The Spin: Finally, Lightfoot offers a civilian police surveillance plan | Legislature enters closing days with budget, remap among unresolved items
Mayor Lori Lightfoot came up with her own plan for civilian oversight of the police department, which she said would occur within the first 100 days of his tenure.
The idea is to create an independent panel that would have a say in everything from leadership to policies and even the budget at a time when demands for law enforcement reform are growing.
Already, “the black city council caucus has joined with Hispanic and progressive caucuses in approving a civilian police oversight plan summarily rejected by Lightfoot,” Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times wrote last week. My Tribune colleagues reported on Friday that the so-called compromise order “is being pushed by two organizations that want an elected council to have broad powers to dictate the policies, direction and budget of the police department.”
Lightfoot said this morning, ahead of his plan’s rollout, that the mayor – whoever he is – will ultimately decide who serves as the city’s best cop under the proposal.
This time of year, Illinois lawmakers are acting like finicky college students cramming in to complete a semester of work in time for summer vacation. In February, it looked like lawmakers had plenty of time to do it all. But now there is still a lot of work to be done, and time is running out.
For the General Assembly, the adjournment date is next week, May 31, and its to-do list remains important.
There is the job of spending a state budget. This includes closing a $ 1.3 billion deficit, ideally before the July 1 fiscal year begins. Lawmakers – led by Democrats who control both chambers – are also working to redesign the states’ legislative and congressional districts, work done once a decade to reflect population changes.
Rick Pearson and Dan Petrella from the Tribune reflect on the issues still on the table. More on that below.
And on Wednesday, former President Barack Obama will join a virtual conversation with youth and community leaders to discuss the activism sparked by the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd. The discussion will also focus on âre-imagining the policeâ as concerns take hold over the mistreatment of African-American residents by law enforcement.
This is part of a series of talks through the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, which is part of the Obama Foundation, the fundraising arm of the presidential center planned by the former president on the South Side. Details here.
Welcome to the Spin.
Here is what the mayor offered as a preview to the publication of his proposal for a civilian police surveillance commission: On the one hand, it will retain the power to hire and fire the best cop in town.
If there was a vacancy in the police commissioner‘s office, she said, the civil commission would review the candidates. But she stressed that the final choice would be up to her.
âPublic safety, I think, is one of the most critical responsibilities of any mayorâ¦ the relationship between the mayor and the police commissioner is of critical importance. And that gives him muscle since the mayor serves as the boss of any police commissioner.
“Because the responsibility ends with me,” said Lightfoot, “I will end up making this decision as mayor and any subsequent mayor.” My Tribune colleagues are working on a story that takes a closer look at his proposal. Come back here.
The mayor announces $ 80 million in rental and utility assistance: Gregory Pratt of the Tribune writes: “Lightfoot’s emergency rental assistance program will be funded by Congress from the Coronavirus Relief and Response Supplementary Appropriations Act, passed in December 2020, the city said. It will provide up to 15 months of rental assistance and utility payment assistance to eligible tenants, the city said. ” Full story here.
As Cardinal reinstates Reverend Michael Pfleger, Mayor Lightfoot once again welcomes his voice in the fight against gun violence
Christy Gutowski of the Tribune writes, “Cardinal Blase Cupich reinstates Reverend Michael Pfleger as Senior Pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Parish after Archdiocesan Council investigating allegations of sexual abuse discovered there was no sufficient reason to suspect that the iconic South Side priest was guilty of allegations of abuse dating back decades, according to a letter released to parishioners on Monday. “
During an independent press conference, Lightfoot was asked about developments involving the South Side Priest who has been a powerful voice over the years in city politics and beyond, putting him at odds with the church leaders. Former Tribune reporter Evan Osnos recounted Pfleger’s work, his place as a white clergyman in a predominantly black parish and his political connections in this New York room.
The mayor described Pfleger as “a major center of gravity in the community of Auburn Gresham, and I know he is a conscience for many of us regarding the issues of gun violence that plague far too many communities in this town. . And he is a lawyer, a lawyer, for the victims.
Lightfoot also explained how difficult it is for someone to make allegations of sexual abuse.
“One of the things that I think we can never lose sight of is that people came forward and said they had been victimized and deserved to be heard,” Lightfoot said. . âThe Archdiocese went through a process to assess these allegations and again we will learn more in the next few days, I guess, about what that process was, but the fact that these men have now come forward and said (their) truth is something we can never undermine or underestimate. Full story here.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot will make his education assistant his new chief of staff, his office said.
Lightfoot will replace outgoing chief of staff Maurice Classen with deputy mayor for education and social services Sybil Madison, a friend and trusted advisor.
Madison is a trained psychologist who, like Classen, served with Lightfoot in the Police Accountability Task Force. She was also a key advisor to Lightfoot during the 2019 teachers’ strike and negotiations to reopen schools.
His appointment is effective on June 2. She will be the second black woman to hold the post, the mayor’s office said.
Lightfoot is also appointing Paul Goodrich as the city’s COO, effective June 1. He will be responsible for “the oversight, development and implementation of strategic municipal initiatives and policy priorities for Chicago’s municipal infrastructure, transportation, regulatory and administrative services.”
Goodrich is a former corporate executive at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, US Trust Bank of America and The Northern Trust Company, the mayor’s office said. (Gregory Pratt)
Here’s a smart checklist, courtesy of Rick Pearson and Dan Petrella of the Tribune, on what’s on the legislature’s plate:
* “The priority on the list is a new state budget, as lawmakers search for ways to close a $ 1.3 billion deficit. But of more political and enduring significance is Democrats’ redistribution of legislative districts and the Congress of States to reflect demographic changes over the past decade. “
* âEfforts are also on the table to move forward on clean energy and to make electric utilities more accountable in the wake of the Commonwealth Edison scandal., with a push for reform of legislative ethics.
* “There have been discussions on amending a law to reform the police which is expected to come into force in July. in the face of the contempt of the law enforcement community. And again, there is a debate about an elected school board in Chicago. Add to all that something new this year, arguments about how to spend more than $ 8 billion in federal coronavirus relief money. Full story here.
From Rick Pearson of the Tribune: “On Friday evening, Illinois Democrats gave the public a first look at their proposed maps containing new dividing lines for Illinois” 118 state house and 59 state Senate districts that would be in place for the next decade starting with primary elections in March.
Faced with a June 30 deadline to produce and adopt the maps, or give Republicans a 50-50 chance to draw the new dividing lines, Democrats will look to act quickly in hearings scheduled for next week to advance their redistribution plans by the postponement scheduled for the end of May Dated.”
âThe actual detailed effects of the new dividing lines may not be known for several days. as Republicans review the details with various voting rights groups and ethnic and racial civil rights groups to ensure the new borders respect federal and state protections for traditionally under-represented minorities, âhe wrote.
Pearson also notes: âWith less than 10 days to go until the scheduled end of the spring legislative session, the release of the maps appears to run counter to Democratic commitments to full transparency and an effort to have the new dividing lines be. exposed to the public. review for at least two weeks before a final vote. Instead, four legislative hearings are scheduled in the final week of the General Assembly – two Tuesday and two Wednesday – before a scheduled vote is taken. Full story here.
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