Good Monday morning, Illinois, and thank you for subscribing! You have choices each morning but we’re confident this report hits all the marks. Signing up is easy and free, too. Breaking this morning: Pfizer, BioNTech say vaccine is safe for kids ages 5 to 11, by POLITICO’s Lauren Gardner and Sarah Owermohle FIRST IN PLAYBOOK:
Good Monday morning, Illinois, and thank you for subscribing! You have choices each morning but we’re confident this report hits all the marks. Signing up is easy and free, too.
Breaking this morning: Pfizer, BioNTech say vaccine is safe for kids ages 5 to 11, by POLITICO’s Lauren Gardner and Sarah Owermohle
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is unveiling her 2022 budget proposal to the City Council today and we’ve got a glimpse of how her administration plans to capitalize on the huge federal stimulus package that’s coming to Chicago.
What to watch for: There will be (virtually) no new taxes and no layoffs, and the mayor will propose a plethora of new initiatives that are possible thanks to the $1.9 billion in federal funding, a source familiar with the budget told Playbook. That doesn’t mean this year’s budget talks will be easier than last year when difficult decisions had to be made about a bare bones plan. It’s going to be a food fight to agree on all the proposals the mayor wants to put forward.
Lightfoot’s budget includes major spending — nearly $200 million — on environment and environmental justice issues, including a tree canopy equity expansion program that will see 15,000 trees planted every year for five years.
The budget proposal includes a direct-cash assistance program to help 5,000 low-income households that have been hit hardest by Covid-19. The program targets residents who live at the poverty level based on their incomes and geography within the city. It could be the largest monthly cash-assistance pilot program of any city in the country.
And watch for Lightfoot to propose a huge program focused on public safety, including a re-entry program that includes workforce training and a sweep of services for those re-entering the community after coming out of jail or prison.
As the Tribune reports in its budget story, Lightfoot has said “she plans to boost funding for cops” after last year’s spending plan cut officer positions.
We’ll find out today what the total budget number is. Suffice it to say: big. Last year’s budget was $15 billion without federal monies.
Lightfoot’s proposal also includes belt-tightening. The federal stimulus package is a one-time gift, which means Lightfoot is looking for other areas of revenue to help the city down the road. She’s calling for a $76.5 million increase in Chicago’s property tax levy. The levy is the total amount the city collects in property taxes, not what individual property owners pay.
This is the first time in years that a Chicago mayor has presented the budget so early. Usually we don’t hear the mayor’s budget plans until well into October. But Lightfoot wants to earmark federal monies soon and she didn’t want to do it separately from the city budget, so she’s combining them all into one.
The mayor’s office hopes to see the budget passed by the end of October.
Lightfoot plans to increase Chicago’s property tax levy by $76.5M in 2022, aldermen told: “The levy increase covers $22.9 million for the automatic escalator tied to the consumer price index; $25 million to bankroll the 2022 installment of Lightfoot’s $3.7 billion capital plan; and $28.6 million captured from ‘new property,’” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: A shortage of restaurant employees put a crimp in Chicago’s summertime street-dining project. It was supposed to bring residents, business folks and tourists together to dine in the sunshine so as not to worry about Covid and its Delta variant hovering indoors.
“But what we quickly found is that restaurants weren’t able to participate because they were short-staffed,” said Farzin Parang, executive director of Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago. “They didn’t have the bandwidth to take orders from the street.”
“Lunch on LaSalle” pivoted to feature food trucks instead, but that was difficult, too, because those moving restaurants had to get up to speed on licensing after being out of commission during the worst of the pandemic.
Other areas of the city that opened up to outdoor dining even saw a return of the “dine and dash” because it was difficult to have enough wait staff on hand to juggle indoor and outdoor tables.
Manolis Alpogianis, who runs six restaurants in the Chicago area — including America’s Dog and Kappy’s — says employment and staffing is difficult every summer but this year was especially so.
Restaurants across the country are experiencing staff shortages because the pandemic forced restaurants to close, forcing employees to find work in other industries with better hours and pay, not to mention less stress, writes a restaurant worker in Food & Wine.
McDonald’s is trying to address the issue by giving raises to workers at its 650 company-owned locations.
In the meantime, the Illinois Restaurant Association is talking to Sen. Tammy Duckworth and other members of Congress, including from Texas, Louisiana and Florida, about getting work visas for hospitality workers to help fix the restaurant labor shortage.
“We’re trying to work with our counterparts in other states to get Republicans on board about working visas.” Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia told Playbook. He’s also urging lawmakers to expand access to child care benefits since so many restaurants are women with children at home.
— As labor pool shrinks, Illinois farmers turn to foreign workers: “Farms across the Midwest are struggling to hire domestic employees. In Illinois, the number of foreign agricultural workers has increased more than 250 percent in the past five years,” by Investigate Midwest’s Amanda Perez Pintado.
— How global worker shortages are transforming the food industry, via Plant Based News
Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]
In Peoria at 11:15 a.m. to announce community assistance programs for low-income families and home energy assistance available to all Illinoisans. At 12:45 p.m. at the ram near Messing Roofing in Peoria he’ll announce investments in the McCluggage Bridge project.
In City Hall at 10 a.m. to preside over a meeting of the City Council and deliver the 2022 Budget Address
At the Cook County Health Building at 9 a.m. to provide an update on Covid-19 in the county and discuss the Trust Us vaccine ad campaign.
— A state divided: Vaccinated areas could soon be ‘turning the corner,’ but less-inoculated southern Illinois up against the wall: “Cases have been falling for two weeks across Illinois, but hospitals in the southern tip of the state are still feeling the brunt of the Delta surge. ‘I would encourage everybody to do the right thing,’ Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. ‘Make sure you encourage your friends and family to be vaccinated,’” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.
— City to expand efforts to go door-to-door in areas where vaccinations are lagging, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Wife of Rev. Jesse Jackson now ‘a true proponent’ of vaccination as they recover from Covid-19, by Sun-Times’ Madeline Kenney.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Democrats in Washington and Chicago remain divided on whether former Mayor Rahm Emanuel should be confirmed as ambassador to Japan. Though ultimately, it could be Republicans who have the last say.
Five progressive Chicago aldermen sent a letter to Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, urging them to vote against Emanuel’s confirmation, citing his “participation in the coverup of Laquan McDonald.” The letter was signed by Alds Jeanette Taylor (20th), Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Andre Vasquez (40th).
Meanwhile, members of the council’s Black Caucus are urging confirmation. In a statement to Playbook, Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), chairman of the caucus, said Emanuel “was committed to every community in Chicago. He created the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund that leveraged downtown growth to make direct investments in commercial corridors across the city’s South, West and Southwest side neighborhoods. Entrepreneurs of color make up about 75 percent of the recipients.” The letter is also signed by Alds. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st), Michelle Harris (8th) and Emma Mitts (37th).
Durbin and Duckworth have publicly said they’ll endorse Emanuel, though other Democrats have been silent.
It may not matter, though. Republicans will ultimately clinch the vote for Emanuel, according to the Washington Post.
Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine), say they plan to endorse Emanuel. “In a 50-50 Senate, it doesn’t take a lot of Republicans to get this job done,” Blunt told the Post.
— ANNOUNCEMENT VIDEO: Kari Steele, president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, is making it official today: She’s throwing her hat in the ring to run for Cook County assessor against fellow Democrat and incumbent Fritz Kaegi.
Without saying Kaegi’s name, Steele says, “The current assessor has been long on promises but short on results.”
The announcement puts Kaegi in a challenging position given the primary occurs right when voters will be thinking of property taxes — the second installment is due at the end of June and the primary is June 28.
Steele’s political move also puts her in an unusual position, too. Three water district board members — Cam Davis, Josina Morita and Mariyana Spyropoulos — just endorsed Kaegi. Steele’s announcement was scooped in a tweet by NBC/5’s Mary Ann Ahern.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: DuPage County Board Commissioner Pete DiCianni is officially throwing his hat in the ring for the board chairman position that opened up when Dan Cronin announced he wouldn’t seek re-election. DiCianni is a Republican who has served on the DuPage County Board for nearly a decade. His announcement today at the Itasca Country Club will likely focus on his work championing economic development while mayor and supporting the building of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital. DiCianni recently made headlines when he stepped down as chairman of the DuPage board’s Health and Human Services Committee after attending a rally without wearing a mask, shouting at a protester, and cursing on social media. He apologized, admitting it wasn’t his finest moment.
— Energy bill’s cost to ratepayers offset by benefits, Citizens Utility Board director says, The State Journal-Register’s Dean Olsen.
— First-time DACA applicants await federal appeal of court ruling that declared program unlawful, by Tribune’s Laura Rodriguez Presa.
— GREATEST OF ALL TIME: Illinois passed a resolution this past session that was signed by the governor creating Muhammad Ali Day in Illinois on Jan. 17 of every year starting in 2022. It may be the only such statewide honor of its kind in the nation. Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr. and Sen. Laura Ellman sponsored the legislation, which was a passion project of the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition. The effort was also supported by Ali’s family. His grandson, Jacob, even Zoomed in for a press conference in support of its passage earlier this year.
— Pritzker extends deadline for workers in state prisons, congregate facilities to be vaccinated, by Tribune’s Dan Petrella.
— Up to 3,000 Afghan refugees will call Illinois home, by Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— Lawyers, race and money: Illinois’ messy weed experiment: “Yes, there have been challenges because we just put the jackhammer in the ground for the first time. And that’s loud and noisy and hard,” Toi Hutchinson, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s senior cannabis adviser, told your Playbook host in an interview. “You have to go through it until you get to what building a new economy and a new industry is going to eventually look like. I never thought this was going to be a walk in the park.”
— It’s a ‘Shark Tank’-like scramble to get startup cash for marijuana license winners, writes Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.
— Pritzker must show corrupt hiring has stopped — and can’t restart — to end feds’ oversight, reformers say: “A pair of Chicago lawyers have asked a federal appeals panel to reject Pritzker’s efforts to lift federal court-ordered oversight of Illinois’ hiring practices,” by Cook County Record’s Jonathan Bilyk.
— As prosecutors wrap their case against R. Kelly, focus shifts to singer’s defense, by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau and Jason Meisner.
— Sources say Ald. Jim Gardiner allegedly tried to pay campaign worker with tax dollars: “It’s the latest allegation to unfold as the alderman is facing inquiries by multiple agencies, including the FBI, and possible censure by his city council colleagues for crude texts he wrote about constituents and colleagues, as well as allegedly withholding city services from critics,” by WBEZ’ Mariah Woelfel.
… Now we have names: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, and state Reps. Delia Ramirez, Kelly Cassidy, and Dagmara Avelar are among 15 elected officials and political players who signed a letter asking ActBlue to remove Ald. Jim Gardiner from its platform because of “vulgar and misogynistic” comments he’s made. The letter effort, which we first reported Friday, was organized by 1833 Group’s Nick Daggers.
— ‘We can’t arrest ourselves out of this,’ says Ald. Cappleman after Uptown attack at ‘problem corner’: “Ald. James Cappleman, 46th, didn’t suffer serious injuries when he was hit repeatedly with part of a broken table and put into a chokehold in Uptown Saturday night after he went to a “problem corner” to assess a report from a constituent about a disruptive group,” by Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas.
— Analysis: How city’s powerful police union preserves tradition of problematic leadership, by Injustice Watch’s Emanuella Evans and Adeshina Emmanuel.
— Council launches search for city’s next watchdog as deadline looms, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Driven by dreams but strapped for cash, owner strives to restore Avalon Regal Theater, by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.
— Jason Sudeikis wins first Emmy, thanks Chicago improv teachers, via The Associated Press.
— Pipeline to Chicago could make Joliet mayor the new suburban water czar: “Mayor Bob O’Dekirk is balancing his sometimes-controversial history with an ambitious plan to buy Lake Michigan water from Chicago and resell it throughout the region,” by John Lippert for Better Government Association.
— Pregnant, and punished for it: Commissioner Josina Morita of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District talks about the challenges she faced in the workplace when she learned she was pregnant, by your Playbook host for POLITICO’s Women Rule newsletter.
In the search for minority hires, firms turn to colleges: “Corporate recruiters are romancing presidents, deans, career-office administrators and students at schools with large numbers of Black and Latino students,” by Judith Crown for Crain’s.
We asked: What’s a memory you have of visiting a Sears store, given the last one in Illinois is closing soon? Chicago tax attorney Gail Morse remembers attending the Sears Charm School, which back in its heyday taught girls everything from how to exercise and diet to grooming and manners. “I remember classes in skin care and can still smell the cleanser. My most vivid memory is learning how to put on a coat — like you are inside a phone booth.” Jimmy Dunne of Brimfield remembers the tools, saying, “Those wonderful racks of red Craftsman — even the name implied power in your hands.” And attorney Steven Zaris remembers sneaking off the playground in Highland Park, Mich., to go to the giant Sears nearby to buy the latest 45 out of Motown. “It was the only local source if you wanted to be first to buy it!”
Question: How have your restaurant habits changed since Covid-19 (aside from just not going as often!)? [email protected].
— Dems vow to go the distance as September problems pile up, by POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine, Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle
— Inside Thompson and Cheney’s Jan. 6 probe alliance — both genuine and strategic, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney and Olivia Beavers
— Covid-stricken Alabama had more deaths than births last year, a first in its recorded history, via The New York Times
— Rittenhouse judge bars evidence connecting teen to Proud Boys during trial, by Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair
— Why a record number of container ships are backed up off the coast of California, via Popular Science
Edwin Eisendrath, the former alderman and years later a CEO of the Sun-Times, will headline “The Big Picture” on progressive talk radio station WCPT 820-AM. Along with serving on council from 1987 to 1993, Eisendrath worked as regional director of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration. Eisendrath fills the 1 to 4 p.m. time slot that was held for years by political analyst Dick Kay, who died in May.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Janice K. Jackson, the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, is joining the board of A Better Chicago, an organization that invests in programs that support Chicago youth, especially those from Black and Latinx communities and hit hard by the pandemic. Jackson, who has a doctorate in education, brings 16 years’ experience working in urban education. “As we look at the impact of the pandemic on learning, A Better Chicago and the programs it funds have a unique opportunity to rethink how we can provide not only the educational supports, but also the social and emotional supports that our students need to thrive,” Jackson said in a statement.
— Jasmine Hooks has joined SKDK as deputy chief operating officer. She previously was chief operating officer in the Pritzker administration, where she was part of the Covid response team, and worked on statewide diversity equity and inclusion policies. Before that, Hooks, a Marquette University alum, worked on the Pritzker campaign as director of operations and scheduling.
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Nadine Oleary, the deputy registrar for State of Illinois, for correctly answering that Old Main at Knox College is the last physical site of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Our apologies for confusion in wording the question as “the last remaining site” of the Lincoln-Douglas debate since they all exist. We were looking for the actual facility. Here’s a full list of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Where in Illinois did Stephen A. Douglas teach school? Email to [email protected]
State Sen. Terri Bryant (58th), state Sen. Julie Morrison (29th), state Sen. Tom Cullerton (23rd), state Rep. Joyce Mason (61st), former state Rep. Lisa Dugan, American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois’ Kevin Artl, attorney Louis Cairo, and Frank Shuftan, former Cook County comms chief.
- Shia Kapos @shiakapos