The Spin: Lightfoot reboots peace message ahead of Anthony Alvarez fatal police shooting video | Mayor says ‘Vax Pass’ a work in progress | WaPo: Biden close to picking Emanuel as diplomat

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Lisa Donovan, Chicago Tribune
·7 min read
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For the second time in a two-week span, Mayor Lori Lightfoot today called for peace ahead of the release of video showing a Chicago police officer fatally shooting someone during a foot chase.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability released video of last month’s fatal police shooting of 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez on the Northwest Side. Two weeks ago, the agency released video showing a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

Both times she’s called for peace as the public braces for what’s shown on the footage, and an apparent attempt to deter a repeat of the unrest that occurred last year after the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

The mayor also talked publicly for the first time today about her administration’s plans to create a “Vax Pass.” Officials are looking to give an incentive to those who still haven’t been vaccinated that could include preferred seating and admission to certain events.

Chicago public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady has said the plan is under consideration to begin next month.

While there’s plenty of talk that Chicago may see some of the outdoor festivals and concerts of pre-coronavirus summers, the city’s Pride Parade has been canceled for a second year, Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens writes.

And once again, there’s chatter that President Joe Biden will appoint former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel ambassador to Japan.

Biden will be giving his first address to a joint session of Congress tonight during a prime-time speech timed for his first 100 days in office. The president is expected to lay out his $1.8 trillion family plan which includes a range of proposals from two years of free community college to $225 billion for child care as well as monthly payments of $250, at minimum, to parents. The Associated Press previews the nationally televised event in which Biden will deliver his speech at the U.S. Capitol before a pared down audience of lawmakers because of COVID-19 restrictions. Read it here.

Welcome to The Spin.

Lightfoot calls for peace before video of fatal Chicago police shooting of Anthony Alvarez is released

Hours before video was released showing the fatal Chicago police shooting of 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez, Mayor Lightfoot released a statement with lawyers for the Alvarez family, calling for peaceful protests.

In the joint statement, Lightfoot said she and others are “acutely aware of the range of emotions that will accompany the release of these materials, and we collectively issue this statement and ask that those who wish to express themselves do so peacefully and with respect for our communities and the residents of Chicago.” The Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s “investigation is ongoing, and both parties expect and have the utmost confidence that officials will determine the complete and unbiased set of facts in this case,” the mayor said.

My colleagues write: “The statement mirrors one sent by Lightfoot and the lawyers for Toledo’s family earlier this month as COPA prepared to release video of that police shooting.”

At an unrelated news conference later in the morning, Lightfoot echoed those sentiments. Noting the shooting involved a foot chase, the mayor reiterated that the Police Department is working on a policy involving such pursuits. Full story about the police video along with the mayor’s comments here.

* From the Tribune’s John Byrne and Gregory Pratt: Mayor Lori Lightfoot, aldermen look for answers after release of video showing Anthony Alvarez’s fatal shooting by a Chicago police officer

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Lightfoot says Chicago’s ‘Vax Pass’ plan a ‘work in progress’

The mayor was asked this morning at an unrelated news conference about the city’s plans for creating COVID-19 vaccination passports, a move Chicago public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said is under consideration to begin next month, Gregory Pratt reports.

He notes that “Lightfoot said the plan is still ‘a work in progress’ but that city officials are looking for ways to give vaccine stragglers incentive to get inoculated from the disease that could include preferred seating and admission to certain events.” Full story here.

Biden close to naming diplomats, including former Mayor Rahm Emanuel as ambassador to Japan: Washington Post

President Biden is expected to begin naming his choices for high-profile ambassador postings in May several people familiar with White House plans tell the Washington Post, revealing what the paper describes as “winners among a pecking order of Biden friends, donors and aides that spans decades.”

“The process has been complicated by sensitivity to naming candidates other than the coterie of well-connected white people, most of them men, who have been the mainstay of Biden’s political circle,” the Post’s Tyler Pager and Anne Gearan write. “The selection process has taken longer than it has for Biden’s predecessors because of that issue and because Biden ‘knows too many people and he has too many friends,’ said one person close to the process.”

“But the emerging initial choices, some of which are nearly final, are familiar names in Biden’s world” including Emanuel for ambassador to Japan. Full story here.

No surprise: Emanuel, a onetime congressman who was chief of staff in the Obama-Biden administration, was an informal adviser to Biden’s campaign.

Local activists and at least one high-profile elected official have held their nose over reports of Biden giving Emanuel the diplomatic post or a spot in his administration. Several have complained about the Emanuel administration’s response to the Chicago police killing of Laquan McDonald. Emanuel was dogged by allegations he sought to keep police dashcam video of the 2014 shooting under wraps until after the 2015 mayoral election.

Pritzker touts grants for electric vehicle training programs at local colleges as Rivian steps up production in central Illinois, plans to open showroom in Chicago

Eager to tout Illinois as a green energy state, Gov. Pritzker was in Normal today “to announce plans to create a $7.5 million electric vehicle workforce development program at Heartland Community College,” the Pantagraph newspaper reports.

The move comes as Rivian, the startup electric vehicle maker whose inaugural truck, SUV and Amazon delivery van have captured the auto world’s attention, ramps up production in the central Illinois city and is developing showrooms in Chicago, New York and suburban Los Angeles.

Last month, Illinois auto dealers sued the state and EV startup Rivian in Cook County Circuit Court for selling direct to consumers, the Tribune’s Robert Channick reported.

The Belleville News-Democrat also reports that Southwestern Illinois College will receive money from a $7.5 million grant to establish a manufacturing training academy.

The News-Democrat notes that “(t)he $15 million for the two academies comes through the Rebuild Illinois capital plan.”

* Nominations are open for the Edgar-Simon statesmanship award: Named for the late Democratic U.S. Sen. Paul Simon and former Illinois Republican Gov. Jim Edgar. The award will be presented to an elected state or local government official in Illinois whose public service has been defined by courage, compassion, effectiveness, civility and bipartisanship.

Announced last fall, the award is a partnership between the former Republican governor and the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. Nominations are being accepted through June 15. More details on how to nominate someone here.

Bernie Wong, founder of the Chinese American Service League, dies: ‘We’ve really lost an advocate and trailblazer’

From the Tribune’s Madeline Buckley: Bernie Wong, the pioneering co-founder of the Chinese American Service League, which grew to be the largest social service agency serving Asian Americans in the Midwest, died of cancer Tuesday. She was 77.

Heralded by Chicago politicians and community members as a dynamic leader who improved the lives of those she served, Wong co-founded the organization in 1978. It started out as a one-employee operation and now offers a wide range of social services including elder care and early education.

“We’ve really lost an advocate and trailblazer, someone who truly is an inspiration and role model for us all,” Paul Luu, CEO of the Chinese American Service League, told the Tribune.

Wong was honored by President Barack Obama in 2012 for her work in the community, and her retirement from CASL in 2016 was marked with a tribute in Congress by Sen. Dick Durbin.

In September of 2016, the city dedicated the honorary Bernarda “Bernie” Wong Way in Chinatown.

In March, Wong was among 24 community leaders honored by Mayor Lori Lightfoot for Women’s History Month. Full remembrance, here.

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Twitter @byldonovan