TGIF, Illinois. If a presidential nominee can use the “p” word and then the "s" in White House, it seems just fine for a presidential aide to use the “f” word. When did politics become PG? Because I’m not sure anyone told Rahm.
The high-stakes game for House speaker saw a few more moves this week.
Outgoing Rep. Grant Wehrli, who sits on the GOP leadership team, suggested Wednesday that Republicans strike a deal with Democrats who don’t want Madigan to remain as speaker and unite behind another Democrat.
With 45 Republicans and the 19 Democrats who oppose Madigan, that makes 61 votes — one more than is needed to be elected House speaker.
“Bipartisanship for the collective good of Illinois,” tweeted Wehrli, who lost his bid for re-election last month. He has nothing to lose by jumping on the soapbox.
But Republican Rep. Andrew Chesney quashed the idea. “I will never, under any circumstances, vote to support a Democrat for Illinois House Speaker,” he tweeted.
Later, Chesney told Playbook: “This is why Republicans continue to lose ground, because of people like Grant Wehrli who want to cut deals with elected officials who don’t believe our platform, don’t have our values and don’t represent our districts.”
Republican Rep. Tony McCombie suggested if the 19 Dems “are really about reform” they should back Durkin for speaker. “Bipartisanship for the collective good!!!” she tweeted.
It’s all a distraction. The real power move happened earlier this week on the Democratic side of the House. Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch won the majority of votes among Black caucus members to join the House leadership team.
That puts him in a powerful position if things really go south for Madigan. Welch, like 21 of 22 members of the Black Caucus, remains loyal to Madigan and wouldn’t likely run for speaker unless he is out of the race. But if Madigan does make an exit, the calculation changes.
For now, all eyes remain on Madigan and his ninja-like powers to outmaneuver opponents. Madigan doesn’t have 60 votes but he knows no one else does either. There’s widespread speculation that he will broker a deal with some of his 19 Democrats critics, agreeing to step down in two years. He could then direct the remap and exit on his own terms (depending on how much the ComEd scandal continues to spiral). Such a scenario would allow the reformers to say they helped bring down his reign.
Then there will be a new battle for the speakership, with Welch, House Majority Leader Greg Harris, and Reps. Stephanie Kifowit, Jay Hoffman, Jehan Gordon-Booth and Kelly Cassidy lining up for a shot at the gavel.
Our TRANSITION PLAYBOOK reports Joe Biden personally called former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to deliver the bad news that he was being passed over for transportation secretary.
“Rahm has former colleagues and friends who are involved and respect him, but no one is worth that sort of headache,” a senior Democrat who is advising the transition told our colleagues. “Labor didn’t want him at Transportation, civil rights groups didn’t want him, progressives didn’t want him. There simply is no constituency for Rahm Emanuel at this point.”
The left wing of the party made “hate-tweeting” Rahm their favorite pastime. But it was Emanuel’s handling of the 2014 year police shooting of Laquan McDonald — and city efforts to keep video of the incident away from the public — that drew the most serious opposition, with some civil rights groups voicing many of the most stinging objections. NAACP chief Derrick Johnson said Emanuel was "not a principled leader or person."
Emanuel, who had worked his Rolodex to get the appointment, did have his supporters. The president of Chicago’s Unite Here Local 1 union representing hospitality workers told the Tribune she thought Emanuel would be a great Transportation secretary. And when Biden picked Pete Buttigieg, swing vote Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) seemed devastated by what could have been. “Rahm Emanuel would have been a strong choice,” she said.
Now there’s talk Emanuel could be up for an ambassadorship.
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At the Thompson Center for the 1:15 p.m. Covid-19 update. Watch the update live
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The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday reported 181 deaths and 8,828 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 14,835 fatalities and 879,428 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Dec. 10 through 16 is 8.4 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 11.8 percent.
— As Feds dispute Covid-19 vaccine supply reductions, Pritzker stands firm on lower estimates: “On Wednesday, Pritzker and several other states around the country said that they are now expecting to receive far fewer doses of the Pfizer vaccine over the next few weeks — potentially as few as half as what the federal government had promised,” reports WBEZ’s Tony Arnold.
… Walgreens, CVS predict vaccines will be available to general public by appointment at pharmacies by spring, reports Tribune’s Abdel Jimenez.
— Few guardrails to keep people from cutting in line for Covid shots: “There’s little chance for anyone to jump the line right now while an extremely limited supply of the vaccine is being distributed only in hospitals and nursing homes. But as soon as more doses become available to wider categories of people, much of the immunization program will rely on the honor system, and states will leave it to pharmacies, community health centers and individual employers to verify if someone requesting a shot falls into a priority category,” by POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein and Rachel Roubein.
— Congress to receive first batch of Covid-19 vaccines, but uncertainty lingers: The effort is “designed to maintain a continuity of government while also instilling public confidence in the shot. The limited batch of doses, which is expected to soon arrive in the House and Senate and was first reported by POLITICO, marks a major development for lawmakers and frontline workers in a Capitol complex that has battled dozens of cases this year,” by POLITICO’s Melanie Zanona, Marianne LeVine and Sarah Ferris.
— Families in the dark when incarcerated loved ones are hospitalized: "Covid-19 has created incredible barriers for people navigating the final moments of a loved one’s life,” by Injustice Watch’s Emma Lubitsch.
— December now Sangamon County’s deadliest month of Covid-19 pandemic: “The county’s Covid-19 death count this month is 43, surpassing the 37 who died in November and the 20 in October.” And there are still two weeks to go, reports State Journal-Register’s Brenden Moore.
— LIGHTFOOT’S STAFF FLAGGED BOTCHED RAID TO HER A YEAR AGO: “A contrite Mayor Lori Lightfoot acknowledged she was made aware more than a year ago of the botched raid on Anjanette Young’s home. Two days earlier Lightfoot’s office issued a statement saying the mayor only learned this week of the now-infamous police operation in which the social worker was handcuffed while naked as officers searched her Near West Side home. ‘We will do better, and we will win back the trust that we have lost this week,’ Lightfoot said,” by Sun-Times’ Sam Charles and Fran Spielman. "Lightfoot said she had ‘come to learn that, in November 2019, the case was lifted up to me as another example’ of bad searches by CPD officers. But she doesn’t have any recollection of it. And the first time she saw the video was Tuesday morning. The mayor vowed to release those emails in full."
… Mayor says city won’t block residents’ access to their own police records: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday said her administration will no longer withhold video from residents seeking police records about their cases and acknowledged that the city’s handling of a wrongful raid on social worker Anjanette Young’s home harmed her relationship with Chicagoans,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt and Jeremy Gorner.
— Police union president faces possible firing over inflammatory posts on social media: “John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, is facing possible dismissal from the Chicago police Department for offensive posts on social media, it was disclosed Thursday night at the monthly meeting of the city’s police disciplinary panel,” by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner.
— Murders up, but Chicago police have cleared the most killings with arrests since 2005: “Officials say evidence from surveillance cameras and other technology has played a big role in those arrests. Still, the clearance rate in 2020 is lower than last year’s,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.
— Illinois labor court denies union’s latest effort to block Chicago school reopening: “The 2-1 ruling is a setback to the union’s efforts to challenge reopening plans on the grounds that Chicago Public Schools has not bargained with them in good faith. It is unlikely to be their last effort,” reports Chalkbeat Chicago’s Yana Kunichoff.
— Feds wrap up review of Obama center; groundbreaking set for 2021: “Officials finalized a memorandum of agreement that caps off the presidential center’s three-year Section 106 federal review, the longest out of several triggered by the Obama Foundation’s decision to locate the future complex on historic property. Other reviews into mitigating environmental impacts as well as protecting public parkland remain ongoing, although the foundation announced earlier this month that groundbreaking for the center is slated to begin in 2021,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— FDIC settles for $2.5M with accountants for Bridgeport bank closed for fraud after CEO’s death: “Bansley & Kiener agreed to the payout, which didn’t involve any admission of wrongdoing. Washington Federal Bank for Savings’ failure remains under investigation,” by Sun-Times’ Tim Novak and Robert Herguth.
— How a Chicago political hangout went from bustling to boarded-up — even after the city promised help: “Wallace’s Catfish Corner, a fish and soul food restaurant on Chicago’s West Side, was a neighborhood staple. Now the building is boarded-up and unused. Its messy history shows the challenges of rebuilding an area devastated by disinvestment,” writes ProPublica Illinois’ Mick Dumke.
— False Conviction: How fingerprint and firearm experts use misleading math to appear infallible, by former Illinois Supreme Court candidate Daniel Epstein and his brother, author David Epstein. Their report exposes vulnerability in forensic firearm and fingerprint comparison that they say makes the techniques appear more reliable than they are. It’s an issue Epstei focused on during his campaign.
— 2020 in photos: An unprecedented year, by Sun-Times’ Ashlee Rezin Garcia.
— Illinois and dozens of other states sue Google, allege search giant is illegal monopoly: “The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and accuses Google of engaging in anticompetitive practices that led to customers having less choice, less online privacy and less protection for their private information. Alongside Illinois, 34 other states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico are named as plaintiffs in the filing,” by Capitol News’ Raymon Troncoso.
— Sports betting handle surges to $434.6M for October: “Aided by having all five of its mobile sports betting operators available online for the entire month for the first time since operators went live in March, the Illinois Gaming Board on Thursday announced a record handle of nearly $434.6 million in October. The figure was 42.4 percent higher than the $305.2 million reported in September, when both PointsBet and William Hill launched operations mid-month. It was the biggest month-over-month percentage increase of any jurisdiction with legalized sports wagering that generated a minimum handle of $10 million,” by SportsHandle’s Chris Altruda.
— Lawmakers hold hearing after 33 deaths at LaSalle veterans home: "We have to drill down and just answer the question of what happened," said state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, the chairperson of the Illinois House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which conducted a part virtual, part in-person meeting on Wednesday. By ABC/7’s Stacey Baca. WITH VIDEO
— WGN EXCLUSIVE: Dorothy Brown to new clerk: ‘Stop whining and start managing’: Transition is off to a “rocky start” for Iris Martinez, who made history when she was elected as the first Latina Cook County Circuit Court clerk. Now, the former state senator is pledging a new beginning for an office that was a source of controversy under longtime clerk Dorothy Brown. Martinez says her team has identified numerous issues, including cluttered Daley Center hallways and how some employees are paid, report WGN’s Lourdes Duarte and Andrew Schroedter.
— County Board passes Juneteenth ordinance: It grants county employees 14 paid holidays, including June 19, which commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton reports.
— Chicago area transit agencies face ‘drastic’ service cuts as pandemic ridership plummets: “The CTA, the nation’s second-largest public transit operator, reported an 80 percent drop in ridership during the early months of the pandemic. For METRA, which runs commuter trains between the city and the suburbs, the drop was 90 percent,” report WBEZ’s Claudia Morell and Michael Puente.
— Transit plan for South Side and suburbs moves ahead: “Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s pilot program to galvanize public transportation on the South Side and south suburbs will chug ahead without participation just yet from the Chicago Transit Authority after more than a year of failed attempts to get the agency’s participation. Cook County commissioners voted during a Thursday board meeting to approve a pair of intergovernmental agreements that would officially kick-start the South Cook Fair Transit pilot,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
15-year-old charged in fatal attempted carjacking of retired firefighter: “The family of Dwain Williams said they wondered whether a suspect so young fully realized the consequences of what he did. ‘We are, of course, saddened that this was a child,’ said Williams’ daughter, Dakeeda Williams-Barton. ‘I’m very disheartened that this was essentially a baby that has — I don’t even know if they understand the repercussion their actions have caused,’” by Tribune’s Paige Fry, Annie Sweeney and Jeremy Gorner.
— Sangamon Co. judge dismisses restraining order sought by cannabis license winners: “Pritzker announced that rejected marijuana dispensary applicants would have another chance to amend their submissions before the licenses were awarded. Some firms originally selected as finalists criticized the governor for the decision, accusing him of caving to political pressure. Three firms sued the administration in an attempt to stop the re-evaluation, first appealing to the state Supreme Court, then to a lower court once that request was denied. That lawsuit was dealt a blow Thursday after Sangamon County Judge Adam Giganti denied a temporary restraining order that would have prevented the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation from grading amended applications and adding new finalists to the 75-license lottery,” by Capitol News’ Raymon Troncoso.
— Giant hemp grower to buy marijuana cultivation license in Illinois: “Red White and Bloom Brands Inc. announced Thursday it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the outstanding shares of Cannabis Capital Partners Inc., and with it rights to purchase a cannabis cultivation center in downstate Shelbyville, the company stated in a news release,” reports Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.
— UNDERWOOD TO APPROPRIATIONS: Rep. Lauren Underwood has been named to the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which decides the fate of taxpayer dollars across the federal government. Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Underwood’s appointment Thursday along with five other new members of the panel. “Each of them has a proven track record of never shying away from a fight on behalf of hard-working families,” Appropriations Chair-designate Rosa DeLauro said in a statement. Underwood will start her second term in January after defeating Republican Jim Oberweis last month in a close election. Oberweis has launched a discovery recount after results showed him losing by 5,374 votes.
— Combat veteran Tammy Duckworth pushes Pentagon to buy body armor for women in the military: "If your body armor doesn’t fit snugly against your body, then there’s gaps around where the collarbone is that shrapnel or even snipers can target," Duckworth told USA Today.
— LaHood recognizes Biden: “With the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last week striking down the Attorney General of Texas’ case, we now have some resolution that brings finality to the election results and pending disputes. Moreover, on Monday, the Electoral College convened, as constitutionally mandated, and cast their votes showing Joe Biden as the winner,” writes LaHood in the Peoria Journal-Star.
— Democrats ask of Biden’s health team: Who’s in charge? By POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn
— MAGA leaders call for the troops to keep Trump in office, by POLITICO’s Tina Nguyen
— Biden breaks the Obama mold on teachers union strife, by POLITICO’s Nicole Gaudiano
— Mail-in ballots were part of a plot to deny Lincoln reelection in 1864, via the Washington Post
— Today at 4 p.m.: Gov. J.B. Pritzker joins IDHS Secretary Grace Hou, Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris, and Rep. Carol Ammons for the "Human Rights to Human Justice" Summit to showcase the work of more than 60 organizations combating the consequences of mass incarceration and deportations. The virtual event is free and open to the public, and will be streamed on the Illinois Access to Justice’s Facebook page. The event is being organized by the Access to Justice Program, the Resurrection Project and Westside Justice Center.
THURSDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Wayne Williams for correctly answering that union activist Edward Sadlowski was known as Oil Can Eddie and is the late father of 10th Ward Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza.
TODAY’S QUESTION: Who was the last person to be publicly hanged in Illinois and what role did this person play in recent events? Email your answer to [email protected].
Today: New Trier Township trustee Gail Schnitzer Eisenberg.
Saturday: state Sen. Ram Villivalam (8th), state Rep. Anna Moeller (43rd), Cook County Circuit Judge Beatriz Santiago, lobbyist John Borovicka, and Hotels magazine managing editor Barbara Bohn.
Sunday: state Appellate Judge Bertina Lampkin, and Cook County Circuit Judge Andrea Webber.
December 18, 2020 at 07:35AM