Good Monday morning, Illinois. There’s a noticeable shift. The big headline out of Washington on Sunday was President Joe Biden stopping to buy bagels after church.
It’s déjà vu for Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Teachers Union. They’re back at the bargaining table with a strike looming over their negotiations.
CPS agreed over the weekend to hold off two days before requiring teachers to return to their classrooms today, after the CTU voted to defy Chicago Public Schools’ reopening plans and continue working from home because of health and safety concerns, writes Sun-Times’ Nader Issa. CPS’ move allowed for negotiations to continue over terms for resuming in-person classes. Students from kindergarten through 8th Grade are scheduled to return in person Feb. 1.
If teachers aren’t in class Wednesday, CPS will view that as an unauthorized strike, which would threaten teachers’ salaries and livelihoods. Back in 2019, teachers went on strike for two weeks before coming to a five-year contract agreement.
“They’ve made a lot of progress over the weekend but still have a few things to iron out,” said a City Hall source familiar with the latest negotiations. A source close to CTU says an agreement is still far off.
A key sticking point has been granting accommodations to teachers with underlying health conditions or teachers who live with someone who has them. CPS has granted many of those accommodations, but CTU wants more.
The union also wants CPS to provide health metrics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and once-a-week rapid testing for every worker and student.
What CPS has done: It’s incorporated temperature checks, air purifiers and air quality monitoring devices along with rules for hand sanitizing, social distancing and face coverings. Contact-tracing teams are also in place.
And, drumroll, teachers are among the next in line to get the coronavirus vaccine (in mid-February).
These are all the kinds of safety precautions that have been incorporated for other front-line workers.
CPS also points to school districts across the country, including in other parts of Illinois and in big cities like New York, that have returned to school without seeing massive outbreaks.
Once they come to an agreement, CTU leaders face another challenge: Convincing teachers worried about contracting coronavirus that returning to the class will be safe.
Toni Preckwinkle is stepping up her plans to seek a fourth term as Cook County board president when she’s up for reelection next year.
The 73-year-old Democrat from Hyde Park, who ran unsuccessfully for Chicago mayor in 2019, has been making calls looking for support.
“Her main focus is managing the pandemic and the vaccine rollout. That’s her No. 1 priority but we are starting to build the campaign for 2022,” Scott Kastrup, Preckwinkle’s political director, told Playbook.
So far, no one else is lining up to challenge Preckwinkle. It would be difficult to take on the veteran politico or any other incumbent in the coming year given the constraints of campaigning and fundraising amid the pandemic.
Even Preckwinkle is starting from ground zero with only a few thousand dollars in her campaign account at the end of the year, according to the State Board of Elections figures.
“I think every elected official should be concentrating and thinking about how we maximize the moment to deliver quality services in the current positions we hold,” said County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, who nixed the idea that he might run for board president. “I’m not prepared to think beyond my current office,” he told Playbook.
If she wins, Preckwinkle wouldn’t be the longest-serving board president. That honor goes to George Dunne, who served nearly 22 years before stepping down in 1990. John Stroger served 12 years.
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At St. Bernard Hospital at 1:15 p.m. for an update on Chicago’s Covid-19 vaccination distribution.
At the Tinley Park Convention Center at 10:30 a.m. to tour the vaccination site.
At the Tinley Park Convention Center at 10:30 a.m. to tour the vaccination site.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 40 additional deaths and 3,292 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 18,750 fatalities and 1,101,819 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Jan. 17 through 23 is 4.8 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 7.2 percent.
— Bipartisan group of senators pushes back on Biden Covid plan: “The senators told White House officials on Sunday that the stimulus spending in President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan provides too much money to high-income Americans, an opening setback in the new administration’s complex pandemic negotiations with Congress,” according to POLITICO’s Laura Barron-Lopez and Burgess Everett.
— Chicago-area restaurants can now offer limited indoor dining, but some stick to takeout: “Many eateries welcomed the return of indoor diners this weekend, but others hesitated, citing the spread of a more contagious coronavirus variant,” by WBEZ’s Esther Yoon-Ji Kang.
— Seniors, shelters eager to get vaccine as Illinois enters the next phase: “On Monday, the state formally moves to 1b, which includes people 65 and over, some essential workers and people in congregate living settings, such as homeless shelters and jails. Employers of essential workers, medical practices and those overseeing people living in group settings have begun preparing for their vaccination rollout next week. Some express hope after a difficult year,” by Tribune’s Madeline Buckley and Angie Leventis Lourgos.
— Biden to ban travel from South Africa, reinstate restrictions on Brazil and U.K., by POLITICO’s Stephanie Beasley.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: More Illinois political players are headed to the Biden administration. Nikki Budzinski has been tapped as the chief of staff for the White House Office of Management and Budget, a source tells Playbook. Budzinski received the appointment by OMB in part through an introduction from mentor John Podesta, a Democratic strategist whom Budzinski worked with on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Budzinski, a Peoria native, most recently worked with Podesta to advise the National Climate Resource Center, a labor-led nonprofit that develops strategies to address the climate crisis. She also was executive director for Climate Jobs Illinois, a subsidiary coalition of 12 state unions pushing for clean energy infrastructure programs to combat climate change and racial inequality.
… Ra Joy also is headed to the Biden administration, where he’ll work as chief of staff at the National Endowment for the Arts. Joy is a nonprofits consultant who was the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate on Chris Kennedy’s campaign in 2018. Joy also was an active supporter of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s run for mayor.
— Winter storm warning for this afternoon with 5 to 8 inches of heavy, wet snow expected: “This is not the type of snow you want to be shoveling,” Matt Friedlein, a meteorologist with the weather service, told the Tribune’s Jessica Villagomez.
— Woman who lived in church for over 3 years goes home after Biden suspends deportations: “Francisca Lino took sanctuary in an apartment above the same Chicago church that protected immigration activist Elvira Arellano, Adalberto United Methodist Church, at 2716 W. Division St., after she defied a court order in August 2017 mandating that she leave the country,” by Tribune’s Paige Fry.
— 2 brothers describe allegations of abuse by the Rev. Pfleger: “Pfleger’s private legal team said the allegations are false and were made to gain a financial settlement. They said the younger brother wrote a letter to Pfleger late last month seeking $20,000 ‘to help me move on in this troubled and confused time in my life.’ They said the letter noted past archdiocese settlements unrelated to Pfleger that have ‘changed (men’s) lives forever,’” by Tribune’s Christy Gutowski.
— More Catholic parishes merge amid financial pressures: “Officials at the Archdiocese of Chicago say mounting debt and declining enrollment will lead to the shuttering of four suburban Catholic schools and the consolidation of dozens of parishes in the months ahead. The downsizing is part of the Renew My Church initiative that started in 2018 amid financial pressures,” by Tribune’s Karen ann Cullotta and Leslie Bonilla.
— Column: Former police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks out on city crime and his ‘moral mistake’: “You just have to let the people know you can keep them safe,” Johnson said. “You have to retool things, what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and keep chipping at that rock, but people are not going to stick around (in Chicago) if our violent crime remains where it is and right now it’s unacceptable,” he tells Tribune’s John Kass.
— Tim Samuelson may be retiring, but he’s not history yet: “Chicago’s first and only cultural historian goes on emeritus status, but there’s plenty of work ahead of him,” writes Deanna Isaacs in Chicago Reader.
— Veteran Chicago cop charged after allegedly choking handcuffed arrestee in 2019 on South Side: officials: “Louis Garcia, a 17-year veteran of the department, was charged by Cook County prosecutors with official misconduct this week, though the incident occurred in May 2019,” by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner and Megan Crepeau.
— Woman sent to prison for bilking nonprofits with medical hoax: “Sarah Delashmit of Highland pleaded guilty in October to multiple fraud charges after authorities claimed she defrauded nonprofit organizations by pretending to have muscular dystrophy and breast cancer,” by the AP.
— Williamson County Circuit Clerk resigns after DUI arrest, via WSIL/TV.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: More candidates are staking claims for seats opening — or potentially opening up — in the General Assembly. State Sen. Heather Steans is stepping down from her 7th District seat, prompting Democratic Party leaders to seek applications. The due date is Jan. 31. Mike Simmons, a Black business owner in Uptown, is putting his name in the hat, joining Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who’s already signaled her interest. Simmons owns Blue Sky Strategies, a firm that develops anti-racist public policy, and he works full time at the Obama Foundation as deputy director of the youth program, My Brother’s Keeper.
… Should Cassidy win Steans’ seat, the 14th District House seat opens up. It’s already prompted a number of up and coming Democrats to prepare to apply. Also interested: Tom Elliott, who owns his own political consulting firm and previously served as comms director for Democrat Daniel Biss’ bid for governor. Elliott also has worked with state Senate Democrats in past political races. Like Simmons, Elliott also is part of the LGBTQ community, which is a large part of Steans’ and Cassidy’s districts… And Angela Inzano is talking to community members and Democratic committee people about the 14th District seat too. Inzano is director of Advocacy & Engagement at the Chicago Bar Foundation and was part of the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership Training Academy in 2018.
… Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), a Democratic Party committeeperson, addressed criticism about transparency of the selection process for the Senate seat. “This is a year where redistricting is going to take place. Having a strong voice representing our communities is going to be critical, and the reality also is that, in probably 10 months, there’ll be petitions on the street where candidates can run for the senate seat … Residents who live in our communities are going to decide, now and in the future, that we get it right,” he told the Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— How Michael Madigan left an impact as speaker of the House on the Illinois General Assembly: "His legacy is being the most powerful legislative leader and effective legislative leader," said Republican Jim Edgar, governor from 1991 to 1999. "Madigan, I think, gets blamed for a lot of things and he probably gets credit for a lot of things he didn’t really do or control, but he was first among equals, there’s no doubt about that, in the legislature.” State Journal-Register’s Dean Olsen reports.
… What Happens Now to Madigan’s Money? The Friends of Michael J. Madigan fund is a personal candidate fund that holds “a whopping $13,472,855” as of Dec. 31, reports Derrick Blakley for Center for Illinois Politics.
Welch’s staffing plan sounds familiar: “The new Speaker said he’s asked [former House Speaker Michael] Madigan’s chief of staff Jessica Basham to stay on through the end of the remap process and she has agreed. Basham has been diligently studying the remap process for the past two years, but she is also Madigan’s former appropriations director, which is crucial knowledge and experience to have during what looks to be a possibly horrific budget-making process,” writes Rich Miller in the Herald & Review.
— Does the GOP still want Adam Kinzinger? “A rising star often spoken of as governor or senator material, Kinzinger now may no longer have a home in his own party. His sin: defying Trump,” writes Crain’s A.D. Quig.
Big money and a stumble mark year one of Illinois’ recreational weed law: "Are we going to meet our diversity goals? Yes we are, but we’re going to have to fight for it every step of the way,” Toi Hutchinson, an architect of the Illinois law who now serves as an adviser to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, said in an interview with your Playbook author. “This is an ongoing, amazingly big task. I know we’re going in the right direction because people are demanding it.”
The pandemic could devastate mass transit in the U.S. — and not for the reason you think: “Covid-19 is speeding up shifts in where Americans live and work, posing a long-term challenge to transit systems built around getting people to downtown workplaces… ’Many of these big urban areas have seen a complete shift of where people are living right now,’ said Jim Derwinski, CEO of Chicago’s Metra system and chair of the Commuter Rail Coalition,” by POLITICO’s Tanya Snyder.
— Durbin calls absolute protection of Senate filibuster ‘a non-starter’: “Sen. Dick Durbin on Sunday said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s demand for absolute protection of the filibuster in the deal to run a 50-50 Senate is a ‘non-starter.’ ‘If we gave him that, then the filibuster would be on everything, every day,’ the Illinois Democrat told NBC’s Chuck Todd on ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday morning,” by POLITICO’s Kelly Hooper.
— ‘Long-time coming’: Schakowsky, Jarrett, Moseley Braun react to inauguration, in POLITICO’s Women Rule newsletter.
— Biden confronts a budget office broken by Trump, by POLITICO’s Caitlin Emma
— Black women decry leadership ceiling in Congress, by POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle
— Trump goes MIA as former aides deal with the harm he caused them, by POLITICO’s Gabby Orr, Meredith McGraw and Daniel Lippman
— Impeachment trial to keep National Guard troops at Capitol, by POLITICO’s Andrew Desiderio, Lara Seligman and Natasha Bertrand
— The political roots of Amanda Gorman’s genius, by POLITICO’s Maya King and Nolan D, McCaskill
— MAGA media looks to turn White House briefing room into a battlefield: White House officials promise a sea change from how the Trump White House interacted with the press. Biden’s team plans to lay out clear criteria for qualifying for a so-called “hard pass” to access the grounds in consultation with the White House Correspondents Association, officials told POLITICO. If current passholders in the media continue to meet the criteria determined together with the correspondents’ association, they will continue to have hard passes, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago and Natasha Korecki.
— Crain’s, Daily Line team up on policy report: "Crain’s Chicago Business and The Daily Line, the subscription newsletter on state and local politics, are teaming up to launch The Chicago Index, a quarterly opinion poll on policy and government issues in Chicago and Illinois. Along with ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 as broadcast partner, The Chicago Index will debut in February," reports media reporter Robert Feder.
Albert Porter Jr., Cook County judge who guided others in Black community into law, dead at 90: “He came from very humble beginnings and blossomed, like a rose growing in a sidewalk,” his son Richard Porter said. By Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.
The governor has named Leslie Darling the new chair to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, the organization that manages the Chicago White Sox stadium known as Guaranteed Rate Field. Leslie Darling, whose day job is executive director and general counsel to the Art Institute of Chicago, takes over after attorney Manny Sanchez stepped down from the appointed position. Darling has served on the ISFA board of directors since December 2019. She previously served the City of Chicago in various capacities as the CEO of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, the First Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Department of Law, and as Legislative Counsel in the Mayor’s Office. She takes on the board chair role at ISFA as the organization faces a “dismal fiscal picture heading into fiscal 2022,” according to reporting by Bond Buyer’s Yvette Shields.
— Today at 11:30 a.m.: Virtual town hall for small businesses to learn how to access the next round of the Paycheck Protection Program, PPP. The event will be headlined by Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Erin Guthrie, the U.S. Small Business Administration, County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, state Sens. Sara Feigenholtz and Heather Steans, and state Reps. John D’Amico, Ann Williams and Margaret Croke. The state is holding more information town halls through February.
— Feb. 4: Political activists Steve Sheffey and Dana Gordon are holding a virtual fundraising reception for Sen. Tammy Duckworth.
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congratulations to Nicholas Mathiowdis of the Cook County president’s office, for correctly answering that Ralph Metcalfe was a Tilden Technical High School alum, five-time track and field world record holder and silver medalist at the 1932 Olympics who went on to become an Illinois congressman.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the alderman who went on to become a bailiff in what used to be known as the Municipal Court and then became a Cook County commissioner? Email to [email protected].
Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen.
January 25, 2021 at 07:39AM