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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Thursday, May 23, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Sun-Times

When Illinois legalized recreational marijuana in 2020, state legislators sought to correct the effects of the drug war on Black and Brown communities with “the most equity-centric law in the nation.”

The government did so by issuing special “social equity” cannabis business licenses for people of color so they could reap the profits of the now billion-dollar industry. But even with those licenses, many minority entrepreneurs are struggling to get bank loans to kick start their businesses.

Cook County government took a step toward correcting that disparity by opening applications Thursday for its Cannabis Development Grant program. The county is offering $3.6 million in grants to license holders. Applications, available online, are open through June 14.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said grant winners will be announced later this summer.

* Attorney General Kwame Raoul…

Attorney General Kwame Raoul and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), with a bipartisan coalition of 29 states, today filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment Inc., and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ticketmaster LLC, alleging that the company has illegally monopolized the live entertainment industry. The lawsuit seeks to restore competition in the live concert industry, provide better choices at lower prices for fans and open venue doors for working musicians and other performance artists.

“Live Nation’s anticompetitive business practices have led to higher costs and fewer choices for fans seeking live entertainment in Illinois,” said Raoul. “That’s why I am joining the U.S. Department of Justice and my fellow attorneys general in filing this complaint against Live Nation. I remain committed to combating monopolies that harm consumers and undercut innovation in Illinois and across the country.”

Live Nation operates several major concert venues in Illinois, from the Credit Union 1 Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, Illinois to smaller venues like House of Blues Chicago. In 2022, Ticketmaster sales reached nearly $1.5 billion for Illinois, accounting for the vast majority of expenditures on live music entertainment.

The complaint, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges that Live Nation’s unlawful conduct has deprived music fans in the United States of ticketing innovation and forced them to use outdated technology while paying more for tickets than fans in other countries. At the same time, Live Nation exercises its power over performers, venues, and independent promoters in ways that harm competition. Live Nation also allegedly imposes barriers to competition that limit the entry and expansion of its rivals.

*** Statewide ***

* KMOX | Illinois Judge: State has ’successfully turned the Titanic’ with cash bail reform: “This is an overhaul of a system I’ve known in my 40 years of my legal career,” said Andrew Gleeson, Chief Judge in the 20th Judicial Circuit in Illinois in 2023 on Total Information A.M. when the decision initially happened. Months later, has it changed criminal justice system in Illinois for the better or for worse? “I think as of now, you’d have to say yes, it’s changed for the better” said Gleeson on Total Information A.M. Wednesday.

*** Chicago ***

* Crain’s | Chicago newsrooms get $1.6 million in grants to strengthen local journalism: The newsrooms receiving the funding are Borderless Magazine, Chicago News Weekly, Cicero Independiente, Growing Community Media, Injustice Watch, Investigative Project on Race & Equity, Invisible Institute, Lansing Journal, La Raza Chicago, Reparations Media NFP, Respair Production & Media, South Side Weekly and the Windy City Times. Each news group has a different plan for using the money, ranging from hiring staff to creating hard copy reports for distribution. Each of the participating newsrooms has an operating budget of less than $2 million and prioritizes “amplifying community voices,” among other criteria.

* Sun-Times | CTA unveils ideas for open space under revamped L tracks in Edgewater, Uptown: Skate parks, dog parks, fitness spaces, playgrounds, walking paths and areas for outdoor markets, all shaded under L tracks on the North Side. Those were some of the proposals in the Chicago Transit Authority’s vision for more than a mile of new open space under renovated Red Line tracks stretching from West Lawrence to West Ardmore avenues in Edgewater and Uptown.

* Crain’s | Lagunitas is moving its brewing operations out of Chicago: The Lagunitas Brewing Company is moving its Chicago brewing operations to Petaluma, Calif. The brewery will maintain operations of its Chicago warehouse but is closing its Chicago tap room in Douglas Park. “The changes were prompted by a need to future-proof the organization amid changing tides in the craft beverage industry,” the company said in a statement. “The transition will allow for a more efficient and flexible supply chain, with a greater focus on innovation and the acceleration of more sustainable brewing practices.”

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | Hanover Township offering free summer lunches to youth: Hanover Township is partnering with the Northern Illinois Food Bank to provide free lunches to youth beginning Monday, June 3, at the Township’s Astor Avenue Community Center, 7431 Astor Ave., Hanover Park and at the Izaak Walton Youth Center, 899 Jay St., Elgin. Lunches will be available Monday through Friday between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., at the Youth Center and 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., at the Community Center. No registration is required.

* NBC Chicago | Wayfair’s first-ever physical store opens in Wilmette with freebies, giveaways: According to Wilmette village president Senta Plunkett, the store is expected to have a “transformative effect” on the suburb. “It will be our largest sales tax generator,” Plunkett told NBC Chicago in an interview. “We’re excited to be able to reinvest those sales tax dollars into our infrastructure. It’s a big deal here.”

* Sun-Times | Cook County jury rules Zantac not the cause of Brookfield woman’s colon cancer: Jurors deliberated for just over four hours from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning. The three-week long trial — a first of thousands of similar cases nationwide to appear before a jury — wrapped up Wednesday. Lawyers laid out two starkly different arguments in their final pitches to the jury of nine women and three men. They did agree she proved she took Zantac for nearly 20 years, but they did not find it was the cause of her colon cancer.

* WTTW | Some Landscapers Say Evanston’s Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Ban Created a Tense Atmosphere, With the Public and Fellow Landscapers Submitting More Than 1,000 Violations: Tom Klitzkie, president and co-owner of Nature’s Perspective Landscaping, who runs what he has called the “largest landscaping business in Evanston,” served as a member of the city’s Environmental Board. That board helped advise the Evanston City Council on legislation directly impacting his own company: the city’s controversial ban on gas- and propane-powered leaf blowers. In turn, Klitzkie is one of the top submitters of leaf blower violation complaints involving other landscaping companies. He’s the second most frequent submitter, accounting for 283 of the whopping 1,385 submissions made to the city as of April 25. Most of the submitters — 640 — left their name blank. 122 are under “hire reputable landscapers.”

*** Downstate ***

* The Telegraph | Collinsville hosts Illinois GOP state convention this weekend: Unlike a national convention, which is focused on selecting a presidential candidate, the state convention is about networking and training. Approximately 500 to 600 people will attend, according to Convention Coordinator Deb Detmers.

*** Cicadapocalypse ***

* ABC Chicago | Rare blue-eyed cicada donated to Field Museum: ‘One in a million’: A rare blue-eyed cicada found by a suburban family has been donated to Chicago’s Field Museum. A 4-year-old, Jack Bailey, from Wheaton discovered it. His sister noticed it had blue eyes. The family took pictures of the cicada and then released it back into the yard. Later, they discovered how rare blue-eyed cicadas are, so they found it again.

* WCIA | ‘I’m staying inside’: Decatur neighborhood reacts to cicada influx: People have been doing all they can to try to keep their yards clear of the bugs and what they leave behind, but Tapscott says when they start cleaning in the morning — by the next day it looks like nothing was done. “There’s not much you can do about them. It’ll be nice when they’re gone. Because its very noisy,” said Tapscott.

*** National ***

* AP | Political consultant behind fake Biden robocalls faces $6 million fine and criminal charges: The Federal Communications Commission said the fine it proposed Thursday for Steven Kramer is its first involving generative AI technology. The company accused of transmitting the calls, Lingo Telecom, faces a $2 million fine, though in both cases the parties could settle or further negotiate, the FCC said.

* USA Today | Activist Rev. Al Sharpton issues stark warning to the FTC about two gambling giants: In the letter, obtained by USA TODAY Sports, Sharpton writes to FTC Chair Lina Khan that the domination of the two gambling platforms threatens consumer protection in the market. “As you are well aware, DraftKings and FanDuel dominate the online sports betting market in the United States,” Sharpton wrote. “As of September 2023, they had a combined market share of approximately 75% in mobile sports betting. Their Sports Betting Alliance (SBA), which includes fellow legacy operators BetMGM and Fanatics Sportsbook, likely controls close to 90% of the market now.

* Crain’s | Durbin renews call for Alito to recuse himself in 2020 election cases: Referring to a New York Times report that the “Appeal to Heaven” flag was seen flying outside Alito’s New Jersey vacation home — news that follows revelations that an upside-down American flag had been displayed at the conservative justice’s Virginia residence — Durbin argued tonight that the incidents “further erode public faith in the court.”


  1. - JoanP - Thursday, May 23, 24 @ 2:49 pm:

    = Durbin renews call for Alito to recuse himself in 2020 election cases: =

    Alito needs to resign. And take Thomas with him. Not that that would ever happen.

  2. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 23, 24 @ 3:21 pm:

    If what is alleged about Alito and Thomas is true, they should both be removed from the bench. The USSC can not be openly partisan or be beholden to any entity that appears before the court (that does not mean they cannot be conservative, centrist, or liberal) and practice on the bench with any integrity. The confidence in the USSC was once nearly unshakeable in the public’s eye, that is no longer and that may hurt our country and state more than any election deniers.

  3. - Gravitas - Thursday, May 23, 24 @ 3:35 pm:

    The People’s Republic of Evanston! These same folks complained about lawn mowers and leaf blowers being used at the local community golf course while bicycling, dog walking and jogging at the same course and otherwise interfering with golfers who paid to play at the course.

  4. - Vote Quimby - Thursday, May 23, 24 @ 4:16 pm:

    Re: LiveNation…30 years ago Pearl Jam was right.

  5. - Bigtwich - Thursday, May 23, 24 @ 4:55 pm:

    “successfully turned the Titanic”

    There was a complementary editorial in the LA Times on bail reform a few days ago.

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