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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Tribune | Ed Burke’s lawyers ask to bar mention of alderman’s tax work for Trump Tower at upcoming trial : At one point in the call, the alderman asks his brother “to ask a third party why that third party doesn’t give Mr. Burke’s law firm some business instead of giving it all to (then-House Speaker Michael) Madigan,” the filing stated. “Mr. Burke then suggests that they could figure out a way to make Daniel a consultant.”

* WCIA | ACLU of Illinois meets in Urbana to discuss book banning: To kick off Banned Books Week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois had a discussion and workshop in Urbana to educate people on book banning and what they can do. In June, Illinois was the first state to pass legislation that will take funding away from any school or library that bans certain books. ACLU Director of Public Policy Ed Yohnka said this is no time to stop.

* Edwin C. Yohnka | Stepping up on Banned Books Week: Hank Aaron is a personal icon. His chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record captured my attention. My admiration for Aaron grew after learning about the racist threats Aaron endured as a Black man chasing the record. Aaron persevered in the face of this ugliness, responding with dignity. I was reminded of this youthful esteem when reports revealed that Hank Aaron’s Dream, a book for Aaron’s courage, was blocked from Florida classrooms while its content were reviewed. How could the story of a national hero be controversial? The explanation is that discussion of racism could somehow make some white students feel bad.

* WICS | Domestic Violence homicides remain high in Illinois: The Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) is reporting that 57 people died in 45 separate domestic violence incidents in Illinois during 2022. […] “The actual numbers have dropped slightly with the easing of the pandemic,” stated Vickie Smith, President and CEO of ICADV. “But these incidents are preventable, and this loss is untenable.”

* WCIA | Lawmakers react to Teutopolis crash, I-70 construction: State Representative Adam Niemerg grew up and still lives in Teutopolis. He said that while there was panic and confusion during and after the evacuation, there was another emotion at the front of people’s minds: frustration. “A lot of folks are a little frustrated because of what’s happening on Interstate 70,” Niemerg said. “Everything being diverted to 40. We’ve been dealing with this for months in Teutopolis. And now we have this happen.”

* Pantagraph | Effingham County coroner IDs 5 killed from ammonia leak; others recount narrow escape: Shortly afterward she got a phone alert from a relative whose son-in-law had been driving a FedEx truck at the tail end of the crash east of Teutopolis. “He didn’t know what the heck was going on either, but he opened up his window to see and he got a whiff of it and he saw people pouring water on their heads,” recalled Deters.

* Naperville Sun | Naperville police find machine gun in car at TopGolf — third weapons bust made there since mid-September: During a vehicle search, police recovered a fully-loaded Glock 22 .40-caliber handgun with an auto switch converting it to a fully automatic weapon as well as an extended magazine, the release said. […] Littleton is being held in the DuPage County jail without bond per an order issued Monday by DuPage County Judge Joshua Dieden. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 16.

* SJ-R | Sangamon County coroner expected to name teen who died in police shooting at juvenile center: The Sangamon County Coroner’s office was expected to identify Monday afternoon the 17-year-old male killed in a confrontation with Springfield Police at the Sangamon County Juvenile Detention Center Saturday evening. […] SPD said a subject was armed and “had possibly shot an individual and was holding another hostage.” Officers encountered a teen at the entrance to the facility, where he was fired upon. After receiving medical assistance, he was taken by ambulance to HSHS St. John’s Hospital, where he later died.

* Daily Herald | ‘It’s pretty devastating’: Losing territory and revenue, Elk Grove Twp. fire department closes shop: The Elk Grove Township Fire Department answered its first call in 1979. On Sunday, it finished its last shift. In the wake of annexations by surrounding communities that have shriveled its territory, tax base and revenue, the fire district bowed to the inevitable Sunday morning and discontinued fire and emergency medical services.

* Daily Herald | Statewide paint recycling to come in 2025: What to do with your leftover paint until then: Until then, the Illinois EPA recommends alternatives to disposal like storing the paint for future touch-ups, or giving the paint to a friend or neighbor. That’s because while oil-based paint is accepted at state-sponsored household hazardous waste collection events, latex paint is not.

* Crain’s | Chicago’s top women-owned businesses see an average 20% uptick in revenue: Crain’s list of Chicago’s Biggest Women-Owned Businesses is back. The latest ranking showcases organizations that are at least 51% owned by a woman or women. Heico Cos. takes the No. 1 spot for a second consecutive year, reporting a 2022 revenue of $3.2 billion, nearly a 15% increase from 2021. The metal processing and construction company is 80% woman-owned, with Emily Heisley Stoeckel as the company’s majority owner and chairman.

* Chalkbeat | At six Illinois college campuses, advocates seek to create ‘comfort’ for foster care peers: A 2021 study found that of Illinois youth in foster care who turned 17 between 2012 and 2018, 86% enrolled in community college. Of those, just 8% graduated, according to the study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Students told researchers that they felt alone, largely weren’t aware of financial aid options, and that they needed more specialized attention.

* Herald-Whig | Hancock County looking to next broadband steps: “The Broadband Breakthrough Program was for us to understand what the options were, where as a community we were at. It was very successful. We got a ton of information,” Hancock County Economic Development Executive Director Sam Harnack said. “Now we’re utilizing the data to help support these service providers looking to expand in the area.” Expansion is on the way after grants to two companies serving the county — including $18 million to McDonough Telephone Cooperative.

* CBS 2 | Chicago State University told to turn over documents in Nigerian presidential election battle: A U.S. federal judge has ordered Chicago State University to turn over documents related to Nigerian President Bola Tinubu’s time at the school in the late 1970s. CSU had found itself at the center of a political dispute between Tinubu and his rivals over the legitimacy of a CSU diploma Tinubu provided before the national election earlier this year.

* Crain’s | Restaurant-industry vets raising $100M venture fund: “We were already helping operators, so we thought: Why don’t we start a fund?” says Focht, 47. “We have deal flow other funds don’t have access to because of our data and customers.” Emerging plans to focus on restaurant concepts with one to six units, as well as restaurant-tech startups.

* Block Club | Midwestern Food And Why It’s Special Is The Focus Of New Cookbook By Big Jones Chef: “Nobody’s done a book about the Midwest where it addresses the Midwest as a serious regional cuisine,” he said. “Most books are just legends and lore, and they don’t deal with the establishment of a culture. I wanted to have a real, serious conversation about what this stuff is and where it came from.”

* Capital B | A New Tool Mapped Out 184 Climate Risks for Every Community Nationwide. Check Yours: A new mapping and data tool built by Environmental Defense Fund and Texas A&M University researchers outlines those factors — 184 of them to be exact — in hopes of giving people the knowledge to understand the climate risks they face and the tools to advocate for more resources.

* AP | Nobel in medicine goes to 2 scientists whose work enabled creation of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19: Hungarian-American Katalin Karikó and American Drew Weissman were cited for contributing “to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health,” according to the panel that awarded the prize in Stockholm.


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Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Pritzker to Biden: ‘It is time for the federal government to take a much more active role in managing the transport and destination of the transport of asylum seekers’

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the governor’s office

October 2, 2023

President Biden,

In the 13 months since the first bus of asylum seekers arrived in Illinois from the border, our state has undertaken an unprecedented humanitarian response to the arrival of now over 15,000 people. Governors and mayors from border states have shipped people to our state like cargo in a dehumanizing attempt to score political points. The people of Illinois are kind and generous. We believe in the fundamental right of every human, especially those facing persecution, to find refuge and live with dignity in this great country of ours.

But as the numbers being transported to Chicago are accelerating, the humanitarian crisis is overwhelming our ability to provide aid to the refugee population. Unfortunately, the welcome and aid Illinois has been providing to these asylum seekers has not been matched with support by the federal government. Most critically, the federal government’s lack of intervention and coordination at the border has created an untenable situation for Illinois.

On top of the 15,000 that have arrived in Chicago and Illinois over the last 13 months, we are now seeing busloads more migrants at increasingly higher rates being sent specifically to Chicago each day. Our state government has been forced to dedicate over $330 million to provide humanitarian aid — and that amount is increasing each day. That’s a massive amount of money for a state still overcoming the health and economic effects of COVID-19. Add to that the over $100 million the city of Chicago contributed. Though we have found temporary housing in existing buildings for a majority of the refugees, we are challenged to find additional housing for the continuous flow of people who keep coming and are now forced to sleep in police stations and on sidewalks. This situation is untenable and requires your immediate help beyond the coming work authorizations for some of the asylum seekers.

There is much more that can and must be done on a federal level to address a national humanitarian crisis that is currently being shouldered by state and local governments without support.

First and foremost, I recommend that there be one person in the federal government who works directly for you in the White House who can lead the oversight of our nation’s efforts at the border. Right now, we have too many different federal department contacts — who are uncoordinated with one another — that handle various programs related to this humanitarian crisis. A single office with an identified leader must be assigned to work for the cities and states across the silos of government to manage the challenges we all face.

For my state which has been targeted with busloads of asylum seekers by the border politicians seeking to increase the partisan divide, this crisis has strained the already stretched human services network we have attempted to rebuild in our recovery from the pandemic. As just one state in our union, we cannot lead coordination efforts at the border. It is time for the federal government to take a much more active role in managing the transport and destination of the transport of asylum seekers. Our nation is large and resourceful. Allowing just one state to lay the burden upon a certain few states run by Democrats is untenable. We are a nation that has welcomed immigrants and refugees since our founding, and we have done so in a bipartisan manner. It cannot be that just a few cities and states should now bear the cost of this effort alone.

Below is a list of specific requests to address this crisis without further delay. These actions include:

    • Waive fees for TPS applications

      o I’m grateful that you have listened to some of the requests other governors and I have made over these many months. As you know, I remain deeply concerned that the high cost of applying for TPS is yet another obstacle for the population we have in Illinois. I urge you once again to waive those fees for those who cannot afford them and just want to be able to work and build a better life

    • Significant increases in logistical coordination and data collection

      o The federal government must take over the interior coordination of routing buses of newly arrived migrants across the country and oversee communication between states, so they are aware of who is arriving and when. The federal government must stop abdicating responsibility once CBP releases migrants into the interior of the country. Your administration has the capacity, resources and legal recourse to do this right now.
      o Currently, very little data is being made available to states on the migrants arriving in the country, making legal applications for asylum, extended parole, etc. difficult for advocates and government workers. There is no reason that the United States federal government should be unable to collect and share simple data on people presenting themselves at our border. Sending federal staff to Illinois and other affected states to provide data analytics and on the ground coordination between local city, state and federal agencies would massively streamline these processes.
      o Specifically, I am calling for a federal coordinator and task force based at the border that are solely dedicated to migrant coordination and resettlement.

    • Provide financial support to states, local governments, and NGOs for temporary housing, food and social services.

      o The Biden administration has provided modest funding to Illinois through FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program and the Shelter and Services Program, which we are thankful for. However, this funding is not nearly enough to close the gap between what the state is able to provide and what is needed to address concerns. The burden of funding the state and city have taken on is not sustainable only by our budgets.

    • Further accelerate the timeline for employment authorization

      o While Illinois was among the many states thrilled to learn of the Administration’s
      new TPS rule for Venezuelans, it is our understanding that a large population of these newly TPS eligible individuals will potentially wait upwards of six-months to have their work authorizations processed and confirmed. We ask that the White House and the Administration continue to look for ways to “cut the red tape” and speed up the work authorization process by all means necessary including instituting a mass blanket fee waiver.
      o Unfortunately, Congress has long failed to provide the comprehensive immigration reform and funding resources necessary to tackle our nation’s immigration issues. And with the Republican Conference currently fixated on deep, painful cuts to the federal budget, the chances of the hoped-for and much-needed financial aid seems slim to none. Which is why I urge you, President Biden, to look beyond the small set of programs that states and local governments can currently tap into for migrant- related response efforts and find additional federal dollars that can be sent to places, like Illinois, that are carrying out for our entire nation the obligations to care for the “huddled masses yearning to be free” who are so desperately in need of assistance.

    • Approve Illinois’ requests for Medicaid waivers, housing vouchers, and federal coordination and support

Today, Illinois stands mostly unsupported against this enormous strain on our state resources. Mr. President, I urge you, Secretary Mayorkas, and the rest of your administration to take swift action and intervene on our behalf and on behalf of the other affected states and their residents, as well as on behalf of the tens of thousands of asylum seekers who undertook a dangerous and difficult journey in hopes of attaining public safety and forging a better life for themselves and their families.

Governor JB Pritzker


It’s just a bill

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Rep. Amy Elik filed HB4150 last week

Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Provides that, should provisions regarding manufacture, possession, delivery, sale, and purchase of assault weapons, .50 caliber rifles, and .50 caliber cartridges be found to be unconstitutional by a court with all appeals exhausted or expired, the Illinois State Police shall immediately and permanently destroy or have destroyed each endorsement affidavit and all information collected from the endorsement affidavit in possession of the Illinois State Police and any law enforcement agency.

* Subscribers know more. Republican House Leader McCombie filed HB4152

Amends the Invest in Illinois Act. Provides that certain notices under the Act shall also be sent to the Minority Leader of the Senate and the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. Provides that the Minority Leader of the Senate and the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives may also object to agreements under the Act. Effective immediately.

* HB4149 from Rep. Anne Stava-Murray

Amends the Administration Article of the Illinois Public Aid Code. Requires the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to provide persons lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality Act and other noncitizens the same medical coverage for family planning and family planning-related services and supplies as provided under the Medical Assistance Program to eligible persons who are United States citizens. Provides that to be eligible for family planning and related services, a lawful permanent resident or other noncitizen must meet all other eligibility qualifications under the HFS Family Planning Program established in accordance with the Illinois’ Family Planning State Plan Amendment as approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Provides that the Department shall not require lawful permanent residents or other noncitizens who are otherwise eligible for family planning and related services under the amendatory Act to complete a mandatory waiting period as a condition of receiving medical coverage.

* HB4151 from Rep. Windhorst

Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Creates the offense of fentanyl-related child endangerment. Provides that a person commits the offense when the person knowingly or recklessly endangers the life or health of a child under 18 years of age by exposing or allowing exposure of the child to fentanyl, including consumption of fentanyl. Provides that a violation is a Class 2 felony. Creates the offense of aggravated fentanyl-related child endangerment. Provides that a person commits the offense when the person knowingly or recklessly endangers the life or health of a child under 18 years of age by exposing or allowing exposure of the child to fentanyl, including consumption of fentanyl and the child experiences death, great bodily harm, disability, or disfigurement as a result of the fentanyl-related child endangerment. Provides that exposure to fentanyl as prescribed or administered by a health care professional in the course of medical treatment does not constitute endangerment. Provides that a violation is a Class X felony for which the offender shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 6 years and not more than 30 years and fined not to exceed $100,000. Defines terms.

* Rep. Sonya Harper’s HB4155

Creates the Agricultural Drought and Climate Resilience Office Act. Establishes the Agricultural Drought and Climate Resilience Office. Provides that the Office may provide voluntary technical assistance, nonregulatory programs, and incentives, including grants, that increase the ability to anticipate, prepare for, mitigate, adapt to, and respond to hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to drought or the climate. Provides that the Director of Agriculture may promulgate rules necessary for the administration of the Office’s assistance, programs, and incentives, including grants. Requires the Director or the Director’s designee to conduct a study to examine greenhouse gas reduction and carbon sequestration opportunities in the agricultural sector and in agricultural land management in the State. Includes provisions regarding Office assistance, programs, and incentives; grants; a greenhouse gas offset program; rules; and other Office studies. Defines terms. Effective immediately.


Question of the day

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Anything to say about the Bears, White Sox, Cubs or Cardinals?


Five dead after crash involving semi-truck carrying anhydrous ammonia

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller


5 people dead and 5 more are injured following a crash Friday night on U.S. Highway 40 near Teutopolis involving a toxic chemical.

Another collision on Interstate 70 which led drivers to US Highway 40 and caused it to be backed up.

Teutopolis Fire Protection District said they received a call around 9 pm that a semi-truck turned over releasing anhydrous ammonia into the air and killed the 5 people.

3 of them are Teutopolis Residents who are a father and his 2 children. The other two were from Ohio and Missouri.

* The latest update from WAND

UPDATE: 9 am Monday

The tanker that contained anhydrous ammonia has been drained, patched, and removed to a secure location. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is pending.

* AP

The tanker truck crash in central Illinois that killed five people may have started when another vehicle tried to pass the chemical-laden truck, a federal transportation official said Sunday.

The tanker truck was carrying caustic anhydrous ammonia when it jackknifed Friday night, and hit a utility trailer parked just off the highway, according to Tom Chapman, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board. The tank carrying anhydrous ammonia hit the trailer hitch of the other vehicle, which punched a six-inch (15 centimeter) hole in the chemical container, Chapman said during news conference Sunday.

Chapman said the tanker truck’s driver pulled to the right and ran off the road as it traveled west on U.S. 40 in Teutoplis, a small community about 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of St. Louis.


At least seven other people from six different states were also treated at hospitals after being overcome by what authorities described as a “large plume cloud” that was released when the tanker truck spilled its load on a highway east of Teutopolis, Illinois, Effingham County Coroner Kim Rhodes said in a statement Sunday evening.

Autopsies are scheduled to be performed Monday morning on the victims to confirm the preliminary findings, Rhodes said.

“Preliminary investigation indicates five individuals died from exposure to anhydrous ammonia at the crash site,” according to Rhodes’ statement. […]

Rhodes said the victims were exposed to the ammonia “due to traveling through the scene of the crash site.”


Anhydrous ammonia — often used in manufacturing, refrigeration and agriculture — is a toxic gas that can be corrosive if people have contact with it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s terrible,” Sheriff Kuhns said. “It’s bad stuff if you are involved in it — breathe it, especially — because it gets in your airways, in your lungs.”

Chief McMahon said that shifting wind directions had further complicated the response to the crash. Crews had to be set up in multiple locations to respond to the gas leak based on the wind changes, he said.

…Adding… If you would like to help victims of the accident here are some GoFundMes.

* More…


Registration is open for Illinoisans who own assault weapons

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Illinois State Police…

People can now submit an endorsement affidavit online for assault weapons, assault weapon attachments, .50 caliber rifles, and .50 caliber cartridges. On January 10, 2023, Governor JB Pritzker signed into law Public Act 102-1116, the Protect Illinois Communities Act, regulating the sale and distribution of these items in Illinois, along with large capacity ammunition feeding devices. The Act went into effect immediately upon signing. Individuals who possessed assault weapons, assault weapon attachments, .50 caliber rifles, and .50 caliber cartridges before the Act took effect are required to submit an endorsement affidavit through their Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card account prior to January 1, 2024. Large capacity ammunition feeding devices are regulated, but do not require and endorsement affidavit.

As of October 1, 2023, individuals are able to submit their endorsement affidavits online. Affidavits must be submitted online through a FOID Card account. Individuals can access their FOID Card account from the ISP Firearms Services Bureau website, or going directly to If you have forgotten your username or password, links on the login page will help you recover or reset your information. The same Firearms Service Bureau links can be used to create an account for those who do not have one. You will need an email address, and driver’s license or State ID to create an account. A tutorial video on how to create an account can be found on the ISP FOID webpage under Application Help.

A tutorial video on how to submit an endorsement affidavit through your FOID account is also available on the ISP website and can be found on the Protect Illinois Communities Act, Regulation on Assault Weapons page. Individuals who need help submitting an endorsement affidavit can refer to the Frequently Asked Questions page or visit one of the ISP FOID Kiosks, both of which can be found on the ISP website at

Do not bring your weapon, ammunition, or accessories if you visit a Kiosk.

* Daily Herald

The affidavits must include the applicant’s name, date of birth and FOID card number, along with the make, model, caliber, and serial number of each weapon, and a statement testifying that they own a locking mechanism for the weapon.

Stating false information on the affidavit could lead to a charge of perjury, under the new law.

The ban, passed during the General Assembly’s lame duck session and signed it into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in January, has prompted several lawsuits alleging it violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

A federal judge in the Southern District of Illinois ruled that it did, but two other judges in the Northern District rejected the claims. Those cases are now pending before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

* Sun-Times

Guns won’t be confiscated as a result of the new law, but the registration affidavit is still required.

The Protect Illinois Communities Act took effect immediately when Pritzker signed the bill Jan. 10 and has spurred a flurry of court challenges since then. The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law in a 4-3 vote last month following a lawsuit filed by state Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur.

Opponents of the law have vowed to seek out avenues in federal court to challenge it once again.

“Pritzker and Illinois Democrats have criminalized hundreds of thousands of legal gun owners,” Caulkins told the Chicago Sun-Times after the state Supreme Court ruling, adding he’s confident the ban “will eventually be overturned” in federal court.

* Tribune

State police said there are roughly 2.4 million FOID card holders in Illinois. It’s not known how many people possess guns that are now banned but would be grandfathered in under the law. […]

A federal challenge on Second Amendment grounds is pending before a federal appeals court in Chicago. The ban has withstood state lawsuits, with the Illinois Supreme Court upholding the law in August.

How the law’s gun registration requirements will be enforced remains to be seen. Earlier this year, an estimated 90 of Illinois’ 102 county sheriffs issued letters stating they “believe that (the new gun law) is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” and that they wouldn’t enforce it. […]

Also, devices that increase the firing rates of a firearm, known as “switches,” to convert them from semi-automatic or automatic weapons, are covered by the ban. Someone in possession could face a felony count for each device.


Asylum-seeker coverage roundup

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Not helpful on so many levels…

* I’m not sure that this is all city money

During a briefing with reporters, Johnson’s deputy chief of staff, Cristina Pacione-Zayas, said the latest estimate of costs associated with migrants arriving in Chicago from August 2022 to the end of the year could reach $361.3 million, a whopping $58 million more than the previous projection.

With more than 1,800 migrants awaiting shelter placement while housed in Chicago police stations, and another 450 staying at the city’s airports, Pacione-Zayas indicated the administration is not backing down from its contract with GardaWorld Federal Services, which has been at the center of controversies over its handling of migrants elsewhere, and its subsidiary Aegis Defense Services to run “base camp” landing zones.

“GardaWorld can speak to the allegations. That’s not our job,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Our job is to ensure that they’re meeting our expectations, that there is a system of accountability and that we are going to operationalize that.”

* I haven’t been in love with the tent city idea, but the city may have no choice as the numbers increase. From last Wednesday

27 buses carrying migrants arrive in Chicago since Saturday as city moves forward with tent plan

Each bus carries between 40 and 50 people. So, that’s over a thousand people in just a few days.

From Saturday

Nine more buses carrying people arrived in Chicago Friday. That’s the most ever in one day.

Also Saturday

“We were told by OEMC this morning that we would be expecting ten buses today and that every district would receive at least ten more people,” Gomberg said.


“Gov. Abbott is not respecting our curfew of not sending buses from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. He is beefing up contracts with busing fleets and plans to send them 24-7,” Deputy Chief of Staff Cristina Pacione-Zayas, who is managing the migrant issue, told Playbook. “If the trend continues, that means thousands of people daily.”

And it’s not just buses

Chicago began using the city’s two international airports as temporary shelters as the number of migrants arriving by plane increased. Nearly 3,000 people who have arrived by plane since June have sought shelter.

* Back to the tent cities

As the city proceeds with its GardaWorld contract, the potential locations for the large tents could also stir up racial strife. The city is requiring two to three acres on concrete or gravel land for the base camps. The areas that fit that description with vacant land are concentrated on the Far South Side, the same neighborhoods where the majority Black community has cried out for resources. […]

That housing strategy would include existing public buildings, warehouses and privately owned buildings that could house at least 200 people, Vasquez added. He encouraged landlords who owned buildings that meet that requirement to reach out to the city.

* Also

Neighbors in Pilsen will meet Monday night to discuss a plan for the first migrant shelter there.

The meeting will detail plans to turn a warehouse on Halsted Street into a temporary shelter for migrants.

The warehouse, located in the 2200-block of South Halsted Street would be the first city-run shelter in the 25th Ward.

* Coverage follows conflict

In response to the criticism, Pacione-Zayas committed to bringing GardaWorld officials to testify before the committee, as well as Catholic Charities, which has been working to help new arrivals move into more permanent housing.

Long-brewing tension over supporting migrants while the city grapples with existing unhoused residents was on display, too. At one point, the meeting was recessed due to disruptions by a group of public commentators upset over resources being doled out to help new arrivals.

Ald. Jeanette Taylor, 20th Ward, said she sympathized with that anger but urged Black and Latino residents to remember “white supremacy is our enemy.”

Still, she didn’t pull punches in criticizing the administration, urging officials to handle the crisis differently, including by refusing to accept new arrivals. Taylor warned officials they’re “going to start a race war.”

The Cardinal ought to be on the phone asking the Catholic Charities operations in Denver and El Paso to work more closely with the city and to maybe send some folks to other archdioceses.

* More

As their communities deal with a tsunami of new arrivals, voters in those cities are increasingly pointing fingers at Democrats such as Johnson and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Among Black voters, the Democrats’ most reliable base, that anger could put their party in deep peril.

So went my conversation with Perri Small and her listeners on the popular morning show on WVON-AM 1690, Chicago’s Black talk radio. She invited me on last week to chat about the latest in politics. When we hit the migrant issue, the phone lines started sizzling.

“I’m going to tell you, this is a make-or-break issue for WVON listeners and their support of Democratic candidates,” Small declared.

Talk radio, like Twitter, is not real life, but the anger is real.

* Speaking of pushback

A spokeswoman for Joliet Mayor Terry D’Arcy said the city did not apply for the grant that involves the awarding of millions of dollars to house asylum seekers that was announced by the governor’s office late Friday afternoon. […]

DiBenedetto said the city of Joliet government did not apply for the grant to house asylum seekers coming to Illinois from other countries. Rather, the grant went through Joliet Township government and Supervisor Angel Contreras, she pointed out. […]

Joliet City Councilman Joe Clement said he will speak against the measure during this week’s City Council meetings.

“I follow what’s going on all over the country and I knew it was a matter of time before we would have to address this,” Clement, the at-large Council representative, told Joliet Patch on Saturday.

* The Pritzker administration has already sent people to the border

It was also revealed during the meeting that Johnson and a group of alderpeople plan to head to the Mexico border.

“We need to see what’s going on at the border as buses are coming in daily. We need to see where you’re coming from. We need to be able to talk with folks we need to assess before folks are getting here to the city of Chicago,” Robinson said.

Details on that border visit are expected in the next few weeks.

* More from Isabel…

    * WBEZ | How some Chicago migrants struggling to leave shelters are getting help: Finding landlords who will rent to new arrivals who have no credit or rental history is challenging. “We were running into dead end, after dead end, after dead end, trying to find housing on our own…” said Matt Joynt, a Pilsen resident and volunteer with the mutual aid group Todo Para Todos, which means “everything for everyone” in Spanish. “We were getting quite desperate.”

    * NBC Chicago | Chicagoans, aldermen question city’s response to migrant crisis: Non-profit organizations, such as the Chicago Refugee Coalition, have been providing critical support for migrants who have been brought to the city. Alisa Bhachu, the coalition’s executive director, said she doesn’t think the base camps are a good idea. “I would respectfully challenge the notion establishing multiple tent camps across the city as a durable solution to this crisis,” she stated.

    * Block Club | South Side Nonprofit Helps Hundreds Get CityKey IDs At Community Event: The voluntary program provides identification to undocumented immigrants, homeless individuals, refugees and teens. All Chicagoans — regardless of age, gender, immigration status or housing status — are eligible for the card through the CityKey municipal ID program, run by the Clerk’s Office.

    * Streetsblog | Advocates provide bikes to migrants, request help from CDOT to meet growing demand: “Logistically, it has been very challenging to make this work,” says Andrew Mack, a founder of the organized effort to provide bikes to migrants. “I dropped off a bike at the police station last week and was just surrounded by people asking for bicycles. Right now, it’s on a case-by-case basis.”

    * Eater | As Southern States Bus Migrants to Chicago, Service Workers Are Waiting With Hot Meals: Over the last four months, the owner of Tandoor Char House has distanced himself from day-to-day operations at his three restaurants to focus on converting his River North location into a pantry of sorts, making culturally appropriate meals for the mostly South American migrants housed at police stations across the city. More than 14,000 migrants have arrived in Chicago over the last year or so.


Today’s quotable

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois President Chuck Sullivan testifying in a House committee last week about pensions…

* Please pardon all transcription errors…

Records will indicate that the AFFI was adamantly opposed to any changes to the pension fund of our future members in 2010.

I want to very respectfully remind this committee what your firefighters do, what we have done and what we will continue to do.

Our job is a difficult and demanding one that takes a tremendous toll on us physically and mentally.

When someone calls 911 - again, depending on the nature of the emergency - this is what they expect. They want an Olympic athlete, they want a chemist, a doctor, a mechanic, an HPA specialist, an electrician, a gas expert, a middle linebacker, an arborist, an expert swimmer and a social worker, all wrapped into one person. That’s us. That’s us.

That caller wants us there now. They want their emergency mitigated now. And quite frankly, they deserve that request.


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Let the feds deal with China

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

The Illinois Senate Republicans are amplifying complaints made earlier by the Illinois Republican Party and others about a massive economic development project in Manteno.

The Illinois GOP complained in a recent fundraising email about the “encroachment” of the Chinese Communist Party’s influence on the economy, then connected Gotion Inc. to the CCP. Gotion’s American subsidiary is building a massive, $2 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Kankakee County with big help from state and local governments.

Elements of the far right, including former state Rep. Jeanne Ives and various newsletters and social media forums, have essentially claimed that Communists are using taxpayer funds to build some sort of spy base, or use it to promote CCP activities, or something. It’s not totally clear what. The state GOP claimed the plant would be built “right next to a military base,” which isn’t true, unless you count National Guard and Army Reserve camps in that category.

Anyway, the Senate Republicans expressed their own concerns in what was supposed to be a private letter to Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week, which I obtained. Gotion is based in California, but its parent company was founded in China and has standard language in its Chinese charter about how it will “carry out Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China.”

“During your conversations with Gotion Inc.,” the Republicans asked the governor, “were there any discussions concerning whether the company will continue to ‘ensure necessary conditions for carrying out Party activities’ while in Illinois?”

Man, what I wouldn’t give to see Chinese commies try to organize a cell in Manteno. That would be a hoot.

Look, the Chinese are already here. Several Chinese companies invest in Illinois, and several Illinois companies do business in China. The computer used to create that letter was probably made in China or has lots of Chinese components.

More importantly, Illinois Manufacturers Association CEO Mark Denzler pointed out to me that a federal process exists to assess security risks for companies like Gotion and, he said, that process will play itself out here as well. Denzler, a lifelong Republican, doesn’t seem to have any major concerns and was at the project’s Manteno unveiling. Gotion was already given a federal green light in Michigan.

The U.S. Departments of Defense, Justice and State have not expressed any qualms about the project that anyone knows of. The company is required to invest $2 billion and create at least 2,600 good-paying jobs. Gotion is using American workers to build a product with lots of American-made components for American-made automobiles. Yeah, it’s the Chinese government. They have to be watched, for sure. But that’s not the state’s responsibility. That’s on the federal government.

And the Senate Republicans’ questions about whether the plant’s workers will be union members or whether there are any safeguards for workers’ rights have some legitimacy, particularly since a majority of the caucus voted for the union-backed Workers’ Rights Amendment.

Manteno is about 15 miles from the Indiana border. If Gotion had opened its massive new plant in Hoosierville, the Republicans would’ve undoubtedly pounced on the governor’s failure.

Manteno is represented in the House by a Republican, Rep. Jackie Haas, who supports the project. The state party and Senate Republican attacks are not sitting well with the House Republicans, but they’ve had to remain mostly silent.

The governor has put an enormous amount of time and effort into getting this deal done. Illinois has a bad reputation among business types. Overcoming those reputational hurdles ain’t easy, which is why Pritzker has had to work so hard to achieve this goal.

Pritzker also believes that closing this deal will convince other companies to follow along. So, he’s not about to sit back while people dump on this accomplishment.

The letter Pritzker sent back to the Senate Republicans was brutal, accusing them of “doubling down on your own irrelevance.”

“Opposing 2,600 jobs and $2 billion dollars in investment for a community that needs it is a curious position, but I have long since stopped trying to understand what the Illinois Republican Party has become,” he wrote.

The Republicans replied they were simply asking some questions and would still like them answered. Then again, a cynic could point to the fact that Democratic Sen. Patrick Joyce is up for reelection next year. The Manteno plant is in his district, and he is an enthusiastic supporter.


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Open thread

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* What’s going on in your part of Illinois?…


Isabel’s morning briefing

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Here you go…

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Live coverage

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ScribbleLive is still down. Twitter has stopped allowing people to embed list feeds on websites. So, click here or here to follow breaking news.


* Isabel's afternoon roundup
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