Rich Miller

Rich Miller

Lies about SAFE-T Act unleashed ugliness

Spread the love

By Rich Miller

Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) headed up her chamber’s efforts to amend the controversial SAFE-T Act this year. The day before the bill came up for a vote, I asked her what were, in her opinion, the largest misconceptions about the 2021 social justice reform law.

Gordon-Booth pointed to the trespassing issue. “I don’t care if you live in rural, urban, suburban. The trespassing [issue] was one that just made a lot of folks incredibly uncomfortable.”

Gordon-Booth got a taste for that last summer, she said, when she sat down with a young, millennial police officer who she described as a “cop’s cop.” She also met with her local Peoria police chief and the chief’s top brass.

RichMiller 1

Rich Miller

Their top concern was the perceived inability for police to make trespassing arrests under the existing provisions of the SAFE-T Act. Some of her fellow legislators also expressed that concern, so, Gordon-Booth decided, “We just needed to be far more clear about what our intent was.” That intent, she said, “was obviously not as it was framed,” by opponents. “We just had to be more clear about how we wanted the language to read so that it was interpreted the same way by everybody, by all parties.”

So, changes were made that now make it explicitly clear that arrests can be made.

I also asked Gordon-Booth to reflect a bit on the opposition to the new law. She said she’d witnessed some major national backlashes throughout her life, so the fact that people would try to gin up another one on this law didn’t surprise her.

She said she had no illusions “that the SAFE-T Act was going to be used as a tool to fear-monger, to try to get Illinoisans to believe that somehow those of us that are elected officials, many of us who live and represent communities that are also plagued by the violence that we all find abhorrent, many of us also being crime victims. I wasn’t surprised that they used the fear tactic and used the SAFE-T Act as the tool to try to drive the fear.” But, she said, “It still punches you in the gut when you see it play out.”

Even so, Gordon-Booth said, “We knew that we put together a strong body of work that we could stand behind, stand on and not run from,” adding, “it’s a great feeling to know that those fear-mongering tactics did not work.”

The tactics may not have worked politically, but Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) wrote a powerful op-ed for the Rockford Register Star about how SAFE-T Act misinformation caused harm.

Rep. West, the “only Black legislator in the northern Illinois region,” wrote in his op-ed that the misinformation spread about the legislation, “strategically led people down a path to think of dark-skinned people being let out of jail to destroy our community. Once that bell is rung,” he wrote, “you can’t un-ring it.”

That, he wrote, is why he is having trouble accepting an attempted walk-back from his local Republican State’s Attorney J. Hanley, who was recently quoted as saying he regretted helping spread that misinformation, which West claimed, “led to confusion and anger in our community and threats to me and my family personally.”

“Because of this misinformation,” Rep. West, a church pastor, wrote, “my faith was questioned, my life threatened, and the N-word was used so expressively and easily by some. All while my fellow local elected leaders, on both sides of the aisle, threw me under the bus for their political survival.”

I reached out to West to talk to him directly about his experiences. He said much of the harassment involved calls to his legislative office, “with a quick hang-up after using racist remarks.”

The one that really shook up West and his family was, “a guy who called our office looking to see if the ‘N-word’ was there,” West said. “My office assistant tries to calm him down and tell him that I wasn’t there, but she’s willing to talk to him about the legislation. He calls her a lying c**t and said he doesn’t believe her and he’s coming to the office regardless.” Rep. West said he shut the office down for the day.

Legislators’ home addresses are easily accessible online, and because the harassment and threats cause his family so much angst and fear, West said he is now “working on legislation to hide the personal address of each candidate, and the only way to see it is to request copies of the petitions and leave your address as well.”

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and CapitolFax.com.

Local News

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Mount Carmel, Marist and Oak Lawn among 84 teams at Riverside-Brookfield shootout

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent   High school boys basketball does not stop in March and pick back up in late autumn. For many players, playing hoops is a year-round commitment. AAU ball is a big reason for, that there are summer camps, shootouts or other events at most schools during the summer. The…

Peggy Zabicki

Dog lovers to celebrate ‘Fur of July’

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . I’m starting out with some fun news. The West Lawn Dog Park Advisory Council will be hosting a Fur of July Pet Parade on Saturday, June 29 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at West Lawn…

Mary Stanek

Fourth of July not happy for everyone

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796 . Happy Fourth of July. Cannot believe I am already saying that, time sure goes. Hope it is safe and quiet for everyone and especially all of our house pets. For us its shutting…

Kathy Headley

St. Rita’s transformation is worth a look

Spread the love

Spread the love. Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . St. Rita of Cascia Church, 63rd and Fairfield, continues to undergo its transformation from the sunflowery/harvest golds and browns of the 1960s and 1970s to the calming pastels of the 2000s. Since the basilica-style church…

Alyssa Naeher clears a ball at North Carolina on June 23 in a 3-1 Red Stars loss. IMAGN photo

Loss to Courage brings Red Stars’ winless streak to five games

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Chicago Red Stars historic start to the season is all but forgotten. In the last five matches, the Red Stars have failed to win, with the latest setback being a 3-1 loss on the road to North Carolina on June 23 in an NWSL battle. The Red Stars…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Summer League Basketball | Illinois powers compete at Riverside-Brookfield Shootout

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent School’s out for the summer, but high school athletes across Illinois are remaining active during the summer sports season. This includes basketball players, who can be found at camps, open gyms, camps and even weekend tournaments. Among the more high profile hoops action in the area was the Riverside-Brookfield…

Dana Rettke, a graduate of Riverside-Brookfield High School, will play on the U.S. women's volleyball team at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

Dana Rettke and Ryan Murphy heading to Paris Summer Games

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Area fans of the Summer Olympics will have extra reasons to cheer athletes from the United States in the upcoming Paris Games. Dana Rettke of Riverside is a member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team and Palos Heights native Ryan Murphy will represent the country in swimming. Rettke, a…

Kathy Headley

Hope Church feeds the hungry at Marquette Park

Spread the love

Spread the love. Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . Last week on the way to our CAPS meeting at the Marquette Park Fieldhouse, I stopped in at the Tuesday Community Dinner hosted by Hope Church every week in the auditorium. Pastors Ben and Jordyn…

Hadi Isbaih

Palos Heights tax preparer convicted of Covid-relief fraud

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports A Palos Heights tax preparer who operates a business in Bridgeview has been convicted on federal charges for fraudulently assisting customers in obtaining loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The jury in U.S. District Court in Chicago on June 10 convicted Hadi Isbaih, 42, on all…

An artist's renderings of what the renovated Fine Arts Center will look like at Shepard High School, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights. (Supplied photos)

Renovations begin on Shepard High School theater

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Shepard High School, which prides itself in the fine arts, will soon have a beautifully reconstructed theater right on its Palos Heights campus. The Community High School District 218 Board of Education recently unanimously approved funding for the renovation of the Fine Arts Center at the high school at 13049…

Neighbors

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Mount Carmel, Marist and Oak Lawn among 84 teams at Riverside-Brookfield shootout

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent   High school boys basketball does not stop in March and pick back up in late autumn. For many players, playing hoops is a year-round commitment. AAU ball is a big reason for, that there are summer camps, shootouts or other events at most schools during the summer. The…

Peggy Zabicki

Dog lovers to celebrate ‘Fur of July’

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . I’m starting out with some fun news. The West Lawn Dog Park Advisory Council will be hosting a Fur of July Pet Parade on Saturday, June 29 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at West Lawn…

Mary Stanek

Fourth of July not happy for everyone

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796 . Happy Fourth of July. Cannot believe I am already saying that, time sure goes. Hope it is safe and quiet for everyone and especially all of our house pets. For us its shutting…

Kathy Headley

St. Rita’s transformation is worth a look

Spread the love

Spread the love. Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . St. Rita of Cascia Church, 63rd and Fairfield, continues to undergo its transformation from the sunflowery/harvest golds and browns of the 1960s and 1970s to the calming pastels of the 2000s. Since the basilica-style church…

Alyssa Naeher clears a ball at North Carolina on June 23 in a 3-1 Red Stars loss. IMAGN photo

Loss to Courage brings Red Stars’ winless streak to five games

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Chicago Red Stars historic start to the season is all but forgotten. In the last five matches, the Red Stars have failed to win, with the latest setback being a 3-1 loss on the road to North Carolina on June 23 in an NWSL battle. The Red Stars…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Summer League Basketball | Illinois powers compete at Riverside-Brookfield Shootout

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent School’s out for the summer, but high school athletes across Illinois are remaining active during the summer sports season. This includes basketball players, who can be found at camps, open gyms, camps and even weekend tournaments. Among the more high profile hoops action in the area was the Riverside-Brookfield…

Dana Rettke, a graduate of Riverside-Brookfield High School, will play on the U.S. women's volleyball team at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

Dana Rettke and Ryan Murphy heading to Paris Summer Games

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Area fans of the Summer Olympics will have extra reasons to cheer athletes from the United States in the upcoming Paris Games. Dana Rettke of Riverside is a member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team and Palos Heights native Ryan Murphy will represent the country in swimming. Rettke, a…

Kathy Headley

Hope Church feeds the hungry at Marquette Park

Spread the love

Spread the love. Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . Last week on the way to our CAPS meeting at the Marquette Park Fieldhouse, I stopped in at the Tuesday Community Dinner hosted by Hope Church every week in the auditorium. Pastors Ben and Jordyn…

Hadi Isbaih

Palos Heights tax preparer convicted of Covid-relief fraud

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports A Palos Heights tax preparer who operates a business in Bridgeview has been convicted on federal charges for fraudulently assisting customers in obtaining loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The jury in U.S. District Court in Chicago on June 10 convicted Hadi Isbaih, 42, on all…

An artist's renderings of what the renovated Fine Arts Center will look like at Shepard High School, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights. (Supplied photos)

Renovations begin on Shepard High School theater

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Shepard High School, which prides itself in the fine arts, will soon have a beautifully reconstructed theater right on its Palos Heights campus. The Community High School District 218 Board of Education recently unanimously approved funding for the renovation of the Fine Arts Center at the high school at 13049…