Happy Tuesday, Illinois! I’m on a pre-holidays health kick, so this story about D.C. being to blame for my extra pounds was interesting, via The Agenda in POLITICO
The strike is over. But no one said the Chicago Teachers Union was done fighting. In fact, there’s chatter the CTU is already floating a possible candidate to run against Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who figured as much when the Tribune interviewed her, telling the paper “I’m assuming that they’re coming after me in 2023.”
While CTU VP Stacy Davis Gates, who was outspoken during the strike, comes to mind as a possible challenger, insiders point to Brandon Johnson, a first-term Cook County commissioner and middle-school teacher who does legislative work with the teachers union (he has a six-figure salary). Johnson helped organize the 2012 CTU strike and led field campaigns in the 2015 mayoral runoff.
Johnson is also a familiar name on WCPT radio, where he’s used his Sunday talk show to criticize the mayor. In one episode, for example, he suggested Lightfoot is suppressing “freedom and the expansion of democracy for black and brown people” by not backing a fully elected school board.
Still, Johnson says he hasn’t been approached to run: “There is no link between the CTU strike and my future as an elected official,” he told Playbook. “Conflation of the two is irresponsible and a disservice to our members and their sacrifice.”
He insists it’s “laughable” to think CTU would push a mayoral candidate this early. “Our members don’t play politics.”
The commissioner says his focus is on passing Cook County’s $6 billion budget and his “Just Housing” ordinance — a measure that would prohibit landlords from turning away potential renters based on criminal records.
On Friday, Johnson issued a statement commending teachers “who stood up for equality and justice for our students.” The memo wove in some of his personal story, too.
“On the West side, where I live and work, we have the highest concentration of homeless students in the city,” he says, adding that the teachers’ new contract will address that disparity.
His press release doesn’t mention Lightfoot.
Connecting dots: Johnson backed Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for mayor earlier this year — and she endorsed him as well. Johnson also endorsed Melissa Conyears-Ervin in her run for city treasurer. And the thinking is that she and her husband, Ald. Jason Ervin, would support Johnson in his future political endeavors.
Conyears-Ervin’s spokesman pushed back, telling Playbook: “She’s focused on her responsibilities as treasurer, helping Democrats take back the White House in 2020, defending our majorities in the Illinois legislature, and reelecting Governor (J.B.) Pritzker.”
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is ‘toying with’ retirement, but says it’s unrelated to a probe into him after being found asleep in his car: “Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on Monday said he’s thinking about creating ‘another chapter’ in his life, but insisted he’s not considering stepping down because of the ongoing investigation into police officers finding him asleep in his car last month,” Tribune’s John Byrne writes. “’I have given 31 years now to this city, and almost four as superintendent,’ Johnson said. ‘You know, but I recognize also that at some point it’s time to create another chapter in your life.’ … Johnson said he doesn’t care about making it to April as superintendent, when his pension will become fully vested at the superintendent’s salary. ‘Remember, I didn’t apply for this job,’ he said. ‘So that part doesn’t matter to me, it really doesn’t.’”
At University Club of Chicago to deliver remarks at One Million Degrees’ annual corporate breakfast.
No official public events scheduled.
No official public events scheduled.
— SHIMKUS STAYING OUT: “U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, has made up his mind on a 2020 re-election bid. He’s staying out. In August of this year, Shimkus announced he would not seek another term. However, when U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced he would not run again, Shimkus started having second thoughts,” reports Belleville News-Democrat’s Joseph Bustos.
— State elections board: ‘We’re under constant threat’ from foreign interference: “Members of the Illinois State Board of Elections on Monday gave a presentation on election security to members of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. They say they wanted to hammer home the message that Illinois and every other election authority in the country is under threat,” WTTW’s Paris Schutz reports.
— Aldermen demand Lightfoot restore cuts to community policing program: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2020 budget would cut spending on CPD’s Office of Community Policing by $381,936, or roughly 7 percent. It calls for eliminating 16 jobs in that office, including 13 community organizers,’ by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Lawsuit takes aim at city’s Fair Workweek Ordinance: “A trade association representing building owners has sued the city in hopes of blocking a comprehensive labor ordinance from taking effect,” by Crain’s Sarah Zimmerman.
— Cook County OK’d insider deal for Ald. Carrie Austin’s top aide: “Chester Wilson’s delinquent property tax tab on a South Side building topped $200K. County land bank erased that — and gave the property to a Wilson business partner for $40,000,” by Sun-Times’ Lauren FitzPatrick and Tim Novak.
— Amid federal probe, City Club leader ends work for ComEd: “Veteran lobbyist and City Club of Chicago President Jay Doherty has stopped working for embattled, longtime client Commonwealth Edison, according to a disclosure document he filed Monday with Illinois officials. Doherty’s move came just weeks after WBEZ first reported that federal investigators had raided the City Club office at the Wrigley Building in May,” via WBEZ.
— Chicago’s planning chief vows to jump-start lagging neighborhood investment: “Maurice Cox says more early funding, counseling and geographic focus is needed to get more retail outlets open on the South and West sides. But the $30 million program comes without specific metrics to define success,” writes Crain’s Chicago’s Greg Hinz.
— CTU sets dates for members to ratify new contract: “Eric Ruder, a Chicago Teachers Union spokesman, confirmed the union’s 25,000 members can vote Nov. 14 and 15 at their schools or the CTU’s West Town headquarters. According to the CTU’s constitution, teachers must “vote in a secret ballot referendum” within 10 school days of a strike being postponed,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— Bernie Sanders interrupts CTU podcast with phone call: “You guys have won a victory that will not only be for Chicago but be for the whole country,” via Tribune’s Hannah Leone.
— DEMS WANT ARROYO, BURKE TO STEP DOWN: The Cook County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee voted to formally request the resignations of Ed Burke and Luis Arroyo, who have both been charged with crimes, reports the Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— SCOOP: Pappas calls for audit of Land Bank: Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas is calling for an audit of the Cook County Land Bank Authority, according to a letter addressed to Land Bank Executive Director Robert Rose and obtained by Playbook. The Land Bank acquires vacant and abandoned properties and then allows a scavenger sale to investors. The goal is to make up the loss in taxes, but Pappas says the program isn’t working because some properties get returned. The county is seeing “minimal return,” she says in the letter.
— Pritzker, Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico reach out to families in Buffalo Wild Wings racial incident: “Pritzker was incensed by what happened and wanted to speak to the people directly, said his spokeswoman, Emily Bittner.” via Naperville Sun’s Suzanne Baker.
— Complaint argues former Ald. Daniel Solis improperly used campaign money for legal costs: “Chicago’s new 25th Ward alderman filed an election complaint Monday saying his predecessor, Daniel Solis, improperly used hundreds of thousands of dollars from the ward’s Democratic organization to pay lawyers to represent him in a federal investigation of his spending,” by Tribune’s John Byrne.
— Even as Illinois court permits detaining pre-teens, across U.S. fewer youth being held: “Calling ‘backward’ the trump treatment of juveniles, Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli said she plans to ask the Illinois Supreme Court to reverse an Illinois Appellate Court decision last week that permits holding pre-teenagers in custody,” Injustice Watch’s Emily Hoerner reports.
— R. Kelly brings in lawyer who specializes in plea negotiations, by Tribune’s Jason Meisner and MEgan Crepeau.
PRITZKER THREATENS A VETO: “Luxury private jet companies were hoping state lawmakers might bail them out of four-year-old unpaid sales tax bills. Instead, billionaire Governor J.B. Pritzker greeted their pleas for mercy with a stiff arm on Monday. ‘I am going to veto that bill if that lands on my desk,’ Pritzker pledged, explaining that the plan the House passed last week ‘would forgive $50 million of taxes that are owed by people who are in this private jet industry.’” via WCIA’s Mark Maxwell
— IHSA allows XC runners to compete in state finals after being bumped in favor of CPS students, according to the Tribune’s Morgan Greene. Separately, the IHSA appeals a judge’s ruling that CPS can take part, according to NBC/5.
— Illinois’ congressional delegation backs Pritzker’s appeal to FEMA after help denied to flood survivors: “Illinois’ congressional delegation has offered bipartisan support to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s appeal to the federal government following its denial of assistance for flood survivors,” The Southern Illinoisan’s Molly Parker reports. “The state had sought the designation for 22 counties affected by flooding along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers earlier this year. A disaster declaration for individual assistance would allow FEMA to provide financial assistance to qualified homeowners and renters who have been displaced or forced to live in substandard conditions.”
— Strong job market cutting in to community colleges, reports One Illinois’ Ted Cox: “A strong job market is cutting into enrollment at Illinois community colleges — and has been throughout the decade The Illinois Community College Board released its 10-day head counts in October and reported that overall enrollment at state two-year colleges fell for the ninth straight year.”
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Cresco Labs is expected to kick off a community impact incubator program Wednesday. It’s part of the SEED — Social Equity and Education Development — program that will have the company working with community organizations and helping those convicted of cannabis offenses get clearance to work in the industry.
— Cannabis tech startup Fyllo moves into new West Loop digs after raising $18M in funding: “Company looks to help firms around the country navigate the patchwork of laws governing the advertising and marketing of legal weed,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— No pot use allowed in public housing even though it’s legal in Illinois, CHA says: “The Chicago Housing Authority is reminding all 63,000 households under its watch that marijuana use is still illegal under federal law — making Illinois’ medical and recreational cannabis laws useless within its confines,” Sun-Times’ Carlos Ballesteros reports. “‘The CHA can TERMINATE all assistance … if you, a member of your household, or a guest or person under your control is found engaging in drug-related criminal activity, including the use and/or possession of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes,’ reads a notice sent last week to housing voucher recipients. Tenants in public housing buildings will receive a similar notice next week, a CHA spokesperson said.”
— Illinois colleges face medical cannabis conundrum: “Medical marijuana use has been legal in Illinois for over half a decade, but colleges and universities in the state have yet to adapt equal on-campus regulations,” writes GateHouse Media’s Montana Samuels. “At least part of the collective hesitancy relates to federal funding universities receive, and a fear that they could be cut if campus regulations allow for cannabis use. But playing it safe also means that college students don’t have access to state policies that make life easier for medical patients, particularly if those medical patients seek on-campus housing.”
— Busted for weed? That will actually help you land a job when it’s legalized: “Having a pot-related arrest or conviction used to be a liability for Illinoisans seeking employment. Now, a criminal record might lead to a job in the cannabis industry,” writes Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— ‘The field is narrowing — and the attacks are flying,’ by POLITICO’s Marc Caputo and Natasha Korecki
— U.S. starts climate pact exit — now what? by POLITICO’s Zack Colman
— Trump’s latest legal strategy on impeachment: Run out the clock, by POLITICO’s Nancy Cook
Today: “Passport to the World” networking event hosted by the Rotary Club of Chicago and featuring the Chicago Consular Corps and Chicago International Trade Commissioners’ Association. Details here
Today: Better Government Association fundraising luncheon honors its former president and CEO, Andy Shaw. Special guest is NPR’s Scott Simon. Details here
Analyzing the strike coverage: Chicago journalist Steve Rhodes, who runs the Beachwood Reporter blog, analyzed the strike coverage in a guest column in Phi Delta Kappan, an online journal for educators. His column was published as the strike was wrapping up. National outlets, he writes, did “a lot of spectacle-laden stories sympathetic to the striking teachers” while local news outlets “produced too much he said-she said coverage that doesn’t inform the conflict.” But did he really read everything…? *wink*
Latasha Thomas, senior counsel in Clark Hill’s Government and Public Affairs Practice Group in Chicago, has been appointed chair of the Diversity Committee for the National Association of Bond Lawyers. NABL is an association of nearly 3,000 lawyers who represent issuers, non-profit institutions and other participants in public finance transactions. Prior to her work at Clark Hill, Thomas was a four-term Chicago alderman.
Andrea Hanis, Tribune editorial writer.
- Shia Kapos @shiakapos
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