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Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* Been humming this song all week

Feels so good I can hardly stand it

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Question of the day

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* On Wednesday, I wondered aloud if the story about Speaker Chris Welch’s comments on another graduated income tax vote were “actually anything beyond some public spitballing during a webcast.”

* Well, Speaker Welch did another event today, and Greg Hinz was the moderator

At the top of my list as moderator was asking Welch how serious he was when he suggested during an interview earlier in the week with the Economic Club that officials take another run at enacting a graduated income-tax amendment, one that would dedicate much of the proceeds to paying off $144 billion in state pension debt.

Welch described that as “spitballing,” saying he only was talking about what might happen “if” the subject returned again. Welch said the General Assembly will “probably not” revive the issue this spring, in time for a new referendum in 2022. But he also described the state’s current tax code as “unfair to working families,” a suggestion he’d still like to see some change.

* The Question: How do you think Speaker Welch is doing so far? Make sure to explain your answer.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


Today’s must-read: “A small town in denial comes face to face with the virus”

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* Will Englund at the Washington Post

In late September, before covid-19 swept through southern Illinois like a prairie fire, before nearly every single resident of a nursing home in Du Quoin was infected, before the disease pushed Perry County’s rural health-care system to the breaking point, confidence was in the air.

The county clerk, Beth Lipe, realized the pandemic wasn’t causing any rush for absentee ballots. Of 9,300 applications she mailed out, she got back fewer than 1,000 requests, about the same as any other year.

The staff of the St. Nicholas Brewing Co. on a Friday afternoon set up 10 tables for their evening food and bar service next door in the parking lot of the Du Quoin State Bank. As usual, fewer than half their customers showed up in masks.

Fairview Rehabilitation and Healthcare, on East Jackson Street, had yet to see a single case of covid-19, six months into the pandemic. “I had escaped it,” said the home’s owner, Scott Stout. “We hoped and we prayed.” That month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the nursing home a $19,000 incentive grant recognizing its superior infection-control procedures, one of thousands of such grants across the nation. […]

When [November] began, Perry County, population 20,000, had experienced fewer than 500 coronavirus cases over seven months, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. By Nov. 12, when word came of the first positive test at Fairview, the county had 653 cases. By the end of the month, 1,238. By the end of January, 2,940, or nearly 15 percent of the county’s residents. That’s almost double the percentage of New York City’s caseload. Fifty-six have died.

Go read the rest.

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      


2,441 new confirmed and probable cases; 55 additional deaths; 1,393 hospitalized; 336 in ICU; 2.5 percent average case positivity rate; 2.7 percent test positivity rate; 68,988 average daily doses

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 2,441 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 55 additional deaths.

    Champaign County: 1 male 90s
    Christian County: 1 male 70s
    Coles County: 1 female 80s
    Cook County: 2 females 40s, 3 males 40s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 2 females 60s, 4 males 60s, 3 females 70s, 3 males 70s, 1 female 80s, 4 males 80s, 2 females 90s, 1 male 90s
    Crawford County: 1 male 70s
    DuPage County: 1 male 50s
    Grundy County: 1 male 70s
    Kane County: 1 male 80s
    Kendall County: 1 female 90s
    Lake County: 1 male 70s
    LaSalle County: 1 male 70s
    Livingston County: 1 male 70s
    Massac County: 1 female 80s
    McHenry County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 80s
    McLean County: 1 male 60s
    Mercer County: 1 female 80s
    Peoria County: 2 females 90s
    Sangamon County: 1 female 80s
    St. Clair County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s
    Vermilion County: 1 male 50s
    Warren County: 1 female 90s
    Will County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 90s
    Winnebago County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 90s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,183,667 cases, including 20,460 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 92,256 specimens for a total of 17,988,085. As of last night, 1,393 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 336 patients were in the ICU and 174 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from February 19–25, 2021 is 2.5%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from February 19–25, 2021 is 2.7%.

A total of doses of 2,726,745 vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago. In addition, approximately 444,500 doses total have been allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities. This brings the total Illinois doses to 3,171,245. A total of 2,543,620 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of last midnight, including 307,382 for long-term care facilities. The 7-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 68,988 doses. Yesterday, 102,670 doses were administered in Illinois, marking the second highest reported amount of vaccines administered to date.

*All data are provisional and will change. In order to rapidly report COVID-19 information to the public, data are being reported in real-time. Information is constantly being entered into an electronic system and the number of cases and deaths can change as additional information is gathered. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      


When writing about crime victims, maybe check in with groups that help those victims every day

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* Kass’ recent column asked whether crime victims received a pen from the governor when he signed the criminal justice reform bill into law

Pritzker said critics “don’t want any change, don’t believe there is injustice in the system and are preying upon fear of change to lie and fearmonger in defense of the status quo.”

I decided to call someone who has much more experience than Pritzker or Foxx in criminal law:

But instead of calling any legitimate groups that represent crime victims, he called a judge who retired rather than face the voters last year.

It’s a free country, but maybe if you write about crime victims you could at least briefly chat with people who run groups that help crime victims, like, for instance, the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, which, among other things, offers legal representation for sexual assault survivors.

* From a CAASE tweet thread about the column

The pen victims got was more precious than a souvenir. It was one used to help ink this law. Survivor advocates like [the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence], [The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence] & [the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation] were at the table. Our input was based on experience that cash bail does not equal safety.

The #PretrialFairnessAct ends cash bail, replacing the practice of using wealth to determine who’s free before a trial with a system based on assessing risk. That’s particularly important to survivors of gender-based violence, who gain a stronger voice in the new process.

Releasing ppl who can pay bond w/ little regard for threat they may pose is nonsense. These reforms ensure ppl held for forcible felonies (including domestic/sexual violence) are kept up to 48 hr, providing time to determine if they’re a risk. Those who are remain detained.

Yes! IL is the 1st state to entirely end cash bail. That came about w/ support from the community of people who have survived sex crimes & domestic violence. Learn more about why we support the #PretrialFairnessAct here

* From the linked explainer

Through our work with survivors of sexual violence, we know how the criminal legal system often fails them. That’s why we are cheering the signing of the Pretrial Fairness Act into law. It ends money bail, replacing the practice of using wealth to determine who has their freedom before a trial with a system based on assessing risk. This is particularly important to survivors of gender-based violence, who gain a stronger voice in the new process.

Survivor advocates like CAASE had a seat at the table in crafting this transformative bill. Our input was anchored in our understanding of why criminal justice reform is so important to the safety of survivors and the whole community. When it’s implemented in January 2023, people with low incomes will no longer be locked up simply because they can’t pay bail. People won’t be incarcerated pre-trial because of racist and classist stereotypes that perpetuate fear against Black men, in particular. Survivors can advocate for what they need to feel safe and secure.

These reforms are based on lessons learned from other states, with Illinois being the first to abolish cash bail with support from the community of survivors. This law empowers them to be part of the process and allows people who have caused harm to repair their lives and be restored to the community. It’s a step towards a system rooted in equity and safety, rather than fear.

In other words, dangerous people with access to money can currently avoid jail. More folks need to keep that in mind.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


Durbin downplays division over state party chair contest, Pritzker denies promises being made

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* From today’s press conference

Q: [To Sen. Durbin] You and the governor do not agree on who should lead the state Democratic Party […]

Durbin: The good news is, the people who have been mentioned as potential party chair, all three are excellent. All three can lead our party effectively. We may have a difference of opinion on which may be better at the moment, but I think there’s a common belief that all three are excellent.

Q: And family feud? Seems like there’s quite a fight behind the scenes.

Durbin: If it was a real family feud, I wouldn’t be here today. We let our responsibility as public officials really guide us, number one; and number two, long-term friendships will take us through even rocky periods.

Q: Gov. Pritzker, can you talk about [unintelligbile] that there’s really been a hard sell on your part, of phone calls and promises made? Why is that necessary to get Michelle Harris through?

Pritzker: Well, there are no specific, no special promises being made. I’ve called members of the state central committee to let them know why I’m supporting Michelle Harris and how she’s been an activist, somebody who has really built a ground operation to get Democrats out to vote. She has one of the most productive wards in the city of Chicago in terms of getting votes out, someone who’s a listener and a leader. So, I’ve made that case to people on the state central committee. When you say ‘necessary,’ there are a lot of calls that are going on around the state. You saw some state reps and others trying to weigh in on this. Look, I just believe that we need great leadership for building the Democratic Party of Illinois, which really has been something that hasn’t been done for a number of years. We have a great opportunity to do Latino outreach, to communities of color broadly. We need great leadership and we need forward momentum. And I’m very excited about the leadership that I think Michelle Harris will offer.

…Adding… This just in…

Special Meeting of the Central Committee

Dear Chair Karen Yarbrough:

We, the undersigned, wish to co-sign yesterday’s request from fellow State Central Committee Members in calling for a meeting of the Central Committee on March 6, 2021.

Our colleagues deserve the opportunity to discuss this cohesively as a group. Additionally, we should ensure transparency by providing a live stream for the media and general public to view all candidates for Chair presenting their credentials to the Central Committee.

Sincerely,
Hon. Chuy Garcia
State Central Committeeman IL-6

Hon. Cristina Castro
State Central Committeewoman IL-8

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


I thought the opponents wanted a flat tax rate?

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* More complaining about the proposed corporate tax loophole closures in Crain’s

The tax hike only adds to the “ticking (fiscal) bomb” that is Illinois’ $144 billion in unfunded pension liability here, says another relocation consultant, Boyd Co.’s Jack Boyd. Combined, his clients, including some now in Illinois, increasingly are looking at places such as Texas, he says.

In fairness to Pritzker, Illinois is not the only state to be moving its tax structure in his proposed direction, at least in part. For instance, according to the Tax Foundation, a Washington research group that’s fairly conservative but also frequently cited in economic circles, only 16 states grant the full accelerated depreciation that’s now in federal tax code. Pritzker’s proposed change there is worth $214 million a year.

On the other hand, the largest change the governor wants—capping deductions of corporate losses at $100,000 a year for three years, worth $314 million a year—would absolutely make Illinois an outlier relative to other states, says Taxpayers Federation of Illinois President Carol Portman. Such unpredictability is what really irks business, she says. Beyond that, according to the Tax Foundation, Pritzker’s changes overall would reduce Illinois’ business-tax-climate rating from a weak 36th of the 50 states to an even sadder 39th.

What in some ways is most concerning about all of this is the aura of payback Pritzker and his aides seem to have embraced. The message seems to be: Hey, business, you beat my graduated tax amendment, so now you have to pay.

Tens of millions of dollars were spent against a graduated tax rate last year. Deleting specialized loopholes makes the tax structure flatter. Careful what you wish for. /s

* Also…


- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


Protected: SUSCRIBERS ONLY: Latinx roundup

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Don’t Let The Fossil Fuel Companies Tell A Texas-sized Lie About The Blackouts. Pass CEJA Now To Invest In Clean Energy.

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

FACT CHECK: No, the Texas blackouts aren’t because of wind turbines. Wind farms in Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota do just fine when the temperature gets down below zero.

PolitiFact: “Natural gas, not wind turbines, main driver of Texas power shortage. Of the power shortfall that hit Texas, over 80% was due to problems at coal- and gas-fired plants.”

Chicago Tribune: “Texas blackouts in winter storm falsely blamed on renewable energy, Green New Deal”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott: “It’s frozen in the pipeline. It’s frozen at the rig. It’s frozen at the transmission line. The natural gas providers are incapable of being able to come up with the gas that feeds into the generators that send power to people’s residences …”

Kansas City Star: “One lesson that should not be taken away from this weekend: that it underscores the need for more natural gas and fossil fuel production…”

When Illinois experienced the Polar Vortex in 2019, it was coal plants that shut down in freezing temperatures.

Reject the noise. Get the facts in this new video from the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition.

#CEJACantWait

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Three-day ex-legislator Kodatt declines monthly legislative salary

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* Comptroller Mendoza press release…

Comptroller Susana Mendoza requested that former Rep. Edward Guerra Kodatt, in the spirit of good governance, decline the full month’s salary he was entitled to under current Illinois law for the days he served.

She is pleased to announce that Kodatt informed the Comptroller’s office via email today that, “In the spirit of good governance and in the best interest of the people of the state of Illinois I decline the one month salary to which I am entitled by law.”

Comptroller Mendoza is making a similar request of newly appointed Rep. Angelica “Angie” Guerrero-Cuellar, who will serve these last two business days of February but is entitled to a full month’s pay under the law.

Former Speaker Michael Madigan’s final paycheck for a full month’s salary has already gone out for him representing the 22nd district for most of the month of February.

“Taxpayers should not have to pay three different representatives three full months’ salary for the same seat for the same month,” Mendoza said.

Comptroller Mendoza has introduced legislation, SB484 and HB3104, sponsored by State Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, and State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville called the “No Exit Bonus” bill which would provide that legislators going forward are paid on a pro-rated basis for each day of service – not a full month’s salary for a day or two of service. She expects broad bipartisan support.

[I’ve made a couple of typo corrections at the request of the comptroller’s office.]

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** New United Center vax site will open next month

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* Press release…

The Biden Administration, Governor JB Pritzker, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth today announced eligible Illinoisans from every part of the state will be able to be vaccinated starting March 10 at a new United Center site that prioritizes access for seniors and equity for the hardest hit populations.

The Biden Administration is opening pilot Community Vaccination Centers across the country. The United Center site will open on March 10 with the capacity to administer 6,000 doses per day, all of which will be provided directly by the federal government and not taken out of the state or city’s allotment.

The site will be by appointment only; seniors will have first access to appointments before the site opens, and if appointments remain available after seniors have had their exclusive registration period, any remaining available slots will be open to any Illinoisans eligible under the state’s guidelines. After the launch on March 10, registration will continue to be open for all Illinoisans eligible in the state’s Phase 1B+.

Preparations and buildout of the United Center Community Vaccination Center are now underway. Information about where and how to make appointments will be available in coming days. Demand is anticipated to be high.

The United Center will be open to all Illinois residents currently eligible to be vaccinated under the state guidelines and will be managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency with support from the Department of Defense, State of Illinois, Cook County and the City of Chicago.

The United Center site builds on an expanding network of state-supported sites operating across southern, central and northern Illinois. The United Center location is one of the best places in the country to advance key equity priorities through its proximity to medically underserved communities and goals of reaching those most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.

“The United Center is one of the best locations for vaccinating large numbers of people in America: it’s easy to get to, is in the midst of a medically underserved community, can handle large crowds and is well known to everyone in Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Thanks to FEMA, the United Center is just our most recent among a growing number of state-supported mass vaccination location for residents. To date, the Illinois National Guard has launched 15 state-supported sites, including locations in Springfield, Rockford, Carbondale and Metro East – and that’s on top of mass vax sites operated by our 97 local health departments. I am deeply grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for working closely with us to bring on this high-capacity site, and I’m particularly proud that we’ve worked together to prioritize seniors in this process, moving us that much closer to putting this pandemic to an end.”

“The federal government is committed to the equitable distribution of vaccines across the country and in the state of Illinois,” said Kevin M. Sligh, acting regional administrator, FEMA Region 5. “The goal of establishing these joint federal pilot centers is to continue expanding the rate of vaccinations, with an explicit focus on socially vulnerable or underrepresented communities.”

“The opening of the federal mass vaccination site at the United Center brings us another step forward in our equity-centered COVID-19 vaccination plan,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “From our seniors to the communities hardest hit by the pandemic, we will not stop until we get shots into the arms of our residents who patiently wait to see the light at the end of this pandemic.”

“The new United Center mass vaccination site is a game changer for Chicago and the entire region,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This is what Presidential leadership looks like—bold, collaborative, and science-based. With this new site, we’ll now be able to take our vaccination success to a whole new level and bring to bear the historic and inclusive recovery that is soon to come.”

“Getting vaccine shots into the arms of Americans will help break the back of this pandemic. This site in the City of Chicago, which Senator Duckworth and I have been working for, will help our most vulnerable communities get the protection they desperately need. I applaud Governor Pritzker, Cook County President Preckwinkle, and Mayor Lightfoot for working with us and the Biden Administration to make this site a reality. Help is on the way, Illinois,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).

“This new mass community vaccination center is an important step in our efforts to overcome this pandemic, and it will help get shots in the arms of Illinoisans at a much higher rate, especially in the communities hit hardest by COVID-19,” U.S. Senator Duckworth said. “Senator Durbin and I worked closely with the Biden Administration to help bring this center to Chicago, and I am also thankful for the support of Governor Pritzker, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Mayor Lightfoot in bringing this facility to Chicago.”

This federal pilot site will not divert allocations from other jurisdictions, as vaccine will be provided direct by the federal government to the site. The site will operate seven days a week for eight weeks under the federal government’s vaccination pilot program.

The United Center was selected by the Biden administration in coordination with state, county and city partners to fulfill the administration’s commitment to expanding the rate of vaccinations across the country in an efficient, effective and equitable manner, with a keen focus on making sure that communities with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection are not left behind.

In addition to the United Center, Illinois has 15 state-supported mass vaccination sites already open across the state. These sites are currently open to any eligible resident via appointment. For more information on how to make an appointment to receive the vaccine, updates on the state’s plan and eligibility, and answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, go to coronavirus.illinois.gov.

Seems like a good plan. And despite it being open to every Illinoisan, let’s hope this helps Chicago catch up with the rest of the state on vaccinations. As we’ve discussed before, the city is lagging at getting shots into arms and nobody in the Chicago media seems willing to press the issue. The city is also refusing to move into “1B+” even though the other cities which also receive direct vax shipments from the CDC have done so. Philadelphia, New York City, San Antonio and Houston are all in 1B+ as Chicago stubbornly refuses to join them. If it takes the state stepping in, then so be it. Chicago is part of Illinois, too. Its residents deserve a chance at their shots like everyone else in the state.

* From the United Center…

We are proud to partner with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the City of Chicago, Cook County, and State of Illinois leadership, to transform the United Center campus to help expedite vaccine distribution. From the onset of this pandemic, the United Center’s team of dedicated professionals have worked tirelessly with relief agencies, first responders, City, County and Federal agencies and the public on a wide array of initiatives to support the region’s Covid-19 relief efforts. It is our hope that by partnering with FEMA to create a mass vaccination center, we are one step closer to putting this pandemic behind us. We are grateful for the dedication of our United Center professionals, and our incredibly supportive vendors and partners, to help turn these plans into a reality. Without their support this effort would not be possible.

* Sens. Durbin and Duckworth…

“Getting vaccine shots into the arms of Americans will help break the back of this pandemic. This site in the City of Chicago, which Senator Duckworth and I have been working for, will help our most vulnerable communities get the protection they desperately need. I applaud Governor Pritzker, Cook County President Preckwinkle, and Mayor Lightfoot for working with us and the Biden Administration to make this site a reality. Help is on the way, Illinois,” said Durbin.

“This new mass community vaccination center is an important step in our efforts to overcome this pandemic, and it will help get shots in the arms of Illinoisans at a much higher rate, especially in the communities hit hardest by COVID-19,” Duckworth said. “Senator Durbin and I worked closely with the Biden Administration to help bring this center to Chicago, and I am also thankful for the support of Governor Pritzker, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Mayor Lightfoot in bringing this facility to Chicago.”

Durbin is scheduled to be at today’s event with the governor, which should be interesting considering they’re on opposite sides of the state party battle. Duckworth is with Pritzker on this one.

*** UPDATE *** Press release…

Today, Uber announced its Uber Zone at the United Center will host a COVID-19 mass vaccination site with the City of Chicago, FEMA, the United Center, and ZocDoc. The Uber Zone site will become the primary vaccination location in the city of Chicago, helping to increase the number of Chicagoans who can get vaccinated against COVID-19. Uber also announced that it is providing 20,000 free rides in partnership with the City and ZocDoc to help remove transportation barriers that may prevent some Chicagoans from accessing these lifesaving vaccines. While these free rides to and from the vaccination site are available citywide, Uber credits will be targeted to residents on the South and West sides to help close equity gaps on vaccination access.

* Press release from Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi…

“The opening of the United Center’s mass vaccination site and its capacity of more than 6,000 vaccines per day is a crucial step forward for the efforts of the Chicago region, and Illinois overall, to achieve universal inoculation against the coronavirus. In my position on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, I will continue to fight to expand vaccine production, access, and transparency until everyone in Illinois and our country is able to receive this life-saving vaccine.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


MLB open thread

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* From Henry Haupt at the SoS office…

Rich,

In honor of spring training kicking off this weekend, thought I would share a couple of photos of Secretary White when he played AAA ball for the Salt Lake City Bees. He played for the Bees in 1963 and 1964.

Attachments…

If I was fully vaccinated, I’d probably already be blogging from Arizona.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


Harris inches closer to chairmanship with additional endorsements

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* Press release…

Ald. Michelle Harris Announces More State Central Committee Member Endorsements For Party Chair

“I’m proud to announce the endorsement of several more of my colleagues in my campaign for Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois,” Ald. Michelle Harris said.

The following State Central Committee (SCC) members have endorsed Ald. Michelle Harris for Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois:

    Hon. Michael Cudzik, CD-8
    Hon. Vivian Robinson, CD-15
    Hon. Tom Walsh, CD-16
    Hon. Don Johnston, CD-17

“I am honored by the trust of these esteemed members of the SCC, and I will continue to listen to their thoughts and concerns and those of the members who remain undecided,” Ald. Michelle Harris continued. “The future of the Democratic Party of Illinois is one that must include Democrats from every part of the state and if selected, I promise to work each day as Chair together with other SCC members to build a party we can all be proud of.”

* Politico

So far, several members of the Democratic Central Committee have committed to a candidate, giving Chicago Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) an edge with nearly 40 percent support. Congresswoman Robin Kelly has 10 percent, and state Sen. Cristina Castro, 4 percent. (Each member holds a different weighted vote.)

But half of the committee still hasn’t committed, including former state Sen. Carol Ronen and Board of Review Commissioner Mike Cabonargi, whose votes have sway in the contest. They represent the 9th District, which has a combined 10 percent of the vote. Neither returned a request for comment.

Ronen, Cabonargi and other Democrats have sent a letter to acting party Chairman Karen Yarbrough calling for a public meeting March 6 to hear the candidates talk about their priorities. Kelly signed the letter, too.

* Here are the weighted vote totals for each member of the central committee…

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 - Kinzinger calls for party involvement - Call for inspector general probe *** Rep. Miller throws friend, son under the bus over racist truck sticker

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* Mark Maxwell

A pickup truck parked in a restricted area designated for members of Congress during the deadly January 6th insurrection bore the insignia of a right-wing anarchist militia group and a government-issued license plate belonging to an elected official from the Land of Lincoln.

The truck belongs to Illinois state representative Chris Miller (R-Oakland), a 66-year-old second-term statehouse Republican, and his wife Mary Miller, a newly elected member of Congress who recently apologized for quoting Adolf Hitler the day before the pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election.

The image of the truck was first identified online by a group of web sleuths that scours social media for video evidence of the insurrection incident and calls itself the ‘Sedition Hunters.’

* Tweets…


* Daily Beast

But in an email to The Daily Beast, Chris Miller, Rep. Miller’s husband and a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, conceded the truck belonged to him even as he pleaded ignorance about the militia group.

“Army friend gave me decal. Thought it was a cool decal. Took it off because of negative pub,” Miller wrote in an email late Thursday. He says he “never was member” of the militia and “didn’t know anything about 3% till fake news started this fake story and read about them.”

* And then came this statement via his spokesperson last night…

I have never been a member of the 3 percenters. My son received the sticker that was on my truck from a family friend who said that it represented patriotism and love of country. The original group, which has disbanded, was not a violent anti-government group. They were not involved in the Jan. 6th riots. They have issued a statement distancing themselves from the extremists who have copied their name. I have since removed the sticker. My intention was to display what I thought was a patriotic statement. I love our country and consider myself a patriot. My intention was not to hurt or offend anyone but simply to express what I thought was a statement of patriotism. God bless America.

Yes, because I’m constantly putting stickers on my own $50K truck about groups that I know nothing about. Right. Sure. Totally believable.

*** UPDATE 1 *** IDCCA…

Following multiple public reports showing State Representative Chris Miller in attendance at the January 6, 2021, rally that led to an insurrection of the U.S. Capital, President Kristina Zahorik of the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association (IDCCA) submitted a request to the Office of the Legislative Inspector General to investigate Miller’s involvement in the day’s events. A copy of the letter is below.

“Representative Chris Miller swore an oath of office to support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Illinois. Miller’s attendance at the rally that turned into a mob and insurrection of our nation’s Capitol is troubling, and to date many unanswered questions remain about his subsequent actions and whereabouts that day. The Legislative Inspector General, at a minimum, should investigate to what extent Miller played a role in the events of January 6, 2021.”

The Office of the Legislative Inspector General receives and investigates complaints of violations of any law, rule, or regulation or abuse of authority or other forms of misconduct by members of the General Assembly. As criminal charges accumulate for those involved in the attack on the Capitol, Representative Miller has removed his social media posting showing he attended the rally suggesting he hopes to distance himself from the insurrection.

* Letter to LIG…

Dear Inspector General Pope:

Following public reports showing State Representative Chris Miller was in attendance January 6, 2021, at the rally in Washington, D.C. that led to a deadly insurrection, we are calling on the Office of the Legislative Inspector General to open an investigation into Representative Miller’s presence and involvement in the day’s events.

    • Mark Maxwell, Twitter, January 7, 2021: https://twitter.com/MarkMaxwellTV/status/1347236821512695810
    • Huffington Post, January 22, 2021: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/republican-lawmakers-at-the-capitol-riot_n_6009e17cc5b6df63a91e5cf4
    • Huffington Post, February 13, 2021: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/57-gop-officials-at-capitol-insurrection_n_6026e5e2c5b6f88289fb90a6
    • The Daily Beast, February 26, 2021: https://www.thedailybeast.com/rep-mary-millers-husband-owns-three-percenter-militia-truck-at-capitol-riot

As federal charges accumulate against those who stormed the nation’s Capital — ranging from unlawful entry in a restricted building to assault on a federal officer — very little is known about Representative Miller’s activity that day. Miller has since deleted his social media posting showing himself at the aforementioned rally.

As the United States Congress pursues the creation of a commission to investigate the mob attack of January 6, it is only appropriate that the Office of the Legislative Inspector General investigate any potential violations of any law, rule, or regulation or abuse of authority or other forms of misconduct by a member of the General Assembly. At minimum, this constitutes the type of conduct that is unbecoming of a legislator and warrants an investigation by the Inspector General.

Conducting unbecoming is what the Republicans used against Speaker Madigan last year. I’ve asked Speaker Welch’s spokesperson for comment.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The state GOP has been mighty quiet today…


- Posted by Rich Miller   92 Comments      


Open thread

Friday, Feb 26, 2021

* Have a little joy with your coffee by reading this Maura Judkis story at WaPo

The happiest place in medicine right now is a basketball arena in New Mexico. Or maybe it’s the parking lot of a baseball stadium in Los Angeles, or a Six Flags in Maryland, or a shopping mall in South Dakota.

The happiest place in medicine is anywhere there is vaccine, and the happiest people in medicine are the ones plunging it into the arms of strangers.

“It’s a joy to all of us,” says Akosua “Nana” Poku, a Kaiser Permanente nurse vaccinating people in Northern Virginia.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience in my career that has felt so promising and so fulfilling,” says Christina O’Connell, a clinic director at the University of New Mexico.

* Or, add a little mystery to your morning with this Mick Dumke story

The man who called me, a long-retired Chicago police officer, was alternately charming and curt. He insisted he had nothing to do with the murder.

“All the things you wrote in your letter to me are not true,” he said, speaking slowly, his voice occasionally shaky. “Everything in there is a f****g lie.”

In the letter, I had asked him about a murder I’d been examining: the unsolved killing of a prominent Black politician in Chicago. I had reason to think he knew something about it.

On Feb. 26, 1963, Ben Lewis, the first Black elected official from Chicago’s West Side, won what was set to be his second full term on the City Council. Lewis, 53, appeared to be climbing the political ladder. Newspapers were reporting talk — encouraged by the alderman himself — that his next stop would be Congress, a move that would have made him one of the highest-profile Black politicians in the country.

Keep it local and be polite to each other.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


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