Saturday, August 8, 2020

Connecting the dots between our economy, government and people —

Top Illinois Stories

Illinois district includes students of color in groups with first chance at in-person learning: report – Fox News

Because District 65, which includes students from Evanston and Skokie, won't force teachers to work on-site, school buildings may not be able to accommodate all students who would like to come back to their classrooms. In that event, Superintendent Devon Horton reportedly said, the district would give priority to "Black and Brown students," and others it considered to be "marginalized" or "oppressed."

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IDES extends unemployment benefits – IWCS/WRSP

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Stimulus package talks collapse; no help expected for unemployed now – ABC

Comment: And that collapse includes federal money Illinois heavily banked on in its current budget. See our own article on that here.

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Pritzker ordered to appear before Clay County judge – IL Review

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Gov. JB Pritzker Announces Potential Fines For Businesses That Violate Mask And Social Distancing Requirements – CBS2 (Chicago)

The new rules could also apply to schools and child care facilities, but not individuals who violate the mask requirement. “This is a make or break moment for the state of Illinois,” Pritzker said.

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Illinois appeals court allows constitutional challenge to state’s bonds – Reuters

Illinois, the lowest-rated state at a notch above junk, pays the biggest yield penalty among states in the U.S. municipal bond market and an ensuing lawsuit is likely to pressure prices on its bonds.

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Illinois teachers pension executive director out after ‘performance issues’ – Pensions & Investment

Richard Ingram, executive director of the $51.2 billion Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, Springfield, resigned Thursday, effective immediately. On July 31, the board of trustees unanimously voted to place Mr. Ingram on administrative leave “due to performance issues covered by his employment contract,” a news release from the system said.

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More Highlighted Illinois Stories

Businesses organize to resist Gov Pritzker’s plan making them COVID mask enforcers – IL Review

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Facebook slaps Illinois Review’s wrist for sharing Breitbart story – IL Review

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Editorial: A lesson in contrasts: How the GOP purged its leader amid corruption allegations – Chicago Tribune

“The party deserves to serve its purpose without unwarranted distractions,” Daniels, who as House minority leader was House Speaker Michael Madigan’s counterpart, said in announcing he would step down as party chair. “For that reason, it is best that I refocus my energy and encourage others to refocus theirs.”

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Editorial: A lesson in contrasts: How the GOP purged its leader amid corruption allegations – Chicago Tribune

"Under the lens of compare and contrast, then and now, one takeaway is this state’s breathtaking tolerance for corruption. It has settled into the system of governance and politics as its own permanent institution. Corruption is an expected byproduct of serving in public office, like wind makes waves."

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Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta Indicted in Red-Light Camera Bribery Scheme – WTTW (Chicago)

He is the latest politician to caught in a corruption probe involving officials allegedly profiting off of the red-light cameras that bedevil many a motorist. According to the nine-page, seven-count indictment against Presta, "Presta asked for and accepted benefits from representatives of Company A, including Individual A.”

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Democrats review options to take action against Madigan after patronage scandal – Center Square

Said University of Illinois Springfield politics professor Kent Redfield, “(T)his is territory nobody comprehended and it could be handled just by the Legislature, but the governor will have to get involved if you want the Legislature in session before the veto session and it may end up in the courts anyway, so it’s just one more wrinkle in a very strange situation.”

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Pritzker again pushes criminalizing businesses for failing to follow his COVID-19 orders – Illinois Policy

Under Pritzker’s new rules, mask enforcement would be directed at businesses – not individuals. The businesses would be punished if their customers or staff were not wearing a mask after repeated warnings. He acted in May to amend the Illinois Department of Public Health rules so business owners could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for violating his closure orders.

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Carbondale, Illinois city takes four-notch rating hit over over budget strains – The Bond Buyer

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Springfield Names May 31 BLM Solidarity Day, Requires Anti-Racism Training For Employees – NPR Illinois

“It's a great vehicle for us to move forward with that structural change and it will then codify or put into action and put into our policies and procedures, all of the nice words that were in the resolution,” one alderman said. The council declined changes the mayor proposed before the vote, which recognized the NAACP Springfield chapter specifically.

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Chicago area residents continue having issues reaching IDES for unemployment benefits – WGNTV (Chicago)

Between March 1 and July 1, there were about 78.5 million calls to IDES. Of those, 393,000 were answered. That doesn’t even reach 1 percent of the calls coming in. Those in need of help are feeling the pain.

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Pandemic puts divorce lawyers to work – Crain’s

COVID-19 is creating work for local divorce lawyers.

“We have done as much as 34 consultations in one day,” said Jeffery Leving, founder of the Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving in Chicago. The norm is seven to 10 interviews a day, he said.

Lawyers don’t blame the virus for divorces but say it’s contributing to breaking up marriages that were already strained.

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After ComEd bribery case, Illinois groups push for changes to clean energy bill – Utility Dive

The new bill would seek restitution from ComEd, in addition to the $200 million fine the utility paid to the federal government. The bill would also include performance-based metrics for utilities and a repeal of ComEd and Ameren Illinois' recent rate hikes.

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Commentary: Illinois’ exodus problem is a governance problem – Chicago Tribune

Richard Porter: "Millennials are moving away from states that have more lawyers per capita (a proxy for regulatory burdens) and higher taxpayer burdens, both in terms of current taxation and expected future burdens based on indebtedness. They are moving to states with fewer rules and less-costly government. This result is consonant with common sense: People look for values in all areas of their lives. Why not with respect to governance as well?"

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13 Illinois Counties Now at ‘Warning Level’ for Coronavirus, Health Dept. Says – NBC5 (Chicago)

The counties now under a warning include: Cass, Coles, Grundy, Iroquois, Jackson, Monroe, Perry, Saline, St. Clair, Tazewell, Union, Williamson, Winnebago.

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Illinois community colleges get $103 million in infrastructure funds – Center Square

The largest amount, $42 million, went to Harper College in Palatine for a one-stop admissions and campus student life center and related improvements.

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Challenge to $14 Billion in Illinois Debt Revived – Wall Street Journal

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Column: As Democratic convention looms, a call for Mike Madigan to step down as Illinois party chair – Chicago Sun-Times

Lynn Sweet: "Madigan clings to the role of the state party chairman because it helps him retain power in the state House. A candidate has to go through the state party to qualify for cheaper postal rates. With so many state House contests heavily using direct mail, Madigan controls state representatives with threats to strip them of their discount mail."

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More than 120,000 cases of unemployment fraud found in Illinois since March, Pritzker says – Post-Dispatch

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Report: progressive income tax hits women and minorities hardest, ‘Fair Tax’ group disagrees – Center Square

The analysis also shows that changing Illinois’ flat income tax to one with higher rates for higher earners would increase consumer costs and lead to reduced household spending. “This independent study concludes what many of us already knew: this is the worst possible time for a $3.4 billion tax hike on Illinois families and businesses,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch.

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Challenge to $14 Billion in Illinois Debt Revived – Dow Jones & Co.

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Should local Illinois governments consider pension obligation bonds for public safety funds? – The Bond Buyer

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Commentary: Public Official A: Blago’s been there, done that – Champaign News-Gazette

Scott Reeder: "The gap between being Public Official A and an inmate is not very long, he said. 'It may take years; but in the course of a lifetime, it’s not very long at all. Once they have painted a bull’s-eye on your back, they are out to get you,' Blagojevich said."

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Take that, Chicago: Springfield Italian American group mounts boycott over Columbus statues – State Journal-Register (Springfield)

“We’re not trying to take anything away from anybody else,” said Tony Leone, a Roman Cultural Society member who is spearheading the effort. “But we just think some of this revisionist history has gone too far, especially when they’re missing the point of why Columbus was embraced by Italian American immigrants.”

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Column: Democrats, it’s time for Michael Madigan’s ‘Richard Nixon Moment’ – Chicago Tribune

Eric Zorn: "(R)ight now, Madigan is a Nixonian albatross on his party... the idea that the imposition of graduated state income tax rates would put more money under Madigan’s control is animating opposition to the Democrats’ so-called Fair Tax amendment."

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Column: For Speaker Michael Madigan, court of public opinion wields the gavel – Chicago Tribune

"The vote on Pritzker’s graduated income tax is all about trust. Voters must decide if they can trust state government to hold the line on middle-income tax rates over time. It would be fair for voters to withhold their trust from a political leader, Pritzker, if he won’t do the right thing about his Madigan problem."

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Illinois Municipal League says if federal funds for local governments continue to be restricted, it could be too late to avoid damages – Center Square

“And I think if you give anybody the option of do you want state government in the middle of these funds and controlling, restricting and imposing guidelines in all of that or do you want to give it to your local mayor and city government so they can give out to the businesses quickly and easily, everybody is going to say ‘the local government,’” a spokesman said.

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Illinois is extending unemployment benefits by 20 weeks. Meanwhile, some gig workers are learning they’ve been overpaid. – Chicago Tribune

Illinois is among 19 states providing 20 weeks of extended benefits, the agency said in a news release.

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Another 25,000 Illinoisans file for unemployment benefits amid calls for public hearings – Center Square

It’s not just the large number who’ve filed and the ongoing problems that seem to plague the system for people to get those benefits, it’s also the more than 120,000 instances of unemployment fraud Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday his administration found. Some are calling for answers.

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After $86 billion contraction, state’s economic momentum stalls – Center Square

The website WalletHub ranked Illinois fifth in the country for states that have recovered most in the job market since the pandemic began compared to last year.

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As commissioner is investigated, Bloomingdale Township voters to decide on ending road district – Daily Herald

A state law took effect in January 2018 that says townships can seek voter approval to absorb road districts into the rest of township government. "This was something that we had already thought about looking at," the township supervisor said. "Obviously, the action that happened in January (an FBI raid) made us take a closer look."

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Top Chicago Area Stories

Chicago’s Magnificent Mile At Risk For Massive Store Closures, Alderman Says – CBS Chicago

There are existing vacancies, some stores still boarded up, others dealing with plummeting sales, what Hopkins calls a spike in theft, and safety concerns keeping people away.

“We’re losing tax revenue, and we are losing sales tax on a daily basis,” he said. “If this trend continues, we won’t have a viable downtown. And it’s not going to be that long. We’re talking a few years."

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Are CTU Bosses Backing Madigan Or Fighting For Social Justice? – Patch

CTU's leaders have always been friendly with the Machine, particularly House Speaker and state Democratic Party boss Michael Madigan. State records show CTU's political arm has pitched in more than $500,000 to campaign committees run by the House Speaker.

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In Chicago, federal agents hit the streets as homicides spike – Wall Street Journal

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said her office has worked to tackle violence with the help of federal partners from various administrations, and whether this effort will be more successful than past operations depends on strategy. "Having additional resources to look at gun prosecution, to look at gun cases is incredibly helpful," she said. "But what we also know, however, is that this is a short-term triage."

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More Highlighted Chicago Area Stories

From hybrid model to remote learning: Inside Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago Public Schools’ fall pivot – Chicago Tribune

UIC labor professor Robert Bruno said a second CTU walkout on Lightfoot’s watch “would have not only prevented or delayed CPS from providing instruction to over 300,000 students but in the long run been disastrous. Being able to deliver instruction and educational services in the third largest school district in the country during a pandemic is an enormous logistical puzzle; trying to do so without the full support of her school staff is highly improbable.”

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Chicago FBI names killing of Vernado Jones, 14, as bureau’s 1st Operation Legend target – ABC7 (Chicago)

In Englewood, on the Fourth of July, Gunshots hit eight people, killing four of them; Jones was the youngest. The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward and urging even anonymous information that could help solve this case.

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Cook County Land Bank Authority sold vacant lots to a drug dealer – Chicago Sun-Times

Obed Ornelas and the land bank were in the process of finalizing his purchase of vacant lots in June 2018 when federal agents arrested him and 56 others in a massive drug bust. At his request, the closing on the land was handled via email so Ornelas, out on bail and wearing an electronic monitoring device, didn’t have to be there in person. The land bank is already under scrutiny by the Cook County’s inspector general for a questionable flip involving one alderman's chief of staff.

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Chicago Businesses Ramp Up Their Own COVID-19 Contact Tracing – WBEZ (Chicago)

Around five months into the pandemic in Illinois, and with cases rising quickly in Chicago, public health officials are still hiring hundreds of contract tracers. So, after losing months of revenue during the statewide shutdown, business owners are figuring out their own ways to protect their employees and customers to try to prevent having to close yet again.

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Chicago-Area Transit Agency Bosses on COVID-19’s Impact on Transportation – WTTW (Chicago)

“CTA got about $817 million out of the allocation to this region and that has allowed us to make sure that we’re good for the rest of the year,” its president said. “But next year will be a different picture if we don’t get that additional funding and additional relief from Congress.”

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As Chicago makes headway on school council transparency, some say it doesn’t go far enough – Chalkbeat Chicago

After it was reported that multiple councils did not follow transparency rules around their police votes, including failing to post an agenda or meeting information so that the public could log in, Chicago Public Schools pledged to centrally track basic meeting information. But the district is only tracking dates and not collecting meeting times, agendas or links to virtual meetings that are essential to public participation.

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Record $926 million flows into controversial Chicago TIF districts, more than a third of city property taxes – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey immediately joined the fray, saying the entire $926 million should be allocated “to critical needs — including housing supports for families teetering on the brink of homelessness and broadband devices for every public school child.”

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Chicago students call to cut ties with police despite city’s 139 percent murder spike – Campus Reform

Solidarity Street's Instagram page, which has more than 1,700 followers, has a number of graphics that express the organization’s feelings toward law enforcement: “Cops are not workers. A worker is someone that sells their labor to make ends meet. Cops do not do this. They defend the interests and property of the wealthy...They are the armed wing of the American capitalist state.”

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Editorial: Chicago’s schools reopen? When Chicago parents think it’s safe – Chicago Sun-Times

"Chicago has a lot of work to do to make remote learning work better, and much of the pressure will be on CPS teachers. We believe they are at least partially the reason Lightfoot decided this week, rather than wait until later this month, to stick solely with remote learning for now, though the mayor denies that. There’s no way the mayor failed to factor in the threat of a teachers’ strike. So now Chicago will be looking to those CPS teachers to lead the way in making remote learning really work."

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‘We’re in really, really uncharted territory,” Kim Foxx says of gun violence in Chicago – Chicago Sun-Times

"When we are talking about a lot of conflicts that are being settled with guns, we’re not talking about large organizations protecting corners. We’re talking about a slight indignity that happened on Facebook or someone avenging a loss from a year ago."

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Tourists are Violating Chicago’s Self-Quarantine Requirement to Eat Deep-Dish Pizza – Food & Wine

"We’re not trying to hurt anyone by being here," one of those people said, emphasizing that they were wearing masks… while ignoring a public health order.

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Posting selfies from The Bean? Make sure you’re not in violation of Chicago’s travel quarantine – USA Today

If someone is on officials' radar through contact tracing or other measures, that person's social media accounts are checked to gather evidence for a possible citation, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said at a news conference Tuesday.

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CPD’s overtime budget jumps to $47.1 million in June while murders, shootings skyrocket – Chicago Sun-Times

Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara called it a recipe for officer burnout: “And they want to talk about officer wellness? Who the hell can have any sane family life when you can’t even have a holiday off after 30 years on this job?" Catanzara said the saddest part of the overtime spending is that Chicago has little to show for it.

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City Colleges Of Chicago Faculty And Staff Threaten Strike Over COVID-19 Safety Concerns – WBEZ (Chicago)

“Our ventilation isn’t the best; garbage isn’t being picked up [in] the bathrooms; the running water is coming out yellow. So, even when you go to wash your hands and do what you can do … they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” said Adriana Alvarez, a clerical assistant at Olive Harvey who fought back tears as she spoke.

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Private Schools in Chicago Fielding Wave of Calls After CPS Goes With Remote Learning Plan – NBC5 (Chicago)

“Success profiles are quite different in terms of general engagement. Children really have that social, emotional need to be around their peers,” one private school spokesperson said.

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16 shot Wednesday in Chicago – FOX32 (Chicago)

Just after 10 p.m., a drive-by shooting wounded four people, including an 8-year-old boy, on the West Side. About 30 minutes prior a 14-year-old boy was wounded in a shooting on the South Side.

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John Kass: Has Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost the city? And why must she stand alone? – Chicago Tribune

"Where are Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Foxx’s political patron, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, to stand and tell us what they’re doing to help Lightfoot stop the violence?...While we’re at it, why aren’t the leaders of Chicago’s clergy standing with the mayor?"

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Six Chicago Aldermen Urge Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan To Resign As ComEd Pleads Not Guilty In Bribery Scandal – CBS2 (Chicago)

At least nine Democratic state lawmakers, including six members of the Illinois House, have said Madigan should immediately resign his post. Some other Democratic legislators, as well as Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. JB Pritzker, have stopped short of calling on Madigan to step down immediately.

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Archdiocese of Chicago to move forward with in-person classes this fall – WGN Radio (Chicago)

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Chicago Public Schools to begin school year with full remote learning – WGNTV (Chicago)

The district also said in a statement that a survey of families showed 41% of elementary school parents and 38% of high school parents would not send their children to school buildings.

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Editorial: Double standards of Chicago Teachers Union on display in reopening debate – Chicago Tribune

"But the generous deal Chicago teachers got last year, after union leaders rejected an independent fact-finder’s report on what they deserved, bought no partnership from the union...So what about those wraparound services students, especially minority kids in struggling neighborhoods, desperately need, and which CTU takes credit for striking over? They won’t get them."

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Editorial: Cook County’s discussion on ‘defunding’ police must consider all angles – Daily Herald

"It seems to us from the outset that if we want meaningful police reform that involves more of the kinds of social engineering the county resolution calls for, the effort will require more money, not the same amount and certainly not less. More and better training costs more, not less. More community interaction means more money, not less. More minority hires is apt to mean more money for recruiting, not less."

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Attorneys Demand Chicago Police Stop Its ‘Abusive’ Search Warrant Tactics, Or They’ll Take CPD To Federal Court – CBS2 (Chicago)

The scathing enforcement action criticizes how officers failed to do basic checks on tips from confidential informants before obtaining and executing search warrants on homes. The letter uses these cases to demonstrate how police then raided the wrong place, using force by pointing guns at innocent families and children and traumatizing them.

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Commentary: Students deserve open minds, not political wrangling, from CTU and CPS – Chicago Tribune

Paul Vallas: "CTU calls the mayor gutless for a proposal to partially open schools, which she then sidelined? Wrong. It takes incredible guts to open schools, even part time, in a pandemic. It’s downright cowardly to just throw up your hands and refuse to even try. For Chicago’s kids, we can get creative, we can explore every avenue, and find a way to implement every safety measure."

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Why Chicago Health Officials Say the City Chose Remote Learning for Start of School Year – NBC5 (Chicago)

Said Chicago's top public health official Dr. Allison Arwady, "As we're planning ahead for a complicated school district like CPS, we need to make these decisions a month in advance. And if we've added 80 to 100 new cases over the last month, without seeing turnaround, we very easily could add that many or more in the month ahead."

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Gang Member Or Not, Chicago Should Care About FBG Duck’s Murder, Activists Say — And Warn Retaliation Could Leave More Dead – Block Club Chicago

“This retaliation is not just about gang members. It’s about the collateral damage. These are not marksmen,” said Tamar Manasseh, founder of anti-violence group Mothers Against Senseless Killings Chicago.

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New data portal aims to track, analyze Chicago’s Covid-19 cases – Chicago Inno

A group of tech and health care organizations have launched a data platform to track and monitor how Covid-19 is affecting Chicagoans.

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Chicago Police Watchdog Agency Investigating After Former Illinois Lawmaker Reportedly Arrested on Warrant for Different Man – NBC5 (Chicago)

The man with the warrant out for his arrest bore the same name, but was born in 1986, has tattoos on both arms and stands over 6 feet tall. Turner Sr. - ascended to the role of Deputy Majority Leader in the House before stepping down in 2010 - is nearly 70, smaller in stature and has no visible tattoos.

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Lane Tech Votes To Nix ‘Indian’ Mascot – Block Club Chicago

A community survey generating more than 9,100 responses showed 52.5 percent of students, parents, alumni and community members favored discontinuing the mascot, “Indian” name and related Native American imagery. The mascot has been part of the school’s history for more than 100 years.

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Chicago Could Bring Back Stricter Limits On How Many People Can Gather Together As Coronavirus Rises Again – Block Club Chicago

It's gatherings among friends and family are what’s driving the rise in coronavirus cases here, officials have said. Birthday parties and other events among family and friends have turned into super-spreader events.

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Wirepoints Commentary and Research

Illinois’ COVID-19 crisis: Daily data update for August 8, 2020 – Wirepoints

Daily COVID-19 data update for August 8, 2020 with new interactive graphics.

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Illinois, Get Real If You Truly Want The Federal Money You Banked On – Wirepoints

The blame game may work, but that doesn't mean the funding will come through.

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Tillman v. Pritzker Lawsuit Over Constitutionality Of Certain Illinois Bonds Reversed And Remanded To Allow Case To Proceed – Updated – Wirepoints

This is correctly decided for reasons we wrote last year.

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Mendoza, Pritzker warn of budget cuts without federal money – Center Square

Ted Dabrowski said the state had problems long before COVID-19 and now is an opportune time to get reforms in places to shore up how the state spends the taxpayers’ money. “This is a big chance for him to actually be the guy that fixed Illinois, he’d be the first guy to actually solve Illinois’ problems. Right now we don’t hear any of that at all.”

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The facts support in-person learning for most Illinois schools. Case study: New Trier High School District 203 – Wirepoints

It’s only natural for parents and teachers to be worried about the impact of returning students to the classroom. But it’s important to look at the science and data of the coronavirus. The reality is children are far less likely to get infected with COVID-19, are far less likely to get seriously ill, and are far less likely to spread the virus to adults and other children.

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No, Illinois Does Not Send More To Federal Government Than It Gets Back – Wirepoints

You cannot claim that Illinois has an unfair balance of payments deficit with the federal government if you also believe that progressive federal tax rates are fair.

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More Wirepoints Original Stories

Where’s the reporting on downtown Chicago havoc? – Quicktake

Videos and pictures don't lie. But if you saw those videos then surveyed the news Sunday morning you'd think you woke up in a different city.

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“Speaker Madigan and others have built up this amazing machine that garners money, laws, and power. If Madigan is gone tomorrow that legally corrupt machine is still there.” – Ted Dabrowski on with Tom Miller

Ted was on with Tom Miller of WJPF this week talking about ComEd, Speaker Madigan and the Illinois machine. "If Madigan is gone tomorrow Illinois' legalized corruption machine is still there. It's not just Madigan, it's the machine that must be deconstructed."

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The Chicago Tribune Union’s Depraved Assault on John Kass – Wirepoints

It’s perhaps the most vicious effort to date in the cancel culture’s assault on journalism, and it’s based on a charge that’s entirely fabricated.

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Illinois Media and the State Should Immediately Update the Message on Hydroxychloroquine – Updated – Wirepoints

The debate continues.

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Chicago Devoured by the Tiger JFK Warned About – Wirepoints

It's no accident that his warning is forgotten as the city struggles for its life. And the tiger is still hungry.

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Seven facts parents and teachers should know about the risks of reopening Chicago Public Schools – Wirepoints

School reopenings have become the next major political football in America, and the opening of Chicago Public Schools is no exception. But how risky is it really for CPS children to return to school? And how risky is a reopening for teachers? Let's look at the data.

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“The individuals with BLM signs in their yards may be well-intentioned people, but they’re just not paying attention to what the organization is really about.” – Mark Glennon on the Steve Cortes Show

Mark was on with Steve Cortez this week. "Some say it's the movement I support, it's just a phrase, I don't care about the organization.' But that's the problem, by using that phrase, you are supporting that organization, giving them credibility."

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Wirepoints Original Stories

Illinois’ COVID-19 crisis: Daily data update for August 8, 2020 – Wirepoints

Daily COVID-19 data update for August 8, 2020 with new interactive graphics.

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Illinois, Get Real If You Truly Want The Federal Money You Banked On – Wirepoints

The blame game may work, but that doesn't mean the funding will come through.

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Tillman v. Pritzker Lawsuit Over Constitutionality Of Certain Illinois Bonds Reversed And Remanded To Allow Case To Proceed – Updated – Wirepoints

This is correctly decided for reasons we wrote last year.

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Top Illinois Stories

Illinois district includes students of color in groups with first chance at in-person learning: report – Fox News

Because District 65, which includes students from Evanston and Skokie, won't force teachers to work on-site, school buildings may not be able to accommodate all students who would like to come back to their classrooms. In that event, Superintendent Devon Horton reportedly said, the district would give priority to "Black and Brown students," and others it considered to be "marginalized" or "oppressed."

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IDES extends unemployment benefits – IWCS/WRSP

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Stimulus package talks collapse; no help expected for unemployed now – ABC

Comment: And that collapse includes federal money Illinois heavily banked on in its current budget. See our own article on that here.

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Pritzker ordered to appear before Clay County judge – IL Review

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Gov. JB Pritzker Announces Potential Fines For Businesses That Violate Mask And Social Distancing Requirements – CBS2 (Chicago)

The new rules could also apply to schools and child care facilities, but not individuals who violate the mask requirement. “This is a make or break moment for the state of Illinois,” Pritzker said.

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Illinois appeals court allows constitutional challenge to state’s bonds – Reuters

Illinois, the lowest-rated state at a notch above junk, pays the biggest yield penalty among states in the U.S. municipal bond market and an ensuing lawsuit is likely to pressure prices on its bonds.

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Illinois teachers pension executive director out after ‘performance issues’ – Pensions & Investment

Richard Ingram, executive director of the $51.2 billion Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, Springfield, resigned Thursday, effective immediately. On July 31, the board of trustees unanimously voted to place Mr. Ingram on administrative leave “due to performance issues covered by his employment contract,” a news release from the system said.

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Other Illinois News

Businesses organize to resist Gov Pritzker’s plan making them COVID mask enforcers – IL Review

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Facebook slaps Illinois Review’s wrist for sharing Breitbart story – IL Review

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Editorial: A lesson in contrasts: How the GOP purged its leader amid corruption allegations – Chicago Tribune

“The party deserves to serve its purpose without unwarranted distractions,” Daniels, who as House minority leader was House Speaker Michael Madigan’s counterpart, said in announcing he would step down as party chair. “For that reason, it is best that I refocus my energy and encourage others to refocus theirs.”

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Editorial: A lesson in contrasts: How the GOP purged its leader amid corruption allegations – Chicago Tribune

"Under the lens of compare and contrast, then and now, one takeaway is this state’s breathtaking tolerance for corruption. It has settled into the system of governance and politics as its own permanent institution. Corruption is an expected byproduct of serving in public office, like wind makes waves."

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Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta Indicted in Red-Light Camera Bribery Scheme – WTTW (Chicago)

He is the latest politician to caught in a corruption probe involving officials allegedly profiting off of the red-light cameras that bedevil many a motorist. According to the nine-page, seven-count indictment against Presta, "Presta asked for and accepted benefits from representatives of Company A, including Individual A.”

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Top Chicago Stories

Chicago’s Magnificent Mile At Risk For Massive Store Closures, Alderman Says – CBS Chicago

There are existing vacancies, some stores still boarded up, others dealing with plummeting sales, what Hopkins calls a spike in theft, and safety concerns keeping people away.

“We’re losing tax revenue, and we are losing sales tax on a daily basis,” he said. “If this trend continues, we won’t have a viable downtown. And it’s not going to be that long. We’re talking a few years."

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Are CTU Bosses Backing Madigan Or Fighting For Social Justice? – Patch

CTU's leaders have always been friendly with the Machine, particularly House Speaker and state Democratic Party boss Michael Madigan. State records show CTU's political arm has pitched in more than $500,000 to campaign committees run by the House Speaker.

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In Chicago, federal agents hit the streets as homicides spike – Wall Street Journal

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said her office has worked to tackle violence with the help of federal partners from various administrations, and whether this effort will be more successful than past operations depends on strategy. "Having additional resources to look at gun prosecution, to look at gun cases is incredibly helpful," she said. "But what we also know, however, is that this is a short-term triage."

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Other Chicago News

From hybrid model to remote learning: Inside Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago Public Schools’ fall pivot – Chicago Tribune

UIC labor professor Robert Bruno said a second CTU walkout on Lightfoot’s watch “would have not only prevented or delayed CPS from providing instruction to over 300,000 students but in the long run been disastrous. Being able to deliver instruction and educational services in the third largest school district in the country during a pandemic is an enormous logistical puzzle; trying to do so without the full support of her school staff is highly improbable.”

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Chicago FBI names killing of Vernado Jones, 14, as bureau’s 1st Operation Legend target – ABC7 (Chicago)

In Englewood, on the Fourth of July, Gunshots hit eight people, killing four of them; Jones was the youngest. The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward and urging even anonymous information that could help solve this case.

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Cook County Land Bank Authority sold vacant lots to a drug dealer – Chicago Sun-Times

Obed Ornelas and the land bank were in the process of finalizing his purchase of vacant lots in June 2018 when federal agents arrested him and 56 others in a massive drug bust. At his request, the closing on the land was handled via email so Ornelas, out on bail and wearing an electronic monitoring device, didn’t have to be there in person. The land bank is already under scrutiny by the Cook County’s inspector general for a questionable flip involving one alderman's chief of staff.

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Chicago Businesses Ramp Up Their Own COVID-19 Contact Tracing – WBEZ (Chicago)

Around five months into the pandemic in Illinois, and with cases rising quickly in Chicago, public health officials are still hiring hundreds of contract tracers. So, after losing months of revenue during the statewide shutdown, business owners are figuring out their own ways to protect their employees and customers to try to prevent having to close yet again.

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Chicago-Area Transit Agency Bosses on COVID-19’s Impact on Transportation – WTTW (Chicago)

“CTA got about $817 million out of the allocation to this region and that has allowed us to make sure that we’re good for the rest of the year,” its president said. “But next year will be a different picture if we don’t get that additional funding and additional relief from Congress.”

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