Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, among others, to express dismay and call for peace after a Kentucky grand jury did not charge any Louisville police officers for their role in Breonna Taylor’s March death.
The African American woman’s death, like the May Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, also Black, has become a flashpoint in the call for racial justice, prompting incidents of civil unrest nationwide.
Tomorrow is a big day: Early voting begins in some parts of the state and election officials will send out the first wave of mail-in ballots to voters who requested one in the countdown to the Nov. 3 election.
And former President Barack Obama, who’s campaigning for his former vice president, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, took to Twitter today to share his number — a nod to Chicago with that 773 prefix — and a message: “I want to hear how you’re doing, what’s on your mind, and how you’re planning on voting this year.”
No question about it, an Obama adviser tells the Spin, he’s trying to mobilize voters where they are at during this pandemic: home and looking at their phones.
Welcome to The Spin.
Lightfoot, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, others call for peace after ‘a gross miscarriage of justice’
A moment of silence for Breonna Taylor at 7 p.m. tonight: During an afternoon news conference, Mayor Lightfoot said the Louisville grand jury’s decision is a setback in the fight for equality and justice, and called for Chicago residents to step outside their homes at 7 p.m. for a moment of silence to honor Taylor, the Tribune’s Gregory Pratt and Dan Petrella write.
“Afterward, I encourage you to say her name,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot says she talked with Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher — whom she describes as a personal friend — multiple times as they awaited the grand jury’s decision. Protesters had taken to the streets en masse this afternoon.
At the same news conference, Gov. Pritzker called the grand jury’s decision “a gross miscarriage of justice.”
“A grand jury in Louisville today made a decision that doesn’t come close to capturing the injustice we know to have happened on that tragic night in March,” the governor said.
About police accountability: “Lightfoot spoke about the need to implement reforms and said no-knock warrants should be ‘extraordinarily rare,’” Pratt and Petrella note. “She criticized the acquittal of Chicago police Officer Dante Servin in the killing of Rekia Boyd and of a group of officers in the Laquan McDonald case, while also noting Jason Van Dyke’s conviction.”
The mayor said: “Are we satisfied with the way in which Black and brown people have been treated in this city historically and currently at the hands of our Police Department? No. That is why every single day we work hard to make sure that we build real authentic relationships with the police.”
“Chicago police Superintendent David Brown said the department needs to continue holding itself accountable by implementing reforms, including those mandated by a federal consent decree,” Pratt and Petrella write. Read their full story here.
A day ago, Pritzker put Illinois National Guard ‘in a state of readiness’ in anticipation of announcement: Jamie Munks and Jeremy Gorner have the full story in the Tribune.
‘Dreadhead Cowboy’ hit with charges he abused horse, which may be put down after Dan Ryan protest ride: Read the Tribune story here.
Early voting starts in some jurisdictions around Illinois tomorrow. Locally, that includes most of the collar counties but you’ll have to wait until October in Chicago and suburban Cook County. Find out more about voting dates on the Illinois State Board of Elections' one-stop searchable database here. Or you can check with your local election office.
Election officials also will send out the first round of mail-in ballots tomorrow to voters who requested them.
President Trump predicts election ‘will end up in the Supreme Court,’ says he wants replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg confirmed ahead of Election Day: Read the Associated Press story here.
New Casten ad takes aim at Ives 'A' grade for Trump: Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten’s newest campaign ad hit the airwaves this morning, with a cameo by former state Republican Party chair Pat Brady, who’s endorsed Casten over GOP challenger Jeanne Ives in the west and northwest suburban 6th Congressional District. In the spot, Brady suggests Ives and Trump are in lockstep, saying they both “deny climate change and dangerously ignore the scientists fighting the coronavirus.”
It also features an interview in which Ives says of Trump “I give him an A.” You can watch the ad here.
Ives holding fundraiser: The Wheaton Republican held a meet-and-greet fundraiser today at Boulder Ridge Country Club, in, Lake in the Hills.
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride’s retention race could affect partisan swing state’s highest court: This week "The state GOP also plans to urge voters in north central Illinois' third judicial district to oppose the retention of Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride, who has served on the state’s highest court since 2000. State GOP Party chair Tim Schneider said if Kilbride did not win retention, it would be the first step toward ending Democrats' 4-3 majority on the state Supreme Court.
Reminder: “Like appellate and circuit court judges, Supreme Court judges go through a partisan primary and a general election. At stake is a 10-year term," writes Scott T. Holland in the Northwest Herald. “If a judge wants another 10 years, they stand for a retention vote, which requires 60% approval. Judges who fail to win retention are replaced as if they had retired, died or otherwise left office: the remaining members appoint a replacement who serves until the next election.”
Going to a Chicago ER? Now you can register to vote while you’re there: The Tribune’s Lisa Schencker has the details here.
With the pandemic curbing a lot of the old-school campaigning — door-knocking, rallies, even in-person fundraisers — former President Obama, who cut his political teeth in Chicago, took to Twitter and nodded to the changed environment: “All right, let’s try something new. If you’re in the United States, send me a text at 773-365-9687.”
He goes on to write, “I want to hear how you’re doing, what’s on your mind, and how you’re planning on voting this year” and that “I’ll be in touch from time to time to share what’s on my mind, too.”
The president’s using the text-based platform Community - a fave of some A-list celebrities to reach the masses. It’s about engaging voters where they’re at, Eric Schultz, an Obama senior adviser, tells The Spin.
“President Obama has said this is an all-hands-on-deck moment, so we are going to use every tactic we can find to mobilize voters," Schultz said in an emailed statement. "We’ve always been driven by a strategy of finding audiences where they are at, so in this particular moment, of course we are going to now reach people in the palms of their hands.”
The State Journal-Register’s Doug Finke writes: “Ameren, Commonwealth Edison and other state utilities have agreed to extend a moratorium on residential disconnections until March 31 for low income customers and those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.” It comes days after the Illinois Commerce Commission sent a letter to the utilities asking for the extension. Read the full story here.
Governor warns northwest Illinois region could be headed for stricter COVID-19 regulations: The Tribune’s Jamie Munks has the details here.
Gov. Pritzker was asked today about criticism over his daughter, 18, participating in equestrian competitions while youth sports have been halted in the state amid the coronavirus.
“Let me begin by saying that attacking my daughter for playing in a sport that is allowed, that the doctors have said that people can play ... is inappropriate," he said during a news conference. "I think that people have to understand that what I’m focused on, again, with all of this, is saving lives, is making sure that we’re keeping people healthy.
“The fact that people want to get personal is disturbing,” he said, adding, “people are dying. Maybe people ought to step back a little and ask themselves ‘what is this all about?’”
Pritzker has taken heat over putting a brick on what he’s called “high contact” sports this fall. It’s even prompted protests from parents and student athletes. The governor reiterated that his goal is to keep people safe.
Empty roads, trains, buses and airports: How COVID-19 and staying at home changed how Chicago gets around: The Tribune’s Kori Rumore takes a look here.
Cook County plans to give out grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses hit hard by pandemic: Alice Yin has the details here.
University of Wisconsin at Madison will restart in-person classes but asks students to move out of dorms if they can: The Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney has the story here.
Critics weigh in as scores of Illinois high schools reopened for SAT makeup exams: My Tribune colleagues have the details here.
From the Tribune’s Alice Yin: “Cook County Health’s board of directors sent the county’s Board of Commissioners its preliminary $3.4 billion 2021 budget plan this week that would enact cuts across departments aimed at closing a projected $187 million deficit.”
Closing the gap will involve 130 layoffs, which already have begun, along with closing and consolidating some operations, Yin notes in her story.
“The public health system, which operates Stroger and Provident hospitals and is tasked with providing health care for some of the county’s poorest residents, already was facing a ballooning crisis in uncompensated medical care when the coronavirus pandemic hit,” Yin writes. Read her full story here.
The county may shrink staff and operations, but with the U.S. Supreme Court about to decide Obamacare’s fate, along with a pandemic-triggered economic downturn that’s left thousands without work, the question is whether the county health system may see an influx of new patients. Stay tuned.
Other news in the region: Chicago’s signature LGBTQ neighborhood will no longer be marketed as Boystown, following complaints: Read Tribune reporter Nara Schoenberg’s full story here.
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