Good Wednesday morning, Illinois, and a programming note: With today’s newsletter, we’re signing off for 2020 and all its epic story lines — from pandemic to civil unrest to political strife. Thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be back in your inbox Jan. 4.
It’s been a tumultuous year to say the least, but for today, we’re going to look back on 2020 with a smile as we hand out gifts to some public officials and personalities who stood out, often for their foibles.
For President Donald Trump: a copy of “A Promised Land,” Barack Obama’s hefty page turner, to reflect on how launching a reelection campaign on Inauguration Day doesn’t necessarily make it easier to win a second term.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker: a Flowbee, freeing up the governor’s son to cut someone else’s hair.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot: driving lessons for her security team, so they can avoid piling up red-light camera violations.
House Speaker Michael Madigan: if he wins the speakership next month, he’ll need an Etch A Sketch to redraw the creative legislative and congressional district lines made 10 years ago. If he loses, he’ll want a map of the Stratton Building (across from the Capitol), where junior House lawmakers are sent when they are banished from the speaker’s office.
Sen. Dick Durbin: juggling lessons as he takes on the role of chairman of the judiciary while continuing to serve as Democratic whip.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth: a framed memento with the words “cadet bone spurs,” a phrase she may not use again (or at least not until the 2024 election cycle).
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin: a book of lottery tickets, since his caucus had decent luck picking up two seats this election cycle.
Rep. Bobby Rush: a set of magnetic coffee cups, so the next time cops camp out in his office they can’t get too comfortable.
State Sen. Jim Oberweis: sour-grapes flavored ice cream after going to D.C. for freshman orientation despite losing his race for Congress.
Rep. Lauren Underwood: new stationery for all the letters she’ll be writing to constituents about money she’s bringing home through the House Appropriations Committee.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle: exercise weights since she was unable to muscle a judge out of his seat.
Kanye West: an abacus to count the votes he got for president.
Illinois Democrats: a Moderate-Progressive/Progressive-Moderate translation dictionary so they can learn how to talk to each other.
Senate President Don Harmon: a new guitar to keep the fundraising tip jar full — and his caucus happy.
Rep. Chris Welch: a professional subscription for Zoom so he doesn’t have to cut short investigative hearings.
Secretary of State Jesse White: a new headset to handle all those calls he’s fielding from people who want his job now that he’s retiring.
Former Chicago Corporate Counsel Mark Flessner: a stronger role of tape, because he said he left his job because of “the tape thing.”
Former politico Edward “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak: a new Twitter handle as he makes his case for a pardon for his tax evasion conviction (Trump seems to be generous with those these days).
First responders, nurses and doctors: all the good night’s rest they can stand and images on the evening news of people wearing masks in public.
BOTCHED RAID FALLOUT: Mayor Lori Lightfoot tapped former federal Judge Ann Claire Williams on Tuesday to lead an outside investigation into how the raid on Anjanette Young’s home was handled.
Aldermen, meanwhile, questioned Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, Civilian Office of Police Accountability Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts and others about how they carry out search warrants and follow up on cases.
What they found out: COPA didn’t become aware of Young’s experience with police in her home until a reporter called.
“Our staff reviewed our database [and] found out we didn’t have an open case,” Roberts said. “We found out kind of in a nontraditional manner.” The glaring understatement drew criticism.
Ald. Jeanette Taylor, 20th Ward, called the investigative agency “professional time-wasters.”
And Brown, who’s been on the job for less than a year, passed the buck to his predecessor when asked why cops involved in raiding the wrong house weren’t immediately suspended. “You will have to ask Eddie Johnson,” he said.
Separate from all that, a federal judge said Tuesday he is considering sanctions against Young’s attorney for releasing the police bodycam video of the raid to the media — ”even though City Hall took back its request that he be punished for violating a confidentiality order,” reports Sun Times’ Jon Seidel.
WBEZ’s Claudia Morell has a good account of the meeting with aldermen.
WTTW’s Heather Cherone details CPD policy changes that Superintendent Brown discussed at the meeting.
The Tribune has more on the judge who will investigate the case, by Gregory Pratt, John Byrne and Jason Meisner.
And an opinion: Police reform in Chicago is on life support: “The Chicago Police Department is a siloed fortress run by change-resistant bureaucrats who are the products of the very system and culture that must change,” writes communications and political consultant Peter Cunningham.
Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]
No official public events.
Online for a noon virtual briefing on Covid-19.
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 119 additional deaths and 6,239 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 15,414 fatalities and 911,308 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Dec. 15 through 21 is 7.4 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 10.2 percent.
— Trump takes aim at Covid stimulus bill, raising specter of veto: “President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted the $900 billion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress, calling it a “disgrace” and asking for amendments to the bill to increase stimulus payments to Americans,” by POLITICO’s Kelly Hooper.
— Surgeon general: Illinois numbers ‘moving in the right direction’: “The top public health official in the United States said Tuesday that the COVID-19 trends in Illinois are improving and he urged the public to get vaccinated as soon as the doses become available to them. ‘The numbers here in Illinois are moving in the right direction and we have a finish line in sight with these two vaccines,’ U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said during a news conference in Chicago,” by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock.
— As pandemic rages on, Illinois delays fines for understaffed nursing homes: “A 2010 law established minimum hours of direct daily care for residents who need skilled nursing. Lawmakers did not enact the fines until 18 months ago. That measure says ‘monetary penalties shall be imposed beginning no later than Jan. 1, 2021.’ The Illinois Department of Public Health has nearly finalized the rules for the enforcement but state Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, says IDPH won’t actually start issuing fines until mid-year,” by WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell.
— Holiday cheer: “Pfizer nears deal with Trump administration to provide more vaccine doses,” by NYT’s Sharon LaFraniere and Katie Thomas: “The Trump administration and Pfizer are close to a deal under which the pharmaceutical company would bolster supply of its coronavirus vaccine for the United States by at least tens of millions of doses next year in exchange for a government directive giving it better access to manufacturing supplies, people familiar with the discussions said.
— 2 Chicago nurses who treated Covid-19 patients have been journaling their experiences: “A dying man grabbing a nurse’s wrist, asking if God could save him. A patient celebrating a birthday, delighted to find out her nurse also had a birthday that week. A man with his mask on his chin at a Walgreens. These moments are etched into the memories of two Chicago nurses who treated COVID-19 patients this year. And it has been a year like no other,” by Tribune’s Alison Bowen.
— C’MON, PEOPLE: 2 more Chicago parties busted on Near North Side for Covid-19 violations, reports ABC/7.
— WH virus coordinator Deborah Birx says she will retire: “Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, said Tuesday she plans to retire, but is willing to first help President-elect Joe Biden’s team with its coronavirus response as needed….Her comments came just days after The Associated Press reported that she traveled out of state for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend even as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was urging Americans to forgo holiday travel,” by AP’s aamer Madhani and Brian Slodysko.
— DURBIN says Congress’ well is dry for Illinois: “Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Tuesday touted the benefits a combined pandemic and omnibus spending bill will have for Illinois while also warning Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state lawmakers not to count on federal funds to help balance a budget filled with deficits fueled in part by a loss of tax revenues caused by Covid-19 restrictions… Even with a new administration under former Vice President Joe Biden and the potential of a Democratic-led Senate, pending runoff elections in Georgia, Durbin said the fight for state and local pandemic relief would still run up against Republicans who claim it amounts to a bailout for mismanaged states,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.
— Illinois population drops for 7th straight year: “According to new estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau — the last that will be issued before the actual Census hard-count early in 2021 — the state’s population dropped by an 79,487 in the latest year. That’s a dip of .63 percent and leaves the state with an estimated population of 12,587,530… In political terms, the state has lost roughly a third of the size of an average congressional district over the past decade. The decline raises the odds that after results from the 2020 census are released, the state could lose not the expected one but two congressional districts,” writes Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— ‘Something happened’ at LaSalle Veterans’ Home to cause 34 Covid deaths, prompting lawsuit: “Chicago attorney Mike Bonamarte says it might have been a Halloween party that was apparently attended by staff. But whatever happened to get the virus inside the facility so suddenly according to Bonamarte, it was the ‘inexcusable’ and sloppy safety procedures found by state investigators that helped spread it… He says the suit will be filed at Illinois’ Court of Claims because it’s a proceeding against a state agency,” ABC/7 Chuck Goudie Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner.
— The new year could get even bumpier for these three pols: “The year 2020 was not pleasant. For the mayor, governor and speaker, we’ll see how unpleasant 2021 will be,” writes Crain’s Greg Hinz.
… AFSCME pushing back on Pritzker’s budget cuts, saying furloughs would be useless, by State Journal-Register’s Dean Olsen.
— What stories we’ll be watching on the state education beat in 2021: “Among the challenges of the new year, Illinois will have to figure out how to increase education budgets in order to adequately fund schools, get more teachers of color into the classroom, and provide services for students with special needs,” reports Chalkbeat’s Samantha Smylie.
— Bankruptcy judge approves sale of Ebony, Jet: “Former NBA star Ulysses ‘Junior’ Bridgeman gets the historic titles with a $14 million bid,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder
RICKEY “HOLLYWOOD” HENDON is out with a music video inspired by the federal stimulus money that will see most Americans get $600 as they struggle to make ends meet amid coronavirus.
“It was clear people really needed that help,” the former state senator told Playbook. “Restaurants closed. Businesses closed. I even had to shut down my CBD shop.”
Hendon lamented about life during the pandemic with his friend, Chicago house music producer Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, who encouraged the former aldermen to put his energies to music.
Writing lyrics was a healthy escape for Hendon, who’s suffered one setback after another this year. He contracted Covid-19, had to close his business as employees kept getting sick, and he lost a child — a daughter living in Michigan died in a car accident.
The lyrics for “Rona Money” came easy. “People on the West Side don’t talk about ‘stimulus checks.’ It’s ‘rona money,” said Hendon. The video, he says, is meant to show how $600 doesn’t really go far to help families or boost the economy.
The music video starts with Hendon calling his congressman, saying, “I need my check.”
Hendon’s other daughter, a film school graduate, also stars in the video.
The former lawmaker got the nickname “Hollywood” because of his interest years ago in screenwriting but also because he supported legislation in Springfield to give tax breaks for movie companies.
And Hendon gained attention for butting heads with then state Sen. Barack Obama. The two once got in a shoving match before others interceded and stopped it. Hendon went on to back Obama for president.
Now he hopes his video brings some smiles and humor as the country continues to live under the cloud of Rona.
— EPA overhaul of lead pipe regulations allows toxic plumbing to stay in the ground: “Chicago has more lead water pipes than any other American city, yet federal regulations unveiled Tuesday by the Trump administration likely won’t require anything new to prevent homeowners and renters from ingesting the brain-damaging metal. Physicians and scientists say that unless water drawn from household faucets is properly filtered, the only way to keep the lead out in older cities like Chicago is by replacing pipes connecting homes and small apartment buildings to municipal water supplies,” by Tribune’s Michael Hawthorne.
— Silver Shovel to silver sluggers? Cubs eye scandal-tied site for youth complex: “The team plans to submit a proposal this week for property at Roosevelt Road and Kostner Avenue, formerly the site of an illegal dump,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.
— CPS expects $720M windfall if Trump signs COVID-19 relief bill: “The amount is more than double what district officials had anticipated and would help pay for technology for remote learning, air purifiers and cleaning supplies for soon-to-be-open classrooms and new staff,” by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa.
— Activists, health care workers demand Pritzker, Lightfoot keep pressure on Mercy Hospital to stay open: “Though a state board rejected Mercy’s application to close, hospital officials are working to shut down by May 31. Activists want a moratorium on hospital closings and pressure from the city and state to ensure Mercy remains open,” by Block Club’s Maxwell Evans.
— Chicago cluster educators — the first to return when schools reopen — want more details: “District guidance so far appears to focus on extra protective equipment for teachers and suggestions on how to re-engage students in person and teach them social distancing rules. But educators say the plan lacks critical details about behavior, particularly on how to handle students who may not want to stay in their seats or wear masks,” reports Chalkbeat’s Yana Kunichoff and Samantha Smylie.
— Student photographs capture the pandemic’s impact on an immigrant community: “In cell-phone images and words, high schoolers at Benito Juarez Community Academy reflect on their fears, losses and hope,” by WBEZ’s Linda Lutton.
— Gift idea: OneGoal, the Chicago-based nonprofit that mentors low-income students in high school and college, has been selected as a winner of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s 2020 Holiday Impact Prize, supported by Focusing Philanthropy.
PRECKWINKLE ‘deeply disappointed’ by union workers’ one-day strike over pay, other demands: “About 1,600 Cook County employees staged a one-day strike on Tuesday morning calling for additional pay and work accommodations amid a contract negotiation that has grown increasingly bitter over the last several months. Cook County health technicians and maintenance workers as well as Cook County clerk’s and sheriff’s office employees began striking at 6 a.m. to demand a $5-per-hour raise for those working with Covid-19 patients, the right for remote work for employees who are able and additional “pandemic pay” for front-line workers,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin and Liam Ford.
THE FIFTY: This week’s feature has a smart piece about the lead pipe water crisis that battered Michigan. Conclusion: America’s post-Covid future could look a lot like what’s happened in Flint.
— Trump’s latest batch of pardons favors the well-connected, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein
… George Papadopoulos, the Chicagoan caught in Mueller Russia probe, is among those pardoned, reports Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet
— Trump orchestrates final loyalty test in dying bid to subvert election, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney, Gabby Orr and Marianne LeVine
— Biden chooses Connecticut education commissioner for top schools post, by POLITICO’s Tyler Pager, Alex Thompson and Nirvi Shah
— The fall of Michael Tubbs, by POLITICO’s David Siders
— Fed enters Biden era with clipped wings and a warning from Republicans, by POLITICO’s Victoria Guida
— ‘He meant everything’: The profound legacy of a small-town swim coach felled by Covid-19: “The Monmouth College natatorium was as empty and gray as the sky beyond its towering windows Friday afternoon, the gloom pierced by one striking burst of color — a pair of lemon-yellow Crocs placed on the Lane 4 starting block as a memorial to a man never seen on a pool deck without them. Tom Burek, a retired Illinois State Police lieutenant who coached just about every swim team that exists in this part of western Illinois, died Dec. 12 after a 42-day struggle with Covid-19. He was 62,” by Tribune’s John Keilman.
TUESDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to journalist and author Edward McClelland for correctly answering that Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and the American Giants were three professional sports teams in Illinois during the 1918 flu pandemic. Rock Island Independents also were playing ball during that year. And given that the pandemic lasted two years, we’re giving a HT to attorney Sheila Maloney and all those who answered the Staleys.
TODAY’s QUESTION: How does the musical “Mr. Blue Beard” figure into Chicago history? Email your answer to [email protected].
Today: state Rep. Randy Frese (94th), state Sen. Steven Landek (12th), and Steve Thomma, executive director of the White House Correspondents Association and the pride of Chicago…. Belated greetings to House of Representatives Chief receptionist Shonna Smith Jackson, a Chicago native, who celebrated Tuesday.
Dec. 24: Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th).
Dec. 25: state Rep. Natalie Manley (98th), state Rep. Edgar Gonzalez, Chicago Teachers Union VP Stacey Davis Gates, and former Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker.
Dec. 26: Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), former Congresswoman Lynn Morley Martin, and attorney and host of SuitUP podcast Exavier Pope.
Dec. 27: state Sen. Chapin Rose, and radio talk show host and former Congressman Joe Walsh.
Dec. 28: state Rep. Nathan Reitz, Illinois Appellate Court Judge Margaret Stanton McBride, Evanston budget coordinator Kate Lewis-Lakin, former aldermanic candidate Leslie Fox, Chicago Democratic Socialists of America co-chair Melinda Bunnage, and former Ald. Ed Vrdolyak.
Dec. 29: Ald. Ed Burke, former Senate Majority Leader James Clayborne, and William Blair’s Jim O’Connor.
Dec. 30: Rep. Michael Bost, Kane County Board member Chris Lauzen, GSV Advisors’ Deborah Quazzo, Illinois Policy Institute VP of comms Hilary Gowins, and Microsoft U.S. area change lead Marlee McConnell.
Dec. 31: Darren Reisberg, VP of programs and strategy at the Joyce Foundation.
And happiest of birthdays to all you New Year’s babies. We’ll catch you when we return Jan. 4.
via Illinois Playbook https://ift.tt/2NknKhq
December 23, 2020 at 07:34AM