Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Wednesday, April 19, 2017.
Former governor Rod Blagojevich's legal team still insists he's innocent of the alleged crimes that landed him in jail more than five years ago. "The government wants him to apologize for crimes that he didn't commit," his attorney Leonard Goodman said before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday. "The government's position that there is no difference between a request for a campaign donation and a bribe is simply wrong. Every single court that has looked at that issue has found otherwise, and I think that this court will too." Blagojevich has high hopes that the appeals court will shorten his prison sentence or order a new trial, his wife, Patti Blagojevich, told reporters. [Tribune]
Chicago Public Schools is still in danger of being forced to close June 1, 20 days early, unless officials find a way to get more funding soon. Alderman George Cardenas proposed legislation that would use city tax increment financing funds to keep the schools open until the scheduled end of the school year (something the Reader's Ben Joravsky has also proposed) but alderman Ed Burke said it had "not been properly drafted to pass a legal test and would have to be reconsidered by the City Council's Finance Committee," according to DNAinfo Chicago. The city has more than $1 billion in its TIF accounts. Alderman Scott Waguespack said his constituents need to know whether or not the schools will close early. "It is an embarrassment that there is not enough money to keep the lights on," alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa said. CPS CEO Forrest Claypool was criticized by several aldermen for not attending the City Council hearing. [DNAinfo Chicago]
City treasurer Kurt Summers will announce whether or not he's running for governor in 2018 within two weeks. Summers would be the only African-American candidate in the race if he decides to run. He has "spoken with each Democratic gubernatorial candidate about how they'll represent the needs of African-Americans, Hispanics, and women within their campaigns," according to the Sun-Times. "There isn't a female candidate. There isn't a black candidate. There isn't a Latino candidate," he said. "And I think each of the current candidates have to be able to show their commitment to those constituencies but also have to show their commitment to those who are most harmed." There's at least one sign he's running: he will host a fund-raiser April 23 in River North. [Sun-Times]
The infamous video of Chicago aviation security officers dragging Dr. David Dao off a United Airlines plane at O'Hare International Airport raised questions about the role of the security officers. Mayor Rahm Emanuel agrees with aviation commissioner Ginger Evans's decision to place three officers involved in the incident on paid administrative leave, and he's waiting for a review to decide whether or not to abolish the force. "The answer to the question is Ginger's gonna run her operation," the mayor said. "She's gonna run her review. It's gonna be reported back in the next two to three weeks. And there will be a lot of answers of what we're gonna do going forward that may be different." [Sun-Times]
Comedy Central has green-lighted a new "socially aware stand-up and musical series showcasing a collection of new and established comedians" executive produced and cohosted by Hyde Park native and rapper Open Mike Eagle, according to Deadline Hollywood. Called The New Negroes, the show wants to change the discussion on black life and culture. [Deadline Hollywood]
Dutch street artist Eelco van den Berg has created a stunning mural "blending animal faces and geometric patterns" on the front of a three-story building in West Town thanks to a "taxpayer-funded public arts initiative formed by the West Town Chamber of Commerce and Chicago Trubon Gallery," according to DNAinfo Chicago. Van den Berg, who goes by Eelco, enjoyed his time in Chicago. "They were so appreciative from the moment I got off the lift," he told DNAinfo Chicago. "They came up and said, 'I live here and it's such a great beautification of the street' and one offered free sushi from the sushi restaurant. For my first time in Chicago, it was very special." [DNAinfo Chicago]