Chicago City Council fiercely debates migrants
Happy Thursday, Illinois. It’s always March Madness on the Illinois political scene.
An explosive argument about race during Wednesday’s Chicago City Council meeting could be a signal of raucousness to come in a new administration starting in May.
At the crux of it: The council was set to vote on a $20 million allocation from the state to supply food and other services for migrants who have been sent to Illinois over the past six months. Until now, the city has been footing the bill with some federal help.
It should have been a perfunctory budget vote. Instead it turned into a fierce discourse between Black and Latino aldermen. Block Club’s Colin Boyle captured the debate in pictures.
It started with Ald. Jeanette Taylor speaking out against the $20 million allocation, saying approving it would signal that the council cared more about migrants, who are Latino, than it did about the homeless or others in her predominantly Black community.
“This is a sanctuary city, but we should have sanctuary for everyone,” Taylor said. And then she turned on the mayor, pointing at her for not keeping her informed.
Lightfoot disagreed, saying a debate about the migrants in Taylor’s community is different from the vote on funding.
Ald. Jason Ervin, who heads the council’s Black Caucus, echoed Taylor, saying, “We’ve got to figure a way out to satisfy more than a narrow group. Yes, we are a welcoming city, but we also have to think about those who are here.”
Latino lawmakers pushed back. “We will not solve the problem of the homeless community with $20 million,” Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) said. Ald. Gilbert “Gil” Villegas (36th) said migrants should not be penalized for being used “as pawns” by Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas — both governors who have sent migrants to blue states like Illinois. There have been plenty of instances where individual groups have received funding when others haven’t, noted Villegas.
Some background: The $20 million from the state is less than the $50 million the city had requested to care for migrants who have been arriving in Chicago since late August of 2022. Numerous meetings about the funding had been held before the vote, though fewer than half of the 50 aldermen even attended.
The funding will primarily go to the nonprofits who have been caring for the new arrivals. They are also the same nonprofits that help with the homeless, pointed out Ald. Maria Hadden (49th). So to say migrants are being helped at the expense of others isn’t quite accurate, she said.
Taylor has been critical of the city’s plan to create a shelter for some migrants in the shuttered Wadsworth Elementary School in her 20th Ward. The concern is that Latino migrants wouldn’t be welcomed by the Black neighbors who also need services.
Wednesday was the first City Council meeting held since Mayor Lori Lightfoot was defeated in the first round of the mayoral election Feb. 28. She didn’t discuss the loss during the meeting, nor did she meet with reporters afterward. And you have to wonder if she might be glad to be exiting such an unruly bunch.
Leaving it all on the table: The debate, which sometimes devolved into yelling, was out of the ordinary for a council meeting. Usually such passions are aired during committee meetings, and council votes are uneventful.
The $20 million allocation passed 33 to 15, but the debate showed divisiveness between Black and Latinos and how Democratic Socialists might have a stronger voice on the council.
BUCKNER ENDORSES: State Rep. Kam Buckner, a mayoral candidate who didn’t make it to the runoff, is endorsing Brandon Johnson for mayor. The news follows Wednesday’s announcement that community activist and former mayoral candidate Ja’mal Green endorsed Paul Vallas.
Both Buckner and Green are progressives. But Buckner has long been aligned with education issues backed by the Chicago Teachers Union, which is endorsing Johnson. As a state representative, Buckner co-sponsored the bill creating an elected school board. He’s also a respected voice in the Black community having previously led the Illinois House Black Caucus.
Green, meanwhile, spent much of the election thus far calling Johnson a “fraud.” It would have been hypocritical for him to join Johnson’s campaign.
In announcing his support of Vallas, Green said he met with both candidates and came away feeling confident that Vallas would live up to his promises such as creating an Office of Black Americans to tackle, among other things, historic redlining. Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman has more.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Vallas also has been endorsed by former state Rep. John D’Amico, who remains a force in the 39th Ward Democratic Organization and is political director for the powerful Local 130 Plumbers union, which also endorsed Vallas.
SPEAKING OF UNIONS: The Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2, the union that represents the city’s rank and file firefighters and paramedics, is endorsing Vallas, and so are the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399 and Teamsters JC25.
Opinion: Next mayor should make the elusive American Dream accessible to all, writes Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García, a former mayoral candidate, in the Tribune
If you are Congressman Chuy Garcia, Playbook would like to know who you’re supporting for mayor. Email [email protected].
At the Joliet Junior College Main Campus to promote his proposed $100 million education plan.
On Milwaukee Avenue at 9 a.m. for the opening of Magnifico Coffee Roasters & Coffee Shop, a family-owned small business supported through the Chicago Recovery Plan’s Community Development Grant program.
At the Cook County Building at 10 a.m. to preside over the Cook County Board meeting.
Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: [email protected]
— Controversial Canadian Pacific, Kansas City Southern rail merger gets OK from board: “Metra, members of Illinois’ congressional delegation and numerous suburbs fought the plan warning of gridlock at crossings, potential derailments and commuter train delays,” reports Daily Herald’s Marni Pyke.
— Pritzker: Tax cuts on the table if state revenues continue to exceed expectations: “The governor did not say whether tax cuts would be permanent or which taxes he and lawmakers are considering cutting. And tax cuts were one of several potential uses of excess revenues the governor said he would like to consider. Others include contributions to the state’s ‘rainy day’ fund and added payments beyond required amounts to the state’s pension system,” by Capitol News’ Jerry Nowicki.
— Pritzker continues tour promoting higher education plan at Lincoln Land, by State Journal-Register’s Patrick Keck.
— New Illinois bill to make ‘Zooming while driving’ illegal, by WCIA’s Danny Connolly
— Jurors in ComEd trial will hear over 100 FBI wire recordings, feds say: “A defense attorney for one of the four allies of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan who are on trial countered that the case is marked by ‘overzealousness’ and lacks hard evidence to back up the allegations,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel and Tina Sfondeles.
Former House Speaker Michael Madigan isn’t on trial in this case but his name is dropped like he is. “Madigan wanted, the defendants gave, and the defendants got. It’s that simple,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Streicker said in her opening remarks to the jury, via Tribune’s Jason Meisner and Ray Long.
— Warnock’s campaign chief sees lessons from Dems in Georgia: “Framing a campaign from the outset remained top of mind as Sen. Raphael Warnock’s team built a sprawling digital, fundraising and field operation early in the 2022 cycle” Quintin Fulks told The Associated Press.
— BRACKET TIME: Former President Barack Obama is out with his NCAA bracket and has Duke winning it all.
— Back to school: Gov. JB Pritzker will deliver the commencement address to Northwestern’s Class of 2023 in June. He’s an alum, having received his J.D. from Northwestern Law in 1993 and is a life member of the Northwestern Law Board.
— DEA’s new Chicago boss Sheila Lyons: Will target fentanyl, an ‘awful, terrible challenge’: “Lyons, the first woman to hold the post, says she’ll target Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel, saying the fentanyl they supply is ‘like nothing I’ve ever seen in my 30 years in law enforcement,’” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.
— City Council OKs more video surveillance — and more automated tickets, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman
— Council votes 41-2 to ensure nonprofit employees can unionize over Lightfoot’s objection, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone
— Aldermen consider pilot program making city crews responsible for shoveling snow from sidewalks, by ABC 7’s Jessica D’Onofrio and Evelyn Holmes
— The new board of Chicago’s main union for cops has 27 elected members, but just one African American, by WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell
— Commission charged with search for next top cop asserts its independence and community focus: “We’re not here to serve an administration.” Tribune’s A.D. Quig reports
— Chicago’s top cop checks out early, by WGN 9’s Ben Bradley
We asked what sitcom never gets old.
Kristopher Anderson: “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Rosemary Caruk: “Bewitched.”
James Castro, John Lopez and John Straus: “All in the Family.”
Clark Chaplin and Mark Rosenberg: “M*A*S*H.”
Sasha Cohen: “Veep.”
Ted Cox, a former TV critic: “Beavis and Butt-Head” and “South Park.”
Dave Dahl and Stephen Rosenblat: “Dick Van Dyke.”
Eugene Daly: “Barney Miller.”
Leo Driscoll, Kim Morton, Christine Walker, John Pastuovic and Brent Zhorne all picked “Seinfeld.”
Mike Gascoigne: “Community is my comfort show.”
Marty Green: “Big Bang Theory.”
Robert Kieckhefer: “Married With Children.”
Ted McClelland: “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Ron Michaelson: “The Honeymooners.”
Derik Ohanian: “The Office.”
Tom Pinkh: “Cheers.”
Donna Skwarek: “Leave It to Beaver.”
Alison Pure-Slovin: “Everyone Loves Raymond.”
Patricia Ann Watson: “‘The Lucy Show’ (period)!”
Stephen Yokich: “Get Smart.”
Amy Zimmerman: “Arrested Development.”
Who helps you fill out your NCAA bracket? Email [email protected]
— Chicago Black business owner on how hair shaped her professional brand: “I just hope when a potential client looks up my name on Google search, they will judge and hire me based on my vast portfolio of exceptional work and not my afro,” writes Jinja Birkenbeuel in Fast Company.
— Wanted: A GOP presidential contender that supports Ukraine, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett and Anthony Adragna
— How Eric Garcetti avoided a career-ending humiliation and made it to New Delhi, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago and Marianne LeVine
— Murkowski won big time with Biden’s oil project. She knows it, too, by POLITICO’s Emma Dumain
— Is the recession here? Three things to watch after the SVB debacle, by POLITICO’s Sudeep Reddy
— Quinn Fisher is now district scheduler/staff assistant for Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10). He most recently was field director for Paul Struebing for 41st Ward Alderman in Chicago.
— Salem Collo-Julin is now editor-in-chief of the Chicago Reader. Collo-Julin has served on the editorial staff of the Reader since 2019, most recently as managing editor, via the Reader.
— Gloria Dabek is now managing policy adviser for agriculture at Carbon180. She was assistant director of government relations at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
— Today at 9:30 a.m.: Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13), who sits on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is holding a Veterans Advisory Council meeting at Richland Community College in Decatur.
— Friday at 10:30 a.m.: Congressman Jonathan Jackson hosts a roundtable on mental health and gun violence with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. Location: Kennedy-King College. RSVP here
— Saturday: Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, a basketball fan(atic), holds court at an NCAA-themed fundraiser and birthday party in River North. Details here
WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Ashvin Lad and Ed Mazur for correctly answering a trick question that organist Nancy Faust played for the Sox, Cubs and Blackhawks.
TODAY’s QUESTION: What is the oldest church building in Chicago? Email [email protected]
Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, state Sen. Linda Holmes, commercial real estate’s Michael Weber, digital strategist Riccardo Reati and Columbia College adjunct professor Gail Sonnenfeld.
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March 16, 2023 at 08:51AM