Newsletter - March 2024

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Newsletter Highlights

Save the Date--LWVCC Annual Meeting is

May 13, 2024

Time to Vote in the March 19 Primary

LWVCC Questions Vacant Cook County

 Inspector General Position

Register for Red Gate Woods Forest Preserve Walk Lecture and Walk April 14

2024 LWVCC Annual Meeting

All League Members Are Invited

When: Monday May 13th from 9:45am until 1pm
Where: The Auditorium Building - Roosevelt University 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago - Ida B. Wells Room
Cost: $40 - Continental Breakfast and Box Lunch Included
Program: Election Integrity and Safety with
Representatives from the Offices of the Cook County Clerk and Chicago Board of Elections
Registration for the meeting, delegate information and meeting materials will be available soon.

Still Time to Vote

See the Voter Info page of the LWVCC Website There you will find information on times and sites for early voting and election day voting, and non-partisan candidate information.

FAQS on voting


  •  Suburban Cook County residents may only register to vote at their home precinct on election day; if already registered, can vote at the 69 W. Washington pedway and Suburban Courthouse locations, in addition to the home precinct. Union Station is not a voting site for this election.
  •  Chicago residents can both register and vote at the ward Early Voting sites, as well as their home precinct.


  • On Election Day, Suburban Cook County residents may only drop off vote-by-mail ballots at the outside box at 69 W. Washington or the Clerk’s 5th floor office at 69 W. Washington.
  •  Chicago residents can drop off their vote-by-mail ballots at any designated drop-off site, which includes all ward Early Voting sites up through and including Election Day.
  •  Both Chicago and Suburban residents can choose to vote in person instead on Election Day, but should bring their vote-by-mail ballot to turn in to the election judges OR be prepared to sign an affidavit that they have not sent in the vote-by-mail ballot. 

Candidate Information

​Videos of candidates done by the Chicago and Cook County Leagues for the contested Democratic races for Clerk of the Court and Board of Review HERE

Recording of the Democratic Candidates for States Attorney Debate between Clayton Harris III and Eileen O'Neil Burke, held on Feb 8, was sponsored by ABC/Channel 7, Univision, and the Leagues of Women Voters of Cook County and Chicago. 

Watch the debate HERE

Also running uncontested is Robert W. Fioretti on the Republican Primary ballot.

Read the interviews of Metropolitan Water Reclamation District candidates provided by the Friends of the Chicago River  HERE. 

Additional Voter Guides to assist you with voting

LWVIL Voter Guide

WTTW Voter Guide

Vote for Judges

Where Is the New Cook County Inspector General?


The Cook County League has been asking about the status of selecting a new Cook County Independent Inspector General (“IG”) for many months. First in private with questions to individual Cook County Commissioners and in a letter to the Cook County President. Now in public with written comments to the President and Board for the February 29 meeting, and during the public comment period of the Litigation Subcommittee meeting of March 13. Click HERE to read those comments.

The prior IG retired in October of 2022, after giving a year’s notice of that planned retirement. Since then, the General Counsel of the office has ably served on an interim basis. However, the total allowed headcount for the Office of the Independent Inspector General is just 19 people. In addition to the vacant position at the top, one of two deputy inspector general positions has also been vacant during these past 17 months to allow the new IG to help fill that position. As the League stated in its public comments, not having the two top positions filled on a permanent basis for so many months cannot help but have a detrimental impact on both the work and personnel of this critical office.

These vacancies also impact the Cook County Forest Preserve District and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District which have contracted with the County for the IG office’s services. 

LWVCC Forest Preserve Interest Group

Red Gate Woods- Atomic Legacy

Join the LWVCC for a two part program, Sunday April 14

Sagawau Environmental Nature Center

12545 111th St

Lemont, IL 60439   630 257 2045

The University of Chicago, scientists produced the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction (nuclear fission) on December 2, 1942. This first nuclear reactor was moved and rebuilt on Cook County Forest Preserve property in Red Gate Woods. As part of the Manhattan Project, a research facility and an additional reactor was built here.

1. Red Gate Woods- Atomic Legacy lecture: 10 am to noon in Sagawau Environmental Nature Center Classroom, 

Lecturer is Dave Dolak, Professor at Columbia College Chicago’s Science & Mathematics Dept.  

2.Optional Hike at Red Gate Woods: 12:30 following lecture

The hike is about 3 miles to Site A where the nuclear reactors were buried.  Trail is grass, dirt, some tree roots, and asphalt. The trail is not for everyone as it is moderate with some elevation gain- walking sticks/hiking poles would be useful. 

Program limited to 30 participants. No food or drink permitted in building.

Register at 

Include your name, email, phone number, and local league.

Recording "Freedom Seekers and the History of Northeastern Illinois"

On February 26th, the Forest Preserve Interest Group sponsored a presentation on the history of the Underground Railroad which includes the Cook County Forest Preserves. Listen to the fascinating presentation by Dr. Larry McClellan, historian and author, HERE.

LWVCC Interest Groups report on important news in Cook County Government

Budget and Structure Interest Group

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Seeks Legislation to establish DEIJ Department

One of the MWRD's Legislative priorities for 2024 is now before the Illinois General Assembly. It is a bill that, if approved, would allow for the MWRD to create a new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Department and also allow for the appointment of a deputy executive director.

 "Despite vigorous efforts by MWRD, under served communities continue to flood and endure disproportionate impacts from financial, public, and ecological health threats across Cook County. The MWRD Board has voted unanimously for authorization to establish a DEIJ Department to accelerate proactive efforts to protect communities expected to suffer disproportionately the most in the coming decades. To achieve this purpose, the new department, in coordination with other departments, will oversee the review of affirmative action contract compliance, budgeting for capital projects and contracts, and provide technical assistance." This change requires Illinois State legislation because the MWRD was established by a broad State statute that requires its approval for organizational changes.

You can write to your Illinois Representative asking her/him to support HB 5033 which is currently in the Rules Committee with nine co-sponsors. 

To learn more about the work of the MWRD, see their WEBSITE.

Criminal Justice Interest Group

  • Jan Goldberg and members of the Civic Federation met with the judges of all major divisions of Cook County, technical staff, and public relations staff to discuss their questions and observations at First Appearance Court. The information gathered from this meeting and from our court watching will be released soon in a joint report.
  • The group met via zoom with Appleseed lawyers to discuss their report on the Restorative Justice courts in Chicago. The most important fact that contributes to the success of these courts is community involvement. Their recommendations included expanding the age eligibility (now it is 18 -26 yr old) and the charges list ( now it is nonviolent felonies only).
  • The next regular meeting of the Criminal Justice Interest Group will be March 26 at 9 am via Zoom, Annie McGowan of the Civic Federation will be joining. u
  • The next book discussion will be at April 19, 9am, via Zoom. The book will be "Walk the Walk: How three Police Chiefs Defied the Odds and Changed Cop Culture" by Nele Gross
  • If you would like to attend these meetings please contact Jan Goldberg

LWVCC observes and reports on board and committee meetings of Cook County government entities to provide our members with an understanding of current issues. To read more: LWVCC Observer Reports

Observer Highlights

Cook County Board of Commissioners

Health and Hospitals Committee Meeting

February 27, 2024                  


Dr. Erik Mikaitis, Interim CEO of CCH and Dr. Rami Doukky, Chair of Cardiology & Interim Director of Heart Institute at CCH presented Health Disparities Semi Annual Report, June 2023-December 2023.


The Heart Institute is developing its scope of care from prevention to critical care. The Institute has a heart failure rate of readmission within 30 days, in the 10th percentile, which is better than the national average. Commissioner. Trevor noted that is especially impressive since they see patients further along in the disease. The statistic indicates good care. In 2023, the American Heart Association awarded them twice with Gold Plus recognition in heart care.


Outpatient services expanded, including outpatient cardiology care and palliative care. Three new clinics have been added. They have introduced the CardioMES, a pulmonary care tool that transmits data every night relative to pulmonary pressure. A team can intervene and contact patient; decreased need for readmission when in use has been proven here. 

Cook County Board of Commissioners Health and Hospitals

Committee Public Hearing

February 27, 2024                    


Dr. R. Garza CCH Board of Directors Chair introduced Brian Barton and Dr. Greg Vaughn. They were representing the firm Spencer Stuart, which is conducting the search process for the new CEO and were present to hear priorities and address questions. Many of the points of concern, they stated, had also been expressed to them by the Cook County Health (CCH) Board.


The process generally takes 5-6 months from start to finish. Discussions with CCH Board have begun. Vaughn stated confidentiality is very important for candidates in the process. Asked what happens if you feel you don’t have the ideal candidate among the ones interviewed, Mr. Barton stated we want to bring you the top candidate. If necessary, we relaunch the search. We are here until you are satisfied with the final candidate

Local League Upcoming Events

Wednesday, March 20, 7:00pm

LWV LaGrange Area

Marie Newman will discuss her experience as a State Representative

LaGrange Library 10 W. Cossitt, LaGrange

Open to the public. No registration required

Thursday, March 21, 6:30pm

LWV Oak Park River Forest

Drinks & Dialogue

End of Life Options- Catherine Marienau, PhD.

Friendly's Tap, 6731 Roosevelt Rd, Berwyn

Open to the public. No registration required


Saturday, April 13, 10:00am

LWV Palos Orland

Intelligent Interactions: Understanding and Engaging with AI

Cathal O'Sullivan

Palos Heights Public Library

12501 S 71st Avenue, Palos Heights, IL.

Opens: 9:30 AM. For coffee and conversation

Open to the public. No registration required

Thursday, April 18, 6:30pm

LWV Oak Park River Forest

Drinks & Dialogue

Our Water Reclamation District

Dawn Walker, Chief of Staff for Commissioner Davis

Matthew Estenssoro, Attorney

Friendly's Tap, 6731 Roosevelt Rd, Berwyn

Open to the public. No registration required

2023-2024 Cook County League Board Members 

OFFICERS: President: Cynthia Schilsky, LaGrange Area; Vice-Presidents: Pris Mims, Chicago, Kathi Graffam, LaGrange Area; Secretary: Carolyn Cosentino, Homewood/Flossmoor; Treasurer: Trudy Turner, Evanston.

Board membersLaura Davis, Palatine; Diane Edmundson, Chicago; Jan Goldberg, LaGrange Area ; Betty Hayford, Evanston; Karin Hribar, Arlington Heights; Sandra Slayton, Homewood-Flossmoor


The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, political organization whose mission is to encourage informed and active participation in government; to increase understanding of major policy issues, and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to anyone regardless of gender, race, or ethnic group.


League of Women Voters of Cook County

332 S. Michigan Ave. Suite 634, Chicago, IL 60604

312-939-5935 x127