Welcome to Clout Street: Morning Spin, our weekday feature to catch you up with what’s going on in government and politics from Chicago to Springfield. Subscribe here.
Aldermen finally will get their chance Friday to publicly rip Chicago Public Schools for cuts to special education funding, even if it comes during a less-than-high-profile time slot.
The City Council Education Committee will hold a 2:30 p.m. hearing on a resolution calling for school district officials to testify about cuts raised by a WBEZ report. The meeting was initially scheduled to be held Dec. 19, but committee Chairman Ald. Howard Brookins Jr., 21st, abruptly called it off a few days before then.
Progressive Caucus aldermen cried foul, and Brookins reset the meeting after 22nd Ward Ald. Ricardo Munoz this week threatened to use a procedural move to try to force him to hold it.
The Education Committee doesn’t have the power to force Mayor Rahm Emanuel or his hand-picked Board of Education to make changes. But the public airing of complaints about special ed could embarrass the mayor weeks after school CEO Forrest Claypool resigned amid accusations that he lied to undermine an ethics investigation by the district inspector general.
And the hearing comes as Emanuel already faces heated community complaints about plans for a new high school in Englewood.
Brookins said he delayed the meeting simply because school officials told him they wouldn’t be able to get people from the office to testify days before Christmas in the immediate aftermath of Claypool’s resignation. Brookins said he always planned to find another time to hold it. “I told (school officials), ‘Let’s do this,’ ” Brookins said.
It remains to be seen whether the school district sends top officials to the hearing. Aldermen can’t compel them to attend, and Brookins pointed out Emanuel’s school board often argues complaints about education policies are better handled at the board’s regular meetings. (John Byrne)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Emanuel is expected to be at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. interfaith prayer breakfast.
*Gov. Bruce Rauner is in Edwardsville for an Illinois bicentennial event and then in Peoria for a meeting with small business owners.
*Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker will hold a news conference with state Sen. Heather Steans, who is arguing the state should legalize marijuana.
*U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin will visit a Chicago job training program for low-income young adults. He’ll talk about congressional efforts to pass the Dream Act.
*Democratic governor candidate Daniel Biss will campaign in Champaign and Mahomet in central Illinois.
*The Chicago City Council Finance Committee meets. On the agenda is a $9.3 million settlement for a wrongful conviction tied to Burge detectives.
*The City Council Housing and Real Estate Committee will consider a $500,000 fund for subsidizing affordable housing.
From the notebook
*Drury stays on AG ballot: The Illinois State Board of Elections ruled Thursday that state Rep. Scott Drury can appear on the March primary ballot as a candidate for attorney general, a win for the Lake County Democrat as he navigates a crowded primary field.
A hearing officer had recommended Drury be removed because he failed to file a new form for the attorney general’s office, but the board voted 5-3 to keep Drury on the ballot.
Drury had used the same economic interest statement on file from his bid for state representative, which his attorney, Casey Westover, argued met required standards. Westover said filing a second statement would be redundant.
Drury is a vocal critic of his party’s House speaker, Rep. Michael Madigan of Chicago. The three votes against Drury came from Democrats on the election board. Democratic board member William McGuffage said Drury’s failure was not a minor mistake, saying members of the public “wouldn’t be able to determine” the lawmaker’s potential conflict of interest as the state’s head attorney.
Democrats Charles Scholz and Casandra Watson joined McGuffage in dissent. (Bill Lukitsch)
*Ives shot at Rauner misses mark: State Rep. Jeanne Ives, the Wheaton lawmaker challenging Gov. Rauner in the Republican primary, took a shot at the governor Thursday, claiming that he lost the endorsement of the Illinois Education Association to Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker.
“The IEA chose the big government Democrat over the big government Republican, despite Gov. Rauner’s best efforts to cater to the IEA with Chicago Public School bailouts at the expense of suburban and Downstate schools,” the Ives campaign said in its release.
But suggesting Rauner is trying to suck up to the IEA by helping CPS doesn’t track. That’s because the IEA doesn’t represent CPS teachers. A different education labor umbrella group does — the Illinois Federation of Teachers, which is affiliated with the Chicago Teachers Union.
The new funding formula, which Rauner has touted as a major success, is currently in limbo after he issued an amendatory veto this week of a clean-up bill to allow more private schools to be considered for funds from a new private school tax-credit program.
At any rate, the IEA wasn’t going to give its endorsement to Rauner, who has made weakening union influence part of his long-standing agenda. Still, Ives referred to the union as “a far left-leaning activist group intent on growing government at all costs and bankrupting the state.”
The IEA has a traditionally more Republican-friendly history. In the 2014 Republican primary, the IEA and the IFT backed Kirk Dillard’s unsuccessful bid for governor over Rauner. In the past, the IEA also has backed GOP candidates for governor including Jim Thompson, Jim Edgar and George Ryan. (Rick Pearson)
*Bipartisan capital plan for Quincy: Democratic state Sen. Tom Cullerton and Republican state Rep. David McSweeney are working on a measure that would fund improvements to the Quincy veterans home, which has been beset by cases of Legionnaires’ disease.
Cullerton, of Villa Park, filed a bill to authorize improvements that would include updates to the water systems or new construction to prevent the spread of the Legionella bacteria.
McSweeney, of Barrington Hills, is trying to build a bipartisan coalition to ensure speedy passage in the House if the bill clears the Senate, Cullerton said.
The Rauner administration’s handling of the Legionella issue at Quincy has become a recent political problem. A total of 13 people have died and more have been sickened since a 2015 outbreak. Rauner left the home Wednesday after staying at the facility for a week.
McSweeney is one of Rauner’s most outspoken Republican critics in the legislature and is backing the governor’s primary opponent, state Rep. Ives. (Rick Pearson)
*Police IG exits City Hall: Chicago’s new deputy inspector general for public safety plans to leave after just six months on the job, city officials announced Thursday.
Inspector General Joseph Ferguson appointed Laura Kunard to the post in April. She was confirmed a few days later and started in late June. The job overseeing elements of policing and officer discipline was created during the controversy sparked more than two years ago by the release of video of a white officer shooting African-American teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times.
Kunard, who could not be reached for comment, plans to return to her past job as a senior research scientist for CNA, according to a press release from Ferguson’s office. She also is on a team monitoring police reforms in Albuquerque, N.M., where she is to have “significant new responsibilities” following the election of a new mayor, the press release states.
Her resignation takes effect Jan. 19. (Dan Hinkel)
*Quick spins: Democratic governor hopeful J.B. Pritzker got endorsed by the abortion right group Personal PAC. … State Sen. Kwame Raoul scored a major endorsement as he runs for the Democratic attorney general nomination. The Illinois AFL-CIO, the big labor umbrella group, is backing him in the crowded field of eight candidates. … The state elections board also voted Thursday to keep on the attorney general ballot former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti despite an objection from Drury that alleged Mariotti had engaged in a pattern of voter fraud. A hearing officer had determined the complaint was founded on hearsay. … Former North Shore Republican Rep. Bob Dold has joined the strategic communications and public affairs practice of Forbes Tate Partners. Dold lost his seat in 2016 to Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider of Deerfield.
*On the “Sunday Spin”: On this week’s show, Chicago Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson’s guests are Democratic state Reps. Mike Zalewski and Jaime Andrade on bitcoin; and Democratic attorney general candidates Jesse Ruiz and and Aaron Goldstein will appear separately. The “Sunday Spin” airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on WGN-AM 720.
What we’re writing
*Special report: 75 women strangled or smothered in Chicago since 2001, most of the victims African-American.
*Rauner campaign stops airing TV ad featuring Missouri Gov. Greitens, who has admitted to extramarital affair.
*Emanuel reveals price tag of measure of labor peace he’s secured ahead of 2019 re-election bid.
*Illinois AG candidate Aaron Goldstein robbed while taking promotional photos for his campaign.