Sneed: Toni Preckwinkle exercises her political muscle

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It’s Toni the Tiger time!

Is powerful Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle opening the door for a possible African-American female slate at the top of the Dem party ticket?

• Translation: Sneed is told Preckwinkle, one of the executive vice chairmen of the Cook County Democratic Party, just exercised her considerable political muscle to buck-up the candidacy of two African-American women.

• Consider: Sneed is told Toni, who is backing her former Chief of Staff Kim Foxx’s bid to replace her nemesis, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, was instrumental in getting the Cook County Dem party to pass on endorsing Alvarez — or anyone in the primary race for state’s attorney.

• Consider: Toni was also instrumental in getting the Cook County Dems not to endorse anyone in the Dem primary race for the U.S. Senate, ostensibly giving former Chicago Urban League President Andrea Zopp a leg up against U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth.


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Duckworth was endorsed earlier by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee members — minus a formal interview with Zopp, which infuriated Zopp and top black leaders in the financial community.

“The boys from the beltway in Washington aren’t about to tell the Cook County Dem hierarchy who to endorse for the U.S. Senate,” said a top Dem source.

• Pssst! Preckwinkle, a Minnesota native who likes to take her grandkids camping in the Chicago forest preserves, has headed to her home state for a relaxing vacation — where she always fits in a fishing trip.

• Pssst!Sneed bets Toni’s tackle box is minus a few fish hooks baited with lures to get the Cook County Dem apparatus to follow her lead.

Vroom! Vroom!

What car does the richest man in Illinois drive?

Citadel hedge fund czar Ken Griffin drove up to RPM Steak Thursday night in his Porsche 918 Spyder, which costs around $845,000.

Now there’s a chunk of change.

A crackdown is looming!

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is looking for nickels under couch cushions to fatten the city coffers, is going to crack down on businesses with unpaid city debt.

“The mayor believes it would be totally unfair to ask taxpayers to dig deeper into their pockets without making sure businesses who owe the city money actually pay their bills,” said a City Hall source.

“Any tickets, fines, fees and payments for services owed to the city — including tickets for not cutting high weeds on property — could result in not being issued a city business license,” the source said.

The city expects to collect $5 million worth of business debt through this crackdown.

“Using data, the city can now check on all of an applicant’s business properties to see if there is any outstanding debt on any of them,” the source added. “So if someone owns a business that has city debt and wants to open a new one, they better pay up,” the source added.

“The city is also pursuing a process for business license revocation for any business with significant amounts of outstanding debt.”

Hey! Hey!

Dutchie Caray, the first lady of baseball, was honored by the city last week.

Widow of legendary sportscaster Harry Caray, Dutchie had a Streeterville street named in her honor — and her pals Ryne Sandberg, Ron Kittle and Cubs President Crane Kenney joined a ton of Dutchie devotees to celebrate.

• Backshot: While Harry Caray told plenty of stories, Dutchie has a few tales of her own to share.

• For instance: Harry and Dutchie were looking for a new home, and had whittled the search down to two condos at Water Tower Place. One was one story, the other two.

• Dutchie’s caveat: “Can you imagine Harry coming home at3 a.m.after a night on Rush Street, walking up a winding staircase?”

Nobody could. The condo with the staircase was out.

Dutchie, who used to bake 140 cupcakes a week to feed the homeless and hosted the children at Maryville Academy every year for Thanksgiving dinner, is a gift to us. Congrats, Dutchie!

Sneedlings …

Saturday’s birthdays: Kristen Wiig, 42; Tori Amos, 52, and Ty Burrell, 48 … Sunday’s birthdays: Rick Springfield, 66; Barbara Eden, 84, and Andrew Rannells, 37.

Follow Sneed on Twitter: @Sneedlings

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