Flannery Fired Up: How the system failed A.J. Freund, Part II; "Two Chicagos"

In the wake of A.J. Freund’s death, Illinois lawmakers plan to convene two days of public hearings in the State Capitol next Tuesday and Wednesday. Two leading lawmakers tell Flannery Fired Up they will demand big changes at the state’s troubled Department of Children and Family Services. Child welfare case workers and courts missed one warning sign after another in A.J.’s case. The tragic result: he was delivered back to a grotesque home allegedly defiled by feces, urine and two parents addicted to drugs.

State representatives Anna Moeller (D-Elgin) and Sarah Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) want DCFS to make child protection a top priority, with family re-unification and important but lesser goal. Such a change may be controversial in Springfield. A large majority of the children removed from parents are African-American. The General Assembly’s Black Caucus has argued that it’s been overused. DCFS once had about 55,000 children in its custody. It now has about 18,000.

Also joining FOX 32 Political Editor Mike Flannery is State Rep. Martin Moylan (D-Des Plaines). Although Moylan’s Northwest Suburban district voted in last year’s advisory referendum to approve legal cannabis (62% to 38) -- Moylan is now an outspoken foe of legalizing adult use in Illinois. Gov. Pritzker strongly supports it and his fiscal 2020 state budget counts on $170 million in tax revenue from marijuana. Moylan denounces pot as a “gateway drug” and accuses supporters of placing “profits over people.”

In this edition’s third segment, two urban policy experts discuss Mayor Lightfoot’s goal of linking the “Two Chicagos.” Urbanist and Forbes Magazine contributor Pete Saunders has reported that Chicago saw an astounding 42% increase in the number of residents age 25-44 with college degrees. Chicago’s overall white and Asian populations are growing rapidly. The Hispanic population is growing slightly. But the black population continues to plummet, falling by at least 400,000 since the 1980s.

Saunders and Daniel Kay Hertz, of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, discuss policies that could connect deeply troubled parts of the West Side and South Side to the parts of Chicago that are booming.

Flannery closes this program with an excerpt from Mayor Emanuel’s remarks at the City Club of Chicago this past week. Emanuel told WBBM-AM’s Political Editor Craig Dellimore about his plans for life after leaving City Hall. He plans to bike around Lake Michigan (something he says he’s dreamed of for 24 years). Emanuel says he’s written a book that is in the final stages of editing, plans to “do TV” and “some stuff in the financial area.” After leaving the Bill Clinton White House, Emanuel made millions of dollars in high finance. Among his deals, one that had future Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on one side and future White House chief of staff Bill Daley on the other.