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Friday, May 20, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Lots of folks have been out there knocking on doors for hours every day, seven days a week and they still have 39 more days of that difficult drudgery until it’s all over. It takes a special kind of grit to do what they’re doing and I have nothing but respect for what they endure. So, if you’re one of those people and you’re tired, or frustrated, or feeling a little overwhelmed, just hang in there. And turn it up

I’m gonna fight ‘em all
A seven-nation army couldn’t hold me back

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Question of the day

Friday, May 20, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Your quick assessment of the various statewide and local primaries to date?

  16 Comments      


Waffle House shooter’s father faces up to three years in prison

Friday, May 20, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 2018

The man accused of killing four people in a Nashville Waffle House used to send his father text messages in which he punctuated everyday chitchat with delusional rants.

Police say 29-year-old Travis Reinking was nearly naked, only wearing a green jacket, when he opened fire outside the restaurant on April 22 and then stormed inside. Police have said there would have been far more casualties if it weren’t for a quick-thinking restaurant patron who wrestled the AR-15 rifle away from the gunman.

By the time of the shooting, Reinking’s erratic behavior had already come to the attention of law enforcement, including the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois, where he lived part-time.

According to several incident reports, Reinking believed the singer Taylor Swift was stalking and harassing him, including hacking into his computer and phone. He believed the police and his family were part of the conspiracy, and his delusions went back to at least August 2014.

The local sheriff’s office allowed Reinking to keep his gun, even after multiple incidents, but then finally seized it after he showed up at the White House. The sheriff’s office gave Reinking’s gun to his father, who then gave it back to his son. And then after the Waffle House shooting, the local state’s attorney seemed very hesitant to bring charges against the father.

* But

A rural Morton man now faces up to three years in prison after being found guilty Friday of illegally giving his son weapons that were later used in a 2018 mass shooting.

Jeffrey Reinking could also get probation when he is sentenced on June 17 on the charge of illegal delivery of a firearm to a person who had been treated for mental illness within the past five years.

During a one-day bench trial before Tazewell County Judge Chris Doscotch, prosecutors argued that Reinking knew his son, Travis, had undergone mental health treatment in 2016.

  5 Comments      


Campaign notebook

Friday, May 20, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* According to AdImpact, Richard Irvin spent $3.44 million this week on TV spots. The other side spent a total of $4.4 million, however: The DGA spent $2.25 million, Darren Bailey spent $1.57 million and Dan Proft’s committee spent $621K…

* The Hill

The Democratic Governors Association has spent millions in both Illinois and Nevada, where incumbent governors are seeking reelection, in an apparent effort to weaken their likely Republican opponents.

“The DGA is wasting no time in educating the public about these Republicans,” said Christina Amestoy, the group’s senior communications advisor. “These elected and formerly elected officials want to deceptively retell their histories, and we’re just filling in the gaps.”

So far, the DGA has dropped $8.4 million on television ads across Illinois, including more than $4 million in the Chicago market alone. Those ads target Irvin, the leading Republican ahead of next month’s primary, in which he faces state Sen. Darren Bailey (R) and a handful of other contenders. The winner of the GOP primary will face Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) in November.

* Mark Maxwell

Irvin briefly met with reporters at a campaign stop in Bethalto on Thursday morning. Thirteen times, Irvin dodged specific and direct questions about whether he voted for Trump. Twice, he dodged questions about whether he was a more conservative candidate than Darren Bailey.

Video

* A group called Illinois Values PAC is spending big, big bucks on this ad blasting US Rep. Mary Miller

But Dick Uihlein is helping bump up Club for Growth’s coffers with a million bucks as it goes all-in for Miller (no relation)…


…Adding… Notice the $100K from Alex Melvin, who has been a major past supporter of Mary Miller.

* Daily Herald on the GOP primary in Democrat Lauren Underwood’s district

During an online forum Thursday night, all five Republican candidates for Illinois’ 14th Congressional District seat criticized the U.S. House committee investigating last year’s deadly assault of the U.S. Capitol.

One, Mike Koolidge, said there are much more pressing issues in the nation than determining exactly what happened on Jan. 6, 2021.

“We waste a lot of time talking about something from so long ago,” said Koolidge, of Rochelle. “We need to move on.”

The others criticized the committee for not having an equal number of Democrats and Republicans or for how the two Republican members — Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming — were chosen.

“It’s a sham and a fraud,” said candidate James Marter of Oswego.

* Politico

— Rep. Rodney Davis has been endorsed by 18 current and former central Illinois county sheriffs in his bid for the 15th Congressional District seat. He’s also been endorsed by the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police.

— Jonathan Jackson, candidate for Congress in the 1st Congressional District seat, has been endorsed by Our Revolution Illinois, the state affiliation of the national, progressive political action organization that spun out of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign of 2016.

* Back to the governor’s race…

Today, the Irvin for Illinois campaign announced the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council endorsed Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and State Representative Avery Bourne in the Republican primary for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. The endorsement adds to Irvin’s growing list of support from law enforcement announced in the last few weeks including the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge No. 7 , Association of Professional Police Officers (APPO) and Illinois Troopers Lodge #41.

…Adding… I knew I was forgetting something…

Today, U.S. Congressman Sean Casten (D-IL) released his first TV ad of the cycle. The ad is part of the campaign’s nearly 7-figure ad buy and will be seen on broadcast and cable channels across the 6th District.

With families facing high costs, this ad highlights Rep. Casten’s work to address supply chain issues and high gas prices, all while remaining true to his core values of fighting the climate crisis and protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. […]

Transcript
The last few years haven’t been easy. Our homes have become our schools, our offices, and even our gyms. But it’s time to get life back to normal, and that’s why I’m working to free up the supply chain and get gas and prescription drug prices down. All while never losing focus on the fight against climate change. I’m Sean Casten—a scientist, a businessman, pro-choice, and a Democrat—and I approve this message.

The spot

* More…

* Friday’s Chicago Teachers Union election is its most contentious in years. With 3 slates, ‘it’s anybody’s guess’ who will win.

* Dargis campaign worker suspended after ethics complaint by 8th District GOP rival: While the Dargis campaign condemned Biebel’s actions, it maintains there is a record of financial litigation involving Kopsaftis. The campaign did not accuse the real estate businessman of any criminal wrongdoing. The campaign provided a list that includes eight breach of contract cases from 1990 to 2009, Chapter 7 bankruptcies in 1996 and 2010, four foreclosures during the ’90s, a civil judgment for debt in Cook County, a small claims case in McHenry County in 1990, a 1993 housing court case, a 1995 condemnation case, and a 1987 eviction for possession — a type of case in which a landlord aims to take back possession of a property.

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COVID-19 update

Friday, May 20, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Reported cases barely increased over last week, but hospitalizations, a lagging indicator, jumped 17 percent (although at a still low 1,060). Deaths, the ultimate lagging indicator, are up 24 percent (but that’s from 45 to 56). IDPH

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 40,193 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 56 deaths since May 13, 2022.

According to the CDC, eight Illinois Counties are now rated at the High Community Level for COVID-19 cases and 39 counties are rated at the Medium Community Level.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 3,249,534 cases, including 33,761 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois since the beginning of the pandemic.

As of last night, 1,060 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 116 patients were in the ICU and 43 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. The preliminary seven-day statewide case rate is 315 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Illinoisans.

“With COVID-19 case counts rising across the state, the public should understand that they can take action to protect themselves, their loved ones, and friends,” said IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars. “Everyone should make sure they are up-to-date with vaccinations and booster shots. As we see movement into higher community risk levels, masking up in indoor public places and avoiding crowded indoor spaces as much as possible will also make a difference. And if you test positive, promptly contact a healthcare provider to discuss which treatment is right for you. The treatments are much more effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths when they are taken early in the course of the illness.”

The CDC reported that following eight Illinois counties are now listed at the High Community Level; Boone, Lee, Stephenson and Winnebago in the northern part of the state; and Champaign, Ford, Peoria and Tazewell in the center.

In addition, the following are in the Medium Community Level: Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Jo Daviess, Henry, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Livingston, Marshall, McHenry, Mercer, Ogle, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Warren, Whiteside, Will and Woodford in the northern tier of the state; and Calhoun, Coles, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Fulton, Jackson, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Mason, Massac, McLean, Menard, Sangamon and Wabash, in the central and southern parts of the state.

At the High Community Level, the CDC recommends that all people wear a well-fitting mask in indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status. For those at risk at risk of severe outcomes, they should consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public places, have a plan for rapid testing if needed, and talk to their healthcare provider about other precautions they can take.

At the Medium Community Level, persons who are elderly or immunocompromised (at risk of severe outcomes) are advised to wear a mask in indoor public places. In addition, they should make sure to get up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines or get their 2nd booster, if eligible.

IDPH has been supporting pharmacies and healthcare providers in efforts to increase their inventories of the various FDA-authorized treatments. There are over 1,200 treatment locations in Illinois - including all the major retail pharmacies. More than 96.7% of the state’s population is within a 10-mile radius of one of these locations.

A total of 22,200,483 vaccines have been administered in Illinois. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 13,167 doses. Since May 13, 2022, 92,168 doses were reported administered in Illinois. Of Illinois’ total population, more than 76% has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, more than 69% of Illinois’ total population is fully vaccinated, and 52% of the vaccinated population has an initial booster according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data indicates that the risk of hospitalization and severe outcomes from COVID-19 is much higher for unvaccinated people than for those who are up to date on their vaccinations.

* From Ed Yong’s “What COVID Hospitalization Numbers Are Missing”

Even in quieter periods, health-care workers are scrambling to catch up with backlogs of work that went unaddressed during COVID surges, or patients who sat on health problems and are now much sicker. Those patients are more antagonistic; verbal and physical assaults are commonplace. Health-care workers can also still catch COVID, keeping them from their jobs, while surges elsewhere in the world create supply-chain issues that keep hospitals from running smoothly. All this, on top of two years of devastating COVID surges, means that health-care workers are so exhausted and burned out that those words have become euphemisms. In trying to describe his colleagues’ mental state, Plante brought up Migrant Mother—the famous photo from the journalist Dorothea Lange, which captured unimaginable hardships in a single haunting expression. “That look in her eyes is what I see in folks who’ve been on the front lines,” Plante told me.

Enough health-care workers—nurses, in particular—have quit their jobs that even when hospitals aren’t deluged, the remaining workforce must care for an unreasonable number of patients over longer hours and more shifts. In a survey of nearly 12,000 nurses, conducted by the American Nurses Foundation this January, 89 percent said that their workplace was short-staffed, and half said the problem was serious. Worse, almost a quarter said that they were planning on leaving their jobs within the next six months, and another 30 percent said they might. Even if just a small fraction of them follow through on their intentions, their departure would heap more pressure upon a workforce that is already shouldering too much. “There’s a palpable concern that this can’t be our new normal,” Beth Wathen, president of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, told me. […]

Many hospitals are now facing an unenviable bind. Without chances to recover from the past two years, more people will leave, and the staffing crisis will deepen. But for many people, recovery means doing less—at a time when institutions need their workers to do more. “For health-care workers, that’s not our problem; that’s the system’s problem,” Masood told me. “When you say burnout, you’re blaming people for feeling a very normal outcome of being put in a situation that’s depleting us of our energy and humanity. When a house catches fire, we don’t say it was burned out. We say it was burned down, and then we look for the source.” For too long, the U.S. has relied on the “individual grit” of its health-care workers, Jennifer Sullivan, an emergency physician who runs strategic operations for the South’s Atrium Health system told me. Its challenge, now, is to create a health-care system that’s as resilient as the people in it have been forced to be.

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Another day, another lawsuit

Friday, May 20, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association, representing Illinois gas stations and convenience stores, today announced it has officially filed a lawsuit in Sangamon County Circuit Court challenging a new state law requiring fuel retailers to post signs on gas pumps promoting temporary gas tax relief.

As part of a broader tax relief package included in the state budget that begins July 1, state lawmakers required fuel retailers to post signs – at their own expense – to tell motorists about the six-month suspension of the scheduled motor fuel tax increase scheduled for July 1.

Josh Sharp, CEO of the Illinois Fuel and Retail Association, said the new law violates his members’ constitutionally protected free speech rights.

“Government does not have the authority to compel private citizens to engage in political speech,” Sharp said. “If the Governor and lawmakers want to promote their political move to temporarily and slightly decrease the gas tax, they have many other ways to do that than to force our members to do it and pay for it ourselves.”

The complaint reads in part: “This specific amendment to the Motor Fuel Tax Law requires Plaintiffs and other retailers to choose between making a political statement they do not wish to make to their customers or the general public on behalf of the State of Illinois or facing criminal penalties. SB 157 violates Plaintiffs’ Free Speech rights as protected by Article 1, Section 4 of the Illinois Constitution, and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution by compelling political speech.”

Sharp also noted the onerous penalties contained in the new law.

“The penalties for not engaging in forced political speech is a fine as high as $500 per violation,” Sharp said. “This legislation is an overreach, and we have no choice but to go to court and try to stop it.”

The complaint is here.

* Tribune

The gas station owners argue they’re being treated differently than other businesses whose customers will benefit from the tax breaks. Supermarkets, for instance, will be required, “to the extent feasible,” to print a notice on their receipts that the 1% sales tax on groceries has been waived for one year. If it can’t be printed on the receipt, “then the retailer shall post the statement on a sign that is clearly visible to customers.”

But grocery stores, unlike gas stations, won’t face a fine if they fail to comply, a discrepancy the gas station group states is “a clear violation of Plaintiffs’ Equal Protection rights guaranteed by the United States and State of Illinois Constitutions.”

The suit also warned that customers who see the notice could “mistakenly perceive” that gas station owners are expressing political support for a particular policy, which “is outside the scope of the Motor Fuel Tax Law’s purposes and serves no legitimate governmental interest.”

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and a campaign roundup

Friday, May 20, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Secretary of state candidates take more potshots

Friday, May 20, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* ABC7 on yesterday’s Democratic secretary of state candidate forum

Giannoulias launched his own new ad with a flurry of news clips about Valencia’s questionable dealings to help her lobbyist husband, Rayahd Kazmi.

It comes as new emails and texts suggest Kazmi was looking for his wife’s help in 2019 and 2020 to land a contract for a digital billboard business in the Illinois Medical District.

“People are sick and tired of lobbyists and her using the office to enrich her and her husband,” Giannoulias said. “Those aren’t my words, those are the media who has requested these FOIA’s and has noticed what’s taking place.”

Valencia denies any wrongdoing.

“We’re gonna be out here talking about the facts and we’re not going to be bullied out of this race,” she said.

Alexi, your 19 largest campaign contributions this cycle are from registered lobbying entities.

* Tribune

Valencia acknowledged mistakes in having her husband, Reyahd Kazmi, copied on city clerk office emails that were obtained by the Tribune and other media and have raised suspicions about possible conflicts.

“When I came into public office there are some growing pains you have,” said Valencia, who has been city clerk since 2017, “and I had to live them out very publicly these few weeks or a month and I wish I would’ve been more careful with my emails, and my personal and professional emails. I will own that.”

“There will be the strongest firewall between my husband and I,” she said. “We have separate careers and if I’m elected secretary of state, he’ll not do any business with the state of Illinois.”

Um, the problem wasn’t that he was copied on emails, the problem was what was in the emails. And maybe start by saying he will no longer be doing any business with the city of Chicago.

* Also

[Valencia] also talked about establishing a similar program to one she oversees as city clerk, the CityKey program that is designed to help immigrants or undocumented Chicagoans use a single ID as a library card, a transit and a prescription discount card.

Background

Valencia is married to Reyahd Kazmi, ​a lobbyist who is a consultant for IGNITE — a company that provided technology for Chicago’s CityKey program.

Hard, hard sigh.

* Press release…

Democratic Secretary of State candidate Anna Valencia released the following statement today challenging Alexi Giannoulias to debates ahead of the June 28 primary:

“Alexi Giannoulias has been skipping forums, dodging tough questions from political reporters and relying on allies to attack me because he doesn’t want to answer for his failures as a banker, state treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate. But Democratic primary voters deserve to hear the candidates for Secretary of State debate the issues of the day and our plans for the office. That’s why I’m challenging Alexi to participate in debates, hosted by major media outlets, over the next several weeks. Early voting has begun – we cannot wait any longer. I have answered, and will continue to answer, any question that comes my way. Alexi must do the same. We cannot continue to have an empty chair in his place.”

In recent weeks, Giannoulias has skipped the following forums that Valencia and David Moore have attended:

    • Clergy of Interfaith forum (5/18)
    • East PAC/East St. Louis Dems (5/7)
    • Chicagoland Chamber PAC (5/3)
    • Illinois PIRG & College Dems (4/12)

* David Moore…

The Illinois secretary of state’s race is too important for Anna Valencia or any other candidate to decide who should be a part of any televised debates.

I am in full agreement that Illinois voters need to hear from all of the candidates in the secretary of state’s race. This is the first time the seat has been vacant in more than 20 years and there are millions of Illinois residents who are too young to remember when the secretary of state’s office was mired in scandal and corruption. Illinoisans deserve a candidate who will serve them and not themselves or their families. We don’t need another secretary of state using the seat as a steppingstone to run for governor or senator. We need a nominee in the general election who is electable.

To date, I have appeared at candidate forums with Republican candidate Dan Brady more than my Democratic opponents. Television ads should not be a substitute for real debate. I urge the major television networks to treat this race with the same importance they are giving the governor’s race. The secretary of state’s office is the second most important office in the state and touches nearly every Illinois resident.

The contest for Illinois secretary of state is a tight race and regardless of money and/or clout all of the Democratic candidates should be invited to any televised debates the major broadcast networks decide to schedule.

  16 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Will the revised Census numbers change anything?

Friday, May 20, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here if you need it. Good point…


* From the Sun-Times coverage

GOP leaders in the General Assembly could not immediately be reached for comment. […]

Laurence Msall, president of the budget watchdog group The Civic Federation estimated the state could receive at least $100 million in additional federal funding based on the new population data.

“So many of our formulas are based on population,” Msall said. “This is really good news for Illinois.”

Oddly enough, the Census stories were not mentioned on a few websites notorious for trumpeting the state’s population loss, including ChicagoTribune.com. But Rodney Davis chimed in

“Gov. Pritzker and the Democrats who run state government should not use this news as a license to continue their tax hikes, corruption, and pro-criminal policies,” Rep. Rodney Davis said in a statement to Playbook.

Dude knows how to get his message out there, I suppose.

…Adding… US Rep. Davis’ spokesperson sent me the full quote he submitted to Politico…

“Given these updated Census numbers, I will continue to advocate in Congress that Illinois gets its fair share of federal resources. For years, I have worked to fix unfair formulas for federal programs, including those for Medicaid and transportation, which have limited the amount of federal dollars the State of Illinois should otherwise receive.

“At the same time, Governor Pritzker and the Democrats who run state government should not use this news as a license to continue their tax hikes, corruption, and pro-criminal policies. Pritzker’s Far-Left agenda is limiting Illinois’ great potential.”

* But it’s not clear that the new numbers will bring any extra federal revenue to Illinois

The results do not change the official population numbers of any state, nor do they affect congressional reapportionment, but they do help guide the bureau in its planning for the next decennial census.

* More from Capitol News Illinois

The survey data released Thursday did not identify the causes of undercounts or overcounts within any particular state, nor did it identify the cities, counties or regions within a state where the count may have been inaccurate.

On a national level, however, officials said undercounts generally occur within the Black population, Hispanic or Latino population, American Indian and Alaska Native populations living on reservations and the demographic group that reported being of “some other race.” […]

They also noted that the 2020 census undercounted children, especially young children ages 0-4.

*** UPDATE *** Krishnamoorthi writes to Secretary Raimondo…

May 20, 2022

Gina Raimondo
Secretary of Commerce
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave NW Washington, DC 20230

Dear Secretary Raimondo:

I’m writing with regard to yesterday’s release of the U.S. Census Bureau’s release of the 2020 Census estimated undercount and overcount rates by state and the District of Columbia from the Post- Enumeration Survey (PES) which found that 14 states are estimated to have had an undercount or overcount, including my state of Illinois which was undercounted by 1.97 percent. This follows my January 13th, 2022 letter to Census Bureau Director Santos, in which I expressed similar concerns about the bureau’s undercounting and methodological issues in response previous undercounting issues in Illinois.

In light of this major revelation and the implications for Illinois and other states having been significantly undercounted, please provide answers to the following questions:

    1. What is the mechanism and timeline by which the apportionment of federal resources will reflect this new data?
    2. What additional data is available with regard to the undercounting of Illinois?
    3. While the report discusses general factors for undercounts across the country, what specific factors contributed to the undercount in Illinois?

Sincerely,
Raja Krishnamoorthi Member Of Congress

Good questions.

…Adding… Pritzker campaign…

“Since day one, Governor Pritzker has championed Illinois. His commitment to fiscal responsibility, rebuilding our critical infrastructure, investing in job creation, and delivering tax relief has encouraged residents to come to Illinois to live, work and raise families,” said JB for Governor Spokesperson Natalie Edelstein. “Every single Republican running for governor has built a campaign on fraudulent claims badmouthing Illinois and must face the truth: due to Governor Pritzker’s strong leadership, Illinois has a positive financial outlook, an influx of residents and, for the first time in a long time, is on the rise.”

  45 Comments      


DCFS director held in contempt for 11th time

Friday, May 20, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* WICS

The director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has once again been held in contempt of court.

This is the eleventh time Marc Smith has been held in contempt since January 2022.

This time, Smith is accused of failing to place an 11-year-old girl appropriately in violation of court orders.

According to the Cook County Public Guardian, The eleventh contempt order involves an 11-year-old girl who has been in DCFS’ care since she was 5 years old. In the six years the girl has been in DCFS’ care, she has bounced back and forth between abusive foster homes, emergency foster homes, psychiatric hospitals, residential placements, shelters, and hospital emergency rooms. Since January 2022, DCFS’ own clinicians have recommended a secure residential placement for the girl. Yet, on April 12, 2022, the girl was taken to a hospital emergency room after making suicidal statements at school, and attempting to place a noose around her neck. On April 14, 2022, the court entered an order directing DCFS Director Smith to remove the 11-year-old from the emergency room by the end of the day, and either place her in a psychiatric hospital or a secure residential facility. Despite the court’s order, the girl remained in the emergency room for another two days before being moved to her current temporary shelter placement. During her four day stay in the emergency room, the 11-year-old made repeated suicidal statements, attempted to run out of the hospital, was physically aggressive, and required five emergency medication restraints to calm her down.

* CBS 2

Months earlier, DCFS placed the child in a foster home. Judge Murphy warned against it, saying something bad was going to happen. It did. The child repeatedly stabbed the foster parent, whose injuries were treated with stitches.

DCFS says several secure residential treatment centers refuse to accept this fifth grader because of the violent act. And said it can not force residential programs to take in youth.

Judge Murphy pointed out DCFS is supposed to be set up to care for difficult children, yet it then argues it can’t get a child placed because he or she is difficult.

DCFS spokesman Bill McCaffrey issued a statement late Thursday, saying the agency has, in fact, placed the child appropriately:

“This youth is no longer in a psychiatric hospital and DCFS has, in fact, placed this youth in a clinically appropriate setting where she is receiving supportive services and is attending school every day. DCFS is in constant contact with its network of providers and foster parents in an ongoing effort to place children in clinically appropriate settings. Because it is doing everything possible to place these children, DCFS has taken and continues to take the legal position that these contempt orders are not appropriate and has appealed to a higher court to overturn these orders as expediently as possible.”

Hey. I have an idea. How about getting these kids placed before the contempt citations are issued? Then again, maybe the contempt citations are actually helping get the kids placed, which means that the state’s attempt to overturn them might be counter-productive.

  18 Comments      


It’s time to try something besides simply reacting angrily to crises, Mayor Lightfoot

Friday, May 20, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sun-Times op-ed a few days ago

First of all, we already have an 11 p.m. curfew for minors, but it is not enforced. Moving it to 10 p.m. does not make much difference unless there is a real commitment to actually enforce it.

Second, the Millennium Park curfew is fraught with risk. It will invite abuse, racial profiling and lead to countless negative encounters between police and people at a time when police-community relations are already strained.

Moreover, young people looking for excitement will simply choose other locations, as we have seen recently with activities at North Avenue Beach and in River North.

Instead of curfews, it’s time to get much more serious about violence prevention. We need more unarmed outreach workers on duty downtown during summer evenings and on weekends. These men and women, many of whom come from “the life,” know how to reach these young people at risk. They’ve been in their shoes. They can talk to them and show them how to stay safe.

We need more alternative activities for these young people, both downtown and in the neighborhoods. We need summer jobs and tax incentives for businesses that hire the formerly incarcerated. We need a massive public education campaign aimed at helping parents keep their kids safe. We need to celebrate what is right about Chicago to balance all of the media coverage about what is wrong about Chicago.

And yes, law enforcement must be part of the solution, but not with the tactics of the past. Instead of riot squads, Chicago needs police who have been specifically trained to deal with young people. There must also be a serious commitment to enforce the curfew we already have. […]

- Rev. Michael Pfleger is pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina. Rev. Otis Moss III is pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ. Rabbi Seth Limmer is Vice President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Rev. Ciera Bates-Chamberlain is executive director of Live Free Illinois. Arne Duncan is founder of Chicago CRED.

* WBEZ

Influential experts on gun violence, youth culture and recreation say the Black and brown teenagers flocking to the park, one of the city’s top tourist destinations, need a safe space to meet peers and experience independence from parents. And they say the city is blowing an opportunity to provide them with entertainment and services that could make a difference in their lives.

“Getting outside of their neighborhoods and taking advantage of all the beauty the city has to offer is something that we actually want them to engage in,” YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago CEO Dorri McWhorter said. “So, how can we support that, versus making it a public nuisance?” […]

McWhorter and others say the city should respond to chaotic youth gatherings in Millennium Park with an outpouring of programming and services involving city entities ranging from the school district to the public health department — a prescription consistent with the mayor’s avowed “whole-of-government approach” to the city’s two-year-old gun violence surge.

According to this view, the city should seize on the convergence of teenagers in that park, even try to draw in more, and start providing them everything from movies to hip-hop performances, from dance lessons to public health outreach about mental trauma and sexually transmitted infections.

“When we have incidents like [the shooting], we need to use them to galvanize more support, more coordination,” said Norman Livingston Kerr, a former assistant deputy mayor for public safety under Lightfoot. “We have to be thinking now about what young people need.”

Kerr said the strategy should include flooding the park and surrounding blocks with trained anti-violence workers along with cops.

But he said their goal should not be pushing teenagers back to their neighborhoods, many of which are unsafe.

“They’re getting shot at late-night hours,” Kerr said.

“I’m sure they feel safer downtown, many of them, because you see more cops,” Kerr said. “It’s not a bad place to be.”

* The Sun-Times op-ed authors were right about how kids would go somewhere else if they’re banned from the park

Two people were killed and eight people were wounded in a mass shooting late Thursday blocks from Michigan Avenue amid a continuing surge in violence downtown.

One person was in custody in connection with the incident, which started as a fight among a group of teens around 10:30 p.m. near the Chicago Avenue station on the CTA Red Line outside a McDonald’s restaurant, officials said. A gun was recovered, according to a statement from the Chicago Police Department. […]

The violence erupted on the first night that everyone younger than 18 was banned from Millennium Park by Lightfoot

* Massive failure by the city’s mayor…


* She talks like she’s running for mayor instead of, you know, actually occupying the city’s highest post

“Area residents, commuters, and others simply must have the peace of mind that this highly trafficked area is safe, and it is time for more specific, concrete steps to be taken to address this area once and for all,” Lightfoot said.

Yeah. Try following through on your campaign promises about policing alternatives and holding up your end when it comes to commitments to police staffing in hotspots. Sheesh.

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Friday, May 20, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* TGIF.

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