Good Monday morning, Illinois. The mayor and governor have returned from their escapades, so it’s time to get back to work.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker attends a panel discussion on literacy at the National Governors Association on Friday, July 15, 2022, in Portland, Maine, before heading to Florida to speak to Democrats there. | AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker delivered a fiery speech to Florida Democrats Saturday in Tampa, equating Gov. Ron DeSantis to former President Donald Trump and condemning the national GOP on issues related to abortion and guns.
Most compelling: Pritzker wove together the horrific moments of the recent Highland Park mass shooting that killed seven people and orphaned a 2-year-old boy to his family’s back story and how he was inspired to create the Illinois Holocaust museum.
“I can’t stop thinking about Aiden,” Pritzker said of the boy who lost his parents. “I can’t stop thinking about how he will be forced to ‘navigate life as an orphan.’ I lost both of my parents before I turned 18. Let me tell you what it means to ‘navigate life as an orphan.’ It means you are always stalked by ghoulish anniversaries — their birthdays that are no longer celebrated but instead mark another 52 weeks that a parent has been gone. It means growing older while your parents never age.
“It means never knowing them as an adult — never crossing the Rubicon from being a child to being a friend. It means approaching with unnatural guilt the day when you’ve lived longer than they did. It means going through every joyous life milestone – graduations, big birthdays, weddings, promotions – with an empty space beside you in a picture, a sense of being robbed.”
Gary Fineout, POLITICO’s Florida Playbook author, interviewed Democrats who listened to Pritzker’s half-hour-plus speech. “We saw a future president,” said Christian Ulvert, a South Florida Democratic consultant who attended the dinner along with roughly 1,000 other Democrats. “That was one of the best Democratic speeches I have seen in a while.”
Pritzker attacked DeSantis for his handling of Covid-19 — without mentioning his own family having spent time in Florida during the height of the pandemic — to the GOP’s governor battle with Disney and his support of the parental rights in education bill that prohibits teachers from leading classroom lessons on gender identity or sexual orientation and has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
“You see, Ron DeSantis is really just Donald Trump with a mask on,” Pritzker said. “He’s trying to pass off his covert racism, homophobia and misogyny as a more reasonable form of Trump Republicanism.”
Pritzker also took swipes at former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and billionaire Ken Griffin — both of whom have relocated to Florida in recent years.
“Rauner and Griffin claim that they don’t come from the Donald Trump wing of the Republican Party,” Pritzker said. “Instead, they would say that they’re DeSantis Republicans, which is a little bit like saying that you’ve never been a fan of Darth Vader but you support the Empire’s political agenda.”
Republicans criticized Pritzker ahead of his speech: “If I had a dollar for every Democrat that’s escaped their poorly run state to come to the free state of Florida, I’d have enough to buy JB Pritzker’s mansion in West Palm Beach,” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Julia Friedland told Fineout.
Democrats, though, savored Pritzker’s every word: They liked his focused message designed to blunt shots from Republicans and for calling on Democrats to be more forceful with their criticism of political opponents. As Pritzker said in his speech, Democrats can’t find success in a “watered-down mish mash of policies.”
“That’s the best speech I have witnessed in my life,” Daniel Uhlfelder, one of the Democrats running for attorney general, told Fineout. I would love to see that guy debate Ron DeSantis.”
— About Pritzker’s challenger, Darren Bailey: “Even before his political career, Bailey was well known in and around Clay County as a farmer, third generation, and was president of the high school’s Future Farmers of America chapter,” writes Steve Johnson for Center for Illinois Politics.
DRAMA IN DOLTON: The Dolton City Council called a surprise board meeting last week to remove Dolton City Mayor Tiffany Henyard as a signatory on the city’s bank account.
Henyard calls it an “unprecedented power grab,” telling Playbook it’s a move by the council to stop her reform efforts. “Their beef is that I won’t hire their friends or give contracts to their buddies. I won’t play ball,” she said.
She adds, “I just want the board of trustees to do its job and legislate, not govern. If everyone learns their duties, I think the government would run smoothly.”
Trustees have a different story, saying the mayor has spent city funds without authority. “In March, she was issuing checks that had her signature and the clerk’s stamp without the clerk’s knowledge. She was informed she can’t do that without informing the clerk,” but it’s a practice she continued, said trustee Jason House. “Since the mayor consistently violated the ordinance, we voted to change the signers on the bank account and remove the mayor’s name.” House’s name was added instead.
Both sides agree on one thing: The battle between the mayor’s office and city council has caused gridlock.
Adding to the intrigue: The legal counsel for Dolton, ShawnTe Raines-Welch, is drawing scrutiny for not doing enough to quell problems in City Hall. Raines-Welch just won a judicial primary, and she’s the wife of House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. Injustice Watch’s Rita Oceguera reports
Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: [email protected]
No official public events.
At Kehrein Center for the Arts at 10 a.m. to announce an update on the Chicago Recovery Plan.
No official public events.
— Illinois has reached a historic low of continued unemployment: “The previously recorded low was 70,454, and Illinois has remained below that number for 10 consecutive weeks. The most-recent data shows that claims amount to a little over 65,000,” according to the Illinois Department of Employment Services. WCIA’s Bradley Zimmerman reports.
— How far do Illinois’ strict gun laws really go? “Even as legislators beef up laws designed to keep firearms out of the wrong person’s hands, law enforcement officials, gun dealers and researchers say a combination of neighboring states’ laxer gun laws, superseding federal laws and complicated reporting processes hinder those efforts,” by Daily Herald’s Jake Griffin.
— Reconsidering public housing in America: The National Public Housing Museum in Chicago “has set out to tell the stories of the lives lived in and around public housing’s walls — not its organized abandonment,” by Anjulie Rao for Belt magazine.
— HEAD-TURNER | 48th Ward Ald. Harry Osterman announces he’ll not seek reelection: “It was not an easy decision. I’ve got 10 months left, and I’m going to work my ass off,” Osterman told the Sun-Times Mitch Dudek
… Community organizers Seva Gandhi and Nick Ward are already gearing up to run for Osterman’s 48th Ward seat.
— Julian ‘Jumpin’ Perez, famed as a radio DJ and House music icon, has announced his bid for alderman in the 26th Ward, which is currently represented by Ald. Roberto Maldonado.
— Lightfoot’s decision to tie property taxes to inflation may result in mammoth bills next year: “If Lightfoot decides to collect the full amount allowed under her annual tax formula, the tax increase would nearly quadruple in 2023 to $85.5 million, according to a Tribune analysis of the property tax levy and the mayor’s policy,” John Byrne reports.
— After cluster of officer suicides, CPD’s former mental health adviser says city isn’t doing enough to help overworked cops, by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba
… Sergeant’s death marks the third suicide in the Chicago Police Department in a month, by Tribune’s Tatyana Turner
— Chicago at the ‘vanguard of government ethics’? New City Council rules would quadruple top fines for violators, but some measures watered down, by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— Former Ald. Michael Scott Jr. appointed to the Chicago school board: He replaces Dwayne Truss, whose term ended last month. “Truss said he had initially been asked to continue to serve on the board, then was notified last Thursday that he would not be reappointed. He questioned the timing of the move, noting that it comes after he called for more transparency around the construction of a new high school,” by Chalkbeat’s Mauricio Pena.
— City Council to consider drag racing ordinance as video shows cars doing stunts in West Loop: “Proposed ordinance would allow police to impound cars involved in this type of recklessness,” by ABC 7’s Stephanie Wade.
— How Chicago came to love Italian beef, by NPR’s Scott Simon
— Pizza, hot dogs and Italian beef be damned … Chicago ranked 10th fittest city in America, by WTTW’s Kristen Thometz
— Kicked out of Episcopal priesthood over sexual misconduct accusations, now overseeing a church in Berwyn: “Rev. Luis Andrade, originally ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Ecuador, recently moved on to be a priest in a small, independent Catholic denomination,” by Sun-Times’ Robert Herguth and Elvia Malagón
— Cook County watchdog says 4 employees fraudulently collected federal pandemic loans, by Tribune’s A.D. Quig
— Billionaire at center of Winnetka beach spat buys neighboring multimillion-dollar home, by Crain’s Dennis Rodkin.
— Long Grove covered bridge hit yet again — the 35th time since 2020, by Daily Herald’s Steve Zalusky
— As violent crime in Chicago soared, arrests fell to historic lows: “The decline mirrors a drop in nearly every category of officers’ activity tracked by the Chicago Police Department,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba, Andy Grimm, Jesse Howe and Andy Boyle.
— Four men convicted of murder released from prison after judges find they can’t trust the work of detectives in two cases, by Sun-Times’ Kaitlin Washburn.
— MAYOR’s RACE: Lightfoot gets more help from supporters but trails Willie Wilson after he loans his campaign $5M, by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt
— Congresswoman Lauren Underwood raised more than $1 million during the second fundraising quarter of 2022. She’s entering the third quarter with more than $2.8 million cash on hand.
— Congressman Bill Foster raised $801,853 in the second quarter, “the highest total Foster for Congress has ever recorded in a single quarter,” according to his campaign. Foster has $4.9 million cash on hand.
We asked you to share your craziest story about a neighbor:
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy: “When I moved to Wheaton in ’91 with my girlfriend, a neighbor rang the bell holding a cake and proceeded to ask probing questions about us until she discovered we were a couple & turned around and walked away, taking the cake with her.”
Illinois State Library’s Tammy Hansen: “A neighbor once gave me a 36”x24” burlap sack full of cranberries she got when she stopped to photograph men dry-harvesting them.”
Building Industry Association’s Paul Colgan: “An older neighbor, from the vantage point of her kitchen sink window overlooking my property, knew my coming and going better than I did, and she would often remind me she was watching out over me.”
Are term limits a good thing or not?Email [email protected]
Dr. Helene Gayle, speaking at a conference in New York in 2015, is now head of Spelman College. | Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for The Africa-America Institute
— Big names came out to say farewell to Helene Gayle and Stephen Keith, who are moving to Atlanta, where Gayle will take the helm of Spelman College. She’s been on the job as president since earlier this month. Spotted for the party at the Powhatan Ballroom: Illinois AG Kwame Raul and Lisa Moore, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, Ngozi Ezike, Cleveland Avenue’s Andrea Zopp and Bill Zopp, Chicago State University President Z Scott and Robert Allen, Cleveland Avenue founder Don Thompson and Liz Thompson.
Also spotted: United Airlines President Brett Hart and Dontrey Britt-Hart, United Airlines’ Bob Rivkin and Pritzker Traubert Foundation’s Cindy Moelis, business consultant Michelle Collins, Museum of Science and Industry CEO Chevy Humphrey, financial exec Gwendolyn Butler, DuSable Museum CEO Perri Irmer, Coleman Foundation’s Shelly A. Davis, Field Foundation’s Daniel Ash, broadcast journalist Dorothy Tucker and Tony Wilkins, consultant Xavier Ramey, Suzette McKinney, attorney Graham Grady, developer Leon Walker, Chicago Foundation for Women’s Felicia Davis Blakley and Derrick Blakley and Northwestern exec Roderick Hawkins.
— Strange bedfellows: A fundraiser for A Safe Place nonprofit, which focuses on ending domestic violence and child trafficking, got support from both ends of the political spectrum. The event was sponsored in part by Uline, owned by conservative donor Dick Uihlein, who supports Donald Trump’s Big Lie. He didn’t attend the event, but some Dems were there, including state Sen. Melinda Bush, Lake County Board members Gina Roberts and Carissa Casbon, state Rep. candidate Laura Faver Dias, and Illinois Supreme Court candidate Liz Rochford.
— Marcus Lemonis to co-star in movie about Jeff Bezos: The Chicago-area CEO and star of CNBC’s “The Profit” will play the role of David Shaw, the hedge fund manager and boss of Jeff Bezos before he quit his job to launch Amazon, according to RVTravel.
— Griffin’s colossal Palm Beach estate riles up the neighbors, via The Daily Beast
— Rep. Adam Kinzinger says Trump would probably lie under oath to Jan. 6 committee: “Donald Trump has made it clear that he doesn’t mind not telling the truth. Let’s just put that mildly. He lies all the time. I wouldn’t put it past him to even lie under oath, so I’m not sure what the value is there,” Kinzinger said Sunday on CBS “Face the Nation.”
— Rep. Bill Foster announced over the weekend that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and had mild symptoms, via Twitter.
— Milwaukee set to host 2024 Republican National Convention, pending final approval, by POLITICO’s Mohar Chatterjee
— A criminal probe of Trump could complicate Jan. 6 cases, by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney
— Anthony Fauci wants to put Covid’s politicization behind him, by POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle
— Mississippi AG has no plans to prosecute accuser in Emmett Till lynching, by The Associated Press
— No major problems with ballot drop boxes in 2020, the AP finds
— Illinois farmer to ag lawmakers: Farm credit reforms needed for beginning producers, via FarmWeek
— Column: Warming up to working remotely, but still missing the old-school newsroom: “Soon, Sun-Times staffers will be able to reserve a desk at either the Old Post Office or Navy Pier, where partner, WBEZ, has offices and studios,” writes Sun-Times’ Rummana Hussain.
— Zeke Emanuel hired as NBC News medical contributor, via The Wrap.
— Marquis Miller is now VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Obama Foundation. He had been the City of Chicago’s chief diversity officer.
— Hannah Fierle has been named chief of staff to Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer. She was a campaign comms consultant and before that was on the comms team for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
— Maggie O’Keefe is now campaign manager for Anthony Vega, who’s running for Lake County clerk. O’Keefe, who serves as the 40th Ward Democratic committeewoman in Chicago, previously was chief of staff to state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz.
— Jamal M. Edwards, a Chicago attorney and former president and CEO of Howard Brown Health Center, and Shannon Sudduth, executive chef of Noir de Ebene Chocalat et Patisserie in Evanston, were married Friday at the Kimpton Grey Hotel in the Loop on the fifth-year anniversary of their first date. Pic and pic!
— Joakim Noah married supermodel Lais Ribeiro in a beach ceremony in Brazil last week — and his photographer was Derrick Rose, his former Bulls teammate, via the New York Post. These photos provided by friend Liz Brown-Reeves. Pic and pic!
— John Froines, chemist and anti-war activist put on trial with the Chicago 7, dies at 83, by Sun-Times’ Mary Norkol
— Without Ivana, there’s no ‘The Donald,’ by Gwenda Blaire for POLITICO magazine
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Dale Sachtleben for correctly answering that FEW Spirits in Evanston refers to Francis Elizabeth Willard, the founder of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, which began in Evanston.
TODAY’s QUESTION: After Sen. Everett Dirksen died in 1969, who took up his campaign to make the marigold the national flower, and why? Email [email protected]
SEIU Healthcare VP Myra Glassman, Increase the Peace Executive Director Berto Aguayo, IIT comms manager Howard J. Lee, and Kivvit senior associate Christie Lacey.