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Happy Tuesday, Illinois. The Wieners Circle followed me on Twitter so my life is fing complete.


Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown speaks to City Club of Chicago attendees on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. | Photo from Superintendent Brown’s Twitter feed

After months of blaming Chicagos violence problem on the court system, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown pulled back Monday.

During a Q&A with audience members at an in-person City Club of Chicago event, Brown was more measured and conciliatory than he has been recently.

One thing that I would caution all of us, and I will take my own advice as well: picking a fight with the States Attorney and the chief judge is not helpful, even if it feels good after you do it, he said, referring to Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx and Chief Judge Timothy Evans. Chuckles rippled through the crowd gathered at Maggianos Banquets.

I know it feels good to say lock em up and throw away the key, but that is not what these elected officials were elected to do,” Brown said (note: only Foxx is elected). “They have a different agenda, and they should not be a rubber stamp to policing… but there should be a healthy tension between us and the courts.

He said he, Foxx and Evans will be meeting this week to talk about how to address gangs and guns in the city. People who have to work together, have to work together, he said.

Thats a softer message than this past summer, when Brown accused the courts of releasing violent criminals on low bonds and wrongly relying on electronic monitoring. Foxx responded then that police need to make more arrests.

Browns new tone was a long time coming, according to Ald. Ray Lopez, who has criticized the police chief and the mayor for not doing more to curb violence. Browbeating other elected officials on matters of public safety hasnt worked … They have to come up with a different approach, he told Playbook after the luncheon.

This was one of the first in-person civic events to return to Chicago since last year. Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced Brown to the guests, who sat at tables spaced out farther than in pre-Covid times and with only eight seats to a table. Instead of family style, the lunch was served in boxes. And there were no introductions or pledge of allegiance both grand traditions of the City Club.

Spotted: Along withLopez,Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, Water Reclamation Commissioner Kim Du Buclet, lobbyist Brian Bernardoni, former Tribune columnist turned blogger John Kass, public affairs consultants Thom Serafin, Matthew Serafin and Lissa Druss, and media consultant Robin Robinson, who previously led the Police Restorative Justice Strategies program.


Supt. David Brown endorsed Mayor Lori Lightfoots $50 million budget for violence reduction programs,by Sun-Times Andy Grimm

Brown: Dont give us a pass. But when we do well, wed sure like to be acknowledged.Tribunes Jeremy Gorner reports


Former President Barack Obama greets members of the University of Chicagos Obama Foundation Scholars program in Chicago on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. | Photo from the Obama Foundation

The Obamas are in town: Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will be on hand in Jackson Park today for the groundbreaking of the Obama Presidential Center an event that will be mostly virtual. Watch it here starting at 1:15 p.m


On Monday, the former president joined David Plouffe, his former campaign manager, and a few members of the Obama Alumni Association for avideo chat.

We want a constant swirl of activity, Obama said during the discussion. A lot of our programming where were identifying top, young leaders around the country and around the world, this is a place where they can convene, work with folks whove done the work theyre doing, exchange ideas, find cohorts that can support them.

Also Monday, Obamas met with the 12 members of the University of Chicagos Obama Foundation Scholars program on the roof of an undisclosed Chicago building. According to the foundation, the group discussed how to stay motivated while fighting for sustainable change, how to gain trust during times of high tension (Id like to know) and the purpose of the scholars program: to keep new ideas coming.

Today, the Obamas will be joined by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot to kick off construction of the $700 million center. The project is to include a museum, library, auditorium, classrooms, recording studios, recreation facility and a replica of the Oval Office.

From the Tribune: Obama talks about the mission of his presidential center ahead of Tuesdays groundbreaking,by Shanzeh Ahmad

From the Sun-Times:Obama Museum is collecting artifacts to illustrate Obamas life before, during and after the White House, by Lynn Sweet

Good Morning America features President Barack Obama talking about the Obama Center

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

A message from USA-IT:

As a major shipping hub, Illinois is exploited by international cartels, who transport and distribute drugs across its borders, making life harder and more dangerous for Illinois residents. To fight back, law enforcement follows a multipronged strategy of hitting traffickers where it hurts: their wallets. Thats why our partners are proud to bring their expertise in combating illegal trade to the fight against corruption and violence in Illinois. Learn more.


In Jackson Park at 1:15 p.m. with the Obamas for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Obama Presidential Center.


In Jackson Park at 1:15 p.m. with the Obamas for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Obama Presidential Center.

Where’s Toni

At Lawrence Hall at 9 a.m. to announce a $200,000 grant award

focusing on violence reduction and prevention.

Covid-19 Update

Biden gets Covid booster shot:[E]ven with the rollout of booster shots, which were approved by U.S. regulators last week for people older than 65 and other certain high-risk adult populations, the president said his administration’s top priority would be getting shots into the arms of Americans who have not yet been vaccinated, by POLITICOs Claire Rafford.

Anti-maskers disrupt Lake Forest High School board meeting: The board adjourned to a remote meeting after opponents of the governor’s mask mandate refused to cover their faces during public comments, by Patchs- Jonah Meadows.

Now Naperville Fire paramedics are suing Pritzker and the city over vax mandates,by Cook County Records Jonathan Bilyk.

CPS mom dies after her child exposed to Covid-19 at school where hundreds of kids quarantined,by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa

STEP INSIDE THE WEST WING: What’s really happening in West Wing offices? Find out who’s up, who’s down, and who really has the presidents ear in our West Wing Playbook newsletter, the insider’s guide to the Biden White House and Cabinet. For buzzy nuggets and details that you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe today.


We asked what Covid practices youll keep up after life returns to normal: I will never again be crammed into spaces like a can of sardines, replied Marilynn Miller, saying she’s done with “others breathing all over me. And Joan Waggoner, a retired partner from the CPA firm Plante Moran, expects to forever wear masks in indoor public spaces. My family and I fortunately have avoided the virus so far, but also apparently have avoided other infections like colds and flu Wearing masks may just become a classic wellness technique.

Todays question: Speaking of Wieners Circle, whats your favorite Illinois hot dog place and why (we promise not to curse)? Email at[email protected]



R. Kelly convicted of racketeering conspiracy, all other counts at his federal trial in New York:Kelly, one of the biggest music stars Chicago has ever produced, faces anywhere from 10 years to life in prison when hes sentenced on May 4, according to the U.S. attorneys office in Brooklyn. Dressed in a navy blue suit and light blue tie, Kelly sat still and started straight ahead as the verdicts were read shortly after 2 p.m. Chicago time. As the jury left the courtroom, Kelly, who was wearing a face mask, stood and clasped his hands in front of him but showed no outward emotion, write Tribunes Jason Meisner and Megan Crepeau.

… R. Kelly faces more charges in Chicago, elsewhere, so what happens next?Sun-Times Jon Seidel reports

Ex-Ald. Ricardo Muñoz pleads guilty in fraud case, admits he used caucus money for personal expenses, by Sun-Times Jon Seidel.

… Munoz joins what is becoming Chicagos least exclusive club, via the Sun-Times

Former WTMX staffer sues Eric in the Morning host Eric Ferguson, alleging radio star coerced sexual favors:In a Cook County lawsuit filed in May, Cynthia DeNicolo contends the Radio Hall of Famer orchestrated her dismissal nearly 16 years after she stopped providing oral sex about twice a month in response to Fergusons demands, for which he allegedly used the code words I need a backrub, by Tribunes Tracy Swartz and Christy Gutowski.

Former Northwestern professors defense blames ex-codefendant for alleged sexual thrill-kill,by Tribunes Megan Crepeau


Mental illness in solitary landed these men an extra 842 years in Illinois prisons, advocates say:A civil-rights group wants the governor to commute sentences for 43 people whose mental health and behavior deteriorated in solitary, by WBEZs Shannon Heffernan.

Prison polling places? Some lawmakers, advocates want to restore voting rights to those behind bars:Lawmakers hope to bring up legislation restoring voting rights to incarcerated people next month during veto session, but opponents of the bill, including the Illinois State Board of Elections, argue the proposed measure is unconstitutional, by Sun-Times Rachel Hinton.

Legislation aims to lure private investment to infrastructure projects:The value of the motor fuel tax will continue to diminish in the future, largely a result of increased vehicle fuel efficiency and the increasing popularity of electric vehicles, Mary Tyler, transportation director with the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, said at a Transportation Committee hearing. Center Squares Kevin Bessler reports.

IDES to partner with DoIT and implement ILogin,by WCIS Matt Roy


Lightfoot announces first citywide strategic plan to tackle gender-based violence, human trafficking:Work to create the plan started in February when Lightfoot formed the Gender-Based Violence Advisory Council and dedicated $2.5 million toward domestic violence services. The new plan seeks to use all corners of the citys government to address and prevent these problems in a trauma-informed and culturally specific ways, Lightfoot said, by Tribunes Paige Fry.

Lightfoots former top attorney, who resigned over Anjanette Young raid scandal, is now in a dispute with the mayor: Mark Flessner claims the Lightfoot administration reached out to give him city business at his new law firm, without objection from the mayor. She claims that isnt true, reports Tribunes Gregory Pratt.

Nitty gritty on mayors budget proposal for $214M in housing aid: The money will be used for various programs including $25 million to address gender-based violence in the city, $20 million in rental subsidies and $30 million in converting hotels into affordable housing, by WTTWs Leslie Hurtado.

Chicago Public Schools enrollment nosedives again, by WBEZs Sarah Karp and Adriana Cardona-Maguigad.

Deadly counterfeit pills containing fentanyl now everywhere in Chicago, DEA says:Mexican cartels are taking advantage of Americas pill-popping epidemic with counterfeit OxyContin and Xanax containing the deadly synthetic opioid. Its very scary, Chicago DEA boss says, by Sun-Times Frank Main.

Some Chicago schools in high-poverty areas lost 1 in 7 teachers to layoffs, by Chalkbeats Maia Spoto with Data analysis by Annie Fu.

Dean Angelo, former head of Chicago police union, in intensive care following complications from Covid-19, by Sun-Times Mitch Dudek.

White Sox single game playoff tickets to go on sale Wednesday, by Tribunes Stephanie Casanova


Northwestern cancels fraternity activities, protesters call for abolishing Greek life, by Tribunes Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas and Karen Ann Cullotta.

Arlington Heights board votes 8-1 for Crescent Place affordable housing project,by Daily Heralds Christopher Placek

Prospect Place falls to the wrecking ball, but iconic clock saved,by Daily Heralds Steve Zalusky


Is Arne Duncan running for mayor?I love policy and people. I dont like politics. … Im doing exactly what I want at CRED, the former U.S. Secretary of Education told Crains Greg Hinz, referring to the violence-prevention organization he leads in Chicago. That’s not a no, Hinz points out, adding, The fight to make Chicago safe never ends. Nor does the debate about who ought to be mayor.

Kaegi won as a reformer. Can he get re-elected on his record? writes Crains A.D. Quig.

Rodney Davis predicts Republicans will take governors mansion in 2022,via WTAXs

ENDORSEMENTS: On a list of those endorsing

Mike Burke in the 3rd District Supreme Court race is House Minority Leader Jim Durkin.

BECOME A GLOBAL INSIDER: The world is more connected than ever. It has never been more essential to identify, unpack and analyze important news, trends and decisions shaping our future and weve got you covered! Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Global Insider author Ryan Heath navigates the global news maze and connects you to power players and events changing our world. Dont miss out on this influential global community. Subscribe now.


Insurance executive Pat Ryan is receiving the Insurance Broking CEO of the Year

award during a virtual event today. The national award is a big deal in the insurance world. It honors insurance brokerage CEOs who inspired excellence across the company. Ryan is founder, chairman and CEO of Ryan Specialty Group. Playbookers know him for leading Chicagos effort to land the 2016 Olympics.

Delmarie Cobb, a political consultant and activist, joined a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday voicing opposition to former Mayor Rahm Emanuels appointment as ambassador to Japan. This is an example of how determined the elite and powerful [are] to rehabilitate the reputation of one of the worst mayors in my lifetime. And believe me, thats a remarkable achievement, Cobb said.

Sarah Sherman, weird comic from Chicago, joins SNL,by Sun-Times Darel Jevens


Chicago felt like Philly the other day when Congressman Brendan Boyle came to town for a fundraiser, coincidentally timed with the University of Notre Dame football game at Soldier Field on Saturday. About 25 people, some with a Philly connection and others who support Notre Dame football like Boyle, gathered at Old Tavern Club on Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive for the event. Spotted: Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Sen. Dick Durbin and Loretta Durbin, Philly native and Pritzker chief of staff Anne Caprara, former Deputy Governor turned financial exec Dan Hynes, and Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer. The party was hosted by Hamilton Callison of Breakthru Beverage, Jack Hartman, former head of the Illinois Tollway, and public affairs consultant Kevin Conlon.


Jorge Arteaga is now Midwest program manager for Young Invincibles, an advocacy organization focused on higher education, health care, and workforce development policy solutions for young adults. He most recently was the U.S. program manager for Common Purpose.


Commentary: Duckworth on Afghan refugees: [I]t is on us to help our nation keep its word to these heroes by helping them settle into our country. It is on us to remind the world that our nation is not just great, but also good. It is on us to show that while our nation will never be perfect, we are welcoming these allies and, in so doing, striving to move closer to that more perfect union our founders envisioned.


Dems may drop debt fight to avoid shutdown,by POLITICOs Burgess Everett, Marianne LeVine and Jennifer Scholtes

Pelosi steers Dems toward infrastructure vote, without spending bill in tow,by POLITICOs Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris

Trumps demand for a Texas audit caught Gov. Abbott off guard,by POLITICOs Meridith McGraw

Judge orders ‘unconditional release’ for Reagan shooter Hinckley, by POLITICOs Josh Gerstein


Tonight at 7 p.m.: Former Gov. Jim Edgar headlines a conversation titled This Moment in America

at the Effingham Performance Center and in conjunction with the Suzette Brumleve Memorial Effingham Public Library. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees need to pick up tickets from either the Effingham Public Library or the Effingham Performance Center Box Office. Tickets are first-come, first-serve.

Tonight at 6:30 p.m.: The 46th Ward Democrats organization hosts a Zoom forum

on Chicagos new elected school board law. Headlining: state Sen. Mike Simmons, state Rep. Delia Ramirez, who was the House sponsor of the law, 46th Ward Committeeperson Sean Tenner, and 35th Ward Committeeperson Anthony Joel Quezada. Zoom sign-up link


Wednesday: State Sen. Neil Anderson will headline a fundraiser at Old Oak Winery in Milan (Illinois, folks). To register: [email protected] or 815-596-9160.

Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m.: Family and friends of Claire Serdiuk Anderson will gather at Hubbard Inn to celebrate her life. The event is organized by Obama alumni Dan Shomon, Robert Gibbs, Jim Cauley, Sara Barnett, Kate Legg, Rose Sprinkle and Scott Kennedy. Anderson served as finance director on the 2004 Obama U.S. Senate campaign and later on the Duckworth for Congress campaign. Anderson died suddenly in April and left behind her husband, Novartis lobbyist Kurt Anderson, and a young son. A GoFundMe page

has also been set up for his education.


MONDAYs ANSWER: Congrats to Jake Girmscheid, a former Lauren Underwood staffer and current president of the Kane County Young Democrats, for correctly answering that Comptroller Susana Mendoza is standing in Ottawa

, where the first Lincoln-Douglas debate was held.

TODAYs QUESTION: Which two incumbent Illinois mayors have served in their roles for more than 40 years?

A message from USA-IT:

Illinois has made great strides fighting corruption. However, because of its position as a major hub for shipment throughout the Great Lakes and the Midwest, international cartels are both major transporters and distributors of drugs in the state. These groups exploit governments and citizens, manipulate financial systems, spur corruption, and cultivate instability and violence that threatens our communities.

Their profits from illegal trade enable corruption, and often go directly back into the sales and movement of drugs, apparel, counterfeit medicines, wildlife, weapons, and even people, making life harder and more dangerous for Illinois residents. To fight back, law enforcement follows a multipronged strategy of hitting traffickers where it hurts: their wallets.

Thats why our partners are proud to bring their expertise in combating illegal trade to the fight against corruption and violence in Illinois. Learn more.


Former state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, Safer Foundation public policy analyst (and trivia fan) Mark McCombs, Bright Pink breast-cancer nonprofit founder Lindsay Avner Kaplan, and former City Club of Chicago president Jay Doherty.