Happy Thursday, Illinois. Anyone else following CDC Twitter updates like you check the weather?

PROGRAMMING NOTE: I’m taking time off next week, so email now if you’ve got something to say: [email protected].

It was déjà vu all over again. Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a new mask mandate Wednesday and Republicans criticized him for not seeking the advice of legislators.

The governor’s direction requires masks to be worn for workers in state facilities, prisons, day care centers, and public and private schools — where students must mask-up, too. The rule kicks in Oct. 4, allowing for unions that represent state workers to negotiate the specifics.

Pritzker defended his widely anticipated decision by pointing to rising Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations driven by the Delta variant.

“As your governor, it’s my duty to say that we all must take immediate and urgent action to slow the spread of the delta variant. People are dying who don’t have to die. It’s heartbreaking, and it impacts us all,” Pritzker said in Wednesday’s news briefing.

“With new vaccinations trailing off and the delta variant taking hold — primarily among unvaccinated people — new case counts have jumped and created a dilemma for public school systems across the state,” WBEZ explains in its thorough report. “Many of those districts are due to open later this month with partially unvaccinated enrollments, particularly in elementary and middle schools.”

Republicans were quick to complain. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and state Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie criticized Pritzker for taking a “unilateral” approach to handling the pandemic.

And state Rep. Mike Murphy of Springfield called on House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch to call the Legislature into session to get legislators involved in decision-making. After all, Murphy said, the new speaker “promised a ‘new day’ with a more involved and open House of Representatives.”

Welch supports Pritzker’s mandate. “It’s time for the GOP to stop trying to score political points at every chance possible and instead lead with science, research and the advice from health professionals,” spokeswoman Jaclyn Driscoll said.

The Illinois Republican Party, meanwhile, criticized Pritzker for simultaneously running ads that highlight his administration’s response to the pandemic while also issuing new mandates.

“Governor Pritzker cannot have it both ways,”state GOP Chairman Don Tracy said in a statement. “He cannot run political TV ads that take a victory lap over his pandemic response while at the same time reinstituting Covid mandates and mitigations. The return of these mandates is a clear admission of his own failure.”

This week, the governor purchased a total of $121,964 in TV ads across all Comcast markets of Chicago and central Illinois. We’ll see if they’re focused on the pandemic.

For all the complaints from Republicans, Pritzker’s mask move also drew praise. Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery called the mask mandate a “prudent course of action.”


Suburban schools say they won’t defy Pritzker’s mandate, by Daily Herald’s Katlyn Smith and Christopher Placek

Though districts are bracing for controversy, reports the Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta

Masks are required for indoor high school sports, too, reports the Daily Southtown

What GOP gubernatorial candidates think, by Center Square’s Greg Bishop

The Sun-Times quotes state Sen. Darren Bailey, a Republican rival in the 2022 governor’s race

Dr. Arwady went undercover at Lollapalooza. Here’s what she says she saw, via NBC/5

REALITY CHECK: “With Delta, our vaccine coverage levels aren’t high enough to squash this virus,” said Julie Morita, who is now at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation but did her share of messaging when she was Chicago’s public health commissioner. “That applies both domestically and globally.” In other words, without enough vaccination, the cycle will keep repeating, reports Joanne Kenen in POLITICO’s The Nightly.

Weed sales hit record $128M in July, with a little help from Lollapalooza: “The blowout sales month — up 10 percent from the previous high of $116.4 million in May — included four days of booming business at Chicago-area cannabis dispensaries during the annual music festival, which returned to Grant Park last Thursday after a one-year pandemic hiatus,” by Tribune’s Robert Channick.

Some pot license winners now looking to sell to highest bidder: “State law doesn’t prohibit the new licensees from unloading for millions of dollars and potentially “giving it away to the white boys again,” one critic said,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.

Clout, cops and a ‘Very Cavallari’ castmate: Here’s who just won weed licenses in Illinois: “The state announced the winners of 79 licenses to grow, infuse and transport marijuana products this week. Officials touted that 67 percent of the winners identify as nonwhite and 83 percent qualified for social equity status,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.

Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]

At Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at 9:30 a.m. to sign legislation removing financial barriers to feminine hygiene products. Then to Cairo at 12:15 p.m. “to mark a new milestone in expanding opportunities in Cairo and around the region.”

At UCAN at 1 p.m. to provide an update on public safety.

No official public events.

Kirk Dillard ponders another governor run: “The chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority says suburban moderates and business leaders want him to run against Gov. J.B. Pritzker — and he hasn’t said no,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.

Mixed response from Republicans already in the hunt for the GOP nomination for governor, according to Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.

— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, a candidate for secretary of state, has secured endorsements from Democratic state Reps. LaShawn Ford, Lakesia Collins, Justin Slaughter and Nick Smith, state Sen. Dave Koehler, and committeepersons Frank Zuccarelli and Patricia Joan Murphy, who are from big vote-getting townships of Thornton and Worth. “I’m proud to have worked closely with Alexi during his time as State Treasurer,” Ford said in a statement, ticking off initiatives that Giannoulias championed, including “helping the unbanked.” Ford entered the General Assembly in 2007, the same year Giannoulias began serving as treasurer. Collins applauded Giannoulias for “running a campaign based on progressive ideals.”

Another GOP candidate vows to unseat Kinzinger: “Minooka resident Michael Rebresh has entered the contest, announcing his candidacy in a news release Tuesday. Rebresh’s campaign website says he led protests against child mask restrictions implemented by the state….Six other Republicans have also declared they’re challenging Kinzinger,” by Daily Herald’s Russell Lissau.

Elmhurst politician seeks higher office: “Former Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni, a Republican who has served on the DuPage County Board for nearly a decade, is running for board chairman, according to state election board records,” by Patch’s David Giuliani.

More on the energy bill: Lacking a lifeline, Exelon CEO says Illinois nuclear plants will be retired this fall: “Exelon Chief Executive Christopher Crane said in the company’s earnings release that ‘passage of [federal] legislation remains uncertain and, regardless, will come too late to save our Byron and Dresden plants from early retirement this fall,’” reports Reuters’ Scott DiSavino.

Police accused of another botched raid in lawsuit: “A Black family is suing the Chicago police department, saying officers broke down their door and pointed guns at two small children while searching the place and then tried to cover up that they had no evidence to justify the raid,” by the AP’s Don Babwin.

Alderman angry only one Hispanic is among nine listed for promotion to CPD lieutenant: “Here’s an opportunity to meritoriously promote some more Hispanics to make it more reflective of the city. And then, we get the short end of the stick. I’m tired of it,” said Ald. Gilbert Villegas, chairman of the City Council’s Hispanic Caucus. By Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

Parks chief promised lifeguard abuse investigation — but did not act for six weeks: “Kelly’s office only gave the initial whistleblower’s letter to the park district’s inspector general on March 19, 2020. That was two days after aides to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot forwarded Kelly a separate but even more disturbing complaint from another young woman,” by WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos.

City Hall mulls pushing back deadline on casino bids: “Lightfoot is considering giving potential bidders more time to make a move — though it’s tough to tell if it’s because there’s a flurry of last-minute interest, or if it’s to make the eventual selection more politically palatable,” by Crian’s Greg Hinz.

It’s Jack Rosenberg Way: “Jack ‘Rosey’ Rosenberg, whose name was synonymous with sports on WGN-Channel 9 and WGN 720-AM for more than 40 years, is being officially honored by the city of Chicago. The southeast corner of East Illinois Street and Cityfront Plaza Drive near Tribune Tower will be designated ‘Jack Rosenberg Way,’ thanks to a City Council resolution sponsored by Alderman Brendan Reilly. The tribute culminates a six-month campaign by WGN Radio morning star Bob Sirott to honor the beloved and influential sports editor and producer, who died in December at 94,” writes media reporter Robert Feder.

Activists call on Lightfoot to block permit for Southeast Side metal-shredding plant:Reserve Management Group was cited by city last month after a roof collapse at a building on the proposed site.” by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm.

Report: Streets & San has taken a whack at weed-cutting deficiencies, but still short of goals: “The original audit sought to determine whether the department had met its goals of mowing all city-owned vacant land four times during the growing season [defined as May 1 to Oct. 31] and addressing all weed complaints within six weeks,” by WTTW’s Patty Wetli.

Cool time-lapse video of CTA moving a 1,000-ton historic building 30 feet, story by WTTW’s Patty Wetli

— Tensions continue in Calumet City Hall: A dispute between Clerk Nyota Figgs and Mayor Thaddeus Jones, who’s also a state rep, went public last week when she described City Hall as a hostile workplace.

“Figgs said she feels harassed to the extent that she is working remotely in a public park across the street from the municipal center, 204 Pulaski Road,” wrote Ted Slowik in the Daily Southtown. “It is unfortunate that Clerk Figgs has stoop[ed] to an enormously low level by disrespecting the hundreds of thousands of women in this country who are victimized through acts of realistic bullying,” Jones said in a statement in response to an inquiry. “Clerk Figgs is not being bullied.”

Now Figgs has called a press conference for today to further address the issue.

Somber pandemic milestone: 11,000 Covid deaths in Cook County: “Among those who have most recently died from the virus are a 31-year-old man from Chicago’s Austin neighborhood and a 28-year-old man from Little Village. ‘No matter your age, no matter how healthy you are, you’re susceptible to the virus,’ Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. ‘It can kill you, and it will most certainly leave devastated family and friends behind,’” by WTTW’s Kristen Thometz.

Dixon comptroller who stole $54M released from prison after serving half of sentence: “It is incredibly frustrating that Dixon was given no victim notification of Rita Crundwell’s release,” Dixon Mayor Liandro Arellano said in a statement posted by the city. “Dixonites are still dealing with the social and financial aftermath of the damage she did, and our community deserved notice of and reasoning for this decision.” WGN/9’s Ben Bradley reports

Cecily Strong of ‘SNL’ via Chicago has launched ‘Schmigadoon’ and written a memoir — but she’s still figuring it all out: “At the beginning of 2020, in January, I lost my cousin Owen to glioblastoma [a form of brain cancer] and I didn’t really grieve it,” she tells the Tribune’s Christopher Borrelli about how she came to write a memoir during the pandemic.

Bridget Bodo finds second wind in sailboat racing: The Lake View resident who lost her leg in a motorcycle accident in 2003 now races sailboats in tournaments for disabled sailors, writes Sun-Times’ Madeline Kenney.

— Fact-check: No, Pelosi was not calling all the shots for Capitol security officials on Jan. 6: “During a GOP press conference ahead of a House probe into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois claimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in charge of all actions taken by Capitol security leadership that day. That’s highly misleading,” by Better Government Association’s Kiannah Sepeda-Miller.

Lauren Underwood’s Long Game: “The former nurse who flipped Illinois’s 14th District rode into Congress with a historic freshman class. She may have a better shot than any of them at making real change happen,” by Kim Brooks in Chicago magazine

From Rachel Maddow: Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi says “Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark didn’t just prepare a draft a letter encouraging Georgia Republicans to overturn Biden’s win. He prepared similar draft letters to SIX states whose results Trump wanted to overturn.”

Landlords sue to stop Biden’s ‘nakedly political’ eviction ban, by POLITICO’s Katy O’Donnell

Biden’s vision for the border has gone bust. But what’s Plan B? By POLITICO’s Sabrina Rodriguez and Anita Kumar

House GOP’s new midterm headache: Candidates tied to the Capitol riot, by POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers, Sarah Ferris and Ally Mutnick

Talk of a Cuomo impeachment is about when, not if, by POLITICO’s Bill Mahoney

How Cuomo’s office sought help from prominent liberal advocates as it pushed to discredit an accuser, by the Washington Post

Pritzker is latest Dem to urge NY governor to ‘resign,’ by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton

How Obama changed the conversation around ‘first blacks,’ by the Undefeated’s Michael A. Fletcher

— Union leaders and EPA workers in the Great Lakes region, which includes Illinois, have written a letter to the White House recommending that Micah Ragland be appointed as regional administrator to lead the EPA Region 5 Office. Ragland has worked as an EPA official on the Flint lead crisis and would be the first Black person to head the office. Also competing for the job: Debra Shore, a Chicago water reclamation commissioner.

Chicago house icon Paul Johnson dies from Covid-19 at 50, by WGN/9’s Shannon Halligan

— Dr. Vince Brandys has joined industry colleagues to start Stingray Strategies, a consulting firm that will focus on “healthcare, governmental advocacy and aviation.” He most recently served as head of government affairs at Illinois College of Optometry, where he’s held several positions over the past 20 years and was instrumental in getting the state to recognize optometrists as physicians in the Affordable Care Act for electronic health records.

— Jason Eliason is now chief of staff at Metropolitan Family Services, reporting to the nonprofit’s President and CEO Ric Estrada. Eliason comes to the role with 20 years of experience in information technology, operations and client services, most recently as director of Information Technology for Haymarket, a multi-site, non-profit substance use disorder treatment center.

The inaugural recipients of the Paul Simon-Jim Edgar Statesmanship Award are the “11 Republican members of the Illinois General Assembly who supported a critical budget package in July 2017 in the interest of fiscal solvency for Illinois,” announced former Gov. Jim Edgar and John Shaw, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Tonight at 5:30 p.m.: State Treasurer Mike Frerichs and Assistant House Majority Leader Jay Hoffman hold a rooftop fundraising reception at the home of attorney Rob Kelter. Email [email protected] or call 312-870-0841 for details.

WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to attorney Graham Grady and retired law library director Scott Burgh for correctly answering that Alta Vista Terrace near Wrigley Field, features homes designed in a diagonal mirror image of each other, and to Charles Eastwood, UIC College of Medicine associate director of comms, for noting that Bissell Street near Lincoln Park Zoo also is designed in a diagonal mirror image.

h/t Sean Tenner, the Democratic committeeman of the 46th Ward where Alta Vista is located, for this fact: Alta Vista residents had an 85 percent voter turnout in the last election.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Which Illinois county has the smallest population? Email to [email protected]

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot celebrated her birthday last night at the White Sox game with her City Hall staff. “It was as much a celebration with her team for their hard work over the last year” as it was a birthday party, according to a source close to the mayor.

State Sen. Melinda Bush, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Jeanne Wrenn, former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride, YMCA donor relations manager Mariam Pera, Service Club of Chicago board member Vonita Reescer, Tipsy Cake founder Naomi Levine, journalist Jim O’Shea, comms consultant Stephan Benzkofer, and PR pro Chip Bouchard Vassil.



via Illinois Playbook

August 5, 2021 at 07:35AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s