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Afternoon roundup

Monday, Sep 18, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

House Republican Leader Tony McCombie released the following statement as the elimination of cash bail is now effective in Illinois:

“The end of cash bail means the legal deck is stacked against the victim and community in favor of the criminal. This law makes it more difficult for police officers and prosecutors to keep our communities safe by ensuring offenders in most cases can walk free shortly after committing a heinous offense. Ending cash bail has produced harmful results in other cities and states, and we have no reason to believe Illinois will be any different. We can only hope that innocent victims’ lives are not the ultimate price we have to pay.”

* Press release…

Cash bail ends September 18th and will be the last day the State of Illinois requires criminals to post bail for a crime they committed. State Representative Mike Coffey (R-Springfield) is very concerned about the repercussions that will occur and is supporting law enforcement through this transition. Rep. Coffey had this to say:

“Legislators on the other side of the isle refused to engage with local law enforcement about their concerns over eliminating cash bail,” said Rep. Coffey. “Apparently, public safety is not as important as a political agenda that favors criminals. Policies like this curate detrimental effects that will impact the safety of families across the state.”

The SAFE-T Act, which includes the elimination of cash bail has been nationwide news. The controversial law is aimed at reducing crime in Illinois; however, multiple legislators, law enforcement sheriffs, and the public share growing concerns over public safety. According to local sheriffs, they expect to see a rise in crime rates, officers losing morale, and more corporations not pressing charges, to name a few red flags.

Families across Illinois will be on edge even more after September 18th. The cuffs have been taken off the criminals and placed on those who are supposed to protect us.

* Press release…

In celebration of the elimination of cash bail in Illinois, State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

“Today we finally take the long-overdue step toward dismantling systemic racism and eliminating the practices which have created barriers to opportunities and obstacles to prosperity for far too long. Illinois continues to show the rest of the nation that monumental change is possible to make the criminal legal system fair, equitable and just for all.

“Finally, being poor is not a crime and will never be the sole reason a person remains incarcerated as they await their trial.

“We can take pride in the fact that Illinois has reformed its criminal legal system while focusing on community safety, combatting disparities, and removing wealth from decisions that should be about public safety. As much as we have achieved, more work is still ahead. Our work continues.”

* Politico

— Chicago Ald. James Gardiner (45th) says he won’t seek re-election as ward committeeperson. “I am not seeking re-election as Democratic committeeman. To give my undivided attention toward surveying as alderman of the 45th Ward,” he told Playbook. Running for the seat so far are Joe Cook and Michael Rabbitt.

— State Rep. Jenn Ladisch-Douglass (45th) has announced she won’t seek re-election in 2024. “I absolutely love this work, and though I have made the very difficult decision to not seek re-election so I can focus on my family, I will continue to serve the great people of my district and the state until the end of my term,” the freshman rep said. Full statement here.

— Jackie Williamson has announced she’s running for state representative in the 47th District. Williamson, a Democrat, ran against Republican Rep. Amy Grant in 2022, receiving nearly 47 percent of the vote to Grant’s 53 percent.

— Tosi Ufodike has made it official: She’s running in the GOP primary for state representative in the 51st District. The seat is held by Democratic state Rep. Nabeela Syed.

Rabbitt ran for the House last year and lost to appointed Rep. Mike Kelly (D-Chicago). Ladisch-Douglass barely won in 2022 against then-Rep. Deanne Mazzochi. Rep. Grant’s district leans Democratic as does Rep. Syed’s.

* Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition…

With the passage of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) two years ago, Illinois is on a path to 100% carbon-free energy by 2050 and has enabled the rapid expansion of clean energy installations.

The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition and Chi Hack Night are excited to announce the Illinois Solar Map (, the most detailed tool ever released to track the state’s rapid expansion of solar projects. Our interactive map allows you to explore solar projects by Census Tract, City/town, County, and State Congressional Districts, as well as by project category.

As of May 2023, at least 1,622,000 kilowatts of operating solar capacity have been installed in the State of Illinois. For comparison, Prairie State, the State’s largest coal power plant, is 1,630,000 kilowatts, illustrating just how far we’ve come in a few years, but still how far we have to go to reach 100% renewable energy in Illinois.

There are nearly 35,000 solar projects throughout the state, ranging in size from a single 0.6 kW solar panel to the 200,000 kW (200 megawatts) Prairie Wolf Solar project in Coles County.


A system designed to alert Chicago Police brass about which officers have been the subject of repeated police misconduct allegations could have been rolled out citywide in May 2021 — but it has yet to be fully implemented nearly two and a half years later, according to records obtained by WTTW News.

The University of Chicago Crime Lab began work on the so-called Officer Support System, also known as OSS, in 2016, and began testing it in a South Side police district in September 2020, only to face repeated and lengthy delays, caused in part by decisions by CPD leadership to transfer the staff members assigned to run the system to patrol, according to a letter obtained by WTTW News through the Freedom of Information Act.

* Worker shortage hits local governments

A Daily Herald analysis of 67 suburbs shows half those towns are operating with fewer employees now than before the pandemic.

The analysis shows 38 towns reported fewer employees working in administrative positions, 31 have fewer public works employees and 28 have fewer public safety workers.

In towns such as Lombard, Palatine, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Gurnee, Batavia and seven others, staffing levels are down in all three sectors, data from suburban audits show.

“That’s definitely the trend nationally, too,” said Chris Goodman, an associate professor of public administration at Northern Illinois University. “The private sector employment has recovered from the pandemic, but the public sector has not at all recovered.”

* This new Patrick Wohl book looks interesting

In 1990, a suburban Chicago race for the Republican Party nomination for state representative between Penny Pullen and Rosemary Mulligan unexpectedly became a national proxy battle over abortion in the United States. But the hard-fought primary also illustrated the overlooked importance of down-ballot contests in America’s culture wars. Patrick Wohl offers the dramatic account of a rollercoaster campaign that, after attracting political celebrities and a media circus, came down to thirty-one votes, a coin toss to determine the winner, and a recount fight that set a precedent for how to count dimpled chads. As the story unfolds, Wohl provides a rare nuts-and-bolts look at an election for state office from its first days through the Illinois Supreme Court decision that decided the winner–and set the stage for a decisive 1992 rematch.

A compelling political page-turner, Down Ballot takes readers behind the scenes of a legendary Illinois election.

* I haven’t watched it all yet, but what I’ve seen so far is pretty impressive. First Lady MK Pritzker takes viewers on an extensive tour of the remodeled governor’s mansion

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * AP | Centuries after Native American remains were dug up, a new law returns them for reburial in Illinois: Key to the measure is first-time authority for tribes to rebury recovered remains in Illinois, which they much prefer to relocating them to states to which the U.S. government forced their relocation nearly two centuries ago. The Illinois State Museum, which holds remains from about 7,000 individuals, is prepared to reunify 1,100 of them with their tribes, according to Brooke Morgan, the museum’s curator of anthropology. Overall, institutions in Illinois can identify nearly 13,000 individuals that must be repatriated.

    * Center Square | Rules for Illinois’ firearms registry filed as some expect low compliance rate: The emergency rules, which have yet to be published in the Illinois Register maintained by the Illinois Secretary of State, must now go before the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. Their next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 17, more than two weeks after the registry is set to open.

    * Illinois Answers Project | As Chicago Punts on Apartment Safety, Denver Shows What’s Possible: Chicago has no way of tracking landlords, nor does it require rental units to be inspected. That was the case in Colorado’s largest city, until officials decided to do something about it.

    * AP | Low Mississippi River limits barges just as farmers want to move their crops downriver: This is the second-straight year drought has caused the Mississippi to drop to near-record lows. With no significant rain in the forecast, it’s likely to keep falling. The shallow river is especially striking given the height of the river just months ago. A huge snowpack in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin quickly melted, forcing riverfront communities such as Davenport, Iowa, and Savanna, Illinois, to hurriedly erect barriers to stay dry in late April and early May.

    * WBEZ | Girls are in a mental health crisis. This Chicago program could help.: A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2021, almost 60% of high school girls in the U.S. felt persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, nearly 20% had experienced sexual violence, and 25% had made a suicide plan. Clinicians, educators and policymakers around the country are looking for solutions. A recent study suggests that a Chicago-based program could be a model to help girls throughout the U.S. — especially girls of color — cope with the trauma and distress many face.

    * Sun-Times | Environmental justice plan pushed by Mayor Brandon Johnson: The proposals include new policies for city departments that include better response times to environmental complaints, measures to reduce air pollution from large diesel-fueled trucks, public engagement around planning and development and investments in so-called environmental justice communities, areas that receive a disproportionate share of pollution.

    * WCIA | Eastern Illinois Foodbank holds largest annual event for Hunger Action Month: People who want to continue to help can also donate money to Eastern Illinois Foodbank during Hunger Action month. The food bank said they can feed two people a day for every dollar donated. They are trying to raise $40,000 this month, for the 40 years they’ve been fighting hunger.

    * Daily Herald | Would solar panels ruin the view in Kildeer? Residents leading the charge to end ban: In an attempt to stay true to its motto — “A Unique Village in a Natural Setting” — Kildeer is one of the few Illinois municipalities that bans roof-mounted solar panels from residential buildings. The reason? Village leaders think they’re ugly.

    * Block Club | City’s Last-Minute Street Closures Didn’t Stop Mexican Independence Day Celebrations Downtown: On Wednesday, the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications said no street closures were planned for the weekend, but “traffic may be diverted to control traffic flow if needed.” But by Friday evening, street closures went into effect with little warning. Downtown streets were closed as car caravan traffic snarled the Loop to a halt.

    * WCIA | State Fire Marshal announces $4 million in small equipment grants: The money is coming from the Small Equipment Grant Program, which was established to provide grants of up to $26,000 to eligible departments. 64 departments and EMS providers received a total of $1.5 million in March thanks to this program.

    * AP | Rural hospitals are closing maternity wards. People are seeking options to give birth closer to home: Ultimately, doctors and researchers say, having fewer hospital maternity units makes having babies less safe. One study showed rural residents have a 9% greater probability of facing life-threatening complications or even death from pregnancy and birth compared to those in urban areas — and having less access to care plays a part.

    * Block Club | Don’t Be Alarmed By Swarms Of Flying Ants—They’re Just Having Sex In The Sky: It’s common for ants to fly in the fall and spring, though it can happen at any time throughout the year. Scientists don’t know exactly what triggers the ants’ flights, but decreasing amounts of daylight and increasing amounts of rainfall might provide “cues” that tell ants it’s time to take off, Suarez said.

    * Tribune | Chicago skyline poses a risk as hundreds of millions of birds migrate south for the winter: As temperatures slowly drop in Chicago, 300 millions to 400 million birds are crossing the continent heading south to their nesting grounds for the winter, according to Annette Prince, director and president of Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, a nonprofit dedicated to the respite and protection of migratory birds through daily rescue efforts. It’s been a busy few weeks for the organization, Prince said. Volunteers at the nonprofit pick up more than 100 birds a day. Most early mornings, she said, a team of a dozen volunteers covers an area of about a mile and a half, responding to calls from people who live and work downtown and have found birds littering the sidewalks and gutters.

    * Tribune | From ice cream to illusions, immersive attractions are here to stay, and they’re one of the brightest spots in retail: The Museum of Illusions Chicago, an interactive exhibit that presents dozens of optical illusions, just signed a deal expanding into a vacant storefront next to its location at 25 E. Washington St. in the Loop. The expansion takes over space once occupied by a clothing retailer, and will change how the building looks to pedestrians, said Dan Shannon, the property’s asset manager. “This is the first time in years that we’ve had 100% of our retail space leased,” he said.

    * Press release | Illinois Discontinues Statewide Testing of Freshwater Fish for Organochlorine Pesticides: Organochlorine pesticides, including DDT and other similar chemicals, have been banned for decades, but the state had tested for them since 1974 because they are “environmentally persistent” and can build up in the tissue of fish and other animals. But the levels of these pesticides found through that testing has diminished to near zero over the past nearly 50 years, allowing the state to discontinue testing for those chemicals.


  1. - Roadrager - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 2:40 pm:

    ==Legislators on the other side of the isle==

    Whole party’s lost at sea.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 2:44 pm:

    ===The end of cash bail means the legal deck is stacked against the victim and community in favor of the criminal. This law makes it more difficult for police officers and prosecutors to keep our communities safe by ensuring offenders in most cases can walk free shortly after committing a heinous offense.===

    If true than all those SAs and Sheriffs should lose their elections, by making things less safe… if their hands are tied then they should be replaced by others who can do the job.

    It’s sad that McCombie sees all these SAs and Sheriffs as failures.

  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 2:55 pm:

    Today is a historic day.

    for the first time ever, Jim Glasgow refused to parade himself around as a walking/talking advertisement for pomade.

    Local paper today;

    “Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow was not available for an interview on the changes taking place[…].”

  4. - Norseman - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 2:59 pm:

    === Rural hospitals are closing maternity wards. People are seeking options to give birth closer to home ===

    Call your local MAGA GOP legislator. They seem to be experts on all things - including having babies and healthcare.

  5. - Stix Hix - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 3:04 pm:

    Let me be the first to offer a Yelp review of the Governors Mansion:

    “Looks dated” /s

  6. - low level - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 3:14 pm:

    Jenn Ladisch-Douglass, thank you for all your work and especially your advocacy for insulin dependent diabetics. You have helped a great many people.

  7. - Stormsw7706 - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 3:25 pm:

    Isn’t the Eastern Illinois Foodbank in Darren Bailey and Mary Miller communities. Looking for 40K. That’s chump change for those two relative to the size of their agricultural subsidies. I sure would t expect those two to help. Good luck to the Foodbank though. Every Foodbank I know of is exceptionally good at service delivery. It would be money well spent. Any links
    for contributions

  8. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 3:29 pm:

    ==“The end of cash bail means the legal deck is stacked against the victim and community in favor of the criminal. ==

    This line must have polled much better than “under the new law, defendants who pose a threat to the community cannot be released no matter how much cash they put up.”

  9. - very old soil - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 3:33 pm:

    socially distant,

  10. - JoanP - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 3:39 pm:

    = ensuring offenders in most cases can walk free shortly after committing a heinous offense. =

    Because cash bail keeps them in jail?

    Also, she means “alleged offenders”, or has McCombie forgotten the presumption of innocence?

  11. - Mister Whipple - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 3:46 pm:

    “The end of cash bail means the legal deck is stacked against the victim and community in favor of the criminal…”

    Perhaps someone could inform the Minority Leader that a citizen who has been arrested is not yet, and may never be, a criminal. They sorta need a guilty plea or guilty verdict to qualify.

  12. - Rabid - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 3:56 pm:

    “Ending cash bail in other states “ go on

  13. - Rudy’s teeth - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 3:57 pm:

    A comment on immersive attractions expanding to a storefront on E. Washington. Recently attended an immersive event in the city and was underwhelmed. It was like watching a cartoon for adults…all computer generated. Checked my watch every few minutes until it was over.

    If folks want to experience an immersive event, try the Art Institute, Symphony Center or one of the live music clubs in the city.

  14. - Rabid - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 4:25 pm:

    “Rise in crime, corporations not pressing charges “ you can’t have it both ways

  15. - Give Us Barabbas - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 5:02 pm:

    I’ve been in the mansion many times over the years, and they did a nice job updating it without losing any of the old character. That library is my favorite spot in the place. I do miss the ornamental gardens outside, though.

  16. - Cornerfield - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 5:38 pm:

    Regarding the First Lady’s tour of the governor’s mansion, all I can say is delightful. That word describes the house, the remodels, the tour, and the lady.

  17. - JoanP - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 6:34 pm:

    That video tour of the mansion was wonderful. I had no idea that MK had a graduate degree in historic preservation. No wonder they did such a good job. I love how she incorporated the work of contemporary Illinois artists like Theaster Gates and Richard Hunt.

  18. - Norseman - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 8:29 pm:

    Loved the video of the Mansion. A lot of memories. Nothing like leaving the Mansion at dawn.

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