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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Monday, Apr 1, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Capitol News Illinois

A federal judge in Puerto Rico last week told a politically connected former state contractor that if he wants to sue for defamation against the people who’ve accused him of defrauding the state of Illinois, he’ll have to do so in an Illinois courtroom. […]

“Not a single one of the Defendants resides in, conduct business in, or has anything to do with, Puerto Rico,” Magistrate Judge Marshal Morgan wrote in a March 15 report.

The case involves Brian Hynes, a Chicago-based lawyer and one-time protégé of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who maintains a residence in Puerto Rico. Hynes has operated lobbying and business entities over the years that work with the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago.

The entity at the center of the defamation case is Vendor Assistance Program LLC, or VAP, a company he set up to take part in a program the state has used to pay its bills during periods of tight cash flow. It was used extensively during the 2015-2017 budget impasse under former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Under that program, private financial firms like VAP would purchase unpaid bills that the state owed its vendors. The vendors would receive the money owed to them and the financial firms were paid interest of 1 percent per month, or 12 percent annually.

* Alice Yin

* Press release…

Today, Governor JB Pritzker and Innovate Illinois announced a multi-year plan for The Bloch Quantum Tech Hub to develop quantum technology solutions for pressing issues such as fraud detection, grid resilience, and drug discovery by accelerating industry adoption to drive research commercialization—an initiative that is projected to generate $60 billion in economic impact for the Chicago metro area over the next decade. The coalition, which includes Fortune 500 companies, quantum startups, world-leading universities, state and city governments, community colleges, and economic and workforce development nonprofits, developed the plan as part of their application for Phase 2 funding through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Regional Technology and Innovation Hub program. […]

The Bloch, led by the Chicago Quantum Exchange, is a part of Illinois’ strategic vision to establish itself as a global leader in critical technological sectors, supported by Innovate Illinois Chair Governor JB Pritzker’s historic $500 million proposed investment in quantum technologies.

This substantial state investment is included in the proposed FY25 state budget for developing quantum technology and a state-of-the-art quantum campus, including a cryogenic facility crucial for quantum technologies and next-generation microelectronics. The Bloch is positioned to leverage this investment, leading the nation to a sustainable and inclusive quantum economy.

Should their Phase 2 bid be funded, The Bloch is expected to create 30,000 quantum jobs, train 50,000 workers, and support 200 quantum companies by 2035.

* Governor Pritzker at today’s press conference

* The Chicago Southland Black Chamber of Commerce…

The Chicago Southland Black Chamber of Commerce and other black business organizations and supporters are calling for the Illinois Community College Board to be defunded until the state-mandated 30% minority participation goals are met by Illinois community colleges. The Illinois House Appropriations - Higher Education Committee, chaired by State Representative La Shawn K. Ford, held a subject matter hearing downtown Chicago last Thursday. At the subject matter hearing, all state universities participated while only one community college participated.

“We were told that the community colleges didn’t want to participate because they felt uncomfortable. They didn’t want to be criticized and they don’t appreciate the criticism that they’ve been receiving. We think their response is horrible. They don’t intend to comply with state law and reach those goals,” stated Dr. Cornel Darden Jr., Chairman of the Chicago Southland Black Chamber of Commerce.

At the Subject Matter Hearing, several universities took the defensive and blamed the system for preventing them from having the ability to reach the goals. The black business organizations and black business leaders argued differently. The sentiment of the black business organizations was that the colleges and universities were just giving excuses.

“We need solutions and not excuses. We need to defund the Illinois Community College Board. Black taxpayer dollars should not go toward funding discrimination against ourselves. The Illinois Community College Board has been communicating with us and we are willing to work with them, however, the madness must stop. We need to halt their funding and develop a working relationship to meet the 30% goals. Until that happens, the community colleges should not get any more of our state funding,” explained Dr. Darden.

Many of the black business organizations and several black businesses have filed witness slips opposing the budget appropriation of the Illinois Community College Board for their scheduled 8:30 am Hearing on Thursday April 4th in Springfield, in front of the House Appropriations - Higher Education Committee. Several black business organizations have registered to give oral testimony at that hearing.

* An historic announcement? Sounds interesting…

Congressman Garcia and Coalition to Make Major Announcement

Chicago, IL - Team Chuy invites members of the press to join them for a significant announcement regarding the upcoming general election. This historic announcement is expected to have a profound impact on our community for years to come.

WHO: Congressman Chuy Garcia and other elected officials
WHAT: Press Conference
WHEN: Monday, April 1st at 9:00 am
WHERE: Chicago City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St, 3rd Floor

Congressman Garcia will share his vision and detailed plans moving forward.
The Congressman’s announcement comes at a time of widespread speculation and interest in the future of our region.

The big news…

Congressman Jesus “Chuy” García is proud to announce his endorsement of Yesenia López for elected Board Member of the Chicago School Board of Education, marking a historic moment as these positions are elected for the first time. Yesenia López is leading the charge as the first candidate to announce her candidacy for the 7th District, aspiring to represent Chicago’s bustling southwest side.

* Here’s the rest…

    * Crain’s | Pritzker leans into role as Illinois’ CMO: Pritzker is leaning into the promise he made when running for governor that he’d be the state’s chief marketing officer. Illinois needs to rev up its economic development game to reverse stubborn population and job-growth trends that have been a drag. The state’s population growth has been minimal, and job growth has lagged the nation.

    * Daily Herald | ‘A working relationship’: Elk Grove mayor and developer — once bitter rivals — ink TIF deals: A little more than four years ago — in the throes of a bitter term limits referendum campaign that sought to remove him from office — Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson took to the village board dais to publicly lash out at local developer Mario Gullo, accusing him of working behind the scenes to support the effort. Johnson — the powerful mayor of Elk Grove since 1997 — even channeled “It’s a Wonderful Life” during his half-hour monologue, comparing himself to main character George Bailey and Gullo to antagonist Henry Potter.

    * WCIA | Urbana Middle School moves to e-learning amid staffing shortage: In a Sunday evening email, the school’s principal and district’s superintendent said because of “a significant number of last-minute staff absences and not enough substitutes or administrators district-wide to cover all classes and routines safely, Urbana Middle School will transition to E-learning for all students.”

    * Block Club | Most Chicago 911 Calls Don’t Need Urgent Police Response, Report Shows: Most 911 calls Chicago residents made in 2022 focused on car accidents, mental or physical health issues or noise complaints — not shots fired or other violence, a report that looked at more than 1 million calls to the city’s emergency number found. Experts say that data bolsters the need for more alternative policing programs, and more support for those already in place, to meet residents’ needs in Chicago and across the country.

    * WBEZ | ‘A sea of trucks’ disproportionately pollutes Black and brown neighborhoods in Chicago: In just one hour, at the day’s peak, about 430 trucks pass through this spot in Archer Heights, a mostly Latino community on the Southwest Side. Trucks in cities belch pollution. In Chicago — North America’s largest freight hub — Black and brown communities living near the city’s industrial corridor are disproportionately paying for it with their health.

    * WTTW | CTA Data Shows Reliance on Overtime, Chronic FOIA Delays and Years of Mischaracterized Records: The corrected work hours would have painted a less dire picture about the CTA’s reliance on overtime than earlier reporting showed, had the transit agency caught its error when WTTW News filed its first request for detailed information on operator hours two years ago. But the updated data still indicates a public transit system grappling with a pool of bus and train operators that shrank dramatically after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and the potential for dangerously long hours for workers putting in the most time on the job.

    * Sun-Times | Invisible struggles of lower-income Asian Americans gain spotlight: Change InSight, a coalition led by the Chinatown-based nonprofit Chinese American Service League (CASL), has been surveying communities in more Asian languages, allowing for better data. The coalition is the first national web platform to collect community-level data from low-income Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities on public health and socioeconomic indicators.

    * Tribune | Refuge on the field: A migrant boy finds home in baseball: Baseball is the most popular sport in Venezuela, a country in economic and political disarray, and the home country of most of the 37,000 migrants who have come to Chicago since August 2022. The game is played differently there, said several of Guerra’s family members as they watched him tag players out and catch fly balls Friday morning. Migrants have faced hurdles in adjusting to life in a city that has struggled for almost two years to house and feed them. But for Guerra, whose coaches say has a chance of being recruited for college, baseball is a semblance of home.

    * WBEZ | What’s That Building? The Gemini Giant: A coalition led by the Joliet Area Historical Museum had been ready to sweep in with a hefty bid using tourism funds from the state. With the 18% buyers premium the auction house charges, the museum will spend $324,500 funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

    * Tribune | Chicago White Sox swept by Detroit Tigers as Erick Fedde returns to the majors — and Eloy Jiménez leaves with injury: “These are heartbreakers,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “Three one-run games. Could have gone our way. Didn’t go our way.” The Sox had to complete the game without slugger Eloy Jiménez as the designated hitter exited with left adductor soreness. He displayed discomfort running to first base while grounding out to third in the sixth inning, his final at-bat of the day.

    * Tribune | Al Larson, village president of Schaumburg for 32 years, dies at 85: During his time at the helm of his northwest suburb, Larson oversaw the continuation of the village’s residential growth — in 2020, Schaumburg numbered 78,723 residents — and he worked to give his community a variety of amenities and attractions, including Town Square, the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center and the Wintrust Field baseball stadium. He also signed off on the village’s 1994 purchase of the Schaumburg Regional Airport to prevent it from being sold to developers.

    * NYT | The Eclipse Was So Nice, They’re Doing It Twice: The college town, with a population of nearly 22,000, was among the most popular hot spots in the Midwest for the 2017 eclipse. Now, Carbondale and its neighbors are getting ready for another day with no sun. While towns in the area averaged around two and half minutes in the darkness of totality in 2017, this time they will experience about four minutes of totality. Preparation and hype have increased, too.

    * The US Sun | Trillions of bugs to swarm in ‘once-per-221-years’ mating frenzy in weeks – it last happened to the Founding Fathers: For the most part, the two broods will not appear in the same locations, except for a small woodland area in Springfield, Illinois, where cicadas from both broods might emerge at the same time. Brood XIII will be seen around north-central Illinois, Ohio, and Iowa in the Midwest.


  1. - NIU Grad - Monday, Apr 1, 24 @ 2:41 pm:

    To any reporters who showed up to that Chuy announcement expecting something that would have “profound impact on our community for years to come”: April Fool’s.

  2. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 1, 24 @ 2:47 pm:

    ===April Fool’s===

    I thought the setup looked too good to be true.

  3. - Was at Alice Yin's "press conference" - Monday, Apr 1, 24 @ 2:51 pm:

    What an unfair pot shot. It wasn’t a press conference. It was specifically an event to celebrate an expansion of supportive services and long-awaited affordable housing reopening, as well as Chicago’s first Chief Homelessness Officer. One of the residents movingly spoke to his experience living at the facility. Not a single question for him. The room was full of people interested in the details of how we can reduce homelessness in the City. Not a single question about affordable housing funding. Instead the press comes with their horserace BS, further ensuring the Citzenry have a lesser understanding of how their government actually works and spends money to get people off the street and help them get on solid footing. A sad showing and then completely misleading criticism of the Mayor (not defending other instances where he could have been more open).

  4. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Apr 1, 24 @ 3:26 pm:

    –the museum will spend $324,500–

    Last year, a child in Wilmington had to start a fundraiser to pay off the thousands of dollars of her classmates school lunch debt.

    But boy howdy, those adults in Wilmington sure get excited about an inanimate fiberglass statue they had completely forgotten about for the past 5 years.

    Boomers and their nostalgia is really getting a bit obscene.

  5. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 1, 24 @ 3:27 pm:

    Do you work for the Mayor? lol

    He’s the Mayor of the City of Chicago. The press can ask him any question they want to ask him. And his behavior was par for the course in walking off an not answering any of them. The man is utterly and completely inept when it comes to the press.

  6. - Dotnonymous x - Monday, Apr 1, 24 @ 3:44 pm:

    Cicadas are cool…can’t wait to hear their combined song.

  7. - NotYourGramma - Monday, Apr 1, 24 @ 3:45 pm:

    I like LaShawn Ford an awful lot. He should look into Cornel Darden before he listens to anything that man says or does. Including his “degree.”

  8. - Just a guy - Monday, Apr 1, 24 @ 3:51 pm:

    To the “unfair pot shot,” unfortunately, it comes with the territory. You are the Mayor of the third largest city in the country. You just tried to push through a $100 million a year tax hike with no plan for oversight on the spending of the money, or how it was actually going to be allocated to combat homelessness (I won’t comment on the other monies available that either haven’t been used or can’t be accounted for). You openly refuse to answer questions from the media when they either aren’t the softball type. When he was asked to offer transparency on how $300 million worth of migrant support funding has been allocated, he did the same dodge and weave ( I’m sorry, but when it comes to transparency, accountability and offering details to the people he works for - taxpayers - MBJ continues to miss the mark. Even when he says “Thank you for that question. Again, we are meeting you right where you are.”

  9. - TNR - Monday, Apr 1, 24 @ 4:43 pm:

    — Was at Alice Yin’s “press conference” —

    If the mayor and/or his staff implied that he would take “off topic” questions at the end of the event and then bolted without doing so, he deserves every bit of criticism he’s getting. It’s okay not to take questions. Just don’t say you’re going to.

    Look, being mayor is a really tough job. Dealing with the Chicago media is one of the things that makes it so hard. If you mislead them, you only make it harder.

  10. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Apr 1, 24 @ 5:59 pm:

    VAP - will Jim Edgar’s name surface?

  11. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 1, 24 @ 9:35 pm:

    ===If you mislead them, you only make it harder. ===

    Yep. And this mayor has a history of trying to change the reality of things he cannot change.

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