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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Wednesday, Mar 20, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Sun-Times

As of 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, with 83% of the estimated votes counted, O’Neill Burke was leading with 51% to Harris’s 49%, according to the Associated Press. O’Neill Burke led in the suburbs by about eight points with all precincts reporting, according to the Cook County Clerk’s Office. In the city, Harris was ahead by just over two points with 1,271 of 1,291 precincts reporting. […]

Harris spent most of [Tuesday] evening sequestered in a room next to the bar with his family and pastor and a handful of campaign staff. A few supporters could be heard parsing vote tallies and the number of mail-in votes outstanding.

Toni Preckwinkle showed up late and met briefly with Harris, whom she had backed, and expressed confidence that a win was possible with mail-in votes still uncounted.

“The party does pretty well with mail-in ballots,” said Preckwinkle

[From Rich: We’ll see. Harris’ 9,377 vote deficit is a very big hurdle to overcome.]

From the Chicago Board of Elections…

Board staff are completing the first round of scanning Vote By Mail ballots received on Election Day (and rejecting for signature, other etc.) in preparation for election judges to review, initial, and count tomorrow, 3/21/24. We expect that big drop of Vote By Mail ballot results to be added to the unofficial results, tomorrow, Thurs. 3/21/24 by 5pm.

New VBM results will be added to the unofficial results on a daily basis moving forward, nearer to 4pm to 5pm at the end of the day. Ultimately, the picture for contests will be much clearer by this weekend.

Also, 20 precincts were unable to report last night because election judges did not or could not properly transmit results and left the site before that could happen (it’s a long day for them). The ballot scanner SD cards are being retrieved to check against paper ballots and we hope to have 100% of precincts reporting by tonight, but possibly tomorrow morning.

There will be an updated By Ward Outstanding Vote By Mail ballot count today once we have the numbers for VBM ballots received yesterday and today. I will share this info as soon as I get it.

* Chicago Magazine last month

Emma Tai
Activist and Organizer

Paul Vallas’s supporters may have written big checks, but United Working Families volunteers knocked on doors past dusk for its mayoral candidate, Brandon Johnson. His upset victory, which marked the transition of Chicago politics from a ward machine model to one based on community organizing, was a triumph for Tai, who served as UWF’s executive director. Her next mission? Passing March’s Bring Chicago Home ballot initiative, one of the most important items on Johnson’s agenda. Tai, 39, tells Chicago she was recruited as campaign director by “a number of folks close to that effort in labor, community, and on the mayor’s team. Several people told me I was ‘the only one who could do it.’ 

* Senate Democrats press release…

E-cigarette use is rising dramatically among Illinois teens – with the newest culprit of the epidemic being vapes that look highlighters, markers and other school supplies.

During a press conference Thursday, State Senators Julie Morrison and Meg Loughran Cappel will outline their plan to curb the youth vaping epidemic.

WHO: State Senators Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) and Meg Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood), Joliet Township High School District 204 Board President Michelle Stiff, ComWell Behavioral Health Services Executive Director Shea Haury, and ComWell Behavioral Health Services Youth Prevention Coordinator Dennis Trask

WHAT: Press conference on protecting youth from e-cigarettes

WHEN: Thursday, March 21 at 11 a.m.

WHERE: Blue Room, Illinois State Capitol and live on BlueRoomStream.com

* Illinois Stewardship Allliance…

Local food is getting an important shot in the arm with the distribution this spring of nearly $2 million in state funding. But it’s clear more support is needed to meet the state’s growing local needs.

At a Statehouse news conference, the Illinois Stewardship Alliance today joined with top state officials, a bi-partisan group of state legislators and some of the recipients of the inaugural Local Food Infrastructure grants to support the development of the state’s local food network.

The 19 recipients cover all parts of Illinois and a wide array of creative and essential projects that help local farmers and growers get more products to more markets, more easily and cost effectively. A full list of recipients and their stories is included below:

    - Leaf Food Hub, helping a dozen southern Illinois farms reach local communities. The $82,871.09 granted will help purchase equipment needed to reduce waste, improve farmer revenue and feed more people
    - Tulip Tree Gardens, which will use a $59,900 grant to increase distribution and aggregation access for farmers in Chicago’s north and south suburbs
    - Funks Grove Heritage Fruits and Grains, whose $72,124.16 grant will help them dry, clean and store grain and provide grain and other cold storage to expand operations in the Bloomington area in central Illinois
    - DeMange Family Farms, which will use $106,000 in LFIG funding to build an energy-efficient produce packing and storage building to increase production and improve what it can offer at farm stands in the Metro East near St. Louis […]

After a two-month grant application process in December and January, the response was overwhelming: 247 applicants submitted more than $23.5 million in funding requests – or more than 10 times the amount of money available to distribute this year.

The LFIG program was not proposed for funding in the state budget Gov. Pritzker presented to lawmakers for consideration last month. Advocates are now pushing for Senate Bill 3077 in the Illinois Senate, which would create an ongoing LFIG grant program of at least $2 million each year to support infrastructure needs.

* Tribune

For over a year, two of Kelly’s four children have been caught in the middle of a bitter special education dispute between their parents and the Highland Park/Highwood school district. Hezekiah, 13, has autism and is nonverbal, and has been out of school since June 2023. And with few exceptions, his sister Ke’Asia, 8, also evaluated as having autism, has been without a school since October 2022.

North Shore leaders say the children’s behavioral needs require the relatively rare step of seeking specialized instruction outside of district schools. But, they say the siblings’ parents have repeatedly rejected the district’s exhaustive efforts to meet its legal requirement and place Hezekiah and Ke’Asia, at the district’s expense, in one of the few private therapeutic day schools with space or ability to accept them. […]

Kelly and the children’s father, Fredrick Bass, 51, say their kids are being tossed aside by a school district that is unwilling or unable to properly educate them. Instead, they say, District 112 is trying to force them to accept schools that are too far — some are at least an hour from the family’s Highland Park home, a concerning distance in an emergency for two parents who don’t drive — or that use restraint and isolation tactics they feel are unsafe.

Special education experts say the family’s quarrel with District 112 — while unusual in its duration and intensity — highlights the pitfalls of a special education system stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic, plagued by staff turnover and hampered by a lack of robust training needed to meet behavioral challenges in students.

* Here’s the rest…

       

18 Comments
  1. - TJ - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 2:51 pm:

    I moved to McLean County in 2016, and have probably off-hand mentioned to my wife that we should visit Funk’s Grove a couple times literally every year here, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Glad that they got some state money, and maybe 2024 is the year where we finally belatedly do that.


  2. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 2:58 pm:

    Me and the Lord, we got an understanding.


  3. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 3:04 pm:

    Kenyon’s loss in Kane County is a bit of a surprise. He has been around even longer than his time on the county board and has been heavily involved with the party for quite some time.

    The positions of the person who beat him remind me why I don’t identify as a Republican anymore…


  4. - Just a guy - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 3:06 pm:

    “The party does pretty well with mail-in ballots,” said Preckwinkle. I thought Burke was a Democrat? Isn’t that her party too? Or is it Preckwinkle’s party…


  5. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 3:13 pm:

    ===I thought Burke was a Democrat?===

    Oh, for crying out loud. Harris was slated. C’mon.


  6. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 3:26 pm:

    Easy for me to say since i am not a user but they should triple the taxes or more on Vapes and Vape products. What is the point of Vape? At one time I thought they were supposed to help people stop smoking but I don’t even hear that and probably wouldn’t apply to young people anyway


  7. - Google Is Your Friend - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 3:35 pm:

    The Burke-Harris is one race I think a lot of progressives are going to regret not putting more money into.


  8. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 3:52 pm:

    Saw somewhere that one of the DSA Chicago pols blamed low turnout for the BCH on Biden, and that Sen. Sanders would have boosted turnout. If true, lame excuse for such a publicized ballot issue. What does it say that some far leftists might have loved to pass tax and housing equity but for Biden depressing their enthusiasm? Not ready for civic engagement. Not a big help to the homeless population they supposedly care so deeply about.


  9. - TNR - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 4:07 pm:

    == Saw somewhere that one of the DSA Chicago pols blamed low turnout for the BCH on Biden ==

    20/20 hind-site. There were more than a few BCH advocates that,
    before yesterday, thought a low primary turn-out would help them. Theoretically, a low turn-out could have meant the electorate would have been dominated by super-progressive activist types who always show up to vote no matter what’s on the ballot.

    Turns out the ballot language was confusing, the opponents tied it to an unpopular mayor, and, seemingly, the low turn-out meant old voters dominate the electorate, not progressives.


  10. - JoanP - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 4:25 pm:

    = one of the DSA Chicago pols blamed low turnout for the BCH on Biden, and that Sen. Sanders would have boosted turnout. =

    Seriously? If they really cared, they’d have come out and voted, Bernie or no Bernie.


  11. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 4:34 pm:

    DuPage Saint,

    The benefit of Vapes would be if they didn’t emit dangerous exhaust and only water vaper as was originally promised. Then at least the vaper is no threat to people around him/her.
    The problem is vapes haven’t lived up to that promise.


  12. - Lincoln Lad - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 4:36 pm:

    Honestly, disappointed that Harris wasn’t able to raise enough money to compete on the airwaves with Burke. Hope the mail in vote is there for him…


  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 5:22 pm:

    === low turn-out meant old voters dominate the electorate, not progressives.===

    Older voters almost always dominate the electorate. There are exceptions. But you don’t win regularly by relying on exceptions.


  14. - Duck Duck Goose - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 5:25 pm:

    Sad to hear about Al Larson. He was a really decent guy.


  15. - Mike K - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 5:30 pm:

    === But you don’t win regularly by relying on exceptions. ===

    Can I steal this quote?


  16. - ZC - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 7:33 pm:

    I was playing around with scatterplots and ward data this afternoon, and if you plot the runoff vote for Vallas in each ward against the support for BCH, it correlates at -.86. It’s off the charts in other words. Nothing else I’ve found predicts as well how a ward voted on BCH (not income, not race-ethnicity) as runoff vote for Vallas.


  17. - Suburban Mom - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 9:37 pm:

    Thank you for highlighting the story about Hezekiah and Ke’Asia. I cried tears of rage while reading it: It’s too familiar to too many special ed parents, especially autism parents — but their story in particular has so much racism from North Shore communities, it breaks my heart a second time.

    As a political punctuation mark related to the primaries, I will never, ever forget that Bruce Rauner zeroed out autism funding in Illinois on World Autism Day. He hurt my child and thousands of other children by doing so, and did damage to autism treatment and support systems that are reveberating TO THIS DAY, in this story.

    Republicans hurt children, and they do it in the most spiteful way possible. I will never forget. And I will never, ever vote for a Republican again. I know what they stand for. Rauner made that super-clear by choosing World Autism Day for his political stunt.


  18. - Wally - Wednesday, Mar 20, 24 @ 10:44 pm:

    If Burke wins, history will tell us it was because the “hard left” decided to focus on a ballot initiative instead of an office with many positions that has real life impacts on everyday people.


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