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Isabel’s afternoon roundup (Updated)

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

*** Adding *** Personal PAC…

Please find statement below. I have been told that the vote is expected to happen Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.

Lake County’s Circuit Court is about to make a very dangerous decision for reproductive health and rights.
Extreme right-wing politician, Rod Drobinski, seeks appointment by sitting Lake County judges to be an Associate Lake County Judge. 

Lake County residents rejected Drobinski’s bids for state representative and judge of the Circuit Court. His anti-abortion views are too extreme for the district.

Personal PAC CEO Sarah Garza Resnick said, “We will not endorse any judge for election, appointment, or retention who supports anti-abortion judicial candidates. Full stop.”

As a member of Lake County Right to Life, Drobinski has a clear history of opposing abortion rights.  “Local courts are a front-line of defense to protect people seeking abortion services in Illinois,” Garza Resnick added. “We will keep fighting to ensure the Illinois Courts protect all reproductive rights.”

* The Telegraph

Hearings on objections to more than a dozen Republican state legislative candidates, including Jay Keeven of Edwardsville, will be held after hearing officers are assigned to the cases by the Illinois State Board of Elections.

That is expected to happen during the ISBE’s July meeting, with the hearings to be completed in time for the agency board to make a final decision in August to meet the Aug. 23 deadline to finalize the state ballot.

Matt Dietrich, a spokesman for the ISBE, said regardless of how the ISBE rules, the agency’s rulings are expected to be challenged in court. […]

Dietrich said until the hearing officer is named, the specifics of the objections are not made public.

* Tribune

Defense attorneys in the federal racketeering case against former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and his longtime confidant said in new filings Monday that prosecutors’ apparent plan to immunize former state Rep. Eddie Acevedo and compel him to testify is dubious due to “competency issues.”

The filings also previewed what likely will be a key element of Madigan’s defense: that while others may have schemed behind the scenes to try and influence the powerful House speaker, there is no evidence Madigan was in on it or that he took any official action to assist them.

Acevedo, a Madigan acolyte who left the General Assembly in 2017 to become a lobbyist, was allegedly paid by AT&T Illinois through a do-nothing consulting contract as part of an alleged scheme by the telephone giant to illegally influence Madigan as they worked to pass legislation in Springfield.

Prosecutors said in a filing earlier this year that they plan to call Acevedo to testify about the payments, which were allegedly arranged by Madigan’s friend and co-defendant, Michael McClain. Acevedo, who pleaded guilty in 2022 to tax-related offenses related to the same overarching investigation and served six months in prison.

* Naperville Sun

Naperville-based Awake Illinois was called out as one of 1,430 hate and anti-government extremist groups operating in the U.S. in 2023 by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Awake group, which espouses anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and advocates against sex education in schools, was flagged by the center in its Year in Hate & Extremism report.

The annually published report, the center says, is a “comprehensive analysis of the groups and organizational infrastructure upholding white supremacy in the United States.” It includes a “hate map,” tracking groups that land on the center’s hate and extremism radar by state as well as several observed trends in recent hard-right activity.

In its latest analysis, the center found that 39 different hate and anti-government extremist groups were active in Illinois last year. Those, according to the center, included Awake Illinois.

* Austin Berg at the Illinois Policy Institute

*** Statewide ***

* WCIA | Illinois awarding $5 million to local chambers of commerce: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has announced $5 million in grants to more than 150 organizations. It’s through the Back to Business local chambers program. The goal is to help chambers of commerce bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic.

* WAND | Illinois celebrates record-breaking export sales in 2023: Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced another record-breaking year with export sales over $78.7 billion in 2023. According to rankings by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Illinois leads Midwest as the top exporting state and fifth in the nation.

* Spectrum | West Nile virus found in mosquitos and birds across 13 Illinois counties; IDPH warns public to ‘Fight the Bite’: While no human cases of the virus have been reported, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reminding people of the importance to “Fight the Bite” during National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, June 16-22. […] There were 119 human cases reported last year, which is an increase from 34 human cases in 2022, according to IDPH. Six human deaths attributed to the West Nile virus were reported in 2023, compared to seven in 2022.

*** Downstate ***

* WAND | Ribbon cutting held to reopen Peoria Planned Parenthood after firebombing: The rebuilding and renovations amounted to more than $1 million. On Tuesday, PPIL held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and press conference with Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Michael Cabonargi, Congressman Eric Sorensen, and Illinois State Senator Dave Kohler to unveil the new facility. “We are back and stronger than ever,” said President and CEO of PPIL, Jennifer Welch. “We know the vital role the Peoria Health Center plays in the central Illinois community. The arsonist may have destroyed our health center and robbed the community from accessing care, but we were also brought closer together. Thanks to the ongoing support from Peoria leaders, residents, and donors we have the pleasure to be part of this amazing community once again.”

* SJ-R | Grants available for Black-owned businesses along Route 66 in Illinois: The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership, a coalition of state Route 66 associations, is offering $50,000 to provide direct grants to help Black-owned or operated businesses and attractions, research and programs on the historic road. “We’re always hoping to get the word out, so more people have the opportunity to apply,” Bill Thomas, chairman of Route 66 Ahead said. “It’s not just preserving the history of Route 66, but this is also an opportunity to help sustain the businesses that already exist.”

* SJ-R | A Springfield high school has finalized a deal to build a new multimillion dollar school: Lutheran High School has finalized a deal to purchase 25 acres on the city’s far south side where it intends to build a new school. The property was purchased from Cherry Hills Church, 2125 Woodside Road. It is just north of the church structure and located off Chatham Road. The school had reached an intent to purchase agreement with the church on the property in December.

*** Chicago ***

* South Side Weekly | Mayor Johnson on His Organizing Roots and Vision for Chicago : When the interview turned to education, the mayor did not directly answer a yes-or-no question about the possibility of closing public schools during his tenure. Instead, Johnson noted that he participated in the 2015 hunger strike that forced then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reopen Dyett High School on the South Side, and offered a quote from W.E.B. DuBois. “The moratorium already exists,” he said. “I fought to make sure that it happened.”

* Crain’s | Digital billboards on the Riverwalk? It’s just one idea this City Hall panel is set to debate: Expanding advertising on the Riverwalk as well as on vacant downtown storefronts, Chicago Transit Authority stations and within Chicago parks, for a fee, and allowing video gambling in Chicago are two of the revenue ideas favored by freshman Ald. William Hall, 6th. Hall told Crain’s other ideas like a city income tax or an increase in property taxes — both of which Johnson has repeatedly said he opposes — will also be on the table when the City Council’s Subcommittee on Revenue, which Hall chairs, meets for the first time on June 26 for a “Revenue 101” crash course.

* Crain’s | WBEZ and Sun-Times unions vote no confidence in Chicago Public Media CEO: With the votes that took place today, the unions signaled they have no confidence in Moog’s leadership. The unions said 86% of members participated in the vote, with 96%, or 114 members, voting no confidence.

* NYT | More Than 1,000 Birds Died One Night in Chicago. Will It Happen Again?: Migration experts said that the unusual mass deaths were the product of a number of common occurrences happening all at once. One factor, they said, was easily preventable: the number of buildings that had their lights on, which disoriented birds that were migrating overnight on Oct. 4. Since October, there have been significant changes at the building where the highest concentration of birds died, McCormick Place Lakeside Center, but advocates for bird safety are seeking measures that protect birds across the city. These measures could include treating windows with film that is more visible to birds, using shutters or drapes to block windows and turning off decorative lighting at night during migration seasons.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | Woman missed out on cicadas 17 years ago, so she brought 6,000 of them to her yard: Seventeen years ago, Bettina Sailer felt cheated when her yard did not buzz with the sound of 17-year cicadas. So, the North Aurora resident went to other parts of the state where cicadas were plentiful and brought the insects back to her yard. This year, Sailer did it again. She now has more than 6,000 cicadas in her front yard.

*** National ***

* Pew Research | Most Black Americans Believe U.S. Institutions Were Designed To Hold Black People Back: A new analysis suggests that many Black Americans believe the racial bias in U.S. institutions is not merely a matter of passive negligence; it is the result of intentional design. Specifically, large majorities describe the prison (74%), political (67%) and economic (65%) systems in the U.S., among others, as having been designed to hold Black people back, either a great deal or a fair amount. Black Americans’ mistrust of U.S. institutions is informed by history, from slavery to the implementation of Jim Crow laws in the South, to the rise of mass incarceration and more. Several studies show that racial disparities in income, wealth, education, imprisonment and health outcomes persist to this day.

       

19 Comments
  1. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 2:38 pm:

    Brandon Johnson finding ways to make Illinois Policy Institute look right.


  2. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 2:43 pm:

    That’s a lot of emails. There is not a lot of legal authority to redact emails between a public employee and officials from a public employees’ union.


  3. - CornAl DoGooder - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 2:46 pm:

    Maybe it was an overly broad FOIA by IPI, but talk about the wrong way to respond to it. Either a blanket no for some other reason, or do the work and release it. Saying ‘we have so many emails but we aren’t willing to do the work to release it’ is maybe the worst way to go about it. In the absence of more information, many people assume worst intentions when you give an answer like that.


  4. - Garfield Ridge Guy - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 2:52 pm:

    If you don’t think it’s fair game for the city to reject a FOIA request because the request is deemed to be unduly burdensome, you should be writing your congressman to modify FOIA to remove the exception that lets the city do exactly that, right? The city isn’t making up a doctrine from whole cloth here. (Of course, the answer is that every e-mail sent by any state or city official should be automatically posted online five days after being sent, after being reviewed and redacted, and taxes should be raised to allow for this, but a man can dream.)


  5. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 2:54 pm:

    ===Saying ‘we have so many emails but we aren’t willing to do the work to release it’ is maybe the worst way to go about it.===

    That is a standard response to a lot of FOIA requests. They asked them to narrow the search, which seems pretty straight forward, but I wouldn’t expect the city to suggest any search terms to help IPI find whatever it is they are looking for.

    But that would be a fun QOTD, suggest a search word to help IPI’s FOIA request become more manageable.

    I’ll start: contract.


  6. - Hannibal Lecter - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 2:58 pm:

    I don’t think the PAC is going to agree with the Mayor’s Office on this one.


  7. - Hannibal Lecter - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:01 pm:

    === you should be writing your congressman to modify FOIA to remove the exception that lets the city do exactly that, right? ===

    Congress doesn’t have anything to do with the FOIA being referenced here. The applicable FOIA is the state version. I highly doubt that the PAC or a Court is going to rule that 557 responsive emails are too burdensome to produce. Just because the City says its too burdensome does not mean that it actually is.


  8. - Leslie K - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:02 pm:

    ===unduly burdensome, you should be writing your congressman to modify FOIA to remove the exception===

    Um, no. I don’t think congressmen worry much about state law


  9. - family matters - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:07 pm:

    ==suggest a search word to help IPI’s FOIA request become more manageable==

    Haircut


  10. - JoanP - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:09 pm:

    = it would take between 20 and 40 hours to review the records =

    Isn’t somebody’s kid a summer intern?


  11. - City Zen - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:11 pm:

    ==suggest any search terms==

    Won’t help if CTU or Johnson misspell words deliberately. In Johnson’s case, not deliberately.


  12. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:14 pm:

    ==I don’t think the PAC is going to agree with the Mayor’s Office on this one.==

    I’ll bet you they would. It’s a legitimate reason for denial. They didn’t say they wouldn’t produce any records they said you need to narrow your request. Government bodies aren’t required to spend hours and days on end trying to fulfill a FOIA request.


  13. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:22 pm:

    ===Isn’t somebody’s kid a summer intern?===

    After all these years, IPI has found the way to create Chicago death spiral they always dreamed of — make people read CTU’s emails.


  14. - GHB - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:26 pm:

    As a former public information officer for a big government agency, I’d would ask for a modified, more narrow request too. But ultimately, the city is fighting a losing battle if they’re going to dig their heals in and refuse to respond or just turn over a fraction of what’s requested. While 557 responsive emails sounds like a lot, it’s not exactly overwhelming. Similarly, taking 20 to 40 hours to review the emails might be burdensome for a tiny village government, but it is not for the city of Chicago, which has multiple FOIA officers and an army of staff attorneys. An extension in the required response time is appropriate, but I don’t think the AG’s Office nor a court are going to uphold a denial on the grounds of this request being too burdensome.


  15. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:27 pm:

    Not to give IPI any ideas, but there are likely still ways to get this information without narrowing the request.

    While the public body can not extend the timelines for FOIA, the requestor can. All the requestor has to do is return with a counter offer to waive the statutory 7 day time limit to respond to a FOIA, and provide a different timeline which is acceptable. Say 30 days, or even 60 days. That is then 1hr, or even 30min, of time per day for the responding agency to review this giant pile of data. Hard to ague against that or call it burdensome, and even if they do continue to classify it as such it shows a willingness to be reasonable on the part of the requestor when it inevitably gets escalated to a request for review, or just straight into a civil court case.

    I’ve had success with similar approaches to an initially classified as burdensome FOIA request before.


  16. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:28 pm:

    My local SD responds to requests that involve hundreds of e-mails; it would seem the City of Chicago would be able to do 1,200.

    Check to see if your local SD puts the FOIA responses online; some exciting reading is there. Between questions about bids for services, discipline, and cranks, you can learn quite a bit.


  17. - Hannibal Lecter - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:37 pm:

    === I’ll bet you they would. It’s a legitimate reason for denial. They didn’t say they wouldn’t produce any records they said you need to narrow your request. Government bodies aren’t required to spend hours and days on end trying to fulfill a FOIA request. ===

    I’ll take that bet. As someone who has worked with the PAC in the past, I can tell you that they are skeptical of claims that a FOIA request is unduly burdensome, especially if they have already conducted the search and identified the exact number of responsive records.

    Check out Greer v. Bd. of Education, 191 N.E.3d 128 (1st Dist. 2021):

    “When a government agency claims the FOIA request is “unduly burdensome,” the agency implies that it will face a great burden identifying responsive documents. See Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Inc. v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, 2018 IL App (1st) 171846, ¶ 31, 428 Ill. Dec. 468, 122 N.E.3d 729; Shehadeh, 2013 IL App (4th) 120742, ¶ 34, 996 N.E.2d 1243, 375 Ill. Dec. 187; Nation Magazine, Washington Bureau v. United States Customs Service, 71 F.3d 885, 891-92, 315 U.S. App. D.C. 177 (D.C. Cir. 1995). This case involves no such difficulty. The Board identified the four cases in which Greer raised racial discrimination claims. Diaz found the boxes that held the files for the cases. All the documents in the eight boxes apparently fit within the scope of the request. Diaz claimed that the work of redacting exempt information from the documents would take 86 days, but her assertion that employees could review only three pages every five minutes is unrealistic. The attorney-client privilege would presumably exempt from disclosure all correspondence between the Board’s attorneys and the Board or CPS. See Illinois Education Ass’n v. Illinois State Board of Education, 204 Ill. 2d 456, 470-71, 791 N.E.2d 522, 274 Ill. Dec. 430 (2003). A glance at the head of each document should quickly determine whether the exemption applied. Diaz does not clarify why other documents would include any private information exempt from disclosure.”


  18. - Just a guy - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:40 pm:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - just when you think MBJ can’t step in something any worse than what he’s had to clean off his shoes, he proves us wrong. What happens when IPI either a.)Sues to get those released and as GHB notes, probably wins; or b.) refines the search to a point where the City has to cough it up. Nothing about this is a good look for the City.


  19. - Tony T - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 3:42 pm:

    I hate that I’m rooting for the IPI on something.

    Though, I’m not sure that requesting emails between the CTU and the mayor’s education point person is all that interesting. I’d like to see if CTU is involved in discussions with the 5th Floor on matters other than education policy. That would be real newsworthy.


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