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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Friday, Feb 23, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Sun-Times

Nearly four years after Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration gave the OK for the General Iron scrap-metal operation to move to the Southeast Side, he’s agreed that the state of Illinois will take a tougher look at the likely environmental impact in the future before allowing such pollution-producing businesses to move into low-income areas.

The deal made public Friday with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency commits Illinois to consider the impact of allowing more polluting industry in low-income neighborhoods already burdened with environmental and social stresses.

Under the agreement, sparked by a complaint from Southeast Side groups, Illinois environmental officials will beef up their oversight of polluters who are setting up operations or expanding. New measures include more notifications to residents and possible public meetings. Prior violations of environmental laws may trigger additional pollution controls or monitoring. Site locations of polluters near schools, day cares and health centers will get more scrutiny.

Community organizations, health and environmental advocates and other politicians made the case to Pritzker in 2020 that he should deny a state permit to allow construction and a pollution-control plan for the General Iron car-shredding operation that was being moved from Lincoln Park. Pritzker’s environmental officials said they had no choice but to approve the project at East 116th Street along the Calumet River.

* Press release

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus called a press conference Wednesday to offer their responses to Governor Pritzker’s annual budget address.

“The stability and progress that was mentioned by Governor Pritzker today has helped many communities, but we expect that help to trickle down to the Black community,” said State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Chicago), Illinois Legislative Black Caucus House chair. “Our goal is to not just put it into the budget, but to get it out to our communities. We look forward to redressing investments in the Black community, because as we invest in the Black community everyone knows that is an investment all other communities benefit from.”

Black Caucus members joined to address the parts of the governor’s budget proposal relating to the ILBC’s four-pillar legislative agenda aimed to rid Illinois of systemic racism. Members echoed a resounding responsibility to speak to the issues in the Black community that do not quite translate into the budget investments.

Black Caucus members called for investments to improve academic opportunities for low-income and minority students, investments in trades in communities of color to foster economic development, and increased investments in public safety and gun violence prevention in disadvantaged communities. Despite previous budget proposals including investments to counter-act inequities across a wide range of issues, data shows little improvement in these inequities.

“We saw a proposed budget that acknowledges a handful of issues that disproportionately affect Black communities, such as gun violence, maternal mortality rates, and economic access and equity,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Senate chair. “The ILBC fought hard to enact four key pillars to reform Illinois and dismantle systemic racism across the state. I look forward to fighting alongside my colleagues to ensure adequate funding reaches the communities that need it most as we move forward with budget negotiations.”

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus also announced they will release a document entitled, “Leveling the Playing Field: Using the General Fund Budget to Invest in Building an Equitable State and Eliminating Structural Racism” with dollar figures listed alongside issues mentioned at the press conference.

* Does Martinez not have a comms director?


* From Graciela Guzman’s campaign…

Today, a new article from the Illinois Answers Project detailed how Clerk of the Circuit Court Iris Martinez improperly exposed the names of thousands of juvenile defendants to the public in violation of state law. In January, Martinez’s office added a feature to the court system’s online case search system to allow the public to look up criminal court records. However, for weeks Martinez’s office did not realize the feature exposed the names of juvenile defendants, which are supposed to be sealed under state law, potentially risking the privacy and safety of these young people.

Martinez is the top political backer of State Sen. Natalie Toro (20th District) and was key to her appointment to the position in July. Multiple members of Toro’s family, including Toro’s aunt – a disgraced former Cook County Judge – work as top deputies in Martinez’s office.

20th District State Senate Candidate Graciela Guzman’s campaign manager Caitlin Brady released the following statement in response:

“Iris Martinez’s catastrophic failures continue to undermine criminal justice reform, all while political protegee Natalie Toro follows directly in her footsteps. Is Toro willing to call out her chief political patron for her disastrous term in office, or will she simply continue to use big money ads to hoodwink voters and lie about her previous endorsement from the FOP? It’s time for Natalie Toro to come clean about her relationship with Iris Martinez.”

* WBEZ

Although [Ald. Ray] Lopez points to his differences with [US Rep. Chuy] García, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and other top Democrats, he has longstanding and deep ties to one of the party’s most powerful figures of the past half-century — the recently convicted former Ald. Edward Burke.

Even as the federal corruption case against Burke toppled him from power, the former alderman’s ties to Lopez have grown closer, records show. Lopez has moved his ward office and political operation into Burke’s old headquarters at 2650 W. 51st St.

A little more than five years ago, that same building was raided by federal agents, and Burke was charged soon after that. The city has paid $21,000 to the entity that owns the building since July, according to records.

Lopez’s campaign headquarters are in the building’s rear unit, which is listed as the address for Lopez’s political fund, the 15th Ward Democratic organization and the congressional campaign.

The landlord is none other than Burke himself. According to Cook County and state records, the building’s owner is a company whose managers are Burke and daughter Jennifer Burke.

That company gifted $1,750 in “headquarters rent” to Lopez and his ward organization, state campaign finance disclosure records show.

* A silver lining, at least his heirs will sell the team?


* Someone bought it! Was it Speaker Welch?



* Here’s the rest…

    * Crain’s | AT&T wireless nightmare was triggered by company work on network expansion: “Based on our initial review, we believe that today’s outage was caused by the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyber attack,” an AT&T spokesman said in a statement. “We are continuing our assessment of today’s outage to ensure we keep delivering the service that our customers deserve.”

    * Vital City | Learning about ShotSpotter — and Gun Violence — from Chicago: Our research in Chicago found that police officers stopped their patrol cars more often and closer to the location of reported gunfire when responding to ShotSpotter alerts than 911 calls, as measured by GPS coordinates of patrol vehicles. The recovery of illegal firearms increased in police districts covered by ShotSpotter, particularly at the scenes of fatal shootings. However, ShotSpotter did not reduce the occurrence of shots-fired calls for service, fatal shootings, non-fatal shootings or other violent felonies committed with firearms. The introduction of ShotSpotter in police districts had no impact on gun-violence crime clearance rates (the proportion of cases solved by police).

    * Crain’s | After Alabama ruling, Duckworth moves to protect in vitro fertilization: “We were right to be worried that IVF could be next,” Duckworth said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “This ruling effectively labels women in Alabama who undergo IVF as criminals and their doctors as killers. Congress must pass my bill to establish a statutory right to access IVF and other ART services nationwide.”

    * Tribune | Top cop offers harsh critique of COPA after agency recommends CPD fire 28 officers: In the last eight weeks, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability has recommended the Chicago Police Department fire 28 officers — an “unprecedented” number, CPD’s top attorney told the Chicago Police Board. But the avalanche of new disciplinary cases now sitting with Snelling is a byproduct of the City Council’s decision to approve most of the new CPD union contract last year — unanimously, without a single question posed to city negotiators.

    * Daily Herald | Board of Review member says panel’s decision to increase Arlington Park property about ‘fairness’: If approved, the value would still be lower than what the Cook County assessor’s office set earlier this year. In a news release issued Thursday, Cardenas said he voted along with Larry Rogers Jr. to increase the assessed value of the former horse-racing track now owned by the Chicago Bears to $124.7 million out of “fairness to the Bears and fairness to Arlington Heights taxing bodies.”

    * Sun-Times | Official at center of Little Village implosion debacle tapped as city’s acting buildings chief: Mayor Brandon Johnson named Marlene Hopkins acting commissioner of the Department of Buildings after firing her former boss last week. Almost four years ago on Easter weekend, Hopkins and another buildings department official were in charge of making sure that the implosion of an almost 400-foot chimney was performed safely.

    * Daily Herald | Kane County Board incumbent Kenyon to face challenger Stare in Republican primary election: A stark contrast in views among Kane County Republicans could not be more apparent than in the March 19 primary contest between Kane County Board District 16 incumbent Michael Kenyon of South Elgin and his opponent Eric Stare. Kenyon is a dairy farmer who has served on the board for 18 years.

    * Bond Buyer | S&P lowers outlook on Chicago’s GO bonds to stable: S&P Global Ratings has revised the outlook on Chicago’s general obligation bonds to stable from positive, the rating agency announced Thursday. S&P affirmed its BBB-plus rating on the bonds.

    * Sun-Times | Retiring WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling: ‘It seems like what I did meant something to people’: “I thought: ‘Oooh, I’m not funny, I’m not much of a showman. What’s my schtick going to be?’ ” Skilling says. “And I always worried about that. Well, it turns out, I guess, in retrospect, my schtick is that I dug into the science of weather. And, I’ll tell ya, it used to scare the devil out of the news consultants. They’d look at you grimly and say, ‘jetstream, dew point?’ Nobody knows what that is. All they want to know is: Is it going to rain tomorrow?’”

    * Reuters | Chicago corn’s race to $4 more significant than meets the eye -Braun: Projections released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in October implied the cost per bushel to raise corn domestically in 2024 would be around $4.80, down from 2023. CBOT December corn CZ24, which represents the upcoming harvest, has undergone its biggest February slide since 2013, settling at $4.53-1/4 on Thursday.

    * Sun-Times | Former Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould is the new head football coach at Rolling Meadows: Multiple sources have confirmed that former Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould is the new head football coach at Rolling Meadows High School. Gould replaces Sam Baker, who held the job for four seasons. Gould met with the Rolling Meadows players on Friday morning. Some local media members were at the school for the announcement but they were not allowed to speak with Gould.

    * WaPo | An ectopic pregnancy put her life at risk. A Texas hospital refused to treat her: Norris-De La Cruz ultimately received emergency surgery about 24 hours later at a different hospital in the area, at which point her ectopic pregnancy had already started to rupture. The OB/GYN who performed the procedure said that, if Norris-De La Cruz had waited much longer, she would have been “in extreme danger of losing her life.”

    * USA Today | Caitlin Clark inches closer to Pete Maravich’s scoring record as Iowa hosts Illinois: The fourth-ranked Hawkeyes (23-4, 12-3 Big Ten) were routed 86-69 by Indiana on Thursday and now find themselves two games out of first place in the Big Ten behind Ohio State, which they play in the regular season finale on March 3. Clark is averaging a nation-leading 32.4 points, 8.5 assists, and seven rebounds this season. Next up for Iowa is Illinois (13-12, 7-8), which is coming off an 86-66 win against the Hoosiers on Feb. 19.

    * WTTW | Exhibit Explores Impact of Evictions With Help From People With Lived Experience: James Lee Williams can relate to the one of the videos playing at the “Evicted” exhibit at the National Public Housing Museum in River North. “It’s touching,” Williams said. “It’s about a woman pouring out her heart because she lost everything.”

       

5 Comments
  1. - Google Is Your Friend - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 2:37 pm:

    ==* Tribune | Top cop offers harsh critique of COPA after agency recommends CPD fire 28 officers: In the last eight weeks, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability has recommended the Chicago Police Department fire 28 officers — an “unprecedented” number, CPD’s top attorney told the Chicago Police Board. But the avalanche of new disciplinary cases now sitting with Snelling is a byproduct of the City Council’s decision to approve most of the new CPD union contract last year — unanimously, without a single question posed to city negotiators.==

    Guess Snelling isn’t the person to clean up CPD and build a better department. Who could have guessed besides everyone that isn’t a CPD toady?


  2. - Suburban Mom - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 2:39 pm:

    ===“Based on our initial review, we believe that today’s outage was caused by the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network===

    Somebody tested in Prod [banned punctuation]


  3. - H-W - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 2:42 pm:

    Re: USA Today story on Caitlin Clark

    === Clark was mostly held in check against Indiana, scoring 24 points ===

    How many athletes would love to have such a game. What an incredible student athlete. I am glad I live so close, and have gotten to follow her works on local television. God speed, Caitlin Clark. You deserve to become an honorary Illinoisan.


  4. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 3:36 pm:

    === “Leveling the Playing Field: Using the General Fund Budget to Invest in Building an Equitable State and Eliminating Structural Racism” with dollar figures listed alongside issues mentioned at the press conference. ===

    This is why throwing $500 million at quantum computing/device projects is irresponsible. Making it cheaper for giant private companies to develop technology they’re going to develop anyway is not the most fiscally prudent step for a state to take since there is no immediate tie in that will cause such an outlay to be replaced by future revenue because of that outlay.

    Google’s market capitalization exceeds the GDP of our state. They don’t need us to build a fancy quantum computing freezer.


  5. - 47th Ward - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 4:28 pm:

    ===This is why throwing $500 million at quantum computing/device projects is irresponsible. Making it cheaper for giant private companies to develop technology they’re going to develop anyway is not the most fiscally prudent step for a state to take since there is no immediate tie in that will cause such an outlay to be replaced by future revenue because of that outlay.===

    The vast majority of this investment will go to research by Illinois universities and their scientists, which will also train more workers to enter this emerging field. It is also likely that university research will lead to commercial ventures that will attract additional private investment. The goal is to create a cluster of knowledge workers who together will make Illinois a center of this new technology.

    Remember, the Internet began with the work done at the University of Illinois, which led directly to a commercial venture that pioneers that emerging technology. The future revenue you are looking for is there if Illinois is successful in creating this hub of quantum computing.


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* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Feds to provide more migrant funding... Just $19.3 million for Illinois
* Question of the day
* It’s just a bill
* Bill to expand IVF/infertility insurance coverage overwhelmingly passes Senate
* Open thread
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