Happy Tuesday, Illinois. The weather is supposed to start thawing a bit, and hopefully moods will too.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Teachers Union reached a deal last night to bring students back to the classroom, but Ronald Reagan and the Soviets were on friendlier terms.
Along with in-person instruction, the tentative agreement increases Covid-19 testing in schools, requires more KN95 masks, and spells out when schools can go remote — all points the CTU had advocated for. The deal also calls for an opt-in testing program that allows parents to decide if their children can be swabbed, which is what the mayor believes is on firmer legal ground than an opt-out system.
Last night, Lightfoot was measured in talking about the CTU, praising the work of teachers. But she acknowledged being “frustrated” that students will have missed five days of in-school instruction.
“Three work stoppages in three years? Who wouldn’t have been frustrated,” she said at a 9 p.m. press conference at City Hall after CTU leaders agreed to go back to their classrooms. The full union membership will start voting on the deal today, which you can read here. Students would return to in-person classes tomorrow.
CTU leaders in a virtual news conference lashed out at Lightfoot even after their delegates passed the proposed deal that they worked out together with Chicago Public Schools.
“This mayor is unfit to lead our city. She’s on a one-woman kamikaze mission to destroy our public schools,” CTU vice president Stacy Davis Gates said during the union’s media briefing.
The question remains to what extent the friction between the CTU and CPS will play out in the 2023 mayor’s race or if Republicans will use it to target Democrats in the midterms. And union officials wouldn’t say what negotiating point got them across the finish line, but CTU president Jesse Sharkey alluded to concerns about teachers not being paid during the work stoppage. “I told our members, it’s cold out in Chicago, we’re going without pay,” and teachers and students miss each other, he said.
Whether union members will receive pay for canceled days of classes will be the decision of district CEO Pedro Martinez, according to union lawyer Robert Bloch.
Parents, meanwhile, had lost patience: Tierra Pearson, who has three children in CPS schools, said the behavior of the district and union, was “making our children suffer,” and had “turned Chicago into a political circus,” write the Tribune’s Tracy Swartz, Gregory Pratt, Shanzeh Ahmad, Diana Wallace and Sarah Freishtat.
Even the White House chimed in. In a press briefing Monday before a deal was reached, press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden has made “no secret” that “schools should be open across the country, that the mental health impact on kids of not having schools open is very harsh and hard, and [that] he does not want to see schools closed across the country.”
From Sun-Times’ Nadier Issa: “CPS didn’t offer to reinstate a threshold for district-wide school closures and didn’t agree to an opt-out testing program, two of the union’s most prominent demands,” by Sun-Times’ Nadir Issa.
From Chalkbeat’s Mauricio Pena and Mila Koumpilova: “Even as districts across the country struggled with post-winter break staffing shortages and rising case counts, the standoff in Chicago once again drew national attention for its uncommon acrimony and disruption.”
— OPINION FROM EVANSTON: I’ve never felt more like a failure as a parent: “My kids are back in school, despite surging Covid cases. We have no other choice,” writes Dan Sinker.
— OPINION | How school closures made me question my progressive politics, by Rebecca Bodenheimer in POLITICO
FORGET THE NICETIES: Chicago Ald. Michelle Harris called the Latino Caucus “uncooperative” and accused Ald. Silvana Tabares of “undermining” Harris’ leadership as head of the Rules Committee, which is overseeing the redistricting process.
“Your refusal to participate in good faith, without any predetermined non-negotiable demands will lead to a costly referendum for Chicago taxpayers,” Harris wrote in a letter to Tabares, adding that the last referendum in 1992 “cost taxpayers $20 million, and estimates I’ve received from the Budget Office double that cost at least.”
A source familiar with the process says it costs nothing to add a question to the ballot. The only real cost is advertising to voters about a referendum. The Latino Caucus has already secured promises of support for TV commercials supporting their map, which would add a Latino-majority seat to the council to recognize the rapid growth of the Hispanic community in Chicago.
Harris is frustrated that 15 council members steered by the Latino Caucus aren’t budging about demands for more representation. The council needs 41 votes to pass a map, and it doesn’t have it as long as those 15 hold their ground. And by all accounts it looks like they are, which would lead to a referendum.
In her letter, Harris cited the recent Illinois Supreme Court decision that let stand the remap of legislative districts, even though there were challenges to it from African Americans and Latinos. “The court found an absence of illegal racial polarization,” Harris wrote, ignoring that the court also said gerrymandering is bad but the federal courts can’t do anything about it.
Expect it all to be rehashed today when the council meets twice on the issue: once in the morning among themselves and then in the afternoon for a public hearing.
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No official public events.
No official public events.
At the Cook County Building at 10 a.m. presiding over the Forest Preserves meeting.
Less than a month after omicron was confirmed in Chicago, it made up nearly all Covid-19 cases: “The speed of omicron’s rise is quicker than the rise of previous variants of the virus, said Hannah Barbian, a Rush University Medical Center virologist who worked on the testing. The findings in Chicago are in line with the trajectory of omicron in cities across the U.S., she said,” by Tribune’s Sarah Freishtat.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Rep. Marie Newman has been endorsed by Indivisible, the progressive grassroots organization, in her reelection bid in the 6th Congressional District. “Marie is a fighter for her constituents in Chicago’s suburbs and attempts to silence her through backroom redistricting deals will only make her fight harder,” Indivisible co-founder and co-executive director Leah Greenberg said in a statement that poked at Illinois lawmakers who put Newman in a position that has her challenging fellow Democratic Rep. Sean Casten. “Marie is no stranger to taking on and beating political machines with the help of the grassroots. She’s the clear progressive choice and we’re proud to endorse her again.”
— Gov. JB Pritzker’s reelection campaign just made a $130,000 cable TV buy for ads in the Champaign, Peoria and Rockford areas.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Paul Schimpf, a Republican candidate for governor, has named Carolyn Schofield as his lieutenant governor running mate. Schofield is a McHenry County board member and has run unsuccessfully for state rep. She’s smart on property taxes, government consolidation and mental health issues, which are likely to become a policy challenge in Illinois and across the country. She’s a logical pick by Schimpf, a former state senator who is a pragmatist and was expected to look for those attributes in a running mate. Schofield is also not a bomb-thrower. “The primary will have a choice in terms of whether voters want outrage or solutions,” said a source close to Schiimpf’s campaign.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Alexi Giannoulias picked up endorsements from Chicago Ald. Matt O’Shea and his 19th Ward Democratic Organization and the Proviso Township Democratic Organization in the Illinois secretary of state’s race. Both organizations had backed Ald. Pat Dowell before she switched gears to run for Congress. Proviso Townships Democrats are led by Cook County Clerk and committeewoman Karen Yarbrough, who said Giannoulias “will enhance our chances for victory."
— State Rep. Deb Conroy is making it official: She won’t seek reelection to the state House and instead is throwing her hat in the ring to run for chair of the DuPage County Board. “I think I have the ability to bring people together and work bipartisanly. That’s what’s missing out here right now,” she told Playbook. Conroy, now in her fifth term, serves as Women’s Caucus Whip and is an advocate on mental health legislation.
— Greg Hart, a Republican running for the DuPage County Board chairman seat, says he has raised $600,000 in the race.
— Jonathan Swain, an entrepreneur and the former Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals chairman, is considering a run for Rep. Bobby Rush’s seat. Swain is president and CEO of LINK Unlimited Scholars, founder of Hyde Park Summer Fest, and president of longtime family business Kimbark Beverage Shoppe.
— Michelle Obama and coalition vow to register more than a million new voters: “The push for voting reform is intensifying ahead of the 2022 midterms, in which Democrats will fight to maintain their narrow control of the Senate,” by POLITICO’s Maeve Sheehey.
— Pritzker signs bills creating judicial ‘subcircuits,’ tweaking police decertification: “Without comment, Gov. JB Pritzker late last week signed into law bills that will create judicial “subcircuits” in Sangamon, Madison and DuPage counties and delay the onset of new police training and a new police officer decertification system,” by State Journal-Register’s Dean Olsen.
— Republicans call for hearings after DCFS director held in contempt of court for violating kids’ rights: “In a letter dated Monday, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said the move to hold the DCFS director in contempt of court should be a ‘wake-up call to the General Assembly,’” by Sun-Times’ Madeline Kenney.
— Schools shutdown revives questions about where Chicago is spending its Covid -19 relief money: “The city of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools got in total nearly $4 billion dollars from the federal government to recover from the pandemic. While much of that money is being spent on that recovery, some activists say not enough of it is being spent to help schools fight the spread of the coronavirus right now,” by WBEZ’s Becky Vevea.
— New head of Police Civilian Oversight Commission will push for change within CPD, some progressive aldermen say: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot appointed attorney Adam Gross, who helped craft the oversight commission and will lead a 14-person staff to carry out the commission’s work,” by Block Club’s Justin Laurence.
— ANALYSIS: Chicago’s “race-neutral” traffic cameras ticket Black and Latino drivers the most: “A ProPublica analysis found that traffic cameras in Chicago disproportionately ticket Black and Latino motorists. But city officials plan to stick with them — and other cities may adopt them too,” by ProPublica’s Emily Hopkins and Melissa Sanchez.
— South Side church looks to develop hub for Black life: “Rev. Byron Brazier, pastor of the Apostolic Church of God, and his son, J. Byron Brazier, have laid out a $600 million plan for the Woodlawn neighborhood,” by Sun-Times’ Cheyanne M. Daniels.
— Shedd Aquarium announces Centennial Commitment, an 8-year transformation, revitalization plan, by Sun-Times’ Miriam Di Nunzio.
— George McCaskey promises a ‘thorough, diligent and exhaustive’ search for next Bears GM and coach after firing Pace and Nagy, by Tribune’s Colleen Kane, Brad Biggs and Dan Wiederer
— Steppenwolf postpones ‘1919’ due to Covid surge: “The rest of the theater’s season schedule remains unchanged,” by Richie Requena in the Sun-Times.
Judge sorting out what jury can hear in Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson’s upcoming tax trial: “Thompson wants a federal jury to hear he’d started the process to amend his tax returns with his accountant weeks before government agents confronted him about strange loans from a collapsed Bridgeport bank. The problem is, that’s not how the accountant remembers it,” by Tribune’s Jason Meeisner.
— Exelon’s ComEd hires new top lawyer as bribery suits continue: “Former Jenner & Block lawyer Glenn Rippie worked as ComEd interim general counsel since August 2021 [and] took over the role effective Jan.1. He will also be deputy general counsel for Exelon, focusing on matters with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the company said,” via Bloomberg Law.
— Lawsuit says Northwestern, Notre Dame, U Chicago among elite schools that schemed to reduce financial aid for students: “A class-action lawsuit claims a group of college presidents set up admissions policies that limited options for needy students and shrank their aid packages at top schools,” by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm.
We asked if not coffee, what morning drink charges your battery: It’s green tea with ginger for Patricia Ann Watson, hot chocolate for James Castro, and Diet Coke for John Straus and Ashvin Lad. “More caffeine than coffee,” Straus says. Janet Mathis likes Earl Grey tea with lemon and honey. For Christine Svenson, it’s pomegranate tea. And Timothy Thomas Jr. drinks “The Victoria,” a lemonade infused with lavender and strawberry and served at Afro Joe’s Coffee & Tea. The drink is named after Thomas’ daughter, who once made a special request and now the drink is on the menu.
When did you suck it up and stand by your adversary? Email to [email protected]
— The fate of the filibuster: Your guide to the changes Dems really want, by POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine
— Biden administration hits the Hill to lobby Dems against GOP-backed Russia sanctions, by POLITICO’s Andrew Desiderio
— Judge mulls whether Trump’s silence on Jan. 6 could amount to ‘agreement’ with rioters, by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney
Rahm Emanuel’s earning power: "Since Emanuel’s term as mayor ended in 2019, he’s been raking it in even faster, according to disclosures for his Senate confirmation: $12 million for his work as a senior adviser to Centerview Partners, $700,000 consulting for Wicklow Capital and $310,472 as an ABC News talking head,” according to Chicago magazine.
— Zeke Johnson and Brian Jacobson have been named partners in the investment management practice at Morgan Lewis law firm. And Patrick Lucke and Jessica Parsons are associates. They all previously worked Faegre Drinker.
— Mark Donovan has been appointed as a member of the state Employees’ Retirement System Board of Trustees. Donovan is senior VP of Commercial Lending and Treasury Operations at INB, N.A., where he has served for 19 years. He is also chairman of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.
— Madison Muller has joined Bloomberg as a reporter covering trending coronavirus news for Bloomberg’s health team. She recently was at Chicago Public Media, where she was a digital producer and freelance reporter.
— Max Frankel is joining Invariant, with a focus on climate, energy and environment issues. He previously was legislative director for Illinois Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley.
— Kirsten West is a principal at Cornerstone Public Affairs. She was previously deputy chief of staff for Illinois Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood and is an alum of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and former Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa).
Goli Sheikholeslami appointed CEO of POLITICO Media Group: The former head of Chicago Public Media currently serves as President and CEO of New York Public Radio, via POLITICO.
Richard ‘Dick’ Stone dies at 80; Chicago newsman was respected foreign correspondent and media strategists, by Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell
MONDAY’s ANSWER: Turns out there are a few books featuring characters modeled after people the authors met while living in Chicago rooming houses. Matthew Beaudet got it right with “The Rooming House Diaries” by Bill Mathis. Alaina Harkness points out that many of Studs Terkel’s characters were inspired by people he met in the boarding house his parents ran. And no one even mentioned Sherwood Anderson, who wrote “Winesburg, Ohio.”
TODAY’s QUESTION: Which three parks along Chicago’s lakefront once hosted Nike nuclear missile launch sites?Email to [email protected]
Rep. Andrew Chesney, and Chicago attorney Rebecca Ford.
January 11, 2022 at 07:59AM