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Isabel’s morning briefing

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Most juvenile detention centers in Illinois are failing to meet state standards. Injustice Watch

    - In Cook County, children as young as age 13 who come into the detention center are inappropriately strip searched.

    - In Knox County’s Mary Davis Home, young people are confined to their cells for 24 hours as a disciplinary measure.

    - Last year, just four of the 16 county-run detention centers throughout the state were in full compliance with state standards. So far this year, two out of eight inspected juvenile jails have been found compliant.

* Related stories…

* Isabel’s top picks…

    * Jim Salma | This is a powerful solution for climate change: “Common Ground” offers a simple message: Let’s grow nutrient-dense food in a manner that sequesters vast amounts of carbon in our soil. According to the Rodale Institute, if we converted all global croplands and pastures to regenerative and organic, we could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions. Farmers using these practices grow organically, using crop rotations, cover crops and, in many cases, rotational grazing of livestock and/or poultry. The result is incredibly healthy, carbon-rich soil and food loaded with nutrients, minerals and vitality.

    * Tribune | Staffer recommends Illinois regulators deny approval for Wolf CO2 pipeline, one of 2 under consideration by state: The staff member, gas engineer Brett Seagle, also said that the pipeline, a project of Denver-based Wolf Carbon Solutions U.S., should not be approved until new federal safety regulations are completed. “The lives and safety of Illinois citizens must come before business concerns,” Seagle said in Oct. 24 testimony filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission.

    * Windy City Times | IDHS head Dulce Quintero reflects on making history, being an advocate: Dulce Quintero has always believed in helping people—and decades of doing so has resulted in an especially noteworthy achievement. Recently, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker appointed Quintero, a member of the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, as secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), making them the first nonbinary individual to helm a state agency. On Nov. 30, the Association of Latinos/as/xs Motivating Action (ALMA) will present Quintero with the inaugural ALMA del Líder (Soul of A Leader) award to celebrate this development.

* Here’s the rest of your morning roundup…

    * Forbes | Illinois Becomes First State To Roll Back School Voucher Program: Tax credit scholarships create the illusion that taxpayers are not footing the voucher bill. But the Invest In Kids tax credits created a hole in the budget as large as $75 million; taxpayers can either fill the gap by paying more, or accept cuts in services. Directly or indirectly, taxpayers pay the price for tax credit scholarships. That’s why Kentucky’s supreme court rejected that states tax credit scholarship program. “The money at issue cannot be characterized as simply private funds,” the court wrote, “rather it represents the tax liability that the taxpayer would otherwise owe.”

    * Capitol News Illinois | Lawmakers pass bill aimed at modernizing professional licensing in Illinois: The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has failed to meet its goals to speed up both initial licensing and renewals in key industries as applications to the agency grew by 15 percent between 2019 and 2022. IDFPR’s director called the situation a “crisis” earlier this fall when testifying before lawmakers at a committee hearing on the issues facing the agency.

    * Patch | Elmhurst State Lawmaker Bowing Out: Elmhurst’s state representative has decided against running for a second two-year term. Meanwhile, an Elmhurst alderwoman is planning to run for the seat. On Oct, 30, Ward 1 Elmhurst Alderwoman Marti Deuter set up an account with the state Board of Elections to run in March as a Democrat in District 45.

    * WTTW | Following Sluggish Start and COVID Delay, Trial of Former Ald. Ed Burke to Resume This Week: Proceedings were slow going last week, which was marked by the extensive questioning of dozens of potential jurors and at least one confirmed COVID-19 case that brought the case to a halt before it could truly get going.

    * WBEZ | Right turn on red? With pedestrian deaths rising, US cities are considering bans: The United States is one of few major countries that generally allow right turns on red. Concerned that cars idling at stop lights could compound an energy crisis, the U.S. government warned states in the 1970s that they could risk some federal funding should cities prohibit right on red, except in specific, clearly marked areas. Although another energy-conscious provision capping speed limits at 55 mph has long been abandoned, right on red has endured. “It’s an example of bad policy,” said Bill Schultheiss, director of engineering at Toole Design Group, which consults with public transportation agencies. “It made sense in the context of the gas crisis, but it was way oversold on what it would achieve. It’s a mandate that doesn’t consider the full consequences.”

    * WTTW | Ethics Board Dismisses Complaint Prompted by Lori Lightfoot’s Campaign Cash Pleas to City Employees: Ethics Board Chair William Conlon did not explain the board’s decision, which reverses an earlier unanimous decision by the board to find there was probable cause Lightfoot had violated the city’s ethics ordinance, upholding Witzburg’s determination. The board’s decision to dismiss the complaint against the former mayor came after attorneys for the former mayor vigorously fought any finding of wrongdoing for nearly six months. Lightfoot, who left office in May, appointed all of the current members of the Chicago Board of Ethics, as well as Witzburg.

    * Tribune | Aldermen move to establish quiet zone around downtown abortion clinic: The City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted to bar protesters from using a bullhorn, loudspeaker or hitting a drum or other object “to produce a sharp percussive noise so as to interfere with the functions” of Family Planning Associates clinic.

    * WGN | Faith leaders join Johnson in call for patience amid Chicago’s migrant relief efforts: Addressing the latest concerns at the Indiana Avenue Pentecostal Church of God in Bronzeville, Johnson was joined by Bishop Simon Gordon with the Triedstone Church of Chicago. Gordon asked Chicagoans to stand with their mayor as the city navigates their plans for the unhoused. “We have to be good citizens and be able to accept and deal with those who come in to be a part of the process,” Gordon said.

    * Evanston Review | Evanston council postpones final vote on Northwestern’s Ryan Field rebuild till Nov. 20: The vote to table was 6-2. Council members Krissie Harris and Devon Reid voted against tabling. The pair, along with Councilmember Bobby Burns, held a town hall meeting Thursday to get further comment from residents. Reid said he felt he and other council members who put in the effort to negotiate with the university were being overpowered by those who hadn’t come to the table.

    * Tribune | R. Kelly sues YouTuber and federal employee alleging ’chaos and discord’ over leaked jail conversations: In all, more than 60 federal employees illegally accessed R. Kelly’s emails and phone calls, and some of them leaked or sold the information to the outside world — including YouTuber “Tasha K” and a Washington Post reporter, according to the suit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

    * Tribune | Bankruptcy at Friendship Village retirement community in Schaumburg has financial impact on residents and families too: Her dispute is over Friendship Village’s policy of only paying back entry fees upon the resale of a resident’s unit. The facility — the largest not-for-profit retirement community in Illinois, with 815 units — didn’t resell Kroll’s one-bedroom unit, so hadn’t paid his family back. Now that Friendship Village has entered bankruptcy, families of former residents are unlikely to ever receive full repayment, which Barnes and other families see as a betrayal of what they were promised.

    * Daily Herald | Is your Nicor bill going up by $9 a month? The ICC decides Thursday: Residents across 37 counties that include the suburbs will learn Thursday if Nicor Gas rates will spike by an average of $111 annually. The Illinois Commerce Commission is set to vote on Nicor’s controversial request for a $321 million increase, which the utility says will help modernize its system and meet rising energy prices.

    * Tribune | The federal government wants to demolish 2 historic State Street skyscrapers. Preservationists are mobilizing in opposition.: Advocates and neighborhood residents lined up at a public hearing Monday to plead for the survival and renovation of the vacant Century and Consumers Buildings, at 202 and 220 S. State St. The federal government owns the pair, and for several years has sought to raze the structures, claiming that if they were redeveloped and occupied it could pose an unacceptable security risk to employees in the modernist federal courthouse just to the west at 219 S. Dearborn St.

    * AP | Supreme Court’s New Ethics Code Does Not Appear to Impose Any Significant New Requirements: The code leaves compliance to the justices themselves and does not create any other means of enforcement. The issue has vexed the court for several months, over a series of stories questioning the ethical practices of the justices. Many of those stories focused on Justice Clarence Thomas and his failure to disclose travel and other financial ties with wealthy conservative donors including Harlan Crow and the Koch brothers. But Justices Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor also have been under scrutiny.

    * NBC Chicago | Suburban middle school teacher sets remarkable world record: Guinness World Records has named Paul the longest working social studies teacher in the world, with 53 years on the job. The honor took him by surprise. “In fact, I didn’t believe it at first,” he said.

    * Tribune | Chicago Bears want to see Justin Fields do full-team work in practice before deciding on status vs. Detroit Lions: Eberflus said the Bears want to see how Fields looks in full-team work before determining whether he can play for the first time since Oct. 15. The Bears will hold a full practice Wednesday. “Once we see him in the game of football in terms of going against the scout team and taking snaps and playing full speed, then we’ll make a determination,” Eberflus told reporters after practice. “But it’s not there today.”


  1. - Suburban Mom - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 8:52 am:

    To be fair, the Supreme Court’s new ethics code DOES make a big deal about avoiding the APPEARANCE of impropriety, in a way that legitimately reads as “Guys, stop letting them CATCH you.”

  2. - H-W - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 9:05 am:

    @ LP and others who supported Invest in Kids

    The Forbes article above does an excellent job summarizing my perceptions and objections to the Invest in Kids Act as it operated. Beyond the fact that most recipients of scholarships were not low income - they were middle income families - the absence of accountability and the inaccessibility issue that exists across most of the state geographically made this a very bad and discriminatory program.

  3. - Hannibal Lecter - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 9:28 am:


    I supported the program only because it gave parents an opportunity to send their children to a school of their choice that would provide a better educational opportunity than their local public schools. Even middle income families are priced out of these schools with tuition at most Catholic high schools being over 12k a year. I personally went to a local Catholic school and it certainly prepared me for college and beyond. I am no longer a practicing Catholic, but I can still see the value in the education provided by Catholic schools.

    I don’t think the quality of education at public schools will improve by the sunsetting of this program.

    With respect.

  4. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 9:42 am:

    Banning “Right on Red” … that sound you hear is applause and cheers from OPEC. After the 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo, to save energy banning “Right on Red” required a sign at the intersection - no more banning by state law with no signs. There are ways to make “Right of Red” safer.

  5. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 9:44 am:

    Should say “to save energy “”Right on Red” required” take out “banning” … oops.

  6. - Amalia - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 9:47 am:

    to the Evanston folks re their stadium negotiations with some Council Members whose wards do not include neighborhoods near the stadium, read Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers. You are living it.

  7. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 9:50 am:

    1) *All* downtown protests should bar protesters from using a bullhorn, loudspeaker or hitting a drum or other object - isn’t that already covered by the city’s noise ordinance?

    2) So the Bears are wary of throwing Fields to the Lions? (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  8. - Joe Pulitzer - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:15 am:

    === Even middle income families are priced out of these schools with tuition at most Catholic high schools being over 12k a year. ===

    1. We were told the program was targeted to assist low-income, urban kids. It was not.

    2. Nothing prohibits the people who are donating to the scholarship program today from donating to it in the future, and they can still claim a charitable deduction, they just won’t get the lucrative tax credit.

    3. It’s totally predictable that if a school has the choice to give one scholarship to a low income kid for $12K, or four $3K scholarships to middle class kids to keep/bring them to the school, they are gonna go with the plan that brings in $48K in revenue.

    4. I can’t wait to peel back the onion and find out how many scholarships were driven by sports recruitment.

  9. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:19 am:

    Biss has handled the stadium issue ineptly — and revealed himself to be beholden to NU’s big donors over his own constituents. I hope for his sake the political payoff is big, because he’s going to lose support.

  10. - Joe Pulitzer - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:23 am:

    === I don’t think the quality of education at public schools will improve by the sunsetting of this program. ===

    Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the answer.

    Unfortunately as we have seen on pension funding, the state budget, red flag laws and other issues, it is often necessary to run down a bunch of blind alleyways of bad ideas and eliminate them before we can move forward with the difficult one that actually works.

    Rich or someone else says “easy answers are usually neither.”

    Now that we know that vouchers aren’t the answer, we can look at what’s still on the table.

    The Catholic schools can also work on developing an actual viable plan. If people still want to send their kids to Catholic schools, that is their choice.

  11. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:32 am:

    ===because he’s going to lose support===

    Biss won 73 percent of the vote. Most of Evanston does not live within a few blocks of the stadium. Stranger things have happened, but I doubt this alone will kill off his February, 2025 reelection. He can afford to spend some capital.

  12. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:38 am:

    Yeah, Biss will lose support in Wilmette for sure.

    Northwestern’s plan makes sense. The Tribune Ed Board came out in support yesterday. It’s a good development overall and Evanston squeezed a lot of concessions from the University. It’s easy to forget, but Northwestern was founded before Evanston was. Evanston is getting a lot from this, but Wilmette has to live with the noise and headaches and gets bupkis out of the deal.

    As long as Biss is happy being mayor, this won’t be a political disaster for him.

  13. - Hannibal Lecter - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:38 am:

    === Now that we know that vouchers aren’t the answer, we can look at what’s still on the table. ===

    And what would that be?

  14. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:39 am:

    Rich - Your assessment is no doubt the same as his. But is it possible the issue is broader and deeper than that, and brings in other issues? Biss has a history of flubbing big political decisions (his pension flip-flop, Ramirez Rosa as running mate, etc.) We’ll see how this plays out.

  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:41 am:

    ===But is it possible the issue is broader and deeper than that, and brings in other issues?===

    Such as?

  16. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 11:43 am:

    Also, I’m saying his reelection isn’t until 2025. I have a difficult time seeing how upsetting a few hundred people in mansions that were built near an existing football stadium is gonna imperil that. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

  17. - Lurker - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 12:21 pm:

    Preservationists in Illinois are out of hand. They want to keep even the most insignificant old buildings. I wish they’d focus on keeping in good shape things worth preserving.

  18. - Stuck in Celliniland - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 12:46 pm:

    =I wish they’d focus on keeping in good shape things worth preserving.=

    Speaking of this, the contractors have removed all windows from the State Armory. I had to go for a doctor’s appointment this morning and went past there on the way, and it was breathtaking to see some of the hulking building’s bones as renovations go on.

  19. - H-W - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 12:47 pm:

    @ Hannibal

    Raleigh, North Carolina created public magnet schools in the 1990s to enhance educational opportunities for poor kids and to achieve racial balance throughout the district. Decatur, IL did do too, although less effectively. I am not sure what CPS has done in the past, but creative solutions are always available.

  20. - Hannibal Lecter - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 12:58 pm:

    === I am not sure what CPS has done in the past ===

    They too have expanded magnet schools and selective enrollment schools. Those schools are some of the best in the state, but they are extremely difficult to get into — which is why those schools are generally better. They get all of the good students while the rest are left in the neighborhood schools.

    I have said this for years now - the students determine the quality of the school - not the other way around.

  21. - Amalia - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 1:09 pm:

    the interesting thing about the newest opposition to Biss…an organization started to find someone to run against him….is that it is led by a Black woman, young, maybe 30 years old. she says if no one else steps up that she will run against him.

  22. - Frida's boss - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 1:40 pm:

    Evanston is a very diverse and super-liberal city. Biss fits the mold perfectly. Evanston is the only city in the nation to have reparations, under Biss. Their downtown is head and shoulders above where it was 20 years ago. All of their arterial corridors have been rejuvenated with retail and restaurants. Biss will be fine.

    I see no reason for Northwestern expansion not to happen. No one seems to mind they took over multiple areas for student housing, research facilities in old industrial areas, for lakefront restoration all good things they have achieved and made Evanston better. The stadium always has excessive amounts of people on game days. 6 concerts are not going to ruin your life. Literally talking 13 days a year of overexaggerated issues. 6 concerts and 7 home games.

  23. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 3:21 pm:

    === ProPublica===

    Every time I see a headline about Illinois on ProPublica I think “Finally, Governor Pritzker is about to do something to address a problem he’s administration hasn’t addressed in the last 5 years because no one seems to be willing to let him know what is actually going on.”

  24. - Pundent - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 4:25 pm:

    The desire to prevent the new Northwestern stadium is not a progressive cause. Heck most progressives can’t afford to live in the neighborhood which surrounds the existing stadium. These residents are a very small wealthy subset of a vibrant diverse city. One that would benefit greatly by the $150M being offered by the university.

  25. - Amalia - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 9:42 pm:

    Parielle Davis was really good on Chicago Tonight on the Evanston/Northwestern stadium issue. Young Black woman who lives near the stadium and criticizes the process and the legal checks. She was specific and when she called out one of the panelists clearly without naming him it was epic.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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