With help from Maria Carrasco.
Happy Wednesday, Illinois. We’re mid-week and it really feels like we’ve run a full week’s worth of stories already.
Two days after naming Edward “Ed” Guerra Kodatt his successor, Michael Madigan has called on him to resign over concerns about his personal misconduct.
“After learning of alleged questionable conduct by Mr. Kodatt, it was suggested that he resign as state representative for the 22nd District. We are committed to a zero tolerance policy in the workplace,” Madigan and Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) said in a joint statement sent out Tuesday night.
A party spokeswoman declined to comment further, and Kodatt did not return requests to talk. The Tribune reports that his formal resignation has not yet been filed with the secretary of state’s office. But his quick exit is a stumble in a ward organization that Madigan has run with precision for decades.
Questions loom: What did Kodatt allegedly do, and who knew about it before the appointment? He’s been employed in Quinn’s ward office for nearly three years and had internships at Rush Hospital and City Colleges of Chicago before that.
According to his resume, Kodatt is the infrastructure manager for the 13th Ward, supervising a $1 million budget and overseeing improvement projects such as street repairs and lighting. He also visits project sites to monitor progress and coordinates work with other governmental agencies and utility companies.
“He’s lived in the 13th Ward, has spent the last three years knocking on doors with me, and he’s had a front-row seat on what the needs are of constituents. He’s going to be fantastic,” Quinn said Sunday after Kodatt was appointed to Madigan’s House seat.
Moments before taking the oath, Kodatt told Playbook he was excited “to lead by example.”
No official word yet from Democratic organizers about how they’ll proceed. The process would generally allow 30 days for applicants to apply for Kodatt position after he officially resigns. As in the previous application process, Madigan has the weighted vote to determine who gets the job.
The battle for the control of the Illinois Democratic Party is intensifying. Congressman Chuy Garcia has now weighed in, saying it’s time for a Latina to take the reins.
He’s endorsing state Sen. Cristina Castro for the job, saying she has the leadership skills to grow the party — especially in the suburbs, which are seeing a rise in Latino population. “The Democratic party must adjust its strategy and leadership accordingly,” Garcia said in a statement released Tuesday night.
Garcia’s view on who should take over the party clashes with Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Sen. Dick Durbin, who are endorsing Chicago Ald. Michelle Harris and Rep. Robin Kelly, respectively. The opening happened when Michael Madigan stepped down Monday.
The disagreement over naming a new chair shouldn’t be seen as disunity. Madigan has led the Democratic Party in Illinois since 1998 and Democrats haven’t had to consider who else would be right for the job. But the competition shows that Democrats have a deep bench of candidates to run the party and identifies at least one thing they agree on: They want a woman of color at the top.
The appointment must occur 30 days after Madigan’s exit and will be based on a weighted vote by Democratic committee members representing each congressional district. Madigan also is on the appointment committee and has a say on his replacement.
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Presiding over a virtual City Council meeting at 10 a.m.
In West Peoria at 10 a.m. to visit a local vaccination site. Then at Peoria’s Proctor Recreation Center at 11:30 a.m. to talk about HB 3653, the criminal justice and police reform bill. And finally at University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign at 2 p.m. to talk more about the reform bill.
Online at 9 a.m. to announce a partnership with the Joyce Foundation to provide free support and advisory services to the 1 million student loan borrowers in Cook County.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 27 additional deaths and 1,665 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 20,330 fatalities and 1,177,320 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Feb. 16 through 22 is 2.8 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 3.1 percent.
— Chicago eases travel limits as statewide infections, hospitalizations hit July numbers: “The city’s updated Covid-19 travel order will no longer apply to people who have been fully vaccinated against the virus,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.
‘100% our bad’ — Clinic says it will stop charging patients a $200 fee for a Covid-19 vaccine: “Michigan Avenue Immediate Care, listed on the vaccine-finding website the city is using, is charging $195 for a so-called vaccine consultation to people who are uninsured, or whose insurance provider is out-of-network, according to one customer and a medical technician at the clinic,” writes WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel. "The clinic Monday afternoon defended the fee, saying the consultation is crucial in evaluating patients… On Tuesday evening, after this story was published, Michigan Avenue Immediate Care issued a new statement to WBEZ, saying it had made a mistake charging customers out-of-pocket for vaccine consultations."
— ICYMI: Pritzker to SCOTUS: No intention to reimpose Covid restrictions on churches: Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul argue a lawsuit brought by the Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church should be considered moot because Pritzker lifted the challenged gathering restrictions last spring, and he has not sought to reimpose them since, reports Jonathan Bilyk of the Cook County Record.
— Cupid Covid couples: Stuck in the same building during Covid-19, Chicago neighbors are falling in love, by Tribune’s Alison Bowen
CHALLENGING KINZINGER: CATALINA LAUF, who spoke at the Republican convention last summer, is challenging Rep. Adam Kinzinger in the 16th Congressional District GOP primary, setting the stage for one of the most high-profile primaries in the country as former President Donald Trump targets Republicans who have been disloyal to him.
Lauf declined to say whether she’s talked to Trump about her entry into the race. But it’s no secret she’s a darling of the right. Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski tweeted his support Tuesday night, calling Lauf a “strong candidate…She can win and will support the American First Agenda,” which is a Trump motto.
Lauf told Playbook the race “isn’t just about [Kinzinger] voting for impeachment… He’s just not representing the values of voters in the district.”
If elected, she said she would focus on “preserving free enterprise,” fixing problems with immigration, and supporting individual liberties.
Should Trump declare his support, Lauf will likely see a swell in fundraising. Watch for Trump donors like Dick Uihlein to emerge in this race.
Kinzinger, a six-term congressman, has had an easy go of elections in recent years. In the 2020 General Election, he secured 65 percent of the vote in his district. Trump, by comparison, won the district by 56.9 percent over President Joe Biden’s 40.9 percent. A primary, however, is different.
Lauf ran unsuccessfully in the GOP primary for the 14th Congressional District last year. She doesn’t have to live in the district to file to run in the 16th. The upcoming remap may include her current address, which she said is near the border of Kinzinger’s district. And she’s willing to move if the remap doesn’t include her current home.
— Biss declares victory in Evanston mayor’s race; results tight in aldermanic primaries: With all 50 precincts reporting, former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss “leads the field with 73 percent of the vote followed by Lori Keenan with 17 percent and Sebastian Nalls with 9 percent, according to unofficial vote totals from the Cook County clerk’s office,” by Tribune’s Genevieve Bookwalter.
— An upset in Dolton: Tiffany Henyard declares victory in Democratic mayoral primary: “The Cook County Clerk’s office reported that with all precincts reporting, Henyard had about 34 percent of the vote, compared with 30 percent for incumbent Mayor Riley Rogers, 29 percent for village trustee and community activist Andrew Holmes, and 6 percent for Robert Shaw, a former Chicago alderman and twin brother of late former Dolton Mayor William Shaw,” CBS/2 reports.
— Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham and North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham claim victories in mayoral primaries, by Lake County News-Sun’s Steve Sadin
— Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero appears headed to victory, according to Cook County suburban election results. They show 5,609 ballots from 32 of 32 precincts counted. In the Democratic primary, incumbent Lovero has 2,918 votes to Brendan O’Connor’s 2,661. They are separated by 257 votes and it’s not clear if mail-in or provisional ballots have been included.
— Being introduced to City Council: ‘Anjanette Young Ordinance’ calls for stricter search warrant reforms: The ordinance is sponsored by five council members: Maria Hadden (49th), Sophia King (4th), Jeanette Taylor (20th), Stephanie Coleman (16th), and Leslie Hairston (5th) and addresses “wrong raids” that occur “time after time” and show rules are not being followed, says Hadden. Chicagoans civil and human rights are being violated, she says in the CBS/2 report.
— Plan to transform Morton Salt building into music venue, office space advances, reports WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Chicago U.S. Attorney John Lausch to stay on the job until successor installed: “Lausch is likely to stay on the job for at least several more months, said the source, who was not authorized to speak about the decision publicly. The reprieve came after Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth wrote a letter to President Joe Biden hailing Lausch, who was nominated by President Donald Trump in 2017, as a nonpartisan corruption buster and asking that he be allowed to stay on until a replacement could be installed,” by Tribune’s Bill Ruthhart and Jason Meisner.
— Lightfoot says investigation into attack on Ald. Reilly outside River North bar is appropriate: “Reached by phone Tuesday, Boss Bar owner Shay Ghazimoradi acknowledged his security guards went to help, but said the bar did not report the incident because it happened on public property outside the bar and did not involve ‘our establishment,’” by Tribune’s John Byrne and Annie Sweeney.
— Lakefront, playgrounds set to reopen: “We are thrilled that lakefront, playgrounds and indoor aquatics programs can safely reopen,” Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly said in a statement. “The district is busy preparing these facilities to open as soon as possible. Although these restrictions are being lifted, we must continue to be diligent with the safety protocols that have been instrumental in our progress.” WTTW’s Patty Wetli and Amanda Vinicky report.
— Five things to know about Chicago’s Covid-19 alert system in schools: “The district has budgeted more than $1 million for the initiative so far, which includes a new district-level team and several online reporting programs,” reports Chalkbeat Chicago’s Yana Kunichoff.
— With anti-Asian attacks on the rise, webinar teaches bystanders how to help: “During the past few months, [Catherine] Shieh has been leading bystander intervention trainings over Zoom — essentially teaching people how to safely step in during confrontations and attacks like the one she endured. The idea for these seminars originated last year, when then-President Donald Trump and other leaders began scapegoating the Asian community for the spread of Covid-19 and a wave of anti-Asian attacks began across the country, including the Chicago area,” by WBEZ’s Esther Yoon-Ji Kang.
— Oak Park board to pursue proclamation apologizing for past harms; trustees divided on reparations proposals: “The proclamation calls on the village to also establish a reparations fund with taxes generated from the sale of recreational marijuana in Oak Park, in which 100% of new marijuana taxes up to $10 million per year would be earmarked for the fund. The group also proposes using 40% of the village’s affordable housing fund for the new reparations fund,” writes Pioneer Press’ Steve Schering.
— Arlington Park horse racing track is up for sale: “The decision is not a surprise. Churchill Downs Inc., the Louisville-based company that owns the track, drew harsh criticism from the Illinois Racing Board in September 2019 when they declined to guarantee that they would hold racing dates beyond 2021,” by Tribune’s David Heinzmann.
— Lawsuit claims Melrose Park mayor, village harassed family, culminating in racial-slur laden tirade: “A man targeted by the mayor of Melrose Park in a tirade laden with obscenities and an anti-Black racial slur at a Melrose Park Village Board meeting has now filed suit, claiming he and his elderly parents have been the target of an ongoing campaign of harassment by Mayor Ron Serpico and others in Melrose Park’s village government that has led to them being issued $26,000 worth of ‘bogus’ municipal ordinance tickets,” by Cook County Record’s Jonathan Bilyk.
— Former governor candidate Sam McCann pleads not guilty in campaign fund fraud case: “McCann was indicted by a grand jury on Feb. 3, and authorities didn’t seek his arrest. He remains free and is accused of engaging in an elaborate scheme to illegally use campaign funds for expenses that include mortgage payments,” reports State Journal-Register’s Dean Olsen.
— Pritzker addresses food insecurity for students and skyrocketing natural gas prices: “As the state once again prepares to participate in the P-EBT program, Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou said her agency is working with the State Board of Education to identify eligible students,” by NPR Illinois’ Derek Cantú.
— New York Times’ take on Illinois becoming the first state to eliminate cash bail: “Over the years, New Jersey, California and New York have limited the use of bail, a system that opponents have criticized as unfair to poor people, who are forced to remain in detention even though they have not been convicted of the charges that led to their arrest….[And] Illinois legislators had tried for at least five years to pass legislation that would end the practice, according to State Representative Kam Buckner, who is also chairman of the Illinois House Legislative Black Caucus, which pushed for the law.”
— Springfield plan targets pork-barrel road and transit spending: “Lawmakers and civic groups aim to base spending on ‘needs-based" criteria, not politics,’ by Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— Temp agencies accused of using bias in hiring: “Their report found widespread favoritism to applicants based in race; Atty. Gen. Kwame Raoul promised tough enforcement of labor laws,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.
THE FIFTY: We examine the make-up of state legislatures. Most state legislatures are still very white — and very male. Demographics have changed but not as fast as the populations legislators represent, according to POLITICO’s analysis. The study shows Illinois fares better than most in diversifying.
Infighting erupts as minority pot shop applicants draft legislation to resolve state’s troubled cannabis licensing rollout: “During Tuesday’s news conference in front of the Thompson Center, Rickey Hendon, a former state senator and current dispensary applicant, claimed the faction of social equity applicants he’s leading is “being snowballed by people who are supposed to be activists helping us fix this cannabis regulation mess,’” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— How the White House botched the Neera Tanden nomination, by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki and Burgess Everett
— Texas disaster puts Beto O’Rourke back in business, by POLITICO’s David Siders
— Dems clash over Biden-era police bill after ‘defund’ attacks, by POLITICO’s Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris
— Election officials who defended 2020 vote will have to defend themselves in 2022, by POLITICO’s Zach Montellaro
— Jeff Bethke, CEO of Ingenuity Advising, has been named chairman of the board for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. Bethke takes over for Brett Hart, whose four-year term expired in October. Larita Clark, CEO of MPEA, said the organization welcomes Bethke’s “innovative spirit” as the pandemic approaches its end.
— Cecilia Muñoz, a public policy leader and former aide to President Barack Obama, has joined the Joyce Foundation’s board of directors. Muñoz is a senior adviser at New America Foundation, where she launched an initiative on public interest technology. Muñoz served for eight years on Obama’s senior staff, first as director of Intergovernmental Affairs and then as director of the Domestic Policy Council.
March 1: Sen. Elgie Sims, a leader in getting the criminal justice reform measure passed, is among headliners in a free forum on "Finding Solutions and Fairness" to address the new law. Also participating: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart, prosecutor Robert Berlin, and others. Moderator is Center for Illinois Politics’ Derrick Blakley.
TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to retired real estate builder/developer Mark Perlman for correctly answering that Jim Edgar lost Gallatin County in his two gubernatorial and two secretary of state races.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Which Illinois governor pardoned (or commuted) the sentences of more than 100 prisoners convicted of everything from murder, rape, assault and arson to forgery, embezzlement and armed robbery? Email to [email protected].
State Rep. Mark Batinick (97th), former Gov. George Ryan, and Ravinia Festival director of finance Peggy Papaioannou.
February 24, 2021 at 07:40AM