A referendum breathes down council’s neck

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A referendum breathes down council’s neck

Happy Monday, Illinois. Happy Hanukkah and chag sameach to all our Playbookers celebrating the Festival of Lights!

Meetings between Chicago’s Black and Latino caucuses have been both cordial and contentious in recent days as the Dec. 1 deadline approaches for the City Council to vote on how to redraw boundaries for its 50 wards.

The Latino Caucus wants representation on the council to reflect a rising Latino population that’s surpassed the city’s Black community. But the Black Caucus isn’t ready to give up its power in the council, creating a fierce battle between the two caucus groups.

“The reality is that while they may be able to draw wards, they can’t win those wards. And that’s the issue,” Ald. Howard Brookins, a Black Caucus member who helped steer the remap 10 years ago, told Playbook.

The council has through Wednesday to vote on a map. If a proposed map doesn’t get 41 votes from the 50 council members, then the decision-making likely would become a ballot measure in the June 28, 2022, primary. That means numerous proposals could be presented to voters, taking the changes completely out of the hands of council members.

As long as the Black and Latino caucuses stand their ground on who gets majority wards, voters may get their first referendum on the issue since 1992.

One fact is emerging from the dustup: With the white population also rising in Chicago, there’s likely to be a new predominantly white ward created in the downtown area.

The Black Caucus would put that ward southwest of the Loop and most likely pull from the 42nd, 27th, 25th, 3rd and 4th wards represented, respectively, by Alds. Brendan Reilly, Walter Burnett, Byron Sigcho-Lopez, Pat Dowell and Sophia King. (The 42nd Ward, for example, is oversubscribed by 28,000 residents, so those folks would be moved to another ward.)

The Latino Caucus would put a new predominantly white ward in the northwest area of downtown, likely pulling from Reilly’s 42nd Ward and Burnett’s 27th Ward.

Of course adding a new ward means one would be eliminated. Given the population decline on the South Side, it could be the 9th or 34th wards, represented by Alds. Anthony Beale and Carrie Austin, according to a source familiar with the map room.

A looming question: What do you do with Ald. Ed Burke’s 14th Ward? It’s a predominantly Latino ward but has a sliver of an area that provides the active white voting block that has elected Burke every election cycle since 1969, making him the longest-serving alderman on the council.

The council’s Rules Committee, headed by Ald. Michelle Harris, has traditionally used seniority as a criteria to settle disputes. The more senior the alderman, the more deference they get — even if, as in Burke’s case, he’s under indictment for corruption.

The remap is the sole subject of two meetings scheduled for today: a 10 a.m. full council meeting (scheduled when there was hope the caucuses could come to an agreement before now) and a 1 p.m. Rules Committee meeting.

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Lissa Druss’ Strategia Consulting, which maneuvers between Democratic and Republican political circles, is adding some notable names to its team.

Judy Pardonnet Hilkevitch is chief communication officer. She spent a decade as Metra’s chief spokesperson and most recently worked for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

Brian Bernardoni is senior strategist for public affairs. Playbookers know him as the longtime public affairs exec for the Illinois Realtors. He most recently was lobbying on his own.

Tony Abruscato is senior strategist over outreach, a position that serves him well having spent years on the civic scene. He ran the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, which folded due to Covid and which he’s pivoted to the Get Growing Foundation (he’ll continue to oversee that).

Timothy Bradley is business manager and Ty Townsend-Ford is strategist.

“Through the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for solid, reliable government affairs strategy, communications, and crisis management has been paramount, and we are pleased to provide even further service for our clients with a larger team,” said Druss, whose firm gained influence last year for helping steer the campaign against the graduated income tax proposal on the 2020 ballot.

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

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— The Jim Edgar Interview | Illinois’ former governor looks back on his legacy, offers advice to GOP hopefuls: “People need to be willing to compromise,” he said. “To get things done, you’re not going to get 100 percent of what you want. So even if you’re the governor and your party’s in control the legislature, you’re still not going to get 100 percent. So you need to be willing to reach out and, you know, meet people halfway,” the former governor told WCIA’s Mark Maxwell. WITH VIDEO

Officials: Infrastructure bill means stability, expansion for Springfield-area projects: “The initial impact is going to be the inconvenience of construction,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, one of the bill’s proponents, told The State Journal-Register. “But we all know that this is temporary. It will be completed, and what’s left behind is going to be a modernized structure that will serve our generation and many more.” By State Journal-Register’s Dean Olsen

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Peoria City Council approves 2022/2023 budget, passes pension proposal, by Demetrios Sanders

How 30 homes in an East Bluff affordable housing project were built despite the pandemic, by Peoria Journal Star’s Leslie Renken

Adults groomed students at Logan Square school — New bill could close loophole that allowed that: “Faith’s Law would make it illegal for adults to lure children into sexual relationships in person. Staffers at Marine Leadership Academy in Logan Square have been accused of grooming students,” by Block Club’s Mina Bloom.

Smollett to go on trial in alleged hoax attack that once captivated Chicago: “The trial, which is expected to last at least a week, promises to be the highest-profile event since the Leighton Criminal Court Building was virtually shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic more than a year and a half ago,” by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau and Jason Meisner.

From the Sun-Times: “The stakes at trial for Smollett are fairly low: The charges against him carry a maximum sentence of three years, with a lighter sentence, even probation, the likely outcome if he is convicted, given Smollett’s lack of a serious criminal background,” by y Matthew Hendrickson and Andy Grimm.

An up-to-date timeline on the twists and turns leading to Smollett’s trial, by WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell

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Top mayoral adviser on reducing violence quits in what City Hall calls an ‘amicable departure’: “A mayoral spokesman did not respond to a question about why Norman Kerr resigned. But according to a City Hall statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is ‘incredibly grateful’ to Kerr for his ‘steadfast leadership and commitment to reducing violence in our city, both during his time with the City, and beyond,’” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.

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Lightfoot administration to pay $100,000 to settle whistleblower claims by former treasurer employees, by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt

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Racing commissioners challenge Arlington Park’s request to run off-track betting parlors after it closed its track: “Hawthorne Race Course officials proposed that they could instead take over the parlors, which allow gamblers to bet remotely on races around the country and watch them on television. The decision, set for next month, could affect millions of dollars in bets and horse racing purses,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.

Birders rush to Waukegan after rare South American bird spotted over the Thanksgiving weekend, by Tribune’s Sheryl DeVore

Director for Vernon Hills volleyball club suspended for racial remark, by Mike Miazga for the Daily Herald

Olympic official who delivered Rio Games — depriving Chicago — is sentenced to 30 years for bribery: “Carlos Arthur Nuzman was found guilty after a trial that featured claims of rigged votes, gold bars and at least $2 million in payoffs to top sports officials,” via The New York Times.

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— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Kristin Davison, who most recently worked on the GOP governor’s race in Virginia, has joined Illinois Republican Jesse Sullivan’s gubernatorial campaign. Davison was senior strategist for Glenn Youngkin, who defeated Terry McAuliffe to take the Virginia governor’s mansion, handing Democrats a stinging loss. Davison also is part of Poolhouse media agency, which is advising Sullivan’s team and also worked with Youngkin’s campaign.

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— ICYMI | There’s an Irish wake for Illinois’ political machine: “A new generation of Illinois Democrats says it wants to break up the state’s infamous political hierarchy — but the old system was good at winning,” by your Playbook host.

— Column | Harold Washington’s legacy matters more than ever in these troubled times: “Chicago was devastated by the death of the city’s first Black mayor, whose reform agenda changed this deeply segregated city. His story is told in the documentary ‘Punch 9 for Harold Washington,’” by Sun-Times’ Laura Washington.

Weed lounges are coming to a city near you: “Las Vegas hopes to become a pioneer in creating public consumption spaces,” by POLITICO’s Mona Zhang.

We asked how Covid-19 has altered your decision-making: Enza Raineri wrote: “I learned to prioritize my time spending it with the people who made me a priority during Covid. We stayed in touch, checked in on each other — that was key for me.” Brendan Hogan: “A lot of things will have to occur before I am comfortable traveling abroad.” Tommy Leinenweber: “Making decisions to factor in how my mental health will be affected by the decision.” And Timothy Thomas writes: “Public drinking fountains and buffet-style dining and salad bars — items I never gave a second thought pre-Covid — now give me pause to think that they were ever a good idea.”

For tomorrow, what’s most important in mapping a community for government representation? Email to [email protected]

Trams, cable cars, electric ferries: How cities are rethinking transit: “Urban transportation is central to the effort to slow climate change. It can’t be done by just switching to electric cars. Several cities are starting to electrify mass transit,” by The New York Times’ Somini Sengupta.

Next on Trump’s 2024 list: An out-of-the-box running mate, by POLITICO’s Marc Caputo

Dems want Biden to start swinging at Republicans. Allies aren’t sure he can, by POLITICO’s Laura Barron-Lopez, Christopher Cadelago and Jonathan Lemire

Why Ahmaud’s killers are guilty, but Trayvon’s shooter went free, by Cynthia Lee for POLITICO

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Rockford native Virgil Abloh, trailblazing Off-White founder who became Louis Vuitton’s first Black artistic director, dies a 41: “Abloh and Kanye West bonded over their love for design, and their collaborations helped bring the Rockford native global acclaim. He died after battling cancer,” by Block Club’s Mack Liederman and staff.

WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, who was zealously anti-Prohibition, was also known as the “voice of liquor,” according to “American Pharaoh,” by Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who in Illinois ruled capital punishment was “cruel and unusual” (years before Gov. George Ryan put a moratorium on it)? Email to [email protected]

Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Walgreens’ national director for local government relations Donovan Pepper, Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter, and Roberts Enterprise Development Fund’s Maria Kim.

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via POLITICO

November 29, 2021 at 08:10AM

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