduce individuals, students, and small business owners to financial strategies and where to find related resources. Sponsored by Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin and John Hope Bryant, founder of Operation HOPE financial counseling enterprise. Registration is required
Cyrus Winnett has been named interim president & CEO of the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, the trade group representing the state’s community health centers. The board picked Winnett after current CEO Jordan Powell announced he’s leaving to work for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association.
TUESDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Ald. Jason Ervin for correctly answering that Mayor Michael Bilandic hosted President Jimmy Carter in his home in November 1978 for an overnight stay. But a few of you surprised me by pointing out that Carter also stayed at the home of James and Mary Eleanor Wall in Elmhurst in May of that year. H/t to Josh Downs, southern Illinois Outreach Coordinator for the Comptroller’s Office, for finding a link to Carter’s speech that night (there’s a reference to the Walls at the end of the file).
TODAY’S QUESTION: What is the fake news story about the late Mayor Anton Cermak? Email your answer to [email protected].
Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th), Brunswick Group CEO Neal Wolin, and McHugh & Howlett Public Affairs’ Ed Howlett.
December 9, 2020 at 07:37AM