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Isabel’s morning briefing

Thursday, Nov 30, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Burke case judge to consider granting a mistrial, Jon Seidel at the Sun-Times writes

    - This comes after prosecutors elicited a comment from a witness Wednesday about the “Chicago way of doing business” being “very corrupt.”
    - Layers will file written briefs early today.
    -When Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur explained that she did not expect Amtrak executive Ray Lang to make the comment at issue, Kendall quickly asked the veteran prosecutor, “What were you expecting him to say?”

* Related stories…

* …Adding…Here’s an update from Jason Meisner

* Jon Seidel

* Isabel’s top picks…

    * Sun-Times | Black utility workers in lawsuit allege they face discrimination while working at Peoples Gas: She is among 11 former and current Peoples Gas employees who filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Peoples Gas, alleging that Black workers and customers were sexualized by non-Black workers and faced racial slurs. The lawsuit alleges that Black workers are relegated to an area that serves the South Side, and they frequently get assigned to jobs in neighborhoods without security where some have faced attacks. The workers also allege that Peoples Gas did not do enough after concerns were raised about workplace racism and hazards.

    * Tribune | Illinois grape growers prepare to take on the invasive spotted lanternfly after first sighting this fall: The black spotted insects were identified for the first time in Illinois in September. Since then, there’s been at least seven more positive sightings, according to Scott Schirmer, the nursery and northern field office section manager at the Illinois Department of Agriculture. One of them was in DuPage County, while the rest were in southern Cook County, he said.

    * WTTW | Teacher Vacancies in Illinois Disproportionately Impact Students of Color: Report: Advance Illinois breaks down in its latest report, “The State of Our Educator Pipeline 2023,” how school districts across the state are struggling to fill special education and bilingual teaching positions. The organization said that’s having a disproportionate impact on Black and Latino students. “Most tragically, students of color and students from low-income households are dramatically more likely to be in districts with high vacancy levels, more than twice the vacancy rates than the rest of state,” said Robin Steans, president of Advance Illinois.

* Here’s the rest of your morning roundup…

    * Crain’s | Opponents of Illinois’ assault-weapons ban file emergency plea at U.S. Supreme Court:
    “The 7th Circuit’s decision was manifestly erroneous,” says the emergency application filed in National Association for Gun Rights v. City of Naperville. Besides the gun rights group, the opponents include Robert C. Bevis, owner of Law Weapons & Supply in Naperville, and their challenge applies as well to a separate Naperville ordinance prohibiting assault weapons.

    * Daily Herald | Study: Illinois, other Midwestern states behind on renewable energy: Five Midwestern states — Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin — are lagging behind other states when it comes to renewable energy, a new study from environmental organization The Nature Conservancy reports. In Illinois, almost 20% of generated electricity comes from wind and solar as of March 2023. While that’s more than triple the amount generated a decade earlier, the state’s renewable portfolio pales in comparison to states such as Iowa, South Dakota and Oklahoma that are each generating more than 50% of their electricity from solar and wind.

    * QC Times | Henry County board member announces candidancy for Illinois’ 37th State Senate District: Republican Henry County Board member Tim Wager is running for the 37th State Senate District in Illinois. Republican Sen. Win Stoller holds the seat. Stoller was elected in 2020 and announced in August that he would not seek reelection.

    * Center Square | Illinois’ cannabis industry seeking changes to increase licensing: During the fall veto session, advocates and lawmakers discussed an amendment to a measure to make it easier for small growers and address a lack of licenses for transporters. State Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, said the amendment does three things, including cutting application fees.

    * Tribune | Biden EPA proposes requirements for utilities to remove toxic lead water pipes within a decade; Chicago likely to get more time: More than 9 million homes nationwide get their drinking water from a service line made of lead. Chicago has 400,000 of the toxic pipes, more than any other city. Illinois has more than any other state.

    * BGA | Johnson Proposes Historically Large Pay Raises for Police: Johnson’s proposal includes a 5% salary bump for FOP-represented police in 2024 and 2025, up from the 2.5% and 2% raises for those years that were agreed upon in the Lightfoot administration’s extension. A larger raise for 2024 was not included in the roughly $2 billion appropriation for the police department passed by City Council earlier this month, meaning approval of a contract with Johnson’s proposed terms would immediately put the city approximately $27.7 million over budget for 2024.

    * Tribune | Protesters in Brighton Park speak out against migrant camp as construction begins: The construction begins after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday that the state would take an increased role in opening the tent encampment, a location chosen by the city that appears to be the most expedient option. The state will foot the cost of operating the Brighton Park lot as part of its $160 million contribution to migrant services in Chicago.

    * Shaw Local | State Police gun violence prevention effort requires broad input: The Illinois State Police issued a news release Monday touting its updated Clear and Present Danger reporting system, through which education, medical and law enforcement professionals submit information about people believed to pose a significant threat. ISP evaluates the reports against the person’s status within the Firearm Owner’s Identification program.

    * SJ-R | ‘A capital place for giants’: Museum has village of Atlanta thinking big: “I’ll never forget it,” recalled Thomas. “It was my job to go to Atlanta’s then-mayor (Bill Martin). I sat down at his kitchen table, and I can remember looking at him across the table, saying, ‘Bill, how would you like a 19-foot-tall statue of a guy holding a hot dog right downtown?’ To his ever-lasting credit, he didn’t pause for more than three seconds, and said, ‘Sure, I think that sounds like a great idea.’”

    * Bloomberg | Chicago billionaire Byron Trott is in talks for minority stake in Miami Dolphins: Trott, the chairman and co-chief executive officer of merchant bank BDT & MSD Partners, may be taking part in the discussions with another prospective investor, according to one of the people. The negotiations are preliminary and could end with Trott deciding not to invest. Bloomberg News reported earlier this month that billionaire Ken Griffin is in talks with Ross to buy a minority stake in the team, the Hard Rock Stadium and the F1 Miami Grand Prix.

    * Crain’s | McDonald’s secretive new restaurant is getting set to open in Bolingbrook: A peek at the menu reveals beverages like a S’Mores Cold Brew, a Churro Frappe and a Blueberry Ginger Boost, but more familiar McDonald’s fare such as the Egg McMuffin is also on display.

    * Sun-Times | Arthur Williams, beloved circulation desk worker at the Brookfield Library, dies at 52: Countless children will never forget getting their first library card, with Mr. Williams speaking to them like they were readers of any age about to embark on a special journey. “These touches, these small things was how he got to know the community and in return he just developed these long lasting relationships,” Coughran said.

    * WJBC | No holiday displays this season at the Illinois Capitol due to ongoing construction: Rabbi Meir Moscowitz of the group responsible for the annual menorah display, Lubavich Chabad of Illinois, does not sound as if the one-year absence has thrown him. “We’re definitely going to put up the menorah somewhere – not sure yet where. Every year we put more and more menorahs. It’s like the holiday itself: every night, you light one more candle.”


  1. - CentralILCentrist - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 8:10 am:

    “granting a minstrel…” ?? Interesting faux pas. I know it’s early, just finding levity in all of life’s mistakes

  2. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 8:21 am:

    Gotta meet those billable hours quotas.

  3. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 8:34 am:

    “Chicago way of doing business” being “very corrupt.”
    Isn’t that what the trial is all about?

  4. - Jose Abreu's Next Homerun - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 8:54 am:

    Mayor Johnson has already racked up $1,725 in red light/speeding tickets due to his drivers. He has yet to pay them.

  5. - JoanP - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 9:02 am:

    = Burke case judge to consider granting a minstrel =

    Because the feds have witnesses who are “singing”?

    (I’m guessing we can thank auto-correct for that.)

  6. - Isabel Miller - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 9:06 am:

    == “granting a minstrel…” ?? ==

    Sorry about that! Fixed now.

  7. - Rabid - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 9:18 am:

    Government says forget about it. It’s the Chicago way

  8. - MOON - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 9:24 am:

    The judges ruling on this matter is a good basis for appeal if needed.

  9. - Homebody - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 9:25 am:

    Getting a mistrial is very, very, very hard in most cases at both the state and federal level. Though it could also just seem hard to get a mistrial because defendants who are guilty as sin love to scream MISTRIAL(banned punctuation) every time anything even bordering not perfect occurs.

  10. - supplied_demand - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 9:49 am:

    We get 20% of power from solar/wind and 50% from nuclear. Seems like generating 70% of our power without emissions should be the story.

  11. - MOON - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 9:59 am:


    Assume for a moment you are Burke.

    Would you scream MISTRIAL(banned punctuation)?

  12. - TNR - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 10:03 am:

    The painting of the city burning behind Burke provides a nice metaphor.

  13. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 11:16 am:

    Love the arrogance of the guy who bragged on tape that we don’t want no one nobody sent complaining that a witness is prejudicial by claiming the Chicago way is inherently corrupt

  14. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 11:31 am:

    “Crain’s, Opponents of Illinois’ assault-weapons ban file emergency plea at U.S. Supreme Court”

    Amy Coney Barrett is the “circuit justice,” for emergency appeals from Illinois. She has shown a history of deferring to the “history and tradition” to see whether there is a historical precedent for the restriction”

    Will be interesting to see if she rules on her own, or if she refers it to the full court. She also could order the state to file a brief. Should know if a few days,permissible%20under%20the%20Second%20Amendment.

  15. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Nov 30, 23 @ 11:42 am:

    Re: the outstanding red light and speeding ticket violations from Mayor Johnson’s drivers in the amount of $1, 725.

    Perhaps someone could set up a payment plan.

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