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Pritzker says White Sox stadium push so far is ‘not enough to make it a priority’ for Springfield

Monday, Feb 26, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Tina Sfondeles asked the governor about public subsides for a new White Sox stadium today during a news conference on Pritzker’s maternal health initiatives

Pritzker: I think there’s still a lot of work to be done by the White Sox as well as with members of the General Assembly. But I will say that I think I’ve been really clear about the fact that the taxpayers’ dollars are precious. The idea of taking taxpayer dollars and subsidizing the building of a stadium as opposed to for example, subsidizing the building of a birthing center. Just to give the example, does not seem like the stadium ought to have higher priority.

Having said that, many of us sports fans want to see the teams succeed. But these are private businesses. And we’ve seen other teams be able to support their own stadiums privately. That’s that would be ideal here. I think that’s something that I would encourage. I think the city of Chicago is engaged as well with them. But I wouldn’t put any number forward. I just don’t. I mean, I started out really reluctant.

Unless a case is made, the investment yields a long term return for the taxpayers that we can justify in some way. I haven’t seen that yet. And to be clear, nobody has presented directly to me, my staff has seen a presentation. So I just want you to know that I started out a bit reluctant. Having said that, you know, I’m a fan of all of our teams and I want them to succeed.

Although I am a Cubs fan first and foremost. Sorry to all the White Sox fans

Q: What was your staff’s takeaway from the presentation and when was that?

Pritzker: The information that we’ve gotten so far is still very limited. How the taxpayer is going to benefit from this still hasn’t been put forward to us. It’s just what the need is. And of course, I think the pictures that we’ve all seen, the drawings anyway in the newspaper, all look terrific. But, but again, that’s not enough to make it a priority in my view for Springfield.

Please pardon all transcription errors.

* More…

    * Crain’s | Chicago Fire ‘keeping an eye on’ Bears, Sox stadium talks: Under a proposal being floated by the Sox and developer Related Midwest for a new baseball stadium in the South Loop, the Major League Soccer club would become the anchor tenant at Guaranteed Rate Field, which would be redeveloped from the Sox’s home into a soccer-specific stadium. Elected officials wouldn’t be able to justify abandoning a publicly funded Major League Baseball stadium on the disinvested South Side to benefit downtown without finding a new use for the Bridgeport ballpark. And the Fire, which now play at Chicago Park District-owned Soldier Field, could fit the bill.

    * Front Office Sports | Enough for Both? White Sox, Bears Ramp Up Push for Stadium Funds: Reinsdorf conceded in the Crain’s interview that the White Sox and Bears could vie for the same hotel tax funds to fund their respective projects. The Bears are continuing an extensive search across the Chicago area for a site on which to build a new domed stadium. Despite the Bears owning a 326-acre tract in suburban Arlington Heights, an ongoing tax assessment dispute has helped extend the team’s search for other possibilities. Talks have occurred between the White Sox and Bears about not complicating each other’s stadium development and funding efforts, but a shared facility is not being contemplated.

    * Sun-Times | Why is Jerry Reinsdorf spending millions buying up parking lots around the United Center?: Over the past 19 months, a Reinsdorf-connected company has spent $44.7 million buying vacant lots from two politically connected families that have long offered discounted parking deals to fans of the Bulls and Blackhawks, records examined by the Chicago Sun-Times show. A third family has refused to sell its parking lots.

  4 Comments      


Evidence-based funding falling behind in more ways than one

Monday, Feb 26, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Erykah Nava, the communications strategy organizer at Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, and Beatriz Diaz-Pollack, director of education equity at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, writing in the Tribune

Every fiscal year, Illinois lawmakers work through the state budget and decide what areas of our lives to invest in. As part of that process, the Illinois State Board of Education recommends a funding amount to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for investing in K-12 education, which includes the evidence-based funding formula known as EBF. Pritzker decides if he wishes to accept ISBE’s recommendation or decrease or increase the funding amount. The governor then releases his official budget during his annual State of the State address in which he highlights key areas he will financially prioritize for the year.

For this year’s State of the State address, Pritzker accepted ISBE’s recommendation of investing an additional $350 million into the K-12 EBF, the minimum recommended by law, all while celebrating Illinois’ children.

To the public, this funding amount seems like a large amount of money, and the state very much portrays it as performing a great duty for public school students and their communities. However, this is a gross understatement of the reality of K-12 funding.

Due to minimal investments in the EBF, the New Jersey-based nonprofit Education Law Center ranks Illinois 44th out of the 50 states for equitable school funding and gives the state a grade of “F” for equity. That means that despite the EBF’s intent to direct funds to districts with the highest need, these districts continue receiving less overall funding than those serving high-income students.

National experts and partners in the fight for school funding equity have used publicly available ISBE data and found the current EBF funding gap stands at $4.8 billion in K-12. At the current rate of investment, the EBF will not be fully funded until approximately 2040. Students and affected school communities cannot wait this long.

The evidence-based funding formula became law in 2017. And $350 million in 2017 is $444.5 million today.

So, aside from the arguments above (and they are decent arguments), the EBF formula hasn’t even kept pace with the cost of living.

  3 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - City files legal response *** More confusion on Bring Chicago Home

Monday, Feb 26, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here if you need it. The judge in the Bring Chicago Home case has filed a written opinion. Kinda. Click here

THIS MATTER coming to be heard on Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Complaint, Plaintiffs’ Motion to Expedite Consideration of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, and Plaintiffs’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, the Court being duly advised in the premises, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:

    1. For the reasons stated in open court and on the record, Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Complaint is Denied.
    2. For the reasons stated in open court and on the record, Plaintiffs’ Motion to Expedite Consideration of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings is Granted.
    3. For the reasons stated in open court and on the record, Plaintiffs’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings is Granted.
    4. The Defendant Board is ordered to not count and suppress any votes cast on the referendum question at the March 19, 2024 primary election, and not to publish any tallies or results of any votes cast on the referendum question.

Except…


Weird.

* From the city’s board of elections…

Hi Rich – we just received the attached written court order. This confirms that Early Voting and Voting By Mail will not be paused. The question will remain on the ballot, but currently votes will not be counted for the question.

This is subject to change by future court order, so the votes for the question are being sequestered but will not be counted at this time.

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners will decide upon an appeal tomorrow – I will reach out about the decision with a statement ASAP.

*** UPDATE *** The judge in the case denied the City of Chicago’s motion to intervene on Friday. The city is now asking for a stay of that order, among other things

The City of Chicago, through its attorneys, move pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 305 to stay the order denying the City’s Motion to Intervene and the Court’s February 23, 2024 order granting Plaintiffs’ motion for judgment on the pleadings and entering declaratory judgment in Plaintiffs’ favor and granting injunctive relief suppressing the vote on the advisory referendum in the March 19, 2024 election.

Keep in mind that the city waited until Friday to file its motion to intervene

The City’s petition was timely, the City moved to intervene before the parties finished briefing on the Plaintiffs’ motion for judgment on the pleadings. The Court cited no authority that supported its denial of a petition to intervene as untimely before judgment had been entered. First District authority contradicts the court’s ruling. Citicorp Sav. of Illinois v. First Chicago Tr. Co. of Illinois, the court reversed the trial court’s denial of the appellant’s petition to intervene as untimely for abuse of discretion where appellant filed its petition 31 days after receiving notice and prior to final judgment. … Here the City filed its petition to intervene 35 days after the complaint was filed, before any defendants had filed a responsive pleading, and before the Plaintiffs’ improper motion for judgment on the pleadings was fully briefed.

* More

The Board defendants could not and did not adequately represent the City’s interests. The Board failed to raise any substantive arguments in response to the Plaintiffs’ arguments that the referendum violated the Illinois Municipal Code and the Illinois Constitution. This is because the Board Defendants were not authorized to raise such arguments. See Kozenczak v. Du Page Cnty. Officers Electoral Bd., 299 Ill. App. 3d 205, 207 (2nd Dist. 1998)(holding local election officials acted “in an adjudicatory or quasi-judicial capacity” and thus Illinois election law did not authorize their advocacy on behalf of prospective candidate in opposition to a voter challenge to his qualifications.) One of the Board Defendants even averred that it was improper for the Board to weigh in on the referendum’s constitutionality.

Because the City was not allowed to intervene, these arguments were not raised. If the City had been allowed to intervene, the Court would have considered these arguments, which were raised in the City’s proposed Motion to Dismiss. Instead, the Court granted the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings with no opposition to the substantive arguments.

* And

Plaintiffs failed to allege any harm they would suffer should the vote on the referendum go forward as scheduled. Plaintiffs further failed to allege what harm they would suffer should the City Council ultimately enact the ordinance, but for our purposes here, there is no harm in letting an election on an advisory referendum go forward. Even if it were to pass, it would still require enactment by City Council and would still be subject to all of Plaintiffs’ challenges raised in their complaint. On the other hand, early voting on the referendum has already begun. For the past week, Chicagoans have been voting and today the Court decided their votes should be suppressed. The Illinois Supreme Court stated the harm in such an injunction:

    [A]n election is a political matter with which courts of equity have nothing to do, and that such an attempt to check the free expression of opinion, to forbid the peaceable assemblage of the people, to obstruct the freedom of elections, if successful, would result in the overthrow of all liberties regulated by law.

  16 Comments      


It’s just a bill

Monday, Feb 26, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Pantagraph

Rep. Kam Buckner’s, D-Chicago, latest bill, House Bill 4592, would allow the Secretary of State to issue a mobile ID or mobile driver’s license (mDL) to Illinois residents. Buckner introduced the bill Jan. 31, but it remains in the gatekeeping House Rules Committee.

While Buckner has been seeking to implement a version of the measure since 2019, this is the first time it also includes both digital IDs and driver’s licenses. […]

And, crucially, it is the first time the the Secretary of State’s office has backed the initiative. This is important because one of the office’s primary responsibilities is issuing licenses to Illinois drivers. […]

Giannoulias said his office wouldn’t be pursuing this if it weren’t about the security and efficiency factors. For him, the move to issue mobile licenses represents a growing trend across the country that allows and uses more fraud-resistant technology in everyday life.

* Better Government Association Director of Policy Bryan Zarou



* SB2640 was assigned to a Senate subcommittee earlier this month

Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Provides that administrative or technical information associated with automated data operations shall be exempt from inspection and copying, but only to the extent that disclosure would jeopardize the security of the system or its data or the security of materials exempt under the Act.

* Southland Journal

Illinois AFL-CIO and Chicago Federation of Labor Leaders Support Medical-Aid-in-Dying State Legislation (Chicago, IL) — A bill introduced in the Illinois Senate last week that would allow medical aid in dying for those suffering from terminal illnesses is supported by the principal officers of both the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Illinois chapter of the AFL-CIO.

The legislation—SB3499, the End of Life Options for Terminally Ill Patients Act, initially sponsored by Senate Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes and State Sen. Laura Fine, would make Illinois the 11th state to give terminally ill individuals the option to experience a peaceful death by requesting and self-administering medication. […]

“When a worker chooses to join a union, they exercise a fundamental right to engage in collective action to even the field with their employers,” said CFL President Bob Reiter. “And when faced with a terminal diagnosis, people should also have a choice when planning their end-of-life care with their medical providers.”

“Terminally ill patients deserve autonomy and compassion as they weigh end-of-life care options with their medical provider. Dying people should have the power to choose what brings comfort and peace of mind for themselves and their families,” said Tim Drea, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. “Just as we fight for the rights of workers to choose to join a union, we must also fight for individuals to have control over their own medical care, especially when faced with a devastating prognosis.”

* Forbes

Amid the ongoing consideration of federal legislation to regulate the cryptocurrency markets, states seemingly are crafting local policies in an attempt to fill in the void. It appears states such as California, New Jersey, and now Illinois, may be rushing through legislation for the crypto markets as a response to fallout from FTX where in 2022 the third largest exchange failed and its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was found guilty of fraud. A new bill in Illinois introduced two weeks ago called the Digital Assets Regulation Act (DARA) could be an example of this. […]

The introduction of the DARA bill two weeks ago by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-IL) seems to highlight the concern that Brachter stated as to how states may feel obligated to take action in light of the void left by federal lawmakers and the pressures to create legislation based on the FTX failure. I spoke with a new organization called the Illinois Blockchain Association regarding DARA. According to their analysis so far, the new bill includes broad definitions that may impact more than just centralized exchanges, such as DeFi and base layer blockchain networks.

“While well-intentioned, DARA goes too far. It seeks to regulate not only those entities, but almost anyone working in blockchain in Illinois,” said Nelson Rosario, Executive Director, Illinois Blockchain Association. Rosario went on to state, “No one disagrees that certain types of companies - namely centralized businesses that take custody of customer funds should be subject to a comprehensive regulatory scheme. Many people are working on that precise thing in Washington today.”

Olta Andoni, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Enclave Markets, shared some of her specific concerns about DARA. Andoni stated, “I think it definitely has a broader outreach than the BitLicense because of the broad definition of the ‘digital asset business activity’.” According to Andoni, this definition, “…will be applicable to all structures just by operating and touching digital assets without even taking custody of them.” Andoni did point out she liked an exclusion of software developers from the definition of digital asset business activities, but believes there is room to a lot more misinterpretation on what the dissemination of the software will include.

* Farm Week

Proposed state legislation adopting California emission standards in Illinois could render thousands of farm vehicles “illegal and worthless,” according to Illinois Farm Bureau’s director of state legislation.

IFB is strongly opposed to House Bill 1634, sponsored by Democratic state Reps. Edgar Gonzalez Jr. of Chicago, Janet Yang Rohr of Naperville, and Bob Morgan of Highwood.

The legislation calls for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to implement the motor vehicle emission standards set by a California Air Resources Board, including the zero-emission vehicle program, low-emission vehicle program, advanced clean trucks program and heavy-duty low NOx omnibus program. The current standard, as of Jan. 1, prohibits diesel-fueled vehicles model years 2010 and older, with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,000 pounds or greater from traveling on California roadways, unless they upgrade the engine. […]

After learning at midday Feb. 19 that the legislation was going to be considered, Illinois Farm Bureau joined a broad coalition of industry groups opposing the legislation. Ultimately, the bill’s sponsor decided to hold the bill from consideration, said IFB’s Chris Davis.

* Streetsblog Chicago co-founder Steven Vance

State Rep. Kam Buckner of Chicago has introduced another land use bill that Illinoisans should support. The bill provides that municipalities with a population of 100,000 or more should allow property owners to have more than one home on a lot. This forward-thinking legislation represents a significant step toward addressing the pressing housing challenges facing our communities and would foster more inclusive and sustainable urban development.

The shortage of affordable housing in Illinois for middle-class families, particularly in the Chicago area, has reached a critical point. New housing in places with access to jobs, opportunities and amenities has not kept up with demand.

Buckner’s bill acknowledges the need for innovative solutions to tackle this issue head-on. By lifting the ban on multifamily housing options in residential zones, the legislation promotes diversity in housing types, catering to the needs of our population.

I believe cities that don’t allow enough housing should not be able to push people to remote areas that have cheaper housing and less access to the things that make our cities great. This sprawl has devastating effects on our agricultural land and natural open space, ultimately increasing the tax burden on municipalities by extending and maintaining utilities to far-flung, lower-density areas.

  7 Comments      


Should AG Raoul try to yank this guy’s pension?

Monday, Feb 26, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Robert Adrian became just the fourth judge in Illinois history to be removed from the bench by the Illinois Courts Commission on Friday. Adrian’s response to the Tribune

“I’m just going to retire and enjoy my retirement,” he said Friday.

Adrian was paid $227,900 last year.. That’ll be quite a pension.

* From the Illinois Courts Commission ruling

Respondent’s misconduct has seriously damaged the integrity of the judiciary. He intentionally subverted the law and then lied about it under oath to serve his own interests. He also retaliated against another officer of the court because he was facing the backlash of his own misconduct. “[T]he judiciary’s values of truth and honesty are pillars of our legal system,” and “lying under oath is an attack on our legal system, which depends on truth and credibility.” It is simply intolerable that a sworn member of the bench would knowingly circumvent the law and then provide false and misleading testimony on multiple occasions to cover up his actual motive.

* A bit of background from the AP

An Illinois judge who sparked outrage by reversing a man’s rape conviction involving a 16-year-old girl has been removed from the bench after a judicial oversight body found he circumvented the law and engaged in misconduct. […]

In October 2021, Adrian had found then 18-year-old Drew Clinton of Taylor, Michigan, guilty of sexual assaulting a 16-year-old girl during a May 2021 graduation party.

The state Judicial Inquiry Board filed a complaint against Adrian after the judge threw out Clinton’s conviction in January 2022, with the judge saying that the 148 days Clinton had spent in jail was punishment enough.

The complaint said Adrian had acknowledged he was supposed to impose the mandatory four-year sentence against Clinton, but that he would not send him to prison. “That is not just,” Adrian said at the sentencing hearing, according to court transcripts. “I will not do that.” […]

After Adrian threw out Clinton’s conviction, Vaughan said that the judge told the court “this is what happens whenever parents allow teenagers to drink alcohol, to swim in pools with their undergarments on,” she recounted in an account supported by a court transcript of the January 2022 hearing.

* Back to the Tribune

Adrian attempted to defend his reversal, saying that his reevaluation of the evidence and testimony led him to conclude that an Adams County prosecutor “totally failed” to prove Clinton’s guilt.

Commission members called Adrian’s justification “a subterfuge.” Instead, they concluded, the judge “intentionally circumvented the law to satisfy his personal belief as to what constituted a just sentence, resulting in his reversal of a criminal defendant’s conviction.”

The commission also sided with the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, which investigates grievances against sitting judges, in saying that Adrian lied about his motives during sworn testimony as part of the Inquiry Board’s investigation, and of improperly ejecting from his courtroom a prosecutor who “liked” a social media post critical of Adrian.

“The nature and extent of this misconduct is egregious,” the commission wrote in its decision, and his “intentional, dishonest, and extensive misconduct demonstrates (his) utter disregard for the truth, the judiciary and our justice system.” […]

Adrian blamed his removal on a “two-tiered justice system for conservative Republicans in Illinois,” repeating previous claims he made that he was being targeted because he’s “a known Christian conservative.”

Oy.

* Former judge Adrian also sat down with Muddy River News

Even after his removal as Eighth Circuit judge by the Illinois Courts Commission on Friday, Robert Adrian maintained his innocence in an interview late Friday afternoon with Muddy River News and called the ruling a “total political hit job.” […]

“It’s totally wrong. Totally made up. It sounds to me like it didn’t matter what I did. They were going to find I did something wrong. But the fact is, they never really ever talked about the evidence in the case, which was in fact that (Clinton) was not guilty. Clinton was not guilty. That’s the point. They never addressed that, even though we presented it to them. It was like they didn’t listen.”

* Back to the Illinois Courts Commission ruling

Respondent contends he reversed his guilty finding not to circumvent the law, but because the State had failed to prove Clinton guilty of the charges. For all the reasons that follow, we find the Board has proven by clear and convincing evidence that respondent reversed his guilty finding to intentionally circumvent the mandatory prison term he was required to impose upon Clinton after his conviction of criminal sexual assault, and respondent thereby violated Rule 61, Canon 1; Rule 62, Canon 2(A); and Rule 63, Canon 3(A)(1). […]

Respondent admitted that he was interested in whether plea negotiations had taken place because if the State and [defense attorney Andrew Schnack] reached an agreed disposition, then he would not have to admit that his guilty finding was a mistake. Respondent also admitted that he considered sentencing Clinton to probation so he would not have to admit that he had mistakenly found Clinton guilty. While noting the repugnance of this admission, which we discuss further in this Order, we fail to see how sentencing Clinton to probation or Clinton pleading to a lesser offense would have absolved respondent from having to admit his purported mistake – he would still be finding Clinton guilty of some offense in any event. In fact, either situation would have created a more flagrant ethical breach because Clinton would have been sentenced for a crime he did not commit (according to respondent). We also note the inconsistency in respondent’s position: respondent stated multiple times that he did not conclude he made a mistake until after he heard the arguments on the post-trial motions. We cannot reconcile respondent’s alleged desire to conceal his “mistake” when he had not yet concluded he had even made one. Indeed, we are convinced by [Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha’s] testimony that respondent was actually considering a sentence of probation and was interested in plea negotiations not because he thought Clinton was not guilty, but because he believed probation was a more appropriate sentence for the offense he had found Clinton guilty of than a mandatory four-year prison term.

* It was pretty clear to the Commission that Adrian was lying about multiple things. Here’s one example

Once the post-trial motions were filed, respondent gave “serious consideration” to the case by reviewing his notes and thinking about the evidence. Although respondent testified that he reviewed his notes after the post-trial motions were filed, he also testified that he did not specifically recall taking notes during the trial. He did not order a transcript of the trial proceedings.

Unreal.

* And then there’s this

We also feel compelled to comment on respondent’s statement on January 3, 2022 that “these things happen” when teenagers engage in underage drinking and “coeds and female people” swim in their underwear. These types of comments, coupled with the fact that respondent reversed himself, could give the impression to the public that respondent did not believe Clinton deserved to go to prison for sexual assault because the [16-year-old] female victim was voluntarily intoxicated and swam in her underwear.

There’s so much more, so go read the whole thing, especially if you’re Attorney General Kwame Raoul, who could intervene here and try to stop Adrian from receiving a pension.

* One more Courts Commission excerpt

Further aggravating is the fact that some of respondent’s misconduct occurred on the bench, while he was acting in his official capacity as judge. First, respondent refused to follow the mandatory sentencing law in the Clinton case and did so from the bench. Second, respondent 30 violated the Code when he retaliated against Jones in open court. While his deceptive testimony before the Board and this Commission did not occur on the bench, it was false, and it was an extension of his prior misconduct as it was a cover-up of his refusal to follow the law. But regardless, all witnesses under oath are expected to testify with honesty and candor; judges are no exception. Respondent represents the judiciary at all times, not simply while performing his official duties in court.

It’s probable that the state would need a criminal conviction to yank his pension, but maybe Raoul could indict Adrian in Cook County for giving “false” testimony under oath to the Illinois Courts Commission.

Just sayin.

Your thoughts?

  25 Comments      


‘Nothing can be passed without our members’

Monday, Feb 26, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Two news conferences held after Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget address last week didn’t receive much news media attention. As the saying goes, coverage follows conflict, and the two pressers were far more subtle and polite in their criticisms of the governor’s plan than those held by Republicans, so they were mostly overlooked.

But clear undercurrents were visible during both events, one held by the Legislative Black Caucus and the other by the Legislative Latino Caucus. And, unlike the Republicans, those two caucuses actually have considerable sway over the state’s lawmaking process.

While mostly couched in supportive language of the governor and the majority party leaders, the messages were distinct: Even after years of Democratic control, not nearly enough is still being done to help people in Black and Latino communities on every level. Poverty, violence, child care, health care, education, economic development, trade union membership, homelessness. You name it, the services and opportunities are lacking.

So, the two caucuses did a bit of flexing.

“This year, we will be negotiating from a position of strength,” declared Black Caucus Chair Rep. Carol Ammons. “Our community and our members are the value-add in the General Assembly and nothing can be passed without our members.” Not counting the House Speaker, there are 19 Black members in the House and 13 in the Senate, according to the caucus’ website. That’s enough to block a majority vote in both chambers, if they can stick together.

Ammons, D-Urbana, revealed during the press conference that the caucus plans to release a document in the coming weeks titled “Leveling the playing field,” which will focus on how to spend state dollars to “invest in building an equitable state and eliminating structural racism.” Dollar figures will be attached to each proposal, Ammons said. If it’s done well, the report could have a significant impact, not only this year, but in years to come.

The Legislative Latino Caucus does not yet have nearly the same numerical strength as the Black Caucus. But the joint caucus now has 16 members, which is higher than ever before. And Sen. Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago, firmly declared, “Latino families must benefit equitably from the investments that the state is making.”

Villanueva claimed that the Latino population was undercounted in the 2020 US Census, but, she said, “I want everyone to know as they’re hearing this, our community is only growing and our community is young. We aren’t going anywhere. We will be here.” She’s definitely right about that.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning noted a few years ago that while the Black population declined in northeastern Illinois by a few percentage points over 30 years, the northeastern Illinois Hispanic population had grown to 24.2% of the region’s population, up from 11.5% in 1990. A study last year by the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute found that the average age of Illinois Latinos was 28, compared to 38 for Illinoisans overall. Indeed, a significant number of legislative districts were drawn in 2021 with the anticipation that large numbers of young Latinos would eventually reach an age where they could elect one of their own before the next Census.

On the policy side, Rep. Lilian Jiménez, D-Chicago, echoed criticisms of the budget by groups like the Illinois Partners for Human Service, which decried the lack of adequate funding for community care workers. SEIU Healthcare has a strong presence in the Latino community and some former union staffers are serving in the General Assembly. The union sharply criticized the budget for its lack of funding “to address the cause of the state’s care crisis — the fact is that the crucial jobs that provide home care and childcare services are not good and stable jobs.”

What I laid out above is not a complete picture by any means whatsoever. But I’ve been saying for years and years that the news media here, myself included, needs to focus much more on the internal debates within the super-majority party and its allies because that is where almost all policymaking decisions actually happen in the Illinois General Assembly.

The Republicans (who have their own internal divisions and debates) shouldn’t be cut out of the coverage by any means, but the stark reality on the ground is not being conveyed and valid perspectives are too often ignored.

  6 Comments      


Open thread

Monday, Feb 26, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* What’s going on with y’all?…

  8 Comments      


Isabel’s morning briefing

Monday, Feb 26, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Flawed state oversight lets doctors accused of abuse continue to see patients. Tribune

    - Though Illinois law requires hospital officials who learn of abuse allegations to take action to protect patients, the Tribune found that some medical providers who work outside those settings were left to operate largely unchecked until they were charged with a crime.
    - In some cases, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation took years to discipline medical providers accused of sexual misconduct.
    - Illinois law does not require medical providers to tell patients they are under police investigation.

* Isabel’s top picks…

    * AP | Illinois judge who reversed rape conviction removed from bench after panel finds he circumvented law: The commission could have issued a reprimand, censure or suspension without pay, but its decision said it had “ample grounds” for immediately removing Adrian from the bench in western Illinois’ Adams County. […] The complaint said Adrian had acknowledged he was supposed to impose the mandatory four-year sentence against Clinton, but that he would not send him to prison. “That is not just,” Adrian said at the sentencing hearing, according to court transcripts. “I will not do that.”

    * Daily Southtown | Dolton trustees call for outside probe of Mayor Tiffany Henyard, accuse her of misusing village funds: They are asking agencies such as the FBI, U.S. attorney, Cook County sheriff and Cook County state’s attorney to step in and investigate Henyard. Four trustees who are at odds with Henyard — Kiana Belcher, Tammie Brown, Jason House and Brittney Norwood — held a special Village Board meeting Thursday at a Dolton Park District facility. Village Clerk Alison Key also participated.

* Congratulations Ashley!…


Click here to watch Governor Pritzker announce new maternal health initiatives at 10:00 am and here to watch him announce new State-designated cultural districts at noon.

* Here’s the rest of your morning roundup…

    * Naperville Sun | Naperville councilman said no one interested in housing migrants but emails show some people did respond: On Jan. 25, a separate person reached out via the council email and said: “Please pass the message to Josh McBroom that I will house migrants. I live in St. Charles and if you send me the sign up sheet I will sign it. Please tell Josh that Naperville doesn’t speak for the Chicago suburbs and plenty of people will house them. Let’s talk and we’ll get this started.” Rachel Pruneda with the mayor’s office replied and thanked the person for contacting the council. She assured them that “Councilman McBroom does receive emails that are sent to council@naperville.il.us and is monitoring them.”

    * ABC Chicago | 4th District Congressional Race Primary: In 2012, he was elected to serve as Democratic Ward Committeeman, making him the first openly gay Latino elected to any office in Illinois. In 2015, he was elected to serve the city’s 15th Ward. Lopez grew up on Chicago’s Southwest Side, he said it’s time to elect someone who “fights and provides results with common-sense solutions.”

    * Sun-Times | In House Democratic primary, Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia challenged from the right by Ald. Raymond Lopez: Bucking a national trend in which Democratic incumbent centrists fight primary challenges from the left, one of the most progressive members of Congress, Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, faces 15th Ward Ald. Ray Lopez, a frequent Fox News guest coming after him from the right.

    * CNN | How Johnson wooed Trump to back a GOP congressman targeted by Gaetz: According to multiple GOP sources, Johnson lobbied Trump to back Republican Rep. Mike Bost against his MAGA-aligned primary foe, Darren Bailey, in the southern Illinois district – a sign of how the new speaker is leveraging his relationship with the former president as internal GOP primary battles threaten to reshape the makeup of Congress.

    * WBEZ | Longtime Cook County tax appeal commissioner faces a big-money push to replace him: Rogers’s challenger in the March Democratic primary, Larecia Tucker, says those facts and other ethics problems mean the veteran politician does not deserve another term at the three-member Board of Review. “It is very inappropriate,” Tucker said of Rogers staffers handling his sibling’s cases. “It is not ethical. It is a conflict of interest.”

    * Daily Herald | Democratic congressional candidates want to abolish Electoral College: Abolishing the Electoral College would require a constitutional amendment. When asked why she wants to disband the college, Ahmad said it unfairly gives more power to votes cast in states with smaller populations.

    * WBEZ | CTU staffer fights to keep Chicago Mayor Johnson’s former seat on the Cook County Board: Stamps also has the backing of County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who doubles as head of the Cook County Democratic Party. Stamps’s Democratic challenger in the March 19 primary is Zerlina Smith-Members — a perennial candidate, victim advocate and political consultant. She alleges that because of the CTU’s support, Stamps could be beholden to the “new machine.”

    * WBEZ | Can you prove your teen lives here? Some schools make house calls.: Calloway said she has seen people trying to falsely claim a neighborhood spot at Kenwood over the last two decades, and she has also discovered enrolled students who lied on their registration forms. Some families also have moved outside the boundaries after their children enrolled. Just last week, it was revealed that the inspector general for CPS found five Kenwood basketball players falsified proof of where they live or provided inaccurate home addresses.

    * NBC Chicago | Newly obtained records shed light on cost of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s trip to Los Angeles: Airfare, lodging and travel agency fees for the trip cost a combined $7,949.96, records show. But the city redacted some of the additional expenses, like rental cars and a full page of charges, citing privacy concerns.

    * Tribune | Serious crashes with pedestrians and cyclists often fail to lead to tickets or charges: ‘We can’t be OK with this’: Serious or fatal traffic crashes with pedestrians or cyclists in Chicago, like the one involving Campbell, often fail to lead to charges or citations, a Tribune analysis of Chicago police data shows. Of more than 4,000 such crashes between 2018 and mid-November 2023 reviewed by the Tribune, traffic tickets or more serious violations were listed in about 26% of cases.

    * The Atlantic | The Americans Who Need Chaos: Several years ago, the political scientist Michael Bang Petersen, who is based in Denmark, wanted to understand why people share conspiracy theories on the Internet. He and other researchers designed a study that involved showing American participants blatantly false stories about Democratic and Republican politicians, such as Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump. The subjects were asked: Would you share these stories online?

    * SJ-R | Springfield’s housing market is one of the hottest in the country, new report finds: The index uses proprietary data to determine which markets have strong supply and demand, with homes in the Springfield area being on the market for an average of 49 days, up nearly 9% from 2022, and going for a median list price of $168,950, up 2.4% from the prior year. The ranking is two spots higher than in November, where Springfield ranked 28th with a score of 85.74.

    * Tribune | Evanston keeps 15 year lease to move city operations downtown: The move comes with accessibility and building condition concerns about the city’s current hub, the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center. These woes leave some, such as Mayor Daniel Biss, saying a prompt move is necessary. The approved resolution calls for city operations to move to the Davis Street location in July. Biss says the lease should be 15 years to allow for proper public input when deciding where city operation will be permanently held.

    * Daily Herald | Is Illinois’ film tax credit luring Hollywood to the heartland?: While Chicago has long been used as a stand-in for fictional and real settings, the suburbs have also become a destination for film and television companies seeking a specific look. “Illinois can be everything except a desert,” said Christine Dudley, Executive Director for the Illinois Production Alliance. “There’s the architecture, the lake, the suburbs, the forest preserves and even farmland. And it’s all within a few minutes of each other.”

    * Daily Southtown | Black History Month program unites Buddy Guy, grandson for conversation at Evergreen Park school: The Evergreen Park Community High School senior got to know much more about his grandpa last week thanks to a Black History Month project in which he and classmate Samantha Ricks interviewed the 87-year-old musician during a sold-out presentation Feb. 20 at the school’s Marshall Batho Auditorium. The show started with a biographical documentary about Buddy, followed by the student-led question-and-answer session.

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