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Exclusive: County Board president lists 925 for layoffs if no soda tax

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Tit for tat?

Or a case of unintended consequences?

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s office just got a letter from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle listing 925 positions designated for layoffs — if a judge doesn’t allow a countywide sweet beverage tax to take effect by August.

• The kicker: Sneed is told 377 of those jobs, many of them held by Cook County Jail correctional officers, are held by members of the Chicago Teamsters Union.

So here’s the kick in the butt.

Recently, the Teamsters Union took out a full-page newspaper ad opposing the tax, which Preckwinkle vigorously backed.

“This sure looked like a shot across the bow,” a top Sneed source said.

“Or interesting timing that many of the designated layoffs were members of the Teamsters Union, which took out the ad opposing the tax,” the source said.


• Buckshot: The sheriff’s office was warned there would be a 10 percent budget reduction if the tax doesn’t go through — and that this would have to happen unless every possible alternative was pursued.

• Backshot: Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak suddenly stopped the pop tax from going into effect Saturday by issuing a temporary restraining order shortly after a suit was filed by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association to block the penny-per-ounce tax from being levied. They claimed it was unconstitutional.

• Buckshot: A stunned and disappointed Preckwinkle was depending on the $67.5 million raised through the end of November from the sweet tax to shore up empty county coffers and $200.6 million by 2018.

Stay tuned.

A McCarthy candidacy?

He’s just having fun.

And trying to make a living.

For now.

But surprise, surprise.

Those small green and gold political “GMFM” (Garry McCarthy for mayor) buttons — which our city’s former top cop claims to know nothing about — are circulating in the ward of Ald. Marge Laurino (39th), whose husband is the uncle of McCarthy’s wife, Chicago attorney Kristin Barnette.

Burke’s law . . . 

Hmmmm: City Council historian Ald. Edward Burke (14th) was spotted quoting his favorite statesman/political theorist Edmund Burke in the midst of the state’s budget fiasco.

• Quoth Burke on a 200-year-old observation of Edmund Burke: “In politics, there are no permanent enemies. No permanent friends. Only permanent interests.”

It’s the buzz . . . 

She denies it.

But is former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot eyeing a bid for mayor?


“Lori lit up Operation Push where she was a featured speaker this weekend,” a top black financial war horse source told Sneed.

“She [Lightfoot] would be formidable and not beholden to Mayor Emanuel by calling Rahm’s version of police reform a retreat from federal oversight. She is truly independent,” the source said.

“Although Lori said nothing about running for mayor during the speech, she was electric and the buzz was all over the place about the possibility of her running,” the source said.

• The plank shot? Although Lightfoot, who is president of the Chicago Police Board and co-chair of the mayor’s Police Accountability Task Force, tells Sneed she is not planning to run for mayor, her criticism of the mayor’s approach to police reform sounds like she’s already carving a political plank.

Brake it . . . 

The late Princess Diana’s family car used to ferry Prince William and Harry around for the summer of 1994 just sold at auction for $75,000.

It was green, had a “hide” interior and a walnut dashboard, and she drove it for 4,000 miles before it was bought by a political TV commentator.

Is this classified as fake news?

Sneedlings . . .

I spy: Cubs pitcher Justin Grimm spotted at Gibsons on Rush Monday. . . . Ditto for actor Xzibit. . . . Actor Christopher “The Brady Bunch” Knight dining at Lux Bar on Monday. . . . Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg spotted having dinner at Hugo’s Frog Bar on Wednesday night. . . . Today’s birthdays: Ringo Starr, 77; Jim Gaffigan, 51, Michelle Kwan, 37, and Danielle Bejlovec, ageless.