The candor of Lori Lightfoot
Happy Wednesday, Illinois. Keep your eye out for President Barack Obama’s Secret Service cars lurking about.
EXCLUSIVE: Mayor Lori Lightfoot sat down with your Playbook host in her City Hall office the other day for a one-on-one exit interview before her term ends next week.
In Lori Lightfoot fashion, she was forthright, sincere, blunt and proud — proud of the work that she and her team accomplished. A few takeaways:
On public opinion: “I came into government with a mandate of 75 percent of votes to break up the status quo and to make sure that I was doing things and putting ordinary residents of our city front and center,” Lightfoot said. “With that mandate, you’re going to disrupt the status quo. You’re going to make some people angry.”
Democrats and public safety: “As Democrats, we can’t just talk about police reform or criminal justice reform. What we leave out when we just focus on those two parts of a larger whole, is we leave out the victims and witnesses who have to be at the table,” said Lightfoot.
The biggest election challenge: It wasn’t “whose name was on the ballot, but the piercing of what I call the anger bubble,” she said. “People are angry. People are fearful. People are frustrated, and they’re looking for somebody to blame and it’s easy to blame the incumbent mayor.”
Does she have regrets: “I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on regret,’ she said. “When you are dealing with crisis after crisis — fiscal crises, public health crises, public safety crises — you have to make decisions in the moment and you try to make the best decisions you can.”
On her accomplishments: To name a few, the economic development on the neglected South and West sides, expanding the city’s rail system into the South Side, championing a minimum wage hike and mobilizing $1 billion for affordable housing construction.
Here’s the full story: Chicago mayor exits proud after getting ‘a lot of shit done’
BRACING FOR A SURGE: Illinois lawmakers are frantically trying to prepare for an expected rush of migrants to Chicago after the Biden administration lifts a controversial public health rule Thursday that has allowed the U.S. to turn away asylum seekers.
Lightfoot declared an emergency Tuesday: ‘We’ve reached a breaking point’: “At an afternoon news conference, the mayor slammed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for busing new arrivals to Chicago, saying he had ‘manufactured’ a crisis “for cynical political purposes” and is ‘unable to see the humanity’ in those coming to the United States seeking a better life,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
Congressional action: Democratic members of Illinois’ D.C. delegation also stepped in, writing a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell urging them to prioritize Chicago’s funding request and provide expedited reimbursement of the $20.5 million through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to help address the needs of migrants who have been arriving to Chicago from Texas.
Signing the letter: Reps. Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Danny Davis (IL-07), Sean Casten (IL-06), Robin Kelly (IL-02), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08) and Jonathan Jackson (IL-01).
Ramirez also joined California lawmakers to press “for answers” on reports that border walls were used as open-air holding cells for migrants, leaving them without food or blankets for days, according to a letter they wrote to border officials.
If you are Rep. Delia Ramirez, Playbook would like to know your take on what Chicago can expect after Title 42 is lifted. Email [email protected].
At the state Capitol at 10:30 a.m. to sign the Act-of-Duty bill.
No official public events.
At the Cook County Building at 9 a.m. to announce the abolishment of medical debt for county residents through the Medical Debt Relief Initiative.
Thank you for reading Illinois Playbook! Drop me a line sometime: [email protected]
— President Barack Obama made a surprise visit Tuesday to Guitars Over Guns, an afterschool program on the South Side that offers music instruction and mentorship. He heard from students and instructors in a song-writing session. The program is a grant recipient of My Brother Keeper Alliance, which is part of Obama Foundation programming to address “opportunity gaps boys and young men of color face.” Obama will speak more on that issue today.
— Real estate: D.C. townhouse that Obama lived as a senator is for sale: “The $1,279,000 three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom spot is right by the Capitol,” via Washingtonian.
— Valerie Jarrett, who heads the Obama Foundation, and her mom, Barbara Bowman, each received honorary degrees Tuesday from Erickson Institute. Jarrett gave the commencement speech. Bowman is a founder of the graduate school for early childhood education, via Twitter.
— Pritzker criticizes DeSantis’ Friday visit to Peoria: “In Illinois, we reject the cruelty [DeSantis] peddles for political gain. … His appearance at the Illinois GOP Lincoln Dinner this week is in direct opposition to everything Abraham Lincoln stood for,” Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement to the Sun-Times, via Tina Sfondeles.
— Quinn suggests Pritzker, legislative leaders should call special session for ethics reform: The Democratic former governor “told reporters that lawmakers should pass a constitutional amendment to allow voters to enact stricter ethics laws through petition initiatives and binding referendums,” by WAND TV’s Mike Miletich.
— A former state senator convicted in corruption scheme gets a new job — state lobbyist: “Democrat Thomas Cullerton landed work almost immediately after becoming a free man again last month after spending seven months in prison, records show,” by WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos.
— As many Illinoisans struggle with food access, lawmakers consider state grants for grocers: “Senate Bill 850 would direct the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to establish the ‘Grocery Initiative,’ a program that would study ‘food deserts’ in Illinois and provide grants to new or existing grocery stores in these areas,” by Capitol News’ Andrew Adams.
— POT POURRI | Cannabis advocates ask for changes in state law to provide protections for patients, business owners and motorists: “Rep. La Shawn Ford hopes to have a single bill to encompass many of these problems before the General Assembly adjourns its session,” reports Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.
— Illinois environmentalists closely watching SCOTUS case on wetlands that pits ecology against property rights, by Tribune’s Karina Atkins
— Illinois among the best U.S. states for broadband access, via The Hill
— Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs testifies this morning before the U.S. House Oversight and Accountability Committee on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.
— It was Eli’s Cheesecake Day at the state Capitol on Tuesday. The tradition was started by the late Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka and has continued under Comptroller Susana Mendoza, who with staff passed out more than 1,200 slices. Pic!
So many Daves. The Dave Caucus party last night was a success, drawing a huge crowd of politicos to relax midweek of the legislative session and to hear Senate President Don Harmon play the guitar with his Boat Drink Caucus band. In the crowd: Attorney Gen. Kwame Raoul, Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, Senate Minority Leader John Curran, House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, state Sens. David Koehler, Sue Rezin and Steve Stadelman and state Reps. Margaret Croke, Stephanie Kifowit, Laura Fine, Nick Smith, Larry Walsh and Ann Williams. The event was organized by a group of lobbyists named Dave, including Feller, Lundy, Ramirez, Ormsby, Dring, McEllis, Lowitzki, Winters, Vella, Syverson, Curtin, Gross and Manning. That’s a lot of Daves.
— Bally’s proposes selling casino stake to some city residents: “The company said it is discussing terms of the offer, intended to help it meet requirements for ownership by racial minorities, with the Securities and Exchange Commission,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.
— Half of Chicagoans witness a shooting by age 40, study found, by Sun-Times’ Michael Loria
— Ald. Jim Gardiner delayed senior living complex after receiving a $5,000 bribe, court documents allege, by Block Club’s Ariel Parrella-Aureli
— City Treasurer Conyears-Ervin moves to bolster community lending in Albany Park, other Northwest Side neighborhoods, by Tribune’s Brian J. Rogal
— ‘Englewood Barbie’ organizes sleep outs for the unhoused, by WBEZ’s Samantha Callender
— Superdawg at 75 — iconic eatery remains a labor of love and a hot dog fan favorite, writes Amy Bizzarri for the Sun-Times
— Trial date for alleged Highland Park parade shooter could be announced in September, by Lake County News-Sun’s Clifford Ward
— No real ‘forward progress’: Bears redevelopment could take at least a decade, officials say, by Daily Herald’s Christopher Placek
— Naperville councilwoman calls for city to create natural disaster plan, by Daily Herald’s Kevin Schmit
We asked what worries you about the recession
Matthew Beaudet: “The long-term impact on workforce development.”
Mike Gascoigne: “That inequality between the rich and everyone else will increase more than it already is (which is a lot).”
Graham Grady: “That the old cliché, ‘The rich get richer and the poor get poorer’ may apply.”
Patricia Ann Watson: “The hurting will be exploited with the need to assign blame, then there will be electoral flip-flopping in Illinois, nationally.”
Stephen Yoshida: “Recessions worsen inequality, which shows regular people the system doesn’t work.”
What’s your epic car-towing story, in a sentence or two? Email [email protected]
— Trump goes mainstream on CNN. The rest of the pack sucks wind: “He’s trying to win back everyone he can win back,” said Ron Gidwitz, a Republican fundraiser who served as Trump’s ambassador to Belgium but who questioned whether Trump has the “gravitas” necessary to be president again. “I think he believes he’s got the ability that if he can talk to people, he can persuade them.” via POLITICO.
— Court denies Sun-Times’ motion to dismiss defamation lawsuit: “A former executive director for the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board filed a defamation lawsuit against Sun-Times Media Holdings and its investigative reporter Tim Novak in January 2021 claiming two articles … about the Trump Tower property tax appeal ‘falsely depicted him as a corrupt political official,” by Crain’s Corli Jay.
— Tucker Carlson to relaunch show on Twitter, by POLITICO’s Kierra Frazier
— Trump’s defeat in Carroll case presages more legal peril, by POLITICO Kyle Cheney
— Santos set to face federal criminal charges, by POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers and Josh Gerstein
— Biden says he’s exploring 14th amendment to defuse debt ceiling standoff, by POLITICO’s Jennifer Haberkorn
— Feinstein returning to D.C., by POLITICO’s Katherine Tully-McManus and Jennifer Haberkorn
— Grace Barry, who headed up the Economic Club of Chicago and was best friends with Maggie Daley, dies at 82, by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek
TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Paramount newsreel footage of Chicago police shooting strikers outside Republic Steel on Memorial Day 1937 was so provocative it was repressed until shown before a Senate committee months later.
TODAY’s QUESTION: What Chicago company produced the first birth control pill? Email [email protected]
Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, former state Rep. John Bradley, actor and retired Cook County Judge Gloria Coco, policy expert Katharine Eastvold, media relations expert John Gorman, political strategist Adam Gunther, marketing pro Erik Curren and Illinois comptroller downstate coordinator Josh Downs.
May 10, 2023 at 07:55AM