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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Subscribers know more. From the Sun-Times

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch is leading an effort to direct more than $560,000 to oust Chicago Democratic State Rep. Mary Flowers — the longest-serving African American lawmaker in the Illinois General Assembly, whose leadership was stripped last year over allegations of abusive behavior. […]

Unions, including IBEW Local 399 and LiUNA, have already contributed more than $500,000 to support Flowers’ opponent, Michael Crawford in the 31st District, which stretches from the city’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood to Hickory Hills.

But now Welch, and the Illinois House Democratic fund he operates, are publicly supporting Crawford with a hefty $560,500 contribution, according to TaQuoya McConnico, executive director for Illinois House Democrats. Welch himself contributed to Crawford $68,500 from his campaign fund. The rest came from fellow House Democratic leaders. […]

“The leader’s decision to support Michael Crawford comes after much consideration of the future of our caucus,” McConnico said in a statement Tuesday. “We are working to build a better Illinois for all. We have to do that with individuals who can come to the table, work collaboratively, and do the work that makes a difference.”

* Sun-Times

Federal prosecutors say former state Sen. Terry Link should get probation — and no prison time — for dodging $82,000 in taxes after he cooperated for years with the FBI and helped prosecutors convict others for a bribery scheme under the Capitol dome in Springfield.

Sentencing guideline estimates call for as much as a year behind bars for Link, who is set to learn his fate March 6 in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Mary Rowland. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine O’Neill wrote Tuesday that is “greater than necessary,” given Link’s acceptance of responsibility and “substantial assistance to the government.”

“He wore a recording device to meetings with former Illinois State Rep. Luis Arroyo and corrupt businessman James Weiss, leading to a federal indictment against the two,” O’Neill wrote in a memo to Rowland. “[Link] allowed the FBI to record his phone conversations, monitor his emails, and receive would-be bribes to [Link’s] P.O. Box to further the investigation.”

Click here for the full memo from the feds.

* Congratulations!

…Adding… Turns out, DJ Ramos isn’t the first, but congrats anyway!

* Illinois Supreme Court…

The first Illinois capital city native to serve on the Supreme Court, the Honorable Benjamin K. Miller passed away on Sunday, Feb. 25 at Memorial Hospital in Springfield. He was 87. Justice Miller served on the Supreme Court from 1984-2001 and was Chief Justice from 1991-1993.

A visitation will be held on Saturday, March 23, from 1-2:45 p.m. with a funeral to follow at 3 p.m. Services will be held at Butler Funeral Home, 900 S. Sixth Street in Springfield.

“Justice Miller will forever be known as a giant of the Illinois judicial and legal communities,” Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis said. “He provided steady leadership and moved the courts forward in a profound way. He was always looking to the future and for ways to improve the court system. This is perfectly exemplified by his creation of both the Special Commission on the Administration of Justice and Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Council.”

* Here’s the rest…

    * WAND | Pritzker announces $6 million for CEJA Returning Residents Program: The program will deliver clean jobs training, education, and support services in Illinois Department of Corrections facilities to people within 36 months of their release to prepare them to work in clean energy and related sector jobs once released. […] Program curriculum will include training in essential employability skills and clean energy basics. After completing the program, participants will continue to the job-specific training portion of the curriculum to get solar PV training or HVAC training, with an energy efficiency focus.

    * ABC Chicago | Gov. JB Pritzker attends downstate ribbon cutting for new EV manufacturing training facility: The facility was funded in part by a $7.5 million capital grant, as part of the state’s larger $15 million manufacturing training academy investment, the release said. […] Heartland’s electric vehicle manufacturing program, which launched at a temporary site in August 2021, provides students with training, certificates and degrees in electric vehicle and energy storage technology, the release said.

    * WJBC | Governor Pritzker calls Twin Cities state’s center for electric vehicles: Pritzker said Illinois’ greatest assets are its higher education system – including 48 community colleges, the third largest system in the nation – and its human capital. There are lots of other states that have – like “The Beverly Hillbillies” – they have “up from the ground come a-bubblin’ crude.” They have money coming up from the ground. They offer all kinds of dollars to companies to come to their state. We have some of that, but mostly what we have is great people.”

    * Tribune | Unlimited funds can flow in State’s Attorney, Board of Review, Circuit Court Clerk races: O’Neill Burke filed paperwork with the state Tuesday morning notifying the state board of elections that she and her husband, attorney John Burke, had contributed a combined $106,900 to her campaign. If a candidate or immediate family member gives a total of $100,000 or more to a campaign within a 12-month span, that lifts contribution caps, allowing unlimited dollars to flow to all candidates in the race.

    * Crain’s | Duckworth, trying to compel suddenly pro-IVF Republicans, pushes protections bill: The Illinois senator and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced the bill in 2022, and reintroduced it this year after Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., blocked unanimous consent in December. The bill would provide federal protection for IVF, including overriding any state restrictions. Duckworth said she would favor a roll call vote, but Murray said at the press conference that such a vote was unlikely given everything currently on the Senate’s agenda.

    * NBC Chicago | Records reveal potential gaps in Johnson’s administration approach to health care for migrants: In the days after the death of 5-year-old Jean Carlos Martinez Rivero, volunteers – including medically-trained volunteers with the Mobile Migrant Health Team, comprised of University of Illinois Chicago medical students – expressed concern that they were being denied access to the shelters but were willing to help.

    * Borderless | Investigation: Chicago Ignored Dozens Of Warnings Of Migrant Shelter Conditions Before Child’s Death: [A] Borderless investigation into the Pilsen shelter, released just days before the five-year-old died, along with new documents obtained by Borderless, paint a very different picture. In the weeks leading up to his death, migrants made at least 17 grievance reports to the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), decrying spoiled food, the rationing of water and mistreatment from staff.

    * Crain’s | Chicago has one of the largest income inequality gaps in the country: A household in Chicago must bring home an annual salary of at least $149,219 to be among the city’s top 20% of earners. On the other hand, any household earning less than $27,255 is in the bottom quintile. That means the city’s top one-fifth of earners make at least 5.47 times as much as the bottom one-fifth of earners.

    * Fox 32 | Cook County Sheriff raises awareness for ‘red flag’ laws: “This is very frustrating because there is so much of this we cannot prevent. There is so much we can do though,” Sheriff Tom Dart said. They want to make sure the public knows they can use the law as a tool to prevent gun violence. The sheriff’s office says almost 100 firearms have been taken from gun owners so far.

    * People’s Fabric | “No, it’s just fireworks!” Chicago cop opens fire on child with fireworks after ShotSpotter gunshot alert: Because of SoundThinking (formerly ShotSpotter)’s refusal to share internal data with outside researchers, no independent study has ever tested whether ShotSpotter audio devices can reliably distinguish between fireworks and gunfire—both rapid-fire sounds that also measure closely on the decibel (dB) scale used to indicate sound level.

    * Daily Herald | From Elgin to historically Black colleges: U-46 seeks to cultivate college dreams: But of the 107 historically Black colleges and universities in the United States, none are in Illinois. That can make them feel out of reach. To address that, U-46 schools began paying for the transportation, hotel and meal costs to send busloads of students to a dozen historically Black colleges and universities three years ago.

    * WCIA | Central IL agencies report multiple brush fires, urge fire safety: The U.S. National Weather Service of Central Illinois described Monday’s weather as “unseasonably warm,” which sets the stage for a “rapid spread” of outdoor fires. The Christian County Emergency Management Agency announced on Facebook that area firefighters were responding to multiple brush fires throughout the day, and urged the public not to burn anything outdoors.

    * PolitiFact | More gun ownership does not lead to less gun violence: Instagram users shared an image of the map with text that read, “97% of all guns are in the red territory. 97% of all gun violence is blue.” […] The graphic did not cite what statistics were used to create the map. But the map is not related to gun violence statistics. As Lead Stories found, it was created by a Medium blogger to show the results by congressional district of the 2016 presidential election between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    * AP | Why Does the Government Think a Merger Between Owners of Jewel and Mariano’s Would Be Bad for Grocery Shoppers?: “A merger of Kroger and Albertsons would dramatically decrease competition within an already consolidated food retail market, which would result in fewer grocery stores and higher food prices, with predictable adverse consequences for food and nutrition security for consumers across the country,” Peter Lurie, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said in a statement applauding the FTC’s action.

    * ABC Chicago | Surge pricing for your Frosty? Wendy’s lunch rush could cost you more: Wendy’s, the country’s second-largest burger chain with 6,000 locations, announced that starting next year menu prices will fluctuate during the busiest times of day. That means you could be paying as much as a dollar more for that Baconater during the lunch rush.

    * SJ-R | Former Illinois Supreme Court chief justice from Springfield area dies at 87: Benjamin K. Miller, the only Illinois Supreme Court justice to come from Sangamon County who also served as chief justice, died at Springfield Memorial Hospital on Feb. 25. […] As chief justice, Miller was instrumental in creating the Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Council, which helped improve the cooperation between the courts and other agencies involved in dealing with family violence.

    * Sun-Times | Robbie Gould introduced as Rolling Meadows’ new football coach. ‘I fell in love with high school football.’: Former Bears kicker Robbie Gould spent some of last season helping out with Fremd’s football team. He says he was trying to figure out what “life after football looks like.” It turns out that life after the NFL will still contain football, just at a different level. Gould was officially announced as Rolling Meadows’ head football coach at a press conference on Tuesday.

    * HuffPost | Paul McCartney Now Thinks ‘Yesterday’ May Have A Totally Different Meaning: Paul McCartney has revealed he may have subconsciously drawn inspiration to write the Beatles’ 1965 hit “Yesterday” from the death of his mother from cancer almost a decade earlier. “Someone did suggest to me that this was a ‘losing my mother’ song, which I always sort of said, ‘No, I don’t think so,’” McCartney told Irish Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon in a new episode of their iHeartPodcast “McCartney: A Life In Lyrics.”


  1. - Small Portions - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 2:35 pm:

    Probation for Terry Link would be inexcusable.

  2. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 2:40 pm:

    ===Probation for Terry Link would be inexcusable.===

    Why? He was caught under reporting his income. If we locked up everybody for under reporting income, our prisons would be over flowing. The sentencing guidelines say the max is one year and the reality is probation and restitution are the most common sentence for his crime.

    Do you think he should be punished for cooperating with the feds? Do you just not like him? That’s fine, but thankfully that’s not how the federal justice system works.

  3. - Dotnonymous x - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 2:48 pm:

    - Sentencing guideline estimates call for as much as a year behind bars -

    No bars in Federal Prison Camps…closer to Boy Scout Camp.

  4. - Small Portions - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 3:01 pm:

    ===Why? He was caught under reporting his income.===

    $82,000 is not chump change. 30 days in federal jail would be ok by me. But to avoid any incarceration sends a signal to other tax cheat that it’s ok.

  5. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 3:06 pm:

    ==Probation for Terry Link would be inexcusable.==

    That’s how it works. The feds needed a snitch. He obliged. Like it or not that results in “rewards.”

  6. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 3:10 pm:

    Read the Sentencing Memo Rich linked to above. Probation is consistent with applicable federal guidelines. This is not a signal of anything other than don’t cheat on your taxes.

  7. - Dotnonymous x - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 3:14 pm:

    Q. How is Surge Pricing different from Price Gouging?

    A. It isn’t.

  8. - Duck Duck Goose - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 3:23 pm:

    I had the pleasure of dealing with Terry Link for years when he was a senator. I would be more than happy to see him go to jail.

  9. - Keyrock - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 3:25 pm:

    Ben Miller was a distinguished public servant. From the article:

    “That was exemplified, Theis said, by Miller’s creation of the Special Commission on the Administration of Justice, which examined the governance of Illinois courts, including the juvenile system.”

    The report contained excellent ideas for the modernization and improvement of Illinois courts. Unfortunately, shortly after the report came out, Miller’s term as Chief Justice ended, and Michael Bilandic succeeded him. Bilandic threw the report in the wastebasket, and that ended any momentum for reform.

  10. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 3:25 pm:

    [Serious question] When all the appeals and SCOTUS are done, let’s see what happens to Danny Solis.

    [Sarcasm font on] Apparently the Feds think this is punishment enough … .

  11. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 3:27 pm:

    ===Read the Sentencing Memo Rich linked to above===

    “Isabel’s afternoon roundup”

  12. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 3:30 pm:

    Sorry Isabel.

  13. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 3:47 pm:

    “to avoid any incarceration sends a signal to other tax cheat that it’s ok.”

    His conviction says that tax cheating isn’t ok — and probation would signal others that it’s worthwhile to co-operate with the Feds.

    – MrJM

  14. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 3:51 pm:

    MrJM is correct and so is 47th. I don’t know what the heck some of you people are talking about.

  15. - RNUG - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 4:20 pm:

    == Honorable Benjamin K. Miller passed away … ==

    Darn. Sorry to hear that. The wife & I knew Ben years ago …

  16. - It's Just a Pill - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 4:35 pm:

    Um, there have been several Latino floor staffers in the past.

  17. - Say What - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 6:01 pm:

    No offense to Rep. Hernandez and DJ Ramos, but a good number of Latinos and Latinas have worked on the House floor in various roles. I’m all for recognizing he’s the first to work with them, but he is in no way the first one on the floor.

  18. - Chito - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 7:18 pm:

    Proud of what DJ is doing, but I worked the floor when I was on the Issues staff in late 90s too.

  19. - The Dude - Wednesday, Feb 28, 24 @ 5:55 am:

    I was talking to my very liberal Chicago friend yesterday who is floored that they are trying to remove the shotspotter technology.

    They are now stepping on their own toes up there.

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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
* Isabel’s morning briefing
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