Happy Thursday, Illinois. Oh, baby. Britney Spears broke her silence in a rare court appearance. And did she ever have something to say.
The Chicago Bears have signed a deal with Rivers Casino in Des Plaines to start the team’s first official sports book.
That has everyone wondering how that partnership fits into the team’s bid for Arlington International Racecourse as a potential new stadium site.
Why it matters: Rivers Casino is owned by Churchill Downs, which also owns the 300-acre Arlington Heights horse track.
The Bears aren’t the only team pairing with a sports book, but it seems not-so-coincidentally convenient that the team would pick Rivers Casino, given its connection to Arlington.
Adding to the intrigue: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t ruling out a Bears move out of Chicago. “We have a long lease at Soldier Field,” Goodell said during a radio interview. “It’s a great place. But we’re all looking to the long term and trying to look at alternatives and that’s what the Bears are doing.”
The Bears declined to discuss any Arlington-Churchill-Rivers connection. Instead, the team sent a statement saying it’s “incredibly excited” to announce its partnership with Rivers Casino and its BetRivers sports book.
“We look forward to connecting with our fans in fun and unique ways through these avenues and couldn’t be prouder to be building this relationship with a hometown company,” Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips said in the statement.
The Bears’ bid on Arlington isn’t sitting well with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who sees the move as a bargaining tool to get a financial break to stay in Chicago. Her advice: just build a better team.
Another Wall Street credit-rating agency has issued a positive financial outlook for Illinois. Fitch Ratings Agency said the state is showing post-pandemic “fiscal resilience” and “sustained economic recovery.”
The report follows Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings also moving Illinois’ outlook to stable after near-junk status last year.
“It reflects a positive reaction to Gov. [J.B.] Pritzker’s reasonably conservative budget approach,” budget watcher Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, told Playbook.
Illinois’ efforts to repay earlier federal borrowing and “taking the time to consider the best options” before spending $8.1 billion in federal Covid relief funding also likely helped secure additional credit upgrades, Msall said.
Pritzker called the Fitch rating “yet another sign of positive momentum for our state’s fiscal condition.”
Comptroller Susana Mendoza, whose office oversees debt payment, says the report “vindicates the responsible approach” taken in paying down the backlog of bills “from $16.7 billion in 2017 to $3.4 billion today.”
And House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch said the fact that all three ratings agencies have changed their tune on Illinois “is proof we can support families, invest in underserved communities, and be fiscally prudent at the same time.”
Still, Illinois is “far from out of the woods” to achieve longer-term financial stability, Msall said. “The state of Illinois still needs a long-term, comprehensive plan.”
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No official public events.
No official public events.
In the County Building at 10 a.m. presiding over the Cook County Board of Commissioners’ meeting.
— Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff stopped at an Englewood barbershop and a West Englewood health clinic Wednesday during a trip to Chicago to call attention to vaccination efforts. “This is not political — this is not a political issue,” he told a crowd at Esperanza Health Center Southwest. Among those in attendance: Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, Chicago’s first lady Amy Eshleman, and Chicago Health Department Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. Emhoff’s first stop in Chicago was at Englewood’s It’s Official Barbershop, where he talked with owner Channal Coleman, whose business has been part of Chicago’s hyperlocal vaccination efforts, according to the pool report.
— More Covid funeral reimbursement funds available to Chicago families, but scammers are watching, by ABC/7’s Jason Knowles and Ann Pistone.
— According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate is 0.6 percent, according to the most recent numbers. Chicago’s positivity rate is also at 0.5 percent.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: The theater of the Chicago City Council never disappoints. Wednesday’s meeting will go down as one of the most contentious, and dramatic, in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration — ironic given the most controversial measure of the day never even came up for a vote.
Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman, a veteran on the City Hall beat, called it “one of the more bizarre City Council meetings in memory.”
And WBEZ’s Becky Vevea described it as a “melee,” saying it highlights tensions between the mayor and aldermen that have been simmering for at least a year.
Before addressing a proposal to rename Lake Shore Drive, Lightfoot moved to approve Celia Meza as corporation counsel in the city’s Law Department. It should have been a formality as Meza is already doing the job. But Alderpersons Ray Lopez (15th) and Jeanette Taylor (20th) made a parliamentary move to block the confirmation.
They’re angry at the mayor and the Law Department’s handling of a lawsuit filed by Anjanette Young, the social worker whose home police mistakenly raided in 2019, leaving her handcuffed, naked and crying in her own living room.
Some council members pushed back, saying Lopez and Taylor were denying Meza, a woman of color, an important promotion.
Lightfoot even paused the meeting to talk to Taylor about it. The two were caught on tape arguing, with Taylor pointing her finger and Lightfoot walking away throwing up her hands.
Their confrontation during a City Council meeting stunned.
A motion to adjourn for the day prompted another debate that had Ald. Edward Burke (14th) standing up to cite Robert’s Rules of Order on why the meeting shouldn’t be stopped.
The mayor would have none of that from Burke. “I have considered your appeal, and I’ve denied it,” she told him.
Burke, Taylor and other council members seemed particularly emboldened Wednesday to challenge Lightfoot, prompting buzz that the mayor doesn’t have control of the legislative body the way her predecessors did.
Lightfoot, though, has said she doesn’t want to operate with tight reigns. She doesn’t want to play the game of politics where she’s appeasing council members and stroking egos to get her own agenda passed. She sees that as the old way of doing things. But from the outside looking in, that’s the way things got done.
Wednesday’s meeting ultimately adjourned, and the council is scheduled to return Friday to take up the proposal to rename Lake Shore Drive in honor of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, consider Meza’s appointment, and to vote on Lightfoot’s pandemic protection plan (which includes a midnight curfew on alcohol sales as well as business reforms and worker protections).
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Alexi Giannoulias has won the endorsement of the powerful Illinois Pipe Trades Association, which represents 26,000 employees across the state.
It’s the sixth union endorsement for Giannoulias, a Democrat running for Illinois secretary of state. The primary is in June 2022.
Union support offers an army of volunteers for any campaign, as well as financial support. Wednesday, for example, SEIU’s Illinois Council PAC donated $59,900 to Giannoulias’ campaign, according to the State Board of Elections.
Other union endorsements have come from United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (Locals 881 and 1546), the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (14 Locals), the Painters District Local Council No. 30, and Cement Masons Local 502.
— SPOTTED: A Pride fundraiser for Anna Valencia, who’s running for Illinois secretary of state, was held at the venerable Sidetrack. Spotted in the crowd: Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug, AIDS Foundation Chicago CEO John Peller, Pride Action Tank executive director Kim Hunt, Chicago House CEO Michael Herman, Chicago House Board Chair Ryan Garrison, Howard Brown Health exec Channyn Parker, former Howard Brown board chair Duke Alden, civic activist Roderick Hawkins. state Rep. Margaret Croke, former Ald. Deb Mell.
— Rodney Davis for governor? It sounds more possible by the day: The Illinois congressman doesn’t critique President Joe Biden. Instead, he focuses on Gov. J.B. Pritzker, “injecting his opinion on state legislative matters. There is a purpose for Davis wading into Illinois state politics — it’s a trial balloon as he explores a possible run for governor in 2022 against Pritzker, who has all but declared his intent to seek a second term,” writes Lee Enterprises’ Brenden Moore.
— New research out of the Brookings Institution examines “small and midsized older industrial communities of the Midwest” described as “legacy communities” with “outsized political clout.” The research by John Austin and Robin Johnson shows many once-traditional Democratic strongholds in the Midwest are now bastions of support for former President Donald Trump — even in Illinois. The Land of Lincoln as a whole has gotten progressively more blue thanks to the growing outsized votes coming from Democratic Chicagoland. In 2000, Illinois gave presidential candidate Al Gore a very slight edge and then went on to firmly support every Democratic presidential candidate after that. But during this same period Illinois’ fourteen manufacturing heavy downstate legacy communities have marched consistently to the right, with once Democratic Madison, Macon and Vermilion counties today solidly in the Trump column, their research shows.
— Janice Jackson on CPS exit: “I think that I’ve made things better… It hasn’t been easy, but there have also been far more positive things that have happened.” WTTW’s Matt Masterson reports.
… CPS looks to re-engage students this summer while it searches for its next CEO, reports Sun-Times’ Nader Issa
— Mayoral ally proposes ban on ‘single-use foodware’: “Sealed bags — filled with everything from plastic silverware, chopsticks, wipes and condiments to salt, pepper and napkins — would no longer be automatically included in take-out meals and deliveries,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Street vendors first banded together to rent commercial kitchen space — then they bought the building: “The collective of street vendors — many of whom have advocated for decades for Chicago to establish a license to protect their fellow eloteros and tamaleros — say the purchase of the kitchen can help pave the way for other street vendors to get a license by allowing them to rent it at affordable prices,” by Tribune’s Laura Rodriguez Presa.
— Amazon plans Humboldt Park delivery hub: “The facility, planned for late 2022, will bring 500 full- and part-time jobs to the West Side, an alderman says,” Sun-Times’ David Roeder reports.
— Michelin-starred chef José Andrés to open first speakeasy in Chicago this summer: “The yet-to-be-named underground cocktail bar will be one of five establishments the Nobel Prize-nominated chef plans to open this year in Chicago,” by Crain’s Ally Marotti.
— Jedidiah Brown, a Chicago activist who ran for City Council in 2019, now lives in Atlanta: Leaving Chicago was like “ending an abusive relationship … and we got kids,” he told Mark Konkol in an interview in Patch.
— Chicago TikToker shares city’s history in viral videos, by WGN/9’s Lauren Jiggetts
— With $1B from feds, Cook County plans a hiring spree: “They’re doing so with an eye toward equity, for everything from helping people pay rent to boosting small businesses that had a devastating year. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and members of her financial team say they don’t yet know how many people they plan to hire. The county now has more than 21,000 employees,” by WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch.
… Cook County officials project $121M shortfall in 2022, casting a more hopeful outlook on pandemic recovery, reports Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— Federal prosecutors investigating Cook County land bank, deals involving former employee: “A subpoena sent May 21 requested records involving the sale of 24 properties by the land bank as well as emails and other records relating to Mustafaa Saleh, the agency’s former senior asset manager, records released in response to a Tribune Freedom of Information Act request show,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin, Jason Meisner and Gregory Pratt.
— National Weather Service working to ‘solve the puzzle’ of Sunday’s storm: 3 tornadoes confirmed, but officials study possibility of at least one more, reports Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas
— Springfield, Christian County attorneys are finalists for U.S. attorney, reports State Journal-Register’s Dean Olsen
— Chicago banker goes on trial over alleged bribery: “Stephen Calk is accused of seeking Trump administration job in exchange for $16 million in loans to former Trump campaign manager,” by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein.
— Michael Saunders of Englewood Four, who got big settlements after being cleared in 1994 rape-murder, shot to death: “He and three others said the Chicago police coerced them to falsely confess, and they were exonerated. He helped other exonerees and planned to go back to school, his lawyer says,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.
— After two years in Chicago’s MCC, R. Kelly moved to Brooklyn detention center ahead of trial: “The judge presiding over his case in New York said last week she wanted to question Kelly in person about a potential conflict of interest involving one of his lawyers,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.
— As Ben Zobrist’s sensational lawsuit proves, sticking to sports is hard to do: “The former Cub is in the news for something that has very little to do with the game he played, baseball, and very much to do with a game lots of people seem interested in, alleged marital infidelity,” by Sun-Times’ Rick Morrisey.
— ‘A lot of people are jaded’: Dems despair amid D.C. gridlock, by POLITICO’s David Siders
— Democrats hurtle toward debt deadline without a clear plan, by POLITICO’s Caitlin Emma
— Biden announces plan to crack down on ‘merchants of death’ who illegally sell guns, by POLITICO’s Maeve Sheehey
— Obamacare supporters see opening to shore up law after court win, by POLITICO’s Susannah Luthi
… ILLINOIS CONNECTION: Tusk Strategies was founded by Bradley Tusk, the former aide to Rod Blagojevich when he was governor of Illinois. Tusk went on to work for Mike Bloomberg and make a fortune as a venture capitalist.
— Chicago magazine taps Tribune’s Amy Carr as editor: “Amy Carr, who stepped down after eight years as a top features editor at the Chicago Tribune, is back in the fold as editor of Chicago magazine… Carr succeeds Susanna Homan, who accepted a buyout after five years as editor-in-chief and publisher of Chicago magazine. Homan announced Wednesday that she’ll start next week as CEO of the nonprofit no-kill shelter PAWS Chicago,” by media reporter Robert Feder.
— Kendra Abercrombie is the diversity, equity, and inclusion manager at the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (2Civility). She will lead the commission’s educational and advocacy initiatives. Abercrombie previously worked at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, where she was associate director of admissions and diversity recruitment.
WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats Northwestern Memorial HealthCare exec Robert Christie, Chicago State University government relations director Monica Gordon, WTAX political reporter Dave Dahl, and politico Will Stefanisin for correctly answering that Western Illinois University got its nickname, Fighting Leathernecks, from the Marines.
h/t to Len Kapacinskas, who notes that the nickname was championed by legendary coach Raymond “Rock” Hanson, who petitioned the Marines for permission to use the name and likeness. He was a friend of the great Knute Rockne.
TODAY’s QUESTION: What was the first animal purchased for Lincoln Park Zoo and how much did it cost? Email to [email protected]
State Sen. Omar Aquino (2nd), former state Rep. Joe Lyons, Chicago Department of Buildings managing deputy Grant Ullrich, Illinois Department of Insurance chief of staff K.C. Stralka, Bow Truss owner Phil Tadros, and POLITICO’s Adrienne Hurst.
via Illinois Playbook https://ift.tt/2NknKhq
June 24, 2021 at 07:10AM