The woman whose outrage over the Jussie Smollett case compelled a court to create a special prosecutor is the opening guest on this edition of Flannery Fired Up. Retired Illinois Appellate Court Judge Sheila O’Brien said she hopes someone will file to run next year against Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. First-termer Foxx is already campaigning for re-election. The Democratic primary is scheduled for next March.
O‘Brien criticizes Foxx not only for bungling the Smollett case, but on broader issues as well. The retired judge complains that Foxx often fails to prosecute shoplifters, creating what calls an “open season” on local retailers. Foxx has said she’s refocused the limited resources of her office on violent crime. Fewer than twenty per cent of killings in Chicago ever lead to a prosecution, among the worst records of any big city in America. The Chicago Police Department has recently promoted hundreds of new detectives, who bear the primary responsibility for arresting alleged murderers. The state’s attorney then prosecutes the alleged perpetrators in court. Circuit Court judges rule on whether defendants may post bond to be released pending trial. The judges also preside over trials.
Also joining us on this edition of Flannery Fired Up, unsuccessful former candidate for mayor Susana Mendoza. After losing to Lori Lightfoot, Mendoza returned to her job as Comptroller of Illinois. She warns that the state still owes $6.7 billion in unpaid bills, as well as a vast, unfunded pension debt. Gov. Pritzker’s signature on new laws legalizing marijuana, sports betting and a giant expansion of casino gambling will eventually generate billions of new tax dollars. But Mendoza says that money will not solve the state’s huge financial woes. She supports Pritzker’s controversial call to raise the state income tax on Illinoisans making more than $250,000 a year.
An expert in sports betting, The Score’s Joe Ostrowski, also joins us. The host of “Early Odds,” a program that airs on AM-670 on Saturdays, Ostrowski notes that Illinois may soon have as many as 39 legal sports books. Within 18 months, the state will also sell three licenses to online betting operators.
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi joins us to explain big changes in Cook County’s property tax bills. They’ve already been posted online by the county treasurer and homeowners will see them in the mail next week. On the North Side, some owners are seeing increases of more than 30%. On the South Side, where studies have shown properties were historically over-assessed for tax purposes, bills are declining by double-digit percentages in some neighborhoods. Kaegi also addresses the mysterious failure in the Illinois House of tax reform legislation he proposed. It passed the State Senate with a super-majority, but Democratic leaders in the House failed to call it for a vote. Kaegi says he’ll try again this fall in the General Assembly’s Veto Session.
In Mike Flannery’s Hot take that concluded the show, he addresses the national uproar over a Chicago waitress who this past week spit on Presidential son Eric Trump.