Grappling with the how and why in Highland Park- POLITICO

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It’s Thursday, Illinois. A bright spot this week: City pools in Chicago have finally reopened.

Families mourned victims of the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park. The accused gunman made a court appearance Wednesday. And lawmakers are hunkering down to figure out how state laws might be strengthened to prevent mass shootings from happening again.

“I don’t know how much we can legislate human response; we can only provide the tools,” state Sen. Julie Morrison, who was at the parade with her family, told The New York Times, acknowledging gun laws only work if people respond to them.

Big revelation: Authorities said Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III confessed to firing more than 80 rounds at parade spectators before making his escape and that he considered shooting more people at an event in Wisconsin. He decided against it because he didn’t have a plan in place.

Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak ordered Crimo held without bail on seven counts of first-degree murder, saying the accused gunman is a “specific and present threat to the community.” Crimo’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 28.

More charges are expected, according to Eric Rinehart, the Lake County state’s attorney. So far, no motive has been determined. If convicted on the murder charges, Crimo faces a mandatory life prison sentence without the possibility of parole.

What’s next: Government and law enforcement officials are now grappling with what went wrong and how to tamp down the gun problem that continues to percolate throughout the state.

Illinois State Police director defended the decision to give the suspected killer a gun permit in 2020: “Brendan Kelly said there was no evidence of a ‘clear and present danger’ that could have supported denying Robert E. Crimo III’s request,” reports Sun-Times’ Frank Main.

The “clear and present danger” warning was insufficient to keep the alleged parade shooter from purchasing a rifle, state police say, by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau and Annie Sweeney.

Gov. JB Pritzker’s office said it would “review everything we know about this gunman in the context of our laws and determine what more we can do to continue our public safety work.”

Lawmakers and advocates are talking about how laws might be tweaked and the timing for bringing legislation to Springfield. Leaders in the General Assembly already said there would not be a special session this month to address abortion, so there’s no official return on the books.

State Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback (16th), who’s been an advocate for stronger gun-safety laws, is calling for a special session now. “I think it’s warranted,” she told Playbook. “The longer we wait, the more tragedies will continue to happen.”

Details of the investigation, by The Associated Press’ Michael Tarm, Kathleen Foody and Don Babwin

RELATED

AR-15 raffle video puts Illinois Republican in hot seat after parade shooting: “Darren Bailey raffled off a Smith & Wesson AR-15 — nearly identical to the type used in this week’s Highland Park parade massacre — as part of a 2019 campaign fundraising event,” by NBC News’ Natasha Korecki.

— Congress eyes gunmakers: In Washington, D.C., Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent letters to the CEOs of gun manufacturers Daniel Defense, LLC, Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc., and Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc., requesting they appear at a committee hearing July 20 “on the urgent issue of gun violence.” The request follows a hearing last month where witnesses shared their personal experiences with gun violence, including the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York.

DAN LIPINSKI weighs another run: Supporters of the former Democratic congressman hope to gather the 5,000 signatures needed to get Lipinski on the November ballot as an independent in the newly drawn 6th Congressional District. The deadline is Monday.

Democratic Rep. Sean Casten and Republican Keith Pekau, the mayor of Orland Park, are already in the race.

Lipinski’s entry would pose a challenge to the other candidates as more than 40 percent of the newly drawn district includes the same constituency he represented for eight terms in the 3rd District. Lipinski was defeated in the 2020 primary by Rep. Marie Newman, who lost last week to Casten.

“I’m fed up with both parties. We’re facing some serious issues right now that neither party is addressing. I think both parties are putting partisanship over the country,” Lipinski told Playbook about why he’s considering another run for Congress. He predicts Republicans will take the House and maybe the Senate.

That means “nothing will get done as the two parties just fight about the next election.”

Lipinski, who voted Democrat in the primary, says he doesn’t know yet if he’ll actually run in November. On the two hot-button issues of this year’s political season, he opposes abortion and supports gun rights — with limits. “I believe I voted for every gun-safety bill brought to the House floor for a vote when I was in Congress,” Lipinski said, adding, more should be done “to restrict the availability of guns, especially the high-powered semi-automatics like the one used in Highland Park.”

His bigger focus, Lipinski said, would be talking about kitchen table issues that affect the middle class. “I want to see more done to help families who are struggling as we face a recession."

Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: skapos@politico.com

No official public events.

At Union Station at 10 a.m. with Sen. Dick Durbin, Congressman Jesús "Chuy" Garcia, and state and transit leaders to announce upgrades to the train station.  

In Harvey at 10:30 a.m. to celebrate the $15 million renovation and preservation of the South Suburban Senior Housing Apartments community.

— SCOOP | Back in the 2020 election… Ken Griffin spent $54M fighting a tax increase for the rich. Secret IRS data shows it paid off for him: Illinois’ then-wealthiest resident “spent about $18 for every one of the 3.1 million votes” against the graduated income tax initiative, “which would have allowed Illinois lawmakers to join 32 other states in setting higher tax rates for the wealthy than for everyone else.” ProPublica’s Paul Kiel and Mick Dumke report.

Ken Griffin and JB Pritzker’s secret meeting: The origin of a political feud: “The newly elected governor and the state’s richest man met for a secret breakfast three years ago. But instead of peace, what followed was three years of war,” writes Crain’s Greg Hinz.

At the center of their discussion: pensions. “Griffin urged Pritzker to make pension changes that could result in the governor getting some political cover from his rightward flank for a companion tax hike. … Team Pritzker says that wasn’t the case, that there was no quid pro quo offer. Pritzker wouldn’t even consider engaging in ‘a backroom deal with wealthy people who want the laws to benefit them at the expense of working families,’ says a spokeswoman.”

Patrick Daley Thompson sentenced to 4 months in federal prison: “The sentencing capped a stunning, mad-dash of a federal court case that in 14 months cost Thompson his 11th Ward seat on the City Council, his law license and his freedom. It likely ended his political career and marred not only his reputation, but his famous family’s,” by Sun-Times Jon Seidel.

Daley Thompson’s family sobbed when the sentence was announced, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone

City Council hall of shame, via the Sun-Times

Cook County assessor’s official charged in corruption case with taking home improvements, jewelry to help cut taxes: “The document charging Lavdim “Deme” Memisovski was signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amarjeet S. Bhachu, who is prosecuting cases against former House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and Ald. Edward M. Burke,” by Sun-Times’ Lauren FitzPatrick and Tim Novak.

Lightfoot says higher ticket threshold for speed cameras would cost city $80 million this year and next: “I haven’t heard anybody who thinks it’s a good idea to increase the speeds talking about what they’re gonna do in an election-year budget to find the revenues … necessary to replace the revenue stream. That is now front-and-center on peoples’ minds,” the mayor said. Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman reports.

Nascar on Chicago streets in 2023? Lightfoot says yes: report: “According to a letter obtained by The Athletic, the Lightfoot administration has endorsed an event to be held on Chicago streets for a three-year stretch beginning next year,” via Crain’s.

Obama Foundation taps Tina Tchen for new role, a year after she resigned from Time’s Up following Cuomo scandal, by Tribune’s A.D. Quig and Alice Yin.

Vallas drops $836,500 into mayoral campaign fund: “Vallas’ second-quarter fundraising report includes six-figure contributions from some heavy hitters… They include $500,000 from prominent Republican donor and golf course magnate Michael Keiser; $100,000 apiece from John Canning and James Perry of Madison Dearborn Partners; $50,000 from Noel Moore, managing partner of Endurance Asset Management; and $25,000 from Edgar Bachrach of Bader Clothing,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Fenwick teacher ousted following allegations of sexual harassment: “School officials say they’ve decided to not renew John Quinn’s contract,” by Wednesday Journal’s y F. Amanda Tugade.

Ravinia Festival cancels concerts in aftermath of Highland Park parade shooting: “The venue will be closed through July 10 to ‘give the community the space and quiet to reflect and heal,’” by Sun-Times’ Miriam Di Nunzio.

Park Ridge police investigating off-duty Chicago officer’s restraint of boy: A couple and their attorneys “allege racial profiling played a part in the encounter, which they say stemmed from a false claim their son was trying to steal a bicycle belonging to the officer’s son. The officer is white, and their son is of Puerto Rican descent,” by Daily Herald’s Eric Peterson.

Former Netflix star Jerry Harris from Naperville gets 12 years in prison for child pornography case, via ABC 7

We asked how comfortable you feel talking politics with friends, family and co-workers: Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Alison Pure-Slovin: “I have learned to listen and not respond as my opinions are no longer welcome. I am now the queen of pivoting the conversation away from politics!” … John Straus: “I no longer discuss politics with those with whom I disagree. I just let them be wrong.” … Liz Heffernan: “I am fortunate because my family members are all on the same Dem team. I have learned it’s best not to discuss politics at work. I live in northern Lake County.”

Political consultant Omari Prince: “I’m comfortable talking about politics because the conversation usually veers to judiciary elections and people want to know who’s running. For some reason they never pay attention to the judges.” … Ashvin Lad: “I avoid political conversations with friends as much as possible. Every issue is nuanced. While we live in a world of gray, to many people, issues are either black or white. So I just stick to social media posts and conversations about food, sports, travel, and my nieces.”

Have you been a member of the same political party your entire life? What made you switch — or consider switching?Email skapos@politico.com

Where Jan. 6 prosecutions stand, 18 months after the attack: “The Justice Department has arrested more than 850 Capitol riot suspects. More than 325 of them have pleaded guilty,” by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein.

— ALTITUDE COLUMN: Liz Cheney wins the GOP’s manhood contest, by POLITICO’s John F. Harris

Biden’s ‘laser focus’ on inflation rankles progressives inside administration, by POLITICO’s Ben White

Boris Johnson to resign as UK prime minister, by POLITICO’s Matt Honeycombe-Foster and Emilio Casalicchio

Kate Bedingfield is leaving the White House, by POLITICO’s Alex Thompson

Bringing Brittney Griner home, Part 2, by Max Tani and Alex Thompson in West Wing Playbook

Crypto ATMs are on the rise. Who’s supposed to keep an eye on them? POLITICO’s Susannah Luthi reports

— Jan’et Scott is now director of scheduling for Pritzker. Scott most recently was legislative liaison for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. She is also a former legislative assistant for Senator Emil Jones III and Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford at the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus.

— Blake Gerold has been promoted to be deputy director of the governor’s office of constituent affairs.

— Mike Koolidge has been named comms director and chief spokesman for People Who Play By The Rules PAC, which is headed by conservative broadcaster Dan Proft. Koolidge ran unsuccessfully last week in the GOP primary for the IL-14 congressional seat. The PBR political action committee supports candidates “committed to ending the fleecing of people who play by the rules and are gamed by a political system they finance,” according to a statement.

— Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond W. Mitchell has been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court as appellate court justice in the First District, Sixth Division. Mitchell will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Sheldon A. Harris. The appointment ends Dec. 5. Mitchell will then become an elected Appellate Court justice, having won the Democratic primary and running unopposed in the November election.

— Sarah Gilbert has been named chief content officer for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Gilbert comes to the council from NPR where she was VP of news programming. She created and launched the Up First and Consider This podcasts and oversaw NPR’s flagship shows, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

— Phillip “Phil” Washington has been named CEO of Denver International Airport. Washington is a native of Chicago’s South Side. He previously was CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

And congrats to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross, regular contributors to national Playbook — and early on assisted with Illinois Playbook — for their promotions. Okun is now national Playbook reporter, and Ross is national Playbook’s digital editor.

Geneva mourns late alderman, parks commissioner Sam Hill: “Hill was a Geneva Park District commissioner for eight years.. He served for a decade on the city’s plan commission, then ran for alderman in 2001. He spent the next 12 years representing the city’s 1st Ward, which includes much of the downtown and the Geneva Historic District,” by Daily Herald’s Susan Sarkauskas.

Robert Feder reflects on career and life in an exit interview with friends and journalism colleagues Eric Zorn and Neil Steinberg.

WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Robert Christie and Clem Balanoff for correctly answering that a Sly and the Family Stone concert in Grant Park on July 27, 1970, led to a riot when the band delayed and then canceled a show.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the Chicago alderman forced to quit when it was determined he actually lived in Wilmette (though some say it’s the syndicate that pushed him out)? Email skapos@politico.com

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, lobbyist and former Congressman Jerry Weller, Chicago senior assistant corporation counsel Steven McKenzie, former Ald. Rey Colon, and former Cook County Judge Travis Richardson.

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July 7, 2022 at 07:16AM

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