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Afternoon roundup

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) and State Representative Kelly M. Cassidy (D-Chicago) issued the following joint statement after Target announced it would be removing certain Pride merchandise after employees claimed the items threatened their sense of safety following customer interactions:

“Target has sold and marketed Pride products for years, no doubt profiting well from their efforts. To pull these very products from their shelves in response to acts of bigotry, violence, and threats against the LGBTQ+ community is an act of cowardice. As the General Assembly’s only two openly LGBTQ+ legislators, we refuse to sit idly by as one of the country’s largest retailers fails to stand in solidarity for our rights.

“One of our country’s largest big-box retailers, Target, has removed certain Pride Month products from its shelves and moved others to the back of its stores citing threats, vandalism and unsafe workplace conditions due to confrontation and backlash from patrons.

“Target had an opportunity to stand in support with the LGBTQ+ community and denounce bigotry within its stores. By moving merchandise marketed to LGBTQ+ communities to the margins of their stores, it sends the wrong message to our communities and to those who are pushing hate and violence in oppressing the rights and visibility of the LGBTQ+ community.

“We will not be moved to the back of the store. We will not be hidden in the shadows. We will not be intimidated by those who threaten violence or by those who cannot accept this simple truth — all humans are equal. To our LGBTQ+ communities - as we enter into the month of June, hold your head high, be proud of who you are, and know that we have your back.”

* Orr refused to divulge the identity of this person when I followed up…

Good Government Illinois posts statement from David Orr on process for replacing Brandon Johnson on the County Board:

“Several West Side community leaders with long records of engagement and accomplishment are applying to replace Mayor Brandon Johnson on the Cook County Board. But we’re hearing rumors that a typical insider deal is being cut.

“It goes something like this: a clouted state rep who’s tired of traveling to Springfield gets the County Board seat, and politicians get to play another round of musical chairs, appointing his replacement — avoiding having voters choose their own representative.

“If enough people speak up, this deal could be quashed. Politics in this era of progressive change should be different. We’re all tired of backroom deals.”

* I think I understand his general gist, but it’s not like he hasn’t been able to introduce a drone bill of his own in the past, and the city has its own drone rules

[Rep. Curtis Tarver, D-Chicago] also noted that it took a mass shooting in a predominantly white suburb to get lawmakers moving on drones.

“We have mass shootings unfortunately in the city of Chicago very, very often. And nobody here had the political fortitude or concern for people of color to bring a bill that related to drones in some other way to monitor these events,” Tarver said. “So, it’s frustrating.”

Tarver was on the short end of an 84-7 vote in the House.

Also, legislators did propose drone bills in the past. Former Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago) was one of them.

* ABC News

The landscape of abortion rights has shifted dramatically in the 11 months since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending federal protections for abortion rights.

The decision left it up to states to decide how to regulate abortion services.

States in the West and Northeast have since taken steps to expand and protect abortion rights, while states across the South, Great Plains and Midwest have moved to ban or restrict abortion care.

Fifteen states have ceased nearly all abortion services.



The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that a public hearing will be held Tuesday, June 13, on a proposed project to add lanes on Interstate 55 and Interstate 72 around Springfield. The estimated $802 million cost of the project includes reconstructing several interchanges.

The purpose of the hearing is to present the preferred design for the improvements and obtain feedback. The public is invited to review project plans, view exhibits, watch a video, and discuss with IDOT staff and consultants. All interested parties are encouraged to attend:

Tuesday, June 13
4-7 p.m.
Northfield Inn Suites and Conference Center
3280 Northfield Drive, Springfield, Ill.

Funding was approved through Gov. JB Pritzker’s historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program for $150 million for the project’s first phase, which consists of adding capacity and making other improvements to I-55 from just north of Sangamon Avenue to the Williamsville weigh station. The improvements will connect to the wider I-55 north of Springfield, resulting in three lanes in each direction to Lincoln. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2024, starting with the bridges over the Sangamon River. A timeline for the project will be finalized in the coming months.

The remaining phases, estimated to cost more than $650 million, involve continuing with the third lane in each direction of I-55 and I-72 from just north of Sangamon Avenue to Veterans Parkway (Illinois 4), as well as reconstructing interchanges with Sixth Street/I-72, Stevenson Drive, South Grand Avenue, Clear Lake Avenue/I-72 and Sangamon Avenue. Additional work will occur on I-55 to Toronto Road to accommodate reconstruction of the Sixth Street/I-72 interchange. Funding for construction has not been identified.

“Improving I-55 and I-72 around Springfield will enhance safety, increase reliability and ease congestion,” said IDOT Region 4 Engineer Jeff Myers. “A lot of consideration and public input has gone into the design of this project. I encourage anyone interested in learning more about the future of Springfield to attend.”

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * WTTW | Bill Designed to Revamp Property Tax Sale System That Fueled ‘Urban Decay’ Headed to Governor’s Desk: Pritzker is expected to sign the bill, which was prompted by “Maps of Inequality: From Redlining to Urban Decay and the Black Exodus,” a study Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ office released in July. The study was part of a concerted effort by her office to revamp the system designed to return distressed properties saddled with mountains of tax debt to productive use.

    * NBC Chicago | At Least Five Chicago Mail Carriers Are Victims of Crime Each Week in Chicago, New Data Reveals: In fact, Chicago Police Department data shows a 40% increase in crimes against postal workers, from 2021 when there were 186 reported crimes, to 261 crimes reported in 2022. (NBC 5 only counted crimes where the victim listed USPS as their occupation, meaning these numbers may be an undercount.)

    * Illinois Answers Project | CPS Faces Dwindling Enrollment, Empty Buildings, Soaring Deficits Decade After Mass Closure Of Schools: In the decade since the closures, which left dozens of empty schools throughout the city, CPS has about 81,000 fewer students and has dropped from the third largest district in the nation to the fourth, as the city continues to lose Black residents. CPS data from the 2022-2023 school year shows 61 school buildings have an occupancy rate of 30 percent or less, compared to the 17 buildings that fell into the same category when Mayor Rahm Emanuel approved the largest mass school closure in modern American history.

    * WCMY | Republican state representatives vote no on 2024 Illinois State Budget: St. Rep. Jed Davis of Yorkville says he’s not surprised with the unbalanced budget that appropriates money to Democrat pet projects instead of making sound investments in Illinois. St. Rep. Jason Bunting of Emington says he’s disappointed with the process because Republican voices aren’t being heard during budget talks.

    * The Crusader | Speed camera near DuSable Museum nets highest revenue for city at $6.4M: A breakdown of tickets from the Washington Park speed camera also revealed the device generated the highest number of tickets and revenue from drivers going between 6 to 10 miles per hour, a $35 fine. According to the ABC7 Chicago investigation, the Washington Park speed camera has given 135,131 tickets for a total of $4,720,031. About 16,590 tickets totaling $1,654,850 were given to drivers going over 11 mph, a $100 fine. That places the Washington Park speed camera as the fifth highest device that gave out tickets to drivers going 11 mph over the speed limit.

    * Daily Herald | The end is near: Demolition crews arrive at Arlington Park: The demolition is expected to cost the Bears $3.8 million, but could lead to property tax savings for the team, which closed on its $197.2 million purchase of the old racetrack in February.

    * Rockford Register Star | Rockford mayor: Illinois ’stole’ $123M from the city, and he wants it back: Mayor Tom McNamara renewed his call for Illinois to return what he called “stolen” income tax dollars to the people of Rockford. Under a 1969 agreement, 10 percent of residents’ income taxes was to return to the municipalities in which they lived, McNamara said. That changed in 2011 when the state began cutting back on how much income tax dollars paid by residents was returned to their home cities as part of what is called the Local Government Distributive Fund.

    * Treasurer Mike Frerichs | ‘Though my new home will be in Chicago, my heart always will be downstate’: When we learned about the twins, it became clear that we could not continue to shuttle back and forth with two babies in tow. We wanted to consolidate in Champaign, but doing that and maintaining her career as a successful corporate executive was not an option. It is unfortunate that Jim Dey mocks me for making this decision to support my wife and our family (“New digs for a growing family,” May 20). I do not believe he has made any effort to understand our personal situation, and it feels as though he wants to Make America Great Again by reverting to a time when women were expected to sacrifice their careers for their husbands. I’m sorry, Jim, I don’t share your worldview.

    * Crain’s | Durbin turns up heat in ethics probe over gifts to Justice Thomas: And, in a letter sent over the Memorial Day weekend, Durbin, pressed on a second front, writing not only to Thomas benefactor Harlan Crow but asking for data from corporate entities controlled by Crow that own his private jet, yacht and resort.

    * NPR | Miller says she will vote against debt limit deal: “I will vote NO on increasing the debt on our children and grandchildren by $4 trillion because this deal does not contain anywhere near the CUTS and policy changes we need in order to stop Joe Biden’s war on the American people. This deal does not repeal Biden’s “Green Bad Deal” attack on American energy or reinstate the Trump Administration energy independence policies we passed in the Limit, Save, Grow Act,” Miller said in a statement released to media.

    * Sun-Times | Mom creates garden where son was shot, hoping people will remember him, maybe help solve his killing: D’Vignon said hardly anyone noticed when her 24-year-old son, Nicolaus Cooper, a father of three, was killed in March. Now, she and her family hope that, in death, people will know him — and perhaps help solve his killing. “A lot of people are afraid to speak,” D’Vignon said. “We just want justice for him. And we just want his name to be remembered.”

    * Daily Herald | Elgin’s first LGBTQ+ Pride Parade and Festival Saturday: The parade will begin and end near Festival Park at 11 a.m., heading north up Riverside Drive and back south down Grove Avenue.

    * AP | LGBTQ+ activists call for new strategies to promote equality after Target backlash: “We need a strategy on how to deal with corporations that are experiencing enormous pressure to throw LGBTQ people under the bus,” said California state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, a member of the LGBTQ legislative caucus. “We need to send a clear message to corporate America that if you’re our ally — if you are truly our ally — you need to be our ally, not just when it’s easy but also when it’s hard,” he said.

    * Sun-Times | Merchandise Mart adjusts with the times but stays regal on the river: About a decade ago, Chicago’s Merchandise Mart became hip. It was great for the Art Deco-style property that’s one of the most familiar buildings among the city’s architectural royalty, but it wasn’t enough. There was still a matter of space that wasn’t used well and a design that could seem off-putting to casual visitors and some tenants. The building’s owner, Vornado Realty Trust, first worked to fix that in 2016 by investing $40 million toward changes that included a broad staircase that connects to the lobby.

    * Sun-Times | White Sox’ Liam Hendriks makes first appearance of season after bout with cancer: Forty-five days after his last chemotherapy treatment for stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hendriks donned a black “Southside” uniform, received a pregame kiss behind home plate from wife Kristi and became a member of the White Sox again.


  1. - Mayor for a Week - Tuesday, May 30, 23 @ 3:00 pm:

    David Orr doesn’t seem to understand the process… or he does and he is intentionally misleading people into thinking that something nefarious is going on.

    The real question to ask is why is David Orr interjecting himself in this process when there have been numerous other appointments made for the City Council, County Board and the General Assembly to which he has not spoken up? He doesn’t live in any of the communities represented by Mayor Johnson’s old Board district so it seems as though he is trying to do someone else’s bidding.

    === Orr refused to divulge the identity of this person when I followed up ===

    Not surprising. Orr frequently talks about transparency, but when the opportunity to inform the public presents itself, he keeps people in the dark.

    Also for what its worth, David Orr claims to have founded Good Government Illinois - the same entity that published his statement.

  2. - Homebody - Tuesday, May 30, 23 @ 3:03 pm:

    The old saying in Chicago is every map of Chicago is the same map. I feel the same way about every color coded map of US states. It is always a map of states I do or don’t want to live in.

  3. - Asking for a Friend - Tuesday, May 30, 23 @ 3:05 pm:

    Is Orr’s group going to look into who was Sam Bankman Fried’s bagman when the crypto IE money was flowing last summer, or is the outrage just selective enough?

  4. - DuPage - Tuesday, May 30, 23 @ 3:22 pm:

    Is the $802 million cost of the I-55/I-72 the cost to the state or total cost including federal funds?

  5. - cover - Tuesday, May 30, 23 @ 3:41 pm:

    For the I-55/I-72 widening project, can IDOT please make an isolated exit/entrance lane from Clear Lake to South Grand? This would significantly reduce the risk of crashes at these cloverleaf interchanges, a serious issue with the volume of traffic entering I-55 southbound from I-72. IDOT should consider doing this at the I-72/Sixth St. cloverleaf interchange as well.

    Also, is there sufficient traffic to justify a third lane on I-72 between Sixth and Veterans?

  6. - H-W - Tuesday, May 30, 23 @ 3:56 pm:

    Well said, Sen. Simmons and Rep. Cassidy.

    Anyone who is afraid to drink Bud Light or to shop at Target, fearing they might be considered Gay, is a troglodyte.

  7. - historic66 - Tuesday, May 30, 23 @ 4:09 pm:

    ===Also, is there sufficient traffic to justify a third lane on I-72 between Sixth and Veterans?===

    I would say yes. I often am one of many vehicles getting on 72 west from 55 but then jumping off at Veterans.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 30, 23 @ 4:17 pm:

    You vote against the budget and the funding of the budget…

    … Do NOT show up for anything funded or appropriated by that budget.

    My hope is Dems will shame those who were Red now wanna be in pictures and write releases about “successes”

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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