Good Monday Morning, Illinois. Hope you enjoyed your autumn weekend.
A huge cache of internal emails from City Hall was hacked by a third party and made public Friday, revealing the inner workings of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration in Chicago.
The select group of emails had been given to the Jones Day law firm as part of an inquiry into how the police raid on Anjanette Young’s home had been handled. The law firm transferred them to a third party as part of that investigation using a data software service when the emails were swiped. “The breach … at no time involved or impacted the city’s computers or computer system,” according to a statement from the city.
The emails were posted online by Distributed Denial of Secrets, a WikiLeaks-esque group. The file is 4.6 GB — too large for your Playbook author to download, so I’m relying on a few sources who have shared some of the more interesting missives.
The emails primarily involved former deputy mayor Susan Lee, former deputy press secretary Patrick Mullane, former Chief Risk Officer Tamika Puckett, and former mayoral Freedom of Information Act Officer Anjali Julka. They also include emails by Lightfoot and her outside communications consultant, Joanna Klonsky.
They show a mayor who, much like former Mayor Richard M. Daley before her, puts a great deal of energy into every detail of management.
An email sent April 14 at 7:06 a.m. shows Lightfoot’s frustration about the lockdown not being enforced during the worst of the pandemic.
“I have made a point of driving around the city more just to see what’s happening on the street. Consistently, since we really started clamping down on the stay at home order, not one north side district reports any dispersal orders given. I see people out all over in congregate settings, particularly in parks on the north side. That makes me think nothing is being done and it should be,” the email reads.
Another email shows the mayor’s opposition to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office releasing inmates from jail during the early stages of the pandemic.
“I think we should seek to intervene or file an amicus (I know they are rare at the trial court level). …Many of the people in the jail are violent offenders. [Sheriff Tom] Dart has taken many steps to help decompress his dorms, etc. Obviously, we should care about the outcome of this lawsuit because the vast majority of the detainees are city residents and the burden of release will fall on us and Cook County Hospital and releasing sick patients makes no sense.”
And South Side Weekly reports some emails show the mayor lobbied for qualified immunity, the practice that protects police officers from being personally sued for civil rights violations.
Watch for more emails to emerge as the giant file is dissected.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The hack has prompted Ald. Gilbert Villegas to introduce a resolution at the next City Council meeting this month calling for hearings on cybersecurity. “We want to ensure that our ransomware and cybersecurity is up to date,” he told Playbook. Villegas, who heads the Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development said the resolution calls for the Assets, Information and Services Department and the Information Technology Department to come before aldermen “to give assurances that our IT security is up to par given the recent revelation that there were emails hacked.”
SOUNDS FAMILIAR: The cyber breach affecting City Hall comes on the heels of a ransomware attack on Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office.
IN MEMORIAM: HELMUT JAHN, the renowned architect whose work is integral to Chicago’s skyline, was killed over the weekend while riding his bike in west suburban St. Charles, where he lived. He was 81.
Best known in Chicago for designing the colorful and controversial James R. Thompson Center in the Loop and the United Airlines Terminal 1 at O’Hare, Jahn’s work can be seen throughout Illinois and across the country.
Tribune’s Chris Jones aptly describes Jahn as an “ebullient and massively successful German American ‘star-chitect.’”
Jahn was born near Nuremberg, Germany, in 1940 and landed in Chicago in 1966 to study at the Illinois Institute of Technology under modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Jahn went on to fame in Chicago and beyond, designing Sony Center in Berlin, One Liberty Place in Philadelphia, and the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.
In Chicago, it was his Thompson Center that drew the most attention, in part because it was so difficult for the state to afford the upkeep of the building. In the most ironic of ironies, just last week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker put the building up for sale.
If there is a silver lining, writes Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg, Jahn’s death “means that at least he didn’t suffer that grimmest of fate for an architect: to see his buildings torn down.”
Jahn’s sudden death prompted an outpouring of tributes on social media, including from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who called Jahn one of Chicago “most inventive” architects and whose “impact on the city — from the skyline to the O’Hare tunnel — will never be forgotten.”
Jahn made Chicago his own, moving its architecture “through the modern movement and into the 21st century. He never saw his work or his ideas as a static body, and showed an investment in both the future of the buildings he designed and the people who engaged with them,” tweeted architectural historian Elizabeth Blasius.
Lee Bey, an architecture writer and adjunct professor at IIT called Jahn’s death a “shocking loss in the global architectural world.”
And Blair Kamin, the longtime now retired Chicago Tribune architect writer, showcased Jahn’s work in a tweet, saying, Jahn achieved “decisive victory for both Manhattanism and postmodernism.”
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At Harris Bank Building to announce updates on Chicago’s vaccination efforts.
At Building Owners and Managers Association at 9 a.m. to announce expanded vaccination efforts. Then joining members of the state Legislative Black Caucus at 10:30 a.m. at West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park to discuss healthcare equity.
No official public events
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 30 additional deaths and 1,741 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 22,223 fatalities and 1,354,967 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from May 2-8 is 2.9 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 4.3 percent.
— More than 4,700 Covid cases in Illinois involve variant strains of virus: “That variant, according to Illinois Department of Public Health officials, spreads more easily and rapidly than previous strains of the virus, and has been shown in some studies to be more deadly,” via NBC/5.
— ‘I think we’ll be testing forever’: Testing remains a vital tool in war on COVID-19, despite growing number of vaccinations, by Tribune’s Madeline Buckley
— Tens of thousands of Chicagoans still haven’t gotten their second Covid shots, by WBEZ’s Becky Vevea
— Young, pregnant Chicago woman, dead from Covid, was afraid to get vaccinated, by Sun-Times’ Mark Brown.
— Illinois teen dies of Covid two days after testing positive, by WGN/9’s Shannon Halligan.
Ald. David Moore has jumped into the competitive Democratic race for Secretary of State, a position that’s been held for more than 20 years by Jesse White, who’s retiring next year.
Moore made his announcement in a late-Friday press release followed by a Saturday morning press conference at Western Illinois University, his alma mater.
Moore says he’s talked to people “from across the state” about the office needing to be focused on customer service. “It’s a critical piece” of the office, he told Playbook, adding that’s not a criticism of how White has run his shop. “But it’s something to build on.”
The 17th Ward alderman also wants to see a greater focus on technology to improve how young people can register to vote, which falls under the Secretary of State’s Office, as well as residents being able to renew their licenses more efficiently.
The Secretary of State’s Office also handles lobbyist registrations and statements of economic interest, which have come under scrutiny in wake of recent corruption investigations. “As you look at lobbyists, you want to make sure they don’t have so much influence,” Moore said.
He has been a Chicago alderman since 2015 and serves as vice chair of the Council’s Budget and Government Operations Committee. Before becoming an alderman, Moore held positions in the city’s Aviation and Housing Authority departments and before that worked for the Cook County Board of Review.
Moore has worked on city legislation that assures the city improves on hiring firms that are owned by Black, Latinx and women.
Other Democrats who are also vying for the Secretary of State position include fellow Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell, former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, state Sen. Michael Hastings, and Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia.
— GOOD ANALYSIS: Plenty at stake in politically charged debate over cap on state and local tax deductions: “Removing the cap, part of President Donald Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is a politically fractious issue, even among Democrats, with some arguing it mainly favors the wealthy. President Joe Biden’s administration has delivered mixed signals on where it stands,” reports Tribune’s Rick Pearson.
— OVERVIEW: Fight over data at center of census redistricting debate: State lawmakers are “quarreling over whether they should use the census data or the American Community Survey data,” reports State Journal-Register’s Ben Szalinski.
— Unemployment in Illinois: More funding and help on the horizon: There’s “bipartisan consensus” on the opinion that the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) “is in rough shape and that the state’s struggling jobless residents deserve better… Rep. La Shawn Ford, part of a team of Springfield Democrats drafting the Fiscal Year 2022 state budget, says Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s requests for additional IDES funding will be reflected in the proposed budget. And he expects the General Assembly to approve it by the end of May,” reports Jeremy Gantz for Center for Illinois Politics.
— State regulators answer queries on predatory lending law: “The information from the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is aimed at helping consumers understand the Predatory Loan Prevention Act. That legislation signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on March 23 prohibits loans with an annual percentage rate of more than 36%. Loans covered by the law but taken before March 23 are void and lenders may not attempt to collect any part of it,” by The Associated Press.
— Ten years ago, Illinois abolished the death penalty. These people helped make it happen, with seven short videos by Injustice Watch’s Juliet Sorensen.
— Man says he lost his job in southwest Illinois because he was ‘supported by Republicans,’ by Belleville News-Democrat’s Kavahn Mansouri.
— TAX CREDIT CONSIDERED by state lawmakers to spur more construction of affordable housing: “Faced with a chronic shortage of safe, decent and affordable housing for working-class residents and senior citizens, Illinois lawmakers are looking into creating a state-level tax credit for investors that would generate even more financing for developers and more rental units. The Build Illinois Homes Tax Credit, part of House Bill 3123 and Senate Bill 2440, is sponsored in the General Assembly by Rep. Delia Ramirez and Sen. Mattie Hunter, both Chicago Democrats, but it has bipartisan support,” by State Journal-Register’s Dean Olsen.
— Where suburban lawmakers hold sway under the Capitol dome: “Six suburban representatives sit on the ever-important Appropriations-General Services Committee, including Chair Fred Crespo, a Democrat from Hoffman Estates, and Vice Chair Stephanie Kifowit, a Democrat from Oswego. The General Services Committee deals with all funding related to the attorney’s general, state treasurer and governor’s offices. Crespo’s and Kifowit’s influence in budget talks will be especially prominent in the coming weeks as the General Assembly races to deliver a budget to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk before May 31,” by Daily Herald’s J.J. Bullock.
— House Republicans argue lawmakers are “wasting time” as session winds down: “The House adjourned after less than 10 minutes of session Friday morning….Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) said people back home want lawmakers working on important issues at the Capitol. However, she stressed that most Republican bills remain stuck in committee and haven’t made it to the House floor,” by WGEM’s Ali Rasper.
— Providers hope Illinois can finally boost budget for disability services, by WGEM’s Mike Miletich.
— Lawmakers look to end isolation time-outs, restraints in schools, reports ABC/20’s Tessa Bentulan.
— IS IT A MIDTERM CORRECTION, Covid fatigue or mass exodus? Lightfoot’s revolving door keeps spinning: The chief operating officer and street commissioner are leaving. And “Sources said Lightfoot’s chief of staff, Maurice Classen, has told associates he, too, may be preparing to depart City Hall… The mayor acknowledged it has been a ‘difficult year’ and ‘a lot of people are taking stock of where they are’ as she approaches the halfway point of her term on May 20,” reports Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Lightfoot halts General Iron permit after pressure from Biden’s EPA chief: “Newly appointed EPA Administrator Michael Regan says a thorough review of health hazards from the proposed facility should be done because Southeast Side pollution issues ‘epitomize the problem of environmental injustice,’” by Sun-Times’ Brett Chase.
— Family of Anthony Alvarez wants ‘policing failures’ be addressed after his fatal shooting by an officer, by Tribune’s Annie Sweeney.
TIFFANY HENYARD becomes Dolton’s youngest, first female mayor: “Henyard said she is creating a new position of economic development director to develop a comprehensive plan to improve infrastructure, bring in businesses and improve existing businesses. Henyard stressed the village needs jobs and will encourage neighboring mayors to bring in manufacturing and big companies to the area,” reports Daily Southtown’s Jeff Vorva.
… A major presence at the ceremony was former Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, who was master-of-ceremonies and will be the village’s transition manager for up to six months. Also in attendance, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
— Relatives of LaSalle Home veterans who died of Covid-19 to sue state: “I wish I would’ve asked more questions, but I trusted them, I put my faith in them, I put my father’s life in their hands and, pre-Covid, I had no problems — they were very, very good, very caring to my father,” David Liesse said of the state-run veterans’ home that was his father’s home since 2018. He is one of about two dozen relatives who lost family members at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home who are now preparing to file suit against the state and the home for what Liesse calls “all around mismanagement,” reports Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Former Secretary of State administrator sentenced in fraud case: “Candace Wanzo, 58, of Centralia, was sentenced to 18 months each on two counts of theft and one count of fraud in federal court in Springfield. Wanzo oversaw the public service center in the Howlett Building where vehicle owners can pay title and registration fees, apply and pay for license plates and make sales tax payments for vehicles,” by State Journal-Register’s Steven Spearie.
America’s most conservative states are embracing medical pot: “Despite struggles in Kentucky and Tennessee, the year looks up for medical marijuana supporters,” by POLITICO’s Mona Zhang, Paul Demko and Natalie Fertig.
Kinzinger says GOP should ‘quit peddling in conspiracies’: Of his fellow Republicans in the House who have maintained loyalty to former President Donald Trump, the Illinois Repubican told CBS’ Face the Nation: “They’re going to get rid of Liz Cheney because they’d much rather pretend that the conspiracy is either real or not confront it than to actually confront it and maybe have to take the temporary licks to save this party and the long-term of this country.”
— Biden hungry for a jobs deal with Republicans, by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki, Laura Barron-Lopez and Christopher Cadelago
— Why Democrats stopped stressing over big spending, by POLITICO’s David Siders
— Chuck Grassley’s push-up challenge sounds like it’s from ‘Seinfeld.’ But his longevity is no joke, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett
— Florida school halts use of fictional book about a Chicago boy killed by police, by Sun-Sentinel’s Rafael Olmeda
— Ken Griffin’s Citadel and Citadel Securities and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to aid India: “Commitments totaling $5.5 million will fund respiratory care efforts and the installation of oxygen generation plants across India,” according to a statement.
— Chicago Med’s Torrey DeVitto confirms romance with Cubs Manager David Ross: “On Saturday, the Chicago Med star, 37, shared a black-and-white selfie on Instagram in which she kissed the Chicago Cubs manager, 44, on the cheek. “Love him madly,” DeVitto wrote in the caption with a red heart emoji,” via People.
Valentina Stackl and Alexander Campbell, via NYT: “Ms. Stackl, 35, a senior communications specialist for Greenpeace USA, and Mr. Campbell, 33, a policy adviser for Representative Jesús G. García, Democrat of Illinois, were married March 20 in the bride’s mother’s backyard in Silver Spring, Md.”
Today at 11 a.m.: Reset on WBEZ examines Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s investment priorities and asks, “Are the mayor’s strategies the right ones to create transformational change?”
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Melissa Buenger, senior policy analyst for the Chicago Health Department, for correctly answering that after hugging Mayor Richard Daley and Rep. Bobby Rush in 2008, former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. went on to encourage Michael Madigan and Rod Blagojevich to hug it out, too.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Which former Chicago Health Department commissioner grabbed headlines with his wild antics, including examining the body of a long dead presidential assassin, tracking down child abusers and declaring war on sexually transmitted disease? Email to [email protected]
Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, former state Rep. John Bradley, actor and retired Cook County Judge Gloria Coco, Attorney General’s Office policy adviser Katharine Eastvold, former Cook County State’s Attorney spokesman John Gorman, political strategist Adam Gunther, Curren Media Group’s Erik Curren, and Ivan Gonzalez, chief of staff to state Sen. Omar Aquino.
via Illinois Playbook https://ift.tt/2NknKhq
May 10, 2021 at 07:29AM