Happy Thursday, Illinois. Funny line from Chicago IG Joe Ferguson: “I want to take this opportunity at the outset to do something I’m not known for doing… thanking a public official,” he said of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady at a “Re-Imagine Chicago” event yesterday.
As if a primary challenge wasn’t enough, first-term Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi must face the reality that he’s only modestly popular among likely Democratic voters and has low name ID, according to a new poll provided to Playbook.
In a head-to-head match-up, Water Reclamation Board President Kari Steele polls within the margin of error of Kaegi, according to the ALG Research poll conducted Aug. 16-19 — a month ahead of Steele announcing she’d challenge Kaegi, a fellow Democrat. Results of the survey have a margin of error of 4.4 percent.
According to the polling memo, it would be Kaegi 22 percent to Steele’s 21 percent with 56 percent undecided.
We don’t know who initiated the poll but it favors Steele and suggests the primary race for an otherwise obscure elected position will be contentious in 2022. (County assessor determines the taxable value of property but doesn’t determine the tax rates.) And you thought the secretary of state contest was going to be the competitive race to watch!
The survey also gauged the popularity of other Cook County officials among likely 2022 Democratic primary voters:
Toni Preckwinkle, board president: 82% name ID, 48% favorable / 34% unfavorable
Maria Pappas, treasurer: 63% name ID, 48% favorable / 16% unfavorable.
Tom Dart, sheriff: 58% name ID, 39% favorable / 20% unfavorable
Karen Yarbrough, clerk: 37% name ID, 27% favorable / 10% unfavorable
Fritz Kaegi, assessor: 30% name ID, 22% favorable / 8% unfavorable
The polling fails to reflect that Preckwinkle, Pappas, Dart and Yarbrough have been on the political scene for decades while Kaegi is in his first term. Conspicuously missing from the list is Steele, who has served on the MWRD board eight years.
Other details from the polling memo: Kaegi leads with white men, whites older than 65, and conservative Democrats. Steele leads with African Americans and voters younger than 50.
In a follow-up question, respondents were asked to take sides after hearing “balanced” information about Kaegi and Steele. After a largely positive bio of Kaegi, the description for Steele clearly includes a line of attack on the sitting assessor, describing him as “a Wall Street banker who has let homeowners down and let their taxes go up.”
So it’s no surprise Steele suddenly edged Kaegi 38 percent to 30 percent with 32 percent undecided on the follow-up.
RELATED: Candidates need editors, too: Kari Steele took heat yesterday in her run for Cook County assessor. A political ad on social media described the job as “accessor.” Her campaign was quick to make the fix but not before Twitter followers had fun with it.
The big deal at CSU: Chicago State University took the spotlight this week with a visit from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona — and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, CSU President Z Scott and CSU board chair Andrea Zopp were on hand to say it’s about time.
“It’s a big deal to have a Cabinet official come and shed light on the work we do every day,” Scott told students gathered to talk to Cardona and the mayor earlier this week at CSU.
Scott didn’t mention the school’s journey: the ups and downs of disinvestment and mismanagement before its latest resurgence as an anchor institution for Chicago’s far South Side.
CSU is one of the state’s eight Predominantly Black Institutions, as designated by the Department of Education. Statistics show one in 10 Black college graduates in Illinois have attended CSU, Scott said.
Students shared their passion for the school with Cardona, for feeling like they belong, that they aren’t a minority and that they’re “surrounded by others like me — Black individuals who want to go to college.”
Cardona was moved. “It’s great to see Black excellence,” he told the group, alluding to the hallmarks of his tenure in the White House: diversity and inclusion in education.
Another goal of Cardona’s work is to see free tuition for community colleges. It’s an element of President Joe Biden’s massive social spending program whose price tag is dividing Democrats. Cardona says he’s working on it.
“We’re all hands on deck. We’re having conversations. We’re reminding folks what’s at stake and what’s possible if we move this agenda forward and provide access to college for students across the country,” Cardona said. “This is a game changer.”
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At Revolution Workshop at 9:30 a.m. to announce workforce training investments.
At Red Shield Salvation Army to announce a new citywide vaccine campaign.
At Cook County Building at 10 a.m. to preside over the Cook County Board of Commissioners’ meeting.
— FDA authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot for elderly, people at high risk of severe Covid-19: “The move aligns with the recommendation the agency’s independent vaccine advisers made Friday,” by POLITICO’s Lauren Gardner and Adam Cancryn.
— Patients flood emergency rooms at Chicago area children’s hospitals, causing long wait times: “Chicago area doctors are pleading with parents not to bring their kids to hospital emergency rooms unless necessary, saying that an unusual surge in respiratory illnesses is flooding ERs with children and leading to long wait times,” by Tribune’s Lisa Schencker.
— CPS and Covid-19: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told WTTW earlier this week that she’s “disappointed” in the rollout to test all Chicago Public Schools students and staff for Covid-19 were off to a slow start. And the Tribune is reporting that CPS has tallied nearly 500 Covid-19 cases. But there are about 341,000 students in the CPS system. So while the mayor wants more to be done, there haven’t been that many cases to begin with.
— GOP gov hopeful Sullivan owes California $3,200 in taxes for nonprofit ‘paperwork error’: “That nonprofit, called Alter Investments, is one of two created by Sullivan. Alter Global, the other non-profit that was registered as a charity and public benefit entity, has had a delinquent status in California since February 2020,” reports Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Flynn Rush, the son of Congressman Bobby Rush, has filed paperwork to run for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. This isn’t his first foray into politics. The younger Rush made an unsuccessful run for a state rep seat in 2018, making headlines for a kerfuffle over endorsements.
— Why IDES kept offices closed while many struggled to get unemployment benefits: Safety was a concern. “A review of incident reports, 911 calls, photos and internal emails offer a glimpse into the lengths some went to after they couldn’t get through to the agency. During that time, many who said they were desperate and struggling to make ends meet turned up to the offices and, when they couldn’t get help in person, some resorted to aggression and violence, including making multiple bomb threats,” reports CBS/2’s Samah Assad, Carol Thompson, Tara Molina
— Southern Illinois town pins hopes on river port development: A development project that has been on the drawing board in Cairo for at least a decade “is getting a big boost from the state” with $40 million from the Rebuild Illinois capital improvements program to develop an enormous river port along the Mississippi River at Cairo. … The river port at Cairo is envisioned as a facility where barges, as well as larger ‘river vessels,’ would unload cargo containers that come upstream from New Orleans onto rail cars and semis for distribution throughout North America,” writes Capitol News’ Peter Hancock.
— Deputy Gov. Flores meets with nonprofits in event organized by Rep. Gordon-Booth, by WMBD’s Demetrios Sanders
— 5 things to know about Illinois driver’s licenses, Real ID cards and the digital future, by State Journal-Register’s Natalie Pierre
— Plan to keep the Bears in Chicago complicated by constraints of Soldier Field: “Two architects who worked on the $660 million renovation — which won’t be paid off until 2032 — said only modest expansion is possible at the 61,500-seat stadium. And a retractable roof would be architecturally challenging, if not impossible,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman and David Roeder.
— Unaccompanied Afghan children arrive in Chicago as wave of refugees continues: “At least 500 Afghans are expected to be resettled in Chicago following the U.S. military withdrawal in Afghanistan,” by Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón and Lynn Sweet.
— ProPublica digs into Lightfoot’s plan for more traffic-ticket reforms to help low-income motorists: “In 2018, ProPublica reported on how vehicle tickets in Chicago disproportionately harm low-income, Black residents. This latest set of reforms proposes lowering ticket costs and providing debt relief for low-income residents,” by Melissa Sanchez.
— INVESTIGATION: Four guns stolen in Wisconsin have been linked to dozens of shootings here: “Authorities say it’s an example of how illegal guns end up on the streets of Chicago,” report Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner and Annie Sweeney.
— School Resource Officers can stay in CPS Schools that want them, Board of Ed votes: “Per Chicago Public Schools, of 53 schools that had SRO programs last year, 23 have voted to keep only one of two resource officers in their schools, while 10 others voted to remove both SROs. The remaining 20 schools voted to keep both their SROs,” by WTTW’s Matt Masterson.
— Despite pushback, Lightfoot won’t delay Oct. 15 deadline for city workers to be vaccinated, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Lightfoot says Park District leaders should have told her about criminal probe into lifeguard abuse, by WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos
… Park District hires former prosecutor to complete lifeguard misconduct investigation, by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm
— Billie Jean King stood beside Lori Lightfoot for the opening of First Women’s Bank in Chicago: “Its founders say it’s the first financial institution aimed at helping women entrepreneurs get the capital to start and expand businesses,” by Sun-TImes’ Jason Beeferman
— Cook County wants to cut ties with Texas companies that donated to abortion ban backers: “Commissioner Kevin Morrison, a Democrat from Schaumburg, sent a letter to Cook County state’s attorney Kim Foxx’s civil actions bureau chief requesting a legal opinion on whether the county can terminate those agreements,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— Maybe there will be some magic at midnight after Arlington Park closes, writes Daily Herald’s Jim O’Dell
We could start a band! Lots of Playbook readers took up musical instruments growing up. Like Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Farm Credit Administration’s Mike Stokke and Playbooker Debra Stamp played trumpet in high school. Radio host John Howell played trumpet, too, even graduating from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Judge James A. Shapiro started on the trumpet before switching to baritone horn in middle school. “It was a pretty good move, as I made All-County Band in 7th grade, won the baritone solo for a passage from ‘The Fantasticks,’ and later made it all the way to All-New York State Band.”
Election attorney Michael Dorf played bassoon in CPS’ Roosevelt High School’s concert band and concert orchestra. Laura Bagby, comms director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, played oboe in concert band and bass drum and cymbals in the marching band. And Michael Crowley, the mayor’s former comms director, played the cello in high school, making first chair his senior year. h/t to all!
Question: What’s your favorite book about Illinois politics? Email at [email protected].
— Geneva, St. Charles educators sue to block Pritzker vaccine mandate: “This is not about being anti-vaccine This is about being pro-Constitution,” attorney Patrick Walsh tells Cook County Record’s Jonathan Bilyk.
— Family drops lawsuit aiming to force Libertyville hospital to provide ivermectin treatment for Covid patient: The hospital “said in court papers filed Monday that [Leslie] Pai’s heart rate plunged twice after receiving ivermectin over the weekend, and that further doses could be dangerous,” by Tribune’s John Keilman.
— Illinois coroner pleads not guilty to thefts from the dead: “A Winnebago County grand jury indicted [Bill] Hintz in early September on the charges, which accuse him of stealing about $14,500 in cash belonging to dead people from the coroner’s office’s evidence vault,” by the Associated Press.
— R. Kelly used persona to hide crimes ‘in plain sight,’ prosecutors argue as singer’s racketeering trial in New York winds down, by Tribune’s Jason Meisner and Megan Crepeau
Americans For Prosperity, the anti-tax group connected to the Koch family, is launching a campaign in Illinois that opposes corruption, “corporate welfare” and government spending beyond its means while it supports safer communities and “educational empowerment.” The effort, called Prairie State Promise, plans events to rally support for its initiatives, according to a statement from Jason Heffley, the director of AFP in Illinois. “Politicians in this state have enacted countless laws fraught with reckless spending, high taxes, and self-serving policies, and we are seeing the consequences in the droves of families leaving Illinois,” Heffley says in the statement.
— Dan Hynes lands at investment bank: “The former top Pritzker aide will be a senior executive with Jefferies as it seeks to boost its Midwest business,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.
… In a statement, Gov. J.B. Pritzker credited Hynes with “repairing the errors of the past… Dan Hynes was Illinois’ finest salesman, paving the way for exciting investments in the fields of the future — including electric vehicle manufacturing and quantum research — as well as the expansion, relocation, and invention of countless new businesses large and small. His mission was to fuel the next generation of economic vitality for communities all across the state. He delivered, and we will miss him dearly.”
— Penny Pritzker has been named to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the White House announced. She’s among 30 experts who will advise the president on matters related to science and technology. “Pritzker served as the 38th secretary of Commerce during former President Barrack Obama’s second term in office. She served from 2013 to 2017. In her tenure, Pritzker launched the Department of Commerce’s first initiative for skilled workforce training, and helped expand broadband coverage to underserved and rural communities,” reports POLITICO’s Claire Rafford.
— Biden’s debt ceiling gambit: Stay calm and carry on, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago
— Jan. 6 investigation accelerates as it turns toward Trump, by POLITICO’s Kyle Chene and Nicholas Wu
— Memo shows Trump lawyer’s six-step plan for Pence to overturn the election, via CNN
— America’s meat supply is cheap and efficient. Covid-19 showed why that’s a problem, by POLITICO’s Ryan McCrimmon
— Michelle Obama looks to celebrities to mobilize voters for midterms, via the Hill
— Joe Pecoraro, Chicago’s most famous lifeguard, serving under eight mayors, dead at 91: “‘Joe Pec’ helped establish national standards for the profession. ‘How many lives have been saved because of Joe Pecoraro’s impact?’ a colleague from California said,” by Maureen O’Donnell.
— Jean Cattell, who worked as a graphic designer for the Field Museum and the city of Chicago, has died: “She was extremely talented artistically, had a creative mind and especially loved her staff,” reads her obituary.
— Today 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin hosts a virtual workshop on financial planning and wealth-building. Speakers include Chicago Housing Authority CEO Tracey Scott and JPMorgan Asset Management exec Stephanie Neely, who’s also a former city treasurer.
— Tonight at 6 p.m.: Webinar on “Envisioning a Litter-Free Chicago River” will feature Water Reclamation Commissioner Kim Du Buclet, Mars Wrigley Foundation’s Anne Vela-Wagner, and Loyola University Professor Tim Hoellein. The free event is sponsored by Friends of the Chicago River.
— Sunday at 1:30 p.m.: A kickball fundraiser will feature Committeepersons Maggie O’Keefe (40th) and Paul Rosenfeld (47th) as well as other Democratic candidates pitching during different innings. Committeeman Sean Tenner (46th) is handling the (free) food truck. The game is at Chase Park.
WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats Playbooker Rosalind Franklin University assistant professor Robert Aitchison for correctly answering that Mexico’s Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s remains are located in Springfield. (In 1847, during the Mexican-American War, his artificial leg was captured by soldiers of the 4th Illinois Infantry, which is why it’s in the Illinois State Military Museum.)
TODAY’s QUESTION: Former Gov. John Wood, who was born in New York, founded a town in Illinois — which one? Email to [email protected]
Cubs co-owner and RNC finance chairman Todd Ricketts, Durbin deputy chief of staff Corey Tellez, National Urban League economic policy director Julius Niyonsaba, Rotary International executive comms specialist Dan Conley, and Corey Tellez, deputy chief of staff to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin.
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