Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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Connecting the dots between our economy, government and people —

Top Illinois Stories

Illinois governor has “no concerns at all” about reported federal criminal probe – CBS News

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Source: Feds Probe Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, First Lady For Property Tax Appeals On Gold Coast Mansion – WBEZ

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Illinois’ ‘tax hike budget’ gets low marks on state budgeting from Volcker Alliance – Chicago Tribune

The nonprofit Volcker Alliance gave Illinois mostly “D” grades and a “D-” in its state-by-state assessment of 2018 fiscal year’s governmental performance. The “D-” was for legacy costs. It’s the lowest mark the nonprofit uses.

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Audit finds gaps in checks on underfunded police, fire pensions – INN

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More Highlighted Illinois Stories

Illinois’ pension crisis is more fearsome than union flacks want us to believe – Chicago Now

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Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Wednesday, April 24 – INN

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Pritzker lists accomplishments in first 100 days – INN

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Ex-watchdog says state ethics panel buried report of misconduct by fellow legislator in process she calls ‘broken’ – Chicago Tribune

In an op-ed published online Tuesday by the Tribune, ex-watchdog Julie Porter said lawmakers have done little to address these longstanding problems despite warnings from her predecessor and a series of high-profile sexual harassment allegations at the Capitol. Porter was appointed interim IG in November 2017 after alleged victims said their complaints went unheard.

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Is Illinois’ Gas Tax Running On Empty? – NPR IL

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As lawmakers prepare to debate recreational marijuana, opponents raise concerns – INN

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Ex-watchdog says state ethics panel buried report of misconduct by fellow legislator in process she calls ‘broken’ – Chicago Tribune

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Pritzker’s Fair Tax Is a Sweet Deal for Southern Illinois – Chicago Magazine

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Rich Miller: End of legislative session could be very busy — and consequential – Chicago Sun-Times

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Illinois State Police seeks to rebuild dwindling force after ‘years and years of neglect’ – Chicago Tribune

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State lawmakers could consider digital privacy measures when they return – INN

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The list of capital requests in Illinois is long. The list of funding sources? Not so much. – Capitol News IL

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Pritzker ‘sticking by’ call to impeach Trump: Mueller report ‘sad statement’ – Chicago Sun-Times

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Former Illinois Lt. Gov. Eveyln Sanguinetti announces House run in suburban Chicago – Roll Call

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It’s April in Illinois. Guard your wallet, taxpayers. – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

The argument that other states are “doing great now” simply because they have a graduated income tax is a grossly elementary perspective on why Illinois should pass one. But that hasn’t stopped Democrats from presenting it.

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Illinois employment growth continues to lag the nation through the first quarter of 2019 – IL Policy

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Take it from California — we can do more to make every vote count in Illinois – Opinion – Chicago Sun-Times

Modeled in many ways after the California process, the Illinois Fair Maps Amendment  would create a 16-member commission from judicial districts around the state,...

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Illinois student gov praises Texas State counterpart for attempt to ban conservative group – Campus Reform

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Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Monday, April 22 – INN

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Illinois Senate approves wave of proposed new laws – INN

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Exodus from Illinois will ‘almost assuredly’ cost the state two seats in Congress – WRSP

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Report says Medicaid funding shortfalls causing Illinois nursing homes to close – Capitol News Network

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Jim Dey – Illinois Democrats are in charge, but not in accord – News-Gazette

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Illinoisans could see higher gas prices if Springfield, Washington act on proposed hikes – IL Watchdog

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Whom to blame for state’s prepaid tuition program? – Fred Giertz – News-Gazette

Blame state lawmakers, not the universities. The program was doomed from the start by the same inherent problems as our pension system, and more.

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The Law Q&A | Creating new state not very easy to do – News-Gazette

Since the Democratic Party now controls both Illinois houses plus the governor's mansion, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives, making Chicago a separate state has as much chance as there might be of snow flying in Lucifer's linen closet.

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Illinois Municipal League: ‘Time is of the essence’ to consolidate pension funds – Herald & Review

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Over half of Illinois’ counties declare themselves “gun sanctuaries” – IL Review

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Will Illinois’ Next Capital Bill be a Boon or a Boondoggle? – The Civic Federation

A bad track record and no clear path on funding for a new plan.

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Polls show voters aren’t buying what Pritzker is selling – IL Review

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Top Chicago Stories

Proposed deficit budget garners little to no pushback from Waukegan aldermen – Chicago Tribune

That shortfall is expected to come in higher than projected because of higher costs in a council-approved union contract and lower than expected revenues. The general fund is projected to run a $3.5 million deficit due to a flat property tax levy, falling sales and income tax revenue, and climbing expenses driven in large part by contract-mandated raises.

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Osundairo Brothers Sue Jussie Smollett’s Attorneys, Mark Geragos And Tina Glandian, For Defamation – CBS Chicago

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Fights involving groups of teens along Mag Mile spark outrage, sympathy – ABC Chicago

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More Highlighted Chicago Stories

Brothers Sue Lawyers for Jussie Smollett For Defamation – Jonathan Turley

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‘Momentum’ building in Chicago Catholic schools despite enrollment losses – Chicago Sun-Times

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Chicago’s Pension Funds Looking More Like A Collapsing Ponzi Scheme – ZeroHedge

A republication of our Wirepoints article.

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Birds in danger: How one group is working to change Chicago’s landscape – Fox Chicago

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Blackhawks owner unloads on Rahm Emanuel in transition memo to Lightfoot – Chicago Sun-Times

Relations “are frequently strained, often contentious and disappointingly counter-productive. This does not appear to be the case in many other cities, both big and small, where progressive mayors have open and respectful dialogue with their city’s employer base,” Wirtz wrote in an April 15 letter to Lightfoot.

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The ‘Ed Burke Effect’ washes over the water district: Cue Cook County’s inspector general – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

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McHenry County could be the test case for eliminating Illinois townships — but not everyone there is on board – Capitol News Network

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Housing nonprofit faces reckoning over $85 million in debt – Crain’s

An Ohio affordable-housing nonprofit that bought more than 1,800 apartments in the Chicago area has drawn the ire of its tenants and the city for the poor condition of its buildings. Now it faces a reckoning with investors that hold nearly $85 million in bonds on its properties.

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The CHA had a grand plan for the future of public housing. Then came the bust. – Crain’s

Now, nearly two decades after the city's public housing high-rises started coming down, one of the three strands in the transformative replacement plan continues to lag far behind the original vision. Sales of market-rate homes fizzled in the housing bust and a dozen years later have yet to catch fire again, other than on the old Cabrini-Green land.

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How some county board members are already collecting public pensions – Daily Herald

Most people have to wait until they're out of a job to begin collecting retirement benefits they accrued while working there. That's not the case for at least 13 part-time suburban county board members who are receiving as much as $82,124 in annual pension payouts from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund for jobs in which they're still getting salaries of $21,000 to $43,018.

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Kim Foxx’s chief spokesperson is latest staffer leaving Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – ABC Chicago

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Unions that bet on losing mayoral candidate celebrate Council shift: ‘We won’ – Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Teachers Union and the Service Employees International Union of Illinois lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in their effort to crown Toni Preckwinkle mayor, but both say they’re proud to have successfully supported a left-wing swing in the City Council.

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Lori Lightfoot’s wide-awake take on the ‘Illinois Exodus’ – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

If she keeps talking truth around her fellow Illinois Democrats, Chicago’s next mayor will make them squirm. She must be ignoring the memos instructing her to “Shush up about the ‘Illinois Exodus.’ Bad for our brand.”

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Smollett’s brother: What if Jussie is telling the truth?

Presented without comment.

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Car2Go: Fleet of stolen Mercedes-Benz vehicles stars in social media vids – CWB Chicago

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Hundreds Of Teens Run Through Downtown Chicago, Fighting And Disobeying Police – Video – CBS Chicago

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26 charged after hundreds of teens descend on downtown Chicago – WGN

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Nearly 58 Million Visitors Help Set New Chicago Tourism Records, City Says – NBC Chicago

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Survey shows little enthusiasm for Chicago real estate – Crain’s

Chicago ranked among the least popular urban commercial real estate markets in the world in the survey of institutional investors by A Fellowship for International Real Estate, or AFIRE, a Washington-based industry group. The survey confirms a growing belief that investors are growing wary of buying properties here amid expectations that income and property taxes will rise to plug gaping budget holes caused by unfunded public pensions.

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More Than 57,000 Cook Country Properties In Danger Of Public Sale Due To Unpaid 2017 Taxes – CBS Chicago

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A look at the Chicago connections in the Mueller report – WGN

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Elite schools tone deaf on tuition – Crain’s

Northwestern and U of C are barreling toward the $300,000 barrier for four years of undergraduate study—at their peril.

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Chicago is still losing population – Crain’s

There were 22,000 fewer residents in the 14-county metro area than in 2017, a drop of 0.2 percent, and the first time since 2010 that the area's population has slipped below 9.5 million people. Cook County, which accounts for 55 percent of the population in the metro area, lost 24,000 residents. DuPage and Lake counties, the second- and third-largest, respectively, each lost about 2,000 residents. The exurbs of Will, Kane and Kendall counties saw modest growth of fewer than 2,000 residents each.

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Is Rent Control Right For Chicago? – Forbes

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How Chicago Fuels Food-Focused Innovation – Forbes

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Chicago area drops population for fourth straight year, census data show; Cook, DuPage and Lake counties also decline – Chicago Tribune

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More suburban losers than winners in 2019’s tough housing market – Crain’s

A Crain's analysis of first-quarter data shows twice as many towns where three key metrics are down as where they are up.

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Felon charged with having machine gun on Near West Side: “I’m 130 – 0 getting away with what I do” – CWB Chicago

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Document dump: Foxx aide falsely blames CPD detectives for Smollett leak, calls cops “the worst” – CWB Chicago

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Thousands of texts, emails about Jussie Smollett probe made public by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office – Chicago Tribune

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Wirepoints Commentary and Research

There’s No Legal Reason Not To Pursue An Illinois Constitutional Amendment For Pension Reform

Reform opponents say it's a waste of time to pursue a constitutional amendment. They're wrong.

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Chicago’s pension funds looking more like a collapsing Ponzi scheme

If you look at Chicago’s collapsing demographics and consider how they’re threatening the solvency of the city’s government-run pensions, you can’t help but call it a Ponzi scheme.

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Sticker shock: Some New Trier residents stunned by property assessments

Some New Trier Township residents were stunned to see the assessed value of their homes jump by as much as 40, 60 or even 100 percent this year.

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The Fine Art of Kicking the Pension Can Down the Road – Wirepoints Guest

Also see our related article linked here on the "town hall" meeting discussed herein.

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Legislators’ ‘Town Hall’ Becomes Metaphor For Failing Illinois

Might as well have said, “If you have any questions about Illinois’ budget and pension crisis, buzz off and talk to the union guy.”

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The Case For Illinois’ Graduated Income Tax Is Dishonest

The campaign for the Fair Tax – a graduated income tax in Illinois – is being made so dishonestly that a detailed look is in order.

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More Wirepoints Original Stories

“The progressive tax is being presented as nirvana…but it isn’t” – Ted on Fox 32 with Mike Flannery

Ted was on Fired Up with Mike Flannery last week debating Pritzker's progressive tax rates with two progressive tax supporters. Ted's message was simple, "Anyone who thinks tax hikes are the solution to Illinois' problems are just flat out wrong."

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Massive borrowing binge on tap in Illinois

In yet one more snub to Illinoisans, state politicians are ready to go on another borrowing binge.

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Every Illinoisan Must See These Two Charts In The Wall Street Journal

Illinois politicians may carry on in their alternate universe, but the national press is waking up.

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Chicago’s south suburbs struggle under Springfield’s continuing neglect

Places like Harvey in Chicago's south suburbs no longer function for the residents that live there. Many blame local corruption and the nation’s manufacturing woes as the cause. They contributed, but the real problem is the failed public policies the state has imposed – the same ones that are hurting municipalities across the state.

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Jobs, temporary jobs, renewable energy and bunk – Quicktake

The renewable energy industry needs to get its story straight.

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Why California’s (and especially Illinois’) Pensions Only Deepen Inequality – Quicktake

But defenders of our pension system a the little guys' champions, right?

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Is Lori Lightfoot ready for a potential Chicago teachers strike?

Rahm Emanuel caved to the Chicago Teachers Union early on in his first term. He was never the same after that. That's a lesson incoming Mayor Lori Lightfoot should heed. She needs to give as good as she gets from the union. Wirepoints has several facts about CPS that should help her during negotiations. 

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Connecting the dots between our economy, government and people —

Wirepoints Original Stories

There’s No Legal Reason Not To Pursue An Illinois Constitutional Amendment For Pension Reform

Reform opponents say it's a waste of time to pursue a constitutional amendment. They're wrong.

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Your email address will not be published.

Chicago’s pension funds looking more like a collapsing Ponzi scheme

If you look at Chicago’s collapsing demographics and consider how they’re threatening the solvency of the city’s government-run pensions, you can’t help but call it a Ponzi scheme.

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Your email address will not be published.

Sticker shock: Some New Trier residents stunned by property assessments

Some New Trier Township residents were stunned to see the assessed value of their homes jump by as much as 40, 60 or even 100 percent this year.

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Quicktakes

A Simple Chart From Civic Federation Shows Illinois’ Population Problem – Quicktake

Note, especially, the comparison to neighboring states for the last five years.

$25/Hour Minimum Wage. Seriously(?) – Quicktake

A reader who asked to stay anonymous sent this image in of a shirt he had made. The joke backfired.

Top Illinois Stories

Illinois governor has “no concerns at all” about reported federal criminal probe – CBS News

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Source: Feds Probe Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, First Lady For Property Tax Appeals On Gold Coast Mansion – WBEZ

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Illinois’ ‘tax hike budget’ gets low marks on state budgeting from Volcker Alliance – Chicago Tribune

The nonprofit Volcker Alliance gave Illinois mostly “D” grades and a “D-” in its state-by-state assessment of 2018 fiscal year’s governmental performance. The “D-” was for legacy costs. It’s the lowest mark the nonprofit uses.

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Audit finds gaps in checks on underfunded police, fire pensions – INN

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Other Illinois News

Illinois’ pension crisis is more fearsome than union flacks want us to believe – Chicago Now

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Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Wednesday, April 24 – INN

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Pritzker lists accomplishments in first 100 days – INN

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Ex-watchdog says state ethics panel buried report of misconduct by fellow legislator in process she calls ‘broken’ – Chicago Tribune

In an op-ed published online Tuesday by the Tribune, ex-watchdog Julie Porter said lawmakers have done little to address these longstanding problems despite warnings from her predecessor and a series of high-profile sexual harassment allegations at the Capitol. Porter was appointed interim IG in November 2017 after alleged victims said their complaints went unheard.

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Is Illinois’ Gas Tax Running On Empty? – NPR IL

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Top Chicago Stories

Proposed deficit budget garners little to no pushback from Waukegan aldermen – Chicago Tribune

That shortfall is expected to come in higher than projected because of higher costs in a council-approved union contract and lower than expected revenues. The general fund is projected to run a $3.5 million deficit due to a flat property tax levy, falling sales and income tax revenue, and climbing expenses driven in large part by contract-mandated raises.

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Osundairo Brothers Sue Jussie Smollett’s Attorneys, Mark Geragos And Tina Glandian, For Defamation – CBS Chicago

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Fights involving groups of teens along Mag Mile spark outrage, sympathy – ABC Chicago

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Other Chicago News

Brothers Sue Lawyers for Jussie Smollett For Defamation – Jonathan Turley

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‘Momentum’ building in Chicago Catholic schools despite enrollment losses – Chicago Sun-Times

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Chicago’s Pension Funds Looking More Like A Collapsing Ponzi Scheme – ZeroHedge

A republication of our Wirepoints article.

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Birds in danger: How one group is working to change Chicago’s landscape – Fox Chicago

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Blackhawks owner unloads on Rahm Emanuel in transition memo to Lightfoot – Chicago Sun-Times

Relations “are frequently strained, often contentious and disappointingly counter-productive. This does not appear to be the case in many other cities, both big and small, where progressive mayors have open and respectful dialogue with their city’s employer base,” Wirtz wrote in an April 15 letter to Lightfoot.

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Media Watch

Pritzker’s proposed cut to Invest in Kids conflicts with rhetoric – Opinion – News-Gazette

"It's hard to square Pritzker's over-arching campaign theme with his plan to first cut back and then end a state-subsidized education program that last year provided scholarships to 5,457 low-income students, more than half of whom were not white."

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ABC 7 newsroom has family ties to three politicians – Feder

It’s strictly a coincidence, according to John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7.