Winners and losers in Johnson’s world

Winners and losers in Johnson’s world

Happy Monday, Illinois. The calendar says spring, but the weekend felt like summer bliss.

As Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration winds down and Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson’s revs up, we’re starting to see how key political players are fitting into the new world order. There are winners and losers — and some surprises.


Johnson has assigned Ald. Pat Dowell to be the City Council finance chair, bumping Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) from the high-powered position. The move upends Waguespack’s efforts to make the council a fully independent reorganization. Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) will now head the budget committee, according to a list obtained by Playbook.

Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU. CTU President Stacy Davis Gates and her leadership team took a big risk and put a lot of money and credibility on the line for Johnson. Similarly, SEIU also took a risk. After sitting out in the first round of the election, the union backed Johnson.

Toni Preckwinkle. The Cook County Board president endorsed Johnson in the runoff and helped deliver her Hyde Park neighborhood for him. Now, some county officials are moving over to City Hall, which will continue Preckwinkle’s legacy in Chicago.

Gov. JB Pritzker. The governor didn’t endorse at all in the election, which proved to be a smart move that has allowed him to start fresh with a new mayor — and without any baggage.

Progressives have never been so strong, with as many as 20 on the City Council. It will be a voting bloc that Johnson will rely on. And leading them will Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, who endorsed Johnson from Day One and has been named floor leader and head of the Zoning Committee.

Asian Americans and LGBTQ: There are now two fully elected Asian American council members. Ald. Nicole Lee is the first Chinese American to represent the city’s 11th Ward, and Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth will be the first Filipina on the City Council, representing the 48th Ward. LGBTQ representation will grow from seven to 9 members.


Operating Engineers Local 150 lost twice by first throwing down for Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in the first round and then pivoting to Paul Vallas in the runoff.

The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and its president, John Catanzara, went all in for Vallas. The FOP also endorsed numerous aldermanic candidates only to see two wins: Peter Chico in the 10thWard and Bennett Lawson, who didn’t have an opponent, in the 44th.

Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2 backed Vallas and soon after saw its president booted in its own election.

Three white wards: Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) and outgoing Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) went all in for Vallas. Hopkins and Reilly’s wards also supported Vallas, but Tunney saw the majority of his ward back Johnson. A surprise: Though Hopkins came out on the losing end in the mayor’s race, Johnson has named him to head public safety.

Black aldermen who backed Vallas: Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) and Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) both backed Lightfoot in round one and Vallas in round two, but Johnson surprised and gave both of them committee leadership jobs. Harris will head Rules and Burnett is the vice mayor, a signal that Johnson isn’t holding a grudge.

Sen. Dick Durbin: He didn’t endorse in the first round and then became a vocal supporter of Vallas, hurting his brand with progressives.

Pollsters and the media who trusted them: Unless they were affiliated with Johnson or the CTU, pollsters had Vallas beating Johnson — and many media outlets took it as gospel. To a great degree, it’s why so many Chicagoans were surprised by the outcome.


Johnson forges ‘Unity Plan’ to reorganize the new City Council:The plan shrinks the number of Council panels from 28 to 20,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Early appointments show Johnson may turn out to be a pragmatic progressive, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

Brandon Pope’s interview with Brandon Johnson: They talk about the transition, NASCAR and the Chicago casino, via The Block on The U.

Newton Minow, who as head of the Federal Communications Commission under President John F. Kenney once described television as a “vast wasteland,” has died. He was 97.

His daughter Nell Minow said the cause was a heart attack, according to The New York Times.

A political powerhouse: Minow, a Chicago attorney, was a Democratic stalwart and among Chicago’s “lakefront liberals.” He was an early backer of Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate run. And the former president tweeted a tribute to Minow over the weekend.

Who Minow backed: Former Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, former Illinois Attorney Gen. Lisa Madigan, the 2019 mayoral run of Bill Daley and Chris Kennedy in his run for governor in the 2018 primary.

In national politics, Minnow was credited with kicking off the first televised presidential debate between Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in 1960. It happened after Minow and former Illinois Gov. Adlai E. Stevenson convinced Congress to exempt presidential debates from the FCC’s equal-time rule. It allowed broadcasters to exclude marginal candidates.

Minow’s “vast wasteland” quote is often mentioned but that 1961 speech also included these lines: “When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse.” They’re words that hold true today.

Your Playbook host last talked to Minow in February, when former President Jimmy Carter went into hospice.

“We kept in touch and when he came to Chicago I would see him,” Minow said, recalling Carter once visiting his home. “He spoke with no notes. He was down to earth. He was friendly and had a smile. People were excited to meet him.”

The same could be said of Minow.

WTTW has a Minow retrospective.

If you are Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Playbook would like to hear your thoughts on how the City Council is shaping up. Email [email protected].

No official public events.

At the office of BUILD, a gang-intervention nonprofit, at 3 p.m. to give a farewell address.

No official public events.

Thank you for reading Illinois Playbook! Drop me a line sometime: [email protected]

Illinois isn’t reimbursing allegedly stolen SNAP benefits: “Illinois lawmakers are debating a measure to reimburse benefits skimmed from people who need financial help buying food,” by WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch.

As Car insurance prices soar in Illinois, state Rep. Will Guzzardi aiming to crack down on insurers, by Sun-Times’ Stephanie Zimmermann

Expected cost for Illinois’ noncitizen health care program grows to $1.1B, by Capitol News’ Jerry Nowicki

An Illinois law required schools to test water for lead. They found it all over the state, by Tribune’s Emily Hoerner

Newly elected Springfield Mayor Misty Buscher takes her oath, by State Journal Register’s Steven Spearie

‘ComEd Four’ scheduled to be sentenced in January 2024, by WTTW’s Matt Masterson

Congressman Sean Casten calls for Michael Madigan to resign remaining Democratic post, by Tribune’s Rick Pearson

Bill Daley and John Daley reflect on 1968 and 1996 Democratic conventions: In 1996, “you didn’t have the anger, the whole sort of craziness or division that was going on in ‘68, or is going on now,” said Bill Daley. Derrick Blakley reports for Center for Illinois Politics.

Firefighters’ pension bill could cost Chicago taxpayers $3B, city official says: “The bill increasing pension benefits for Chicago firefighters hired after Jan. 1, 2011, is co-sponsored by state Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, whom Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson has picked to serve as his deputy chief of staff,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Lightfoot’s development czar, Samir Mayekar, reflects on 4-year fight for balanced growth, by Sun-Times’ David Roeder

Chicago Public Schools parents take issue with proposed elected school board map, by Tribune’s By Hank Sanders

City blesses plans to add apartments to two Loop office buildings, by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.

Off-duty police officer Areanah Preston killed in front of her home, by Fox 32’s Nate Rodgers

Chicago gay bars stop selling Bud Light and other Anheuser-Busch beers after brand backs down to anti-trans critics, by Block Club’s Jake Wittich

Evanston’s reparations plan was stumbling. Then the city allowed direct cash payments for rent or other housing expenses, by Tribune’s Jonathan Bullington and Alex Hulvalchick

Teamsters oust suburban board after more than $1M in questionable expenses, by WGN 9’s Ben Bradley

How horse racing industry is trying to survive after Arlington’s closure, by Daily Herald’s Christopher Placek

Aurora City Council considers civility pledge, by Aurora Beacon-News’ Steve Lord

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass headlined Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s annual Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch on Friday. In a Q&A, Schakowsky asked Bass if she had advice for Chicago’s incoming mayor. And Bass said: “Take your time” in hiring. … Make sure that you set goals. Otherwise, the world will just keep you in a tailspin and you won’t really be able to accomplish anything.” Spotted at the luncheon at the Sheraton Grand Chicago: Illinois members of Congress Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Brad Schneider (IL-10), Bill Foster (IL-11) and Nikki Budzinski (IL-13); Lieutenant Gov. Juliana Stratton, Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and state Reps. La Shawn Ford, Edgar Gonzalez, Theresa Mah, Kelly Cassidy and Mary Beth Canty.

We asked for ideas on where Chicago might locate migrants when they arrive.

John Lopez: “Faith organizations, including Pacific Garden Mission and Wayside Cross Ministries of Aurora.”

Barbara Moore: “Think long term and construct a comprehensive welcoming and processing complex to transition people to skilled jobs and housing.”

Chris: “College Dorms during summer break.”

Andy Shaw: “Empty CPS schools.”

Patricia Ann Watson: “Hotel rooms for processing and planned orderly resettlement, then allow them and current unhoused/under housed people to live in empty rental units.”

Related: Storied Standard Club is housing asylum-seekers, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman … A list of organizations and resources to help migrants, by Sun-Times’ Nyarai Khepra

What’s something positive about AI for regular folks? Email [email protected]

The Planned Parenthood problem: “Is the group too cautious and corporate, forcing independent abortion providers to take the biggest risks?” Eyal Press reports in The New Yorker.

Trump wooing delegates to stave off ’16-like convention chaos, by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt

Why McConnell and McCarthy locked arms on the debt crisis, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett and Olivia Beavers

Coronation of King Charles III in 180 seconds, via POLITICO

— Rick Pearson, a Tribune political reporter, is among four journalists receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award by Chicago Headline Club. Also being honored: Dorothy Tucker, Phil Ponce and Chuck Neubauer. Details here

Love was in the air Saturday for Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s staff:

— Dan McManus, director of Illinois strategic initiatives for Duckworth, and Courtney Jacquin, Duckworth’s Illinois comms director, were married at Bottom Lounge in Chicago. The two met working at Duckworth’s Chicago office and their wedding was officiated by Loren Harris, the senator’s deputy state director. Pic and pic!

— Chad Phillips, coordinator for Illinois strategic initiatives for Duckworth, and Leanne Beasley, tied the knot at the Jewel Box in Forest Park, St. Louis. Pic and pic!

Former DuPage County Board member Greg Hart and his wife, Alexandra, welcomed Catherine Christina, named after her grandparents, Yiayia Kathy and Pappou Chris, and Greg’s late sister, Catherine. Mom, dad, baby and big brother George are all doing well albeit a bit sleep deprived. Pic!

FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Dan Schneider for correctly answering that the National Museum of Mexican Art is the repository of Carlos Cortéz’ work.

TODAY’s QUESTION: What small Illinois town is known as the home to some of the world’s biggest objects? Email [email protected]

Former state Sen. Heather Steans, former state Rep. Roger Eddy, Ald.-elect Bill Conway, Brookings Institution senior fellow MarySue Barrett, University of Chicago assistant VP of comms Jeremy Manier and restaurateur Ron Onesti.



via Illinois Playbook

May 8, 2023 at 07:24AM

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