TGIF, Illinois. We’re getting into that below-freezing-for-days-at-a-time stretch, so stay positive.
You couldn’t get any more Chicago than a snowy night on a Thursday in the Plumbers Union Local 130 Hall, where hundreds gathered for corned beef and beer and elbow-rubbing with politicos, power brokers and plumbers wearing sport coats too tight to button.
And there’s more: Last night’s event took place after a knock-down, drag-out political debate that saw Mayor Lori Lightfoot and challengers Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Paul Vallas take off the gloves. Yeah, this was a Chicago kind of day.
The blood sport of Chicago politics: After taking blows from challengers wanting her job, Lightfoot joined the parade of bagpipers at the union hall in the West Loop. The annual Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner raises funds for Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which the union sponsors. Garcia, who took his own hits during the debate, showed up to mingle with the beer-drinkers, too.
The Plumbers Union hasn’t endorsed in the mayor’s race — yet. The plumbers were early backers of Lightfoot in 2019, and she’s hoping to win their support again. Garcia wouldn’t say no to an endorsement either.
Also spotted: State Senate President Don Harmon, state Sen. Cristina Castro, state Reps. Marcus Evans and Marty Moylan, Chicago City Council members Michelle Harris, Jim Gardiner and Felix Cardona Jr., Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, MWRD’s Mariyana Spyropoulos, Kimberly Neely Du Buclet and Patricia Theresa Flynn, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Tom Sianis, Kane County Democratic Chair Mark Guethle, DuPage County Democratic Chair Ken Mejia-Beal and Village of Carol Stream Trustee Rick Gieser, who’s running for mayor. Also getting his first taste of Plumbers Union’s Irish hospitality was Mike Ollen, the campaign manager for Gov. JB Pritzker.
— Crime takes center stage at forum as Mayor Lori Lightfoot interrupts opponents and moderator to defend record, by Tribune’s Alice Yin, Gregory Pratt and A.D. Quig
— A new poll shows a virtual dead heat between Paul Vallas and incumbent Mayor Lightfoot, by ABC 7’s Craig Wall
— How to vote in Chicago’s 2023 municipal elections, by WBEZ’s Tony Arnold
ON THE TRAIL: Ten candidates are on the ballot to fill the 48th Ward Chicago City Council seat that’s been held for more than a decade by retiring Ald. Harry Osterman — and his legendary mom before that.
The race has turned into something of an exercise in democracy for the North Side ward that’s already engaged in local politics. A recent standing-room-only community forum saw more than 500 participants. And last night’s forum saw about 300 people in-person, a representative with the organizing Association of Sheridan Condominium Owners estimated, plus more than 140 on the livestream.
“People care about our community. We show up,” candidate Andre Peloquin, a real estate broker, told Olivia.
There’s no clear frontrunner in the race, though Osterman and former Ald. Mary Ann Smith have endorsed Joe Dunne, a real estate developer involved in affordable housing. Dunne has also led in fundraising, followed by Nick Ward, a former restaurant worker involved in progressive groups; Peloquin; and Larry Svabek, a political science lecturer at University of Chicago.
“Harry’s done a good job representing the various communities in the ward,” Dunne said of the current alderman. “His endorsement is validating.”
Two major issues: Public safety — a common theme across municipal races this year — and development.
“We’re basically living on top of each other, literally,” said Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, a small business owner running to be the first queer woman of color elected to the seat. “We all have to work together. That’s the spirit of the ward.”
In interviews, some candidates expressed concern about the extent to which the ward would stay affordable and nurture its characteristic small businesses.
“It’s honestly shocking how many buildings are vacant right now,” said Andy Peters, a cafe owner running for the seat.
Candidates mostly sidestep criticizing Osterman, who has a strong reputation for constituent services. Still, the candidates say it’s time for change.
“We really have a transforming city,” said Assistant Illinois Attorney General Isaac Freilich-Jones, who’s also in the race. “So, I don’t think we can rely on doing everything we did before to navigate those changes.”
Brian Haag, Roxanne Volkmann and Nassir Faulkner are also on the ballot.
If you are Harry Osterman, Playbook would like to know about your next chapter. Email [email protected].
At St. Augustine College at 10:30 a.m. to announce Illinois Works Grant expansion.
At the Greater Food Depository at 9 a.m. for the launch of 2-1-1 Metro Chicago, which connects people with health and social services support.
Also at the Greater Food Depository for the 2-1-1 launch.
Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: [email protected]
— INVESTIGATION: The Illinois museum built on Native American burial grounds: “Federal records show the Illinois State Museum has reported that it holds the remains of at least 7,000 Native Americans. In three decades, it has returned only 2 percent of them — 156 individuals — to tribal nations who could claim them under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. That is among the lowest return rates in the country,” by ProPublica’s Logan Jaffe.
— Illinois attorney general makes argument in appeal of ruling that halted move to cashless bail: “The brief marks the first step in determining whether the state can move forward with a plan to abolish the use of cash bail after a Kankakee County judge in late December ruled the measure violated the state constitution,” by Tribune’s Madeline Buckley and Jeremy Gorner.
— Illinois State Police look to consolidate federal gun ban challenges, by Center Square’s Greg Bishop
— State Rep. Adam Niemerg says banning assault weapons masks larger issue: mental health, via Fox 32
— Suspect in arson at Peoria Planned Parenthood clinic cited ex-girlfriend’s abortion, U.S. says, by The New York Times’ Livia Albeck-Ripka
— Chicago’s economy socked with one-two punch of Covid, crime: Here’s how mayoral candidates plan to keep it off the ropes, by WBEZ’s Dave McKinney and Tessa Weinberg
— Lightfoot campaign defended emails seeking volunteers after CPS raised alarm: Memos on the issue are now subject of watchdog investigations, reports Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.
— Mayoral candidate Sophia King unveils education plan, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman
— Kam Buckner presents himself as the ‘pro-business progressive’ in new tax plan, by Crain’s Greg Hinz
— Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, appearing Thursday on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” stopped short of repeating verbatim his previous statement that police should be able to “hunt” a suspect “like a rabbit” — but came close.
— Lincoln Park aldermanic hopefuls pledge more neighbor involvement, better public transit if elected, by Block Club’s Kayleigh Padar
— 4th Ward candidates talk cops, public safety at first aldermanic forum, by Block Club’s Jamie Nesbitt Golden
— The Chicago Teachers Union’s list of endorsements is here.
— Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly, who fought the casino, also wants to kill the deal to bring NASCAR races to downtown streets, by Block Club’s Melody Mercado
— Residents dealing with aftermath of Kenwood high-rise fire in building cited for multiple fire-related code violations, by Tribune’s Adriana Pérez
— New York Times treatment: In Chicago, ‘Opera can be hip-hop, and hip-hop can be opera:’ “The Factotum,” at Lyric Opera “is a gloss” on “The Barber of Seville” set in a barbershop on the South Side.
— 78 years later, Blackhawks forward John Harms finally gets his rookie card as part of a campaign to honor Indigenous players, by Tribune’s Phil Thompson
— Bears, business group push to make Arlington Heights subsidy plan more than just X’s and O’s on a blackboard: “No legislation has been filed and no sponsors have been named for a measure that would create a new class of tax incentive that would allow the Bears to pay to Arlington Heights a negotiated sum for the property taxes on the 326-acre site of the old Arlington International Racecourse,” by Sun-Times’ Tina Sfondeles and David Roeder.
— Regal Cinemas’ final showings in Lincolnshire the latest in the trend of movie theaters closing, by Daily Herald’s Madhu Krishnamurthy
— Tax evasion trial with ties to ComEd bribery probe gets underway for son of former state Rep. Edward Acevedo, by Tribune’s Jason Meisner
— Highland Park parade shooting: Prosecutors get more time to indict suspect’s father, by Sun-Times David Struett
— For fifth time, Jussie Smollett’s lawyers ask for more time to file brief appealing conviction linked to fake hate crime, by Sun-Times’ Matthew Hendrickson
— Ex-wife of TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau tells Chicago judge he had gold bars, says she’s ‘very scared’ of him, by Tribune’s Jason Meisner
We asked what programs you appreciate city taxes covering:
Susan Burritt: “The Grant Park Musical Festival classical music concerts.”
James Castro: “The police.”
Robert Christie: “The EMT teams and ambulance crews for the outstanding job they do transporting injured and critically ill patients to the hospital.”
Sydnye Cohen: “Libraries and parks.”
John Mark Hansen: “Having spent time in many developing countries, clean and safe water from the tap.”
Mark Peysakhovich: “As someone who travels a lot from Chicago to Springfield, clearing snow and maintaining roads is very high on my list!”
In the movie about your life, who would play your parents? Email [email protected]
RNC vote today: Illinois members of the Republican National Committee — Don Tracy, Richard Porter and Demetra DeMonte are expected to endorse incumbent Ronna McDaniel as the group’s next chair. Also in the running is Harmeet Dhillon. If you haven’t been following, here’s some background about the behind-the-scenes drama to elect a new leader. It’s become a battle of wills between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as to who wins.
— Bipartisan docu-drama: Congressmen Darin LaHood (R-IL-16) and Mike Quigley (D-IL-05), both members of the House Intelligence Committee, are exploring legislation to implement stronger enforcement for mishandling of classified documents. Currently, criminal penalties for mishandling classified documents must meet a high standard for prosecution. LaHood and Quigley plan to introduce civil penalties for violations that do not meet that high criminal standard.
— Meet the aggies: The House Agriculture Committee will be well-represented by Illinois members of Congress. With some 75 percent of land in Illinois devoted to agriculture, it’s no wonder. Along with Republican Congresswoman Mary Miller (IL-15), Democrats named to the committee are newly elected Jonathan Jackson (IL-01), Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) and Eric Sorensen (IL-17).
— As Santos digs in, both parties ramp up campaign plans for his demise, by POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris and Ally Mutnick
— Unlike Trump appointees, Biden officials are in big demand in the private sector, writes POLITICO’s Michael Schaffer
— College Board: States have not influenced our new African American studies course, by POLITICO’s Bianca Quilantan
— Thomas Shanley, CEO of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, has been elected to the board of trustees for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association. The IHA Board is the policymaking body for the association, which represents more than 200 hospitals and nearly 40 health systems across Illinois.
— Devin Carter has joined Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner to oversee the diversity and inclusion in programming across the firm. Carter will be based in Chicago and joins BCLP from the consulting/restructuring firm AlixPartners.
Saturday at noon: An honorary swearing ceremony will be held for newly elected state Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid (D-Bridgeview). Judge Rouhy Shalabi, the first Palestinian-American judge in Illinois, will preside. Sen. Dick Durbin and numerous elected officials and friends will attend. Open to the public at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.
THURSDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Jarod Hitchings for correctly answering that state law provided for an elected city attorney for the City of Chicago from 1847 until April 1907. Though the last person elected to the position, John Smulski, resigned in October 1906.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was known as the “backwoods preacher” in Abraham Lincoln’s backstory? Email [email protected]
Today: Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison, Edelman VP Matt McGrath and University of Chicago Graham School dean Seth Green.
Saturday: Former Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Lorraine Murphy, Culloton + Bauer Luce VP Eleni Demertzis, Cor Strategies’ Collin Corbett and political consultant Tom Stapka.
Sunday: Oprah, former Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Mike Cabonargi, Greene County Dem Central Committee Chair Jimmy Naville, Medicaid Innovation Office senior adviser Julie Hamos and author and women’s advocate Rebecca Sive.