Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. A year ago, the governor was in a desperate search for surgical masks and other PPE. Now you can’t go anywhere without seeing them.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: State Rep. Marty Moylan is calling for an independent investigation of Loretto Hospital as the scandal into how it arranged for an exclusive clientele to get vaccinated at Trump Tower and a high-end jewelry store threatens to undermine the work of the West Side hospital.

“The hospital was supposed to be giving the vaccine to underprivileged people in a struggling community, people who couldn’t get the shots by other means,” Moylan told Playbook.

Instead, hospital administrators allowed people, including some Cook County judges, to skip the line and it’s unclear how many other avenues they took to vaccinate those who didn’t have priority.

Hospital CEO George Miller and COO and CFO Dr. Anosh Ahmed have been reprimanded for orchestrating vaccine distribution beyond the Austin neighborhood, according to the hospital.

On Tuesday, Rep. La Shawn Ford stepped down from his unpaid trustee position at Loretto, saying he “strongly disagreed” with the reprimands given to Miller and Ahmed, telling WTTW’s Paris Schutz that he thinks the punishments should be made public.

Scrutiny also has turned to the judges who received the vaccines from Loretto and whether they improperly got in line. The Office of the Chief Judge of Cook County Circuit Court issued a statement saying vaccines were leftovers from the day.

Moylan, meanwhile, wants to know how the decisions were made and who knew about it. “I want to know everything,” including salaries of top executives, he said. “This needs to be exposed.”

So far, Loretto has resisted sharing information about the decision-making, saying it amounts to “airing dirty laundry,” according to Moylan.

A legislative investigation could put fellow state Rep. Camille Lilly in the hot seat. Along with her elected position, she is a salaried executive at Loretto with the title “Chief External Affairs Officer,” a job that would require her to serve as a liaison with the outside community. She has not returned requests for comment.


Loretto employee alleges vaccine ‘VIP’ line at hospital, by WTTW’s Paris Schutz

6,000 CPS vaccines misallocated by clinic, city says: “Innovative Express Care won’t get any more doses, the city announced Tuesday. But the clinic said it gave leftover doses only to those who were eligible and said it was ‘bewildered’ by the decision,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout and Nader Issa.

Democrats in Congress and in Springfield are renewing efforts to address gun control after mass shootings in Colorado, Atlanta and in Chicago — where gun violence is so common that most shootings get ignored by national media.

In Washington, Sen. Dick Durbin has called for legislation to combat domestic terrorism and white supremacy, reports POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine.

In Illinois, state Rep. Kathleen Willis’ HB 3245 would require background checks and fingerprints for the issuance or renewal of a Firearm Owner’s Identification card.

States that have passed similar laws have seen gun violence decrease by 40 percent, according to Sen. Ram Villivalam, who’s carrying Willis’ bill in the Senate.

“In 12 months we figured out how to prevent Covid … But how is it possible that, despite hundreds of mass murders throughout the decades, we still haven’t done enough to prevent mass gun violence?” Villivalam asks rhetorically in a statement issued to Playbook.

He says the legislation is supported by “hundreds of stakeholders,” including the Illinois State Police, Chicago CRED and other violence prevention organizations, and faith-based and health care organizations.


Analysis from Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet, reporting from the Judiciary Committee meeting, writes; ‘Even with a Democratic House, Senate and White House, getting gun control measures through Congress and signed into law remains a long shot.”

Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]

Presiding over a virtual meeting of the City Council.

In Springfield at the Fairgrounds at 11:30 a.m. to give an update on Covid-19 and get his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination.

Touring La Casa Norte at 12:30 p.m. as part of a celebration for National Social Worker Month.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 13 additional deaths and 1,832 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus. That’s a total of 21,116 fatalities and 1,224,915 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from March 16-26 is 2.5 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 3.3 percent.

Vaccines in Illinois still largely going to white residents: “And as the state looks to expand eligibility, some fear that those who are in the most vulnerable communities — particularly Black and Latino neighborhoods — could continue to lag,” report WBEZ’s Becky Vevea, Kristen Schorsch.

Chicago ‘headed in the wrong way’ as younger adults drive uptick in Covid-19 cases: “Chicago public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady warned the city, particularly its younger adults, on Tuesday that coronavirus metrics were once again creeping into a danger zone that resembled a previous second surge during last October,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.

Desperate to visit 92-year-old who survived the Holocaust and the pandemic in a nursing home: Even if you’ve had the vaccines “Visitation policies vary widely at area nursing homes. Some facilities told the Tribune they have opened their buildings for family visits with some restrictions and safety rules, following guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Others, such as Lieberman Center for Health and Rehabilitation where Erdely lives, are taking a more cautious approach,” by Tribune’s Madeline Buckley.

YMCA launching bilingual help desk for Covid-19 resources, including vaccine sign-ups, online school issues, reports Tribune’s Jessica Villagomez

DUCKWORTH backs off threat to oppose Biden nominees: After threatening to block white Cabinet nominees, Sen. Tammy Duckworth said the Biden administration agreed to elevate more Asian American voices. The brief detente came after Duckworth said she felt “triggered” from a statement by a White House official Monday. When Duckworth called for more Cabinet appointments of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the Cabinet, she was reminded that VP Kamala Harris is of South Asian American heritage. The Illinois senator called the reply “incredibly insulting… Multiple times I’ve heard that. And that is not something you would say to the Black caucus: ‘Well, you have Kamala, we’re not going to put any more African Americans in the Cabinet because you have Kamala.’ Why would you say it to AAPI?” POLITICO’s Nicholas Wu reports.

RUSH hopes to elevate Bronzeville: Rep. Bobby Rush is carrying legislation in the House that would make Bronzeville — a hub of Black culture in Chicago — one of three National Heritage Areas in Illinois. “The proposal would designate the neighborhood as a National Heritage Area and pump $10 million into preserving its remaining buildings and traditions….The Bronzeville-Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Act has been introduced before, but with Democrats now controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House this year, Rush said he believes 2021 is the year the legislation will see movement,” reports Tribune’s Alice Yin.

City Council meets today. On the docket: Clean Air Ordinance: “The new rules would require a more rigorous site plan evaluation and community review process that would overlap several city departments,” by WBEZ’s Claudia Morell.

Alderman withdraws plan to restrict ‘house museums’: “In her statement withdrawing, King charged a coordinated campaign against the proposal had been orchestrated by the wealthy owner of a house museum in Lincoln Park, Wrightwood 659, its City Hall lobbyist and its ward alderman and Zoning Committee member Michele Smith (43rd),” writes Sun-Times’ Maudlyne Ihejirika. King was referring to wealthy businessman and political donor Fred Eychaner, who cofounded the Lincoln Park space.

$30M esports arena gets a nod from Zoning Committee: “Council members congratulated local Ald. Pat Dowell on luring the potential tourist mecca to McCormick Square near McCormick Place. Their only concern: the esports arena would be so popular, there wouldn’t be enough parking,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Chicago Loop Alliance plans to increase pedestrian traffic with summer programs: “The Chicago Loop Alliance held their annual meeting Tuesday, where they announced plans to aid economic recovery in Chicago with several cultural events in the Loop set to begin this summer,” by Sun-Times’ Zac Clingenpeel.

NOT SPOTTED: Technical difficulties kept Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle from appearing at her virtual fundraiser Tuesday night. Close to 100 guests were expected to attend the gathering that had Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch as headliners and Da Fellas playing music. Guests tuned in for about 20 minutes before the event was called. Preckwinkle’s political director, Scott Kastrup, said the virtual mishap didn’t stop the fundraising and a new event date would be planned.

— REP. ADAM KINZINGER is getting involved in a Texas congressional race through his Country First organization, endorsing veteran Michael Wood in a special election for the 6th Congressional District in that state. Wood is a major in the Marine Corps Reserve who earned two Purple Hearts serving in combat in Afghanistan, according to a statement from Kinzinger, who serves in the Air National Guard. It’s Country First’s first endorsement of a non-incumbent candidate. The organization previously backed the nine House Republicans who along with Kinzinger voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for his role in the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

— QUENTIN FULKS, the senior political adviser to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, is also directing a super PAC for Ray McGuire, a former Wall Street exec who’s running for mayor of New York City. New York City? Yes, Fulks told Playbook. “A friend asked me if I’d run the organization and I agreed as it’s essentially a primary until June,” he said. That leaves plenty of time for Fulks to focus his energies back in Illinois for Pritzker’s likely re-election bid in 2022.

Now legal action in Orland Township contest: Candidate John Carmody has filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against Orland Residents for Responsible Government and political candidate Scott Kaspar over his use of robo calls, reports Cook County Record’s Savannah Howe.

State Supreme Court means 6 Naperville Township candidates are out of the election: “The appellate decision overturned a lower court’s ruling that all candidates chosen in two different Republican caucuses should be on the ballot, essentially asking voters to choose from two slates of Republican office-seekers….Now, only votes cast for Naperville Township Republican Organization candidates — Matthew Rasche for assessor and Paul Santucci for trustee — will be counted by the DuPage County Clerk’s Office. The names of the six invalidated candidates will appear on ballots because they were printed before a final ruling was made. The DuPage County Clerk’s Office will discard any votes they receive as invalid,” by Naperville Sun’s Suzanne Baker.

THE FIFTY: Former President Donald Trump’s loss of the White House and exit from social media is having some lingering effects. Blue-state Republican governors are in a slump without Trump as their foil, reports POLITICO’s Stephanie Murray.

Judge, prosecutors agree mom deserves new shot at life after 20 years behind bars: “Calandra Hulitt’s release was being sought by an attorney leading a new legal clinic, known as the Women and Survivors Project, which advocates for those who have suffered gender-based violence or who are convicted of crimes with links to issues that disproportionately affect women,” by Tribune’s Annie Sweeney.

Illinois Supreme Court considers case challenging state’s move to borrow money to pay down debt: The lawsuit filed by John Tillman, CEO of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, is “seeking permission to sue the state to block the state government from continuing to use taxpayer funds to pay down $14 billion of bonds issued in 2003 and 2017….Tillman argued that provision of the state constitution limits the state’s ability to borrow money,” by Cook County Record’s Jonathan Bilyk.

Cicero woman who admitted to trafficking of Guatemalan immigrants suffers chest pains at sentencing: “Authorities said they found 19 adults and 14 children living in Concepcion Malinek’s Cicero home in March 2019. Prosecutors said she would offer to help immigrants travel to the United States for about $5,000, only to claim they owed her a much higher debt when they arrived,” by Sun-Tims’ Jon Seidel.

— SURVEY SAYS: The Covid States Project, an ongoing survey by researchers from Northwestern and three other universities, shows public approval of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s handling of the pandemic has dipped from 63.2 percent in April 2020 to 44.7 percent in February. Anecdotal responses from those surveyed, however, reveal support for Pritzker’s efforts to stop the coronavirus. The survey shows 90 percent supported his stay-at-home executive order and 76 percent agree that restaurant service should be limited. Pritzker’s score is better than many governors but doesn’t fare as well as those from big states. That might be because the survey was taken before New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo drew scrutiny for nursing home deaths and a sexual harassment scandal, according to Northwestern’s analysis of the study.

Pritzker signs Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ economic reform package: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping series of measures aimed at expanding access to state contracts for minorities and women, cracking down on high-interest payday loans and providing job protections for people with criminal records,” by Tribune’s Jenny Whidden.

More than 1,000 Illinois prisoners to be released under Covid-19 lawsuit settlement: “The Illinois Department of Corrections will identify medically vulnerable and elderly prisoners eligible for early release or electronic home monitoring,” by Sun-Times’ Sophie Sherry.

State horse racing regulator criticizes plan to sell Arlington Park: “New Illinois Racing Board member Alan Henry called on Churchill Downs to find a buyer committed to keeping racing alive in Arlington Heights,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.

Rep. Rita Mayfield drops proposal to put Waukegan schools under state control: “Mayfield made her decision after a March 15 telephone conversation with district officials, including Superintendent Theresa Plascencia and Gwendolyn Polk, the associate superintendent of business, because Mayfield was convinced the district is in sound financial condition,” by Lake County News-Sun’s Steve Sadin.

Mental health specialists at Cermak Health Services threaten strike: “If the employees strike, they could leave about 2,200 patients without care,” reports Sun-Times’ Mary Chappell.

Biden’s school reopening promise faces aging bus drivers, vaccine scarcity, by POLITICO’s Bianca Quilantan and Juan Perez Jr.

Veteran photojournalist Yunghi Kim captures a turning point for Asian Americans, via POLITICO magazine

Wisconsin Republicans vote to control virus money, via The AP

Elgin Baylor, underappreciated superstar, by The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears

— Mario Treto Jr. has been appointed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to serve as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). Treto serves as the director of the Division of Real Estate for IDFPR. Treto will assume the role from current IDFPR Secretary Deborah Hagan, who is retiring after nearly 40 years of service at the Attorney General’s Office and IDFPR. Pritzker also named Laurie A. Murphy, the deputy director of the Division of Real Estate, to replace Treto as the head of that division.

— Abby Walsh has joined The Newberg Group as assistant director of Fundraising. She was legislative liaison of the Health Care Council of Illinois.

— Today at noon: Community engagement in a Covid world will be the subject of a Publicity Club virtual forum. Media decision-makers on the panel: WTTW’s Timothy Russell, NBC Chicago’s Emma Asante, Comcast’s Maria Castro, and ABC/7’s Diana Palomar.

— NEW DATE: The “March for Asian Lives” kicks off FRIDAY (instead of Thursday) at Crescent Bakery in Arlington Heights to honor the eight victims of the Atlanta spa shootings. The event is organized by Elk Grove Village student Kaylyn (Lynn) Ahn.

TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Senate President Don Harmon, comms consultant and lawyer Randall Samborn, and Strategia Communications’ Lissa Druss, for correctly answering that Isham, Lincoln and Beale was a Chicago law firm that counted Abraham Lincoln’s son as a partner.

h/t to Bill Hogan who shared that Gov. Richard Ogilvie, who was a later partner at the firm, suffered a heart attack in the office in 1988 and died the next day.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was Mayor Richard J. Daley referring to when he told President Lyndon B. Johnson: “He’s a great Democrat. He ran for Congress. He was defeated. He’s a graduate of Notre Dame, of Harvard. But more than that, Mr. President, let me say with great honor and pride, he’s a precinct captain!” Email to [email protected].

Former Rep. Donald Manzullo, former state Sen. Dan Kotowski, former state Sen. Tom Rooney, Sen. Dick Durbin’s downstate director Kaylee Gholson, Reputation Partners’ Nick Kalm, and Natural Resources Defense Council’s Nadia Perl, who was comms director for Lightfoot’s campaign.



via Illinois Playbook

March 24, 2021 at 07:17AM

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