Chicago aldermen eye new lobbying rules

Chicago aldermen eye new lobbying rules

Happy Wednesday, Illinois. I had coffee with a friend I hadn’t seen in years and it’s funny how easily we didn’t skip a beat.

Some Chicago City Council members fed up with the shady wheeling and dealing of government are calling for new ethics reforms that would tighten restrictions on elected officials and lobbyists.

“People are tired of corruption. They’ve lost the public trust in government. This would restore that trust by holding elected officials accountable,” Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd) told Playbook about an ordinance she plans to introduce today.

The measure would ban spouses and domestic partners of city elected officials from being compensated for lobbying any government agency or city leader. The ordinance essentially moves past the idea of modifying lobbyist disclosure forms and bans elected officials’ spouses from lobbying outright.

Tabares says supporters of the ordinance were prompted by recent events that saw House Speaker Michael Madigan indicted on federal racketeering charges for his dealings with ComEd and reports that City Clerk Anna Valencia failed to disclose for two years that her husband, Reyahd Kazmi, was a lobbyist for a well-connected security company. Valencia, a candidate for secretary of state, has said the omission of Kazmi’s lobbying and his income was “an honest mistake.”

Tabares says it’s just another chapter in a long story of government corruption in Chicago and Illinois, “and we have to work to correct that.”

She says a dozen fellow council members have signed onto the ordinance, including Alds. Anthony Beale (9th), George Cardenas (12th), Ray Lopez (15th), Howard Brookins Jr. (21st), Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), and Felix Cardona Jr.

Tabares will be working the chamber at today’s City Council meeting hoping to get more co-sponsors before seeing it assigned to a committee. The ordinance needs 26 votes to pass.

REMAP SCOOP: A new poll conducted by the City Council’s Rules Committee with the Black Caucus appears to show support for the groups’ “Chicago United” plan for redrawing the city’s 50 wards.

According to a polling memo provided to Playbook, voters favored the Black Caucus’ proposal over the map pitched by the Latino Caucus 34 percent to 23 percent based on a list of some of the aldermen supporting each map. The support for the former increases to 43 percent to 27 percent once voters are given more information, though the polling memo doesn’t explain what that information is.

Fact missing from the polling memo: Both maps call for 16 Black-majority wards but differ on the number of Latino wards. The Black Caucus wants 14 Latinos-majority wards and the Latino map wants 15, based on census data showing Chicago’s Hispanic population has surpassed the city’s Black population. The difference affects the balance of power on the City Council for the next decade.

The polling memo, written by Tulchin Research, indicates that voters like that the Black Caucus’ “Chicago United” map has the support of Secretary of State Jesse White.

But then the poll’s language gets inflammatory, asking whether voters would be “bothered” if a map “cost Chicago taxpayers millions of dollars for a referendum election.” Rules Committee Chair Ald. Michelle Harris has insisted that a referendum could cost taxpayers “millions,” though it’s not clear what would ring up such a tab except for a possible legal challenge if the city had to defend the map in court.

The survey asks if voters would be less likely to support an alternative plan, such as the Latino Caucus’ Chicago Coalition map, based on a “closed-door process and disrespect of the Rules Committee chair.” This has been a repeated talking point, too. The Latino Caucus has balked at the idea of equating a disagreement with disrespect.

But here’s the topper. The memo finds a majority of voters are “less likely to support” the Latino Caucus map when told it was “developed by a lawyer/lobbyist caught on Justice Department tapes asking for business in exchange for political contributions.” That’s a reference to Victor Reyes, who’s been mentioned — but not charged with anything — in the racketeering case against former House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The polling memo does not mention that the Rules Committee and Black Caucus have hired attorney Michael Kasper, who for years was Madigan’s longtime election lawyer.

The poll was conducted among 1,200 likely voters across Chicago from Feb. 21 through March 3. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.8%.

The city’s ward remap process is a full-blown political campaign with all the bells and whistles that come with that.

SIDE NOTE: Redistricting expert Allan Lichtman has issued a new assessment supporting the Black Caucus’ view that ward representation should be based on citizen voting age population. The Latino Caucus has countered that argument, saying it follows total census population given all residents use city services.

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

At the Sangamo Club in Springfield at 12:15 p.m. to deliver remarks at Latino Unity Day festivities.

In City Hall at 10 a.m. presiding over the City Council meeting.

At Maggiano’s Banquets at 1 p.m. to introduce Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha Jr. prior to his address at the City Club of Chicago luncheon meeting.

‘Stealth’ omicron to be dominant variant among Chicago Covid-19 cases by the end of March: “Early research suggests BA.2 spreads quicker than the original omicron, but it’s inconclusive whether it leads to more severe symptoms. The subvariant has pummeled much of Europe and Asia this month, but recent data show cases are dropping in hotspots and that vaccines — as well as prior infection from the first omicron wave — remain effective against serious illness and death,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.

Nearly 19,000 more deaths in Cook County: “An analysis shows since the first COVID death in 2020, Cook County has seen thousands of deaths beyond what would be expected — the equivalent of a plane crash every two weeks — and it’s not all from the virus,” by Kyra Senese and Smarth Gupta for the Sun-Times.

Chicago to reduce some Covid programs, change travel advisories, by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.

Hillary Clinton tests positive for Covid, by POLITICO’s Kelly Hooper

5 takeaways from Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court hearing: “GOP senators launch salvos on ‘critical race theory,’ criminal sentencing and representing Guantanamo inmates,” by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein and Marianne LeVine.

Ketanji Brown Jackson on court packing: ‘I agree with Justice Barrett,’ via POLITICO Video

GOP’s 2024 contenders leap into Supreme Court spotlight, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett

Durbin and Hawley exchange over Congress’ record on child pornography legislation, via POLITICO Video

Graham walks out of hearing after sparing with Durbin over Gitmo detainees, via POLITICO Video

Erika Harold named executive director of Commission on Professionalism: The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Erika Harold, an Illinois attorney and former candidate for state attorney general, as the new executive director of the Commission on Professionalism effective April 11, via Decatur Tribune. Harold succeeds the retiring Jayne Reardon, who has served as executive director since 2009. The commission delivers educational programming and resources to lawyers and judges throughout the state.

Lanyea Griffin has been named interim executive director of The Illinois Tollway: “Griffin, tollway deputy chief of program implementation, will begin her new job April 1 and replaces José Alvarez, who resigned from the agency last week,” by Daily Herald’s Marni Pyke

— Tina Sfondeles returns to the Sun-Times next week as chief political reporter after a recent stint at Mac Strategies and before that POLITICO, where she co-authored West Wing Playbook.

In a rare move, Democratic-controlled Illinois Senate rejects Pritzker’s pick for state parole board: “Republican Senators have maintained a drumbeat of criticism of the board under Pritzker for various reasons, including a perceived lack of transparency and an overly lenient attitude toward convicted criminals. [The Pritzker administration praised Jeff Mears] for his experience in de-escalation and crisis intervention as a hostage negotiator while working downstate at the Shawnee Correctional Center, and said the Republicans have sought to ‘dismantle a constitutional function of government,’” by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner and Clare Spaulding.

Illinois’ new health care program for undocumented seniors leaves some of the most vulnerable behind: “State data shows the program covers a diverse group of immigrant seniors across Illinois. Enrollees speak more than 40 languages and live in 51 of the state’s 102 counties. But most elders covered under the program are Latinx and live in Cook County. To qualify, they must live in a household with an income below the poverty line (just under $27,000 a year for a household of four),” by Tribune’s Laura Rodriguez Presa and Injustice Watch’s Carlos Ballesteros. Second in series.

State Supreme Court asked to define limits of river access: “Can property owners bar others from accessing a river that crosses their property?” Capitol News’ Peter Hancock reports

Westfield Police Department permanently disbands: “The Village Board of Trustees decided to permanently disband the department due to several long-term issues and events. The department cites the state’s new Criminal Justice Reform Bill as one of the many reasons they are disbanded,” via ABC 20.

Dozens of lawmakers, advocates back bill to bridge perinatal healthcare gap, by WCIA’s Renée Cooper and Mark Maxwell.

Michael Flynn endorses Gary Rabine. Does Trump endorsement loom? "With Gen. Flynn’s endorsement we’re one step closer to potentially seeing an endorsement from the former president," said Aaron Del Mar, Rabine’s lieutenant governor running mate. Via Daily Herald’s Marni Pyke.

Democrats seize on Flynn’s support, saying it’s evidence of the Illinois Republican Party shifting “even further to the right,” reports Sun-Times’ Taylor Avery.

Could questions about Rep. Brad Schneider’s residency knock him off the ballot? “In an objection filed Monday with the Illinois State Board of Elections, two Lake Forest residents claim Schneider doesn’t live at the Highland Park address he listed as his home on nominating petition sheets and a statement of candidacy….A campaign spokesman says Schneider moved earlier this year to a house he and his wife had built in Highland Park,” by Daily Herald’s Russell Lissau.

Richard Irvin praised criminal justice bill as Aurora mayor. As GOP candidate for governor, he slams it: “Irvin says he will seek to repeal because it encourages violent crime and played a role in the deaths of law enforcement officers,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.

Lightfoot cuts casino hand to three finalists — tosses two McCormick proposals to the discard pile: “While the mayor had previously said she wanted to pick one finalist by the end of March to recommend to state regulators who have the final say on issuing a casino license, officials now say that decision won’t be made at least until early summer,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.

… What it means: “A Chicago casino has the potential to boost the city’s long-troubled finances and give Lightfoot a major political victory as she heads into her reelection campaign. As mayor, Lightfoot has struggled to promote her legislative agenda in Springfield, with the casino bill being a critical exception,” by Tribune’s Robert Channick and Gregory Pratt.

Two finalists for 11th Ward seat held by Patrick Daley Thompson, but Lightfoot delays appointment: “Lightfoot had wanted a replacement seated in time for Wednesday’s City Council meeting. The Rules Committee was to meet Tuesday to confirm the mayor’s choice, but the meeting was canceled at Lightfoot’s behest,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

$33M project proposed for West Humboldt Park:The residential and commercial development is from A.J. Patton of 548 Development, whose past work has drawn notice from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.

First the Mag Mile, now LaSalle Street gets makeover ideas, by Crain’s Danny Ecker

Lollapalooza lineup for summer 2022 in Chicago: Metallica, Dua Lipa, J. Cole, Green Day, by Tribune’s Doug George

Waukegan council hires consulting firm to investigate 15-year-old’s mistaken arrest: “Gaining approval without any discussion by the aldermen, both Mayor Ann Taylor and Interim Police Chief Keith Zupec said the city hired Johnson Hughes because it wants to be as transparent as possible after an arrest both admit was a mistake,” by Lake County News-Sun’s Steve Sadin.

Pot-license lottery winners are moving ahead with Chicago shops: “Licenses are still on hold because of a judge’s ruling, but some winning applicants for cannabis retail spots are working to win zoning approval for stores,” by Crain’s John Pletz.

We asked what the subject was of your greatest confrontation: Chicago public affairs guru David Prosperi’s moment came in 1988 when he found himself “defending the performance of Republican VP nominee Dan Quayle in the ‘spin room’ after the 1988 vice presidential debate in Omaha, Neb.” Prosperi was Quayle’s spokesman at the time… City Club’s Edward Mazur, who’s surely seen his share of dust-ups on the civic scene, said it was a battle with his Ph.D. dissertation adviser who pushed Mazur to write a book. “But I just wanted to finish the thesis, get my degree, and rework it later into a publishable monograph.” Mazur eventually wrote his book.

What’s the big draw for you in the Chicago casino proposals? Email [email protected]

How ‘magic mushrooms’ could follow in the footsteps of cannabis: Illinois has enough to worry about in getting its cannabis law right. But some states are considering bills to decriminalize or legalize psychedelic substances, report POLITICO’s Mona Zhang and Liz Crampton.

The world holds its breath for Putin’s cyberwar: “Moscow’s slowness to unleash its cyber might against Ukraine has scrambled long-held assumptions about the future of warfare — even as warnings grow that attacks are imminent,” by POLITICO’s Maggie Miller.

Get ready for ‘hell,’ UN food chief warns amid Ukraine shockwaves, by POLITICO’s Eddy Wax

Florida Dems back down after LGBTQ caucus threatens boycott of annual gala amid Disney dust-up, by POLITICO’s Gary Fineout

Health data breaches swell in 2021 amid hacking surge, POLITICO analysis finds, by Ben Leonard

Utah governor becomes latest to veto transgender sports ban, by The Associated Press

April 6 at 5:30 p.m.: Downtown Springfield, Inc.’s 29th annual dinner and awards ceremony will be held at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre, via State Journal Register’s Steven Spearie

TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Robert Christie for correctly answering Democratic Lt. Govs. Thomas Marshall and Archibald Glenn served under Republican governors, and h/t to WGN Radio’s Steve Bertrand for being first to note that Democrat Paul Simon was lieutenant governor with Republican Gov. Richard Ogilvie. Details here

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who is the former U.S. senator who started in public life working for James R. Thompson when Thompson was a U.S. attorney? Email [email protected]

Former state Comptroller Michael Bakalis (who ran for governor in 1978), Mac Strategies’ Monique Garcia, Duckworth press secretary Evan Keller, Harris School of Public Policy Ph.D. candidate Valerie Michelman and Chicago’s own Chaka Khan



March 23, 2022 at 09:50AM

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