Weekly News Roundup
Makes sense of the day with consider this. The new local meets national podcast from wbz npr. You'll get up to speed in less than fifteen minutes with context and commentary on stories happening in chicago and around the world. Listen to consider this wherever you get your podcasts. I'm justin kauffman. This is reset well. There were warnings. The best advice to to keep the bubble small and warnings ignored. Felt like okay well. It doesn't seem like it's getting any better. So i mean minds. Well just try to have a little bit of fun with cooking. Put them in a tactic putting that turkey and there was classic table banter chicken. The roast rooster goes with the chicken. So who's having sex with that in all seriousness. Americans tried to balance the need to family and connect with others against pleased by medical and political figures to stay in place and try and check this rampaging virus joining us now to break down these stories and more heather sharon of wtt. W hether welcome back. Happy to be here. Justin also wbz city politics reporter. Becky becky welcome back and happy thanksgiving to both of you. Now heather despite all the new cases despite all the new deaths despite all the calls to stay at home millions of americans decided to travel for this holiday weekend they sure did and that means in about fourteen days we could see a real surge in cases not only in chicago illinois but nationwide and i think a lot of public health officials not to be cute about are holding their breath about what that will mean for the healthcare and hospitals system. Becky mayor lori. Lightfoot said she was worried about the thanksgiving holiday being superspreader event. How does the city prepare for something like that. The one thing that i heard dr say the public health commissioner say on was it to air wednesday even if everybody had stayed home. We're still going to see hospitalizations invesco up because they always lag behind cases so as we've been seeing this huge spike in cases in this financial cases we are going to see the hospitalizations kind of follow and weeks to come. So if you think about it you know she you know again not to make light of it. But she mentioned with me going around better to have zoom thanksgiving than an icu. christmas. I think that that is something that she and her department as. Well as all the area hospitals are really bracing themselves for potential increases to come kind of regardless of what happens for thanksgiving but even you know counting outward from thanksgiving you know mid to late december. What are we gonna see with hospitalizations and heather. I'd i how are hospitals in chicago holding up. There's something we need to make more of a priority more of a story about how they're faring. It's an incredibly dangerous time right now. So in the last month the number of patients admitted to the hospital after being diagnosed with covid nineteen have quadrupled and that is true for those patients. Then were admitted into icu. And we're also as becky said we're we're on track for literally hundreds of deaths in illinois in between now and the end of the year and you know it's already the day after thanksgiving. There's not that much more of twenty twenty left to go. And i think one of the things that i've been sort of keeping an eye on is whether or not state and local officials reopen hospitals like metro south in blue island and the former sherman hospital in elgin now at the peak of the pandemic. If you can remember back that far those hospitals were sort of put on standby along with the field hospital at Mccormick place so there are no plans right now to reopen that mccormick place hospital but if hospitals do get overwhelmed you will see that. Those two hospitals reopened sort of provide excess capacity or additional capacity. That means that things are very very when we when we start thinking about that and about hospitals in any start thinking about well. The light at the end of the tunnel is the vaccines that that came out at the some. Were talking at the beginning of this week about distribution plans that could go into effect in just a couple of weeks ahead scratch a little bit whether or not chicago the state of illinois and the midwest is ready for something like that one of the things i had been asking both the chicago department of public health illinois department of public health who falls into the first in line category. Or how many to. They've answered who. But how many and i d ph has not really sent me a number but the chicago department of public health did provide a number of to me that said there are four hundred thousand healthcare workers in the city of chicago. That would kind of fall into that frontline worker category now. The one thing that i should remind folks. And maybe don't know. And i didn't know this actually is that when it comes to distribution from the federal government a lot of it will be dictated by the federal government but chicago's kind of its own state on the list to get distribution so everything in illinois bill de get a shipment and then chicago will get sort of separate shipment and that's true some other big cities as well. They will get their own. Separate shipments separate from days And and the real tricky thing will be and dr already. And dr zeke have both said this is. They're making a lot of plans. But they're watching that december december tenth or december. Eleventh is the date that the fda set to look at the results from the two leading vaccines and make a decision and kind of emergency authorized. And then it's going to be up to the companies of how many doses can they actually get and that number has also been changing probably way in. You're absolutely right every other day. I saw that story. I think i was watching the ten o'clock news on monday or tuesday and they said they said that there's going to be this many and now there's only gonna be this many and it was just confusing. But why are those numbers changing and is that something that We should expect to change even further. I think you should expect to see a change. Because the quickest time for a company to develop a vaccine was four years where like at the six seven eight month mark so this is really an incredibly fast time line so it's also unclear sort of how much capacity these companies are in there two different vaccines that we're talking about here. The other question is what capacity. Do cities and states have to start rolling out this vaccine in becky united. Both her doctor already talk about how chicago was in a better place at the beginning of the pandemic but the question is has that head start been sufficient and really what will it mean for. Chicago's hospital systems. Because you know chicago is we've learned to sort of part of this whole you know statewide healthcare ecosystem so even if chicago does a great job. It's hospitals would have to take overflow from other parts of the state that might not be as compared and it could be again sort of a domino effect where chicago might be keeping his head above water so to speak but sort of complicated by the fact that it has to be part of this whole statewide healthcare system. Yeah one other thing. I think people should keep in mind and again going back to this. Four hundred thousand house workers in chicago alone. If you're just a general population person you probably will not be getting called up for a vaccine and you know summer of next year. I'm just going to be conservative summer or fall of next year. And if you are frontline worker or say you are in long term care facility working nursing home or you are living in a nursing home. There's gonna be waves of these things and there could be potentially two doses. One of these vaccines requires two doses. So there's going to be a whole process throughout the whole year. Twenty twenty one in which we will all be queuing up. If you will to figure out you know when is it our turn. Where do we go. i also should. The federal government has some agreements with pharmacies like walgreens and cvs the they will also be playing a role when it comes time to distribute again in detail. The exact details of all of that is still. He be worried at the lines at your local pharmacy long. Now think about twenty twenty one all right so heather stay at home advisories versus stay at home mandates and orders. That's really that's all. It's left in the toolbox for some of our local leaders. there is indeed a thanksgiving surge. Do you see In your crystal ball. Whether or not the governor. The mayor would go from advisory to order. The said is much that they will have no choice but to do that and i think. What's really important. Is that when you get to a place that the hospitals are overwhelmed and things are particularly bad around the kinky area. You don't have any beds left in hospitals that means people leaving their houses and perhaps they get into a car accident or perhaps you know they trip and fall in. They need to go to the hospital. There's no capacity for them so the stay at home order is really designed not only to stop the spread of the coronavirus but also to prevent the average everyday horrible accidents from sending more people to the hospitals. Because there aren't simply room for them and you know that's why they will have no choice but to impose those orders simply because of the hospital system. That's heather sharon. Wtt w also long for this roundup. Wbz's becky vivey well cove in nineteen maybe dominating the news but there were other big stories this week including these. We just passed a budget. Unlike any other in chicago's history. It just made it in a close vote. By city council standards the alderman past mayor lightfoot pandemic budget the final vote twenty nine to eleven and the property tax hike was approved with even one less vote give me clones and tell me as cape ladies and gentlemen. We are becoming the next detroit due to these achievements. I've decided to vote. yes. I unfortunately stand to become a no vote on this Separately the cook county budget was also approved today. This time unanimously. It costs five. Hundred vacant jobs uses reserves to balance the cook county budget. Don't give me crumbs and call it a cake and that's a great chicago political quote so let's talk city politics right now. Wbz's weekly news. Roundup heather an era when city council is meeting on zoom. And we don't have a chance to stick a mike in front of someone's face. Political junkies like us are just dying for coach like that. That's right and alderman. Taylor has been a non stop source of just hissy quotes sensor election in twenty nineteen and i think she really spoke for the progressive alderman. Who voted against that budget. And it was you know. I think a close vote really by any. The mayor needed twenty six votes to pass both the budget. And then the property tax levy the property tax levy only passed with twenty eight votes. So that is really not a whole lot of votes to spare. And i think along with a lot of other progressive alderman. Alderman taylor said that this budget just did not do enough to protect the most vulnerable chicagoans particularly most of those most vulnerable chicagoans are black and latino. It was hard for a lot of alderman to sort of vote. Yes especially in the wake of just. The massive black lives matter protests the summer and sort of a renewed acknowledgement that so much at the city is sort of still struggling to reverse the embedded systematic racism in the city. That being said the mayor relied heavily on alderman. Who served black. And latino wards in the city and was able to get it passed and she said you know this is how democracy works you. You're not supposed to have a city council we're supposed to have descended supposed to have conversation. It should be closer than it has been in the past right key concessions. I think that played a role and getting yes. Votes one even more additional money for violence prevention and then there was also an agreement essentially to do a pilot not just co responder model. People have been hearing about this nine one one response when you send right now chicago since lease to the scene and they wanted to do this whole respond to her where they would send mental health professionals and police and there were people even on the progressive side of things that were like. No no we need a model in which you only send mental health for signs in certain cases where police really are not necessary whatsoever. So she did commit to that and committed a little bit of funding there. The tricky thing is it's not a lot of funding. And it's not like you hurt taylor if you don't give me crumbs and tell me okay. This is a woman who you know went on hunger strike because the school the high school in her neighborhood was closed. You so this is somebody who comes from deep in the community and who is now in a position of power and doesn't want to say oh. Well that's good enough. And i think there's a lot right now being made of the split in the progressive caucus yet people like maria hadn't of rogers park and andre vasquez fortieth ward where pat o'connor east to rain and he may both voted yes progressive caucus. We've been talking a lot about the split there. But as i mentioned there was also a lot of people who voted against this that are typical lightfoot area supporters More more wealthy more white wards and honing wars on the north far north west and southwest sides. All of their alderman for the most part voted against it even allies of her. Tom tunney hairy alterman. Both voted against this budget. And i think losing those votes meant she had to go look for support from others. Those are great names to throw out. I mean tom. Tony represents lakeview and wrigleville area and voice down or the neighborhood formerly known as boys town. Harry ostermann up into edgewater and rogers park and you also had some no votes. That were or lisa against the property tax. Levy in the one thousand nine hundred and beverly. I love this stuff. I get so jacked up for it. But i just love it too. Because it's changed the demographics. It's fun to watch how this city council is different than the ones before you know to lightfoot point it's healthy i guess for democracy of our city to to really debate these issues and not do everything behind closed doors in unanimous votes. Well heather. i mean there's obviously there's a media concerns or money concerns with property tax increases is going to have an impact. I don't want to make but when just talk about the politics of it. We just talk about the fact that the allegiances of i mean this is not your father's city council i mean you're the allegiances are dead. There's everyone's independent. You saw andres vasquez who didn't vote with the democratic socialists. Censured him. Maria hadn't voting yes Part of the progressive caucus. You would never have that even a during a mayor emanuel's term or before no you wouldn't Which isn't to say that there wasn't just as much sort of horse-trading or give or take behind the scenes but mayor emanuel in the mayor. Daley before him. They conducted these negotiations behind the scenes. And that's very different than the way that mayor lightfoot has chosen to run her operation and i certainly appreciate that most of this sort of taking place you know in public and sort of you know we can keep an eye on it but the question remains of is this a lasting sort of dissenting group of alderman. And i think you're right to point out that it's it's really a motley group of alderman alderman matt o shea who voted with alderman. Ginette taylor. They don't have a lot in common on really anything they were aligned on this vote at which is i think. What makes it so interesting was that it was opposed by alderman. Sort of most focused on the impact of what it would mean the poorest chicagoans and you had alderman who voted no because they're wealthy primarily white residents did not want to pay more in property taxes. And there's an ability to sort of make sweeping generalizations about. What's going forward however. I think that it shows that At a minimum that mayor lightfoot sort of initial approach of. We're going to do things differently. You know it might not actually be all that different in the yet. Does this mean for mayor lightfoot. I mean because she'll say hey we won and You know obviously this is a new day and we want to see this. And i love the concept of the policy decisions being done in public behind closed doors. I love that at the end of this process. Where does mayor lightfoot stand. I think she would say look. I governed to twenty six. That's what she said. After the council meeting i got twenty six. And we're we're moving on. But i think that the issue is is that she campaigned in twenty nine on sort of a new era in city government and i think that she has repeatedly clashed with progressive alderman and progressive groups. Which means that she is certainly vulnerable to a re election challenge from her left in. The question is do voters on the morris center. right Sort of political alignment chicago. Are they so angry in two thousand twenty three about this property tax hike that they find somebody else who's more centrist than she is in you know i think that mayor lightfoot proven during her time in office to be not necessarily a progressive a reformer and if we judge her on that basis the fact of the matter is is that she has not fulfilled her Promised to end all dramatic. Prerogative giving each alderman sort of the ability to sort of be a little mayor in his or her war and so that question becomes. Where does she go from here. She only got twenty eight votes on the property. Tax hike are there twenty eight to reduce the power of the city council further. I don't think that is and so. What does she go to voters with in. Twenty twenty two and twenty twenty three. I don't know that you know. She has figured out how to figure out that balance especially during a moment in chicago politics when really the progressive movement is just so energized descendant. All right my last thing. Be about mike madigan. He does not have the votes to be reelected speaker. That doesn't mean that somebody else is going to be reelected speaker. This is this is brand new territory from the state of illinois and it's politics because mike madigan since democratic when democrats have had the majority in the house has been the speaker since. Nineteen eighty-three what what happens. Do you expect both of you. And i'll s quickly 'cause then we'll wrap but do you expect it. He becomes speaker again. Do you think that he does some horse-trading here in the next month. And a half and he gets the votes. Well the question is who would. Who would who's going to go up against him. Yeah no i agree. You can't beat somebody. Like michael madigan with nobody. And that's what it comes down to so few show me somebody who's you know getting into double digits in terms of speaker votes than i'll take it seriously. But until then you know in the immortal words of omar on the wire if you come you best not miss. That's how the sharon wtt. W and becky. Vive wbz becky. Heather thanks for joining us. This week on the roundout well. That's it for this week's roundup and it's it for me when gen white left for one a i was asked to come in and be the interim host of this program and are very happy to have done that coming up in just two weeks. Sasha and simon's takes over as the new host of reset and i couldn't be more excited. She is a wonderful host. Someone that i listened to on one a. all throughout the summer before gentle over there and it'll be exciting to have her here as host of this very fine program. Meanwhile keep it right here. Wbz is in host chair next week. Thanks again for everything. I'm justin kauffman and this has been the weekly news roundup from wbz chicago right now on the curious city podcast one hundred years ago and african american boy drowned igniting a week of race riots in chicago but tensions had been building for years and some chicagoans wanted violence. They were looking for an opportunity to blow the lid off and so when this event happened at the beach said this is it. This is our chance to really fomento race war. The deep causes of the nineteen nineteen race. Riots that story and many others inspired by your questions. Wbz dot org slash curious city.