Happy Tuesday, Illinois. I hope you’re feeling energized by all the fireworks.
Expect a Democratic extravaganza in Crystal Lake on Wednesday when President Joe Biden comes to town to promote his American Families Plan — a package of legislative proposals that would increase federal spending on child care, paid leave, pre-kindergarten, community college and health care.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, and Senate President Don Harmon are all making plans to join Biden at McHenry County College.
The visit will put Biden in Trump(ish) country — McHenry County voters supported Trump 50.2 percent to Biden’s 47.7 percent — but Crystal Lake leans left. It’s represented by Democratic Reps. Lauren Underwood (14th) and Sean Casten (6th), who also are both expected to attend the event.
Underwood and Casten serve in districts once considered GOP strongholds. The Democratic pair have two election victories under their belts but they — and maybe Biden — aren’t taking anything for granted. A visit by the president is always a welcome boost.
Illinois isn’t the first Midwestern state to get attention from Biden. He was in La Crosse, Wis., last week, and visited Traverse City, Mich., over the weekend.
Local Democratic leaders were “mum about the details” of Biden’s visit, reports Daily Herald’s Madhu Krishnamurthy.
"The event is not a political event," Kristina Zahorik, chair of the Democratic Party of McHenry County, said in a statement about Biden’s visit. "We are excited, however, that the president is highlighting our great community college and thank him and our Illinois Democratic delegation for supporting building back better with investments in the American Rescue Plan, the American Infrastructure Plan, and the American Family Plan."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot won’t be attending the suburban gathering, but she is expected to have an audience with Biden. We can guess with our eyes shut what they’ll discuss: the problem of gun violence.
Downtown Chicago residents, are planning on the president making a stop in the Loop. Military helicopters have been flying over their high-rise condos, a usual signal that the White House team is practicing for POTUS’ arrival.
Official crime stats are coming out today after Chicago experienced its deadliest weekend of the year. As many as 17 people were killed and 99 people shot. At least eight children or teenagers were wounded, according to the Sun-Times.
The staggering numbers come on the heels of Police Superintendent David Brown suggesting Friday that CPD had the weekend under control. During a marathon six-hour hearing with the Chicago City Council, Brown offered few details about how CPD would tackle the looming weekend of crime.
He also made a “not-so-subtle suggestion that the meeting was a waste of time,” explains the Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.
For their part, aldermembers mostly served softball questions, allowing Brown to pontificate on his broader views about policing while dodging specifics. Brown suggested, for example, that he couldn’t show his cards about CPD’s strategy for the weekend because it would tip off gangbangers.
Critics came away with the feeling his responses were outright disingenuous. It’s hard to believe, for example, that gang members are so sophisticated as to pay attention to what the police chief has to say about deploying officers.
Brown was most forceful in reiterating his concerns that the crime problem is a result of courts being slow to ramp up in wake of the pandemic and allowing the electronic-monitoring release of jail inmates. “Our courts are out of control,” he said.
It’s a point the mayor has echoed, but the Better Government Association says it goes too far. In it’s latest fact-check, the BGA says, “While jury trials were postponed until late March this year, the court system has continued its other operations during the pandemic.”
— Fireworks, heat and violence: First Fourth of July weekend without restrictions since the pandemic began, by Tribune’s Madeline Buckley, Maggie Prosser, Megan Crepeau and Morgan Greene
— Chicago police commander and sergeant wounded after police dispersed a crowd in Austin, by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm
— U. of C. student dies after he was hit by stray bullet on Green Line, by Tribune’s Madeline Buckley
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At Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove at 11:45 a.m. to visit a Red Cross Blood donation drive and to sign legislation expanding access to health care.
At Gately Park at 2 p.m. for a ribbon-cutting for the new combined track field and After School Matters flagship site.
No official public events.
— LATEST NUMBERS: The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday reported 54 additional deaths and 2,120 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus since its June 25 report. That’s a total of 23,245 deaths and 1,392,552 cases due to Covid in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from June 25 to July 1, is 0.9 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 0.8 percent.
— Unvaccinated people are ‘variant factories,’ infectious diseases expert says: “The only source of new coronavirus variants is the body of an infected person. ‘The more unvaccinated people there are, the more opportunities for the virus to multiply,’ Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN.”
— Organ transplant patients remain vulnerable as country struggles to reach herd immunity, by Tribune’s Madeline Buckley
— Three Chicago teens, one pandemic year: How Covid widened education gaps for boys of color: After spending the school year following the triumphs and challenges of three teen boys, Chalkbeat’s Mila Koumpilova explores how policymakers and education leaders can seize on a moment of disruption — along with billions in federal stimulus dollars for schools — to overhaul how cities and school districts in Illinois and across the country serve Black and Latino boys and young men.
… Pandemic magnifies disparities, but STEM educators, students determined to prevail, by Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta
— SCOOP: Democratic Rep. Dave Vella and Republican Rep. Tom Bennett, assistant minority leader, had planned a bipartisan legislative update over lunch tomorrow, but the invitation rankled Republicans who didn’t see the benefit of such public camaraderie. There was even talk about some GOP members calling a caucus meeting to voice their concerns. Their view: “Why would our leader co-host a Democratic meet-and-greet?”
The event didn’t just cross party lines, it crossed district lines, too. Vella is in the 68th District and Bennett in the 106th. Vella thought it would be a good way for lawmakers to get to know his district, he told Playbook. “My goal is to bring as many people as I can to look at the manufacturing, trade schools, and restaurants that are here,” he said. It’s about “reaching across the aisle.”
But before anyone could RSVP, Bennett had to bow out, said Vella. “He wasn’t able to make it.”
— Corporate giving: 6 months after Capitol assault, corporate pledges fall flat: After the Jan. 6 insurrection, many of those companies have resumed funneling cash to political action committees that benefit the election efforts of lawmakers whether they objected to the election certification or not… A few Chicago-based companies — Archer Daniels Midland and Kraft Heinz — said they would halt campaign contributions following Jan. 6 “to give them time to reassess their campaign finance strategy.”
— From ‘outlandish’ to reality: How the fight for $15 was won In Chicago: “[I]t was perhaps the very boldness of the demand, along with a key labor turning point in Chicago, that helped propel the campaign to a win. And for early organizers, many who have moved on in their professional and personal lives, the Fight for $15 still offers important lessons on how to center campaigns not around preconceived notions about what can be won — but instead to stay focused on what would measurably improve workers’ lives,” writes WBEZ’s Odette Yousef.
— Advocates hopeful Biden pledge to fight gun-trafficking will focus on private sellers: “Such sales contribute to Chicago’s violence issues, experts have said, and have been a catalyst in high-profile crimes here. Federal authorities discovered three years ago that a gun sold in that way ultimately was used in the fatal shooting of Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer outside the Thompson Center in the Loop,” by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner.
— New fire commissioner fleshes out plan to reduce response time to medical emergencies: “Instead of adding ambulances to the Chicago Fire Department’s fleet, Annette Nance-Holt will buy smaller vehicles, each staffed by two paramedics, to respond to less serious calls that do not require transport to a hospital,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— In letter, City Hall watchdog Joe Ferguson reveals plan to step down: “The letter warns aldermen about the complex process to replace him, but it reads more like a resignation letter with Ferguson announcing he’d be stepping down by end of business on Oct. 15,” by WBEZ’s Claudia Morell.
— What happened after Lightfoot called Chicago cop ‘a walking time bomb?’ Not much: “Lightfoot was flagging a WBEZ story from the previous day outlining Purkiss’ history of social media posts that had prompted a Cook County judge to call the officer ‘frightening,’ a judgment Lightfoot echoed in her email,” by WBEZ’s Patrick Smith.
— What the closing of another hospital pediatric unit means for Chicago parents: “As community hospitals wind down their pediatric care, there could be barriers for parents and their children. Traveling further to another hospital can be inconvenient and expensive — consider a pricey parking garage downtown — and scary at a time when parents and their kids are particularly vulnerable,” by WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch.
— Opinion by David Axelrod: When it comes to people like my daughter, one size does not fit all: “Lauren faces another battle, not with epilepsy or the toll it’s taken, but with policy changes that could deny her and others with intellectual disabilities the life they choose in concert with their families and loved ones. The issue is federal Medicaid funding to states, which helps underwrite residential facilities for people with intellectual disabilities, and the conviction of some advocates and policymakers that larger settings like Misericordia should be discouraged.”
— Blair Mansion, one of seven mansions remaining on North Lake Shore Drive, sells for $4.25M, reports Bob Goldsborough for the Tribune
— Journalist/author Alex Kotlowitz talks about his craft with podcaster Marc Sims on “Just a Few Questions.”
Metra adding train service for returning commuters: “The commuter rail system said it will expand service during rush hour on seven lines serving Chicago and the suburbs. The change is effective July 12,” by The Associated Press.
— Pritzker issues disaster proclamation in response to Morris industrial fire: “The disaster proclamation grants officials the ability to expedite state resources, personnel and equipment, as well as allows for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to provide additional aid,” via NBC/5.
— Bryant demands Choate Mental Health place indicted employees on leave: “It is unconscionable that the individuals charged with covering up and interfering with an investigation into the abuse of residents are continuing to actively work and have access to the staff and facility — the very facility in which they failed to properly protect the vulnerable residents under their care. It’s simply inexcusable,” Bryant said in a statement. “These individuals must immediately be put on administrative leave until these allegations are thoroughly investigated.” WSIL TV’s Danny Valle reports
— Illinois vaccine lottery: First drawing takes place this week: “Illinois’ vaccine lottery offers a total of $10 million in prize money to residents who get vaccinated against Covid-19,” via NBC/5.
— Lincoln Museum obtains key 1854 Lincoln letter, reports The Associated Press’ John O’Connor
For 20 years, the family of Tionda and Diamond Bradley has asked: Where are our girls? “Twenty years ago this summer, Chicago launched what investigators say may be the city’s largest missing persons investigation to date,” by USA Today’s Eric Ferkenhoff and Grace Hauck.
— Illinois appellate court denies exonerated man’s innocence certificate: “The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office vacated Wayne Washington’s conviction in 2015 and dismissed the charges against him — shortly after then-Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn commuted [his co-defendant’s] sentence,” Injustice Watch’s Amy Qin writes.
— In a rare move, Illinois board revokes parole it gave Ray Larsen, Northwest Side teen’s killer: “After unanimously rejecting his 2018 parole bid, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board had voted in April to free Larsen. Then, he went on the lam — twice,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.
— R. Kelly’s lawyer wants trial delayed due to jail quarantine, by The Associated Press
— Q&A with Kinzinger on the moral failure of Republicans and the Big Lie: “I won’t name names, but yes, I do have that suspicion” that some members of Congress were aware of what was going to happen on Jan. 6 at the Capitol, he tells David Marchese in the New York Times Magazine.
… What Kinzinger is reading: “Unstable Majorities,” by POLITICO.
— Congressman Brad Schneider is heading to the Middle East as part of bipartisan delegation trip, according to New York Rep. Gregory Meeks, who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Schneider will join Ted Deutch (D-Fla), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), Kathy Manning (D-N.C.), Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), and French Hill (R-Ark.). The Middle East trip is meant to bolster diplomatic relationships with the Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The announcement of the diplomatic journey comes a few weeks after Schneider and fellow Jewish House lawmakers accused Rep. Ilhan Omar of likening the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and Afghanistan’s Taliban.
— Biden allies brace for GOP attacks when southern border reopens, by POLITICO’s Anita Kumar and Sabrina Rodriguez
— New York’s ‘head-swirling’ mistake puts harsh spotlight on ranked-choice voting, by POLITICO’s Maya King and Zach Montellaro
— A hidden abortion crew prepares to confront a post-Roe America, by POLITICO’s Darius Tahir
— Good read: On their 75th anniversary, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrate a record-setting love story, by the Washington Post
— Luis Agostini is now public affairs specialist, leading comms for the Drug Enforcement Administration Chicago Field Division, which covers Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. He previously was assistant comms director for the Chicago Police Department.
— Waverly Gordon has been promoted to deputy staff director and general counsel of House Energy and Commerce. She is an alum of Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky.
— A Juneteenth wedding for two community activists: “Whitney Jean and Troy Alim II fell in love after meeting at a voter-registration drive in Chicago about five years ago,” via the New York Times.
— Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair and Fermilab computational physics developer Eric Vaandering, who married last month in a private ceremony at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., celebrated their nuptials with family and friends (journalists and scientists) at their home in the western suburbs over the weekend. It felt a lot like a press conference with so many reporters and editors on hand — folks who work or have worked at the Tribune, Sun-Times, WBEZ, AP, Better Government Association and POLITICO attended. Interesting side note: Vaandering was also the Muskegon Chronicle newspaper carrier of the month in the 1980s, so you can say they really are a journalism couple.
A highlight of the backyard affair was a poem written by former Tribune columnist Mary Schmich and read by reporter Christy Gutowski. It opened this way:
“This romance starts one winter, in a time of bitter cold.
The meeting place? eHarmony. The lovers’ age? Well, old.
They met with online handles that were very, very racy
My friends, don’t blush to hear these names — They’re ‘Eric’ and, um, ‘Stacy.’” Pic!
Richard A. Davis, a noted neurosurgeon and brother of former first lady Nancy Davis Reagan.
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to comms consultant Jim Bray for correctly answering that Kerner’s Curve lies in Bureau and Putnam counties.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Which Chicago mayor graduated from Glenbard East High School? Email to [email protected]
h/t to Judi Blakemore for the question.
Former President George W. Bush, state Rep. Kelly Burke, St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Will Boyd, PNC Asset Management Group EVP Carole Browne (former City of Chicago CFO), POLITICO White House correspondent & associate editor Anita Kumar, Italian Village marketing chief Pam Capitanini, SEIU comms program manager Jennifer Owens, Gateway Foundation marketing manager Thelma Sardin, public affairs strategist Jill Zuckman, writer Robert Loerzel, and lobbyist Sam Panayotovich, a former state representative and former director of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission who turns the big 7-5.
July 6, 2021 at 07:50AM