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Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This one just dropped today. The Rolling Stones featuring Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder. Sweet Sounds Of Heaven

You can’t have a light without a little shadow

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Pritzker administration vows to temporarily fill spending gaps if federal government shuts down and programs run out of money

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Pritzker spokesperson Alex Gough…

In the likely event that Republicans in Washington cannot get their act together to fix the mess they’ve created, the Pritzker administration is prepared to do whatever is possible to maintain critical state services. If the government shuts down and the federal programs we rely on were to run out of money, the state would temporarily fill in spending gaps. Upon reopening, we would then immediately apply for federal reimbursement for programs that do not have a state/federal funding split.


Bulk goes to Chicago, but Joliet, Elgin, Lake County, others to share in $41.5 million state asylum-seeker grants

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I told you this was coming earlier today. Press release…

Governor JB Pritzker announced today $41.5 million in awards to local governments in the Chicago region that are welcoming asylum seekers. The funds will make it possible for municipalities to provide direct services to migrants who have fled their homes to escape violence and other threats. The funds will be used for shelter and housing support, food, wraparound services, legal support, and health care.

“Illinois is a welcoming state, and we have stepped up to aid asylum seekers who have undertaken a dangerous and trying journey to try and build a better life for themselves and their families,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Although we will still need significant federal support as this crisis continues, these grants will empower local governments to build out services and supports for new arrivals so we can successfully transition them into our state and give them the opportunity to complete their legal immigration process.”

“In Illinois, we recognize the humanity of everyone and reject fearmongering and cruelty toward those seeking asylum,” said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. “Through this funding, our administration is reaffirming our commitment to being a welcoming state because our diversity makes us stronger.”

It has been more than a year since Illinois started to receive buses from Texas governments, transporting migrants from the southern border who are seeking asylum in the United States. Since August 31, 2022, without notice, Illinois has welcomed over 15,000 new arrivals, primarily from Central and South America. To date, the state has contributed $328 million overall to support asylum seekers.  

The Illinois General Assembly and Gov. Pritzker appropriated $42,500,000 from the General Revenue Fund to the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget to provide support to local municipalities for the provision of basic services to new arrivals. To distribute the funds, IDHS is partnering with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC), which provides management oversight in the form of a competitive Notice of Funding Opportunity process. MMC aims to work past geographical boundaries to build collaboration around public policy issues, with a common goal of improving the quality of life for the millions of people who live in the region.

“We were honored to play a role in this process, so that the recipients can receive much needed funding,” said Executive Director of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Neil James. “We understand the importance of providing support services for this vulnerable population.”
Municipalities receiving funding include:

    • City of Chicago: $30.25 million
    Joliet Township:  $8.6 million [Updated]
    • City of Elgin: $1.27 million
    • Lake County: $1 million
    • City of Urbana: $250,000
    • Village of Oak Park: $150,000

“The commitments announced today will strengthen the support provided to asylum seekers in Illinois,” said Grace B. Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services. “We are grateful to every municipality that applied for this funding. Today’s awards demonstrate our commitment to assisting recent arrivals from the southern border with the resources that they need to be successful.”


Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Tribune | Ford workers walk out as UAW expands strike to Chicago Assembly Plant: ‘It’s our time’: The Chicago Ford plant has about 4,600 workers on three shifts making the Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviator and Police Interceptor SUVs, the automaker said Friday. In 2019, Ford spent $1 billion to transform the nearly century-old Torrence Avenue facility, which phased out production of the Taurus sedan to focus on building SUVs.

* SJ-R | Springfield to receive $100,000 in grants for police hiring: Springfield will get $102,523 from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant to aid in the hiring of new Springfield Police Department officers and retention of current police employees. U.S. Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (D-Ill.) of the 13th Congressional District announced the grant recipients Wednesday, with Springfield being one of six cities in her district to receive money. Departments in Champaign, Decatur, Alton, Belleville and Edwardsville also received funding.

* Sun-Times | Teachers will have ‘strong demands’ in contract talks — even with one of their own on other side of bargaining table: With the old contract due to expire next summer, Davis Gates has started “talking turkey” with her members about their priorities for any new deal. They include smaller class sizes; more bilingual support staff to serve the children of asylum seekers; building time into the elementary school day for teachers to collaborate; and more “sustainable community schools.”

* Tribune | What’s the impact on Illinois if the federal government shuts down?: “We are truly heading for the first-ever shutdown about nothing,” said Michael Strain, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank. Strain has started referring to the current GOP House-led impasse as “the ‘Seinfeld’ shutdown,” a reference to the popular sitcom widely known as “a show about nothing.” “The weirdest thing about it is that the Republicans don’t have any demands. What do they want? What is it that they’re going to shut the government down for? We simply don’t know.”

* WaPo | Amid GOP confusion, U.S. braces for ‘first-ever shutdown about nothing’ : House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s last-ditch plan to keep the federal government temporarily open collapsed on Friday as hard-right holdouts rejected the package, making a shutdown almost certain. McCarthy’s right-flank Republicans refused to support the bill despite its steep spending cuts of nearly 30% to many agencies and severe border security provisions, calling it insufficient.

* Daily Herald | DuPage County judge ousted over 2017 gun incident found guilty of aggravated assault: O’Shea, you may recall, has been in trouble with guns before. In 2017, while he was still on the bench, O’Shea was charged with reckless conduct after authorities said he fired a handgun in his Wheaton apartment.

* Crain’s | Walgreens eyes ex-Cigna executive for CEO: Walgreens Boots Alliance is considering former Cigna Group executive Tim Wentworth to be its next chief executive officer, according to people familiar with the matter. A final decision hasn’t been made and Wentworth may not wind up in the job, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private information. Wentworth and a representative for Walgreens both declined to comment.

* Shaw Local | Troubled DeKalb County nursing home’s future again in state hands: It’s been 14 months since the DeKalb County Board decided to sell the DeKalb County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center to a private buyer, but this week a unanimous decision by elected leaders stalled the sale yet again.

* Tribune | After no victim or witnesses found, COPA closes investigation of alleged sexual misconduct involving CPD officer, migrant: The investigation was opened in early July after a text message, circulated among police officers and other city employees, alleged that a 29-year-old CPD field training officer assigned to the Ogden District had engaged in a sexual relationship with a 16- or 17-year-old female migrant who was housed at the police station, 3315 W. Ogden Ave. The text message further claimed that the teen was impregnated by a CPD officer.

* Tribune | Migrant teens from Venezuela jumped after school in Rogers Park: A group of students from Venezuela were punched and kicked by local teens near Sullivan High School in Rogers Park Wednesday afternoon, said Ricky D’Gucci, an activist who spoke to the students after the altercation […] According to D’Gucci, the Venezuelan teens walk about 30 minutes to school every morning from a city-run shelter at a Super 8 motel on the Far North Side. He said the fight was likely race related, and that the perpetrators were older than the Venezuelans. “The only reason they got them was because they were Latinos,” he said. “They got pretty beat up.”

* Block Club Chicago | Chicago Public Schools Says $3.1 Billion For ‘Critical’ Building Repairs Needed: The $3.1 billion in costs identified as the most urgent work includes repairs to windows, roofs, masonry, and heating and cooling systems. Another $5.5 billion would go toward repairs in the next six to 10 years, according to the facilities plan. Beyond that, the district wants money to build labs “to support STEM education,” accommodations for students with disabilities, new auditoriums, new fields for sports, and classrooms “outfitted” for career and technical education — programming that [CEO Pedro Martinez] wants to expand, according to the plan.

* Pitchfork | Man Arrested and Charged in Tupac Shakur Murder Case in Surprise Breakthrough: Nevada police detained Duane Keith “Keefe D” Davis today (September 29), and a grand jury indicted him in the killing of Shakur, The Associated Press reports. Davis, who has long been known to investigators, has admitted in interviews and in his 2019 memoir, Compton Street Legend, that he was in the Cadillac with Shakur’s shooter. He is now the first person to be arrested in direct connection with the killing.

* Daily Herald | ‘It is pumpkin guts galore’: Jack O’Lantern World takes over Lake Zurich’s Paulus Park: “Not only do we have this huge conglomerate of jack-o’-lanterns, we have pumpkins which people took 30 hours on,” Starykowicz said. “Every one is hand-carved, it’s one-of-a-kind, you can’t go anywhere else and see another version of this.”

* Sun-Times | Clearer college financial aid offers promised by hundreds of colleges, including some in Illinois: Northern Illinois University, Chicago State University and Northeastern Illinois University have signed onto a new commitment to standardize financial aid offers so students can more easily compare costs and understand what they will owe after graduation. Other Illinois schools that have signed on include both campuses of Southern Illinois University, Oakton Community College, Waubonsee Community College and Rockford University.

* WMBD | Honor Flight co-founder and former Boys and Girls Club head found dead at West Bluff home: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Peoria’s board of directors and staff are profoundly saddened by the passing of their former CEO, Lesley R. Matuszak. During Lesley’s tenure at the Clubs, thousands of local under-served youth benefited from her tireless devotion to provide them with one-of-a-kind educational and life experiences. Her belief that every child deserves an equal opportunity to succeed in life has created a legacy that will continue long into the future.

* The Atlantic | Trump Didn’t Go to Michigan to Support Autoworkers, So why did so many news outlets report he did?: There’s an expression reporters use, that you’ve “reported yourself out of a story.” That is, you had a hunch or a tip about something, but when you checked the facts, the story didn’t pan out. Sometimes, though, reporters stick to the narrative they’ve decided on in advance, and they don’t let facts get in the way.

* Block Club | Dorm Room Picassos? UChicago Students Can Borrow Rare Pieces Through Art Loan Program: “Everybody doesn’t have exposure to art in their daily lives,” said Lauren Payne, the university’s associate registrar of art and public spaces. “Having time to live with a piece can change the way you experience it over time. It’s an invaluable experience for [students] to have an opportunity to live with these pieces.” Students receive the pieces for free and must hang the art in their dorm bedroom. They sign loan agreements requiring a certain level of care for the pieces, and Smart Museum staffers check on the works’ condition throughout the year, UChicago spokesperson Rachel Hatch said.

* SJ-R | ‘A beautiful woman inside and out:’ Wenonah Bish turns 111 and shares secrets to longevity: Bish’s daughter, Delores Hughes, who lives in Bolingbrook, turns 90 later this year. Wright joked that Bish also has said: “Never let a man control your life,” as her secret to longevity.


Lawsuit over 2016 Illinois abortion referral law finally goes to trial

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Crain’s

The same federal judge who is hearing a case challenging an Illinois law that targets anti-abortion health care providers for defrauding patients is also hearing a case against a similar state law passed years ago. […]

Conservative Chicago law firm Thomas More Society said in a statement that it filed the lawsuit on behalf of obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Ronald L. Schroeder and pro-life pregnancy help ministries 1st Way Pregnancy Support Services and Pregnancy Aid South Suburbs challenging an amendment to the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, which passed into law in 2016.

The amendment, Thomas More Society said in the statement, is meant to require health care providers to provide referrals of abortion providers to patients, regardless of the provider’s own beliefs about abortion. […]

“Health care professionals should provide patients with information on all their medical options in a timely manner,” Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said in a statement. “Challenging the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act is another attempt to deprive people from accessing essential reproductive care like abortion services. Everyone should be aware of all their options in order to make the best decision for themselves without discrimination or coercion.”

* Hannah Meisel at Capitol News Illinois

When Illinois Democrats passed the 2016 law, its sponsors’ rhetoric was focused not on crisis pregnancy centers, but Catholic hospitals, which do not provide elective abortions and often bar doctors from prescribing contraceptives and sterilization.

In extreme cases, like to save the life of the mother, Catholic hospitals may terminate a pregnancy, but sponsors pointed to the story of a woman who was made to wait five weeks during her prolonged miscarriage until she was bleeding enough to justify the procedure. Then, as now, roughly 30 percent of hospital beds in Illinois are in Catholic-affiliated institutions.

But negotiations over the bill in 2015 and 2016 were able to neutralize opposition from influential organizations like the Illinois Catholic Hospital Association and the Catholic Conference of Illinois, and arguments against the bill evolved to prioritize the First Amendment concerns of CPCs. During debates over the bill in the House and Senate, Republican opponents warned the law would violate both the facilities’ rights to free speech and religious liberties.

Those comments turned out to be a preview of the legal battle over the Health Care Right of Conscience Act’s amendment; last week’s trial involved no plaintiffs associated with Catholic hospitals. Instead, plaintiffs are a handful of CPCs in Illinois, one doctor who volunteers as a medical director for a CPC, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, a Virginia-based nonprofit that offers resources, training and legal advice to CPCs across the U.S. Out of the roughly 100 CPCs in Illinois, 81 are members of NIFLA’s network.

Go read the whole thing.


Exelon, ComEd, Anne Pramaggiore charged with fraud by SEC

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The complaint is here. Exelon and ComEd paid a civil penalty and is now in the clear. But the SEC is going after Pramaggiore. Press release

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Exelon Corporation, electric utility company Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd), which is Exelon’s subsidiary, and former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore with fraud in connection with a multi-year scheme to corruptly influence and reward then-Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Michael Madigan. Exelon and ComEd agreed to settle the charges, with Exelon paying a civil penalty of $46.2 million. The charges against Pramaggiore will be litigated.

According to the SEC’s order against Exelon and ComEd, from 2011 through 2019, ComEd arranged for various associates of Madigan to obtain jobs, subcontracts, and monetary payments, all with the intent to influence Madigan regarding legislation favorable to ComEd. The order finds that ComEd arranged payments to Madigan’s associates through third-party vendors to conceal the size of the payments and to assist ComEd in denying responsibility for oversight of Madigan’s associates, who in some instances did little to none of the work for which they were hired. The order finds that ComEd made indirect payments totaling more than $1.3 million to Madigan’s associates. In a deferred prosecution agreement entered into with criminal authorities, ComEd acknowledged that Madigan’s support of legislation favoring ComEd resulted in reasonably foreseeable anticipated benefits to ComEd of more than $150 million.

The SEC’s complaint against Pramaggiore alleges that she participated in, and in some instances directed, the bribery scheme. The complaint alleges that Pramaggiore did not disclose the bribery scheme and instead misled investors when she characterized ComEd’s lobbying activities as legitimate. The complaint also alleges that, as part of the scheme, Pramaggiore lied to Exelon’s auditors and filed false certifications.

“As alleged in our complaint, Pramaggiore’s remarks to investors about ComEd’s lobbying efforts hid the reality of the long-running political corruption scheme in which they were engaged,” said LeeAnn G. Gaunt, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Public Finance Abuse Unit. “When corporate executives speak to investors, they must not mislead by omission.”

Exelon and ComEd consented to the SEC’s cease-and-desist order finding that they violated antifraud and books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws. Exelon agreed to pay a $46.2 million civil penalty.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that Pramaggiore violated antifraud and books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws and that she aided and abetted Exelon’s and ComEd’s violations of books and records and internal accounting controls provisions. The SEC seeks permanent injunctive relief, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, a civil penalty, and an officer and director bar against her.

* From an Exelon filing

On September 28, 2023, Exelon Corporation and its subsidiary, Commonwealth Edison Company (the “Companies”), reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), concluding and resolving in its entirety the SEC investigation previously disclosed by the Companies, which related to the conduct identified in the deferred prosecution agreement that was entered into by Commonwealth Edison Company in July 2020 and successfully exited in July 2023. Under the terms of the settlement, the Companies have agreed to pay a civil penalty of $46.2 million and to cease and desist from committing or causing any violations and any future violations of specified provisions of the federal securities laws and rules promulgated thereunder. Exelon recorded an accrual for the full amount of the penalty in the second quarter of 2023, which was reflected in Exelon’s financial results reported in its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended June 30, 2023.

The Companies fully cooperated with the SEC over the course of its investigation. The SEC’s administrative order recognized the remedial measures promptly undertaken by the Companies, including the significant enhancements made to the Companies’ compliance program.

[Hat tip: WTTW]


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Some Gotion-related news (Updated)

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

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State, city, mutual aid groups outline asylum seeker/migrant assistance (Updated)

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the governor’s office…

Asylum Seeker/Migrant Assistance

Since August 2022, Illinois has provided or committed over $328 million in funding to address the humanitarian asylum seeker crisis with direct funding to the City of Chicago, State-operated asylum seeker services, and additional State-supported services.

In addition to direct funding, the State has partnered with municipalities across the state, elected officials, community-based providers, and the federal government to coordinate, develop, and implement the infrastructure and coordination required for comprehensive, responsive, and strategic planning.

This $328 million investment is on top of the State of Illinois’ ongoing programming as a welcoming state for all immigrants and unhoused residents, including Illinois Welcoming Centers; VTTC (Victims of Trafficking Torture & Other Serious Crimes) medical, food and cash assistance; Immigrant Family Resource Program (IFRP); New Americans Initiative(NAI); and Home Illinois, Illinois’ plan to prevent and end homelessness.

Direct Funding to City of Chicago

    • $51 million in direct funding from the State to the City of Chicago for general asylum seeker support services
    • $19 million passthrough funding from State to City in accessing federal Shelter & Services Program (SSP) appropriation

Direct State Asylum Seeker Support

    • ~ $90 million in IEMA emergency support services ($3M Federal and $87M State)
    • $51 million in State direct support to asylum seekers

      o Hotel Supports (Rooms + Staffing)
      o Transportation
      o Medical

State-Supported Services

    • $64 million in comprehensive State-supported services for asylum seekers:

      o Asylum Seeker Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ASERAP)
      o Move-out Supports (Catholic Charities, New Life)
      o Wrap-around Services (ICIRR, Coalition of Immigrant Mental Health (CIMH))
      o Food (Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD))
      o Legal Services

    • $43 million in funding to municipalities to support asylum seekers statewide
    • $10 million to stand-up Interim Congregate Housing (ICH) facility on behalf of City of Chicago

The city has applied to receive all of the “$43 million in funding to municipalities to support asylum seekers statewide,” but Chicago Deputy Chief of Staff Cristina Pacione-Zayas said at a city council hearing today that she doesn’t expect the city will receive all the money. In fact, she said, the city has asked the state to identify Latino communities throughout the state. You can click here for a list. [ADDING: The state will announce soon that it is sending the city $32 million out of that $43 million.]

* Slide from the city’s presentation to that city council hearing about its costs…

No word on how much of that came from the state beyond the $70 million listed by the governor’s office (although the state’s outline goes back to last year, while the city’s is year to date).

…Adding… The city is reportedly planning to ask the state for an additional $200 million appropriation during the veto session. Not sure where that’s gonna come from.

* The city is laughably under-staffed. There’s no excuse for this…

That’s Beatriz Ponce de León, Deputy Mayor of Immigrant, Migrant and Refugee Rights.

* Volunteers are really stepping up, despite the lack of help and direction from the city. They estimate they’ve spent $6.1 million…

* Also from today’s hearing…


* Not only is the federal government paying to fly some migrants to Chicago, they’re also doing this…

At least some waivers are available, but still. Ridic.


Ford’s Chicago assembly plant hit by UAW strike

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Last week, UAW President Shawn Fain said, “Ford is showing that they’re serious about reaching a deal,” and exempted them from the expanded strike. Something apparently changed

The United Auto Workers strike that began Sept. 14 at limited locations for the Detroit Three automakers spread to Chicago on Friday as the union sent workers at the Ford assembly plant to the picket lines.

Union President Shawn Fain made the announcement about the expanded strike action on Facebook Live. He said it would also begin a walkout at a General Motors plant in Lansing, Mich. The strikes are to start at 11 a.m. CDT. […]

Ford’s Chicago assembly plant at 12600 S. Torrence Ave. has about 4,800 workers. The new walkout does not include a Ford stamping plant in Chicago Heights.

Ford’s Chicago plant produces the popular Ford Explorer as well as the Lincoln Aviators SUV.

* Stellantis was spared this time

Fain said Chrysler-parent Stellantis was spared from additional strikes because of recent progress in negotiations with that company.

“Moments before this broadcast, Stellantis made significant progress on the 2009 cost of living allowance, the right not to cross a picket line, as well as the right to strike over product commitments and plant closures and outsourcing moratoriums,” said Fain, who was delayed nearly 30 minutes in making the online announcement. “We are excited about this momentum at Stellantis and hope it continues.” […]

Unlike past strikes, UAW leaders opted for targeted strikes at select plants instead of initiating national walkouts. It’s calling the work stoppages “stand-up strikes,” a nod to historic “sit-down” strikes by the UAW in the 1930s.

The strategy is in an effort to keep the automakers on edge in an effort to pit them against one another to achieve better contracts, according to private messages leaked last week involving the UAW’s communications director.

The messages, which described a strategy to cause “recurring reputations damage and operational chaos” for the companies, were heavily criticized by the automakers.

* Related….

    * What are the UAW strike demands? Here are the issues amid negotiations: The union wants an end to the tiered employment system, which means newer workers work for lower pay and lesser benefits. The union also wants the manufacturers to rely less on temporary workers, who are effectively in their own lowest tier. The companies say hiring temporary workers allows them to operate factories efficiently, respond to surges in consumer demand and give full-time employees more work flexibility. Ending employment tiers has been a big focus of other unions lately. UPS workers and their union, the Teamsters, recently approved a new contract that ended a tiered wage system that paid newer part-time employees less.

    * Why is the UAW on strike? These are their contract demands as they negotiate with the Big Three: The UAW also wants the Big Three to reinstate annual cost of living adjustments, arguing that inflation is eating away worker paychecks. For decades, the Detroit automakers offered a COLA, but stopped after GM and Chryslers went bankrupt following the 2008 financial crisis. Adjusting for inflation, autoworkers have seen their average wages fall 19.3% since 2008, according to Adam Hersh, senior economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. That’s because autoworker “concessions made following the 2008 auto industry crisis were never reinstated,” Hersh said in a recent blog post, “including a suspension of cost-of-living adjustments.” … Currently, UAW workers who were hired after 2007 don’t receive defined benefit pensions. For years, the union gave up general pay raises and lost cost-of-living wage increases to help the companies control costs. “The majority of our members do not get a pension nowadays. It’s crazy,” Fain complained while speaking to Ford workers last month at a plant in Louisville, Kentucky.

    * UAW expands strike against Big 3 automakers: Sticking points in negotiations were wage increases and the length of the workweek. The union is demanding a 46% pay increase combined over the four-year duration of a new contract, as well as a 32-hour workweek at 40-hour pay. So far, GM, Ford and Stellantis have each put forward proposals that offered workers a 20% pay increase over the life of the agreement but preserved a 40-hour workweek. … On Thursday, Fain accused GM and Stellantis of enabling violence against striking workers, pointing to incidents that occurred in Michigan, Massachusetts and California. Both companies denied the allegations and cited an escalation in behavior on the picket line.


Coverage roundup: Pritzker defends state’s response to migrant housing, has ‘concerns’ about Chicago’s tent plan

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* NBC Chicago

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday said he continues to have concerns about Chicago’s plan to set up winter tent basecamps for an increasing number of asylum-seekers from South America and suggested officials may seek to offer shelters in unused buildings instead.

After Mayor Brandon Johnson announced last week a one-year, $29.4 million contract with GardaWorld Federal Services to set up a camp, Pritzker’s office said it addressed concerns around “cultural competency” by holding meetings with officials from the company and city.

Pritzker said the city could instead create shelters in existing, unused buildings. He said the federal government could offer buildings, but the state and federal governments haven’t yet identified any.

“I have concerns about it, and we continue to have conversations about it,” Pritzker told reporters after his keynote address at a cannabis business conference in downtown Chicago.

* Sun-Times

After Mayor Brandon Johnson announced last week a one-year, $29.4 million contract with GardaWorld Federal Services to set up a camp, Pritzker’s office said it addressed concerns around “cultural competency” by holding meetings with officials from the company and city. […]

“With a lack of existing buildings to put people in, I know the city has looked at this as one of its options. But I don’t think this is the only option,” Pritzker said.

The state has a contract with GardaWorld through the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, but it’s never been used at the state level, Pritzker said. However, the contract can be used by counties and cities, as Chicago has.

Although GardaWorld is a controversial choice — the company has been accused of mistreating migrant children at the border and labor trafficking — the state has few options for companies that provide emergency services and can construct shelters on short notice, Pritzker said.

* ABC Chicago

A few blocks up the street on South Halsted Street in Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez’s ward, a big empty warehouse is about to become another Pilsen shelter. Members of City Council say it’s time for the state of Illinois to do more

“The state has been very slow, and, in my opinion, negligent on their response, and I think the leadership of the governor is critical right now,” Sigcho-Lopez said.

Pritzker defended his response to the migrant crisis.

“The city has received not just resources from the state, but people, personnel and a whole lot of effort during the last year,” he said.

Pritzker said the state has given the city close to $330 million to help with the crisis, but Council members say more than money is needed. While the state was putting migrants in hotels at the beginning of the crisis, it is no longer.


Gov. Pritzker responded to democratic mayor of El Paso sending migrants to Chicago:

“[He] needs to listen to the cities that he’s sending folks to and start thinking about whether or not this should be spread across the country. Why is he not sending anybody to Idaho, Wyoming?” […]

The state said it’s working on one shelter. The governor’s office stated it had plans for that shelter dating back to the Lightfoot administration, but the city didn’t take the state up on its offer until a few weeks ago.

The Illinois governor also stated that he has spoken with the Department of Homeland Security and the White House to seek assistance.

* Center Square

At an unrelated event in Chicago Thursday, Pritzker blamed Republican governors, but was confronted with even Democratic El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser sending migrants.

“You know that they’re sending, nope, they’re doing it because they’re sending them to areas where they think that people will take care of them and where people will put the resources forward because this is a humanitarian crisis,” Pritzker said. “But the reality is that states that are controlled by Republicans ought to be offering the same services.” […]

At an unrelated news conference Thursday, Pritzker asked other communities from throughout the state to volunteer.

“I hope that cities will raise their hands and offer assistance,” Pritzker said. “We have provided grant opportunities for cities that will do that.”


Rate the NRCC’s hit on Bailey

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This came in over the transom from the National Republican Congressional Committee last night…

Hey Rich,

Hope this email finds you well! I recently saw your report on Mike Bost and Ukraine and I wanted to see if you were interested in covering some examples of Darren Bailey moderating his previously conservative positions when he ran for statewide office. I don’t think these positions would play well now that he is in a primary challenge against Bost. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

Government Waste:
Darren Bailey claimed to support fiscal responsibility, opposing wasteful government spending. However, he reportedly took nearly $570,000 in PPP loans and since 1995, his farm has taken $2.1 million in federal subsidies. Additionally, his family members received millions from the Pritzker admin.

Wouldn’t Stand For Life:
Darren Bailey claims to be pro-life. However, he also claimed abortion laws in the state would not have be changed should he had won his gubernatorial race, stating “Illinois has the most permissive abortion laws in the nation. Nothing’s going to change when I’m governor.”

Second Amendment:
Darren Bailey claims to support the second amendment. However, while running for Governor, Bailey called for a special session to strengthen the Firearms Restraining Order Act, red flag law legislation that allows judges to take away firearms.

Chose to live in Chicago:
Darren Bailey claims to be anti-Chicago, supporting measures for separation and calling it a “hellhole.” However, he chose to live on the miracle mile in the John Hancock center, while campaigning for Governor, claiming he wanted to “immerse [him]self in the culture” of the city.

* As noted above, we talked yesterday about how Mike Bost flip-flopped on his previous votes in favor of funding the defense of Ukraine against the Russian invasion. Bailey had whacked Bost and US Rep. Darin LaHood for their past votes in favor of Ukraine funding. “We can’t secure our border, but we continue writing blank checks to Ukraine? We need to get our priorities straight and put America first. How any member of Congress can vote for this while our border isn’t secure, families are suffering, and we have veterans living on our streets is abhorrent,” he wrote.

This morning brought another bit from the NRCC. It’s a Sun-Times report from February of 2022

Pritzker’s Republican rivals have found a rare patch of common ground with him on Ukraine, with candidates in the GOP primary field for governor summarily denouncing the Russian invasion.

“Russia’s actions are unconscionable and we should place extremely strong sanctions on Russia,” state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, said in a statement. “Ukraine has made clear it can fight for itself but we should provide the resources they need to defend their sovereignty.”

* Bailey’s response…

“I have always been against sending blank checks to Ukraine. My position hasn’t changed. Unlike career politicians like Bost, I would have demanded accountability with every penny and cut it off a long time ago. And I would not have joined a never-Trumper like Adam Kinzinger to push new gun control laws, and I would never vote to send millions to planned parenthood. I’m a conservative fighter who has been in the fights against Pritzker’s lockdowns and more while Bost has been sitting on his hands and playing politics.”


Drip, drip, drip

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tom Schuba

Fifty minutes after two women were somehow wounded by gunshots Aug. 25, [the now-former commander of the CPD’s patrol bureau John Spellman] informed Sox staff that Patrol Chief Brian McDermott wanted to “stop the game for public safety reasons,” according to a police report.

Spellman had been serving as a security supervisor for At Your Service LLC, the company that guards Sox park and is controlled by team executives, according to law enforcement sources.

There was concern that Spellman might have prioritized the interests of the team over the department and stalled in delivering McDermott’s request to pause the game, a source said. He also didn’t have the superintendent’s approval to work the security job, as required by a departmental order. […]

In an appearance last week on the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman Show, [former acting police superintendent Fred Waller] wouldn’t comment on whether Spellman had been given approval to work for At Your Service. He also sidestepped a question about whether Spellman had disobeyed a direct order from McDermott.

Spellman was demoted and sent to the Morgan Park District on Waller’s last day in office, according to the report.

Also, points to Schuba for calling it “Sox park.”

...Adding… Related…

* White Sox ballpark shooting victim breaks silence, speaks exclusively with ABC7: “I heard a loud pop,” the victim said. “I felt an impact on my leg, and I looked down and I did not see anything. I thought somebody, you know, in the crowd had thrown a beer can or thrown something, bottled water or something, and there was nothing there.” But then, someone nearby noticed a lot of blood, and she looked down and saw her right leg was bleeding. “It wasn’t until a couple moments later that somebody mentioned that there was a bullet found a couple of rows down,” she said. “And at that moment was when I realized I had been shot. I panicked. I completely went into panic mode, knowing that there was a bullet fired nearby us. And at that point I didn’t know if it was there was going to be more gunfire. I didn’t know anything. I was terrified. I wanted to get out of that area because I knew somebody in the immediate area had a gun on them.”


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