Good Tuesday morning, Illinois. Remember when we worried about traffic during visits by White House poobahs?
VEEP ALERT: Be careful not to blink, or you might miss Vice President Kamala Harris visiting Chicago today.
She leaves Los Angeles at 7 a.m. California time, putting her in Chicago just before 1 p.m. for a scheduled 1:10 p.m. tour of a Chicago vaccination site.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and members of the Chicago Federation of Labor will be on hand. Though the White House itinerary doesn’t reveal the location of Harris’ visit, it’s described as “the first site in the nation to be stood up by union members for union members,” which we know is the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399 headquarters facility in Chinatown.
After the tour, Harris will have little more than an hour for private conversations, likely with Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, among other politicos. The VP departs Midway for D.C. at 3 p.m.
Harris, who’s been on a weeks-long pilgrimage across the country to highlight the administration’s covid-relief plan, is visiting Chicago after receiving an invite from the mayor, who wants to showcase the city’s work to vaccinate Black and brown communities.
Harris’ schedule doesn’t include a press conference though the White House press pool will be on hand. A source familiar with the planning says a press conference was postponed. No word as to why.
It could be in part because Chicago hasn’t yet opened vaccinations to all 16-year-olds the way other cities have. New York City is allowing 16-year-olds to start making their vaccination appointments starting today. And on April 15, all Californians 16 and older will be eligible for shots.
Illinois is opening vaccinations to those 16 and older statewide starting April 12, although Chicago will continue to set its own rules. For now, the city says 16-year-olds must wait until May 1, which is when the White House has called for all Americans to be eligible for the vaccine.
Of course another reason Harris may not be taking questions is because City Hall is embroiled in the handling of a police shooting (more on that next) and may not want to put the VP in a position of having to take questions from reporters about violence in the city.
Chicago Police are preparing to release the video of a 13-year-old boy shot in the chest by an officer after an early-morning foot chase.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Supervisor David Brown started preparing the public for what may be startling images showing what happened at 2:30 a.m. on March 29 when Adam Toledo was shot.
Neither police nor investigators have reported that Toledo had a gun. But Lightfoot all but acknowledged so, vowing Monday to hunt down and hold accountable the adults responsible for “putting a gun into the hands” of a child, the Sun-Times reports.
Lightfoot also called for a new policy on foot pursuits, which are especially dangerous to police officers and the public.
In 2016, a Tribune investigation found that foot chases played a role in more than a third of the 235 police shooting cases in the city from 2010 through 2015 that resulted in injury or death.
Looming over the video’s release are the memories of the mishandling of two unrelated cases. In 2014, city attorneys fought to suppress a video showing the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, and authorities initially tried holding back a 2019 video of a botched raid on the home of an innocent woman forced to stand naked while police searched her apartment. Both incidents occurred before Lightfoot was mayor.
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Hosting Vice President Kamala Harris during a tour of a vaccination site.
No official public events, but he’s likely to be on hand for Harris’ visit.
No official public events, but she’s likely to be on hand for Harris’ visit.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday reported 11 additional deaths and 2,102 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 21,384 fatalities and 1,258,736 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from March 29 through April 4 is 3.8 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 5.1 percent.
— Vaccine now available to everyone 16 and older in 84 of Illinois’ 102 counties: “Coronavirus vaccinations are now available to everyone 16 and older in more than 84 of Illinois’ 102 counties following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s decision two weeks ago to allow local health departments seeing waning vaccine demand to expand eligibility,” reports Tribune’s Jenny Whidden.
— Mass vaccination centers open at Wrigley Field, Chicago State University: “Inequitable access to health care has been a primary contributor to the disparate effect the pandemic has had on communities of color, Dr. David Trotter, chair of emergency medicine at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, said at the site next to Wrigley Field. But mass vaccination centers grounded in community partnerships help make health care ‘much more equitable,’ Trotter said,” Tribune’s Clare Proctor reports.
— Bar opening in rural Illinois linked to Covid-19 outbreak that infected 46, prompted school closure: “Attendees included a person who tested positive for the virus a day earlier and four others who had symptoms and were later diagnosed. The event was also linked to cases among individuals who weren’t there, including five kids, two student athletes and two residents of a long-term care facility,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— Meet the pandemic’s wrongest man: “In a crowded field of wrongness, one person stands out: Alex Berenson,” writes The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson.
— City signs three-year, $79.6 million contract with Lake Shore Recycling: “Under the new contract, the company known as LRS will collect blue recycling carts with “less than 50 percent contamination” in four of Chicago’s six recycling regions. The company replaces Waste Management and SIMS Metal Management,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Major operators line up to bid for new Chicago casino: “Among the organizations that responded to Chicago’s request for information: MGM Resorts International, Rush Street Gaming, Wynn Resorts Ltd., and Hard Rock International,” reports Online Poker Reports’ Heather Fletcher.
— New research may lead to better warnings of tsunami-like waves from Lake Michigan: “What differentiates meteotsunamis from a turbulent day on Lake Michigan is, in part, their longevity: A normal wave can last seconds, while a meteotsunami can last from 2 minutes to 2 hours. They are sometimes confused with seiches, which can be caused by similar conditions, but seiches tend to last longer, with waves taking on a seesaw motion,” writes the Tribune’s Morgan Greene.
— ‘The Trial Of The Chicago 7’ takes top honors at the SAG Awards, by The Associated Press
— TODAY’s ELECTIONS: Wheeling, Des Plaines political showdowns among hottest in the suburbs: It’s Election Day and “the finish line is in sight,” writes the Daily Herald’s Russell Lissau. In Wheeling, “the contest for village president pits local developer Mark Smith against first-term incumbent and local florist Pat Horcher. It has been a messy campaign.”
— What you need to know to vote in today’s consolidated election: “Municipal, school, township, library, parks, fire district and other local board seats will be on the ballot, along with local referendum questions,” by Daily Herald’s Lauren Rohr.
— In Evanston, a Black parent and school-board candidate takes on a curriculum meant to combat racism: “Of course I want my children to know about slavery and Jim Crow. But I want it to be balanced out with the rest of the truth. They’re not taught about Black people who accomplished things in spite of white supremacy,” Ndona Muboyayi tells The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf.
— Head of Board of Elections put on administrative leave after becoming victim of ‘online extortion attempt’: “Steve Sandvoss reported the attempt last week to the Illinois State Police….the attempted extortion scheme ‘appeared typical of many such online scams,’ said board officials in a statement. However, the board voted unanimously to be cautious and take this step because the attempt targeted a top official with their organization,” by WCIA’s Cassandra Smith.
— For 2022: South Side Ald. Pat Dowell set to enter secretary of state race: “Dowell, 63, has been exploring a candidacy for weeks and has scheduled a formal announcement for Wednesday. An alderman since 2007, her diverse 3rd Ward includes the South Loop and Bronzeville. More recently, Dowell has served as chair of the City Council’s budget committee in dealing with the city’s strained financial situation,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.
Republican Gary Rabine ups the ante in high-stakes governor’s race: “Millionaire businessman Gary Rabine notified state election officials over the weekend that he had donated enough of his own cash to his newly minted gubernatorial campaign to lift all fundraising caps on the race. The $250,390.04 the suburban Republican has kicked in pales in comparison to the $35 million that Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker pumped into his own war chest last month,” by Sun-Times’ Andrew Sullender.
Democratic ward bosses to be asked to endorse elected school board bills Lightfoot opposes: “It definitely feels like Preckwinkle is trying to put the screws to Mayor Lightfoot to take action on an elected school board,” said Ald. Ray Lopez (15th), who doubles as the Southwest Side ward’s Democratic committeeman. Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman and Rachel Hinton report.
Pritzker signs firefighter pension bill that Lightfoot says could lead to higher property taxes: “The measure, approved in the Illinois Senate during the legislature’s January lame-duck session, does away with what its sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Robert Martwick of Chicago, called ‘one of the oddest quirks of pension law,’” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella and Gregory Pratt.
…The irony: “State Sen. Robert Martwick — a frequent foe of Lightfoot’s — introduced the legislation,” reports Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
Pritzker’s signing comes days after he signed another bill Lightfoot opposed. That bill restores the ability of the Chicago Teachers Union to bargain with the city over issues such as class size, layoffs and the duration of the school year. “CTU had technically been limited to bargaining over traditional issues like pay and benefits, although the scope of negotiations has regularly expanded, most recently when the union threatened to strike over the issue of reopening schools amid the pandemic. Now, the union’s bargaining rights are more in line with teachers unions in the rest of the state,” writes the Tribune’s Jenny Whidden.
— A $25M Illinois program is paying off student loans to encourage homeownership, and that’s drawing buyers: “The program will pay off up to $40,000 in student loans, or a loan amount equal to 15 percent of the home purchase price, whichever is lower. It will also provide a $5,000 loan toward a down payment or closing costs,” by Tribune’s Sarah Freishtat.
— House ethics panel discusses possible ‘revolving door’ prohibition for state lawmakers: “Democratic lawmakers proposed a six-month prohibition period during lame-duck session in January. However, good government groups say that would leave Illinois at the ‘bottom of the barrel’ compared to other states. ‘More than a dozen states have at least a two-year prohibition on lobbying,’ said Alisa Kaplan, Executive Director of Reform for Illinois,” by WGEM’s Mike Miletich.
— Housing advocates plan next steps amid pandemic economic uncertainty: New legislation “aims to direct an estimated $1.4 billion in federal emergency rental assistance to support tenants most at risk for eviction and small landlords in need of the most assistance,” by Capitol News’ Tim Kirsininkas.
— Opinion: Democrats, don’t give up on rural Illinoisans: “I have this hope — possibly a naive one — that Democrats in Illinois can win back rural and small-town voters,” writes state Treasurer Michael Frerichs.
— Procession for fallen Hometown officer comes as charges lodged in his death: “An Oak Lawn man was charged Monday with reckless homicide in connection with the death of a longtime Hometown police officer James Kouski, according to Cook County sheriff’s office,” by Daily Southtown’s Mike Nolan.
— Urlacher co-defendant pleads guilty: “Nicholas Stella, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business. The charge is punishable by up to five years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall set sentencing for June 22,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Stella, who was a police officer, was among 10 people charged in an alleged gambling scheme last year. Also charged was Casey Urlacher, who was mayor of north suburban Mettawa and brother of Chicago Bears great Brian Urlacher. In the final hours of his presidency, Donald Trump pardoned Urlacher.
— Ex-Sesser mayor sues city, two police officers claiming they conspired to have him arrested: “Former Mayor Ned Mitchell, and Elaina Kays, 42, of Sesser, were arrested Jan. 15, 2019, after police executed a search warrant on Mitchell’s residence in Sesser. During the search of the home, police allegedly found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia,” by The Southern’s Isaac Smith.
— Trump and his allies abandon Gaetz, by POLITICO’s Gabby Orr, Meridith McGraw and Sam Stein
… Though Trump country stands with Gaetz, writes POLITICO’s Florida Playbook author Gary Fineout
— Republicans want to make ‘woke’ corporations pay — literally, by POLITICO’s Gabby Orr and Meridith McGraw
— Police chief testifies: Kneeling on George Floyd’s neck violated policy, by The Associated Press
— New ruling could give Dems greater opportunities to push their legislative priorities past GOP opposition, by POLITICO’s Caitlin Emma
— New Covid-19 wave could threaten tourism comeback, by WTTW’s Quinn Myers
— Cash crunch days after Congress agreed to give businesses another two months to apply for PPP loans, by POLITICO’s Zachary Warmbrodt, who quotes Rebecca Shi of the American Business Immigration Coalition in Chicago.
— Ray LaHood resigns Lincoln Museum post after running afoul of feds over undisclosed $50,000 loan: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who appointed LaHood to the Springfield museum’s post in September 2019, accepted the former Peoria congressman’s resignation, said spokeswoman Emily Bittner,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.
— Ximena Larkin will serve as director of digital strategy for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office. Larkin worked on the Biden-Harris transition team, as well as the Biden for President campaign as the deputy director of Latino and Spanish media. Before those roles, Larkin served as the director for special projects for the 2020 Democratic National Convention Committee. Larkin is founder C1 Revolution, a comms company. In her current role, Larkin will lead Lightfoot’s digital initiatives.
— Sarah Hummell is VP of business development for the Sexton Group. She previously was director of vote by mail programs at the Voter Participation Center in 2020 and through the special elections in Georgia. In 2019, Hummell launched the Blue Leadership Collaborative, a training program for candidates. And before that she was deputy political director at DCCC. She was regional field director at Organizing for American in Ohio for Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012.
MONDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to WTAX Radio’s Dave Dahl for correctly answering that a thin strip of Foster Avenue, which connected Chicago proper to O’Hare airport, was the last bit of land to be annexed to Chicago in 1961.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the last father-son combination to serve simultaneously in the Illinois General Assembly? Email to [email protected].
Northfield Township Democratic Committeeperson Tracy Katz Muhl, former state House Rep. JoAnn Osmond, civil rights attorney Jeanette Samuels, and former state Rep. Ed Sullivan.
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April 6, 2021 at 07:10AM