TGIF, Illinois. Good luck to all the politicos marching in parades this weekend. Wear comfy shoes and don’t forget to smile.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Illinois Playbook won’t publish Monday but will land in your inbox like normal on Tuesday.
Fireworks will likely come early, as City Council members grill Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown today on how his team is working to reduce crime in the lead-up to the July 4th weekend, a period that’s traditionally the deadliest of the year.
Some questions expected to be posed to Brown: How will the Chicago Police Department deploy officers? Why must officers work 12-hour shifts? Does CPD have enough equipment (cars and officers) when they cancel days off? Will CPD collaborate with federal authorities? And how can not-for-profits and other organizations outside of City Hall coordinate with police to address crime?
City Hall says Brown has been accessible during three recent monthly updates and has taken calls from aldermen, but some on the council say he hasn’t been forthcoming enough about details.
They’re concerned about whether officers are being taken out of some districts to focus more on others. They wonder if decision-making is data driven, or reactionary, based on the alderman who yells loudest?
All these questions go to the heart of the problem: Chicago is in a violence crisis. “Chicago has seen at least 336 homicides for the first six months of the year, just two more than at this point in 2020 but 33 percent more than 2019’s 252 homicides,” according to an analysis by the Sun-Times. “Last year was one of the deadliest in the city in decades, with 775 killed, a sharp spike from the 500 homicides in 2019.” It’s a frustrating trend happening in just about every major city.
“We would love to be back on the momentum of 2019′s decline,” Brown said at a press briefing Thursday. “But we’re grinding our way with progress, and I would argue through the most difficult challenges in the history of policing in this country with, coming off a global pandemic, social justice movements, civil unrest. You all have heard all of the challenges that we face.” Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner, Gregory Pratt and Annie Sweeney have a full story.
Council members from neighborhoods with the highest rates of crime are especially frustrated. Anecdotally, they worry violence this weekend will run rampant on their streets while police blanket Michigan Avenue to keep the Mag Mile safe.
The University of Chicago’s Crime Lab made a presentation yesterday at the Chicago Fund Peace Summit that seems to back up their concerns. Data shows the safety and racial gaps between the eight most violent districts and the eight safest districts is larger than it has been since the city started collecting data.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed frustration on Thursday, too, that gun violence persists. But she also questioned the motives of calling a special meeting when information has been available all along. She suggested it was organized by the same aldermen who challenge her at every turn.
She compared it to the Council Wars, when Ald. Edward Burke and his white aldermanic allies challenged another Black mayor, Harold Washington.
“Burger King Ed is still alive and well. And he is messing around and trying to create chaos,” Lightfoot said, referencing Burke’s federal indictment for allegedly shaking down owners of a Burger King in his district. “He can’t do it in a way that makes him public. But he’s doing it through puppets and trying to orchestrate chaos. We’ve seen this picture show in ‘83, ’84, ’85, ’86. But guess what? Having seen that nonsense, it’s not happening again.”
Some folks took to Twitter to complain about Lightfoot disparaging Burke, forgetting, apparently, that he’s been indicted for corruption yet still sits on the council. The Trumpian name-calling is a bit jarring but he’s otherwise fair game.
Martwick for mayor? State Sen. Robert Martwick says he’s been approached to run for mayor of Chicago. “Some very influential people are encouraging me to run,” he told Playbook when we called asking if the chatter was true. “I’m honored they think I would be able to do the job. I don’t think it’s an easy one.”
Martwick, a Democrat, said he’s focused on running for state Senate in 2022. The mayor’s race is a few months after the general election in 2023.
“I’ve always said never say never, but I really enjoy being a senator. I like advocacy and digging in on issues that move the needle,” he said.
Most recently, that was championing the Chicago elected school board bill that’s headed to the governor’s desk. The fact that Lori Lightfoot opposed that legislation makes Martwick’s potential entry in the mayor’s race all the more intriguing.
A Lightfoot-Martwick contest would also allow us to revisit their shouting match in the lead-up to the 2019 mayoral election. Good times.
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At La Catedral Café & Restaurants 9 a.m. to join SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, Rep. Chuy Garcia and others to highlight a small business impacted by the pandemic. At 11 a.m. he’ll be at Wrigley Field to attend a naturalization ceremony of 172 new citizens from 45 different countries.
At La Catedral Café & Restaurants 9 a.m. to join SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, Rep. Chuy Garcia and others to highlight a small business impacted by the pandemic. At 11 a.m. she’ll be presiding over a special City Council meeting.
No official public events.
Chicago Ald. Carrie Austin and her chief of staff were indicted on bribery charges Thursday for using their government “influence” in exchange for perks such as home improvements, furniture and appliances from a construction company and other contractors, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
At the time, Austin chaired the City Council’s powerful Budget Committee. The 34th Ward alderman is the third member of the City Council now under federal indictment, along with Alds. Ed Burke (14th) and Patrick Daley Thompson (11th).
Austin is charged with one count of bribery conspiracy, two counts of using interstate facilities to promote bribery, and one count of lying to the FBI.
Her chief of staff, Chester Wilson Jr., 55, is charged with bribery conspiracy, two counts of using interstate facilities to promote bribery and one count of theft of government funds.
The theft charge accuses Wilson of illegally purchasing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. “Wilson, who was not eligible for SNAP benefits due to his city of Chicago salary, allegedly obtained a card containing SNAP benefits by paying cash to the recipient in an amount below the face value of the card, the indictment states,” according to the indictment.
Some historical perspective from the Tribune: “Austin is known for her at-times fiery demeanor. She has occasionally lashed out harshly at colleagues for what she perceives are disrespectful questions during committee hearings.
“When the inspector general recommended firing her son from his city job in a controversy over a vehicle accident, Austin fumed, ‘I’m sick and tired of this [expletive] city witch-hunting my [expletive] family.’”
— Cost to Bears for breaking Soldier Field lease? Peanuts compared to price tag for a new stadium in suburbs: “If the Bears were to break the lease five years from now, in 2026, the team would have to pay $84 million in damages to the city, the analysis found. That estimate assumes the Bears’ inflation-adjusted payments to the city would continue to rise at a pace similar to increases since the lease’s inception in 2003. If the team waited beyond 2026 to leave Soldier Field, the financial penalty would be less,” by Tribune’s Bill Ruthhart.
— Questions swirl about how Miami University handled assault claim against a former Blackhawks coach: “Police investigated a former Chicago Blackhawks coach in 2018 for the possible sexual assault of a male college student who wanted his case documented in case the coach “does something like this again, particularly to children,” newly released law enforcement records show. But the investigation at Miami University, about 280 miles southeast of Chicago, appeared to quickly dead end, with police there closing the case after only interviewing the student,” report WBEZ’s Dave McKinney and Tony Arnold.
— Lincoln Park High School basketball scandal: A girl blamed, a team supported and, so far, 6 lawsuits, by Tribune’s Hannah Leone
— Opinion in the Washington Post zeroes in on the mayor: “Lightfoot’s chaotic leadership in Chicago threatens to squander the promise of her election,” writes Micheline Maynard.
Rush of cases as Cook County Courts reopen could force prosecutors to drop charges: “Thousands of criminal cases have built up in Cook County over the past 15 months, as the county’s massive court system has been all-but shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That means thousands of people locked up in jail, on electronic monitoring or out on bond have essentially had their cases on hold. But the waiting caused by the pandemic could mean many people accused of non violent crimes will get off scot-free,” by WBEZ’s Patrick Smith.
— Illinois EPA urges legal action against battery company over Morris fire: “Its referral is called an ‘enforcement action,’ requesting the state move to penalize the company for several alleged violations. Also Thursday, Morris Fire Chief Tracey Steffes said that the fire department Wednesday night applied 28 tons of Portland cement in an attempt to “smother” and “consume” the batteries, which had reacted to the heat,” by Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas and Maggie Prosser.
— Illinois laws that took effect July 1: “July 1 marks the beginning of the new fiscal year in Illinois, which means the state’s new budget takes effect. In that budget passed at the end of the legislative session is funding appropriated for a new lottery for residents who have gotten vaccinated against Covid-19,” NBC/5 has a list of laws.
… Illinois no longer suspending, holding drivers licenses for those who cannot pay tickets or fines: “Effective July 1, a criminal justice reform bill from the Illinois Black Caucus (House Bill 3653) eliminates license suspension for those who were unable to pay traffic tickets, automated red light and speed camera tickets, and parking tickets. The state will also reinstate driving privileges for those who have had their driver’s license suspended for not paying those tickets,” by WMBD’s Sheridan Hurtig.
— FOID card reform bill heads to Pritzker’s desk: “If the bill becomes a law, the state will have the ability to issue people FOID cards any time a firearm transaction is made. Richard Pearson, the executive director of the other Illinois State Rifle Association says the bill will allow FOID cards to be renewed automatically if people submit a copy of their fingerprints,” by ABC/20’s Alyssa Hui.
— Curious about the salaries of a government agency? Here’s a breakdown of how you can find them using public records and our salaries database, by Better Government Association’s Olivia Obineme.
Some west suburban and south suburban mayors have endorsed Alexi Giannoulias for the Secretary of State’s Office. Signing on: Melrose Park’s Ronald M. Serpico, Westchester’s Frank Perry, Maywood’s Nathaniel George Booker, Berkeley’s Robert E. Lee Jr., River Grove’s David B. Guerin, Schiller Park’s Nick Caiafa, Franklin Park’s Barrett Pedersen, Broadview’s Katrina Thompson, Elmwood Park’s Angelo "Skip" Saviano, Hillside’s Joseph T. Tamburino, and Riverside’s Joseph Ballerine. Pic!
Why Congress is still cautious on cannabis: POLITICO cannabis reporter Natalie Fertig and Playbook co-author Tara Palmeri discuss the growing cannabis dissonance between Republican senators and voters in their home states, and why Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer shouldn’t be optimistic about passing federal legislation. Listen and subscribe to Playbook Deep Dive
— Rep. Rodney Davis’ name is being batted about as possibly being among the five Republicans who House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy may appoint to sit on the Jan. 6 special committee. Punchbowl News says Davis is a possibility because he sits on the Committee on House Administration — ”the panel controls the House and half of the Capitol complex. And for a committee looking into the attack on the Capitol, that kind of knowledge is useful. We’d probably say Davis is the better choice here — he’s more senior, and he really knows his stuff. Plus, his Democratic counterpart — Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) — is on the committee already, and it would be useful to have him as the Republican counterweight.”
— Rep. Chuy Garcia saw a bill he sponsored get signed by President Joe Biden. S. J. Res. 15 “voids a rule by the Office of the Comptroller under the Trump administration that allowed payday lenders to partner with banks to circumvent interest limits, permitting rates of up to 100 percent,” according to UPI. At the signing, Biden said, "These are so-called ‘rent-a-bank’ schemes… And they allow lenders to prey on veterans, seniors and other unsuspecting borrowers trapping them into a cycle of debt. And the last administration let it happen, but we won’t." The bill was one of three signed by Biden that nullifies Trump-era rules.
— Rep. Bobby Rush, now on House Ag Committee, touts work for Black farmers, on energy, by Hyde Park Herald’s Aaron Gettinger
— 37 House Dems demand McCarthy take ‘immediate action’ on Marjorie Taylor Greene: Lawmakers cited several incidents of concern, including one in February where Greene put up a sign reading “There are TWO genders” across the hall from Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.), who has a transgender daughter and who signed onto the letter. Greene responded, referring to Newman as “Newperson,” and said: “I receive constant harassment in public caused by the Democrat lies promoted by the media… [Democrats] singled me out and kicked me off committees for doing nothing wrong, and the death threats haven’t stopped since.” via Forbes.
BIKING BUDDIES: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Rodney Davis biked around Washington yesterday, and apparently talked shop. The Illinois Republican is on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“Not a better way to talk transportation issues and share a few stories and laughs than a great bike ride with @SecretaryPete this morning,” Davis tweeted.
“We went from Capitol Hill to Gravelly Point Park,” Davis told West Wing Playbook. “Great ride and I overcame my fear of riding across bridges and rivers quickly!”
Buttigieg apparently borrowed his husband Chasten’s bike because his famous commuter hybrid got a flat over the weekend.
— Why an indictment of the Trump Organization really is an indictment of Trump, by POLITICO’s Michael Kruse
— Cheney joins Dems on Jan. 6 probe, defying McCarthy threat, by POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris and Nicholas Wu
… Meanwhile, Kinzinger has this to say about McCarthy threat: ‘Who gives a sh—,’ reports POLITICO’s Nicholas Wu
— Tucker Carlson told associates he voted for Kanye, not Trump, by POLITICO’s Daniel Lippman
— Advocates decry Supreme Court’s surprisingly sweeping voting rights decision, by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein and Zach Montellaro
Chicago Ald. Gilbert Villegas has been named to the board of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. He’s on the board for the Class of 2024-First Term.
THURSDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Jordan Henderson, office assistant for Congresswoman Robin Kelly, and WTAX Radio’s Dave Dahl for coming closest to answering that Helmut Jahn designed the Agricultural Engineering Sciences Building addition at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the parking ramp on 7th Street, next to the Bank of Springfield Center. (They each got one right!).
TODAY’s QUESTION: In which two counties does Kerner’s Curve run? Email to [email protected]
h/t to political consultant and trivia master James Nowlan for the question.
Today: state Sen. John Curran (41st), state Rep. Will Davis (30th), SEIU Executive Director Jerry Morrison, former state Rep. Mike Unes, 44th Ward aldermanic Chief of Staff Bennett Lawson, Berman Institute President Sam Chapman, political consultant Bill Velazquez, attorney Jennifer Zucker Healy, lifestyle blogger Zondra Hughes, restaurateur Curtis Duffy, and Mark Palmer, chief counsel of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.
Saturday: former federal prosecutor and legal analyst Renato Mariotti, former state Rep. Eileen Lyons, Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson, Gibsons Managing Partner Kathy O’Malley Piccone, Swirlz Cupcakes co-owner Pam Rose, and real estate broker Terry Schwartz.
Sunday: state Rep. Dan Brady, state Rep. Sam Yingling (62nd District), DuPage County Board member Pete DiCianni, businessman and former political candidate Chris Kennedy, CivStart Impact Initiatives Director Kris Adams, TV reporter Diana Gutierrez, Goodman Theatre Comms Director Denise Schneider, and Malia Obama.
Monday: Rep. Darin LaHood (18th), former state Rep. James Brosnahan, Duckworth Senior Policy Adviser Mark Copeland, Thinkinc public affairs CEO Laurie Glenn, Progressive TurnOut Project Coordinator Julio Guzman, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s Kelley Merwin, real estate agent Helen Jaeger Roth, and Playbooker Gregory Quarles.
July 2, 2021 at 08:46AM