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Afternoon roundup

Thursday, May 25, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

…Adding… Crain’s

Lawmakers also wobbled some on a measure designed to nullify former Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s last-second appointment of top aide Samir Mayekar to the board of the agency that runs McCormick Place, initially rejecting one version, floating a compromise and now talking about both versions. […]

On Lightfoot ex-aide Samir Mayekar, a motion to undo her appointment of him to the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority board was abruptly pulled off the House floor Wednesday evening after advocates headed by the Chicago Federation of Labor concluded it lacked the votes to pass.

A compromise of sorts then was offered, one that would allow anyone appointed by a mayor at the end of their term to serve, but only for six months, after which the new mayor would get to fill the slot.

All sides were declining comment while talks and vote-counting continued.


The unemployment rate increased in six metropolitan areas, decreased in five, and was unchanged in three for the year ending April 2023, according to data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (DES). Over-the-year, total nonfarm jobs increased in thirteen metropolitan areas and was unchanged in one. […]

The metro areas which had the largest over-the-year percentage increases in total nonfarm jobs were the Champaign-Urbana MSA (+2.7%, +3,200), the Peoria MSA (+2.4%, +4,100), and the Elgin Metro (+2.4%, +6,200). Total nonfarm jobs in the Chicago Metro Division were up +1.6% or +59,800. The Carbondale-Marion MSA saw no change in total nonfarm jobs. Industries that saw job growth in a majority of metro areas included: Education and Health Services (thirteen areas); Leisure and Hospitality, Other Services and Government (twelve areas each); Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade and Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities (nine areas each); and Mining and Construction (eight areas).

The metro areas with the largest unemployment rate increases were the Lake-Kenosha County IL-WI Metro (+0.3 point to 4.3%), followed by the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island IA-IL MSA (+0.2 point to 3.5%), the Kankakee MSA (+0.2 point to 5.4%) and the Rockford MSA (+0.2 point to 6.2%). The metro areas with the largest unemployment rate decreases were the Chicago Metro Division (-1.1 percentage points to 3.2%), a record low unemployment rate for the month of April, followed by the Springfield MSA (-0.4 point to 3.7%) and the Carbondale-Marion MSA (-0.2 point to 3.9%). The unemployment rate was unchanged in the Bloomington MSA (3.4%), the Champaign-Urbana MSA (3.6%) and the Peoria MSA (4.5%).

* Chicago mayor…

Mayor Brandon Johnson on Thursday announced a comprehensive public safety and engagement plan for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, including a $2.5 million investment from the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities’ 8th annual Chicago Fund. The public-private partnership investment will support violence prevention and youth outreach efforts across the city by funding the work of 253 grassroots organizations working across 24 communities on the South and West sides, beginning with engaging young people in activities during Memorial Day weekend and during the gap between the end of the school year and the beginning of Chicago Park District programming. The funding will also support youth programming efforts during the summer and fall.

More info here.

* Also from the city…

With many festivals, concerts, athletic events, the opening of beaches and simultaneous events throughout the city and along the lakefront this Memorial Day weekend, the City of Chicago is advising residents and visitors to be aware of street closures, additional crowds, increased traffic and to plan accordingly. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is reminding residents and visitors of security measures in place and stresses the importance of always being aware of your surroundings and to report suspicious activity to on-site event security or by calling 9-1-1.

The City of Chicago will have citywide deployments for Memorial Day Weekend to ensure the safety and security of the public. The OEMC will monitor weekend events and weather conditions citywide from the Operations Center and coordinate public safety resources with critical stakeholders.

Earlier this month, OEMC and the Chicago Police Department activated the Summer Operations Center. The OEMC will also be activating its Emergency Operations Center for the weekend to allow for enhanced citywide coordination amongst the Chicago Police Department; Chicago Fire Department; and City of Chicago infrastructure departments, city agencies, and private partners.

To supplement resources already within police districts, CPD will increase its presence across the city and on the lakefront this summer to maintain public safety in areas of large-scale events, gatherings, and car caravans. In addition to these precision deployments, the Bureau of Patrol has also held numerous tabletop exercises and drills to ensure appropriate police response to active situations. CPD is also working closely with community organizations and leaders to provide safe spaces for youth and families to enjoy the city.

* Champaign County GOP

Join the Champaign County Republican Party for our Annual Lincoln Day Dinner!

Join us for a fun evening of cocktails, dinner, conversation with fellow Republicans, and hear remarks from party and elected officials as well as our keynote speaker, Brandon Straka of the #WalkAway Campaign.


Brandon Straka, a self-described “former liberal” who founded the #WalkAway campaign to encourage people to leave the Democratic Party, admitted to recording himself telling the mob to “go go go” as they reached the Capitol and telling rioters who were wrestling a shield away from a US Capitol Police officer to “take it, take it.”

He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct on Capitol in October. Straka will have to pay a $5,000 fine, the maximum fine allowed, and an additional $500 for the damage done to the Capitol building by the mob.

Come celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s legacy and meet an insurrectionist!

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * Sun-Times | Judge says he won’t toss portions of perjury indictment against Madigan’s ex-chief of staff: Mapes has pleaded not guilty. And last spring, his attorneys argued that portions of his perjury indictment should be tossed because the questions he fielded in front of the grand jury were ambiguous. They also said some of his allegedly false answers were “literally true.” During a brief hearing in the case Wednesday, U.S. District Judge John Kness told lawyers he intended to deny that request. The judge also said he planned to release a written ruling later Wednesday or Thursday.

    * Illinois Newsroom | Statewide task force aims to decrease barriers for immigrants in Illinois: These are a few of the recommendations in a new report by the Illinois Immigrant Impact Task Force, a group created by the General Assembly in 2021 to help immigrant communities. Ruth Lopez McCarthy is a senior immigration fellow at the Illinois Department of Human Services and is working with the task force.

    * Center Square | Illinois pork producers brace for impact from U.S. Supreme Court ruling: Pork producers in Illinois and across the U.S. are scrambling after the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled against them. In a 5-4 decision announced earlier this month, the Supreme Court majority voted to dismiss the pork producers’ challenge to Proposition 12, a California law that requires pork producers to give gestating sows 24 feet of space, rather than confining them in crates for their protection. Chad Leman, a third generation hog farmer and president of the Illinois Pork Producers, said his members are “deeply disappointed” in the ruling. “We know what is best for the animals. We certainly know more than the activists or the politicians do,” Leman told The Center Square.

    * Michael Sneed | Michael Pfleger wants houses of worship to provide youth programs or lose tax exemption: “Although Mayor [Brandon] Johnson’s public safety team is still in the discussion phase, I plan to propose the removal of the tax exemption status given to thousands of churches, synagogues and mosques citywide if they don’t provide a full load of activities for young people, especially on weekends,” he said … noting some blocks on the south and west sides have many churches.

    * SJ-R | Survivors network wants bishop to ‘come clean’; diocese says ‘pertinent details’ addressed: David Clohessy, the former national director of SNAP from St. Louis and a clerical abuse survivor, also urged Paprocki to post the names of at least nine alleged child-molesting clerics who are missing from the Springfield diocese’s predator list.

    * The Telegraph | Freightway announces transportation priorities: The list included recently-completed projects — such as the $222 million reconstruction of the Merchant’s Bridge and replacement of the Union Pacific’s Lenox Tower in Mitchell — as well as ongoing projects that include $1.3 billion in improvements slated for Interstate 270 from Illinois 143 to I-70 in Missouri. New projects include improvements to the MacArthur Bridge, the other major rail bridge spanning the Mississippi in St. Louis, and a major expansion of railyard operations in the Metro East.

    * Tribune | Cook County judge dismisses city’s lawsuit against Gary gun shop: The city filed the lawsuit against Westforth Sports, located in Gary, Ind., in April 2021, alleging the shop repeatedly violated federal gun laws, often resulting in criminal charges against straw purchasers. The city further alleged that the shop’s owner, Earl Westforth, ignored warnings from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about suspicious purchases at the store.

    * Crain’s | Amazon drops plans to open warehouses in Bridgeport, Addison: But Amazon went too far, adding more space than it needed. Over the past year the company has been cutting jobs, closing existing warehouses and postponing plans to open new ones. In 2022, Amazon closed small distribution centers in Elgin and Mundelein and scrapped plans for new facilities in Hoffman Estates and Crystal Lake. Earlier this year, Amazon postponed the opening of a new warehouse in West Humboldt Park that would have employed as many as 500 people.

    * WICS | New audio recordings from ISP shows first responders responding to I-55 crash: ISP sent us 15 audio recordings. They include phone calls made by the police to first responders on the scene, towing companies, and calls from concerned family members about loved ones potentially involved in the crash.

    * Daily Herald | Struggle for control leads to past due bills: DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek has come under fire for unpaid bills totaling $180,520. … County board members expressed concern over the precedent Kaczmarek could set for other countywide elected officials and what the clerk’s actions could mean for the county’s financial ratings. Others suggested action against the clerk, such as official misconduct charges or misdemeanor charges for exceeding line item limitations, could be filed against Kaczmarek or others in her office.

    * ABC Chicago | Man seriously injured in Belvidere roof collapse during tornado sues Apollo Theatre owners: Lawyers for Rojas said the owners of the theater ignored severe weather warnings, allowing the concert to go on. The lawsuit also claims the theatre’s roof was not adequately maintained.

    * WAND | Multi-million dollar renovations happening at Illinois State Fairgrounds: Construction is underway to restore and renovate the Multi-Purpose Arena (MPA). The $8.6 million project will repair sidewalks, walls, steps, and expansion joints, while also repairing electrical systems, readjusting the tension structure, installing a new canopy, and rebuilding the retaining walls around the facility.

    * Sun-Times | Marge Summit, gay rights activist and bar owner who welcomed everyone, dies at 87: During the AIDS epidemic, when some businesses shunned handling money from gay customers, Summit began stamping the money that came through His n’ Hers — her little tavern under the L tracks by the ballpark — so every bill had a stamp reading “GAY $” on it.

    * Crain’s | Judge orders Chinese investor to surrender Loop office tower: In a ruling meant to help resolve an unpaid $185 million judgment against HNA International as the China-based firm works through bankruptcy, Judge John Koeltl ordered HNA to turn over its interest in the Chicago property to a venture led by New York-based SL Green, according to Southern District of New York court records.

    * KCTV | Carbondale man arrested in Nevada; accused of stealing backhoe, driving to airport to catch flight : According to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Timothy J. Baggott, of Carbondale, was arrested in Elko County, Nevada on May 21 for charges related to the possession of a stolen vehicle. He was later released. The sheriff’s office said Baggott was arrested again on May 22 in Wells, Nevada for charges related to the possession of an additional stolen vehicle.


  1. - Eyeball - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 2:11 pm:

    I want houses of worship to be mandated reporters for child abuse and neglect and be required to have training as mandated reporters or lose tax exemption.

  2. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 2:14 pm:

    –diocese says ‘pertinent details’ addressed–

    “Yeah, so we knowingly hurt a bunch of children. That’s all in the past, because we say so, and we aren’t going to listen to anything additional you say.”

    This is supposedly a religious organization.

  3. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 2:16 pm:

    “#WalkAway Campaign”

    I don’t think Brandon Straka’s grift on other republicans amounts to a “campaign.”

  4. - H-W - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 2:19 pm:

    ===Michael Pfleger wants houses of worship to provide youth programs or lose tax exemption ===

    Dictating religious organizations must serve the community (and how they must do so) in order to receive tax breaks is not exactly kosher [see: Separation of Church and State].

  5. - Inverted Pyramid - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 2:21 pm:

    Insurrectionist for Champaign GOP.
    Kellyanne Conway for Sangamon GOP.

    Long gone are the days when a pragmatic, governing Republican would be featured at a Lincoln Day Dinner in what were not long ago pragmatic, governing Downstate Republican counties.

  6. - JB13 - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 2:26 pm:

    Jean Kaczmarek doesn’t respect authority and is not abiding by the requirements and duties of her office?

    You don’t say

  7. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 2:34 pm:

    Hey. When you have to catch your flight you have to catch your flight. Why not use a backhoe.

  8. - Squirrel - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 2:36 pm:

    I actually quite like Father Pfleger, and he does some really great community work through his parish. Isn’t the whole point of the tax exemption because the organizations are providing services to the public? Not to say that they should all be required to be youth-oriented, but I think he’s spot on with the requirement.

    Can he come take Paprocki’s spot? Please?

  9. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 2:44 pm:

    –in order to receive tax breaks–

    Except that’s already in the state statute as a requirement in order to receive those tax breaks.

    The property in question must provide charitable services in the use of the property, to receive the full exemption. Partial charitable use, gets a partial exemption.

    There are a LOT of exemptions being given to churches where none should be. For vacant land owned by a diocese in my county, for example. It was on the books like that for years, until ’someone’ started pointing it out. It was magically fixed this year and back on the tax rolls with no exemptions, as required by law.

    I’d highly recommend everyone check their county assessors website if they provide a property search function. Lots of church folks work for the local government already, and things get ‘overlooked’ quite often. Strangely always in favor of the church.

  10. - Amalia - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 2:45 pm:

    kinda more of the same resources and safety plans from Chicago’s Mayor but with one big difference. He led with things that are not police. it was all about activities and happy things. also, a great location for a press conference, a South Side beach. it was upbeat, like him.

  11. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 2:58 pm:

    They’ll give him a standing ovation.

  12. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 3:19 pm:

    Since teens need activities during the summer, suggest a “Learn to Swim” class at the indoor and outdoor pools. The Chicago Park District manages 50 outdoor pools and 27 indoor pools in the city. Many facilities can’t open or are on a limited schedule because there aren’t enough lifeguards to meet demands.

    When the kids were young, we enrolled them in swim classes at the local Y. They learned to swim laps and dive from the board. During the summer,community pools were available so they swam several times a week. Parents can relax a bit when they know that their kids can swim and participate in water sports.

    Yes, it requires a commitment from parents to drive their kids to a facility to learn to swim and keep up with lessons and practices. That’s what it takes.

  13. - Pundent - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 3:32 pm:

    =Yes, it requires a commitment from parents to drive their kids to a facility to learn to swim and keep up with lessons and practices. That’s what it takes.=

    I suspect that many of the parents that you feel should would benefit from your suggestion would love to be able to do just that. Having to work 2 or 3 jobs and/or possibly not owning a car and relying on the CTA might be barriers however.

  14. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 3:33 pm:

    You know Mayor Lightfoot was well-known for her laissez faire management style.

  15. - Dirty Red - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 4:28 pm:

    = Come celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s legacy and meet an insurrectionist! =

    Hey, they gotta do something to keep up with the Sangamon County GOP, which hosted Kellyanne Conway for their Lincoln Day Dinner this year!

  16. - Amalia - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 5:00 pm:

    the late appointment of Samir Mayekar was not good. He’s an affable guy, but on her way out Lightfoot did a variety of things that smack of gotcha, and got mine. he should do the honorable thing and not accept the appointment.

  17. - Too cute by half - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 5:15 pm:

    There was a national story out of Utah about a church that demanded their congregation get vote by mail ballots, and told them that they had to bring them in so they can “make sure everyone voted the right way”.

    Separation of church and state died after several decades of assault from Evangelicals. There is no separation, you have members of other state legislatures openly calling for the removal of non-Christian members.

    Tax any and all churches that engage in political activity.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 6:06 pm:

    The GOP “Lincoln Day” Dinners are a trolling.

    Lincoln would likely not be a Republican of 2023, Grant actually fought the Klan as President and thought Lincoln was generous to a fault to traitors of the United States.

    They aren’t even “Reagan Day” Dinners, as Reagan publicly admonished racism and never chose to publicly be a “both sides” apologist.

    What *has* happened is the ridiculous idea that these folks think they are honoring the idea of Lincoln while not understanding the politics of Lincoln in his own evolution in race, and uniting the country where all are welcome, not forcing an America that is far from welcoming to be the country they desire.

    Embracing insurrectionists is not out of the ordinary, it’s now the standard.

    Since Rauner, I have not identified as these types of Republicans, my own departure was hastened with the Rauner ruining and the Trump rising… where some I greatly respected kowtowed and became nothing what they were.

    Have your Dinners. Your “table” is not welcoming, symbolically and honesty, your tent is closed, let’s hope the shrinking of power and existence continues.

  19. - Oldtimer - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 6:59 pm:

    Generally agree with you view of Ronald Reagan, with one glaring exception. During the 1980 presidential campaign, Reagan gave a speech in Neshoba County Mississippi which included an endorsement of state’s rights. This was seen by many as a blatant dog whistle in the place where three Civil Rights workers were murdered, with law enforcement aid, in the 1960s.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 7:36 pm:

    ===with one glaring exception===

    Lee Atwater and the “Southern Strategy”?

    I’m aware. Understood, bud.


  21. - Dotnonymous x - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:33 pm:

    Stewart Rhodes,
    Take him home,
    To the place
    He belongs,
    MAGA Mama,
    Take him home,
    Steward Rhodes

  22. - Lynn S. - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 12:37 am:

    The residents of Champaign County to the Champaign County Republican Party:

    You make so proud–not.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Man arrested for threatening Rep. Keicher (Updated)
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* Abbott says he will resume migrant busing to Chicago ahead of DNC
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
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