Happy Thursday, Illinois. I’m headed to Princeton, Ill., today for dinner with some political nerds. They’re everywhere in Illinois.
Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia stepped on his own message Wednesday during a press conference he orchestrated to announce endorsements for Chicago City Council.
He talked at length about still mulling a run for mayor.
“I can make the case of how I think I can make a difference and get our city to a better place if I decide that I want to undertake this challenge. People are urging me to do it. But I also don’t take lightly the challenges that we’re facing as a city: the public safety challenges,” Garcia said.
The progressive leader is a savvy politician who could easily have cut off reporters’ questions, saying he was there to endorse candidates for City Council, not talk about the mayor’s race. The candidates were standing right behind him, after all.
Political calculation: Instead, Garcia talked about a potential mayoral run and in doing so is keeping the idea in the headlines. Political strategy 101 says he’s either trying to leverage something by drawing out the speculation or he’s honestly just still considering it.
What’s Garcia’s end game? By drawing out his decision — possibly even through November after his congressional race is wrapped up and out of the way — Garcia could keep other potential mayoral candidates from jumping in.
Or maybe it allows him time to leverage support for his slate of City Council candidates.
What’s clear: If the powerful and popular congressman makes a run for mayor, others already in the race would likely rethink their positions about staying in. And Mayor Lori Lightfoot would face the ultimate formidable candidate.
A group of social equity cannabis entrepreneurs and activists are urging state lawmakers to ease up on regulations preventing them from starting up their businesses.
Still no equity: “Three years in, and we still don’t have any Black-owned cannabis operators,” said Douglas Kelly, head of the Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition, during a press conference in downtown Chicago on Wednesday. Crain’s John Pletz was at the event.
It’s a catch-22: The social equity operators say the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation won’t allow them to add additional owners (investors) until their dispensaries are inspected. But the operators say they can’t get the dispensaries up and running without new investors.
They’re frustrated: While the industry is flourishing for larger companies owned predominantly by white people, the minority owners are unable to get a foothold.
What they want: Recreational license owners have signed a petition asking for permission to sell equity in their cannabis companies in order to get start-up capital.
“The rule-making process is screwing it up. Instead of making it easier for Blacks and Latinos, they’re making it harder,” said former state Sen. Rickey Hendon at the presser. He holds a retail license and plans to open a location in the city’s South Loop area of downtown.
About the money: They say state officials should be equally concerned given it’s a loss to the state coffers and municipalities, who would otherwise be benefitting from taxes on cannabis sales.
Along with easing up on rules for gaining equity, the recreational license owners, who number about 200, want the state to put all cannabis operations under one roof or department — the goal being to make it easier for cannabis businesses to get up and running.
Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: [email protected]
At the Harvey Public Works Department at 10 a.m. to announce new south suburban IDOT investments.
No official public events.
At the George W. Dunne National Golf Course at 10:30 a.m. to speak at the Forest Preserve Foundation’s 2022 Conservation Cup
— Local election officials flooded with impossible demands: “’Election integrity’ activists bombarded local election authorities with demands for 2020 voter data tables that ballot counting machines never collected,” reports KSDK’s Mark Maxwell from Madison County.
— Disturbing ad: People Who Play By The Rules PAC has launched a new ad, titled “The Scream,” that shows a woman in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood being attacked by three men. The video appears to be taken from a nearby home security camera. The video fades to a picture of Gov. JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot with the words, “How much worse does it have to get,” an allusion to crime.
The PAC, which is backing Republican Darren Bailey for governor, is fronted by conservative operative Dan Proft and largely funded by billionaire Richard Uihlein. It’s the same group that put out an ad that was criticized as racist for showing Lightfoot’s face darkened.
— Mary K. O’Brien has been endorsed by former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb in her bid for the Illinois Supreme Courts 3rd District seat. Webb is also a special prosecutor and is the co-executive chair of the powerful Winston & Strawn law firm. In a lengthy endorsement letter Webb praised O’Brien, currently an Illinois Appellate Court justice, for her “thoughtful, practical and well-reasoned” decisions. “Like me, Justice O’Brien grew up in rural Illinois. That is not lost on me, and I have found that Justice O’Brien applies the same Illinois common sense that I have always applied during my career.” Webb said.
Anti-Defamation League says 10 purported Oath Keepers in Illinois work as firefighters, paramedics or EMTs, most of any state: “There are people in various positions in society, from law enforcement to elected officials to emergency medical professionals, who we need to trust are there purely to serve the needs of the community. The Oath Keepers are anathema to that concept,” Oren Segal, vice president of the Center on Extremism told Tribune’s John Keilman.
— Third wave of immigrants arrive in Chicago from Texas: “For the third time in a week, Texas officials sent individuals arriving at the southern U.S. border to Chicago. City officials are providing refuge for the newly arrived immigrants at a Humboldt Park shelter,” by Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón.
— Progressive Chicago aldermen aim to protect abortion rights for out-of-state people and providers: “A proposed ordinance up before a council committee Thursday would prohibit police and city employees from carrying out search warrants or help investigations of abortion providers and seekers,” by WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel.
— New questions raised over Chicago casino bid: Activist and church groups are urging the state gaming board “to go slow and potentially block a bid by Bally’s to operate Chicago’s proposed casino,” claiming, “Bally’s is ‘financially wobbly,’ has run afoul of regulators in Rhode Island and would hold ‘undue economic influence’ in Illinois gaming business,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— Appellate Court breathes new life into distracted driving lawsuit, opens door to possible refund of millions in fines in the city: “The Appellate Court ruled Circuit Judge Pamela McLean Myerson was wrong to toss the case in August 2021 by finding the plaintiffs lacked legal standing,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— 15 City Council members decline 9.62 percent pay raise tied to inflation: “Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) wants to cut the top pay for alderpersons and cap future pay raises at 3 percent a year,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Street resurfacing must include better transportation upgrades, advocates say, via WTTW’s Nick Blumberg
— Art Spiegelman’s ‘Maus’ is the latest One Book, One Chicago title: It’s a graphic novel about the Holocaust that the school board in Tennessee recently voted to remove from schools, citing curse words and an image of nudity, writes Tribune’s Christopher Borrelli.
— Ronnie Mosley, a political organizer, is throwing his hat in the ring for the 21st Ward aldermanic seat that opened up this week after Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. announced he wouldn’t seek reelection. Mosley cofounded Homegrown Strategy Group, a policy and organizing firm that’s working on Pritzker’s campaign. He’s also served on the local school councils. He was elected to the Local School Council of Simeon Career Academy and Wendell Green Elementary — and founded Black Bench Chicago, which works to get Black leaders into politics.
— Ana Guajardo, a labor advocate, is running for the 10th Ward seat that opened up with Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza’s news that she won’t seek reelection. Guajardo co-founded the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos or the United Workers’ Center in East Side, via Block Club’s Maxwell Evans and Colin Boyle
— Jeylu Gutierrez made it official. The chief of staff to Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya is running for the 14th Ward seat held by powerful Ald. Edward Burke.
— Staying in his seat: Ald. Mike Rodriguez, who holds Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s former 22nd Ward seat, announced he’ll seek reelection.
Bill Conway, who’s running for alderman in the 34th Ward drew a crowd of 180 people last night for a fundraiser at Tree House in downtown Chicago. Among the guests: Secretary of State candidate Alexi Giannoulias, who attended the Latin School with Conway when they were teen-agers and Conway’s dad, Bill Conway Jr., the interim CEO of Carlyle Group.
Also spotted: state Reps. Omar Williams, Stephanie Kifowit and Margaret Croke, judges Tom Sianis, Robert Bertucci and Ankur Srivastava, Monsignor Kenneth Velo, political consultant Frank Calabrese, Illinois Restaurant Association Chair Sam Sanchez, Special Olympics Chicago’s Skinny Sheahan, Flood Brothers International President Kevin Flood, MRWD Commissioner-elect Dan Pogorzelski, aldermanic candidate Sam Royko and Cook County Commission candidate Dan Calandriello.
— With petitions in hand, conservative group’s leader decries possible public handouts to the Bears, by Daily Herald’s Christopher Placek
— Batavia council surprises mayor by naming city hall after him, by Daily Herald’s Susan Sarkauskas
— Study weighs ability of residents to walk to public transportation, stores, schools in Naperville, by Naperville Sun’s Suzanne Baker
— Orland Park considers higher water rates to pay for capital spending, water meter replacements, by Daily Southtown’s Mike Nolan
— Stalking charge dropped against man who fired weapon near Mayor Lightfoot’s home: “He was just a disgruntled citizen,” lawyer says, by Tribune’s Stephanie Casanova.
— Ex-R. Kelly business manager Derrel McDavid testifies he didn’t believe early claims against singer, by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel and Andy Grimm
We asked if you’d rather go to the moon or Mars and why:
Anne Caprara, chief of staff to the governor: “Mars. It’s the best place to find Matt Damon.”
Jim Strickler: “The moon because I feel more connected to it and because it’s a shorter distance to home. I wouldn’t want to be gone from my family for as long as a trip to Mars would require.”
Dome or open-air stadium? Email [email protected]
— Propaganda posing as newspapers appears to be funded by conservative donor Dick Uihlein, reports Crain’s Greg Hinz
— The unveiling of Barack and Michelle Obama portraits revealed far more than paintings, by POLITICO’s Sam Stein and Eugene Daniels
— Democrats weigh same-sex marriage vote in pre-election sprint, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett, Marianne LeVine and Sarah Ferris
— GOP confronts shrinking donor pool as midterms approach, by POLITICO’s Jessica Piper
— The Senate debate season is slow in 2022. There’s a reason for that, by POLITICO’s Natalie Allison
— Dems defend Fetterman’s low profile amid GOP health attacks: ‘Why should he help Oz?’ by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett
— Tami Reller will be CEO and co-chair of Duly Health and Care. She starts Sept. 16. Reller has been president of the health system that was previously known as DuPage Medical Group. Current CEO and co-chair Steve Nelson is leaving. Tribune’s Lisa Schencker reports.
— Jack Shadid is an attorney with Hinshaw & Culbertson, where he’ll work with the firm’s government and employee benefits practice groups. Shadid was associate legal counsel with the Illinois Senate President’s Office, where he worked with the Senate Pensions Committee and Insurance Committee.
— Pam Speer Lewis is now executive director of the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Foundation, a breast cancer research and education charity. She was executive director at the Foundation for Women’s Cancer/ Society of Gynecologic Oncology.
TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Lawrence Falbe for correctly answering that Stevens Hotel, now the Hilton on South Michigan Avenue, housed service members from1941 to 1945 during the period when military drills were conducted in Grant Park across from the hotel.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Potawatomi chief Half Day has two roads named in his honor, including Half Day Road on Chicago’s North Shore. What’s the other road? Email [email protected]
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, former state Rep. Elizabeth Coulson, comms specialist Robert Flinn, Kivvit principal Alex Hanns, political analyst James Nowlan, former Cinespace owner Alex Pissios and Dovetail Project founder Sheldon Smith.
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