TGIF, Illinois. President Trump fumbled a softball question from Sean Hannity last night about what his priorities are for a second term, so it looks like we’re in for an interesting ride to Election Day.
We’re entering Phase 4 of the state’s re-opening, but the world will never be the same, say Illinois lawmakers who hope silver linings emerge from this era of Covid and social upheaval.
Expanding broadband internet, telehealth and mail-in voting are already transforming the country. And as companies realize they can operate successfully — and save a ton of money — with employees working at home, there will certainly be permanent changes to the real estate market, too.
The most profound change, though, could be in police reform, says Gov. J.B. Pritzker: “the protest movement that came out of the George Floyd murder will [have] a permanent effect on policing, and a permanent effect on how we look at investment in communities that have been left out and left behind,” he said when Playbook posed a question at his Thursday Covid briefing. “There’s a real impetus” to bring about change.
Rep. Bobby Rush, who’s been fighting racism since the 1960s, expects we’ll look back on today as the “unfortunate past.” He sees a police force transformed: “more diverse” and embedded in “communities that will be safer and healthier,” he told Playbook after the House passed a sweeping policing reform bill. (Although the House managed to move legislation, it did so with few Republican votes. And in the Senate, everything went to hell.)
The public “has pounced” on police reform in a way Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who spoke to Playbook before that vote, said she’s never seen before, prompting recalcitrant decision-makers to acquiesce to change. Schakowsky expects the activism will push Trump out of office in November and, in turn, bring about “one of the most progressive eras in the United States” — one that will see more women and minorities run for office and expands voting by mail.
“We’re already seeing people who are unwilling to leave the line in order to vote. This is a different moment,” Schawsky said, pointing to primaries held in other states this week.
Republican Adam Kinzinger is talking transformation, too. “This will be a moment where we see the world and our country grow by leaps and bounds,” he told attendees at a video-conference town hall a few days ago sponsored by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition — a nonpartisan network of 500 businesses and NGOs.
As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Kinzinger’s comments also gravitated to global health, diplomacy, how coronavirus has caused world instability, and the need to fight conspiracy theories and misinformation.
He expects to see advances in telemedicine, which has grown as we adapt with the coronavirus. And the conversations about race that have emerged from the “social instability in the streets,” will only lead to unity down the road.
Not to spook anyone, but we’re only just now approaching the halfway mark of 2020.
Some of Chicago’s leading civic families and organizations — including the Obamas — are funding a high-speed internet program that will benefit more than 100,000 Chicago students and their families, particularly on the South and West sides, as Chalkbeat’s Mila Koumpilova reports.
The internet “is one of the most powerful equalizers we have,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday in announcing the program, called “Chicago Connected.”
Donors to the effort include Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, who said he hopes the program inspires other communities across the country “to eliminate the digital divide.” Griffin donated $7.5 million; Crown Family Philanthropies donated $5 million; Chicago Community Covid-19 Response Fund (through Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago) gave $2.5 million; Illinois Tool Works, $2 million; Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert gave $1.5 million through their foundation; The JPB Foundation, $500,000; and Joyce Foundation, $250,000.
Barack and Michelle Obama joined with other philanthropies to commit $750,000.
At Homan Square Community Center Park to announce summer youth programming.
No official public events.
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday reported 41 new deaths due to the coronavirus and 894 additional confirmed cases. That’s a total of 6,810 deaths and 139,434 cases in 101 counties in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from June 18–June 24 is 3 percent.
— Hello, phase four! Another step out from under the coronavirus restrictions: “On the eve of Illinois’ move into the next phase of reopening its economy, Gov. J.B. Pritzker struck a victorious tone but also warned that Illinois would reinstitute more stringent restrictions if there’s an eventual backslide in data that illustrates a coronavirus resurgence in the state. Starting Friday, all four regions of the state as designated in Pritzker’s ‘Restore Illinois’ reopening plan will move into the fourth of five phases, when gatherings of up to 50 people as well as restricted indoor dining at restaurants are allowed.” And there are other perks, too, reports Tribune’s Jamie Munks.
… Is Illinois ready to reopen? “Epidemiologist weighs in on Phase 4 risks like crowds, indoor dining,” by ABC/7’s Sarah Schulte
— But what about this? CDC chief says coronavirus cases may be 10 times higher than reported, according to the Washington Post.
— Chicago-area McDonald’s workers score a court victory, as judge orders some local restaurants to do better on Covid-19 protections: “Cook County Circuit Court Judge Eve Reilly ordered several Chicago McDonald’s restaurants to adopt new safety measures for social distancing, training and masks, granting a partial win to workers who sued the fast food giant for allegedly failing to adequately protect them from Covid-19,” reports Tribune’s Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz.
— Landlords sue Pritzker over eviction moratorium: “A complaint alleges that, however well intended, the governor’s executive order improperly denies them access to the courts,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— Chicago police opens strategic deployment center focusing on CTA: “This unveiling of the center comes at the heels of the George Floyd protests, decrying police brutality and calling for the defunding of police,” by Sun-Times’ Jade Yan.
— Lightfoot says Chicago’s ‘not there yet’ on fans in stands at ballparks: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday threw up the stop sign on the idea of fans in the stands at Chicago’s ballparks this season, saying neither the Cubs nor the White Sox have provided any specifics on how they would keep attendees safe from the coronavirus… Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney went on the team’s broadcast radio station, 670 The Score, on Thursday and said he’s optimistic there will be fans in seats at Wrigley Field at some point this year.” by Tribune’s John Byrne.
— Nearly 60 percent in Chicago seeking early prison release under Trump’s First Step Act go free: “Federal prisoners aiming to get out early under the law that Republicans, Democrats, the ACLU and Kanye West backed include crooked Chicago cops and gang kingpins,” by Sun-times’ Frank Main and Jon Seidel.
— State allows General Iron move, leaving Lightfoot as the last hurdle for the scrap shredder: “Brushing aside opposition from neighborhood groups and elected officials, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration on Thursday granted General Iron Industries a permit to build a new scrap yard along the Calumet River in the East Side neighborhood,” by Tribune’s Michael Hawthorne.
— Going too far: Art Institute Lion statue vandalized; suspect in custody, by the Sun-Times
— Near North Side neighbors ready to fight 43-story apartment tower plan: “One of Chicago’s busiest luxury residential developers wants to build a 43-story apartment high-rise using air rights from a Near North Side church, but nearby condo owners are going on the offensive to stop it…. Residents believe the proposed 457-foot-tall tower is too ambitious for the size of the site, saying it would block sunlight and air flow, snarl traffic and reduce property values, said Wolfgang Suess, treasurer of the condo board and a spokesman for residents in the 34-story Galleria.
Brothers at center of Smollett case change minds again, say they will cooperate with authorities: “A day after claiming they would no longer cooperate with Jussie Smollett’s prosecution, the case’s key witnesses — a pair of bodybuilding brothers who told police they helped the actor stage a hoax hate crime on himself last year — reversed course, saying they would now continue voluntarily working with authorities. The new developments in the strange Smollett saga stem from a dispute over property police seized in a raid at the brothers’ home in the early stages of the investigation,” by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau.
— Layoffs, tax hikes possible as Cook County braces for one-two punch of budget holes for this year and the next: “Seventy positions have already been cut, and about 35 people laid off at the county’s health system over the past week, Andrea Gibson, Cook County Health’s interim chief business officer, said Thursday,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Looting following protests caused $20M-plus in Cook County damage, state estimates: “A survey of the aftermath found 40 Cook County businesses sustained major damage and uninsured losses, while another 95 businesses sustained minor damage, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the state Emergency Management Agency,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.
— Union wins election at Cresco weed shop in Lakeview: “United Food & Commercial Workers has been targeting the marijuana industry for growth,” by Crain’s John Pletz.
— Illinois pot one year later: A look at how things have grown: “Business is booming for the state’s nascent marijuana trade. But plans to help those impacted by the war on drugs have been hampered by the pandemic,” by NBC/5’s Phil Rogers and Courtney Copenhagen.
Pritzker addresses antisemitism, ‘crisis of morality’: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker says Illinoisans have to work together to stop hate speech. The governor spoke about recent acts of antisemitism and extremism during the American Jewish Committee Chicago Region’s virtual luncheon,” by Quincy Media Capitol Bureau Chief Mike Miletich.
— THE GOOD NEWS: Illinois sees unpaid bills drops to lowest in five years: “Illinois, the first U.S. state to tap into Federal Reserve aid for pandemic-battered governments, has reduced its unpaid bills to the lowest level since 2015. The backlog shrank to $4.8 billion on June 12, down from $6.9 billion at the start of the month, according to data from Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office. The number, which stood at about $5.5 billion on Wednesday, had swelled to more than $8 billion in April after shelter-in-place policies were enacted. The state used $1.2 billion of proceeds from a short-term Fed loan to help pay down the bills, said Carol Knowles, a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Budget and Management. The Fed established its Municipal Liquidity Facility to help state and local governments bridge funding gaps created by the pandemic,” by Bloomberg’s Shruti Singh.
— AND THE BAD: Highest jobless rate for any May since 1976: “The number of nonfarm jobs decreased over-the-year in May in all fourteen Illinois metropolitan areas, with six metro areas at record low payrolls, according to preliminary data released June 25 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Data also shows that the unemployment rate increased over-the-year in all metro areas to record highs for the month of May. The official, BLS-approved sub-state unemployment rate and nonfarm jobs series begins in 1990. Data reported prior to 1990 are not directly comparable due to updates in methodology,” by the Platt Journal-Republican.
— One case in three years: Calls for changes to Springfield’s police review panel: “Numbers from the police department show residents filed 14 misconduct allegations that the internal affairs division investigated between 2017 and 2019,” by NPR Illinois’ Mary Hansen.
— Asians are the fastest growing racial demographic in Illinois: “According to the data, Illinois has also witnessed the steepest decline in Black population among all U.S. states since 2010 — both in number and by percentage,” write WBEZ’s Alden Loury and Esther Yoon-Ji Kang.
— Illinois casinos back in the game next week — Pritzker deals them in with Wednesday reopening: “All in-person gambling operations have been shuttered since March 16, the first time the casinos had closed for a sustained period since the state’s first riverboat hit the water three decades ago,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.
— Tollway slashes late fees on unpaid tolls to $3 from $20: “The Illinois Tollway board voted Thursday on reforms that will slash the penalty for an unpaid toll to $3 from $20 for passenger cars, and substantially cut existing debts for those with outstanding violations and fines. ‘It’s about improving the customer experience,’ Tollway executive director Jose Alvarez said in an interview,” with Tribune’s Mary Wisniewski.
— Could battle-tested Duckworth help Biden in his biggest mission? “The Biden campaign is vetting Duckworth, a senator and a veteran with a compelling life story, as a potential running mate. ‘I can push back against Trump in a way others can’t,’ she says,” via New York Times.
— GOP state Senate candidate seeks looser ballot access requirements: “Alexander Ruggieri, a central Illinois Republican state Senate candidate who does not have enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot, asked a federal judge Tuesday to also apply loosened election requirements to him,” reports Capitol News’ Rebecca Anzel.
— Ballot initiative campaign ramps up: Vote Yes For Fairness, a ballot initiative committee backing the proposed Graduated Income Tax Amendment, has launched an information website. It also offers information on how to apply for a mail-in ballot.
— Amid national crisis on police brutality and racism, Congress flails, by POLITICO’s John Bresnahan, Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle and Marianne LeVine
— Trump administration asks Supreme Court to overturn Obamacare, by POLITICO’s Susannah Luthi
— Joe Biden Refuses To Get Woke. Will the Democratic Base Still Embrace Him? by POLITICO’s Ryan Lizza and Laura Barron-Lopez
Today at noon: Lincoln Forum offers a virtual webinar asking “How will Chicago tourism rebound safely?” Panel: Choose Chicago Board Chair Glenn Eden, Boka Restaurant Group CEO Kevin Boehm, Shedd Aquarium CEO Bridget Coughlin, Ritz Carlton Chicago GM Peter Simoncelli, and United Airlines VP of O’Hare Hub Mike Hanna. WGN News anchor Lourdes Duarte will moderate. Register here
Saturday at 1 p.m.: Rep. Sean Casten joins the Northern Illinois American-Muslim Alliance’s vote-by-mail virtual forum alongside state Sen. Julie Morrison, state Rep. Mary Eldy-Allen, and Sixth District State Central Committeewoman Nancy Shepherdson. Zoom link
June 30: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and First Lady of Chicago Amy Eshleman headline a Virtual Pride Celebration to benefit her Light PAC. Special guest: actor/activist Billy Porter. RSVP here
July 1: Paul Simon Public Policy Institute will hold a virtual event with Leon Panetta, the former Secretary of Defense, CIA director, White House chief of staff, White House budget director and House Budget Committee chairman. Topic of discussion: “foreign policy challenges, the struggling American economy, and the upcoming presidential election.” The event is free but you need to register here.
— Barbara Lumpkin has been named executive VP at Conlon Public Strategies. She comes to the Midwest consulting and public affairs firm with a range of experience. Lumpkin is the former interim president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League and led that organization’s $5 million fundraising campaign. She also served as deputy CEO and executive director for external partnerships at Chicago Public Schools. And she was an exec at Northern Trust. Playbookers know her for her work in government for the City of Chicago, including budget director, special assistant to the mayor, city treasurer, and chief procurement officer. Kevin Conlon, the firm’s founder and president praised Lumpkin’s experience and said she comes to the firm at a time when clients face “unprecedented challenges.”
— Game Klein, the former Chicago and D.C. DOT chief and Cityfi co-founder, has joined the board of advisers of Automotus, a company that uses video analytics to help “analyze, monetize and enforce all forms of curb activity.”
State Rep. Daniel Didech and his wife, Jen, a sixth-grade math teacher in Buffalo Grove, welcomed baby Theo into the world June 17. Pix
Today: Christina Galoozis, comms exec at West Monroe; former state Board of Investment Chairman Marc Levine; State Journal-Register Reporter Bernie Schoenburg; and comms consultant Graeme Zielinski;
Thursday: The Strategy Group Senior VP Aviva Bowen.
Saturday: Former Illinois Supreme Court candidate Daniel Epstein, Accountable Tech co-founder Jesse Lehrich, PR pro Karrie Leung; Cor Strategies marketing guru Bill Pohlman, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter, high tech investor and political donor Howard Tulman, state Rep. David Welter (75th).
Sunday: Political consultant Robert Creamer, actor/producer John Cusack, and technology consultant Mark Zivin.
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