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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Jake Sheridan

* Mack Lieberman


A symbolic resolution calling for the firing of the embattled head of the Chicago Transit Authority stalled out today at City Council.

The resolution, introduced by Alds. Andre Vasquez, 40th, and Matt Martin, 47th, with 27 co-sponsors, calls for Mayor Brandon Johnson to replace CTA President Dorval Carter, joining the growing chorus calling for the transit chief’s ouster. But Ald. Jason Ervin, 28th, put a temporary block on the measure by banishing it to the Rules Committee, which will test the resolve of the sponsors to continue to push the issue. […]

“I’m 58 years old, and I have never advocated for someone losing their job, except on one occasion and that was former (Chicago Police) Superintendent Garry McCarthy,” said Ald. Chris Taliaferro, 29th. “But I’m just not in the business of taking food off people’s table.”

Ald. William Hall, 6th, another member of the Black caucus, argued the resolution went too far when Carter has “done nothing immoral, unethical or illegal.” Instead, he proposed a five-year plan that could address performance issues with the CTA.

* Common Cause…

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it will begin a rulemaking to require disclosure for Artificial Intelligence (AI)-generated content in political advertising on the nation’s airwaves.

Statement of Ishan Mehta, Common Cause Media and Democracy Program Director

Americans expect and deserve to know whether the content they see on our public airwaves is real or AI-generated content – especially as the technology is increasingly being used to mislead voters. This rulemaking is welcome news as the use of deceptive AI and deepfakes threaten our democracy and is already being used to erode trust in our institutions and our elections.

We have seen the impact of AI in politics in the form of primary ads using AI voices and images, and in robocalls during the primary in New Hampshire.

We commend the FCC and Chair Rosenworcel for this work to require disclosures for AI-generated content in political ads. It is imperative that regulations around political advertising keep pace with the onward march of new and evolving technologies.

We urge Congress and other agencies like the FEC (Federal Election Commission) to follow the FCC’s lead and take proactive steps to protect our democracy from very serious threat posed by AI. That is why we have previously filed comments with the FEC urging the agency to amend its regulation on “fraudulent misrepresentation” to include “deliberately false Artificial Intelligence-generated content in campaign ads or other communications.”

*** Statehouse News ***

* Capitol Connection | Tradeswomen travel to Springfield, advocates for worker’s rights: The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades partnered with labor advocates to hold the first Tradeswomen Take Over Springfield Advocacy Day at the Capitol. The group wanted to show lawmakers that women make up a significant portion of these union jobs, and that their interests should be taken into account when developing policies at the State level.

* Innocence Project | Illinois Can Once Again Lead in Preventing Wrongful Convictions by Passing a Critical False Confession Bill: Despite the fact that Illinois judges routinely rule on the reliability of other evidence, such as eyewitness identifications and forensic evidence, Illinois has not asked its judges to assess the reliability of the alleged confession. In the Dixmoor Five case, given that the DNA evidence, pre-trial, excluded each of them as the source of the semen on the victim’s body and their so-called confessions did not align with the other evidence, it is unlikely that a judge would have found the confessions reliable. Wrongly convicted, the Dixmoor Five spent a total of 95 years behind bars, losing years of their lives they can never get back, until they were exonerated. Meanwhile, the real perpetrator, subsequently matched to a DNA database search, remained free and, in fact, committed other sexual assaults.

*** Statewide ***

* Tribune | More kinds of ticks, longer season as experts warn ‘Illinois is at the frontline’:
Though the longhorned tick generally targets cattle, Maureen Murray, assistant director of the Urban Wildlife Institute at Lincoln Park Zoo, said Chicago residents should be on the lookout for other types of ticks. Tick patterns tend to vary significantly from year to year, Murray said, but one consistency has been a movement in tick season. “We’re seeing less severe winters, which might lead to more ticks,” Murray said. “Fewer ticks die during the winter, and ticks can be active sooner in the spring, just because it warms up faster.”

*** Chicago ***

* WBEZ | Who’s in Brandon Johnson’s cabinet? Many are holdovers from the administrations he often criticizes: Pacione-Zayas points to the infrastructure the city has built in the past year — and the creation of new positions devoted to the city’s response — as evidence of its nimbleness. “Given what we’ve been able to accomplish, albeit some bumps, it’s pretty amazing that we’ve kept government running,” Pacione-Zayas said. “And we’ve also addressed this situation in ways that nobody ever gave you instructions on how to do — without any federal support or intervention.”

* NYT | Chicago Is Tired of Waiting for Trains, and Thinks It Knows Who’s to Blame: “Yes, C.T.A. chief Carter needs to go,” Crain’s Chicago Business wrote in an editorial last month, saying that his agency was in a “shambolic state.” Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Democrat of Illinois, said recently that there “needs to be an evolution of leadership in order for us to get where we need to go with the C.T.A.” Since the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Carter has drawn the ire of public transportation advocates, who have called him out for failing to fix the system’s financial problems, sluggish service and thefts and assaults on L trains and buses.

* Block Club | Simon’s Tavern Celebrates 90 Years As Andersonville’s Bar: It became a legally licensed bar in May 1934 under its original owner Simon Lundberg after operating as an illegal basement speakeasy during the latter years of Prohibition. In 1970, Lundberg passed the business to his son Roy Lundberg who ran it until 1994, when Martin took the reins.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* ProPublica | Ticketed at School as a Teen, a Young Black Woman Is Suing an Illinois City for Violating Her Civil Rights: Amara Harris, the young Black woman from suburban Chicago who won a yearslong fight against a police ticket that accused her of stealing a classmate’s AirPods, took her fight to court again Tuesday. This time, she was the plaintiff, not the defendant. Harris’ attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging civil rights violations, including racial discrimination and malicious prosecution. When she was a high school junior in 2019, a city police officer based at the school, using information gathered by school deans, ticketed her for violating a municipal ordinance against theft. Harris has always said she did not steal the AirPods but picked them up by mistake, thinking they were her own.

* Daily Herald | ‘We need resolution’: State lawsuit against Wheaton history group drags on: Twenty-three historical societies or museums help tell the history of towns in DuPage County, according to the Illinois State Historical Society. But if you want to see a treasure trove of historic artifacts from the county seat in Wheaton, you are out of luck. A lengthy court battle is still trying to determine what the Wheaton Historic Preservation Council did with its extensive collection and more than $300,000.

* Lake County News-Sun | Waukegan roofing contractor pays $365K in penalties ‘for putting his workers’ lives … in danger repeatedly’: The payment came after the Department of Labor moved to seize the contractor’s assets as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) debt collection program, the release said. According to the news release, the employer, Joshua Herion, “repeatedly expos(ed) employees to falls from elevations.” Falls are the leading cause of death and serious injuries in the construction industry, it said.

*** Downstate ***

* Muddy River News | Adams County public defender questioning local interpretation of Pretrial Fairness Act in cases of Springfield, Quincy men: Kareun Brewer, 21, and Latwaon McCray, 42, appeared in Adams County Circuit Court on Tuesday afternoon with Public Defender Kevin Bross before Judge Tad Brenner. Bross filed an “objection to arraignment” motion on Tuesday afternoon. Brenner asked Assistant State’s Attorney Brett Jansen how long it would take for the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office to respond to the motion. Jansen said he thought they could respond and be ready for a hearing in a week. Bross told Brenner his motion was a challenge to the application of the Pretrial Fairness Act. He believes the constitutional rights of Brewer and Latwaon have been violated. Both men are in the Adams County Jail on denial of pretrial release.

* SJ-R | City Water, Lights and Power gearing up for possible lawsuit against EPA over new rules: City Water, Light and Power got the green light from city council in a 7-3 vote to seek counsel outside of the Springfield Office of Public Utilities to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over new regulations. On April 25 of this year, the EPA announced a final rule to reduce the discharge of toxic metals and other pollutants into the nation’s water bodies from coal-fired power plants.

* SJ-R | Frustration mounting for tenants of apartment complex in downtown Springfield: Frustration is mounting over the condition of one of Springfield’s premier downtown living quarters. The owners of Lincoln Tower Apartments at 520 S. Second St., Illinois-based Lincoln Tower Holdings, LLC and Delaware-based Strategic Lincoln, LLC, have been taken to court by the city of Springfield over a crumbling underground garage for residents and other fire code violations, said city attorney Gregory Moredock.

*** Cicadapocalypse ***

* WBEZ | Who wins during the cicada eruption of 2024? It turns out it’s the caterpillars: More than just a nuisance, periodical cicadas are an important player in the forest ecosystem. A 2023 study published in the journal Science, found that 80 species of birds started eating cicadas instead of caterpillars during the Brood X emergence, which had an effect on trees where the caterpillars live. Reset learns how the current eruption of cicadas affects the forest ecosystem, and the ripple effects we could be seeing for years to come.

* Sun-Times | Cicada-infused Malört shots are all the buzz at Lombard brewpub: Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard got the idea to create the creepy drink as a fun way to spread the word of the establishment via social media. Their twist on Malört, an iconic Chicago spirit made of wormwood known for its bitter, slightly grapefruit taste, uses real bugs collected in a wooded park neighboring the restaurant. […] “Everyone already hates Malört, so it’s like, let’s just make it even worse,” said Joey Giardiniera, the restaurant’s creative director.

*** Sports ***

* Sun-Times | Ex-Bears QB Justin Fields ‘nowhere near my ceiling’ as he relaunches career with Steelers: Three years after the Bears drafted him 11th overall, hoping he would be their franchise quarterback, they offloaded him to the Steelers for next to nothing. But Fields seems happy to have moved on, as well, and this is the second chance he wanted as soon as he realized the Bears were done with him.

* Sun-Times | White Sox’ Eloy Jimenez suffers hamstring strain; OF Zach DeLoach recalled from Charlotte: Jimenez appeared to be hurt as he crossed home plate on Corey Julks’ two-run single in the fifth inning that gave the Sox a three-run lead in their 5-0 victory Tuesday. Jimenez was pinch-hit for by Gavin Sheets in the seventh inning. Jimenez, who has a long history of soft tissue injury problems, missed the first two weeks of April after suffering an adductor strain in the third game of the season.

*** National ***

* Federal News Network | Labor Dept backs state-by-state refresh of UI benefits systems rocked by pandemic: Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su told reporters Tuesday that a nearly 3,000% surge in UI claims in 2020 demonstrated how these legacy IT systems were “inadequate to meet the needs of people who were suddenly out of work.” The department first awarded UI modernization grants to states in 2021. It’s now funding projects in 18 other states, at a time when their systems are experiencing historically low levels of strain.

* Tribune | All eyes are on Milwaukee this summer. Here’s what to do beyond the Republican National Convention.: Long known as Brew City (that German influence), 27 breweries operate in Milwaukee. That compares with more than 40 breweries tapping kegs back in the 1860s. Of those 40, four are still around: Blatz, Pabst, Miller and Schlitz, once the largest beer producer in the U.S. and known as “the beer that made Milwaukee famous.” Hanging out at Lakefront Brewery, especially after a stroll along the Milwaukee RiverWalk, is a great way to spend some time. Sample the gold-medal winning RiverWest Stein, an amber lager, alongside some tasty fried cheese curds.

* NYT | ‘A Completely Different Town Now’: A Community Reels From a Deadly Tornado: Not long after the tornado hit Greenfield, Iowa, residents were already using skid loaders to clear streets. With the hospital damaged, a medical triage center started at the local lumberyard. Paramedics and police officers from across the western half of Iowa were speeding in to help. “Everybody became little makeshift ambulances,” said Ray Sorensen, a member of the Iowa House of Representatives who lives in Greenfield, and who said he helped with the rescues after racing back into town shortly after the storm hit on Tuesday afternoon. “We pulled a guy from the rubble and put him on a little makeshift stretcher that we made, threw him in the back of a truck.”

* Business Journal | Riverfront Times sold, newspaper’s editorial staff laid off: The Riverfront Times’ owner has sold the St. Louis alternative weekly newspaper, and its buyer is not retaining any current editorial staff, according to the RFT’s top editor. “I am absolutely heartsick to see the good writers, editors and photographers who made this publication a must-read for so many years losing their jobs,” said Sarah Fenske. “We fought the good fight, and what else can you say? The journalists here did terrific work day and day out. I hope someone will hire them — and that somehow, despite long odds, they’ll continue in the 47-year RFT tradition of printing the truth and raising hell.”

* Tribune | Amid campus protests against Israel-Hamas war, student journalists assume the spotlight: The reporting has been applauded at a national level. The Pulitzer Prize Board — which is housed at Columbia University, the site of the first solidarity encampment — released a statement May 1 recognizing “the tireless efforts of student journalists” covering protests while facing “great personal and academic risk.” On the front lines, student reporters have been assaulted at UCLA and arrested at Dartmouth College.


  1. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, May 22, 24 @ 2:43 pm:

    Great news on the UI grants. Historically, federal $ has been available to upgrade state IT systems for human services, but not UI. Still using COBOL?

  2. - TruthTeller - Wednesday, May 22, 24 @ 2:43 pm:

    That WBEZ on MBJ piece is quite revealing. Choosing to skip on a communications hire because they’re affiliated with the governor? Anywhere else that is a huge PRO but in the wacky fifth floor its somehow a CON. Says all you need to know.

  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, May 22, 24 @ 2:50 pm:

    –Who’s in Brandon Johnson’s cabinet? Many are holdovers–

    And those who aren’t still there seem to be migrating to Joliet. City manager(former deputy mayor of Chicago) and Economic Director so far.

  4. - JB13 - Wednesday, May 22, 24 @ 2:55 pm:

    Getting called out by the Grey Lady?

    Mr. Carter just raised his profile - and not in a good way. He could’ve had an easy soft landing before. Chances of that now diminishing.
    Tick tock

  5. - Nick - Wednesday, May 22, 24 @ 2:58 pm:

    === “I’m 58 years old, and I have never advocated for someone losing their job, except on one occasion and that was former (Chicago Police) Superintendent Garry McCarthy,” said Ald. Chris Taliaferro, 29th. “But I’m just not in the business of taking food off people’s table.” ===

    Can I advocate for this alderman losing his job.

  6. - Gravitas - Wednesday, May 22, 24 @ 3:07 pm:

    Nothing immoral, unethical or illegal? Is that the only bar?

    Carter has failed due to his incompetence.

  7. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, May 22, 24 @ 3:07 pm:

    The water discharge regs are just the first of a growing number of challenges that City Water, Light, and Power will face. None of them caused by operational issues or customer complaints but rather by energy policy.

    “According to the new EPA rules, coal plants staying open beyond 2039 must cut or capture 90% of their emissions by 2032, while those retiring by 2039 face a less strict standard. Plants set to close by 2032 are exempt from the new standards”

  8. - Lakeview Looker - Wednesday, May 22, 24 @ 3:54 pm:

    ==“But I’m just not in the business of taking food off people’s table.==

    He makes $376,000 a year. He will be fine for the two weeks he’s unemployed.

    Gravitas is 100% right–plenty of people who deserve to be fired never did anything illegal, immoral or unethical. But if you don’t work, or work poorly, you ought to be let go. That is how accountability works.

  9. - Nick Name - Wednesday, May 22, 24 @ 4:56 pm:

    Cicada-infused Malört shots are just what we need!

  10. - Dotnonymous x - Wednesday, May 22, 24 @ 6:56 pm:

    Cicadas, caterpillars, ticks…it’s starting to look like these various species are interconnected in some strange kind of web.

  11. - Just a guy - Sunday, May 26, 24 @ 5:04 pm:

    - Nick Name - Wednesday, May 22, 24 @ 4:56 pm:

    Cicada-infused Malört shots are just what we need!

    I’d like to give a Cicada-infused shot of Malört to several Alders and a number of folks on the fifth floor - let’s get those lined up.

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