TGIF, Illinois. President Joe Biden is set to appear tonight on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” Watch for one-liners.
Chicago City Council members meet again today to haggle over redistricting. They won’t come to an agreement, though, until Latinos are given one more ward, according to those close to the Latino Caucus.
University of Chicago professor Robert Vargas, who studies redistricting, says the council’s remap process has become a battle for the ages.
“When people got wind that Ed Burke was influencing the process, it blew up. It’s probably the most contested and conflicted process in decades,” said Vargas, referring to our recent report that a draft map showed Ald. Silvana Tabares’ home in her 23rd Ward being moved into the longtime alderman’s 14th Ward.
The map-room maneuver prompted Mayor Lori Lightfoot to demand that the Latino Caucus have a hand in drawing Tabares’ ward.
The mayor has otherwise avoided giving her two cents on the reamp. “It’s a lose-lose for her to get involved,” Vargas told Playbook. Lightfoot doesn’t want to take sides between the Black and Latino caucuses. The Black Caucus supports the map-making that’s being directed by the Rules Committee and attorney Michael Kasper, a longtime aide and ally of former House Speaker Michael Madigan.
And nearly every member of the Latino Caucus and a few others support the “Coalition Map.” The Latino Caucus is aiming to get 15 Latino-majority seats on the council, and the Black Caucus wants Latinos at 14 seats.
“It doesn’t hurt the mayor for the City Council to come across as very childish and unprepared and a hot mess. Whoever is advising her to keep out of the debate is smart,” Vargas said.
Vargas also sees a bright spot in the battle: “It’s moving toward a referendum that would give voters several maps to choose from. It would make the process the most democratic as possible.”
Vargas’ research, which hasn’t yet been published, explains how city councils redraw wards and what the consequences are to communities. He’s found that when powerful council members absorb wards or areas, those communities see an increase in services and a decrease in crime.
“When blocks are redistricted into wards represented by multiple generations of a family [like the Burkes in the 14th Ward and Carrie Austin’s family in the 34th], robberies decrease and pothole removals increase,” he said.
Dems defend state legislative remap in court: They say the state has moved past racial voting patterns: “We are not Mississippi in 1965,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.
Rep. Chuy Garcia has not endorsed a candidate in the new 3rd Congressional District (your Playbook host mistakenly said so yesterday).
The seat was created by state lawmakers to give an additional voice to Hispanic Illinoisans after the census showed how Latino population has soared in the past 10 years.
Garcia, who is generally measured about making such decisions, will follow “a full endorsement and vetting process” leading up to the primary, according to a spokeswoman for Garcia’s political organization.
For now, there are two candidates: Chicago Ald. Gil Villegas, who heads the City Council’s Latino Caucus, and state Rep. Delia Ramirez.
Both have serious backing from Hispanic elected officials in Chicago and statewide. Villegas snagged mayoral endorsements from Bensenville, Hoffman Estates and Elmwood Park (with additional ones coming next week), and Ramirez counts state Sens. Omar Aquino and Karina Villa, among others, as supporters.
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At Fermilab at 11:25 a.m. with Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Sen. Dick Durbin to tour the facility and talk about equitable climate action. Then at Washington Park Fieldhouse in Chicago at 1:30 p.m. to sign legislation that expands the Reimagine Public Safety Act with a targeted approach to violence prevention.
No official public events.
In Washington, D.C., to attend the National Association of Counties’ County Executives Roundtable.
— FDA authorizes Pfizer Covid booster for 16-, 17-year-olds: “Eligible teens will be able to get the shot once they are at least six months past their second dose,” by POLITICO’s Lauren Gardner
— 17 ways Covid hit fast forward on the future, by POLITICO
CITY HALL AIN’T BEANBAG: Everyone knew Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was blunt when they elected her. So it’s no surprise her emails would have an edge, as the Tribune’s Gregory Pratt reveals after poring through two-and-a-half years of missives.
Some of the email exchanges reveal tense relationships with aldermen, but for the most part, the messages show Lightfoot’s candor — or as journalist Bill Cameron put it, she “comes across as a regular person.”
It’s not pretty: In a private exchange with one alderman, Lightfoot called another official a “dumb, dumb person of color.”
A tense exchange with Ald. Brendan Reilly contradicts the good relationship the two actually have. “The mayor and I have always had a bluntly honest working relationship,” Reilly told Playbook. “We’ve had our disagreements, but I do my very best to support our mayor because we all need her to be successful navigating the city through these very difficult times.”
Another City Hall source also pointed to “incredibly high-pressure times,” telling Playbook, “Sometimes she loses her cool. In other times, people lose their cool with her. City Hall ain’t bean bag, as Harold [Washington] would say.”
The City Hall insider added: “There’s massive public safety and public health crises going on, and it’s sad that we are spending time talking about whether or not the mayor is not a nice enough lady or curses too much.”
The Tribune’s story raises an inevitable question about whether former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, known for his salty language, saw his emails scrutinized. The answer is yes.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: A group of elected officials has sent a letter to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who chairs the county’s Democratic Party, asking that the party’s decision to have candidates sign a “loyalty” pledge be reversed. “This will have a chilling effect on those candidates that do not want to be bound by party rules in the event they are not chosen for slating. Our party does not stand for the stifling of competition,” according to the letter signed by committeepersons Iris Y. Martinez, the clerk of the Circuit Court, Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Angee Gonzalez, and Alds. Ariel Reboyras, and Raymond Lopez. “We respectfully ask that the party reverse the decision made by the party’s executive committee and that this unjust and unconstitutional edict be declared null and void.”
— Illinois moves to prohibit ‘dark money’ in judicial races: “Banning money from undisclosed donors could be a tactical advantage for Democrats because, by and large, their judicial candidates tend to draw their support from labor unions and civil attorneys, whereas there has been more spending on the right by nonprofit organizations that aren’t required to disclose their donors,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella.
— Guest Columnist | Ray LaHood calls for elected officials to help restore civility to Congress
— Davis walks a fine line on infrastructure, Jan. 6 as he prepares for reelection: “[Rep. Rodney] Davis upholds the result of the 2020 election, despite attempts from his party to cast doubt upon it,” by Illinois Newsroom’s Emily Harris.
— Springfield Republicans see House appointment as possible springboard for Senate run: Kelly Thompson, a project manager for the Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group, plans to seek appointment to the state rep seat that Republican Mike Murphy just vacated, reports Lee Enterprises’ Brenden Moore.
— Jonathan Logemann has been endorsed by Democrats Serve PAC in his run for the 17th Congressional District. The political action committee supports Democrats running for office with public service backgrounds. In making the endorsement Brett Broesder, the PAC’s executive director, highlighted Logemann’s experience as a teacher, veteran, and alderman.
— Congressman Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap) has been endorsed by all the Republican state senators and representatives in the newly redrawn 16th District. “Coming together as a party is critical in the 2022 election cycle,” LaHood said in a statement. List of endorsements
— Congresswoman Marie Newman has received an endorsement from the Transportation Communications Union/IAM, which represents more than 44,000 active and retired members across the country, including Metra and Amtrak employees in Illinois.
— Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi has been endorsed by six Chicago aldermen and state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz in his reelection campaign. Along with Feigenholtz, the council members endorsing are Alds. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), Rosanna Rodríguez Sanchez (33rd), Nicholas Sposato (38th), Andre Vasquez (40th), James Cappleman (46th), and Maria Hadden (49th).
— Nikki Budzinski has been endorsed by the Illinois AFL-CIO in her bid for the IL-13 Democratic primary. The IL AFL-CIO is made up of over 1,500 affiliated unions that represent over 900,000 members in the state of Illinois.
— Violent threats prompt lawmaker to shelve plan to make unvaccinated pay health care costs: “State Rep. Jonathan Carroll said Thursday he decided not to pursue the law because of the ‘unintended divisive nature’ of the proposal, which led to threats against his family and even his synagogue,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Legislator pushes for law requiring hospitals to report all assaults to police: “Illinois state Sen. Julie Morrison said she will propose a law mandating that hospitals notify police about suspected patient-onpatient sexual assaults,” by ProPublica’s Tony Briscoe and Duaa Eldeib.
— Former state Sen. Rickey Hendon calls for minority ownership in sports betting locations near stadiums: “Hendon wants legislation at the state and city levels to ensure minority and women ownership of sports betting locations,” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.
— Flying the flag: Starting Jan. 1, Illinois and American flags purchased to fly at state agencies and institutions must be manufactured in the United States. “We have no reason to be buying flags of our own state that are made in other countries,” state Sen. Steve Stadelmen (D-Rockford), said in a statement. He sponsored the bill requiring the flag rule.
— Lightfoot accused of abdicating responsibility for retail crime wave: “The biggest problem for all of us is that our leaders who need to sit down … and work on it are pointing fingers at each other as opposed to working constructively with us,” said Rob Karr, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman reports.
— Chicago Fire plan for $90M NW Side facility is dead, Villegas says: “The ambitious proposal would have yielded a training and practice center at Hanson Park, but Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) said the club could not reach terms with Chicago Public Schools, the property owner,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.
— When Amazon expands, communities pay the price: “People of color and low-income residents are disproportionately affected by Amazon’s warehouses, a Consumer Reports investigation found,” via The Guardian.
— How Obama Center mega donors are using their naming rights: “Places in the Obama Center will be named for Harold Washington, Timuel Black, Elie Wiesel, Mae Jemison, Eleanor Roosevelt and more,” by Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.
… Obamas are out with a video recap of their visit to Chicago last week.
— Expanded outdoor dining at restaurants and bars to be extended a year: “The program allowed 500 restaurants and bars to put tables on sidewalks, private parking lots and in the street to serve patrons still skittish about dining and drinking indoors,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Long wait continues for former White Sox slugger Dick Allen to get call from Hall of Fame, by Tribune’s Meghan Montemurro
Smollett guilty of staging hate crime and lying about it: “Special Prosecutor Dan Webb called the verdicts a “complete vindication” of the Chicago police investigation that built the case against Smollett. ‘Maybe the Chicago Police Department is not perfect, but I’ll tell you this, what they did on this case was extraordinary police work,’ Webb said,” by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm and Matthew Hendrickson.
Conviction punctuates actor’s downfall, by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau and Jason Meisner.
Waiting longer for your bus or train? The CTA has been running fewer of them during the pandemic: “When an employee must call off of work due to illness, self-quarantining, childcare needs or other personal matters, it can affect the schedule of buses and trains. When an unplanned absence like that occurs, we work to put operators and staff in place to minimize the impact on service. But even one missed train run can create a gap in service, and thus a longer wait time for customers at a station.” Tribune’s Sarah Freishtat reports
— Waukegan’s chosen casino operator says gambling six months away while resort is built: “We’re going to sit down with the city, and begin working with them. We’re going to get our temporary casino designed. There are probably a thousand things we have to do. We’re going to start hiring people.” Lake County News-Sun’s Steve Sadin reports
— With carjackings on the rise, a call on automakers to help with vehicle tracing: Carjacking victim and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart held a press conference to address the need for “solutions to quickly and easily track carjacked vehicles,” reports Tribune’s Madeline Buckley.
Column | Not new but ‘more brazen’: What’s behind recent smash-and-grab robbery trend? Daily Herald’s Charles Keeshan and Susan Sarkauskas report
— Craft cannabis applicants fighting court injunction against new licenses in Illinois: “Most of the applicants are deemed “social equity,” who were supposed to be favored in licensing because they came from areas with high poverty and crime rates, or had been arrested for low-level marijuana offenses,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.
— Pot shop plan moving forward in Des Plaines despite opposition, by Daily Herald’s Russell Lissau
— DuPage County Board revisiting ban on recreational pot sales in unincorporated areas, by Daily Herald’s Katlyn Smith
— How Ken Griffin came to own the Constitution: “I was sitting at home in New York and my son calls me to say, ‘Dad, you have to buy the Constitution,’” Griffin said in an interview after a luncheon hosted by the Palm Beach Civic Association at the Florida city’s Four Seasons hotel. Bloomberg reports
— After 52 years, Sister Rosemary Connelly has stepped down as head of Misericordia Home, by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito.
Don Biernacki, executive VP of Related Midwest, Pastor Corey Brooks, and Curt Bailey, President of Related Midwest spent the night on the roof of New Beginnings Church. | Related Midwest photo
— UP ON THE ROOF: Chicago business executives spent the night with Pastor Corey Brooks on the roof of his South Side church Wednesday night to raise money and awareness for his Project H.O.O.D., which provides resources to residents of Woodlawn and Englewood in an effort to curb violence. Brooks is hoping to raise $35 million to find a permanent home for his parish, which is currently located on a shipping container. Joining Brooks, who’s spending 100 days on the roof, were Don Biernacki, Curt Bailey, and Tregg Duerson from Related Midwest, BOWA’s Nosa Ehimwenman and LendLease’s Bert Brandt.
We asked if you’ve ever cried while speaking in public: “I was on a panel about confronting antisemitism and started discussing a time my then high school freshman had to respond to an antisemitic joke told to her face. I lost the ability to speak for a few moments,” recalls Daniel Goldwin, spokesman for the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Chicago. Timothy Thomas: “I became weepy making impromptu remarks at my surprise retirement party given by colleagues” at the Department of Homeland Security.
For Monday, has Zoom lost its luster? Email to [email protected]
— Appeals court denies Trump effort to block White House records from Jan. 6 investigators, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein
— GOP escalates air wars over Biden’s megabill, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett
— McCarthy faces make or break moment with proxy voting case, by POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers and Katherine Tully-McManus
Renato ‘Ron’ Turano, leader of Berwyn’s Turano Baking Co. also held seat in Italy’s Senate: “In one busy year, he made 59 trips to Italy to represent expatriates in that country’s Parliament,” by Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell.
THURSDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to City Club Chairman Ed Mazur and Elevate Illinois President & CEO Janet Mathis for correctly answering that Lake Michigan was also known as Lac Dauphin in honor of Louis de Bourbon, the Crown Prince (Dauphin) of France and son of Louis XIV.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who once rode a horse into Chicago’s City Council chambers? Email to [email protected].com
Today: former Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, state Sen. Jacqueline “Jacqui” Collins, Ald. Felix Cardona Jr. (31st), entrepreneur Valerie Beck, advertising account director Jason Anciulis, and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Saturday: state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, Appellate Judge Nathaniel R. Howse Jr., former state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, Illinois Transportation’s Doug House, election attorney Burt Odelson, and Brown Strategy CEO Josh Brown.
Sunday: Cook County Circuit Court Judge Lindsay Huge, BGR Group CEO Bob Wood, Billy Goat Tavern owner Sam Sianis, businesswoman Kelly O’Brien, Greater Chicago Food Depository fundraiser Kathleen Jacob, and Targeted Victory executive VP David Pasch.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of Illinois Playbook misstated the titles of state Sens. Omar Aquino and Karina Villa.