Redlining’s lasting legacy- POLITICO

Good Tuesday morning, Illinois. Have we hit the lazy days of summer yet?

The practice of redlining ended more than 50 years ago, but its ramifications linger today and have contributed to the urban decay and Black flight from cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia, according to new research by Maria Pappas’ Cook County Treasurer’s Office.

Redlining was the practice of denying home loans in minority neighborhoods that were branded a financial risk. The government practice benefited white middle-class homeowners while people of color were pushed into urban housing projects.

The new study finds correlations between today’s “vast tracks” of vacant and abandoned properties in Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia and areas the federal government once warned against mortgage lending.

Far-reaching effects: Redlining “thwarted generations of Blacks from obtaining generational wealth through homeownership,” argues Pappas’ office in its summary of the research.

Redlining’s effects are seen today in high crime rates, abandoned properties, below-value real estate appraisals, regressive property taxation and in population decline, according to Pappas’ researchers. “Hundreds of thousands of Blacks in recent decades have fled a number of cities, including Chicago,” as a result, according to the country’s researchers. POLITICO recently examined that phenomenon in Chicago.

Solutions: The Treasurer’s Office has long criticized the Scavenger Sales program that auctions off distressed properties. With the study in hand, Pappas proposes a new program that puts properties back on the tax rolls quicker, and she wants to create a database documenting inventory of vacant land and abandoned properties.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Chicago attorney Sam Royko is running for alderman in the 1st Ward. The seat is currently held by Ald. Daniel La Spata.

Royko is the youngest son of the late Sun-Times columnist Mike Royko and has been outspoken on safety issues in his ward.

“Last year, my girlfriend was carjacked. It was a traumatic experience. We decided to turn this difficult event into an opportunity to use our voices to improve the community,” Royko said in a statement to Playbook announcing his bid for public office.

Royko worked with neighbors and community groups to create the Greater West Town Community Coalition. Joining the City Council would be the next step, he said.

Royko’s roots in the ward run deep. “My father is from here; he grew up above the tavern his family operated at 2122 North Milwaukee Ave. I have lived in the community since 2015 in Noble Square and now West Town. … It is part of my history.”

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

No official public events.

At the Chicago Cultural Center at 1 p.m. along with first lady of Chicago Amy Eshleman to host a panel discussion panel on the 50th Anniversary of Title IX. Watch on the mayor’s social media channels. … At NBC Tower at 2:30 p.m. along with NASCAR leaders for an announcement. … At the Chicago Cultural Center again at 5:30 p.m. for the Title IX Hero Awards Reception.

No schedule provided.

Ethan Wolf, the deputy political director for Rep. Brad Schneider, moonlights on Twitter highlighting President Joe Biden’s political victories on the @BidensWins handle. Monday’s tweet, for example: “Oil prices are down 20%. That’s a Biden Win!”

Wolf told West Wing Playbook he wanted to highlight Biden’s political victories heading into the midterms — because Democrats are often bad at sharing good news. “There’s a large part of the Democratic Party that are so focused on the things that they want to do, that they forget what they’ve already done,” he said. Read the full interview here

— Scott Swanson, PNC regional president of Illinois, has been named chair of the Executives’ Club of Chicago. He replaces Dean Harrison, CEO of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare.

— Gov. JB Pritzker isolated at home “out of an abundance of caution” Monday after learning that Val Demings has Covid after attending the Florida Democratic Party conference in Tampa. Pritzker was a headliner.

In wake of Highland Park mass shooting, Illinois State Police move to expand use of ‘clear and present danger’ reports: “The alleged Highland Park shooter was able to obtain a FOID card just months after the suburb’s police filed a clear and present danger report with state police in September 2019 because the report wasn’t retained after it was determined he didn’t have a firearm permit or pending application at the time, according to state police,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella and Jeremy Gorner.

— IN SPRINGFIELD: Misty Buscher to run for mayor: “City treasurer will challenge Mayor Jim Langfelder as he seeks reelection,” by Illinois Times’ Dean Olsen.

— IN NAPERVILLE: Mayor Steve Chirico says he’ll not seek re-election: “It’s time to let someone else chart this community’s course alongside the entire City Council and our professional, hardworking City staff,” he said in a Facebook post, via NCTV17.

A massive influx of federal anti-violence dollars starts to hit the streets of Chicago: “The $2 million paid out in June is the first down payment on a pledge to spend $250 million in federal funds on violence prevention,” by WBEZ’s Patrick Smith,

Lori Lightfoot hints strongly at veto if Chicago City Council raises threshold for speed camera tickets: “The mayor’s latest veto threat comes two days before a long-stalled Chicago City Council showdown on the volatile issue of how far over the speed limit motorists can drive before getting a speed-camera ticket,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Facing a possible spike in property taxes, Lightfoot says she’ll ‘make sure there isn’t a significant burden’ on taxpayers: “Nobody could’ve anticipated what the consequences of inflation that we’re seeing here this year,” Lightfoot said. Tribune’s Gregory Pratt reports.

After 3 suicides by Chicago police officers, top cop fends off rising criticism for routinely canceling days off: “Four members of the City Council are calling for hearings on mental health challenges facing police,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.

— Ironic timing. The mayor is expected to announce a deal with NASCAR today to bring a racing event to Chicago streets beginning in 2023. The move comes as a City Council committee passed an ordinance Monday to crack down on drag racing after a viral video showed “drivers doing donuts at a crowded Chicago intersection,” writes the Tribune’s Alice Yin and Gregory Pratt.

Proposed grocery store at Wilson el stop wins in latest round of city development grants: “Lightfoot will also back grocery chain on West and South sides and artists’ space and cafe with nearly $50 million in city cash,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.

In an age of misinformation, why are there so few librarians at Chicago Public Schools? asks Sun-Times’ Nader Issa.

Chicago moving forward with effort to build South Loop high school: “CPS last month hit pause on the controversial school. But on Tuesday, the CHA is slated to vote on a measure that could kick start its construction,” by WBEZ’s Sarah Karp.

City Council’s Finance Committee OKs $11.2M in settlements tied to alleged police wrongdoing, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

Black-owned grocery investor plans to reopen Auburn Gresham Save-A-Lot using $13.5M city grant, by Tribune’s Talia Soglin

Democratic 2024 convention site team visits Chicago next week; Republicans poised to pick Milwaukee: In a bit of irony, Republicans love to bash Chicago, but when it came time to pick this year’s site for a summer meeting, the Republican National Committee selected Chicago, by Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.

— In IL-17, Democrat Eric Sorensen has been added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) “Red to Blue” list, which works to help campaigns of top-tier candidates. “This recognition highlights the campaign’s accelerating momentum and that IL-17 is key to holding the Democratic House majority,” the DCCC said in a statement.

— JUICE: Democrats for the Illinois House raised more than $207,600 in contributions, and The People for Emanuel “Chris” Welch raised $2.6 million. House Democrats have closed this quarter and prepare to launch the general election season with $13.6 million cash on hand.

LGBTQ hospital workers denied fertility coverage in test for U.S. discrimination law: “An Illinois-based Catholic hospital system that employs more than 24,000 people will only cover fertility treatment for workers in opposite-sex marriages, a policy some lawyers say could run afoul of federal discrimination laws,” by Bloomberg’s Shira Stein.

Uber skirts federal trial on overcharged disabled riders: “A settlement means Uber will avoid a November trial on claims the ride-hail giant violates federal disability rights law by charging disabled riders for taking too long to board vehicles,” by Courthouse News Service’s Maria Dinzeo.

We asked whether term limits are a good or bad thing, and readers had a lot to say:

Public affairs consultant and lobbyist Brian Bernardoni: "Institutional memory is important in public policy — especially in states like Illinois and a city like Chicago. But politically, the old rules about incumbents having the edge are going out the window."

Jenner & Block’s Gail Morris: “Vote people out, don’t term them out. I realize this sentiment relies on a certain norms like finance reform, fair voting districts etc. Fix those issues, don’t make them worse with term limits.”

Rich Norman: “When legislators have term limits it gives too much power to lobbyists who then write the legislation. They write enough of it now as it is.”

Political analyst Art Friedson: “Like everything in life, it takes time to learn how to do something well. That is especially true of legislating, where institutional knowledge and interpersonal relationships are the two most important things legislators need to become effective.”

Tim Thomas Jr.: “Term limits suggest that the voting public does not have the gray matter to vote in their best interests.”

Which elected official over the years has had the greatest influence on Illinois politics? Email

— Putting heat on Durbin: The liberal group Demand Justice has taken out a six-figure digital ad buy in Illinois to ramp up its campaign for Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin to hold more judicial confirmation hearings during the August recess.

The digital ad, co-sponsored with Indivisible Chicago, asks voters to "tell Senator Durbin: don’t give Mitch McConnell a chance to block Biden’s judges."

In a statement, Christopher Kang, the group’s chief counsel and a former Durbin staffer, said the Illinois Democrat needs to "act with the urgency needed to fill all vacancies with Biden judges this Congress" and hold nomination hearings in August, warning that Republicans could take back the Senate next year and refuse to confirm nominees.

Congress Minutes also reports: A group led by Courts Matter Illinois sent a letter to Durbin Friday, saying that while the Judiciary Committee and Biden have an “impressive record of nominating and confirming inspiring judges with the urgency they deserve … it is clear the process needs to be accelerated.”

— Union move: Staffers who work for at least eight House Democrats, including Rep. Chuy Garcia’s, are looking to unionize. They filed petitions Monday to “kick off the process,” according to Roll Call. “Now they must wait on the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights to vet their petitions before holding a secret ballot election to decide whether they want a union to represent them.”

— Guns in the spotlight: Watch for compelling testimony Wednesday when Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and Sen. Tammy Duckworth testify before the Judiciary Committee on the dangers of civilian access to military-style assault weapons.

Democrats boosted a MAGA longshot in the Pa. gov’s race. Now he’s got a real shot at winning, by POLITICO’s Holly Otterbein

White House privately fumes about Manchin — and sees the futility of airing it out in public, by POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn and Jonathan Lemire

It’s not just Hunter Biden: Prepare for a 2023 packed with House GOP investigations, by POLITICO’s Jordain Carney

Why the Jan. 6 committee isn’t nearly done, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu

Former Trump National Security Council official will testify at Thursday’s Jan. 6 hearing, via CNN

What Is … Happily Ever After?Sarah Bauer and Greer Mackebee met as contestants in the 2012 “Jeopardy! National College Championship.” Years later, the one-time competitors became a couple. … Bauer is deputy chief counsel for nominations at the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary for the office of the committee’s chairman, Sen. Dick Durbin,” via The New York Times.

Abby Witt, the executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois, and statehouse lobbyist Dave Lowitzki, are engaged. Lowitzki posted the news on Instagram, saying, “She said it was the ‘easiest question ever.’ But it was even easier to ask.” Awe!

Artist Claes Oldenburg, maker of huge urban sculptures including Chicago’s Batcolumn, dies at 93, by The Associated Press

MONDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Chicago Bureau of Planning’s Michael Penicnak for correctly answering that Sen. Howard Baker, a Republican from Tennessee, took up Sen. Everett Dirksen’s campaign to make the marigold the national flower after the Illinois Republican died. Baker was Dirksen’s son-in-law.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Along with former U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Rick Santorum, who’s the incumbent senator who attended high school in the northwest suburbs? Email

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Cook County Judge Fredrick Bates, former U.S. Attorney Ron Safer, Aurora Health government relations director Crystal Olsen and Illinois Channel executive director Terry Martin. And belated cake and ice cream for John Chase, the Tribune’s deputy metro/political editor, who celebrated yesterday.



July 19, 2022 at 07:17AM

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