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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Thursday, Mar 14, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Block Club Chicago

Campaign mailers from candidates for the 20th state Senate District are inundating neighbors, trash cans and alleys, with many complaining that state Sen. Natalie Toro has sent more than her opponents and candidates in other races.

Neighbors told Block Club and shared on social media that Toro’s campaign has filled their mailboxes and doors with so many mailers and door-hangers that some are afraid to check their mailboxes. […]

Dave Seman, a political campaign consultant who runs Paladin Political and has worked on local and national campaigns using direct mail and digital media, said that even though neighbors are feeling overwhelmed with Toro mailer ads, frequency is key to boosting her platform.

“The mailer perspective is, we’re definitely persuading them and giving the voter an argument, but we are asking for their vote,” Seman said. “To the people who are offended that we asked them too many times for their vote … they probably weren’t our voters in the first place. This is a race where you have a millionaire, a lobbyist and a teacher — they’re going make that conversation as prevalent as they possibly can.”

Click here, here and here for Reddit posts from those swamped with Toro campaign mail.

* People’s Fabric

An owner of a video gambling business. President of a political consulting firm. Owner of a private law practice. These are some of the outside jobs held by senior advisors in Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Iris Martinez’s office. […]

A People’s Fabric investigation shows senior advisors failing to report potential conflicts and outside income on required ethics disclosures. In one case, an advisor’s unreported income came from political work for Martinez and her close allies.

Gloria Chevere is a “longtime Martinez confidante” and former Cook County judge.

In her capacity as judge, Chevere faced several controversies, including an investigation that found her sunbathing in her backyard when she was supposed to be at work. She was later removed from the courtroom after several allegations of misconduct, including jailing defendants who wore baggy pants.

Chevere now serves as a Senior Policy Advisor to Martinez, receiving a salary of $175,044.

* More Martinez


* Chalkbeat

Next year, Illinois high school juniors could take the ACT instead of the SAT as the federally-mandated state test. The Illinois State Board of Education has started the process of awarding a three-year, $53 million contract to ACT Inc.

The College Board’s contract to administer the SAT for 11th graders and PSAT for ninth and 10 graders is set to expire June 30. The state board is required by federal law to administer accountability assessments to high school students. State law says that exam must be a nationally recognized college entrance exam like the SAT or ACT. All Illinois public high school students must take a college entrance exam in order to receive their high school diploma.

The ACT would be administered in school buildings starting with the school year 2024-25, but students will still be able to take the SAT if they want to pay for it.

Illinois’ plan to switch tests comes at a time when the SAT is going fully digital and will take two hours instead of three. (The ACT is three hours). The new SAT will also be adaptive, with test questions that adjust in difficulty based on how students respond to previous questions.

* Here’s the rest…

    * WCIA | Illinois unemployment rate slightly increased for Jan. 2024: The Bloomington and Champaign-Urbana metropolitan areas had the largest increases of jobs since Jan. 2023, with a 3.8% and 2.1% increases respectively. The largest decreases of non-farm jobs over-the-year were the Springfield area with a 2.7% decrease and the Decatur area with a 2.5% decrease.

    * Nieman Lab | A company linked to a large “pink slime” network is being hired by big publishers like Gannett: A Gannett spokesperson confirmed the company has a contract to produce “advertorial content” sourced from Advantage Informatics, a blandly named company founded by Brian Timpone, a conservative businessman and former TV reporter based out of Chicago. (Timpone’s name may be familiar to readers who remember the Journatic scandal of 2012, or to those who have followed the Tow Center for Digital Journalism’s extensive research on “pink slime” sites.)

    * ABC Chicago | 3 former employees sue Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard for wrongful firing amid corruption accusations: All of them said they were terminated for refusing to do political campaign work for Henyard. Sandra Tracy is a former Human Resource Manager for Thornton Township. Karen Johnson is a former Dolton Public Works Department administrative assistant. Samysha Williams is the former director of Dolton’s Buildings Permits and License Department.

    * WICS | Hundreds of FFA members advocate for Illinois agriculture’s future in State Capitol: These FFA members brought with them baskets full of Illinois agricultural goods so these state officials could see everything that Illinois agriculture has to offer. Items in the baskets included products that were provided by the Illinois Corn Growers and the Illinois Soybean Association, to popcorn, and other goods made within the state.

    * Sun-Times | 2 CPS students reported to have measles as new cases climb to 10, officials say: Two Chicago Public Schools students were among a handful of people reported to have measles, bringing the city’s total up to 10 as of Wednesday evening, health and school officials confirmed. Earlier this week, CPS learned of a positive measles case involving a student at Philip D. Armour Elementary School in Bridgeport and the Chicago Department of Public Health confirmed another case at Cooper Dual Language Elementary Academy in Pilsen.

    * CNN | All eligible people at Chicago migrant shelter have been vaccinated for measles in ‘unprecedented operation’: The Chicago Department of Public Health said Wednesday that everyone who is eligible for vaccination at the temporary shelter housing migrants at the center of a measles outbreak has now been vaccinated. The city learned that it had its first measles case since 2019 last week. Illinois is one of 17 states that have seen measles cases so far this year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The first case in Chicago was unrelated to the shelter.

    * Tribune | Looking for work, migrants turn to street vending: In recent months, other types of street vending have also become more visible. Men and women walk through CTA trains selling chocolates and candy out of decorated bins. On a recent afternoon, several women from Ecuador sat on street corners around the Loop, selling gum, M&Ms, Reese’s and Skittles.

    * WBEZ | How Chicago’s long history of migrant influxes has shaped its population: To put this latest wave of migration into context, WBEZ identified three periods in Chicago’s history when the city experienced a similar — or larger — influx of newcomers: European migration at the turn of the 20th century, the Great Migration of Black Americans from the South and migration from Mexico in the 1990s and 2000s.

    * Crain’s | Johnson urged to appoint commissioner to overlooked zoning board: When an application for an Uptown transitional shelter was submitted to the city’s quasi-judicial Zoning Board of Appeals it had several forces behind the project suggesting it would be approved. […] the application was rejected in a 2-2 decision after hours of testimony in a crowded 11th floor board room at City Hall. Opponents of the shelter included businesses that shared the building and nearby residents. Had Johnson bothered to appoint a fifth member to the zoning board during his first 10 months in office the outcome may have been different.

    * Streetsblog | Contrary to neighbor’s concerns, Chicago Fire Department says they haven’t heard of any problems with new Dearborn protected bike lane: But not everyone is happy about the changes. We did hear from a neighbor worried that converting Dearborn, a relatively quiet, mostly residential street north of Chicago Avenue, from two northbound mixed-traffic lanes to one will cause problems for first responders. He argued the street redesign make it tough for other drivers to pull over to the right to make way for firefighters, EMTs, and police officers. […] But Barnes found nothing to back up that claim. “WGN News took their concerns to the Chicago Fire Department, whose spokesmen had not heard of any issues for firefighters,” She acknowledged. “Chicago police did not respond to our request for comment.”

    * WBEZ | Stealing campaign signs is a Chicago tradition steeped in machine politics: Back in 2007, it was especially rampant in the 50th Ward, where the Wasmer-Brekke family lived. At the time, the family was locked in a heated sign war. Every time they put up signs for Naisy Dolar, they would get swiped. They brainstormed ways to catch the thief, including the one that woke Brekke up in the middle of the night: tying empty cans to a decoy sign, so they’d rattle if it was pulled away.

    * Crain’s | How Chicago politicians lost the luck of the Irish: Once the St. Patrick’s Day event of the season where mayors and gubernatorial candidates endured cheers and jeers, there’s a conspicuous absence of political activity at this year’s parade. Mayor Brandon Johnson won’t march, nor will state’s attorney candidate, Judge Eileen O’Neill Burke. Rep. Sean Casten, the incumbent for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District, is scheduled though he already leads his opponents in fundraising.

    * Sun-Times | $45 million settlement offered for teen who can’t walk, speak after crash during police chase: The payment, one of the largest in Chicago history, would go to Nathen Jones, who suffered a massive brain injury in a traffic accident. Jones was a passenger in a car being chased by police after a traffic violation. The April 2021 pursuit violated a newly-revised CPD policy intended to rein in vehicular pursuits.

    * Patch | How IL House Lawmakers Voted On The TikTok Ban: Supporting the bill were Democrat Reps. Nikki Budzinski, Sean Casten, Bill Foster, Robin Kelly, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Mike Quigley, Bradley Schneider, Eric Sorensen and Lauren Underwood as well as Republican Reps. Mike Bost, Darin LaHood and Mary E. Miller, according to The Washington Post.

    * WCIA | Central IL farmers prepare for planting amid warm weather: For farmers in Central Illinois, the mild winter has set the stage for everything to go as planned. Pesotum farmer Chris Hausman said he’ll start around April 1 to protect against any potential frosts.

    * UIUC College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences | Milk to the rescue for diabetics? Illinois project creates first insulin-producing cow: Conservatively, Wheeler says if a cow could make 1 gram of insulin per liter and a typical Holstein makes 40 to 50 liters per day, that’s a lot of insulin. Especially since the typical unit of insulin equals 0.0347 milligrams. “That means each gram is equivalent to 28,818 units of insulin,” Wheeler said. “And that’s just one liter; Holsteins can produce 50 liters per day. You can do the math.”

       

8 Comments
  1. - Drury's Missing Clock - Thursday, Mar 14, 24 @ 3:12 pm:

    I find it hard to believe that someone is actually afraid to open their mailbox because of a political flyer. If this is true the Block Club reporter should have sought out a mental health professional to treat this person. Very sad.


  2. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Mar 14, 24 @ 3:17 pm:

    At least the political mail ends at or shortly after (heh) the election. I scan it all the way to the recycling bin. Not a hassle or a big deal.

    The credit card companies, on the other hand, inundate me year round with one spectacular offer after the last. Oversized, flashy and expensive junk that I also scan briefly before adding it to the bin.

    Too much mail? Talk about first world problems. Doesn’t surprise me that this spawned so many Reddit threads with even more comments. There are actual problems in the world, but too much mail isn’t one of them.


  3. - NotSoCivlEngineer - Thursday, Mar 14, 24 @ 3:22 pm:

    The U 0f I article on insulin is really cool. Hopefully this can advance to market. Good for the word and good for ACES.


  4. - Drury’s Missing Clock - Thursday, Mar 14, 24 @ 3:39 pm:

    100 percent agree, 47th.

    Also, journalists probably shouldn’t be propagating stories about too much spending in one of the industries that drives a large portion of the news and then boo-boo when another news agency announces layoffs.


  5. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Mar 14, 24 @ 3:57 pm:

    “Toro’s campaign has filled their mailboxes and doors with so many mailers and door-hangers that some are afraid to check their mailboxes”

    Hey, it is good business for the union bug printers.


  6. - Wowie - Thursday, Mar 14, 24 @ 4:02 pm:

    I do genuinely wonder if it is possible to do “too much” mail. I am mostly of the opinion that it is not, but this Toro race is testing my limits, haha.


  7. - Amalia - Thursday, Mar 14, 24 @ 5:19 pm:

    how the heck is Clayton Harris holding a press conference today with an anti choice pastor who talks abortion is murder? and who is openly anti choice? Personal PAC has fallen off the edge of reason.


  8. - Macon Bakin - Thursday, Mar 14, 24 @ 6:27 pm:

    Many recent mayors have chipped away at CPD gang enforcement.


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