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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Rick Pearson

* Illinois Realtors are about to drop a $1 million campaign against Bring Chicago Home, says Crain’s

“We’re going to tell Chicago voters that it will harm the city if you create another real estate tax in a city where we’re already overly burdened with real estate taxes,” Jeff Baker, CEO of Springfield-based Illinois Realtors, said in a meeting with several Crain’s reporters on Jan. 30. […]

Baker told Crain’s that “in the next week or so,” the group will roll out a digital ad campaign on social media and streaming services, and plans to spend “about $1 million.”

On the other side, the lead organizers of support for the proposal had raised about $700,000 as of mid-January, Justin Laurence reported for Crain’s.

Illinois Realtors’ campaign against the proposal will entail “about four to six weeks of digital ads, mail and media outreach and get-out-the vote fieldwork,” Baker said, “to try to get the message out as much as possible that we think BHC will be harmful to the real estate economy of the city.”

* Meanwhile… supporters of the referendum on a graduated real estate transfer tax reported a $200,000 contribution today from the Chicago Teachers Union. The committee, End Homelessness, supporting Bring Chicago Home, ended the fourth quarter with about $744K in the bank and has so far reported raising about $245K this calendar year.”

* Press release…

Fire officials and elected leaders today joined together to announce new, first-of-its-kind technology in Illinois will be implemented for south suburban fire departments that will improve emergency response times and emergency care for southland residents.
Through a state grant awarded by Sen. Michael Hastings, south suburban fire departments will soon begin implementing new technology called CentralSquare Unify that will sync dispatch services among fire protection districts signed up for the program. In effect, the new technology will provide instant alerts to south suburban fire protection districts when additional assistance is needed to respond to emergencies.
“A state grant will allow southland fire districts participating in this program to implement technology that we have not yet seen in Illinois,” Hastings said. “The new Unify program will allow for quicker emergency response for our communities.”
With a $600,000 state grant, the CentralSquare Unify program is being led by the Orland Park Fire Protection District and includes participation from numerous south suburban fire districts signed up for the program: Blue Island, Calumet City, Chicago Heights, Country Club Hills, Garden Homes Fire Protection District, Glenwood, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Lemont, Matteson, Merrionette Park, Oak Forest, Palos Fire Protection District, Park Forest, Richton Park, Riverdale, South Holland, Thornton, and Tinley Park. The goal is to expand the technology to as many south suburban fire protection districts as possible to ensure seamless and instant communication capabilities and improve emergency response times.

* Press release…

U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) today announced that his campaign has raised over $468,000 in the final quarter of 2023 and has a war chest of over $1.35 million cash-on-hand.

“Our campaign is firing on all cylinders when it matters most; and our momentum only continues to grow,” said Bost. “We have a conservative message and record of results that our opponent seems unable to refute, and a dominant lead in fundraising that our opponent seems unable to narrow. I can’t thank Southern Illinois Republicans enough for buying into our movement and ensuring we have resources necessary to fight back against the false attacks that keep coming our way.”

* Here’s the rest…

    * Crain’s | Chicago DNC to receive donation from an unlikely ally: Atlanta’s DNC committee: During a brief phone call on Jan. 12 with Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens mentioned that the city’s civic and corporate leaders were still interested in helping the DNC this August, despite losing their bid to host the event last spring. That conversation led to a commitment from a group of around 15 Georgia fundraisers who plan to give at least $500,000 to the Chicago convention, a senior official in Atlanta told Crain’s. The donation will mark the first time a bid committee from a city that once competed for the convention has donated to the host city, said Natalie Edelstein, a spokesperson for the Chicago host committee.

    * WTTW | Effort to Remove Donald Trump From the Illinois Primary Ballot Continues in State Court: The case was filed Tuesday afternoon, hours after the Trump objectors’ initial attempt to knock the former president from the ballot failed. The Trump objectors, working in concert with the group Free Speech for People, had asked members of the Illinois State Board of Election to ban him from running for president in Illinois.

    * AP | Some Republican leaders are pushing back against the conservative Freedom Caucus in statehouses: In state capitols around the country, Republican legislative leaders are pushing back against a growing network of conservative lawmakers attempting to pull the party further to the right with aggressive tactics aimed not at Democrats but at members of their own party. The infighting has put a spotlight on Republican fissures heading into the November elections, even as former President Donald Trump has been consolidating party support.

    * Fox 32 | IDOT workers rally in Schaumburg to demand fair contract: Teamsters Local 700 President Ramon Williams emphasized the significance of these essential workers, stating, “These hardworking, essential workers help keep our roads safe and our economy moving, especially during the pandemic. They deserve a fair contract that recognizes the value of their work.” Williams continued, urging the State of Illinois to return to the bargaining table with a fair offer that compensates these members without compromising their health and welfare benefits.

    * SJ-R | ‘Important effort’: Illinois Underground Railroad Task Force works to connect projects: “When I see people experiencing through tears and stuff, I see them identifying with what we go through, and I also see them identifying with their own loss of not knowing this (story),” said Wilson, the museum’s founding executive director. “We have people in Jacksonville who didn’t know (the Underground Railroad) was here and we advertise all the time.

    * Tribune | Ex-city official gets 18 months in prison for role concealing multimillion-dollar embezzlement scheme that led to Bridgeport bank collapse: William Mahon, 57, pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to falsify bank records to deceive federal regulators and hide millions in collateral-free loans authorized by then-bank President John Gembara that had essentially turned Washington Federal into a piggy bank for insiders and friends.

    * Sun-Times | 3 charged in scheme directing migrants to shoplift in exchange for fake IDs, sheriff says: Three Mexican nationals had directed recent Venezuelan migrants to steal items from Magnificent Mile stores in exchange for identity cards that would allow them to get jobs, Sheriff Tom Dart said Tuesday. Police discovered the pattern after speaking to dozens of migrants with nearly identical stories, Dart said.

    * Tribune | Video shows educators at University of Chicago charter school mock special education student, call him ‘dumb’: The incident, which was recorded on another student’s cellphone, took place at the UC Charter School’s Woodlawn campus in December 2022. The Tribune reviewed the minute-long video, which offered a troubling glimpse inside the publicly funded high school overseen by the prestigious university.

    * Daily Herald | Additional schools could see relief from O’Hare airplane racket with soundproofing subsidies: It’s been about 10 years since the last of 124 schools near O’Hare was soundproofed. But in 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration approved the city’s Terminal Area Plan which includes a new terminal and concourses, and resulted in an updated noise contour around O’Hare.

    * Crain’s | Boeing CEO says ‘we caused the problem’ in Alaska Air blowout: “While we often use this time of year to share or update our financial and operational objectives, now is not the time for that,” [Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun] told employees in a memo. “We will simply focus on every next airplane while doing everything possible to support our customers, follow the lead of our regulator and ensure the highest standard of safety and quality in all that we do.”

    * Crain’s | Boeing’s move to Chicago was a win for the city. But was it good for Boeing?: The ensuing decades have seen the once-lauded aerospace firm humbled by a string of disasters, the latest a blowout of a cabin panel in midflight. The Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 landed safely, and no lives were lost — in contrast to the 346 who died in two 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019. Since then, Boeing has struggled with head-spinning public relations problems, red ink and added costs, settlements and penalties exceeding $20 billion. Its stock, off about 20% since the Jan. 5 Alaska Airlines fiasco, trades at less than half of what it did before the last 737 crash.

    * NYT | The Most Powerful Person in Publishing Doesn’t Like to Talk About Himself: Mr. Malaviya’s primary goal is growth. After the collapse of the Simon & Schuster deal, it became clear Penguin Random House could not buy its way out of the decline, so much of its growth will have to come organically — by selling more books. Mr. Malaviya said that, hopefully, A.I. will help, making it easier to publish more titles without hiring ever more employees. The company has continued to acquire smaller publishers, like Hay House in the United States and Roca Editorial in Spain.

    * AP | Science sleuths are using technology to find fakery and plagiarism in published research: Allegations of research fakery at a leading cancer center have turned a spotlight on scientific integrity and the amateur sleuths uncovering image manipulation in published research. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, announced Jan. 22 it’s requesting retractions and corrections of scientific papers after a British blogger flagged problems in early January.

    * Block Club | Chance The Rapper Playing Bridgeport’s Revived Ramova Theatre: Chance is the first major touring act to take to the stage at the Ramova, the long-closed former movie house that reopened late last year as a concert venue, brewery and diner. Chance is among the investors and co-owners of the historical theater alongside fellow South Side musicians Jennifer Hudson and Quincy Jones.


  1. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 2:28 pm:

    Whatever “educator” that did that to the child at University of Chicago charter school should be fired immediately. Not put on administrative leave but fired and maybe take a few administrators out too

  2. - The Truth - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 2:40 pm:

    I am surprised to not see WGN’s Ben Bradley report on Tiffany Henyard in the mix here. Definitely worth a search ‘n watch.

  3. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 2:41 pm:

    ===to not see WGN’s Ben Bradley report===

    Was in the morning roundup. Keep up.

  4. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 2:51 pm:

    Man, if Realtors and their allies were smart, they’d do everything they can to make this a referendum on the Mayor

  5. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 2:52 pm:

    ===they’d do everything they can to make this a referendum on the Mayor ===


  6. - This - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 2:58 pm:

    As much as I am a Joe Biden fan, advocates for removing Trump from the ballot play right into Trump’s hand, spin, narrative, etc. We Democrats will beat him at the ballot box, not through legal maneuvers.

  7. - Gravitas - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 3:12 pm:

    The objectors opposing Trump are in a tight spot. They must seek judicial review within 5 days of the State Officers Electoral Board issuing its written decision. It may be a waste of time.

    SCOTUS is supposed to take up the Colorado ballot case on February 8th. The Illinois court filings may be a moot issue if SCOTUS rules in favor of Trump appearing on the ballot.

  8. - Just a guy - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 3:34 pm:

    Per some of the comments here, definitely wise for realtors to push the narrative around MBJ’s action (or inaction) overall as it relates to Bring Home Chicago. Again, I’d be supportive of something like this - if they could actually share a PLAN for what the money would be used for. Given the debacle we see right now with the migrant crisis costing the city $1.5 million a day - and funding to run out in April - what’s the plan for the monies raised from this new program?

  9. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 3:38 pm:

    The U of C charter school “incident” should be forwarded to anyone asked to vote for education tax credits.

  10. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 3:41 pm:

    ===vote for education tax credits===

    Huh? They’re not private schools.

  11. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 3:55 pm:

    I want to make sure I got this right:

    One of the best PACs in the state is doing a campaign on a tax increase referendum. At the same time, the PR guy just a few weeks ago laid off his entire staff due to lack of clients, and advised Paul Vallas on how to lose a mayoral campaign, is also leading a separate media campaign and asking successful (aka rich people who inherited their wealth) to give him money for TV ads, where he will collect the standard media buy commission of 20%?

    This media buy campaign is going to actually make fighting the tax increase harder. The “successful” people will all want the message to be about how the tax increase will hurt their industry that is filled with very rich people, and the person collecting his 20% won’t care that the message will fall on the deaf ears of voters who hate rich people.

    All those donors should just give their money to the Realtors PAC since they apparently know what they’re doing.

  12. - Frida's boss - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 4:36 pm:

    Realtors are late to the game.
    CTU/DSA/UWF have been knocking on doors for weeks.

    I agree with the earlier commentator only way to win this is to frame it as the Brandon Johnson initiative. Can’t trust him to spend money on its correct sources. Money for sewers- going to migrants, money for black neighborhoods- going to migrants, money for education - going to migrants etc etc.

  13. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Jan 31, 24 @ 5:00 pm:

    = Not put on administrative leave but fired and maybe take a few administrators out too=

    Not sure you understand how work place rules work. If they are union then there is a CBA they must abide by or these people will actually profit from their behavior. And if admin address the issue properly then your comment regarding their removal is just ridiculous.

    Man, CTU is really branching out. At some point I think all of this political activity could backfire on them. In a lot of ways.

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