Pritzker slams DeSantis for blocking AP course

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Pritzker slams DeSantis for blocking AP course

With help from Olivia Olander

Happy Thursday, Illinois. On this day in 1967, a record setting blizzard struck Illinois, dropping 23 inches of snow.

Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker jumped into the culture wars with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday, criticizing Florida’s decision to eliminate an Advanced Placement high school course on African American studies from its curriculum.

In a pointed letter, Pritzker urged the nonprofit College Board that oversees AP exams not to follow Florida’s lead, calling it “political grandstanding” by DeSantis and Republicans in that state.

“I am extremely troubled by recent news reports that claim Governor DeSantis is pressuring the College Board to change the AP African American Studies course in order to fit Florida’s racist and homophobic laws,” Pritzker wrote.

His message: Pritzker urged the organization to “refuse to bow to political pressure that would ask you to rewrite our nation’s true, if sometimes unpleasant, history. One governor should not have the power to dictate the facts of U.S. history.”

And he issued a warning: Illinois will “not accept any watering down” of history.

The governor’s office told the Sun-Times it would reject the curriculum if it didn’t include the “factual” framework detailed in Pritzker’s letter, reports Tina Sfondeles, who was first with the story.

The back story: Pritzker’s letter was written to the College Board, but it’s also directed to DeSantis and his conservative followers. Both Pritzker and DeSantis have been mentioned as possible presidential contenders for their respective parties, so today’s skirmish could be 2024’s war.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Gov. JB Pritzker is dipping his toe into the Chicago City Council races, endorsing numerous candidates to fill some of the 50 open seats.

Before we go further: No, he’s not endorsing a candidate for mayor at this time, his team said. But political insiders may read into some of the aldermanic endorsements nonetheless.

Pritzker is endorsing Nicole Lee (11th) and Monique Scott (24th), who were appointed recently by Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The governor didn’t weigh in on the 43rd Ward, where Timmy Knudsen was recently appointed. That’s likely because Pritzker might feel torn between Knudsen and challenger Wendi Taylor Nations, whom Pritzker has known since his days in the corporate world. And Pritzker didn’t endorse in the 12th Ward either, where Anabel Abarca was recently appointed.

It’s payback in the 46th Ward. Pritzker is endorsing Kim Walz, who had been a candidate for the state legislature in 2020 but agreed to bow out to allow Pritzker’s pick, now state Rep. Margaret Croke, to slide into that seat.

Here’s the list so far, and more endorsements may be coming. “Conversations are ongoing,” according to a person familiar with the governor’s political endeavors. “He’s endorsing a diverse slate of candidates who share his Democratic values and who he can partner with at the local level.”

With that in mind. Missing from the endorsement list are right-leaning aldermanic incumbents, including Raymond Lopez (15th), Nick Sposato (38th) and Anthony Napolitano (41st). And Ald. Derrick Curtis didn’t make it on the list either. Those recent headlines about accidental shootings didn’t do him any favors.

Early voting starts today. Here’s a list of all the candidates running.

RELATED

— In 23rd Ward: Mayoral challenger ‘Chuy’ García asks aldermanic candidate with ties to Michael Madigan to stop using his image on political mailers, by Tribune’s John Byrne

— In 14th Ward: With Ed Burke off the ballot, residents make wish lists for their next alderman, by WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel

— The Sierra Club Illinois Chapter PAC is out with its list of endorsements for Chicago aldermanic races. The organization isn’t endorsing in the mayor’s race until the runoff.

At Forest City Church in Rockford at 10 a.m. to announce transportation corridor improvements. — Then at Chicago Rockford International Airport at 1 p.m. to announce an aviation mechanic apprenticeship investment.

No official public events.

At the Cook County Building to preside over a meeting of the Cook County Board.

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

Nudging for convention: Unions are getting involved in trying to push Chicago over the finish line to get the 2024 Democratic National Convention.

In a scooplet from NBC’s Natasha Korecki, the Chicago Federation of Labor has released a new digital ad campaign, laying out a case that Chicago’s strong labor presence makes it a perfect convention location.

Chicago is in the running along with Atlanta and New York City.

Message to the press: “Joe Biden talks about himself as being the most union president we’ve ever had and I believe that. That’s why it makes sense for him and the convention to come to Chicago,” Bob Reiter, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, told Korecki. “We’ll be speaking our values as Democrats.”

If you are Bob Reiter, Playbook would like to know what the sticking point is in choosing a city for the Democratic Convention. Email [email protected].

Illinois pays off final part of pandemic unemployment debt: The state has paid the final $1.37 billion it borrowed to cover Covid bills, saving taxpayers $20 million in interest, according to Comptroller Susana Mendoza. “We have been preparing for this day to pay back the remainder of the Covid-19 unemployment insurance loan and stop the interest-meter running for taxpayers,” she said, WCIA’s Danny Connolly reports.

State treasurers warn of pension fund, 401(k) damage if debt ceiling breached, by Pensions & Investments’ Brian Croce

The standardized test for students in Illinois gets low marks. Will the state meet a 2025 deadline to fix it? By WBEZ’s Char Daston

— You pick: The American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois has launched its 2023 Engineering Excellence Awards to honor the best infrastructure projects in Illinois and the engineering companies behind their design and construction. Vote by clicking on the little white dot.

All the reasons downstate Illinois doesn’t like Gov. JB Pritzker: starting with guns, according to Chicago magazine’s Edward Robert McClelland

U.S. Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García steps down from congressional committee that oversaw cryptocurrency industry: “García has been criticized for accepting donations from a now-federally charged former crypto magnate, but a spokesperson says the congressman stepped down for other reasons,” by WBEZ’s Tessa Weinberg.

— Race overview: Mayor Lori Lightfoot facing stiff headwinds as 8 challengers vie for her job: She’s counting on African American voters “to help her over the finish line and compensate for the support she has lost among lakefront voters disappointed with her record on reform, transparency and crime.” But the divided vote among seven Black candidates means there’s a “narrow path to a Lightfoot victory,” writes Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman in an election overview.

— NEW AD:  Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s new ad criticizes challenger Paul Vallas for not making public comments on the U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe v. Wade.

— NEW AD: Mayoral challenger Paul Vallas is out with a new ad that hammers on crime.

— Good explainer: Push to reopen pubic mental health clinics that were closed 11 years ago are defining another mayor’s race, reports WTTW’s Heather Cherone

— Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has endorsed Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García for mayor of Chicago.

Garcia’s congressional record on Israel comes under scrutiny in the mayor’s race, by Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel

— Paul Vallas is endorsed by the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 2 labor union.

Controversial West Side cop academy opens after years of pushback from activists: “The campus will be used to train first responders from the Police and Fire departments. It features a ‘tactical village’ that resembles a neighborhood,” by Block Club’s Trey Arline.

More from the Sun-Times: ‘This city supports its police officers,’ said Superintendent David Brown: “Officers hear a lot of people saying they support us. But … talk is cheap. This facility … puts your money where your mouth is,” he says in Fran Spielman’s report.

Statistics via the Tribune: “Police Superintendent David Brown said the police department trained just under 1,000 recruits last year, which was the most the department has hired since the 2017-2018 time frame. Of those, 70 percent were people of color and 30 percent were women. All of the Police Department’s members will come through the facility,” by Paige Fry.

Kenwood high-rise where Wednesdays’ fatal fire occurred had multiple fire-related code violations, city records show, by Tribune’s Adriana Pérez

What will the next Chicago City Council look like?: “With many alderpersons choosing not to run for reelection, decades of institutional knowledge will be lost when the new Council convenes,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

CTU brings demand for ‘equitable’ parental leave to Chicago Board of Education: ‘We deserve that,’ by Tribune’s Sarah Macaraeg

CPS to consider science, social studies marks instead of standardized tests for advancing to next grade, by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa

Lightfoot to back effective ban on natural gas in new buildings, by Crain’s Steve Daniels

311 calling concerns: Water leaks and city calls for service initially met with silence, by NBC 5’s Lisa Parker and Tom Jones

— Running interference: Leaders of Chicago State University are expected to announce the creation of an exploratory committee to analyze the idea of bringing a Division I football program and additional women’s sports to the university. If the recommendation wins approval, a football team could be fielded as early as 2025.

Cook County sees 17 percent spike in overdose deaths tied to veterinary drug xylazine: “Harm reduction groups say its presence is spreading,” by WTTW’s Jared Rutecki.

Dolton disciplined union head who asked about money missing from pension account, complaint says, by Daily Southtown’s Ted Slowik

Six chickens and a duck can stay in Schaumburg backyard, village trustees decide unanimously, by Daily Herald’s Eric Peterson

Dad of alleged Highland Park shooter to appear in court on charge he acted recklessly in vouching for son’s FOID card, by Tribune’s Cliff Ward

Judge slaps ex-Chicago college student who spied for China with 8 years in federal prison, by Tribune’s Jason Meisner

We asked in what area does progress move too fast.

Stephen Yoshida: “The only thing that is progressing too quickly is the capacity for the rich to dominate the world. Mass surveillance with private AI tech, yawning wealth inequality, the concentrating political power in hand of the ultra-wealthy and mega-corporations, precarious McJobs and the gig economy. I could keep going but I don’t want to stress out people who read this in the morning.”

Of all the things city taxes pay for, what do you appreciate most? Email [email protected]

The private angst over Donald Trump’s racist attacks on Elaine Chao goes public, by POLITICO’s Meredith McGraw

— COLUMN:No Democratic bench? Josh Shapiro and Wes Moore are ready to step up, by POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin

Inside Washington’s about-face on sending tanks to Ukraine, via POLITICO

Meta to reinstate Donald Trump’s Facebook account, by POLITICO’s Rebecca Kern

— Alfred “Al” Ronan, a former state representative who went on to become a lobbyist and noted political consultant, has died. Obit here

— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Daniel Gibbons is now CEO of City Club of Chicago. It’s a newly created staff position for the famed civic organization. Gibbons most recently was director of economic development at Clayco construction company, and he has served as a volunteer board member of City Club.

— Mark Bina has been named office managing partner in Quarles & Brady’s Chicago office. In addition to his new role, Bina continues as co-chair of the firm’s health litigation practice. He succeeds Eric Ledbetter, who will continue working on the firm’s immigration team.

‘The voice of the Board of Education’ longtime secretary Estela Beltran to retire after 37 years, by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa

— Hannah Meisel has joined the Capitol News Illinois team as a full-time state government and politics reporter. Meisel previously covered state government for NPR Illinois, via Capitol News.

— Monday: Mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green headlines a discussion with the Tribune’s Laura Washington in a series with Block Club. Schedule here

WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Grant Ullrich for correctly answering that the DuSable Museum of African-American History in Chicago once served as a police lockup.

TODAY’s QUESTION: In what year did the City of Chicago last have an elected city attorney? Email [email protected]

Retired Appellate Court Judge Sheldon “Shelly” Harris, MyOwnDoctor telehealth CEO Cheryle Jackson, LIFT Management President Robin Loewenberg Tebbe and Wells Fargo strategy exec Jon Tomashoff.

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January 26, 2023 at 08:21AM

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