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Isabel’s morning briefing

Thursday, Feb 22, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Democratic PAC loses appeal of massive fines for not timely reporting campaign spending. Tribune

    - All for Justice, an independent expenditure PAC backed by Illinois Senate President Don Harmon was fined $108,500 by the board last year for failing to timely file detailed expenditure reports in spending $7.3 million to help elect Elizabeth Rochford and Mary Kay O’Brien to the Illinois Supreme Court.
    - The eight member board, made up of four Democrats and four Republicans, ultimately voted 8-0 to reject the PAC’s requests and let the fines stand.
    - The fines were among the largest ever levied by the election board.

* Isabel’s top picks…

* Here’s a clip of Rep. Maurice West on the sax last night

* Here’s the rest of your morning roundup…

    * Daily Herald | Foster, Rashid to debate issues facing Congress in virtual forum Feb. 28: The Democratic candidates for Illinois’ 11th Congressional District seat will participate next week in an online forum hosted by the League of Women Voters Naperville. U.S. Rep. Bill Foster and challenger Qasim Rashid, both of Naperville, are slated to attend the Feb. 28 event, which is set for 7 p.m. on Zoom.

    * Daily Herald | ‘No pressure being exerted’: Arlington Heights mayor denies taking sides in Bears vs. schools tax battle: Citing records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Daily Herald reported in December that village officials had worked for months behind the scenes to develop the memorandum with the Bears, Northwest Suburban High School District 214, Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 and Palatine Township Elementary District 15. But the document — which resolves other issues related to the Bears’ proposed $5 billion redevelopment — hasn’t moved forward amid key sticking points on the assessment and tax payments at the sprawling property the Bears purchased a year ago.

    * Daily Herald | Kane County dismisses bipartisan push for statement on migrant busing: The county board deadlocked in an 11-11 vote at its most recent meeting on allowing a discussion and possible official proclamation stating the county’s position on the migrant busing situation. The absence of two members and the resulting tie vote quashed the proclamation push. County board Chair Corinne Pierog opted not to break the tie, though she indicated she would not support discussion on the topic. She referenced a neutral statement crafted by members of the Metro West Council of Governments, which represents various Kane County municipalities.

    * Tribune | State picks up travel tab for migrants who want to leave Chicago: At least 3,194 individuals have received financial support from the state of Illinois to reunite with friends and family in other states and U.S. cities since mid-November, according to state data provided to the Tribune on Feb. 14. The state has spent over $620,000 on travel tickets and taxi fares to airports, trains or bus stations to connect with family and friends, which city and state officials call “diversion and outmigration.” “Using these funds to quickly connect new arrivals with their next step is significantly cheaper than moving people into shelters. The state plans to continue using funds in this way for the foreseeable future,” said Daisy Contreras, a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Human Services.

    * WREX | Parents, advocates claim current Medicaid policies around mental health could endanger lives: Most recently, Cotton had to send her ailing child to Missouri, one of few options she says would take her state Medicaid. Previously, she took even more action to get her child residential mental healthcare by getting what’s called a “Family Support Program” (FSP) grant. The grant program allows families to access residential mental healthcare along with other intensive services. The problems are twofold according to people familiar with the grant process. The first according to Cotton is that it puts too much stress on parents.

    * ABC Chicago | Rivian layoffs for 10 percent of salaried workers announced after EV company’s earnings call: Rivian has a total of 16,700 employees but would not disclose how many of those are considered salaried employees. Rivian has previously, on two different occasions, laid off 6% of its workforce, as the company has looked to reduce its losses. Sales of electric vehicles has not expanded as rapidly in the past year as it had before, and automakers have blamed high interest rates for some of that slow-down. At the same time, Tesla has aggressively cut prices of its vehicles, putting pressure on other automakers. Ford, for instance, recently announced it was deeply cutting prices of its Mustang Mach-E, a direct competitor to the Tesla Model Y SUV.

    * WTTW | Cook County Funds Purchase of Two Hotels in Effort to Provide Stable Housing, Necessary Supports: The Margarita Inn is one of two hotels bought with Cook County funding.  It’s a move Tavoularis said is working.  “It’s showing that it’s much more impactful,” Tavoularis said. “So prior to the pandemic in that congregant setting, about 40% of the folks that we worked with would exit into a stable housing situation. Here at the Margarita, 70% of the folks that have ever come through here exit into a stable housing position.”

    * Crain’s | Bally’s says it’s still on track to open new casino in 2026: Bally’s says it’s going to start demolition of the former Tribune printing plant in July to make way for a permanent Chicago casino that will take more than 18 months to build. The gambling company told analysts Feb. 21 that it expects to open the new casino in the third quarter of 2026, despite a recent change in the hotel component of the facility because of water pipes underground.

    * ABC Chicago | Chicago police traffic stops skyrocket after CPD ends stop-and-frisk, data shows: Vehicle stops by Chicago police have surged since 2016, according to an analysis of traffic stop data that the city is required to report to state officials. In the same year that CPD agreed to limit its use of stop-and-frisk, CPD made 187,000 traffic stops citywide.

    * ABC Chicago | Driven by Race: Chicago’s persistent problem of Black and white traffic stops: A new I-Team analysis of police records found that of more than 2 million traffic stops by Chicago police since 2016, 60% were Black drivers, even though Black residents make up 27% of the city’s population. White drivers made up 13% of traffic stops, and are 32% of Chicago’s population.

    * Daily Herald | New owners of former Sears HQ meet Hoffman Estates business community at mayor’s forum: Speaking before a gathering of the Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the mayor introduced representatives of the company to explain their planned repurposing of the site where 2.4 million square feet of vacant office space lies.

    * Lake County News-Sun | Waukegan mayor blasts challenger for skipping meeting to search for burglars; ‘I’m disturbed (he) … has chosen to prowl around the city’: Waukegan’s City Council adjourned within minutes of convening Tuesday when there was an insufficient number of members present to reach a quorum of five, as Ald. Keith Turner, 6th Ward, announced beforehand he would miss the meeting while “creeping around” looking for car burglars. […] Though the City Council was unable to meet, a sufficient number of members of the council’s Finance and Purchasing Committee were there to unanimously recommend a $500,000 grant program to refurbish commercial building facades Tuesday at City Hall.

    * WaPo | Tax records reveal the lucrative world of covid misinformation: Four major nonprofits that rose to prominence during the coronavirus pandemic by capitalizing on the spread of medical misinformation collectively gained more than $118 million between 2020 and 2022, enabling the organizations to deepen their influence in statehouses, courtrooms and communities across the country, a Washington Post analysis of tax records shows.

    * WSJ | It’s Been 30 Years Since Food Ate Up This Much of Your Income: Eating continues to cost more, even as overall inflation has eased from the blistering pace consumers endured throughout much of 2022 and 2023. Prices at restaurants and other eateries were up 5.1% last month compared with January 2023, while grocery costs increased 1.2% during the same period, Labor Department data show.

    * Daily Herald | Highland Park shooting suspect’s trial date set for 2025: Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti set Robert Crimo III’s murder trial for Feb. 24, 2025, during a brief court hearing Wednesday. […] The trial previously had been set to begin early next year, but was shifted to Feb. 26 after the defendant announced he intended to represent himself and demanded a speedy trial. He then reversed his decision and requested a public defender, so the trial date was changed.

    * Chalkbeat | Partial FAFSA fix lets students from immigrant families apply for financial aid: The workaround is meant to help students meet fast-approaching deadlines for certain state, college, or scholarship applications. The department promised a permanent fix is coming next month. It is also urging students who don’t have an urgent submission deadline to wait until then. Those who use the workaround will need to take additional steps in March to fully submit their application.

    * AP | Americans reporting nationwide cellular outages from AT&T, Cricket Wireless and other providers: AT&T had more than 50,000 outages this morning, in locations including Houston, Atlanta and Chicago. Cricket Wireless had more than 9,000, the outage tracking website said Thursday. Verizon had more than 2,000 outages and T-Mobile had more than 1,000 outages. Boost Mobile had more than 450 outages.

    * NYT | Biden cancels $1.2 billion in student loan debt for 150,000 borrowers: The most recent round of cancellation benefits those enrolled in the income-driven repayment plan known as SAVE, which opened for enrollment in August. It reduces monthly payments and shortens the life of loans for millions of borrowers. The administration is making efforts to ensure Biden receives credit for the cancellation, with the affected borrowers set to receive an email from Biden on Wednesday informing them that their debt will be erased this week.


  1. - Linus - Thursday, Feb 22, 24 @ 8:24 am:

    Just one more entry in the file “reasons to be impressed with Rep. Maurice West.” That file already was filling up quickly.

  2. - Notatechie - Thursday, Feb 22, 24 @ 12:31 pm:

    Another example of why Chicagoans don’t trust Johnson with money.

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