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Afternoon roundup

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sen. Martwick is well known for starting “discussions.” Sometimes it works out, oftentimes, well, here’s Crain’s

In a phone interview, Sen. Rob Martwick, who represents portions of Chicago’s Northwest Side and adjacent suburbs, said he still believes the state and particularly middle-class families need the income and lower property taxes, respectively, that a graduated income tax would bring, even though voters in 2020 rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to do that by about a 10-point margin. […]

Martwick said he has not yet drafted enabling legislation for a second referendum and that his version likely would be somewhat different that the 2022 proposal, which he sponsored when he was in the Illinois House. The matter could drag on until next year, but Martwick said his hope is to offer a bill as soon as next month and see what support it draws.

“I want to keep the discussion going,” Martwick said. […]

Martwick said he has not discussed his pending new campaign with Pritzker. He did bring it up Senate President Don Harmon, who did not endorse the idea, but said “OK, file the bill.”

* Meanwhile

Left-leaning proponents of taxing the assets held by America’s billionaires have a new target: In lieu of a federal wealth tax, state lawmakers want to tax billionaires where they live, in states like California, Washington and New York.

A group of legislators in statehouses across the country have coordinated to introduce bills simultaneously in seven states later this week, with the same goal of raising taxes on the rich. […]

Sponsors told The Washington Post that they will introduce their bills on Thursday in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York and Washington, and shared the text of their draft bills. […]

In four states — the three that drafted bills with Saez’s involvement, along with Illinois — lawmakers say they will float versions of a tax on wealthy people’s holdings, or so-called “mark-to-market” taxes on their unrealized capital gains.

* Jim Dey looks at the future of Rep. Carol Ammons after she was passed over for a Senate appointment

What’s next on her political radar? Those who follow the political process will be waiting to see if she takes on Faraci in 2024 for their party’s nomination for the 52nd District seat.

Ammons already has filed required campaign committee papers for the Senate race. That shot across the bow was intended to persuade party leaders to appoint her to Sen. Bennett’s post.

But that move — as well as incendiary comments made by both Ammons and their supporters — had a more negative than positive impact on local Democrats.

The only Ammons supporter who has spoken publicly after the Faraci appointment is outgoing Cunningham Township Assessor Wayne Williams.

“While I’m happy for Paul, I stand by my previous comments,” he said. “I expect to be supporting (Carol Ammons) for state Senate.”

* Politico

The Illinois State Board of Elections administers elections, but Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias wants his office to play a bigger role in their outcomes.

His transition committee of 125 people, including former Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, issued a report that calls for ramping up automatic voter registration, launching mail-in-ballot awareness and increasing polling places. The SOS report also calls for modernizing technology, improving driver services facilities and beefing up library enhancements, among other goals. Here’s the full report

* More on that apparent arson at Planned Parenthood in Peoria

According to the Peoria Fire Department, the fire happened around 11:30 p.m. Sunday. Firefighters and paramedics responded around 12:15 a.m., finding flames and smoke coming out of a front window. After putting it out, firefighters searched the building and found no one inside, but a firefighter was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Total damages are estimated at around $150,000.

A neighbor who lives on the street tells 25News she was the one who called the incident in. According to her, an individual pulled up in a car with a maroon door at the corner close to her house. They then took what looked like a lunchbox out of the car and walked down the sidewalk towards the facility. That’s when the witness saw the suspect smash a window in, throw a flaming object inside, and run down the length of the street back to their vehicle, after which they drove away from the scene quickly.

The Fire Department says this isn’t the first incident of its kind at the facility. It marks the latest act of vandalism that Planned Parenthood says is on the rise across the state and country, a trend local lawmakers are also noticing.

* From Davos…

Au contraire, mon gouverneur

Scientists in France have created a way to divert lightning strikes using a weather-controlling super laser.

Researchers with the Polytechnic Institute of Paris guided the strikes from thunderclouds to places where they don’t cause damage. The team says the new technique could save power stations, airports, launchpads, and other buildings from disaster.

Don’t tell Darren Bailey. He could use that laser to zap state budgets. Not sure if he’d need a FOID card, though.

…Adding… Equality Illinois press release…

The state’s LGBTQ+ civil rights organization endorses Mayor Lori Lightfoot for re-election as Chicago’s Mayor. […]

While Equality Illinois unequivocally endorses Mayor Lightfoot, we echo the sentiments of many of our valued partners that the Mayor should accelerate her administration’s response to many of our city’s most daunting challenges, particularly those challenges like health care and housing access which disproportionately impact our city’s BIPOC residents, including LGBTQ+ BIPOC residents. At the top of this list, we hope to see a bolder, more proactive agenda to redress the inequities perpetuated by the current state of policing in the city. The city must more boldly redress the harmful over-policing of Black and Brown communities and more aggressively root out harmful police actors, including those who affiliate with anti-LGBTQ+ organizations. We call on the Mayor to lead a re-envisioning of public safety in our city; one that centers equity in its approach and keeps its residents safe.

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * STL Today | Guns in St. Louis are increasingly semi-automatic — with higher caliber bullets, too: Police in recent years have seen a sharp rise in both semi-automatic guns and higher caliber ammunition in St. Louis — so shooters fire more rounds in a short amount of time, with guns that are more likely to be loaded with bullets that do more damage upon impact. That’s a grim recipe for a city that consistently has one of the highest homicide rates in the nation.

    * Chalkbeat | Departing State Superintendent Carmen Ayala looks back at her tenure, COVID challenges: Just one year after being named superintendent, Ayala found herself standing next to Gov. J.B. Pritzker as he announced the closing of over 3,000 schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. With Ayala at the helm, the State Board of Education quickly responded to the pandemic. Now, with schools reopened, classrooms buzzing with activity, and districts flush with federal dollars to help schools deal with the fallout from the pandemic, Ayala said she feels that “It’s time to rest.”

    * Crain’s | ComEd seeks four-year rate hike totaling $1.5 billion: The numbers are well above the historically high rate hikes ComEd obtained under the 2011 formula-rate law, which permitted the utility to change its delivery rates annually under a formula that essentially removed the ordinary authority the Illinois Commerce Commission has to set utility rates. In 2024 alone, ComEd seeks to hike its delivery rates by $894 million, by far the steepest one-year rate increase ComEd ever has sought. After that, rates would increase by an average of $198 million annually through 2027.

    * WGN | UIC faculty strike after failing to reach agreement with administration: While the union is pushing for pay and support of mental health resources for students, UIC says mental health needs are met holistically, not as part of a single-union contract. In a statement Monday, a spokesperson for the union said they have spent the last three years scrambling to mitigate the effects of the pandemic saying “our whole community, students and faculty are exhausted.”

    * NBC Chicago | ‘Kraken’ COVID Variant, XBB.1.5 Climbing in Midwest, Experts Say More Cases Expected: The variant now makes up 43% of cases in the U.S. and more than 14% of cases in the Midwest, climbing in both metrics from 30.4% and roughly 7% the week prior, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    * Crain’s | The scion of one of Chicago’s richest families is taking on the city’s crime problems: Crown, though, is on the move elsewhere. Since October, he’s been leading a public safety task force established by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. At 69, he may be finally stepping into his father Lester’s civic leadership shoes to take on Chicago’s scourge of gun violence and the city’s regrettable global image as one big crime scene. The issue is more intractable and politically radioactive than even the knotty ones like O’Hare expansion and a new county hospital the elder Crown took on.

    * WBEZ | From state regulations to finding financing, Illinois cannabis craft growers face multiple obstacles: The vast majority of future craft growers in Illinois are facing significant obstacles. It’s been three years since recreational cannabis became legal in Illinois. Out of 88 licenses issued, so far only one facility has opened and only one secured a loan through a state program set up specifically for marijuana businesses. Craft growers are finding it difficult to get financing or outside investments and they’re hamstrung by state regulations. Plus, they only have until March 1 to be ready to operate. Xavier is among those 88 applicants selected by a state lottery for a conditional craft grow license. These licenses were created, in part, as a way to help people get into the cannabis industry who otherwise wouldn’t have the means to do so.

    * NBC Chicago | Zelle Fraud: More People Tricked Into Sending Money Over Popular E-Pay Option: Each year, millions of dollars are stolen from consumers through Zelle in fraudulent transfers, data shows, and victims say getting help or refunds from their banks has been difficult. That could soon be changing, as the Wall Street Journal reports the big banks that own Zelle’s parent company, Early Warning Services, have been meeting and negotiating the standardization of refund procedures, as well as the sharing of liability within the Zelle network.

    * Tribune | Freshwater fish are significantly more contaminated with toxic forever chemicals than saltwater fish and shellfish, analysis shows: Eating just one freshwater fish a year can dramatically increase the amount of toxic forever chemicals coursing through a person’s blood, according to a new study that reflects more than a half century of pollution contaminating the Great Lakes and rivers nationwide. The alarming finding is based on an analysis of hundreds of fish caught by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since 2013. Though the EPA has concluded some of the chemicals are harmful at any level, the agency hasn’t drawn attention to its fish sampling or warned Americans they could be in danger.

    * Tribune | Two south suburban cops stole cash, drugs, extorted drivers: A south suburban police sergeant and a patrol officer under his command are facing federal charges alleging they robbed motorists of cash and drugs during traffic stops and extorted people in exchange for declining to press charges or tow their vehicles. Jarrett Snowden, 34, of Lansing, and Antoine “Bell” Larry, 46, of Bolingbrook, both officers for the small village of Phoenix, were charged in a four-count indictment made public Tuesday with bribery conspiracy, extortion, and attempted extortion.

    * WBEZ | Everybody’s late and everything smells like weed: What nearly 2,000 CTA riders told us: The second-largest transit system in the United States spent 2022 trying to bounce back from a slew of challenges: a pandemic that wiped out ridership in systems across the country, shortages of bus and train operators and a massive culture shift toward remote work. That’s not much solace to John Wilmes, a professor at Roosevelt University who is pursuing a career change so he can work remotely after commuting for 12 years. “It’s been that bad. I can’t rely on it anymore,” he said. “I’ve always been a defender of the Chicago Transit Authority. I’ve always said, ‘Actually, it’s not that bad. It’s actually one of the good things about living here. It’s pretty reliable.’ That’s no longer true. And the city doesn’t seem to care.”

    * Sun-Times | Shoddy investigations of officers tied to Oath Keepers, Proud Boys diminishes CPD’s integrity: If the Chicago Police Department expects residents to assist in their investigations and view its officers as honest and hard-working, it would help if they did a better job weeding out and thoroughly vetting cops who rubbed elbows with extremist right-wing organizations.

    * Herald & Review | The steep plunge in used car prices — what it means, and what’s ahead: Since the start of the pandemic and the resulting disruptions to new car supply chains first sent prices soaring, used car prices posted their largest annual increase on record — up 45% in the 12 months ending in June 2021, according to the Consumer Price Index — before swinging to a 12-month drop of 8.8% in the most recent reading for December.

    * News-Gazette | New abortion clinic to open in west Champaign: Plans for this new clinic have been afoot since at least June, when a fundraiser to help pay for a building purchase was launched on GoFundMe by Dayton, Ohio-based OB-GYN Dr. Keith Reisinger-Kindle and two others listed as fundraising team members, Aeran Trick and James Reisinger-Kindle.

    * Tribune | A new lane in Chicago politics? Movement for more bike infrastructure grows: Rebecca Resman’s biking education group had long focused on teaching kids to safely ride bikes, hosting parent forums, family group rides and bike-to-school days. But then three children were killed in car crashes last June, including 2-year-old Raphael “Rafi” Cardenas atop a mini-scooter in Lincoln Square and 11-year-old Ja’Lon James biking to the store to get milk in Lawndale. The family of 3-year-old Lily Grace Shambrook, who was riding on the back of her mother’s bike in Uptown when she was killed in a semi-truck crash, plans to file a lawsuit Tuesday against the companies and drivers involved with her death, Clifford Law Offices said.

    * WCIA | Champaign organization donates books to Central Illinois prisoners: For almost 20 years, Books To Prisoners has collected books to send to prisons in the area. The non-profit donates more than 6,000 books a year. Program coordinator Rachel Rasmussen said books are a great way to humanize and educate prisoners who don’t have access to reading.

    * Sun-Times | Gay-owned restaurant in Rogers Park targeted in suspected homophobic attack: The owners of R Public House say a hammer-wielding man yelled gay slurs at patrons and broke a glass door Monday evening. ‘We’re not afraid,’ co-owner Sandra Carter says.

    * WSIL | Doughboy Statue Vandalized in Herrin: The Doughboy Statue was recently vandalized in Herrin overnight with paint splattered on the base of the memorial and on the grounds around it.
    Charles Parola, Chairman of the Doughboy Committee, assessed the damage to the sculpture on Monday after hearing about what happened.

    * NYT | How Restaurant Workers Help Pay for Lobbying to Keep Their Wages Low: The National Restaurant Association uses mandatory $15 food-safety classes to turn waiters and cooks into unwitting funders of its battle against minimum wage increases.

    * Sun-Times | Chicagoan awarded high honors from France for work rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral ravaged by fire: Knorowski organized a global virtual fundraising event whose participants included cellist and onetime Paris resident Yo-Yo Ma, actress Glenn Close, filmmaker Ken Burns, journalist Scott Simon and Notre Dame Cathedral organist Olivier Latry. The event raised about $500,000.

    * WGN | Voting underway for 50 finalists in Chicago’s ‘Name a Snowplow’ contest: Last month, Chicago officials announced the contest and encouraged residents to use their “ingenuity and imagination” to create names by Jan. 6. The Department of Streets and Sanitation picked the finalists and voting is open through Jan. 31.

    * Press release | Department on Aging Seeks Nominations for Senior Illinoisan Hall of Fame: “Nominating an older friend, family member or neighbor for the Senior Illinoisan Hall of Fame is a wonderful way to show them the impact of their contributions to your community,” said IDoA Director Paula Basta. “Each year, we enjoy reading the nominations to get to know Illinois’ most outstanding older adults and giving special recognition to four of them.”


  1. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 2:03 pm:

    –Don’t tell Darren Bailey. He could use that laser–

    Ahhh, so that’s why there is a need for this bill to be filed…


  2. - DC - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 2:23 pm:

    –Guns in St. Louis are increasingly semi-automatic–

    I’m sure they’ve always been semi-auto? Gangs aren’t walking around with single shot muskets. It’s just an industry term for “not automatic” - not a machine gun, but not a bolt action or other single loader.

    I feel like we could enact reasonable gun law changes without relying on ignorance and scare terms.

    The current gen of journalists clearly don’t even know what it means; they basically excerpt wikipedia in the article because their readers don’t either. Ah, I see - the article clarifies they mean a 10% decrease in *revolvers*. Which fire just like a semiauto. What a joke of a headline.

  3. - Anon 1:26 - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 2:25 pm:

    I have to wonder, did Dan Profit put Se. Martwick up to this?

  4. - yinn - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 2:25 pm:

    Glad to hear of the latest developments with banks’ refunding for unauthorized transfers using Zelle. About this time last year, I got taken for more than $300 and it was the first I’d heard of Zelle or the payee. My credit union warned it could take up to 120 days to investigate and process the reimbursement and it almost did. Ridiculous.

  5. - filmmaker prof - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 2:30 pm:

    Jim Dey hates Democrats in general and Ammons in particular. Anything he writes about her needs to have that disclaimer attached.

  6. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 2:51 pm:

    the snowplow names for the vote are pretty meh. saw a list of names for snowplows in Scotland and I liked one in particular….Sled Zeppelin.

  7. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 2:54 pm:

    ===the latest act of vandalism===

    Spray painting graffiti is an act of vandalism. Throwing a Molotov cocktail through a window is an act of terrorism.

  8. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 3:02 pm:

    EI could never abandon the first LGBTQ mayor, but that isn’t really a glowing endorsement.

  9. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 3:18 pm:

    “…we echo the sentiments of many of our valued partners that the Mayor should accelerate her administration’s response to many of our city’s most daunting challenges…”

    I’m disappointed with EI for the seemingly automatic support of LGBTQ Democrats, no matter their record.

    “We call on the Mayor to lead a re-envisioning of public safety in our city; one that centers equity in its approach and keeps its residents safe.”

    If they’re not happy with her record, why do they think she’ll be better in the second term?

  10. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 3:31 pm:

    The downplaying of vandalism versus the reality of what the face of terrorism looks like is another example where “two sets of facts” are how we are living in this new era.

    The idea that those willing to give change at a dangerous level of violence while trying to deny rights, that’s not vandalism. It’s never been vandalism.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 3:34 pm:

    Equality Illinois is in a tough spot, as the past Candidate Lightfoot in today’s politics is a better choice than today’s Mayor Lightfoot as she has governed?

    Lightfoot’s constituency, will they come out again and see her as they saw her before?

    These “mea culpa” ads tell a tale already that Lightfoot has let many down.

  12. - We've never had one before - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 3:37 pm:

    >>>>>Not sure if he’d need a FOID card, though.

    Waiting on my LOID.

  13. - New Day - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 3:42 pm:

    In the JB Davos clip, I noticed Senator Synema is wearing an afghan. Must be very cold there.

  14. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 3:48 pm:

    Insider insights into how the super wealthy move money around in this story about California’s Getty family.

  15. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 4:15 pm:

    “A south suburban police sergeant and a patrol officer under his command are facing federal charges alleging they robbed motorists of cash and drugs during traffic stops and extorted people in exchange for declining to press charges or tow their vehicles.”

    Poor people read this and ask… This is news?

  16. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 4:49 pm:

    somebody make sure to tell Martwick to stay away from Lightfoot.

  17. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 5:06 pm:

    If Lightfoot wins and Equality Illinois is disappointed in the next four years, they have no one to blame but themselves.

  18. - H-W - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 5:23 pm:

    I saw the Tribune’s “fish” story twice today.

    I wonder if the solution it to teach people how to cook without scorching pans? I remember when non-stick pans first hit the market. I think it was in the early 1970s or so.

    Before that, people had to learn to cook without burning food. Perhaps that’s the problem - a general inability to cook on lower heats.

    We really do not need non-stick technology. It’s a first world solution that has created a first world problem.

  19. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 10:47 pm:

    Joe Mancin nails it

  20. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Jan 17, 23 @ 11:01 pm:

    This is a fantastic roll up of daily Illinois news

  21. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 18, 23 @ 8:56 am:

    LP, I had to check your IP address to confirm that was you. lol

    Thanks! I’ll pass along to Isabel.

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