What happens when the money’s gone?


What happens when the money’s gone?

Happy Tuesday, Illinois. When Metallica’s return makes it feel like life is normal.

The big takeaway from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2022 budget plan, which she delivered to the City Council in a passionate, one-hour address Monday, is what happens next year?

What happens when the $1.9 billion in federal Covid relief funding isn’t around to keep the “big, bold audacious” plans going?

A highlight of Lightfoot’s budget plan includes $31.5 million in monthly payments to low-income residents “in need of additional economic stability” in what she described as a “first-of-its-kind pilot in Chicago” and possibly the largest of its kind in the country.

Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) was stunned that the mayor’s proposal mirrors the guaranteed basic income ordinance that he has been pushing for the past six months without support from Lightfoot. “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but I don’t like our work being plagiarized. No es Bueno,” he told Playbook.

A spokeswoman for the mayor’s office told us: “We’re glad to work with Chairman Villegas and other champions of direct cash programs to advance this historic policy.”

Next, aldermen will debate and discuss the plan before voting. “We have questions about some of the new initiatives, but I think it’s supporting people who need the most coming out of the pandemic and that’s the intent of the federal dollars," Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said.

And Ald. Ray Lopez (15th), often a critic of Lightfoot’s initiatives, said “We’re seeing policies resurrected from previous administrations, where you borrow and get by until it’s someone else’s problem.”

Lightfoot’s plan has no layoffs and there isn’t a big burden on taxpayers — a relief, says Ald. Derrick Curtis. He expects discussions in the coming weeks to focus on spending on initiatives. “We can’t keep putting the funds in the same place and look for different results.”

The proposal addresses various areas of public safety, including an 11 percent increase in spending for the Chicago Police Department and $135 million funding of violence prevention. Some progressives “quickly criticized” the mayor’s decision to increase police spending, reports WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel.

The plan also allots $86 million for mental health services, $202 million to reduce homelessness, and $150 million for youth programming.

The savings, according to Lightfoot: $131 million from “improved fiscal management,” $25 million by “sweeping” old accounts, $21.6 million in health care savings, $46.2 million in lower-than-expected costs from the just-negotiated police contract, and $62.6 million from “improved revenue projections.”

As the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman reports: “Once again, the mayor’s plan to eliminate her own budget shortfall includes offloading costs to Chicago Public Schools. This time, CPS will be asked to cover $75 million in pension costs for school administrators who draw their retirement checks from the Municipal Employees Pension Fund.”

Some good news: There’s a surplus of $271 million in tax increment financing funds, and CPS will see $150 million of that, while another $67 million will go to the city’s corporate fund.

Tribune’s Gregory Pratt and John Byrne remind: “Chicago’s structural deficit will also continue to grow in 2022 because of state-imposed requirements for the city to increase funding for its pension funds.”

“The devil is in the details,” said Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th). “We just got the budget book and detailed proposals and we’re going line by line to assess if this is the investment plan our community needs.”

Between the big federal windfall and the lack of a property tax hike, the mayor’s budget plan is expected to have an easier go than last year’s proposal, which passed the council on a 29 to 21 vote and included a $94 million property tax hike.

Lightfoot’s goal: ‘a safer, strong and more prosperous city’ via Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

2022 Budget Overview (all 212 pages), from the mayor’s office

American Rescue Plan Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Detail, from the mayor’s office.

Easing up on cannabis zoning: The Chicago City Council voted 33 to 13 to relax zoning requirements for cannabis dispensaries in the city.

Approval of the plan allows the city to open up more properties to cannabis operators, with an emphasis on enhancing opportunities for Black and brown residents trying to get a foothold in the industry.

The plan opens up areas of the city that had virtually been cordoned off as “exclusion zones.” Having previously assured the city earlier this year that Michigan Avenue wouldn’t become a "pot paradise," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s new plan also eliminates the seven so-called cannabis zones that had been created to put caps on the number of licenses in each zone.

The council’s vote was supposed to happen last week but was delayed by a parliamentary maneuver pushed by two of Lightfoot’s critics, Ald. Anthony Beale and Ald. Ray Lopez.

Lopez is concerned that cannabis companies are only “fronts” for equity and that they’re actually headed by white owners. “This is wrong. We can slow down. We can do this right,” he said during floor debate.

Ald. Jason Ervin, who heads the council’s Black Caucus, pushed back, saying that if 40 percent are “fronts, that means that 60 percent of them are actually legitimate. Do we want to hold back legitimate social equity businesses from participating?”

Ervin and others said further delay only helps cannabis companies already in the market, and those aren’t equity candidates.

Even the mayor voiced concerns about how social equity has been defined and carried by state lawmakers. It’s an issue we’ve been writing about.

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

At Walter R. Sundling Junior High School in Palatine at 10:15 a.m. with U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and other officials for a special announcement. At noon he’ll be at Access Hawthorne Family Health Center in Cicero with the Education secretary to tour an Illinois state health center offering Covid-19 vaccines. And at 1:15 he’ll be at Omni Ecosystems LLC in Chicago to announce capital grants as part of Rebuild Illinois.

At Chicago State University at 4 p.m. with U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona for a roundtable discussion on education equity.

No official public events.

Illinois schools, hospitals begin vaccine mandate with Covid-19 testing option: “While most teachers and nurses are already vaccinated, administrators at school districts and hospitals are now bracing for tough conversations with some of their unvaccinated employees who may refuse to submit to testing. A small group of protesters, including some health care workers, rallied outside the state Capitol on Saturday to voice opposition to the vaccine mandate. Since unvaccinated workers have a week to show their employers a negative Coronavirus test, the first hard deadline will come at the end of this week,” by WCIA’s Mark Maxwell.

Pritzker strikes 1st deal with a state workers union over vaccine mandate: “The deal covers about 260 workers, a fraction of employees who work in residential settings such as state prisons or veterans’ homes,” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.

— Commentary | To slow the spread of Covid-19, Illinois must decarcerate, by Erika Tyagi, Amanda Klonsky and Eric Reinhart.

Pritzker announces ‘historic investment’ of $327 million in pandemic relief for low-income families: “The $327 million is available through two state programs — the Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program and the Community Services Block Grant Program. The funds can be put toward rent, utilities, food and other expenses related to housing regardless of a person’s immigration status,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.

One U.S. state stands out in restricting corporate use of biometrics — Illinois: “Illinois’ law prohibits private sector companies and institutions from collecting biometric data from unsuspecting citizens in the state or online, no matter where the business is based. Data cannot be sold, transferred or traded. Unlike any other state, citizens can sue for alleged violations, which has sparked hundreds of David-and-Goliath legal battles against some of the world’s most powerful companies,” by Reuters’ Michael Berens.

— Investigation: Does state program designed to help crime victims really help?: The state’s crime victim compensation program “can provide up to $27,000 of expenses for qualified crime victims. But NBC 5 Investigates analyzed every claim over the past 10 years, more than 42,000 claims, and discovered the money the state is awarding victims has dropped sharply over the past 10 years, from more than $12 million a decade ago to just over $4 million last year,” by Rob Stafford, Lisa Capitanini and Katy Smyser.

Metamora and Washington are seeing growth. Why they’re bucking population trends? By Peoria Journal Star’s Phil Luciano

A bigger, better Soldier Field? Lightfoot makes pitch to keep Bears in Chicago: “I am a Bears fan. I want the Bears to stay in the city of Chicago. And we are willing to work with them to try to address their concerns. But, I’ve got to do it in a way that is fiscally prudent and doesn’t preclude other uses in that stadium,” Lightfoot told the Sun-Times editorial board. By Fran Spielman

Bears’ rift with the Park District widens over stalled sports betting lounge at Soldier Field, reports WBEZ’s Tony Arnold.

— Feature from the BBC: The Black cowboys of Chicago’s South Side: “When the legendary black Chicago cowboy, Murdock "The Man with No First Name", rides one of his horses through Chicago’s Hyde Park and along the South Shore segment of the lakefront path, he often finds himself explaining the rules of the road to questioning police officers. ‘It’s perfectly legal to ride a horse in Chicago," said Murdock, who goes by one name and was himself a cop before founding one of the city’s last remaining private equestrian clubs, the Broken Arrow Horseback Riding Club, ‘so long as you obey the traffic rules.’”

— INVESTIGATION: Gun stolen from a small shop in Wisconsin is linked to 27 shootings in Chicago: “The Tribune examined hundreds of documents obtained through open-records requests to outline and understand the Glock’s path to and throughout Chicago, conducting numerous interviews to learn how the weapon moved about the city and hearing from those whose lives were forever altered by its use,” by Jeremy Gorner, Annie Sweeney and Rosemary Sobol.

61 people shot, 12 fatally, during the weekend in Chicago — including 29 on Sunday alone, by Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas and Jade Yan.

Possible indoor vaccine mandate faces flak from city restaurant group, by Sun-Times’ Jason Beeferman.

What should Chicago’s new schools CEO tackle first? Parents, students, and insiders have ideas, by Chalkbeat’s Cassie Walker Burke and Mila Koumpilova.

BOTTOMS UP! Gibsons Bar & Restaurant is featured in a scene in “Chicago Party Aunt,” the animated adult show on Netflix. In one episode, the Party Aunt drowns her sorrows at Gibsons in a giant piece of chocolate cake — it seems exaggerated, but that’s how the Gold Coast restaurant really serves its cake. And she laps up martinis so large they’re served in gravy boats. There’s some truth to that, too. Gibsons owner Steve Lombardo III told Playbook when the restaurant first opened, it mistakenly ordered glasses that were meant for desserts. “We didn’t want to fill them half-way,” said Lombardo. “So we started serving martinis in those large glasses filled to the brim.”

We asked: How have your restaurant habits changed since Covid-19 (aside from just not going as often!)? Journalist Andy Shaw summed it up for a lot of folks: “We will only eat at restaurants with outdoor dining areas or inside if we can sit near an open window or on a screened-in porch. No exceptions, at least for now.”

Question: What’s your best Gibsons story with an eye toward politics? Email to [email protected]

Benet Academy under fire for rescinding job offer to lacrosse coach after learning she is gay, by Shaw Media’s Bob Rakow.

Archdiocese announces merger of suburban parishes: “The announcement is part of the Renew My Church initiative, which has combined a number of parishes to address declines in membership,” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.

Fire destroys historic Beecher church during Oktoberfest, by Daily Southtown’s Bill Jones

Professor yelled racial slurs, spit on Black woman and her 7-year-old in Oak Park, prosecutors say: “Alberto Friedmann also sped toward the woman in his Jaguar and almost hit her, according to prosecutors,” by Sun-Times’ Emmanuel Camarillo.

Feds: Trial of alleged Four Corner Hustlers chief Labar Spann to reveal ‘world of murder, extortion’: “Lawyers gave opening statements and prosecutors called their first witness Monday in Spann’s long-awaited trial, which is expected to last months,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.

Prosecution rests in R. Kelly’s federal racketeering trial in New York, by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau and Jason Meisner.

— ENDORSEMENTS: DuPage County Commissioner Greg Hart is out with a list of endorsements, including from Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and state Sen. John Curran.

— ICYMI: Black Caucus Chairman Jason Ervin delivers early endorsement of Lightfoot reelection: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said it’s ‘not a gimme’ she will seek a second term. If Lightfoot does run again, she’ll have a powerful ally in her corner: Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), chairman of the Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Durbin: Will have ‘alternative proposal’ to get Dreamer immigration in $3.5 trillion budget bill: “Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that a path to citizenship for Dreamers and other immigrants cannot be included in a Democratic-authored legislative package,” by Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.

What Trudeau’s win means for Canada-U.S. relations, by POLITICO’s Andy Blatchford

— ‘Extremely troubling’: Investigation launched into border agents on horseback seen chasing migrants, by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki

Supreme Court sets Dec. 1 for arguments in challenge to Roe v. Wade, by POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein

Erik Varela has been named executive director of the Illinois International Port District Board of Directors. In a release, IIPD Chairman Ivan Solis said Varela “brings extensive logistics, real estate and transportation experience” to the job. And Mayor Lori Lightfoot praised Varela’s “deep infrastructure, transportation and logistics expertise.” Varela most recently served as senior director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific Railroad.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger has been named Illinoisan of the Year by the Illinois News Broadcasters Association, reports media reporter Robert Feder, which has us wondering if he plans on pivoting careers.

The Chicago Community Trust is honoring Les Coney, the first African American to serve as chair of Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, and his children, Chanel and Javon Coney, for their contributions to the community during Black Philanthropy Month. Les Coney is a financial services executive who helped fundraise for former President Barack Obama.

The life and times of inspirational and pioneering Allison Payne, former WGN news anchor: “Allison Payne had not visited Chicago-area homes for more than a decade, but she was such a striking, substantive and memorable television presence that her Sept. 1 death in Detroit at 57 came as a jolt and created a flood of fond memories,” writes Tribune’s Rick Kogan.

— Tonight: House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch holds his first major fundraiser on the Rooftop Garden of The Old Post Office. Bernard Crump and Friends will perform live, though the real show will be all the people-watching. Price of admission is $250.

— Today at 12:30 p.m.: A virtual discussion on “Connecting the Heartland” will feature Matt Schmit, director of the Illinois Office of Broadband, and his Ohio counterpart and others talking about how federal funding can improve internet infrastructure. The event is organized by Heartland Forward, a nonprofit that focuses on economic performance in the 20 states in the middle of the country.

— Thursday morning: DAVID MOORE GETS AN ASSIST: Ald. David Moore has enlisted celebrity pro athlete-friends with Chicago ties to headline a golf fundraiser in his bid for Illinois Secretary of State. Joining in the outing: retired Utah Jazz great Rickey Green, a graduate of Hirsch High School; retired NBA great Bobby Simmons, a graduate of Simeon High School; retired NBA great Mark Aguirre, who went to Westinghouse High; and retired NFL player Matt Forte, who played for the Bears. The event is at Glenwoodie Golf Course.

MONDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Elevate Illinois President & CEO Janet Mathis for correctly answering that Stephen A. Douglas taught school in Winchester.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the first Latino elected to statewide office in Illinois? Email to [email protected]

State Sen. Elgie Sims Jr. (17th), state Rep. Norine Hammond (93rd), state Supreme Court Justice P. Scott Neville Jr., U. Chicago grad student and Obama White House alum Monica Carmean, anti-violence activist and politician Tio Hardiman, broadcaster Bill Kurtis, retired AT&T Illinois President Paul La Schiazza, and political consultant Don Rose.



September 21, 2021 at 07:43AM

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