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Isabel’s afternoon roundup (Updated)

Thursday, May 30, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

…Adding… Tribune

A federal judge on Thursday put off ruling on key evidentiary issues in the upcoming trial of a former AT&T Illinois president accused of bribing then-House Speaker Michael Madigan, saying it made more sense to wait to see how the U.S. Supreme Court comes down in a case that could fundamentally alter a federal bribery statute.

Paul La Schiazza, 66, was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in October 2022 with conspiracy, federal program bribery, and using a facility in interstate commerce to promote unlawful activity. His trial is set to begin in September. […]

During a pretrial hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman said it would behoove everyone to wait for a Supreme Court decision in the case of James Snyder, the former mayor of Portage, Indiana, who is challenging his conviction under the same bribery statute at the center of La Schiazza’s indictment.

“So much of that depends on the Snyder ruling, it doesn’t pay to go into it at this point,” Gettleman said. He set a status hearing for July 7, a week after the high court’s decision is expected to come down.

* Capitol News Illinois looks at the elections omnibus bill (HB4488). Excerpt

Another piece would require that the compensation for township supervisors in Cook County may not be increased during a term. An outgoing supervisor would also be prohibited from lowering the salary for their successor without lowering their own salary.

The bill echoes a situation in Chicago’s south suburbs centered on Dolton Mayor and Thornton Township Supervisor Tiffany Henyard, who styles herself as a “super mayor” on social media.

Late last year, Henyard proposed a measure that would decrease the salary of Thornton Township supervisor from $224,000 to $25,000, but only for non-incumbents, meaning her salary would remain unchanged, even if she was reelected, according to reporting from Fox32.

While West didn’t mention Henyard specifically, he suggested that the measure was in response to a real-world situation that he described as “a way of being spiteful.”

Subscribers were tipped about this last week.

* Sun-Times

A defiant CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. on Thursday lashed out at City Council members demanding his ouster, calling it part of Chicago’s sordid “history of attacking and trying to bring down” African American leaders.

Carter said he has “done what I need to do” to improve the CTA, bolster hiring and ridership decimated by COVID and restore service to pre-pandemic levels, all while ignoring “opportunities to go elsewhere” and earn more money.

In exchange for that dedication and commitment to an agency he has served for much of his lifelong career in mass transit, Carter said, he has become a target. His life has been made miserable. […]

The fact that he doesn’t get it — and, instead, has turned into a political punching bag while heads of the three other mass transit agencies get a pass — not only hurts, [Carter] said. It is infuriating.

Crain’s

During his 20-minute speech, which came at the beginning of a regular CTA quarterly hearing with the committee, Carter defended his nine-year record at the helm of the agency, while acknowledging the pandemic “decimated” the system.

“I have brought billions and billions of dollars to this agency to make it better,” he said. “I have improved service. I have added service. I have increased rail service. I’ve done all the things that anyone could reasonably expect to be done to make the agency better. But the one thing that I didn’t anticipate, the one thing that none of us could have anticipated, was a pandemic. The pandemic devastated not only our ridership, but also our agency.” […]

Freshman Ald. Jessie Fuentes, 26th, a close ally of Johnson, told Carter she was “a bit disappointed” in his speech, saying leaders of the city’s sister agencies are not above criticism and Carter should have focused on what he was doing to improve the agency.

Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, said he was “a little taken aback by your approach here today.” […]

Carter responded by saying he felt he had to respond to the “elephant in the room” and address the resolution calling for him to be fired. The resolution was temporarily blocked from moving forward when it was introduced and was not up for consideration today.

Daily Line reporter Michael McDevitt has a Twitter thread with more of the hearing. Click here if you’re interested.

*** Statehouse News ***

* 21st Show | Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch on the policy and process of the state budget: Today, we’re going to focus on the Illinois General Assembly. On Wednesday morning, members of the House of Representatives passed a spending and taxation plan for the budget year that begins July 1st. The package includes more than $53 billion in discretionary spending and puts in place some $750 million in tax increases on things like sports betting companies, stores and other businesses. We are joined by Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch.

* 21st Show | A conversation with House Minority Leader Tony McCombie about the state budget: First, we’ll talk about her reaction to the budget that was passed. We’ll ask her if Republicans were invited to any budget-making meetings. Republicans have been against funding for immigrants being bussed to Chicago from Texas. We will talk about what she thinks Illinois should have done when these people arrived. Then, we’ll end by talking about what some of the Republicans’ top policy agenda items were this spring and what happened with them.

* NBC Chicago | Illinois officials ‘tremendously concerned’ about REAL ID deadline, Giannoulias says: In a wide-ranging interview with NBC Chicago’s Kye Martin, Giannoulias said his office is working to ease the flood of applicants he expects will occur prior to the May 7 deadline next year, but that progress has been slow. “We feel pressure. We are tremendously concerned about what happens next May, and that’s why we’re out there now a year ahead of time trying to convince people of the importance of getting this done before the last minute,” he said. Our facilities will swell up, and it will be a problem if people don’t get out and get their REAL ID’s.”

*** Statewide ***

* Crain’s | Ascension outsourcing prompts large share of hospital workers to quit: Following Ascension Illinois’ decision to outsource hospitalist staff at all 10 of its Chicago-area hospitals to a private-equity-backed staffing firm, more than a third of those doctors and clinicians are leaving the organization, Crain’s has learned. About 35% of the 110 full- and part-time workers, including medical directors, doctors, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners and other providers, plan to leave Ascension when the outsourcing transition takes place June 1, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke to Crain’s on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation. More hospitalists are expected to leave once the transition is complete, the person said.

*** Chicago ***

* Sun-Times | Chicago measles outbreak is over, health department says: Chicago and the surrounding area accounted for the majority of the country’s measles cases this year after cases were detected at a migrant shelter in Pilsen in March. Over the next several months, a total of 64 cases were detected throughout the city. Illinois had just five cases in 2023, which were the first in the state since 2019.

* ABC Chicago | ShotSpotter says it has offered to install tech around United Center ahead of 2024 Chicago DNC: The area around the United Center is currently a ShotSpotter-free zone because, when the city first started using the technology, gunfire was not a problem in that part of the city. […] But, former Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who is working with ShotSpotter’s lobbyist, believes, with so many protests planned around the United Center, ShotSpotter could be a good tool for police.

* Tribune | Search the database: Chicago Public Schools release FY2025 budget: Despite a “challenging financial year” ahead, CEO Pedro Martinez said at a media briefing Tuesday that CPS will maintain, if not increase, the total amount of funding provided to schools in the coming year — which officials said will begin with more teachers, restorative justice coordinators and special education classroom assistants on staff than at the start of last school year. The district will post its entire budget online June 12, ahead of a Board of Education vote on its approval later that month. The CPS total budget last year was $9.4 billion.

* WBEZ | After challenging journeys, migrants in Chicago adjust to life in their new city: ‘We need to be more social and not be so afraid of asking questions [in English],” Elizabeth, an asylum seeker from Ecuador, said in Spanish. She asked not to use her last name. “Most people don’t speak English because they are afraid of mispronouncing it.” Elizabeth, like Luz, is also relying on community organizations, like Onward Neighborhood House, for help adjusting. Other asylum seekers are learning the rules of the road when driving, and their rights and responsibilities as new residents.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | Family of man fatally shot by police files suit against Elk Grove Village: The family’s attorney, Antonio Romanucci, said Jack Murray was in a diminished and impaired mental state when he called 911 the afternoon of Dec. 1. After officers arrived outside his house on Fern Drive, Romanucci said they failed to use de-escalation tactics or give Murray the “the time, physical space and ultimately the desperate assistance he needed.” Though police deployed a Taser as Murray approached them with a knife, Romanucci said they could’ve used additional nonlethal weapons they had, like a beanbag rifle, batons or pepper spray.

* Fox Chicago | Illinois music festival with legal on-site cannabis consumption returns with star-studded lineup: The two-day event will take place on Sept. 7 and 8, across from RISE Dispensary in Mundelein, Illinois. Headliners for this year’s festival include Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist Wiz Khalifa, reggae band Slightly Stoopid, and reggae fusion band Rebelution, among others.

*** Downstate ***

* SJ-R | Report suggests ‘reasonable cause’ that Ward 5 alderwoman did city business on state time: The report said [Ward 5 Ald. Lakeisha Purchase] “at minimum” violated workplace policy by attending meetings and participating in phone calls related to her role as Ward 5 alderwoman during state time. There was no record, it further stated, that Purchase informed IDOT about her service as a Capital Township trustee from 2017 to 2021, or about her businesses, Kashmir DST, LLC, a residential real estate development and management company, or Precisions 1-on-1 Properties, from which she gained income.

* IPM | Professor blends nature and music with the sounds of cicadas in Illinois: David Rothenberg has a keen interest in how humans and nature can connect in ways some may have never thought of before, specifically through music. A professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rothenberg has written books about the musicality behind humpback whales, birds, and even bugs, playing instruments with each species of animal. In June, Rothenberg is visiting Illinois into make music with the emerging cicada broods. IPM Newsroom’s Kimberly Schofield spoke with Rothenberg about his work, including a concert he performed with cicadas right here in central Illinois.

* Illinois Times | Frito-Lay distribution center slated to be built in Springfield: Local economic development officials told Illinois Times they don’t yet know who would operate the site, which, based on industry estimates, could cost between $30 million and $51 million to build. But several sources who were not at liberty to speak on the record confirmed the end user would be Frito-Lay, the Texas-based maker of snack foods such as Lay’s Potato Chips, Doritos and Cheetos. A Frito-Lay spokesperson declined comment when reached by phone May 28.

* KSDK | Firefighters battle massive fire at chicken farm in Marion County, Illinois: The fire was still smoldering Thursday morning, and firefighters said they expect to continue battling the flames well into the day. The fire began around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Farina Farms along Highway 37. Marion County Sheriff Kevin Cripps described the fire as “humongous” and said multiple buildings spanning 200-300 yards long were on fire.

* BND | What’s the status of property St. Clair County wants for Belle-Clair Fairgrounds overhaul?: St. Clair County purchased the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds property at 200 South Belt East with $2.3 million in federal COVID-related relief funds from the American Rescue Plan. County Buildings Director Jim Brede said that after residents learned about the fairgrounds purchase, some nearby property owners approached the county because they were interested in selling, too.

*** National ***

* LA Times | DACA recipients, facing long waits for renewal, risk losing their jobs: Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program must reapply every two years for protection and work permits. But many of the roughly 530,000 current DACA holders have recently reported lengthy processing delays. […] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services aims to process each renewal fairly and efficiently, said spokesman Matthew Bourke. But he acknowledged that some DACA recipients have experienced processing times beyond 120 days in recent months.

* NYT | How Republicans in Key Senate Races Are Flip-Flopping on Abortion: Republican candidates in all eight of the country’s most competitive Senate races have changed their approach on the issue of abortion, softening their rhetoric, shifting their positions and, in at least one case, embracing policies championed by Democrats. From Michigan to Maryland, Republicans are trying to repackage their views to defang an issue that has hurt their party at the ballot box since the Supreme Court overturned federal abortion rights. While the pivot is endemic across races in swing states, the most striking shifts have come from candidates who unsuccessfully ran for the Senate just two years ago in their home states, with abortion views that sounded very different.

* Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Guns allowed while hard water bottles, tennis balls banned in RNC security footprint: Wisconsin law prevents the city and all local governments “from prohibiting the possession or carrying of legal firearms,” City Attorney Evan Goyke told the Journal Sentinel in an email in response to questions the news organization raised about the proposed ordinance. […] The security footprint will surround a “hard perimeter” where credentials will be required to enter, and guns will not be allowed.

       

8 Comments
  1. - @misterjayem - Thursday, May 30, 24 @ 2:33 pm:

    “Carter said he has ‘done what I need to do’ to improve the CTA, bolster hiring and ridership decimated by COVID and restore service to pre-pandemic levels”

    Counterpoint: No. No, he hasn’t.

    – MrJM


  2. - NIU Grad - Thursday, May 30, 24 @ 2:39 pm:

    “The fact that he doesn’t get it — and, instead, has turned into a political punching bag while heads of the three other mass transit agencies get a pass — not only hurts, [Carter] said. It is infuriating.”

    Metra has a consistent schedule…Pace has made real progress on their hiring challenges…RTA…exists?

    What a weird thing for him to say.


  3. - Chicagonk - Thursday, May 30, 24 @ 2:42 pm:

    That is about as bad a response as you can have from Dorval Carter.


  4. - Teve Demotte - Thursday, May 30, 24 @ 2:47 pm:

    Good for Dorval for defending his reputation. A resolution called for his ouster is beyond absurd.


  5. - jimbo - Thursday, May 30, 24 @ 2:52 pm:

    I’ll be sure to remember all the things Dorval Carter has done for us lately next time I’m standing and waiting on the CTA for 35+ minutes. It’ll likely be soon if the last year is any indication.


  6. - Henry Francis - Thursday, May 30, 24 @ 3:15 pm:

    As a man, I have 40+ years taking the CTA.

    My experience has never been worse. Trains in the loop during rush hours being 20 minutes apart? Can’t remember the last time I took the red line and it didn’t reek of pot/cigs.

    I get it, Dorval ain’t responsible for the pandemic. But my experiences above are all post-pandemic.

    I’m not going to pretend that I know what needs to be done to improve service. But I think “accountability” is sorely lacking. And it starts with leadership.

    “I have brought millions … I have improved service ….I have added service” I, I, I when it comes to taking credit. Yet when the council tries to hold Dorval accountable, he’ll have none of that. No, instead he’s the victim and the criticism is unfair.

    He suggests he can make more money elsewhere? Do everyone a favor and go for the dough. Why make yourself look like an incompetent fool while you fight to keep a crappy job that makes you unhappy?


  7. - Dotnonymous x - Thursday, May 30, 24 @ 4:46 pm:

    Is that a bottle in your pocket?…Oh, never mind, it’s just a gun.

    Wha?


  8. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, May 30, 24 @ 5:57 pm:

    This afternoon’s breaking news is giving me PTSD of the Blagojevich trials. I half expected POTUS to say it was an “up day.”


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