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Isabel’s morning briefing

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Chicago could break ground on Brighton Park lot migrant camp today, Block Club reports

    - Crews for GardaWorld — a multinational private security firm hired to build the “winterized base camp” for migrants — began staging equipment and materials Monday at the future migrant shelter.

    - The city has yet to share an environmental impact study. Toxic heavy metals had been found at the site, which has a long history of industrial use.

    - If the site clears all its assessments, it would take at least four days to set up the physical camp and several more days before welcoming residents, according to a city fact sheet.

* Related stories…

* Isabel’s top picks…

    * Sun-Times | Chicago wrongly limited affordable housing with aldermanic prerogative, HUD says: “The department’s investigation indicates that the city affords each of its 50 wards a local veto over proposals to build affordable housing and that many majority-white wards use the local veto to block, deter or downsize such proposals,” wrote Lon Meltesen, regional director of HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “As a result, new affordable housing is rarely, if ever, constructed in the majority-white wards that have the least affordable housing.”

    * Block Club | As City Battles Housing Shortage, CHA Lets Hundreds Of Empty Homes Decay: An investigation by Block Club Chicago and the Illinois Answers Project has found the CHA is sitting on nearly 500 empty homes that are part of its scattered-site program — even as Chicago struggles to address housing crises on multiple fronts, from historically high rents that many families can’t afford to a surge in homelessness to a stream of migrants who need shelter. In all, the CHA owns about 2,900 scattered-site residences dispersed through dozens of neighborhoods. But one out of every six of the homes is empty, and dozens of them have been unoccupied for years, records show.

    * Daily Herald | Schaumburg follows Rosemont’s lead with tax to deter long-term migrant housing at hotels: Schaumburg trustees on Tuesday followed Rosemont’s example of imposing a tax of $1,000 per month on hotel stays of 30 days or more to deter the village’s room inventory from being chosen as a long-term solution for the temporary housing of migrants. […] Schaumburg Village Manager Brian Townsend said he knows migrants who had arrived earlier already have found longer-term housing in the community, and the goal of the hotel tax is not to keep them from coming to Schaumburg.

* Here’s the rest of your morning roundup…

    * Sun-Times | As O’Hare expansion price tag climbs, airport’s two biggest carriers want project scaled back – or grounded: Their concern is “certainly, the cost,” O’Shea said. “Everything is significantly more expensive now than it was before the pandemic. They have stated that air travel, whether it be a combination of business, international, leisure travel — is not where it was in 2019. They’ve been vocal about that, particularly over the last several months.”

    * Crain’s | Pritzker family office launches $190 million venture capital fund:
    The idea to launch a venture fund came up at a corporate strategic retreat a few years ago, Jason Pritzker says. “We’re good at late-stage investing, and if we could get good at early-stage investing, that would be differentiated and allow us to participate in the full life cycle of a company from seed to scale,” he says.

    * Capitol News Illinois | Temporary staffing agencies seek to block new state labor law: A group of temporary staffing agencies and their trade associations are asking a federal court to block enforcement of a new state law that governs how day laborers and temp workers are managed and paid. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Chicago, challenges several changes enacted this year to the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, a law originally passed in 2006 to bring those staffing agencies under state regulation.

    * Tribune | Citing Trump factor, former House GOP leader Jim Durkin takes himself out of Cook County state’s attorney race: “One, it’s difficult enough as a Republican. But more importantly, having Trump, who seems like he is the probable nominee of the party, is going to be even more, I would say, destructive on any Republican running in Cook County based on his performance four years ago,” Durkin said.“If I’m gonna get in the race, I have to know I can win it. I can’t run to compete. I can’t run to make a statement. And I just see no pathway to success under the circumstances in this environment in Cook County,” he said.

    * Daily Herald | Pritzker promises transit fix, talks migrant housing and praises Biden at forum: The issue is “how to manage what is a humanitarian crisis as you’re heading toward potentially a very cold winter,” he said. “This is a bipartisan problem … the challenge of immigration. There ought to be comprehensive immigration reform, there needs to be border security, too. And those things together — it seems like you could get agreement across two parties (in Congress). It hasn’t happened,” Pritzker said.

    * Crain’s | Old Post Office deal takes over Burke trial as ex-planning chief testifies: The Old Post Office had fallen into disrepair by the time Reifman was appointed to the city position by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The building’s rehabilitation was so important to Emanuel that the city had initially moved to seize it through eminent domain to find a new owner capable of major renovations. But after development firm 601W, whose owners Burke is accused of shaking down to drive business to his property tax firm, Klafter & Burke, agreed to buy the property, the city ended the eminent domain proceedings and worked with the company to obtain tax credits that both parties thought were necessary to make the $800 million project feasible.

    * CBS Chicago | Jurors hear wiretapped conversations between former Ald. Ed Burke, government mole Danny Solis: In a video clip, Burke is seen and heard saying in his office, “Give Danny a call - I think he’s going to be a main player in this whole process.” The 2016 video is shaky and does not catch Burke’s every move. But his words were clear. “I’m sitting here with Danny Solis,” Burke says. “Are you hearing anything from the GC on the Post Office deal?”

    * Tribune | ‘While you’re at it, recommend the good firm of Klafter & Burke’: Jurors in ex-Ald. Ed Burke corruption trial hear first secret recordings by FBI mole Daniel Solis: After some seemingly innocuous conversation about the project’s New York-based developers and local contractors who’d be vying for work, Burke made an unsolicited comment that surely perked up the ears of the FBI agents listening in the wire room. “Well, while you’re at it, recommend the good firm of Klafter & Burke to do the tax work,” Burke told Solis on the Aug. 26, 2016, recording, which was played for the jury in Burke’s corruption trial Tuesday.

    * Sun-Times | FBI agent tells how morning visit led to ex-Ald. Danny Solis wearing a wire on longtime colleague Ed Burke: The look-back at the origins of the Burke probe came on the eve of the five-year anniversary of the FBI raid that eventually went down on Burke’s offices on Nov. 29, 2018. But McDonald also made clear that Burke was not the target the feds originally had in their sights when they flipped Solis in June 2016. Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur asked McDonald if there was “any expectation at the outset of [Solis’] cooperation that it would have anything to do with Edward Burke?” McDonald answered, “no.”

    * Shaw Local | Morgan Phillips to run for 105th District state rep seat: “I am running for office because I think young people must be more involved in politics,” Phillips said in a news release. “I want to be a voice for the future in Springfield to help assure that even 60 years into the future, we have access to the same or better resources as previous generations.” Phillips grew up in rural Lostant. She attended Lostant Grade School, Putnam County High School and graduated from the Illinois Math and Science Academy. She continued her education at Illinois Valley Community College and earned her bachelor’s degree at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

    * WLPO | Race To Replace Yednock Heating Up With Five Candidates Filing Paperwork: Five candidates on Monday turned in paperwork to replace Democrat State Representative Lance Yednock in the 76th District. Democrats vying for the seat are: Amy Briel of Ottawa and Cohen Barnes and Carolyn Zasada both of DeKalb. Republicans going after the House seat are Crystal Loughran of Peru and Liz Bishop of La Salle. Also in the House, Democrat Morgan Phillips of Lostant is seeking the 105th District seat. She will oppose either Republican Incumbent Dennis Tipsword of Metamora or Donald Rients of Benson. Both of those men filed petitions on Monday.

    * Sun-Times | Chicago CRED receives ‘transformational’ $21 million grant from Sue Ling Gin Foundation to fight gun violence: Chicago CRED, founded by former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, works primarily on the South and West sides to reduce violence through a holistic approach, including life coaching, outreach and job training. Duncan said the grant will allow Chicago CRED to scale its work in North Lawndale and Roseland and expand to more neighborhoods.

    * AP | Sports Illustrated is the latest media company damaged by an AI experiment gone wrong: On Monday, the Futurism website reported that Sports Illustrated used stories for product reviews that had authors it could not identify. Futurism found a picture of one author listed, Drew Ortiz, on a website that sells AI-generated portraits. […] Upon questioning Sports Illustrated, Futurism said all of the authors with AI-generated portraits disappeared from the magazine’s website. No explanation was offered.

    * Crain’s | With attendance up, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has reason to toot its horn : The pandemic was daunting for all performing arts organizations, but the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has bounced back better than most. It helps to be one of the premier orchestras in the world. With $22.1 million in ticket sales for the 2023 fiscal year that ended June 30, the organization is close to pre-pandemic levels. Paid attendance of 270,000 was up 29% from 2022, but is slightly below 2019. As is the case with other arts organizations, annual fundraising is not all the way back, while inflation has boosted expenses.

    * Sun-Times | Postal police would return to the street to help stamp out mail carrier assaults under new bill in Congress: The Postal Police Reform Act will be introduced to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. They hope the bill will be more successful than a House-sponsored one with the same name. That bill, also bipartisan, was first introduced in 2021, stalled, and then was reintroduced earlier this year.


  1. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 8:16 am:

    If HUD can end “aldermanic prerogative” in this area, it would remove an opportunity for corruption. A step in the right direction.

  2. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 8:27 am:

    I hope they don’t have to break too much ground because the ground is frozen now.

  3. - Chicago Voter - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 8:36 am:

    There will be predictable harms associated with concentrating asylum seekers in large congregate settings.

    I’ve been dismayed to hear the Governor refer to this poor housing option as necessary for people with disabilities.

    Congregate settings in Illinois don’t tend to do well by people with disabilities.

  4. - Banish Misfortune - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 8:36 am:

    Re staffing companies, don’t forget that is how companies avoided responsibility for hiring children, illegally, in dangerous and often deadly jobs. Through their coordination with staffing companies, they claimed that they were not responsible even though the children were at their places of business every day.

  5. - Chicago Voter - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 8:52 am:

    There will be predictable harms associated with concentrating asylum seekers in large congregate settings.

    I’ve been dismayed to hear the Governor refer to this poor housing option as necessary for people with disabilities.

    Large congregate settings in Illinois don’t tend to do well by people with disabilities and I expect one run by GardaWorld will do even worse.

  6. - Gravitas - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 8:53 am:

    Morning snark!

    It’s time for Jim Durkin to pack his bags and retire to Florida. Oh, wait! Trump is from Florida and he has probably ruined the “Sunshine State” too. It’s impossible for Republicans to win Florida elections due to Trump.

  7. - DS - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 8:53 am:

    MLL was right about aldermanic prerogative.

  8. - The Truth - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 9:01 am:

    Seeing Durkin wisely take himself out of the running underscores the scary trend nationwide: in order to make it onto a ballot as Republican, you have to be kinda loony at this point. Maybe it’ll start to change in 2026.

  9. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 10:12 am:

    The alderpeople who used their prerogative to commit racial discrimination in housing should face severe legal consequences.

  10. - Gravitas - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 10:35 am:

    Any truth to the story that Durkin did not have sufficient petition signatures? Fioretti has been collecting signatures since September. Durkin started toying with the campaign rather late.

    The GOP minimum is 1,997 signatures. Turning in 4,000 seemed easy enough for an organized candidate.

  11. - Amalia - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 10:39 am:

    That alder prerogative matter will now require that alders will have to be proactive in finding good projects instead of waiting for a project, screaming no, and putting in some nonsense that they want but could get no other way. or just straight up threatening that an entire project of affordable housing is coming and the end is near. some of those alders are specialists in fear mongering.

  12. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 11:00 am:

    == some of those alders are specialists in fear mongering.==

    Sposato and Napolitano are Italian, Gardiner is Irish. Ethnic groups that faced discrimination in the past yet see no issue with discriminating against Black and Latinx people.

  13. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 11:23 am:

    Durkin’s assertions aside, the Democrat’s problems are just as bad and are getting much worse

    “About six-in-ten Americans (61%) say they have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, and a nearly identical share (60%) rate the Democratic Party unfavorably.

    The negative turn in evaluations of the Democratic Party is more recent than for the Republican Party, with public views more mixed for much of the last decade and a half – and in positive territory for most of the mid-1990s through 2000s. In recent years, views of the Democratic Party have been more unfavorable than favorable and are now at their most negative point in the last three decades.

  14. - The Truth - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 11:29 am:

    the Democrat’s problems are just as bad and are getting much worse

    your point would make sense if the Pew survey was conducted solely in Cook County

  15. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 11:32 am:

    Well when Fox News and other places constantly lie about Democrats while low-information voters lap it up what do you expect LP?

  16. - Pundent - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 12:21 pm:

    =the Democrat’s problems are just as bad and are getting much worse=

    Your “take” on things continues to be completely detached from reality. The lack of any statewide GOP office holders, achieving super minority legislative status, and battles like Bost-Bailey trying to out Trump each other leave Durkin out in the cold. Their simply is no comparable dumpster fire on the Democratic side in Illinois. But you and the ILGOP go right ahead in arguing otherwise. The voters will continue to remind you that you’re wrong.

  17. - Hannibal Lecter - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 12:25 pm:

    I am sure the issue for Durkin is that he realized he has a 0% chance of winning. Why waste the time and money on a fool’s errand?

  18. - Lurker - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 12:56 pm:

    Big Dipper, when you happily vote for people like Blago, Madigan, or any of the other Democrats that will be doing jail time and then you defend it as a wise vote, I think that has more to do with the unfavorable. And on a national level, add in your leader which any sane person agrees is simply too old. I’d say those are major contributors to the negative trend.
    The Truth, good point. National and Cook are simply not correlated.

  19. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 1:36 pm:

    Trump is almost as old as Biden and deranged. Blago and Madigan are both out of office. Blago worshipped Nixon and is a Trump fanboy so hardly a real Democrat.

  20. - Pundent - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 1:39 pm:

    =any sane person agrees is simply too old=

    The presumptive Republican nominee thinks he was still President in 2021. So maybe that sanity litmus test should be tweaked a bit.

  21. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 1:45 pm:

    Also we have a presumption of innocence in this country which I would think with your leader under multiple indictments you might favor. So to assume Madigan will be convicted is showing your partisanship.

  22. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 2:17 pm:

    Only Brandon’s close friends and family don’t consider his administration a dumpster fire

  23. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 3:23 pm:

    Do you refer to all Chicago mayors by their first names or just certain ones?

  24. - Pundent - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 4:13 pm:

    =Only Brandon’s close friends and family don’t consider his administration a dumpster fire=

    And yet Jim Durkin acknowledges that the Republican brand makes running for SA impossible. And the goal here LP is to win races not simply say “Democrats bad.”

  25. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 4:59 pm:

    Perhaps the goal should be to govern effectively- better education and public safety, economic development instead of just winning elections and rewarding your friends

    you know the core functions of government

  26. - Pundent - Wednesday, Nov 29, 23 @ 9:02 pm:

    =Perhaps the goal should be to govern effectively- better education and public safety, economic development instead of just winning elections and rewarding your friends=

    That sounds an awful lot like an endorsement for JB Pritzker. Makes sense since I haven’t seen a GOP candidate in the state that meets your criteria in a long, long time.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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