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Isabel’s morning briefing

Wednesday, Nov 15, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI:Chicago Mayor Johnson’s first budget leans on one-time revenue, hopes for federal, state help to avoid tough choices down the road. Sun-Times

    -Johnson’s $16.77 billion budget is poised to sail through the City Council on Wednesday despite earmarking only $150 million for asylum-seekers.
    - Johnson kept his campaign promise to not raise property taxes.
    - Two mental health clinics will open, staff will double for an alternate response program to mental health emergencies and 4,000 more summer jobs will be added for young people.

* Related stories…

* Isabel’s top picks…

    * Daily Southtown | Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones asked police for court order barring Southtown reporter from City Hall, records show: No paperwork was filed in Cook County Circuit Court, however, attempting to secure an order of protection against the reporter, Hank Sanders, an attorney for Calumet City said Tuesday. In an Oct. 20 email from Jones to police Chief Kevin Kolosh, with other city employees and city attorneys copied, Jones instructed the chief to have officers take statements from city employees, including himself and the director of public works, to prepare the citations, according to a public records request filed pursuant to the state’s Freedom of Information Act and recently received by Sanders. The memo directed fines be $750 and $250 each day.

    * WBEZ | Midwestern corn and soybean crop threatened by climate change: Compared to the first half of the 20th century, the Midwest is a warmer and wetter place than it used to be. Precipitation is expected to increase throughout the region as temperatures climb, which will mean wetter springs and winters and summers with more variability. This past July was the hottest on record. So was the following August, September and now October. As the planet heats up, scientists agree that the risk of climate impacts could spiral as extreme events become more frequent and severe.

    * Tribune | Ethics board finds probable cause Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin wrongfully fired 2 whistleblowers: Over the coming months, Conyears-Ervin will have a chance to rebut the findings before the board issues a final ruling and potentially a fine. Her office had no comment on the matter Tuesday. Monday’s findings follow internal complaints by several now-former employees of the treasurer’s office who accused Conyears-Ervin of ethical lapses or misusing public resources for her private benefit. While many of the allegations were made years ago, they weren’t detailed publicly until recent Tribune reports.

* If you’re in town, put this on your radar…

* Here’s the rest of your morning roundup…

    * Capitol News Illinois | State high court to hear case against staffing agencies accused of suppressing wages: The Chicagoland-based companies have already lost twice in lower court. But they contend those decisions are a new interpretation of Illinois’ decades-old antitrust law. Wednesday’s oral arguments come after Attorney General Kwame Raoul sued the companies in 2020, alleging they used their mutual client to coordinate no-poach agreements, which created a secondary agreement to pay less than the market rate.

    * Pioneer Press | Oak Park taking the lead on ‘coordinated western suburban response’ to migrant crisis, looking for others to partner, officials say: “We are a village of 54,000 and we have hoped that Cook County would step up and lead an effort that we could participate in, that Chicago could lead an effort that we could participate in,” Trustee Brian Straw said at the Oct. 30 board meeting. Straw said “it’s time” for Oak Park to be a leader, and “work on stepping out in front so we can bring along our neighboring communities.

    * Tribune | Johnson administration tied fate of homeless encampment to alderman’s votes: And an official in Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration is taking the unusual step of acknowledging the would-be quid pro quo took place, calling it a typical example of “how political will is created.” Ald. Bill Conway is crying foul after Johnson’s administration said they would have the city remove the tents in which people are sleeping downtown only if Conway voted in favor of two pillars of the mayor’s progressive policy agenda.

    * NBC Chicago | J.B. Pritzker, a key Biden surrogate, builds up nonprofit group as 2024 looms: Pritzker’s Think Big America has hired Christina Amestoy as its communications director after she previously worked at the Democratic Governors Association for four years. At the DGA, she was a top communications strategist in competitive governor’s races, including campaigns in Arizona, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nevada and Illinois.

    * ABC Chicago | Illinoisans struggle to find available DMV appointments through new ‘skip the line’ program: Lynn Cannon spent part of her work day scrolling through the Illinois Secretary of State Office’s website, trying to schedule an appointment for her 16-year-old son. “I’ve been looking for over a month, because he’s now eligible to get his first driver’s license and he’s pretty upset that he can’t get it yet,” Cannon said. Each day, she says she logs on at 6:30 a.m., 30 minutes before the secretary of state’s website says new appointments are made available.

    * Crain’s | Chicago’s labor market is driving migration to the city: Chicago is among the national leaders on that metric with the report finding 13.7% of the city’s newcomers moved for a new job. The city sits just behind Boston and Portland, Ore., and outpaces other major metros including New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles when it comes to the percentage of new residents who also shifted employers.

    * Chalkbeat | Many states are moving toward private school choice. Illinois is letting its program lapse: A little over three years ago, Eva Villalobos was searching for a public school for her four daughters, two of whom she had recently adopted in March 2020. […] The price tag for the Catholic school was steep — Villalobos said it cost her almost $20,000 a year for all four children. But her oldest daughter received funding from Illinois’ tax-credit scholarship, Invest in Kids, to bring the price down to about $10,000 a year.

    * Rockford Register Star | Rockford mayor wants power to appoint members to county mental health board: A measure approved easily last week by the General Assembly and headed to Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk would change the board from nine members to 11. The nine current board members are appointed by the Winnebago County Board chairman with the consent of the Winnebago County Board. […] “Since we represent more than 50% of the revenue that’s collected and have some of the greatest need for the services, Rockford should be able to appoint members to that board,” he said.

    * Post-Tribune | Highland Police investigating racial epithet broadcast during council meeting: ighland Police are investigating the identity of the person who snuck a screenshot of a video with a racial epithet through an online meeting platform during the Highland Town Council meeting Monday night. The Town Council had just sat down after the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer to start the meeting when a person using the name “John Williams” posted the screenshot through the meeting platform’s image sharing feature. In it, a Black recording artist who goes by the name London Yellow is seen staring at the camera behind the epithet; the song itself repeats the epithet many times.

    * Grown In | Illinois Town Hall meeting to dive deep into hemp, THC and cannabis business issues : Of course, not all hemp-derived THC proprietors are as invested in regulation and education as Cubbington’s. The licensed industry in Illinois, and all other states, incur considerable costs and operational obstacles that are not required by this new set of competitors. There is also scant information about what goes into a hemp-derived THC product and how it will impact consumers.

    * MJBizDaily | Progress not happening fast enough for marijuana social equity entrepreneurs: Arizona, Illinois and Michigan were among a handful of states over the past year where Black entrepreneurs opened marijuana stores in key markets. In March, Nuggets Dispensary became the first Black-owned business with a marijuana social equity retail license to open in Detroit, four years after the state approved recreational cannabis sales.

    * City Bureau | Missing in Chicago: Part 1: A two-year investigation into how Chicago police handle missing person cases reveals the disproportionate impact on Black women and girls, how police have mistreated family members or delayed cases, and how poor police data is making the problem harder to solve.

    * ABC Chicago | Traffic study finds Chicago police are 6 times more likely to stop Black drivers: Free2Move data shows less than 1% of traffic stops in 2021 resulted in the recovery of things like drugs, alcohol or weapons. They said often broken taillights or headlights are the reason for the stop in the first place.

    * Sun-Times | How to always win at a casino: Stepping into the Medinah Temple had none of the existential sorrow of Vegas casinos. I’d pondered how much to gamble and, more importantly, whether I could expense my losses. While I have in the past stuck the newspaper with a variety of vices in the name of research, from a $200 bottle of champagne at the Ritz-Carlton bar, to table dances and tips to strippers at Thee Doll House on Kingsbury, something told me that Chicago Public Media might look askance at financing my casino spree. So I figured: eat my losses. Besides, a gambler should never bet anything he isn’t prepared to lose. I initially thought: $100 but then dialed it back to $50. Frugal.

    * AP | Gaming pioneer who advised Illinois on riverboat gambling dead at 89: Steve Norton, who ran the first U.S. gambling facility outside Nevada — Resorts casino in Atlantic City — and gave advice around the world on how to set up and operate casinos, has died. He was 89. […] Norton spent more than half a century in the casino industry, running companies and advising state governments on the expansion of gambling, including on riverboats. He helped create the industry’s national trade association and worked to address gambling addiction.

    * TEXT:


  1. - pragmatist - Wednesday, Nov 15, 23 @ 8:23 am:

    Melissa Conyears-Ervin is proving to be a master at getting earned media hits.

  2. - Colors of Fall - Wednesday, Nov 15, 23 @ 9:58 am:

    The SoS skip the line system is not working for this family. Having to wait several weeks to get appt in Springfield is causing a voter in my household to drive on an expired license for now. Should be appointments OR wait in line, not appt only.

  3. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Nov 15, 23 @ 10:33 am:

    It’s not just politics for Pritzker to get involved nationally at this point. This country is under direct threat of autocracy, aided by corporate news media who have normalized the former president and flog “Biden is doing poorly in the polls” a year before the election. Pro-democracy people have their work cut out for them.

  4. - Suburban Mom - Wednesday, Nov 15, 23 @ 10:59 am:

    ===poor police data is making the problem harder to solve.===

    Really cannot stress enough how terrible and unsophisticated police data use is, and outsourcing a lot of it to third-party for-profit companies (like ShotSpotter) in piecemeal fashion means there’s a ton of taxpayer money flowing to systems that do not work, and providers who are not competent. But they get ten years of tax money and then can vanish and start a new scam tech company.

    An absolutely minimal first step is that there should be a state-level commission with expertise in data, forensics, law, etc., that reviews these systems and labels them as “evidence-based” or “magical thinking.”

  5. - DuPage - Wednesday, Nov 15, 23 @ 11:05 am:

    The SOS needs to hire more people, period.

  6. - This is ridiculous... - Wednesday, Nov 15, 23 @ 1:17 pm:

    “The SOS needs to hire more people, period.”

    Welcome to all state agencies. When it takes more than a year to hire someone (from the time you post the job, conduct the interview, and offer a position) it’s either a systemic problem or on purpose. I’m starting to think it’s the later.

  7. - Dotnonymous x - Wednesday, Nov 15, 23 @ 5:16 pm:

    - Besides, a gambler should never bet anything he isn’t prepared to lose. -

    I’m trying to think of a more ridiculous statement…how about , “Alcoholics should limit themselves to just one drink.”

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