Sneed: Call him double-duty Duncan

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U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. | Sun-Times

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The People’s File . . .

Sneed Exclusive: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is pulling double duty this weekend.

Sneed hears Duncan, who is being urged by hunger strikers pushing for a new neighborhood school in the historic Dyett building, plans to meet with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to try to end the two-week brouhaha.

Thursday morning, however, an aide to Duncan said no meeting with Emanuel had been planned.

“They have no plans to meet on this matter. It is strictly a local issue,” the aide said.

Duncan will, however, join the Rev. Michael Pfleger, the anti-gun peace priest, on a walk through a violence-plagued section of St. Sabina’s Southwest Side neighborhood Friday night.

Earlier this week, two hunger strikers and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten traveled to Washington to deliver a letter to Duncan urging him to push Rahm to “do the right thing.” The hunger strike began in response to a Chicago Public Schools delay in the process to put a new school in the building at 555 E. 51st St. that housed Dyett High School until June.

Meanwhile, Sneed is told Duncan also called Pfleger to join his weekly Friday night walk through his violence torn parish.

“Arne called and said: ‘Let’s do it,’ ” said Pfleger, who will also be accompanied by Duncan’s basketball buddy, Ariel Investments guru John Rogers.

Pfleger, whose activism has drawn private praise from Archbishop Blase Cupich, tells Sneed: “America has a problem with guns and violence and nobody is immune from it. Not law enforcement. Not children on the street. Not in our churches. Nobody is immune from this epidemic unless we address this scourge.”


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Spike ’em . . .

Film director Spike Lee, who used St. Sabina as a base while filming his controversial movie “Chi-raq,” always sits in the same pew in church when he hits Chicago. “It’s the third pew in front of the pulpit,” said the Rev. Michael Pfleger. “He sings and he engages and he takes notes!”

P.S. Word is Lee’s film premiere will be pushed up to November instead of December.

Donald data . . .

How did the Donald – a k a Donald Trump — get his nickname?

Here’s how: His first ex-wife, Ivana, had a habit of putting a “the” in front of names.

Now you know.

The people’s mansion . . .

Zzzzzzzz. The governor’s mansion in Springfield is rather quiet these days.

• Translation: The aging pile, which Gov. Bruce Rauner and wife, Diana, plan to fix up with private funds, is off limits these days to frequent community events normally tossed at the mansion during “the people’s house” era under the stewardship of Gov. Pat Quinn.

• The flipside: “The mansion is off limits right now because the roof is being fixed and it would be unsafe,” said a Sneed source.

“I think the governor has to sneak in through the back door because of the work being done. The Rauners have scheduled such huge repair projects it will probably be unsafe to go in there for the next six months,” said a Sneed source.

The governor’s wife . . .

Where’s Diana?

Sneed hears Diana Rauner, the state’s first lady, apparently took a wee bit of time off this summer. “Remember, Mrs. Rauner has three kids and some of them are returning to school, and I think she took a little time off to spend at one of their homes in August,” said a Sneed source.

Getting Zopped . . .

$$$$ U.S. Senate hopeful Andrea Zopp, who has raised beaucoup bucks from Chicago’s powerhouse business and political community, was feted at a fundraiser hosted by former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson and his philanthropist wife, Liz. Among the guests were veteran radio exec Marv Dyson.

Last day of Summers . . .

City Treasurer Kurt Summers is going back to school!

• Translation: Summers, along with his fellow Whitney Young Magnet High School alumni Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) and Cook County Circuit Judge Devlin Schoop, will be back at their old high school to welcome students on the first day of school Tuesday.

AmBush ’em . . .

Watch for Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s troops to bring his GOP presidential campaign to Chicago after Labor Day. “They have gotten a late start and are meeting with a lot of top Republican Party leaders to get focused,” said a top GOP party source. “They are trying to thump Trump.” Good luck.

Sneedlings . . .

Thursday’s birthdays: Charlie Sheen, 50; Steve Schirripa, 57, and Garrett Hedlund, 31.

Follow Sneed on Twitter: @Sneedlings

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