The cavalry holds another press conference

The cavalry holds another press conference

Happy Wednesday, Illinois. For all the complaining about Chicago, Conde Nast Traveler has rated it the No. 1 among America’s big cities.

Programming note: POLITICO observes Indigenous People’s Day so Playbook will be taking Monday off.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx yesterday accused Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot of lying when she questioned why there were no charges filed in the Wild West-style shootout that left one person dead over the weekend and shocked the city for its brazenness.

If you live in Chicago or Cook County, you’d like some reassurances that the cavalry is coming and that everything will be OK. But that’s not happening.

Instead, police say cameras don’t show the shooter, so there isn’t enough evidence to charge. And the press-conference posturing by Foxx yesterday and Lightfoot on Monday shows everyone’s a little bit right and a little bit wrong — and no one is willing to budge.

Was the mayor out of line commenting publicly about the case given she might not have all the facts? Maybe. It’s not clear what Foxx believes Lightfoot got wrong.

Would it have been too much for Foxx to charge the men suspected of being involved in the shooting with gun possession until one or the other flipped, offering more information? It doesn’t seem out of line to ask, from the arm-chair view.

And should Lightfoot have suggested that charges would have been filed had the West Side shooting taken place in a white community instead? Probably not.

It all underscores how broken the system appears to be. It’s no wonder civic leaders like Ken Griffin, a billionaire political donor, would compare what’s going on in Chicago to Afghanistan.

“We can’t send a message that it’s OK and you get a pass that you shoot up a residence in broad daylight captured on film and no consequences will happen,” Lightfoot said yesterday, as the Tribune’s reports here. “That can’t be the world we live in.”

Looking ahead, Foxx has called for a meeting with Lightfoot, police chief David Brown and Area 5 police officials to discuss her concerns.

This wouldn’t be the first public announcement of such a meeting. Others have called for similar gatherings. In July, for example, state Rep. La Shawn Ford, who represents much of the West Side, urged Gov. J.B. Pritzker to request an emergency meeting of the Violence Prevention Task Force. Nothing happened.

Lightfoot, a former prosecutor, wants quicker action and has already asked U.S. Attorney John Lausch to review the evidence from the gunfight.


The dueling press conferences reveal the stark division between Lightfoot, an ex-prosecutor, and Foxx, by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba

ABC/7 captures both sides in video.

SPEAKING OF KEN GRIFFIN: His team is doubling down on how he remembers a phone call with Pritzker and other civic leaders talking about violence in the city. Griffin acknowledges Pritzker deployed the National Guard in June 2020 to address violence, but the Citadel CEO called for it again in August 2020 during a phone call with the governor and other civic leaders as crime persisted.

Griffin said Pritzker responded: “It won’t look good for there to be men and women on Michigan Avenue with assault weapons.” The governor’s chief of staff pushed back Monday, saying she was on the call that day and Pritzker “never said that.”

Pritzker’s team does acknowledge that there was a conversation that day about the National Guard, though the exact wording is fuzzy. According to a spokeswoman, the governor reiterated that it’s not his decision alone to call up the Guard — that local officials (the mayor) are part of the decision-making, too.

We put out queries to the other executives on the line — Ariel Investments’ Mellody Hobson, Grosvenor’s Michael Sacks, Cleveland Avenue’s Don Thompson, Motorola’s Greg Brown, UL’s Jennifer Scanlon, Hyatt Corp.’s Mark Hoplamazian, and Pritzker Organization’s Tom Pritzker — and heard only crickets. No one wants to get in between (or sideways with) two billionaires it seems.

Redistricting hearings are coming up this week. Tomorrow’s House hearing at the Michael A. Bilandic Building focuses on congressional maps. House schedule here

The state Senate hearing Friday at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines will focus on congressional boundaries and Cook County Subcircuits. Senate schedule here

Later this morning, Common Cause officials are expected to come out with an analysis criticizing Illinois’ remap process.

This week’s hearings will lead up to the General Assembly’s scheduled veto session — Oct. 19-21 and Oct. 26-28 — when the Illinois House and Senate are expected to vote to finalize a new congressional map and subdistrict maps for elections in 2022 and beyond.

The State Journal-Register has more.

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

At Chicago Magnesium Casting Co in Dixmoor at 10:30 a.m. to discuss how Illinois’ manufacturing industry is contributing to the state’s economic recovery.

Meeting online with Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock at 3:30 p.m. for a conversation about voter rights.

No official public events.

Top Covid experts privately urge Biden admin to scale back booster campaign: “A vocal contingent of prominent doctors and scientists is pressing the Biden administration to scrap its plans to provide booster shots to all previously vaccinated adults, according to five people familiar with the matter,” by POLITICO’s Erin Banco and Adam Cancryn.

CPS drops quarantine to 10 days after just 1.6% of kids exposed to Covid at school test positive: “The changes come as the school system is still scrambling to recover from a poorly prepared testing program that has CPS ‘playing catch-up,’ as the district’s new CEO put it,” by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa

Judge rules Vermilion County teachers, parents must follow state Covid-19 rules in schools: “The lawsuits were filed against the school districts and their superintendents. However, Judge Wall ruled that school districts and their superintendents are justified in following state orders. ‘If you have a problem with the governor’s executive order, your beef is not with the school district,’ Wall said in her ruling. ‘Your beef is with the governor,’” by Illinois Newsroom’s Farrah Anderson.

Private schools violating mask mandate will get probation rather than ‘nonrecognized’ status under board of ed policy change, reports Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta

City now expects multiple casino bids: “Despite earlier setbacks, the Lightfoot administration is gearing up to field as many as five formal applications for a Chicago operation by the extended deadline of Oct. 29,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.

HUD secretary visits Chicago: ‘The lack of affordable housing in this country is a crisis’: “Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge also praised fixes underway at Concordia Place, a HUD-funded housing development on the Far South Side,” by Sun-Times’ Cheyanne M. Daniels.

City Council members rail about problem buildings and businesses who escape penalties: ‘Continuance after continuance’: “Council members used Tuesday’s budget hearing to unload on Buildings Commissioner Matthew Beaudet, though he’s on their side. ‘We tell the judge, ‘This building is about ready to fall down on a neighbor.’ And [the judge says] ‘OK. Nine months continuance,’’ Beaudet said,” by Sun-Times’ By Fran Spielman.

Chicago lifeguards who want to report sexual violence can now call a new hotline, by WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos and Patrick Smith.

Cook County commissioners delay vote on replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day: “Columbus Day will remain a holiday in Cook County for now after a vote to replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day was delayed. The resolution faced pushback from local Italian American organizations. It was the second time a vote on the issue was postponed this year,” by Sun-Times’ Jason Beeferman.

Evanston’s female beach workers get the apology they asked for more than a year ago: “Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss and City Council members have issued a public apology to young women who alleged widespread sexual misconduct by supervisors while working at the northern suburb’s lakefront in recent years,” by WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos.

Could Bears stadium benefit Arlington Heights taxpayers? Mayor says yes, writes Daily Herald’s Christopher Placek.

The Forbes 400 list is out and Donald Trump isn’t on it. But 13 Illinois residents are, including Ken Griffin, who’s ranked 47th on the list with $16.1 billion and Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who ranks 318th with $3.6 billion. Other Illinoisans who are ranked: Pat Ryan ($7.4B), Neil Bluhm ($6.4B), Joe Mansueto ($6B), Sam Zell ($6B), Mark Walter (5.4B), Thomas Pritzker ($4.5B), Ty Warner ($4.3B), Eric Lefkofsky ($4.1B), Steven Sarowitz ($3.8B), Penny Pritzker ($3.1B), and Joseph Grandys ($2.9B).

Tech firm founder Brad Keywell hands off CEO job at Uptake: Keywell, who also is co-founder of Groupon, has named Kayne Grau as the new chief at Uptake, the Chicago-based data analytics and artificial intelligence company he also started, by Crain’s John Pletz.

State Rep. Fran Hurley will be honored Nov. 16 by Special Olympics Chicago and Special Children’s Charities. Hurley has for years supported the organizations, including leading legislation for people with disabilities. Most recently, she introduced legislation that won passage allowing students with disabilities ages 18 through 21 to continue receiving special ed services until the end of the school year — rather than the day before their 22nd birthday. Prior to this, students were required to leave school the day they turned 22. Hurley also helped to pass the Special Olympics lottery bill that benefits the organization.

Joseph Baar Topinka, son of former politico Judy Baar Topinka, is working to keep his mother’s legacy alive. Interview on WGN/Radio

A state senator and mayor’s family are on the payroll of southwest Illinois’ newest town: “Former Alorton Mayor JoAnn Reed works as the director for the city’s nutrition center. Illinois Sen. Chris Belt (D-Swansea) is the director of compliance, risk management and safety, according to 2021 documents obtained by the Belleville News-Democrat. Both positions are full-time,” by Belleville News-Democrat’s Deasia Paige.

Pritzker’s new executive order requires vendors to pay employees with disabilities at least minimum wage, by WMBD’s Sean Lisitza.

Illinois AG announces $56M settlement with Centene: “Settlement resolves Raoul’s investigation into Centene Corp. allegedly submitting inaccurate reimbursement requests,” the Edwardsville Intelligencer’s Shepard Price.

— Watch for Senate Republicans to unveil new legislation focused on “funding the police, increasing accountability for gun crimes, bail, juvenile court, and mental health reforms and community empowerment,” according to a statement. Supporting the legislation are Sens. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), John Curran (R-Downers Grove), Jil Tracy (R-Quincy), Steve McClure (R-Springfield), and Brian Stewart (R-Freeport).

MIT cancels lecture by U. Chicago prof who criticized diversity programs: “Dorian Abbot, who is an associate professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, received criticism from MIT academics over his views following a Newsweek opinion piece published in August,” via Newsweek.

Here comes the judge: Justice Barry Vaughan is announcing his run for the Illinois 5th District Appellate Court. Vaughan was appointed to the position in January and now must seek re-election to hold on to the seat. Before that, he was a circuit court judge in Hamilton County, first elected in 2002. Vaughan will hit three cities today during his campaign kickoff: Mt. Vernon at 8:30 a.m., Swansea at 11:15 a.m., and Danville at 4:15 p.m.

Right of conscience lawsuits to test limits of Covid, vax mandate authority, by Cook County Record’s Jonathan Bilyk.

Public won’t be allowed in courtroom if Patrick Daley Thompson trial goes forward, by Tribune’s Jon Seidel.

Former Cook County Sheriff’s employee says he was fired because of his age: “In a lawsuit, Ronald Gaines, 69, claims his supervisor told him he was too old for the job and should retire to allow younger employees to advance their careers. “It was a slap in the face,” Gaines said Tuesday,” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.

Bank robber who strapped fireworks to body arrested after texting photo of cash to his wife, FBI says, by Tribune’s Jason Meisner

Jussie Smollett case appears poised for trial in November: “During a hearing that was mostly conducted out of public view, Judge James Linn put a jury selection date of Nov. 29 on his calendar, but said that he will formalize the trial date at a hearing Oct. 15. That’s when Smollett’s defense plans to argue a last-ditch motion to dismiss the charges,” by Tribune’s Madeline Buckley.

We asked what y’all did when Facebook went on the blink. Janet Mathis judged the River Bend Food Bank’s Student Hunger Drive Kick-Off Skit competition (she’s board chair for the food bank). And Playbooker John Straus made a large vat of chicken and sausage gumbo. Bon appetit!

We’re looking for a new name to this feature section. Send in your ideas and we’ll do the big reveal next week. In the meantime, a question: What’s the weirdest tourist exhibit you’ve ever visited (does it top the Museum of Ice Cream that’s coming to Michigan Avenue)? Email to [email protected]

THE FIFTY: Illinois is one of 36 states that will elect a governor next year, and the races are already taking shape, reports POLITICO’s Zach Montellaro. Here’s a cheat sheet

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi is requesting documents and information on so-called stranded credits from higher education officials in five states. Krishnamoorthi, who chairs the House oversight subcommittee on economic and consumer policy, is specifically targeting a practice where colleges and universities withhold copies of transcripts from students who have unpaid bills. “Some students end up saddled with debt, and without a college degree or a job that will help them pay off that debt,” he wrote in letters to college officials in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania,Virginia and Texas, via POLITICO’s Global Pulse.

Rep. Bobby Rush’s prison communications bill gets a hearing today in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. The Martha Wright Prison Phone Justice Act (H.R. 2489) would ban prisons from receiving commissions from communications providers (the primary cause of exorbitant prison phone rates, says Rush) and cap prison phone charges at 5 cents per minute.

Dems’ infrastructure delays squeeze an endangered species: GOP centrists, by POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers

Biden broaches nuclear option in standoff with McConnell, by POLITICO’s Christophaer Cadelago, Laura Barron-Lopez, and Natasha Korecki

GOP’s debt limit challenge: Don’t be ‘a complete a–hole,’ by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett Caitlin Emma

As pressure mounts, Hubbard Radio takes Eric Ferguson off the air ‘through October’: “In court documents filed Tuesday Melissa McGurren, former morning co-host on WTMX 101.9-FM, became the third woman to publicly accuse Ferguson of inappropriate behavior at the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station,” by media reporter Robert Feder.

— John Lee is joining Rep. Sean Casten’s office as energy and environment adviser. He previously was a principal at the Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell.

— Madison Olinger is deputy political director for Mayor Lori Lightfoot. She previously was a comms director and senior writer for Winning Connections, a group that helps manage campaigns across the country. Before that, Olinger was associate for public affairs and strategic comms at Res Publica Group.

— Jennifer Khosla, the outgoing deputy political director for Mayor Lori Lightfoot, is leaving Illinois to fight for Democrats in south Florida and to be closer to her long-distance partner. A source close to the campaign says “Jenn has done great work and the team will miss her, but we’re excited for her big life change.”

— Sally Gonzalez is VP of operations at Better Government Association, where she reports to BGA president and CEO David Greising. Gonzalez most recently was director of operations for the organization and has worked 15 years in business administration and financial management.

TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Chicago Department of Health policy analyst Todd Fraley and Notre Dame College Prep principal Daniel Tully for correctly answering that Tullimonstrum, also known as the Tully monster, is the fossil only found in Illinois’ Mazon Creek fossil bed. (It’s no relation, jokes Principal Tully).

TODAY’s QUESTION: In order to curb an epidemic, what did Chicago ordinance 1493 prohibit and when was it repealed? Email to [email protected]

State Sen. Michael Hastings, congressional candidate Chris Butler, Dem comms specialist Tracy Sefl, attorney Jamal Edwards, and PR pro Mary Wagstaff.



via Illinois Playbook

October 6, 2021 at 07:37AM

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