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TGIF, Illinois. I’ll be in Grant Park this weekend for the performance of Dvorak’s New World Symphony. Side note: I try to see every performance of the piece after spending a year in high school band learning and performing it. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s visit to Chicago drew national attention yesterday as he stood alongside

TGIF, Illinois. I’ll be in Grant Park this weekend for the performance of Dvorak’s New World Symphony. Side note: I try to see every performance of the piece after spending a year in high school band learning and performing it.

Attorney General Merrick Garland’s visit to Chicago drew national attention yesterday as he stood alongside Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Sen. Dick Durbin, vowing to target gun-trafficking corridors across various law enforcement jurisdictions. In Chicago, that means federal prosecutors will search out weapons beyond the city into southern Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

But it was a quiet meeting he had with victims, including a mother who lost her son to gun violence, that will leave a lasting impact on a West Side community. There were no cameras as Garland, a Chicago-area native, sat in a circle listening to their frustration about trying to stem the violence.

“It was a very intimate conversation… It was emotional,” according to a community member in the room.

The gathering came a day after two mass shootings just down the street from St. Agatha Catholic Church, where Garland and the group — about a dozen folks — sat.

Participants were emotionally exhausted. They said they had never seen anything as violent as the previous day’s violence. A teenager was killed, nine other people were injured, and cars were overturned in the chaos.

There had been talk about moving the event and worries that Garland would cancel in wake of the shootings. He didn’t, which signaled “a sign of his integrity,” said the meeting participant. “There was a lot of respect for that.”

Their discussion centered on the experiences of young men who joined in the discussion and are part of READI Chicago, a violence prevention initiative that is showing promising results. READI offers mental health support, job training and other services. Garland listened.

“This is life,” Garland told the group. “This is not some theoretical law thing.”

Garland also assured the Justice Department had funds for violence prevention and intervention. “We want to find the programs that really work, help them as much as we can in the cities which are really suffering, and then transport that policy around the country to other cities,” he told reporters separately.

The AG also attended a youth baseball game with Durbin and Chicago-based U.S. Attorney John Lausch in Columbus Park. Today, Garland will meet with Lausch’s DOJ team.

The group at St. Agatha’s left feeling optimistic. Garland didn’t seem like a Washington bureaucrat looking for the spotlight.

They even had a we-can-all-relate moment. Durbin mentioned that Garland was heading to Lou Malnati’s for a pizza dinner after their meeting. Across the board, participants gave a thumbs up to his choice.


How the anti-violence strike forces will work: “One of the key missions of the federal anti-violence effort is also to be more aggressive in going after straw purchasers, people who make legal purchases of guns on behalf of criminals. Such rogue purchases can potentially be made under the noses of licensed firearms dealers, even in Illinois where the gun laws are considerably stricter than Indiana and Wisconsin,” report Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner and Gregory Pratt.

Lightfoot gives an “unflinching” warning of hefty federal prison sentences. “If you pick up a gun, if you shoot indiscriminately into a crowd, not only are we gonna find you, we’re gonna take you to federal court and we’re gonna ship you off to South Dakota and you’re never gonna see your family again.” Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel reports.

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger may be called upon by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

“Pelosi suggested Thursday that she would consider appointing more Republicans to the Jan. 6 probe, less than 24 hours after she nixed two vocally pro-Trump GOP lawmakers for the select panel. Her GOP appointee to the investigation, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), separately made clear that she would support two well-known additions to the committee: Kinzinger (R-Ill.), her partner in conservative opposition to Donald Trump, and former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), a possible pick as Cheney’s outside adviser in the investigation,” according to POLITICO’s Heather Caygle, Olivia Beavers and Nicholas Wu.

“We’ll see,” Pelosi told reporters when asked if she’d appoint more Republicans to serve alongside Cheney. “It’s not even bipartisan; it’s nonpartisan. It’s about seeking the truth and that’s what we owe the American people.”

Kinzinger discussed his desire to join the select panel with other lawmakers before Pelosi chose Cheney earlier this month, according to a person familiar with the conversations. He declined to comment Thursday when asked about his potential addition to the select panel.

Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]

No official public events.

No official public events.

In Oak Park at 9:30 a.m. to announce a $100,000 grant from the Cook County Justice Advisory Council (JAC) to Housing Forward. The grant is a part of a $1.5 million investment to community-based organizations through the JAC. Senate President Don Harmon and Commissioner Brandon Johnson will be on hand.

— BY THE NUMBERS: “Illinois recorded nearly 2,000 new Covid-19 cases Thursday, the most in a single day since early May,” reports Daily Herald’s Jake Griffin. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6 new deaths. That’s 23,398 total deaths and 1,406,459 total cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests is 3.0 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is 1.9 percent.

Pritzker says he’ll be at Lollapalooza despite Covid-19 spike: ‘If you’re vaccinated, it’s safe’: “It’s up to individuals to make a decision about whether they want to be in a large group,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. “I would recommend to people that if they’re going to be jammed together, please wear a mask.” Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout reports.

Biden administration sends more cash to hard-hit areas as Delta variant surges: “The administration is also now providing CDC assistance to Missouri, Illinois and Colorado, while FEMA will be setting up mobile vaccination clinics in North Carolina,” by POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle.

As workers return, some businesses will treat the unvaccinated differently, by Lisa Schencker and Denny Jacob

What do the Olympics sound like without fans? You can hear cicadas buzzing outside Tokyo Stadium: “These are the Quiet Games, an event muted by a pandemic that has killed 4.13 million people worldwide and fears of spreading the virus among Japan’s largely unvaccinated population,” reports Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair from Tokyo.

CPS to require masks for all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status: “Our goal is to keep all students healthy and safe while they learn in-person five days a week with their teachers and peers so they can receive the education and supports they need and deserve,” interim CPS CEO José Torres wrote in an email to families. Sun-Times’ Nader Issa reports.

Compromise on civilian oversight gave mayor final say on superintendent, policy — but it won’t ever come to that, alderman says: “Ald. Roderick Sawyer, among the Council’s prime backers of civilian oversight, predicted if things are so dire a no-confidence vote is needed, “that person is pretty much out the door anyway” and might even be fired before aldermen weigh in,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Brown’s choice on merit promotions just his latest reversal of predecessor’s policies: “The system was put into place in the 1990s as an effort to diversify the supervisory ranks with more officers from minority groups. It was originally a plan by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley to also elevate ambitious officers who do not test well on promotional exams… But interim police Superintendent Charlie Beck argued that the merit system did nothing to improve diversity within the supervisor ranks, and he told the entire department in a letter at the time that he would recommend that his successor hold future promotional exams every two years” by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner.

A year after Columbus statues were removed, city review of monuments is still ongoing: “The city’s monuments commission has not yet issued its final report and recommendations, leaving the conversation in a state of limbo. A spokesman for the mayor’s office released a statement noting the review is continuing this summer, with neighborhood programs planned, but did not specify when the report and recommendations would be finalized,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.

After DACA ruling, advocates call on Congress to create pathway for citizenship for immigrants: “In Chicago’s City Council, a resolution was recently introduced calling on Congress to create a pathway for undocumented immigrants across the country to become U.S. citizens,” by Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón.

University of Chicago scientists find a new way to boost crop yields: “The scientists hope the breakthrough work will provide some relief as the planet deals with a more unstable climate,” by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito.

— Column: First victim of 1919 race riots will get grave marker: “When parts of the country are trying to whitewash history, a few Chicagoans band together to remember ours,” writes Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg.

When the White Sox broke the glass ceiling: The Chicago White Sox are featured in the latest Slate podcast. The subject: the year the team hired Mary Shane as an announcer, making her the first woman to broadcast a Major League Baseball game. “Her rise to prominence shocked the sports world,” says Josh Levin. The episode also includes interesting plotlines about the star power of Harry Caray who, before becoming the Cubs’ iconic announcer, was a star with the White Sox.

A sculptural skyscraper for Chicago: “St. Regis, the latest structure by Windy City architect Jeanne Gang, is a mixed-use tower that undulates as it rises and is the tallest building designed by a woman,” writes the Wall Street Journal.

City transportation department unveils strategic plan: “The 79-page plan includes 84 “strategies” and hundreds of “one-to-three-year targets.” The overriding goals are to make public transportation faster and more accessible, Chicago streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists and expand bike share, bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

— BOARD OF REVIEW SCANDAL: Former Van Dyke lawyer’s brief tenure on county panel sparks clashes over ‘nepotism’ and a ‘Good ‘ole Boys’ network’: “Commissioner Tammy Wendt is accused of hiring her first cousin for a cushy $150,000-a-year job at the property tax appeals office. She accuses her fellow commissioners of being ‘nothing but bullies,’” reports Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.

From the Tribune’s Alice Yin: “In a written statement to the Tribune on Thursday, Wendt also did not directly address whether Thielmann is her cousin, but she did not deny it. She defended his hiring and said the criticism against it was part of a sexist, male-dominated work culture.”

Evanston Mayor Biss slams city’s handling of beach worker sexual misconduct allegations: “A high-ranking Evanston official has been suspended following a WBEZ investigation into alleged sexual misconduct against teenage girls and young women who have worked as lifeguards or in other jobs at the city’s six Lake Michigan beaches,” by WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos.

Immigration laws changing, but Crystal Lake man slipped through the cracks: “President Joe Biden and Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently changed immigration policies to better protect undocumented families. But that’s come too late for this father of five,” by Adriana Rezal in Borderless magazine.

Chicago-area man who walked 6 hours a day to and from work gets car fixed: “I was struggling to get a job for a good amount of time, and once I finally got a job, I mean, that was my chance, I had to keep it,” said Braxton Mayes. “So I had to do whatever I had to do.”

Former Chicago Blackhawks player outlines new details in sexual misconduct case against ex-coach: “In new court filings, the ex-player alleged Bradley Aldrich engaged in ‘forcibly touching’ him, masturbated in front of him without the player’s consent and ejaculated on him while the player was ‘paralyzed with fear.’ Afterward, the suit alleged, Aldrich sent ‘harassing texts’ to the player, encouraging him to visit his apartment,” by WBEZ’s Dave McKinney and Tony Arnold.

Blackhawks exec won’t commit to making assault probe public, by WBEZ’s Dave McKinney, Tony Arnold and Cheryl Raye-Stout

Renewed chance of freedom for woman serving life for 1987 buried-alive killing of Kankakee media heir: “The Illinois appeals court overturned a lower court Thursday, allowing Nancy Rish to continue to challenge her sentence. She claims she was forced into the kidnapping and murder of Stephen Small because she was a victim of domestic abuse,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.

Chicago police officer sentenced to 15 months behind bars for role in sports gambling case: “Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Nicholas Stella to between a year and 18 months in prison, accusing him of betraying his oath as a Chicago police officer,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.

Pritzker signs bill making birth control available over the counter:House Bill 0135 allows pharmacists to provide 12 months of hormonal contraceptives like birth control pills, rings and patches without a doctor’s prescription starting Jan. 1, 2022,” by WTTW’s Kristen Thometz.

Restorative justice privilege bill becomes law in Illinois: “The new law prevents statements made by participants in restorative justice programs from being used in court,” by WBEZ’s Andrea Guthmann.

No plan to use American Rescue Plan Act funding to pay down Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit: Gov. J.B. Pritzker “does not believe it a permissible use of the funding, and he is hopeful that the federal government will provide aid or rule changes to accommodate the 17 states that have outstanding federal borrowing balances in their trust funds amounting to $54 billion cumulatively,” reports Capitol News’ Jerry Nowicki.

Lobbyists load Va. lawmakers onto private jet to learn about video gaming in Illinois: “The group flew into Chicago, where they met with state lawmakers who work on gambling legislation. The lawmakers stayed overnight at the Hyatt Regency Chicago,” via Virginia Mercury.

Memories of a state government insider: “Zack Stamp’s 2021 memoir, ‘Things as I Remember Them,’ provides insights to the inner workings of state government. Political junkies and anyone who worked in and around state government over the past several decades will recognize many familiar names peppered throughout his entertaining stories,” writes Karen Ackerman Witter in Illinois Times.

Wide availability of delta-8-THC — ‘weed light’ — is prompting struggle over how to regulate it: “In Illinois, a proposed law would require lab testing and labeling for any product containing CBD, delta-8-THC or other cannabinoids, which are components of cannabis that affect the human body. The CBD Safety Act would have the state Department of Agriculture set the rules for testing, and would let police and regulators inspect any business that handles cannabinoids. Violators would be subject to criminal fines,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.

Lightfoot wants to make it easier to open a marijuana dispensary in Chicago: “New guidelines would open up more potential locations for pot shops. But much of the Loop remains off-limits,” by Crain’s John Pletz.

This billionaire is bullish on Chicago: “While other moguls are launching themselves into space nowadays, Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto is focusing his attention much closer to home. In fact, no one is betting bigger on Chicago than he is,” by Crain’s Danny Ecker.

Biden quickly moves to avoid the down ballot carnage that plagued Obama, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago and Zach Montellaro

Inside Trump’s intense search for a Cheney challenger, by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt and Ally Mutnick

Trumpworld is already weighing veeps for 2024. Hint: It ain’t Pence, by POLITICO’s Meridith McGraw

Robert Shaw dies at 83; was Chicago alderman, member of Cook County Board of Review: “He and his late brother William Shaw, a former state senator and mayor of Dolton, were a powerful political duo in city, county and state politics,” by Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell.

Former Illinois Lieutenant Governor O’Neal dies at 84: David C. O’Neal also served in positions under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, reports Belleville News-Democrat’s Garen Vartanian.

THURSDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Gail Purkey, retired comms director of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, Rep. Jonathan Carroll and Ald. Jason Ervin for correctly answering that Rafael “Ray” Frias, a former 12th Ward alderman, was acquitted in the Silver Shovel investigation.

TODAY’s QUESTION: The sycamore tree on the U.S. Capitol grounds was planted in honor of what Illinoisan? Email to [email protected]

Today: former Rep. Tim Johnson, Chicago Board of Ed president Miguel del Valle, deputy chief of staff for Illinois’ AG Office Adam Braun, former state Rep. Edward “Eddie” Acevedo, attorney Sam Royko, PwC tax partner Jennifer Darling, Logical Media Group account manager Stephani Englund, and ABC/7 reporter Craig Wall.

Saturday: former Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers, Habitat Co. founder Daniel Levin, former Tribune nonexecutive chairman Michael Ferro, WGN Radio’s Anna Davlantes, and Nicole Jaconetty of the Global Strategy Group, who just placed 29th at the U.S. Irish Dance Nationals.

Sunday: Rep. Anthony DeLuca (80th), Schwalb Realty Group’s Joyce Wippman, and Aspen Dental VP of government affairs Jeff Troupe.



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