The humanity of the Chicago City Council

The humanity of the Chicago City Council

Good Thursday morning, Illinois. It really is the windy city today.

PROGRAMMING NOTE — Illinois Playbook will be on a two-week hiatus starting Monday. After finishing out this week, I won’t be back in your inbox until Jan. 3. I’ll still be reporting, so keep up with those tips and comments (I’ll need it because my family is banning me from talking politics!).

Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) is home recuperating after collapsing during yesterday’s Chicago City Council meeting, prompting quick attention from Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st), a former firefighter, and a visit to the hospital.

The health scare put politics into some perspective for Mayor Lori Lightfoot and others in City Hall.

“What you saw today was an outpouring of our humanity. Every single alderman was here and concerned. Alderman Austin has been through a lot. I wish her godspeed,” Lightfoot said, also criticizing the attention paid to “gamesmanship” on the council.

Austin’s fall tempered the mood of the council, which passed two big proposals — both supported by the mayor.

One initiative allows for affordable housing near O’Hare International Airport. The council voted 33 to 13 over the objections of Napolitano, who had opposed the measure over concerns about overcrowding in the neighborhood.

Napolitano would have been given a nod under the tradition of aldermanic prerogative, but the majority of aldermen took Lightfoot’s view that affordable housing was necessary.

The mayor acknowledged having a “great deal of respect” for Napolitano, but thought the project was bigger than his concerns. “Housing is at the heart of segregation in this city,” Lightfoot said.

“This is critical for our city. It’s critical for us to make a statement about affordability and where it can be located,” the mayor said, calling attention to workers who must travel great lengths and for hours at a time to get to their jobs because they otherwise can’t afford to live near O’Hare. “This gives them the opportunity to actually be closer to a job that they need. Closer to a job that’s going to make a difference in the lives of their families.”

The other initiative passed by the council allows sports betting in the five Chicago stadiums. The vote came without debate, but Cubs owner Tom Ricketts was able to add his two cents during the public comment period in support of the proposal. The pushback during hearings on this issue was that allowing sports betting in other places would take away from the future Chicago casino. (Presentations for the casino proposals will be done today.)


Lightfoot wants to crack down on childhood obesity: “The mayor and City Clerk Anna Valencia introduced an ordinance Wednesday that would prohibit Chicago restaurants from serving sugary drinks as the “default beverage” with kids meals,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Council lifts Chicago ban on sports betting — and imposes a 2% tax, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

Toi Hutchinson, one of the architects of the Illinois law that legalized cannabis and an adviser to the governor since it became law, is leaving her state job to lead the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which is working to legalize cannabis across the country. She’ll remain based in Chicago.

“We aren’t going to get to federal legalization until we continue this work in the states, so it’s time to take all these lessons I’ve learned in Illinois and elevate them and amplify the things that worked and educate about the things that didn’t,” Hutchinson said in an interview with Playbook after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced her appointment as president and CEO of MPP.

When she was a state senator, Hutchinson and three other legislators, collectively known as the marijuana mamas, worked closely with MPP to write and pass the law that legalized recreational use in Illinois. Medical marijuana had already been legal.

For the past two years Hutchinson has advised Pritkzer on additional elements of the law that addressed criminal justice reform and equity. The process of diversifying the industry itself, however, has been stalled as the state’s application efforts are stuck in the courts, keeping Black and brown dispensary owners on hold.

“It’s been frustrating to hear people say it’s failed. It’s taking longer than any of us hoped, but it’s absolutely happening,” Hutchinson said, pointing to all of the successes that have emerged from legalizing cannabis. “We’ve seen 500,000 arrest records wiped, over 20,000 criminal convictions pardoned” and $35 million poured back into communities affected by the war on drugs. And the lottery winners for dispensaries and on the ag side “are so damn diverse.”

On Wednesday, Pritzker announced that an additional $45 million will go into those same communities, reports the Sun-Times.

Illinois has seen more than $1.9 billion in sales since cannabis was legalized Jan. 1, 2020.

Pritzker called Hutchinson’s exit “bittersweet,” saying, “I will miss her in the governor’s office but what an honor for Illinois to have our own Toi Hutchinson leading the charge on a national scale.”

Hutchinson also talked to WTAX’s Dave Dahl

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

No official public events.

At U. of I.’s Isadore and Sadie Forum at 1 p.m. for the public presentations for the Chicago Casino.

In the Cook County Building presiding over a meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

Omicron variant detected in suburban Cook County: “The individual who tested positive is asymptomatic and has received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Cook County Department of Public Health officials, who said additional cases are being genotyped for omicron,” by WTTW’s Kristen Thometz.

After one year, how are the suburbs and Illinois doing in vaccinations? Daily Herald’s Jake Griffin reports

Cautious celebration from Chicago’s Dr. Allison Arwady, by Sun-Times’ Manny Ramos

Loyola University Chicago requires students, staff to receive Covid-19 booster, by Clare Spaulding for the Sun-Times

CPS pleads with parents to test kids for coronavirus over winter break amid ‘wicked post-Thanksgiving Covid surge,’ by Tribune’s Tracy Swartz

State in talks to sell Thompson Center for $70M — but would buy back office space for $148M: “Despite the cost, the administration said the arrangement is a good deal for taxpayers because the state otherwise would have to purchase or lease another building to maintain a portion of its workforce in the Loop. The plan also calls for the developer to significantly overhaul the Thompson Center’s aging interior,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella.

Developer Michael Reschke has tackled major projects and survived market downturns in 40 years on the scene, by Sun-Times’ David Roeder

State teachers union calls for legislation holding districts accountable to school safety requirements in wake of Michigan shooting, by Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta

Column | Low wages strain workers who care for people with disabilities in group homes, by Daily Southtown’s Ted Slowik

Black farmers fight pipeline plan in Pembroke Township: “They’re raising concerns about the impact on the environment and fear farmers could lose the land they love,” by WGN 9’s Gaynor Hall.

— Archival note: State Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) presented Illinois State Archives director David Joens and staff with a House resolution commemorating the Archives for 100 years of service to the state. HR 390 was adopted by the Illinois House in September.

Anjanette Young botched raid settlement: “No amount of money could erase what Ms. Young has suffered,” by Tribune’s John Byrne and Gregory Pratt

Lightfoot responds after city’s former top lawyer calls her tenure a ‘disaster’ and criticizes Young settlement: “The fact that, over the course of that week, he repeatedly said disparaging things related to Ms. Young. … Fundamentally, what was clear, is he just didn’t see her. He didn’t value her experience in that moment, as we all saw in that video,” Lightfoot said. Tribune’s Gregory Pratt reports.

Blackhawks settle with Kyle Beach over 2010 sexual abuse allegations, by WBEZ’s Dave McKinney and Cheryl Raye-Stout.

— Former Senate candidate Willie Wilson is scheduled to visit homeless enclaves today to announce $200,000 donations to help people living on the street. He’ll be joined by Congressman Danny Davis.

CTA President Dorval Carter receives 33 percent raise — to $350K: “The CTA board said Carter has been a ‘rockstar’ leading the agency during the pandemic and said the raise also reflects the enormity of challenges ahead,” by Clare Spaulding for the Sun-Times.

Cook County ethics ordinance slated for biggest overhaul in 15 years, but some experts want more: “The pending statute would make strides in tightening up rules on sexual harassment and nepotism as well as bolstering powers of the body that enforces the code. But it would double the cap on political contributions from those who do business with the county,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot hosted a fundraiser earlier this week at Theater on the Lake for Light PAC political organization featuring San Francisco Mayor London Breed and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both virtually. The big applause was for state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who gave a rousing speech for the mayor, as did Amy Eshleman, the mayor’s wife. Other attendees: Ald. Samantha Nugent, city Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, city Clerk Anna Valencia, nonprofit leader and former CPS CEO Janice Jackson, Planned Parenthood CEO Jennifer Welch, Hideout owner Katie Tuten, National Public Housing Museum executive director Lisa Lee, and Mary Dempsey, the former Chicago Public Library commissioner and friend to Lightfoot and Eshleman.

— Congressman Chuy García (IL-04) is endorsing Democrat Nikki Budzinski in the IL-13 Congressional district. “Now more than ever, we need leaders in Congress that will stand up unfailingly for a worker’s right to organize, to protect a women’s right to choose, and to expand access to the ballot box by standing up against voter suppression measures. I know Nikki’s values and commitment to working families. I know she’ll be a champion on all of these issues,” Garcia said in a statement.

— Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08) is endorsing Democrat Alexi Giannoulias for Illinois secretary of state. “I’m proud to support Alexi. Having worked closely with Alexi, I know he is a tireless advocate for the people of Illinois who wants to make a difference,” said Krishnamoorthi, who represents Chicago’s west and northwest suburbs.

Decision looming for Rep. Mary Miller: The Trump loyalist faces a June primary against another Republican, either Rep. Rodney Davis or Rep. Mike Bost. “She may be leaning toward Davis,” reports Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.

— Congresswoman Marie Newman has been endorsed by the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division. BMWED-IBT represents workers who build and maintain the tracks, bridges, buildings and other structures on railroads.

— State Sen. Melinda Bush announced Wednesday that she won’t seek reelection in 2022. “I’m immensely proud to have helped advance policies that have moved our state forward,” she said in a statement. Bush, who was first elected in 2012, has championed women’s rights and equality throughout her time in office. She was the chief sponsor of the Reproductive Health Act in 2019, which ensures abortion will remain legal in Illinois if Roe v. Wade is overturned. She also led efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Illinois.

— Nancy Rotering, the mayor of Highland Park, has been building a broad team of supporters and consultants in her bid for Illinois State Supreme Court in the 2nd District, including former Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, state. Rep. Rita Mayfield, state Sen. Ann Gillespie, Democratic Central Committeewomen Lauren Beth Gash and Carol Ronen, and Gun Violence Prevention PAC Founder Tom Vanden Berk. Her consultant team includes Aviva Bowen and Terry Walsh of The Strategy Group, fundraisers Hanah Jubeh, Haleigh Hoff, and Hannah Botelho of P2 Consulting, pollster Jason McGrath of GBAO Strategies, Terrie Pickerill and Ken Snyder of Snyder Pickerill Media Group, and Kady McFadden as campaign manager, and Zach Koutsky as political director

GOP candidate from Winfield to switch congressional races: “Justin Burau said he’ll now run for the 3rd District seat. He had been a candidate in the 6th District,” by Daily Herald’s Russell Lissau.

We asked how Covid has affected your pocketbook: Hawthorne Strategy Group Chairman Gene Reineke: “I definitely don’t spend as much at restaurants and bars as I did pre-Covid, which is more of a health-related decision. At a recent event I attended, someone there we found out later had Covid, so like other people I had to go get tested and was lucky it came back negative. But it’s given me pause about going out again like I did pre-Covid. So my pocketbook has benefited.” John Straus, former head of the Illinois Commission on Science & Technology: “Covid quarantining cut discretionary spending. Along with stimulus funds, there was cash flow to support candidates in the 2020 elections that otherwise might not have been available.”

For tomorrow, what gift would you put under the tree of your state lawmaker? Email to [email protected]

Michael Strautmanis, executive VP of the Obama Foundation and former counselor for Strategic Engagement in the White House headlines the latest episode of “Staffer Show” podcast that features former staffers sharing stories of working in D.C. with host Jim Papa of Global Strategy Group.

Progressives accept limits of their power: “Know when to hold and know when to fold,” says Rep. Jan Schakowsky, by POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris and Nicholas Wu

Jan. 6 investigators mull whether Trump violated obstruction law, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu

— Pressure builds on McCarthy to oust Kinzinger, Cheney: About 50 outside groups and top confidants of the former president have called on the House minority leader to oust Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Liz Cheney (Wyo.) from the GOP conference, according to a letter from the Conservative Action Project

White House unveils plan to replace every lead pipe in the U.S., via NBC News

Milwaukee’s son makes a Senate run, by Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel

— Eric Hodel has been named CEO of Midwest Food Bank effective Jan. 1. Hodel has served Midwest Food Bank in the leadership position of COO/CFO since April 2017. Current CEO and co-founder David Kieser will remain president of the board.

— Courtney Avery has joined public affairs and crisis management firm Culloton + Bauer Luce as a senior consultant after nearly two decades of leadership with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. She became chair of the board in 2009 and, in 2010, she was appointed to serve as the board’s administrator. Before that, Avery was a legislative analyst for the Illinois Senate appropriations committee, overseeing the Department of Health and Human Services budget portfolio.

— Samantha Budde is now comms and public relations manager at Jenner & Block in Chicago. She previously was a VP at the Glover Park Group — now Finsbury Glover Hering — and public relations lead at the London-based Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. Budde got her start working on political campaigns and working in the office of Sen. Dick Durbin.

— Tim Holper has been named chief data officer at Metropolitan Family Services. Holper reports to Metropolitan President & CEO Ric Estrada. Most recently, Holper was director of data warehousing and business intelligence at University of Chicago’s Center for Research Informatics, where he led the architecture, development and operations of the clinical research data warehouse team.

— Jazmin Jones has been named director of administration for Boys & Girls Club of Lake County. Jones has years of human resource experience. She most recently working for Waukegan Public Schools.

WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to attorney Thomas Leinenweber for correctly answering that the Englewood post office sits on the site of the former H.H. Holmes “Murder Castle,” where dozens of people were reportedly killed during the 1893 World’s Fair.

TODAY’s QUESTION: In the 51 cases that Abraham Lincoln appeared before the Illinois Supreme Court as sole counsel, how many were decided in his favor? Email to [email protected]

Former Gov. Pat Quinn, state Sen. Dave Koehler, Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza, former Cicero President Betty Loren-Maltese, University of Chicago social scientist Jacy Reese Anthis, Baker Botts attorney Elisa Beneze, PR pro Margaret O’Connor, and Hyde Park Herald reporter Aaron Gettinger.



via Illinois Playbook

December 16, 2021 at 07:35AM

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