Category Archives: Craig Dellimore

AG Madigan Pushes For Community Input In CPD Reform

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says she agrees with community groups who say the public should be more involved in efforts to draft a consent decree on Chicago police reform. Madigan sued the City of Chicago to pave the way for the federal courts to oversee reform of Chicago Police practices and procedures. All of this was in the wake of the fatal police shooting of suspect Laquan McDonald, as well as other incidents. And, she says, talks with the city are underway. But a number of groups, including the Chicago Urban League and Black Lives matter, say the community needs to be a part of those efforts as well. “I 100 percent agree. That was one of the big issues that I had with the city — really demanding that there is more community engagement so that people are brought in to what we need to do on police reform,” she said. Madigan says talks with the Emanuel Administration on a consent decree are going well. She says it’s clear that the administration is committed to reform, as well as the community and police. As for community involvement, the city has already held a number of public meetings seeking community input. Officials agree more community engagement will come.

With Trump Ending DACA, Durbin Seeks Vote On Dream Act In Congress

CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin again has called on top Republican lawmakers to bring the so-called Dream Act to the House and Senate floors as President Donald Trump ends the DACA program for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Two weeks ago, the Trump administration announced it was rescinding the Obama administration order that set up the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Durbin said that program needs to be replaced to end the uncertainty for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. To qualify for DACA, an immigrant must have been under the age of 31 when the program started; arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16; lived in the country since 2007; be enrolled in school, have a high school diploma or GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the military; and have no criminal record and have passed a national security check. Durbin, the second ranking Democrat in the Senate, said Congress needs to pass legislation to protect those young immigrants. “The right answer, I believe, is to pass the Dream Act, finally, and say that young people have a chance to prove themselves to earn their way into legal status, to earn their way into citizenship,” he said. The legislation Durbin has sponsored with Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graahm would protect undocumented immigrants from deportation if they have been in the country at least four years, were 17 years old or younger when they arrived, have graduated from high school or obtained a GED, have been employed for three years, and have passed a criminal background check and English proficiency exam. Durbin spoke about the Dream Act on Monday at Phoenix Military Academy, where many students aspire to join the U.S. Armed Forces. “This was one of the paths that a young person could follow to move from undocumented status to become legal in America,” he said. Regardless of the fate of immigration reform in Congress, Chicago Public Schools officials have said schools will remain a safe haven for undocumented immigrants. While the Trump administration effectively has ended DACA, officials have said the Department of Homeland Security will continue to adjudicate DACA renewals for six months, but won’t accept any new applications. DACA recipients whose permits expire by March 5 may apply for two-year renewal by Oct. 5.

Mayor: “All Hands On Deck” To Woo 2nd Amazon HQ To Chicago Area

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city’s bid to convince Amazon to build its second headquarters in Chicago will be an “all hands on deck” endeavor. Although the mayor and Gov. Bruce Rauner have been at odds about most issues lately, Emanuel said city and state officials will be working hard to entice Amazon to open its second headquarters in the Chicago area. Amazon expects to hire as many as 50,000 people full-time to work at the new facility over the course of several years, with an average annual compensation of $100,000 per employee. “This is of a scale that’s different. Therefore it’s going to be Chicago, county, and state with one voice; and all the resources, all hands on deck, and all the creativity to that effort, and everybody’s going to be pulling in the same direction. That’s the one thing I want to be clear about,” Emanuel said. Amazon has outlined its requirements for the complex, which it said will cost as much as $5 billion to build. Among the requirements, according to the company’s request for proposals: • A metropolitan area with more than one million people;
• a stable and business-friendly environment;
• proximity to major highways, mass transit and international airports;
• and space for up to eight million square feet for its office complex. Amazon plans to have the first phase completed in 2019, with additional space added through 2027. The mayor said Chicago has everything Amazon wants for its second headquarters, including several possible sites. “I don’t want to pick favorites about sites. That’s for them to pick. We have a multitude of sites, based on the perspective of what they want when they say Amazon in 2030,” he said. “I know, and I don’t want to speak for either the county or the state, but I can say from their staff levels, that we’re going to make sure that we have a unified public-private proposal.” Chicago-based developer Sterling Bay has said it plans to pursue the second Amazon headquarters at a massive mixed-use project it has proposed for up to 100 acres of land it has acquired along the Chicago River on the North Side, including the old Finkl steel plant. Other sites mentioned as possible homes for Amazon’s complex include the long-vacant Old Main Post Office spanning the east end of the Eisenhower Expressway, the old Michael Reese Hospital campus, and a 62-acre mixed-use development planned for a vacant stretch of the South Loop along the Chicago River.

Police Oversight Agency Missing Key Element At Launch

(CBS) — Mayor Emanuel is defending the formal launch of Chicago’s police oversight agency this week, though it will be missing what some say is a crucial element. WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports from City Hall. There is still no Civilian Advisory Board for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). City officials and community leaders are still working out how it will be created. Mayor Emanuel says the public can still have confidence in COPA. But, Arewa Karen Winters, whose 16-year-old relative Pierre Loury was shot and killed by police, is concerned COPA will be like the Independent Police Review Authority. Winters also wants the community involved in any federal court consent decree worked out between the city and Illinois Attorney General.

Pawar, Running Mate Emphasize Public Housing Needs

CHICAGO (CBS) – Illinois gubernatorial candidate Ameya Pawar says public housing is a statewide issue in this campaign. WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports from City Hall. Democrat Pawar is supporting his running mate Cairo Mayor Tyrone Coleman and his call for more federal and state help preserving public housing in downstate Illinois and elsewhere. Pawar, a Chicago alderman, likens it to his vocal opposition back when the Emanuel Administration closed dozens of Chicago schools. He says that when you close schools, you close communities. And when you neglect housing, it’s like closing a community, he says. Pawar and Coleman are pushing for guidelines on closing schools and preservation of available public housing. Coleman was in Chicago to ask federal housing officials to stop turning a deaf ear to public housing. Pawar echoes the sentiment.

New Ordinance Could Prohibit Private Drones From Flying Over Cook County Property

CHICAGO (CBS) – A Cook County Board Committee has approved a measure prohibiting most private drones from flying over Cook County Jail and other County property. The sponsor of the ordinance, Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey said there have been a number of incidents around the country where people have flown drones onto jail property, bringing in weapons, drugs and other contraband. “And there are also other security issues posed by the new technology of what these drones can do, what they can see, what they can carry, etc.,” Fritchey said. He said action is needed here. Fritchey said the ordinance would prohibit private drones from flying over Cook County owned building or property without prior authorization. There would be fines for violations and possible confiscation of the drone. “This simply prohibits the private use of drones over county owned property without prior authorization, provides a cash penalty or a fine for violation of the act and potential confiscation of the drone.” The ordinance would allow officials to use their own drones or authorize the use of private drones when needed, but Fritchey and others said the regulation of private drones is called for. A toy drone was found on Cook County Jail property back in May. It was too small to hold any contraband, but it did concern the Sheriff’s Department about what could happen.

County Board Showdown Looms For Sweetened Beverage Tax

CHICAGO (CBS) — The battle over Cook County’s controversial sweetened beverage tax takes center stage at Wednesday’s county board meeting, as opponents launch an effort to repeal the tax. More than 90 people – both for and against the tax – have signed up to speak at Wednesday’s board meeting, where Commissioner Richard Boykin will introduce his plan to repeal the tax. Boykin said he has a 10-point plan to reduce spending in order to balance the county’s budget without the $17 million in monthly revenue expected from the penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages. His proposal likely will go to committee, under the board’s normal rules of procedure, unless the majority of the board decides to suspend the rules to put the plan to an immediate vote.
The board was split 8-8 over the tax last year, and Board President Toni Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote to pass it. It’s unclear if Boykin has the votes to approve his repeal plan. Preckwinkle spoke at the City Club of Chicago’s breakfast earlier Wednesday, and her speech focused on the importance of this tax to fill a $174 million dollar budget deficit, and to promote better health. “To any commissioner considering this action, I remind you that a vote to repeal is a vote to fire front-line health care providers; doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals who help serve our most vulnerable,” she said. Recent polls have showed 87 percent of Cook County residents disapprove of the tax. Preckwinkle admitted she didn’t expect that kind of pushback from the public, but said if opponents are serious about repealing the tax, she noted the tax is expected to generate more than $200 million in revenue for next year’s budget. “Those who support repeal will have to identify those programs and services that they intend to cut to make up the $200 million in revenue loss,” she said. Commissioner John Fritchey, who voted against the tax, said in a Facebook post he does not expect a resolution to the repeal effort on Wednesday. If the measure is sent to committee, the earliest the full board could vote would be their next meeting in October.

Sweetened Beverage Tax Opponents Call For Commissioners To Repeal

CHICAGO (CBS) — The battle over Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax has showed no sign of fizzling out, and opponents have forged ahead with an effort to get rid of it. Tuesday morning, opponents held a protest rally to call on county commissioners to repeal the penny-per-ounce tax that has proved extremely unpopular with voters. Hundreds of retail workers and small business owners who say they have suffered from declining soft drink sales gathered outside the Thompson Center, across the street from the County Building, a day ahead of a possible repeal vote. Protesters held up signs and banners asking commissioners to “choose Cook County businesses.”
The sweetened beverage tax has been in effect for a little more than a month, yet many business owners have said sales have dropped significantly. “The residents of Cook County, their jobs and businesses are being hammered by this unfair, overreaching, illogical beverage tax,” said Sam Toia, Illinois Restaurant Association. Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin has said the county should repeal the tax, and on Tuesday he unveiled a 10-point fiscal plan to make up for the $17 million in monthly revenue that would be lost if the tax goes away. Boykins’ plan includes a hiring freeze, closing vacant positions, and holding the line on salary increases.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has defended the tax, saying it helps promote better health, and is needed to help the county’s finances. She has said it’s a better option than other possible tax increases. However, Boykin said the tax will backfire on Preckwinkle. “Her whole premise is is that she hopes the tax will cause people to drink less of this product. Well, if they drink less of it, guess what? We don’t get the revenue that she said that we need to realize in order to fund county government,” he said. “So guess what? We’re going to be at the same place in a few months down the road, when she says that we don’t get that revenue, that individuals are going to be talking about laying folks off. That’s irresponsible.” A reporter noted Boykin’s 10-point plan sounded a bit like a campaign platform, and Boykin did not reject the notion. “Toni Preckwinkle and this unfair pop tax must go, and they must go right now. The reality of it is is that we’ll make a decision on whether or not we’re running for county board president. That’s a press conference for another time. Right now, I want to focus on a fiscal roadmap forward for the county,” he said. But in a visit to the eye clinic at Provident Hospital, Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the tax would help prevent some of the eye diseases treated at the clinic, many liked to diabetes and a high-sugar diet. And she added, don’t expect an up or down vote on the soda tax on Wednesday. “My expectation is we will follow the regular order of business and the matter will be referred to finance for consideration,” Preckwinkle said.
Supporters of repeal say Preckwinkle wants the issue referred to Committeee because she doesn’t have the votes to defeat it outright. Coca-Cola employee Claudia Stachacc said sales in Cook County have dropped about 25 percent from the time the tax kicked in. “They don’t want to pay the tax. I mean, I go to the store, and I don’t want to pay the tax either. So I go outside of Cook County to buy my stuff, too,” she said. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent $5 million on ads supporting the tax, claiming it is all in the name of health. He has said he plans to put out even more ads, urging the county to keep the tax in place. Boykin said there’s a 50-50 chance the full County Board will vote on the repeal plan on Wednesday if commissioners want to rush this process. The standard procedure would be for the board to send Boykin’s proposal to committee for debate, and then bring it to a vote of the full board in October.

Chicago Asks For Nationwide Injunction Against Department Of Justice

CHICAGO (CBS) — Lawyers for the City of Chicago were in the U.S. District Court arguing that the Trump Administration should not be allowed to take away federal law enforcement grants from Chicago because of its policies on undocumented immigrants. Federal judge Harry Leinenweber told all the lawyers they would hear from him, but he did not say when. The city is asking for a nationwide injunction against the Justice Department’s decisions on getting law enforcement grants, but Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler argued that requiring cities, like Chicago, to cooperate with federal authorities to deport undocumented immigrants is well within the law and the constitution. But Chicago Corporation Council Ed Siskel said it’s not and is just wrong. “The Mayor and Superintendent Johnson have been very clear from the minute these conditions were announced by the Trump Justice Department that we will not standby and have our values as a welcoming city compromised,” Siskel said. Attorney Ron Safer also argued that it’s unconstitutional for the Department of Justice to bar grant money, because the city will not give the feds notice of and unfettered access to undocumented immigrants who may be held for minor crimes. Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler said the authority is there and the grants are voluntary and don’t involve much money. But Siskel said we are not just talking about Chicago. “There are law enforcement agencies, there are former and current prosecutors, and law enforcement officials all around the county who have weighed in saying these conditions need to be struck down,” he said. The city said 37 other cities, counties and organizations are siding with Chicago in its federal lawsuit.

At Issue: Illinois House GOP Leader Defends School-Funding Compromise

(CBS) – Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin has a message for any Republicans and Democrats unhappy with the compromise school funding bill just signed into law this week: That’s what compromise feels like, and it’s a good thing.

WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

Several Republicans still complain the school-funding bill provides way too much money for Chicago teacher pensions. But Durkin says Chicago Public Schools needed the money and Democrats were going to get it somehow.

What he and fellow Republicans got in return was a $75 million tax credit plan for people who donate to scholarships for private and religious schools. Democrats say that’s a voucher plan.

Durkin says no, not according to the law.

At times during the battle over school funding, Chicago Mayor Emanuel and others accused Gov. Rauner of being incapable of compromise. Durkin says the governor is simply a driven man who has a strong vision of what he wants to accomplish for the state. He demanded that he get something for each item he “gave” on.

Durkin is the guest on “At Issue,” which airs 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 pm. Sunday.