Morning Spin: U.S. Rep. Kelly writes Trump letter on Chicago violence, includes pictures of slain children
U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, seen here last June, sent a letter to President Donald Trump with pictures of Chicago children who’ve been killed. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune)
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Democratic U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly of Matteson has written a letter to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence calling on them to do something about violence in Chicago, and included photos of the 38 children age 16 or younger whom her aides determined had been shot and killed in the city since February 2016.
"I want to make sure that you were able to see these children as what they are — children,” she wrote. “Not statistics.”
Kelly, a strong proponent of stricter gun-control measures, said she wrote the letter after three children were slain in Chicago this past week.
She called Pence a man of faith but asked: “How can you declare that you are pro-life … yet stand idly by when life is regularly being taken from innocent children in preventable acts of gun violence?”
Kelly told Trump that his “concern” for Chicago is “well-documented,” as is his support for a jobs and infrastructure program. But she asked why the president suggested that he would send in “the feds” instead of calling for construction jobs, manufacturing and community programs.
“I frequently say, ‘Nothing stops a bullet like an opportunity,’ ” she wrote.
Kelly also took Pence to task for the scores of guns that are purchased in Indiana, where he was governor, and end up in Chicago.
“If there were waves of crime in Indiana due to a pouring in of guns from Illinois, would you have stood for it as governor?”
Kelly’s 2nd Congressional District includes part of the South Side and south suburbs. (Katherine Skiba)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be at O’Hare Aiport with Ald. Ed Burke to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Lt. Cmdr. Edward "Butch" O’Hare’s Worl War II mission.
*Gov. Bruce Rauner has no public events.
*The Chicago City Council’s Finance Committee meeting agenda is scheduled to come out, could include more legal settlements.
From the notebook
*Radogno: Pass ‘grand bargain’ by Feb. 28 or Madigan can figure it out: Illinois Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno says the chamber needs to vote by Feb. 28 to approve its still-evolving bipartisan “grand bargain” to end the state’s historic stalemate or go home and let Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan decide how to move the state forward.
Radogno, speaking on the “Steve Cochran Show” on WGN-AM 720 a day after GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget address, said she will be working with Democratic Senate President John Cullerton “about things we might be able to take from the governor’s speech and incorporate into our program so it’s something that he could sign.”
“I’m hoping that we will be able to vote on this on Feb. 28, when the Senate comes back (from a break next week). The urgency here is critical. We have to get this moving,” the Lemont Republican said. “If we don’t get this moving by the 28th, we might as well just go home and then at that point, Mike Madigan can figure out what he’s going to do. This is the only game in town.”
Remember, Cullerton and Radogno had suggested earlier in the year that Senate floor votes on the package of bills were to begin Jan. 25 to avoid intense lobbying and a state credit downgrade but the roll calls didn’t happen. Then there was talk of votes in the first week of this month, which again didn’t happen. (Rick Pearson)
*Rahm’s Rauner rant: Mayor Emanuel’s epic rant mocking Gov. Rauner’s lack of detail in his state budget proposal was quite the eyebrow raiser. You can watch it here.
*Trump question for Rauner budget aide: Senate Democrats grilled Gov. Rauner’s budget director over the administration’s new spending proposal Thursday, even questioning whether the governor took cues from President Donald Trump in proposing cuts to services for immigrants and refugees.
Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, focused on cuts Rauner proposed to programs for immigrants and refugees, asking budget officials if the governor “had any conversations with the Trump administration” while creating the budget.
Scott Harry, the governor’s budget director, said he did not know the answer, but noted that the governor had proposed similar cuts last year. Harry said difficult choices had to be made given the state’s budget problems.
“I understand that a budget proposal is the spending priorities of our governor. It just seems to me that it doesn’t prioritize black and brown communities,” Aquino said. (Monique Garcia)
*Police reforms update: Mayor Emanuel’s administration tried to nip in the bud aldermanic concerns over the pace and direction of Chicago Police Department reforms Thursday with private briefings on what’s happening with officer hiring, the Justice Department investigation into the department, upcoming negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police on a new contract and other issues.
The meetings came a day after the council’s Progressive Caucus issued a news release calling on the city “to clarify its plan to ensure police reform efforts move forward in accordance with the recommendations of the 2016 Police Accountability Task Force report and the Department of Justice report.”
Aides said the briefings were planned before the release from the caucus, which includes several of the mayor’s loudest City Council critics.
Afterward, aldermen said they got some information about steps the Police Department already has taken to improve equipment and training that came in for criticism from federal investigators in their report about the department tactics and use of force rules. But several said they had as many unanswered questions as answers.
Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, said he pressed his argument that background checks for prior convictions and credit problems would continue to unfairly exclude many minority police applicants from getting hired. He said he was given no indication there would be changes in those standards.
Ald. John Arena, 45th, said he told city officials the public needs a civilian oversight board to be put in place and an inspector general for the Police Department to get hired. “We didn’t get a clear picture on that, so we’re going to continue to try to get some clarity on where that process is,” Arena said.
“And we really do need to get some clarity on the DOJ. That’s the big piece of this that we need,” Arena said. “We can’t hear from the Police Department and have them say to us ‘We’re doing all the right things, we’re making all the right moves.’ They can tell us that all day long, but that’s not going to translate into trust in the community.”
Emanuel said this week that Justice Department representatives will be here next week to continue working toward a court-enforceable consent decree in response to the investigation, but it’s far from certain new Attorney General Jeff Sessions would support such an agreement. (John Byrne)
*How they voted: Illinois’ Democratic U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth voted against the confirmation of U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina to become the new director of the Office of Management and Budget.
But Mulvaney was ultimately confirmed to be President Donald Trump’s budget director on a narrow 51-49 vote, with U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona the lone Republican to cast a “no” vote. McCain had been critical of Mulvaney’s work to cut defense spending.
In a statement, Duckworth cited Illinois’ historic failure to pass a full-year budget in noting her opposition to Mulvaney. “Families in Illinois know far too well the human costs of a government failing to pass a responsible budget,” she said.
Mulvaney’s “past advocacy for shutting down the government and his long-standing zeal for raising the Social Security retirement age, turning Medicare into a voucher system, slashing defense and military readiness funding and limiting scientific research into public health crises like Zika are dangerous,” she said. (Rick Pearson)
*The Sunday Spin: On this week’s show, Chicago Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson’s guests are Martha Jo Black, author of “Joe Black: More than a Dodger;” Michael Mini, executive vice president of the Chicagoland Apartment Association; state Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park; and Steve Ferkau, a volunteer for the Respiratory Health Association who received a double lung transplant in 2000. The "Sunday Spin" airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on WGN-AM 720.
*Get off of his cloud?: Pic of Mayor Emanuel next to a patriotic Rolling Stones giant tongue and lips logo 3-D artwork? Sure, why not.
What we’re writing (Busy news day edition)
*Emanuel mocks Rauner with offer of $1,000 to charity for evidence of full budget proposal.
*Rauner scores victory over AG Madigan as judge says state worker paychecks to keep flowing.
*Former Obama campaign manager Plouffe fined $90,000 for illegally lobbying Emanuel on Uber.
*Alderman questions ex-Emanuel, Blagojevich political operative’s piece of lucrative Midway concessions deal.
*Plan would make it harder for Chicago aldermen to award honorary street signs.
*Ald. Lopez: Emanuel dropped F-bomb on me over unclaimed property tax rebate money plan.
*Trump on Chicago, Part 1,735: One part of city safe, one worse than Middle East.
*Dozens of Chicago businesses close to support immigrants on ‘Day Without Immigrants.’
*Fake news alert: CTA uses social media to deny rumors of immigration checkpoints at transit stations.
What we’re reading (Friday fun edition)
*Trib beer writer lists 25 most important craft beers (#3 is so, so delicious, #25 is straight-up trolling).
*Does college radio even matter anymore?
*We’re not "Game of Thrones" watchers, but this sounds fun.
*Cubs’ Bryant pranked by unathletic-looking Maddux.
Follow the money
*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.
*Trump defends job performance, slams media again at contentious first solo news conference. NYT fact check. Transcript and video.
*Trump’s choice to succeed Flynn as national security adviser turns down job, WaPo reports.
*Trump new pick for Labor Acosta would be first Hispanic in Cabinet.
*Trump fumes over leaks in meeting with Republicans.
*Trump asks African-American reporter to set up meeting with Congressional Black Caucus: ‘Are they friends of yours?’
*Flynn in FBI interview denied discussing sanctions with Russian ambassador.
*ISIS bombing at Pakistan shrine kills 75.