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Morning stuff

Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* A quick roundup to start your day…

    * Pritzker’s ex-tollway chairman accused in lawsuit of trying to steer contracts, hire pals at agency: Not long after taking office in 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation that restructured the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, promising “transparency and accountability” and declaring: “Our new leadership will uphold the highest ethical standards, deliver the value to taxpayers and serve Illinoisans in every corner of our state.”A new lawsuit filed by two former high-ranking tollway officials paints a different picture of the state agency under Pritzker’s chosen team, accusing now-former board chairman Will Evans of trying to steer contracts to favored firms and engaging in patronage hiring.

    * House candidates in south, southwest suburbs differ on benefits, drawbacks of SAFE-T law: Several candidates responded to questions about the law sent by the Daily Southtown. Not all candidates returned completed questionnaires. Republican candidate Patricia Bonk said the law in its current form “makes law enforcement less effective and jeopardizes our safety.” Democrat Fran Hurley, whose 35th District is home to many Chicago police officers, said she voted against the legislation. She said she had spoken with officials throughout law enforcement who raised concerns.

    * Tom Cullen, longtime brain in Madigan political operation, provided testimony for feds: Now, the Tribune has learned that Cullen, a lobbyist who played political point man for years on Madigan’s government staff, has testified before the ongoing federal grand jury looking into broad aspects of Madigan’s political world, which prosecutors allege included a criminal enterprise aimed at providing personal financial rewards for Madigan and his associates. Any details Cullen offered in his testimony about Madigan and his former associates are still secret, but the blanks he could have filled in as part of Madigan’s famously tight inner circle are manifold.

    * After a tumultuous first term, Gov. J.B. Pritzker spends big and plays it safe in reelection bid: The governor is all but assured to lose the Nov. 8 balloting in surrounding Franklin County. In the June Democratic primary, he garnered just 777 votes, compared with the 3,230 ballots cast for the Republican primary winner, conservative southern Illinois state Sen. Darren Bailey. No Democratic candidate for governor has won the county in the general election since Rod Blagojevich in 2006, a trend that holds across much of southern Illinois. But as he seeks a second term, Pritzker, who’s spent much of his adult life nursing political ambitions, is casting a wide net for support, an effort aided by a personal fortune that can underwrite months’ worth of TV ads and a robust campaign operation.

    * What drives Pritzker, Bailey on transportation issues?: Transportation has taken a back seat in the gubernatorial election to hot-button topics like abortion and crime. Not in this column, however. If elected, Bailey would consider tolled lanes that run parallel to untolled roads to “create new transportation options and help pay for the maintenance of existing roads. There were previous proposals to create dynamic-priced lanes that would run parallel to I-55 going southwest from Chicago,” he said in answering questions from the Daily Herald. […] Pritzker is promising more capital improvements with the $45 billion Rebuild Illinois program, funded by raising gas taxes and other fees in 2019.

    * Right-wing “zombie” papers attack Illinois Democrats ahead of elections: That erosion of local news has created an opening for these newer publications, which lie dormant and then spring up at election time. They look a lot like hometown newspapers — nothing flashy, just long, printed broadsheet pages, with color photos and graphics — but without any real interest in local news.

    * Highland Park parade shooting suspect returning to court Tuesday for pretrial hearing: The man accused of killing seven people at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade is due back in court Tuesday, his first appearance there since he was indicted on more than 100 felony counts. Robert Crimo, 22, of Highland Park, is scheduled to appear in Lake County Court in front of Judge Victoria Rossetti. Crimo’s case is scheduled for case management, which is often a routine appearance intended to ensure that evidence is being shared and attorneys are working through any pretrial issues.

    * Court Ruling Opens Crucial State Supreme Court Races to Fundraising Free-for-All: When a federal court threw out two Illinois laws that barred both out-of-state contributions to judicial races, and donations from groups that don’t disclose their donors, the chief legislative sponsor of the laws wasn’t particularly surprised. “I was disappointed but not exactly shocked,” Illinois Senate President Don Harmon told Center for Illinois Politics. “The U.S. Supreme Court with its Citizens United decision really threw the doors wide open into the Wild West of campaign finance.”

    * Six candidates from three parties fighting for two offices voters know little about — but probably should: Illinois is on a path of financial recovery. Or is it hurtling downward in a fiscal free fall? Depends on whom you ask: the Democrats seeking to maintain their long hold on the state comptroller’s and treasurer’s offices — or the Republicans looking to replace them. In a little over a week, voters will get to decide which narrative they believe — and who sits in the two relatively obscure fiscal offices.

    * Incumbent Kifowit faces challenge from West in 84th Illinois House District: Kifowit said the state’s prospects are brighter with new legislative leadership in Springfield and a balanced budget that is resulting in credit-rating upgrades for the state. The incumbent likes to point out that she was the first to challenge former Speaker Michael Madigan, leading other lawmakers to denounce Madigan and paving the way for a new speaker.

    * Rockford man challenges Stadelman’s bid for 4th term in Senate: Stadelman, 61, is a former TV news anchor first elected to the state senate representing the Rockford region in 2012. He supported legislation that expanded gaming in Illinois and gave Rockford a casino license, a bill that incentivizes the growth of the electric vehicle and battery manufacturing industry in Illinois and secured $275 million to restore passenger rail service in Rockford. He also supported legislation that provided River’s Edge redevelopment funding that was instrumental in the redevelopment of properties in downtown Rockford. But Reyes, 50, says Stadelman “skipped the vote” on the controversial SAFE-T Act, the criminal justice reform bill that made body cameras mandatory for police, standardizes use-of-force training and seeks to end the cash bail system in Illinois.

    * Newcomers from Bloomington, Normal face in 91st Illinois House District: A newly drawn district is giving two newcomers a chance for a statehouse seat this November. Democrat Sharon Chung and Republican Scott Preston each secured commanding leads in their respective primary races. To win the new 91st District of the Illinois House, however, they’ve had to reach outside their home base.

More to come!


  1. - Gravitas - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 9:41 am:

    I have received four Democratic mailers warning about the fake newspapers. To date, no such papers have ever been mailed or delivered.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 9:49 am:

    ===To date, no such papers have ever been mailed or delivered.===

    … and yet they exist “so much” that the Daily Herald had to reverse course of merely printing them.

  3. - Techie - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 9:52 am:


    Funny, I’ve received at least 2 of these pieces of propaganda masquerading as newspapers, but no mailers from Democrats warning of them.

  4. - Blitz - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 9:55 am:

    I have experienced the same as Techie. I also received a text yesterday with my address (which was correct) stating records show I haven’t voted yet (which is also correct) and providing an address for voting which is neither my early voting location nor my election day location. I live in Crestwood; my mother lives in Rockford and got the same.

  5. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 9:58 am:

    To the Cullen thing: That’s big. You can spend a career not using your own phone, but to do anything you still have to talk to people. And they can talk about you.

  6. - Hot Taeks - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 10:03 am:

    Please do the responsible thing and recycle these fake newspapers when you get them. That’s what I did when I got a copy mailed to me about 2 weeks ago.

  7. - Old time Independent - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 10:03 am:

    The tollway fiasco should have never happened. If Pritzkers office had did any research on Will Evans they would have known how bad he mismanaged peoples gas and how bad he left it when he was forced out.

  8. - Huh? - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 10:04 am:

    I get a kick out of the anti amendment 1 signs that claim the amendment will raise property taxes. Am trying to figure out how a star bucks or amazon unionized shop will raise property taxes.

  9. - low level - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 10:27 am:

    Cullen is a good guy. He’ll pull through.

    What I still dont get is why Acevedo? Why him? Lots of ex legislators were trying to be lobsters. Then he says $2,500/month isnt enough and he never does the report
    He could have written anything really.

  10. - SIUEalum - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 10:48 am:

    I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t received any of Proft’s pink slime newspapers. I was heartened to see a lot of them in the recycling drop off near my house.

  11. - West Sider - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 10:53 am:

    ===To date, no such papers have ever been mailed or delivered.===
    Lucky you. I’ve had a half dozen- which should tell you a lot about the targeting.

  12. - stateandlake - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 11:21 am:

    I got my first and only phony Lake County “newspaper” about 10 days ago. No Democratic mailings warning of them.

    However, last election cycle I went to our local Metra station and found a pile of them in one of the free newspaper dispensary boxes. Might be time to go check again.

  13. - Paddyrollingstone - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 12:42 pm:

    I think I received one “newspaper” but also did receive robo call from Charles Thomas. Considering that my family has only ever taken Democratic ballots, I am assuming that Charles is either (1) mixed up; or (2) calling everyone with a landline.

  14. - Lincoln Lad - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 12:56 pm:

    Pretty funny that two people hired into the Tollway from the CHA, paid nearly $200K (more than most agency directors) - are now accusing the former Chair of favoritism in hiring. I guess the CHA was the only place with qualified people as they were two of 10(?) hired from the CHA. Funny stuff…

  15. - G'Kar - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 1:20 pm:

    ===To date, no such papers have ever been mailed or delivered.===

    I received my third issue of the “Peoria Standard” in the mail today. This week is the “Special Sex Education Edition” with headlines like: “No more boys and girls? Pritzker family leads push to replace `myth’ of biology.” And “Naperville 3rd grade teacher instructs boys how to act as girls”.

  16. - low level - Monday, Oct 31, 22 @ 1:23 pm:

    Why are Republicans so obsessed with sex? They have nothing better?

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