Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. Finally, there will be baseball.
Once an outside agitator, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is now battling on multiple fronts.
She’s caught between a defensive police department and warring with its union while staring down activists in the streets who don’t believe her ideas match the scale of the problem.
“No police union is going to give up hard-fought rights easily, and I expect a fight. But I’m optimistic,” Lightfoot told us (with VIDEOS!), referring to contract that have stalled for years. Lightfoot hopes to get word from an arbitrator this week on where that stands.
Some of the sticking points are clauses in the contract that allow officers involved in shootings to delay when they give statements, discourage whistleblowing of misconduct, and keep people from withholding their names on complaints. The union also is holding firm on disciplinary protections.
Three of the last four police union contracts have gone to arbitration, the Chicago Tribune notes. “In 2010, for example, an arbitrator’s ruling resolved a host of issues ranging from wages to promotions to officers’ physical fitness.”
On top of all that, Lightfoot is the same struggles other liberal mayors across the country are confronted with trying to keep a deadly pandemic at bay: eroding relationships between the police and communities of color, a whopping $700 million budget hole, streets filled with protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and bursts of everyday violence.
“The status quo has failed,” she said.
Lightfoot doesn’t support “defunding the police” as a slogan but aligns with several of the movement’s principles. For instance, she says officers should be redirected so they’re not answering social-service calls that they’re not equipped to handle.
She’s hoping to incorporate a system that better trains dispatchers to determine who gets sent out on police calls.
In our interview, Lightfoot also called for more transparency, licensing of officers, and a resolution of the police contract. And, she said, there needs to be more investment in communities.
“People are sick and tired of not having investments in their neighborhoods, not having access to good quality health care, grocery stores, jobs, opportunity, the things that we know are the cornerstones of healthy, vibrant communities. And I agree with that. We’ve got to do more.”
It’s not often that Illinois Democrats and Republicans are on the same page, but that’s the case this week when it comes to money for nonprofits. Illinois’ GOP delegation in D.C. and state Democrats in the General Assembly are concerned about nonprofits being denied state funding because they accepted cash from the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
According to letters they sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Human Services and Department of Children and Family Services are reducing or delaying state funding for nonprofits that received PPP funds.
These service organizations “serve thousands of Illinois residents,” the state Democrats say in their letter urging Pritzker not to reduce state funding for nonprofits. “While we recognize the state is facing budget constraints, the level of need for social services has exponentially increased” in wake of the pandemic due to unemployment, food insecurity, housing insecurity, and other economic challenges.
“We’re asking the governor and the departments to rethink their policy,” state Sen. Laura Murphy told Playbook. “Businesses, hospitals and universities received their same contractual amount and weren’t penalized for accepting PPP. We really want this to be reviewed.”
The GOP delegation’s letter is pointed: “Congress did not intend for the funds provided through the Paycheck Protection Program to supplement state budgets by offsetting the cost they pay for services through private nonprofit service providers,” the lawmakers wrote.
The governor isn’t likely to act on the lawmakers’ concerns. As Pritzker’s office explained to Playbook: The state kept paying social service providers during the pandemic, even when they couldn’t provide services. The goal was to keep those agencies whole. The money the state pays each month is for rent, utilities and personnel costs. The state says the agencies that take PPP funds to pay for rent, utilities and personnel costs, shouldn’t be paid for the same thing twice. Businesses and hospitals, on the other hand, don’t contract with the state for services.
Republican pushed back at the explanation, saying, “The state’s assertion that it may deduct an amount equivalent to any funds nonprofit organizations receive through PPP from what they are paid in their contracts is a clear overreach. Nonprofit service organizations should not be punished at the expense of the state during this difficult time.”
No official public events.
In the little town of Geneseo, where he’ll announce a broadband expansion initiative.
Cohosting a videoconference town hall with Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison to address health equity with panelists from AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Brave Space Alliance and Howard Brown Health. Details here
— Illinois releases guidelines to reopen schools in the fall: “Pritzker warned that school districts should be prepared to close and return to remote learning if there is a spike in cases during the school year. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency plans to provide cloth masks to students, teachers, and staff members in every public school district — more than 2.5 million masks — at no cost to the districts,” by Chalkbeat Chicago’s Samantha Smylie.
— Chicago gyms and fitness clubs pumped to reopen: “It’s been 95 long days since the treadmills and weight benches of Chicago’s fitness centers fell silent thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But this Friday, gyms in Illinois will be allowed to reopen and welcome back the fitness faithful with open — and well-toned — arms,” by WTTW’s Erica Gunderson.
— If parks are open, why aren’t the playgrounds? “One Curious Citizen heard the risk of Covid-19 transmission is low outdoors — yet the city is keeping its more than 600 playgrounds closed,” by WTTW’s Monica Eng.
— BY THE NUMBERS: The Illinois Department of Public Health 38 new deaths Tuesday to coronavirus and 601 new confirmed. IDPH is reporting a total of 137,825 cases, including 6,707 deaths, in 101 counties in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from June 16–June 22 is 2 percent.
Illinois is moving into phase four and life seems sorta be back to normal — unless you’re having a baby. Jeremy Custer, political director for Local 150’s management organization, and his wife, Jenni, just became parents to little Henry. It was a birth to remember, as so many already-life-changing events have been during this pandemic. Jenni, dean of students at Addison School District 4, was admitted to Amita Resurrection Hospital before she gave birth by C-section. But Covid hospital rules have dictated that dads can’t hold their babies until they leave the hospital. “Not being able to hold Henry is the hardest thing I have ever experienced,” Jeremy told Playbook. Mom and baby are still in the hospital. “We are all making sacrifices during this time — the smallest among them wearing a mask,” he said.
— Applications to vote by mail flood Chicago Elections Board: “Chicago voters are on track to break the record for vote-by-mail applications set in March, elections officials said Tuesday. During the first week that voters could request ballots, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners received 66,000 applications through Monday night, according to data provided by election officials,” reports WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Partnership seeks to connect investors with projects in Chicago’s Opportunity Zones: “There are nearly 200 census tracts in Chicago and suburban Cook County that qualify as Opportunity Zones. But even before the pandemic there weren’t a lot of local projects. And there’s no oversight or tracking of projects on the local or federal levels,” reports WBEZ’s Natalie Moore.
— Marathon hearing on juvenile intervention center leaves aldermen angry, confused: “Deputy Chief of Detectives Migdalia Bulnes said CPD already is working to make changes demanded by Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s scathing February audit. But another city department has decided to walk away,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Racist nicknames, throwing chairs and belittling parents: CPS ousts principal for ‘indefensibly unprofessional and unsafe’ behavior: “A CPS report found numerous complaints that Franklin Fine Arts Principal Kurt Jones mistreated parents, teachers and staff, leading to ‘feelings of harassment, discrimination and humiliation’ for some staff members of color. Jones says that was never his intent,” by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa.
— Fireworks sales skyrocket as Chicagoans complain of loud, noisy nights: “The cancellation of municipal fireworks shows as well as boredom over the last few months as people have been cooped up because of coronavirus may have led to the increase of ‘backyard fireworks,’ said Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association,” reports Bob Chiarito for Block Club.
— Influential alderman outraged, not surprised by weekend bloodbath: “Ald. Chris Taliaferro, a former Chicago police officer, said during the stay-home order, crime and drug sales decreased. But as the economy reopens, that includes drug dealers, too,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Activist blames spike in violence on ‘neighborhoods without investment’: “You don’t get peace when you leave folks without an economy, without being able to create generational wealth, not being able to create opportunities and jobs,” said former mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green, by Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón.
— CPD seeks to fire 3 cops for uses of force caught on video, alleged false statements: In one instance, “a cop is accused of lying about the videotaped beating of a patient at a South Side hospital in 2014, records show,” reports Tribune’s Dan Hinkel.
— Ministers, activists want Lightfoot to oppose rehiring of fired CPD officer: Robert Rialmo was fired last year “for his role in the fatal shooting of Bettie Jones, 55, in the 4700 block of West Erie Street in December 2015,” writes Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito.
— Chicago’s Best Places to Live: 2020 Edition: “Real estate activity is down, but mortgage rates are at near-historic lows. Which means it’s a good time to buy if you know where to look,” by Alison Goldman for Chicago magazine.
— Orchestras, classical music programs working toward more diversity in the concert hall, leadership roles: “Unlike most other members of the League of American Orchestras, at least one third of the musicians, staff and board of the Chicago Sinfonietta are people of color,” by Kyle MacMillan for the Sun-Times.
— Why the Mercury Theater closed: “Like the iO comedy theater, which also has announced its closing under a similar weight of mortgage obligations and commercial property taxes, the Mercury was run as a for-profit entity, meaning that it could not rely on philanthropic donations or a deep-pocketed board of directors,” writes Tribune’s Chris Jones.
Cards Against Humanity co-founder Max Temkin steps down amid accusations of racist, sexist Chicago office: Temkin “has stepped down from the company amid accusations of a racist and sexist culture in the Chicago office. The company posted a statement on its website Tuesday announcing Temkin resigned June 9 following an internal investigation into social media posts by former employees about a toxic work environment. Many of the complaints centered around Temkin, who led the Chicago office, the company said,” by Tribune’s Robert Channick and Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz.
Foxx ends necktie-cutting tradition among prosecutors, claims it might be associated with lynching: “Prosecutors have cut off their necktie or a piece of pantyhose to mark a first jury trial win since at least the 1970s,” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.
Life sentence commuted for inmate, artist Arkee Chaney: “While incarcerated, Chaney’s interest turned to art — something he was unable to pursue before his conviction. He’d told his lawyers that ‘everything would have been different if he had been able to pursue art earlier,’” by Sun-Times’ Sam Charles.
Carbondale’s first pot shop to open Friday: “Carbondale Economic Development Director Steve Mitchell said he’s been working to bring a dispensary to town for a long time and is excited to see the change from question mark to formal announcement,” by Southern Illinoisan’s Isaac Smith.
— State unveils $85M in grants for business support: “The money will help stores, restaurants and others affected by COVID-19 and rioting,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.
— Is Internet access a right or a privilege? “Fabian Bustamante, professor of computer science at Northwestern University, says it’s become apparent that America needs to shift from considering broadband access a privilege to treating it as a right,” reports WTTW’s Erica Gunderson
— Illinois Monarch Project launches website: “Twenty-year revival plan has role for everyone, from farmers to city gardeners, as ‘every milkweed stem counts,’” writes One Illinois’ Ted Cox.
— Northwestern plans more cuts with buyout offer for 4,000 employees: “The reductions would be in addition to the recent furlough of 250 employees,” reports Crain’s Lynne Marek.
— U. of C. closes investigation into economist over MLK comments, reinstates professor as journal editor: “A University of Chicago economics professor will return to his journal editor post after the school reviewed a claim that he scorned Martin Luther King Jr. during class, determining there was “not a basis” for more investigation,” reports Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— Primary voters in New York and Kentucky turn out despite pandemic, by POLITICO’s Erin Durkin and Zach Montellaro
— Letter to Washington: Can Biden survive the despair of Black voters? by POLITICO’s Tim Alberta
— Trump sees an opening in the statue wars, by POLITICO’s Tina Nguyen
— Trump’s 2020 strategy: A never-ending war with states, by POLITICO’s Anita Kumar
CHRIS MEAGHER, former Pete Buttigieg press secretary, is joining the DNC as deputy communications director. Before Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, Meagher was spokesman for Toni Preckwinkle’s campaign for mayor.
Thursday: Gov. J.B. Pritzker keynotes the American Jewish Committee Chicago’s virtual luncheon. Some 300 community leaders, including diplomats and elected officials from around the state, will also participate. Details here
Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m.: Rep. Dan Ugaste holds a “Springfield and Spirits” virtual fundraiser. Details here
State Sen. Omar Aquino (2nd), Bow Truss owner Phil Tadros, and POLITICO’s Adrienne Hurst.