Good Monday Morning, Illinois. Its great to be back after a relaxing week, and weve got a lot to catch up on. So lets dig in.

FIRST, AN UPDATE: Afghanistans government has collapsed and the Taliban has taken control, forcing President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country. Much as in Vietnam, the United States never expected to be there as long as it was. Now, we can count this as another war lost. From POLITICOs Natasha Korecki and Christopher Cadelago: Clearly botched: Biden White House under assault on Afghanistan drawdown.


Gov. J.B. Pritzker and M.K. Pritzker, center, along with Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, right, and businesswoman Desiree Rogers, left, march in the Bud Billiken Parade on Aug. 14, 2021. | Screenshot

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is showing his independence, or indifference, to Democratic Party politics these days.

He marched (and danced!) in Saturdays Bud Billiken Parade, an event that celebrates the start of the school year and showcases the states political glitterati. But Pritzker didnt connect with Rep. Robin Kelly, who is head of the Illinois Democratic Party and also attended the event.

It appeared to be a slight, though Pritzker said the next day that hes a big supporter of Kelly. I think shes a wonderful congressperson.

And Kelly told Playbook its hard to talk to every elected person at the parade party.

But Pritzker is also skipping Wednesdays Illinois Democratic County Chairs Association brunch in Springfield, where Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff will headline.

The governor had initially cited concerns about Covid when the event was being held indoors. The brunch has since been moved outdoors, and the governor is still bowing out. Pritzker is planning, however, to host a scaled-back outdoor event later in the day as part of Governors Day at the fair.

Is it another slight or just a precautionary move because of the pandemic? Pritzkers team says the latter.

But political insiders know that Pritzker has long been frustrated with the Democratic Party structure. For years it lacked a grassroots organization or sophisticated messaging or a fundraising plan. He created his own parallel organization when he ran for governor in 2018, and Pritzker hoped the party would create a similar outfit after House Speaker Michael Madigan left office early this year. Electing Kelly, a congresswoman who cant raise state and local funds, seemed shortsighted to Pritzker, who backed Chicago Ald. Michelle Smith for the position.

Kelly of course isnt the first member of Congress to lead a party and create a committee to oversee such fundraising. She sees it as a good way to get more people involved.

One of my priorities is getting J.B. and others re-elected. Were doing the best we can to register Democrats and be more active, transparent and diverse, Kelly told Playbook.

For now, Pritzker is keeping the Democratic apparatus at arms length. His message is he doesnt need party leaders to keep his seat. Hes a billionaire who can self-fund his campaign and decide if and how he wants to support other campaigns along the way.


After 2020 cancellation, scaled-down Bud Billiken Parade returns to South Side for 92nd year,by Tribunes Alice Yin


The 2020 census data was released last week and the numbers are illuminating. The big take-away is how its affecting Chicago: The city gained residents a surprise given the doom and gloom reports that everyone was high-tailing it out of the city while the state population dipped, especially in the southern part of the state and some suburbs.

How that will play out: Census figures show there are 40,000 more Latinos in Chicago than a decade ago, while the Black population dropped by 85,000 residents. Latinos now make up 30 percent of the citys residents and Blacks account for 29 percent. White Chicagoans make up 31% of the population.

Thats creating a power struggle among Chicago City Council members who must come up with a redrawn map of their wards. There are 12 Latino and 20 Black members of the 50-member City Council.

Its absolutely going to get ugly. Youve seen precipitous population loss in the African American community and youve seen some growth in the Latino community, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) told the Tribune in its detailed report about the tension between Black and Latino members of the council. I think that both are going to come in with a head of steam, and theyre going to draw some pretty extreme maps.

We’re still No. 3: Chicago remains the third largest city in the country with a population of 2,746,388, behind New York City (8,804,190) and Los Angeles (3,898,747). Houston held onto fourth, by the way, with 2.3 million people.

How other Illinois cities line up after Chicago: Aurora: 180,542; Joliet: 150,362; Naperville: 149,540, and Rockford: 148,655. Political consultant Frank Calabrese offers a full list of how Illinois cities rank by population


Next up: With census numbers in hand, the congressional remap can move forward. Lawmakers will have to eliminate one seat because of the states overall population drop. Also watch for lawmakers to adjust the boundaries of Rep. Lauren Underwoods district, making it a little more Democratic to give her some breathing room in the next election. And yes, there will be legal challenges across the board.

Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]

INTRODUCING OTTAWA PLAYBOOK: Join the growing community of Politicos from lawmakers and leaders to pollsters, staffers, strategists and lobbyists working to shape Canadas future. Every day, our reporting team pulls back the curtain to shed light on whats really driving the agenda on Parliament Hill, the true players who are shaping politics and policy across Canada, and the impact it all has on the world. Dont miss out on your daily look inside Canadian politics and power. Subscribe to Ottawa Playbook today.


At the State Fairgrounds at 9:30 a.m. to sign legislation

to expand health care access and further protections for older Illinoisans. Also at the Fairgrounds at 10:45 a.m. to kick off Senior Day at the fair.


No official public events.

Where’s Toni

On vacation and back in the office Aug. 23.

Covid-19 Update

Breakthrough Covid infections: Are we more at risk than we think?Without knowing the true rate of infection in vaccinated persons, Americans have little information to calculate their own risk tolerance. In other words, if vaccinated Americans are getting Covid at a rate of 1 percent or 30 percent or 50 percent among all cases, this would be helpful in allowing people to decide how they will behave. Before the Delta surge, many of us believed a vaccination was all we needed to avoid Covid. This has now changed and knowing the true rate of infection is imperative, writes Melissa Razdrih in Center for Illinois Politics.

Timothy Christian Schools to comply with school mask mandate, regain state recognition:The state warned that athletes wouldn’t be able to compete in the Illinois High School Association, tax scholarship money would disappear and graduating seniors wouldn’t be able to retroactively get recognized diplomas from an unrecognized school, via ABC/7s Jesse Kirsch.


FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: A last-minute legal effort to stop the Obama Presidential Foundation from taking possession of part of Jackson Park was denied by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

on Friday. The motion for a stay was filed by Protect Our Parks, which is trying to stop the foundation from building the Obama Center in the park.

The court decision allows the foundation to take control today. Construction will also start today on the 19.3 acre site that sits within the 550 acre Jackson Park. That work includes roadway improvements.

Todays 7th Circuit decision is a major victory that has been years in the making, Obama Foundation President Valerie Jarrett said Friday in a statement to Playbook. But with this ruling, we are officially able to begin delivering on our commitment to Chicagos South Side. We are so grateful to all those who helped us reach this moment and cant wait to get started.

There wont be any celebration today but a ceremonial groundbreaking to mark the start of construction is being planned for later in the fall.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge JohnRobert Blakey of the Northern District of Illinois denied Protect Our Parks motion

for preliminary injunction to block construction. The group appealed that denial to the 7th Circuit then asked both the 7th Circuit and Judge Blakey to stop construction while the appeal was pending. Blakey denied that earlier last week, and on Friday, the 7th Circuit also denied the request. The appeal will still be heard by the 7th Circuit, but the ruling says that plaintiffs werent able to show the requisite immediate harm to justify stopping the work.

While we were hoping for an emergency stay, we will continue to review next steps and remain optimistic in seeking relief from the appellate court on the merits of our appeal, in addition to presenting our evidence and arguments in the main case,” Protect Our Parks said in a statement to Playbook. “As weve continued to say, on the merits, our arguments are not only strong but will bring long-term benefit to all stakeholders, particularly for those of us who live and work on the South Side.

Heres an in-depth look at the arguments leading up to the Obama Foundation taking control of the park.

The foundation has also released an update on its workforce diversity goals

noting it has awarded approximately $120 million in construction contracts, with more than half going to firms owned by minorities, women and other certifications recognized by the city of Chicago.

SUBSCRIBE TO “THE RECAST” TODAY: Power is shifting in Washington and in communities across the country. More people are demanding a seat at the table, insisting that politics is personal and not all policy is equitable. The Recast is a twice-weekly newsletter that explores the changing power dynamics in Washington and breaks down how race and identity are recasting politics and policy in America. Get fresh insights, scoops and dispatches on this crucial intersection from across the country and hear critical new voices that challenge business as usual. Don’t miss out, SUBSCRIBE. Thank you to our sponsor, Intel.


GOP lawmakers say plan for spending $2.8B in federal Covid relief is loaded with Democratic pork:The lone exception: state Rep. Bradley Stephens, whos been mayor of Rosemont for 14 years. Stephens worked behind the scenes and across the aisle to secure a $15 million grant for the northwest suburbs pandemic-battered convention center, by Tribunes Dan Petrella and Ray Long.

20% of Illinois lawmakers wont say if theyre vaccinated, and their areas vax rates lag:[T]he two legislative blocs most unwilling to divulge their vaccination status Black Democrats and downstate white Republicans also represent some of the least-inoculated parts of the state, report WBEZs Dave McKinney and Tony Arnold.

Pritzker signs measure banning police from making some background checks on speakers at public meetings:The law was inspired by a 2019 Tribune story that disclosed how the Chicago Police Department ran secret background checks for over a decade on several hundred citizens who signed up to speak at public meetings before the Chicago Police Board, by Tribunes Jeremy Gorner and Gregory Pratt.

What happens when trans & nonbinary folks need to change their marriage certificates in Illinois:Once the new law is in place, residents will be able to go to the county clerks office they were married in, explain their legal name change and show their judges order, and more easily request a new marriage certificate, via Rebellious Magazine.


Funeral services this week for slain Chicago police officer Ella French, by Tribunes Stephanie Casanova

… Slain Chicago cop Ella Frenchs mom:It breaks my heart, but she died doing what she was called to do. Sun-Times Manny Ramos reports.

47 shot, 5 killed in weekend gun violence through Sunday afternoon: A 7-year-old girl was killed and her 6-year-old sister seriously injured in a Sunday afternoon shooting on the Northwest Side in the Belmont Central neighborhood, police said, by Tribunes Talia Soglin.

Chicagos Black, Latino communities face the brunt of latest, Delta-fueled Covid surge: Some parts of the city, especially low-income communities of color where vaccination rates are low, are getting hit hard, by Sun-Times Brett Chase and Elvia Malagó.

From Bloomberg: Late Covid loans hurt recovery in Chicagos minority neighborhoods:Chicago [is] the only metro area tracked by Bloomberg where majority-Black zip codes have received more stimulus dollars per capita than White areas albeit by a small amount yet the pace of business reopenings is lagging and the local rate of Black unemployment is high. PPP loans are forgiven if businesses use a large part of the funds to keep employees on payroll, and the struggle to access federal aid early on in the crisis meant many small firms couldnt stave off layoffs or even closures.

Marking 500 years since the Fall of Tenochtitlan: To celebrate that resistance against colonization and showcase the symbolic connection of the Fall of Tenochtitlan to Chicago, a group of city leaders, activists and scholars created an interactive project that includes free community events, by Tribunes Laura Rodriguez Presa.


Estranged daughter-in-law of Toni Preckwinkle charged in connection with grisly murder: Ronisha Preckwinkle, 40, was arrested July 10 and charged with murder, tampering with evidence and false imprisonment in connection with an attack that happened at an apartment in a southeast suburb of Atlanta, by Sun-Times Mitchell Armentrout.


Judge Mary K. OBrien (who many know as Mary Kay) is launching her campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court’s 3rd District this week. And shes already got her first big endorsement from Sen. Dick Durbin. “I’ve watched Mary Kay O’Brien grow from a promising legislator to an accomplished jurist, and I know she will be a thoughtful Supreme Court judge, he said in a statement. O’Brien will be campaigning at the State Fair festivities this week. The Third District comprises DuPage and Will counties as well as Bureau, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, and LaSalle counties. OBrien, who was a state legislator from 1996 to 2003, has served on the Illinois Appellate Court for nearly 18 years. Shes heard more than 4,500 cases, according to her campaign team.

Democrat David Palmer hopes to challenge Rep. Rodney Davis: Palmer, a former basketball star who now is an adviser for Country Trust Bank Financial, kicked off his campaign last week, according to the News-Gazette. Palmer played for University of Iowa and went pro, playing in Poland and China before returning to Champaign where he lives with his family.

Bustos advice for swing-district Dems: Focus on local issues and avoid progressive slogans:The Illilnois Democrat blames losses on the constraints of the pandemic, which prompted most Democrats to abstain from door-to-door campaigning out of concern about public safety. That hampered the ability of swing-district Democrats to counter messaging from the progressive wing of the party slogans like defund the police that remain unpopular in conservative areas, Bustos argues, via the New York Times.

After New York City, is ranked-choice voting still the future of voting?Ranked-Choice Voting faced one of its biggest tests yet. Did it live up to expectations? Is it the future? BGA takes a deep dive, by Victor Shi for Better Government Association.


Europe scramble to rescue staff as Taliban takes Afghanistan,by POLITICO’s Emma Anderson

GOP waves white flag in the same-sex marriage wars, by POLITICOs Meridith McGraw

Corporate America grows impatient on Bidens China trade review,by POLITICOs Gavin Bade

Chicago native Michelle We a frontrunner in Boston mayoral race,via WBUR


Brent Neiman has been nominated by the White House as deputy under secretary for the Treasury Department. Neiman is the Edward Eagle Brown Professor of Economics at the University of Chicagos Booth School of Business. His teaching and research focus on international macroeconomics, finance, and trade.

Jourdan Lewis is now manager of government relations at Breakthrough Energy. She previously was senior policy adviser for Rep. Bobby Rush.


Times Up to re-evaluate conflict-of-interest policy in wake of Cuomo scandal:Times Up President Tina Tchen acknowledged a blindspot regarding the advocacy organizations ties to people it aims to hold accountable, in an interview with The 19th.

The story also addresses Tchens endorsement of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in the 2019 mayoral race even though she knew of inappropriate behavior of Preckwinkles former chief of staff.

Dr. Lisa Green, CEO of Family Christian Health Center in Harvey, and an advocate for Black women’s health issues, has been named a grand marshal for the Illinois State Fair. She is the first Black woman to be recognized and serving in this capacity in the history of the Illinois State Fair, according to a release.

Marcus Lemonis has purchased the intellectual property of the Lets Make a Deal show franchise, reports Market Realist



Duckworth among senators who used campaign-donor money to buy their own books:The transactions all seem to be legal. Lawmakers are allowed to dip into their campaign coffers to boost book sales, so long as those sales do not increase their personal royalties, according to Forbes Zach Everson.


Rock Island County board member, Moline Township Supervisor Don Johnston has died:Johnston was known for his sense of humor, outspokenness, compassion and generosity to those in need. He was an advocate for veterans and senior citizens through his role with the Moline Township and organized a Thanksgiving dinner every year for the community, writes Quad-City Times Sarah Hayden.


AUGUST 6s ANSWER: No winners for our question: How many coal power plants operate in Illinois? Answers ran the gamut. We were looking for 139 coal power plants

(down from 214 in 2004). h/t to public affairs consultant Myk Snyder for answering too many.

TODAYs QUESTION: What was the subject of Sen. Dick Durbins 1989 floor speech that went viral (via C-Span)? Email to [email protected]


Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, Illinois Appellate Court Judge Cynthia Cobbs, former Veterans Affairs director Linda Chapa LaVia, BNSF Railway government affairs exec Peter Skosey, and Joffrey Ballet artistic director Ashley Wheater.