CHICAGO – On Tuesday night, the nine candidates running for mayor of Chicago participated in a forum that, at times, descended into a raucous, finger-pointing affair.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has spent a lot of money on ads attacking Congressman Chuy Garcia, and she continued the attack at the forum, calling him a “disciple of defunding police.”
To paraphrase what Lightfoot said, “there are two defenders of the police that are on this stage: Chuy Garcia the original one — in 2011 he slashed the sheriff’s budget for adult probation and created a crisis.”
It Didn’t Take Long For Garcia To Reply
He responded, “That’s totally false! Among many other things, she says. If people want to fact-check, they should ask the chief judge if any of those funds were cut.
They should also ask the sheriff of Cook County if, at any point in my commissionership, I sought to do that. It’s one of the other lies she’s perpetuating. She’s always creating a smoke screen to cover up her own failures.”
Despite staggering increases in murders and shootings just this month, the mayor has insisted repeatedly that her anti-violence plans are working.
Lightfoot’s Opponents Laughed At Her Assertions
“This mayor was recently pressed for an alternative, and instead of offering any, she vowed to continue with the same failed policies. The Lightfoot approach looks like this: “What Kam Buckner had to say.
“By deploying officers to patrol their neighborhoods in their own cars as part of a community policing initiative, crime in those areas can be reduced. A report by Wirepoints from last year stated that there were 400,000 unanswered 9-1-1 calls with a high priority, “Says Paul Vallas.
“We can actually cut costs in the police budget by making sure again that the staff-to-worker ratio is actually parred with national averages,” said Brandon Johnson.
Brandon Johnson, an employee of the teachers’ union, was the target of the loudest heckling from the protesters. The mayor turned to him and said, “Now I know how you feel.”
Evidently, She Doesn’t Want To Debate The Issues, Vallas Said
However, Vallas admitted that most Democrats view with contempt his backing of initiatives to expand charter schools and programs that use public funds to pay tuition at private schools.
Vallas lamented that “the Democratic Party has moved away from me” because Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have been such staunch advocates for the charter school movement.
Lightfoot has mostly avoided the debates with businessman and philanthropist Willie Wilson, the other conservative candidate in the race.
Wilson claims that he does not identify with either the Democratic or Republican parties, despite having run for president as a Democrat in 2016. As the Republican nominee, Wilson was Wilson’s choice in the general election that year.
Wilson ran for the Senate in 2020 as a member of his own party, the Willie Wilson Party, but he lost to Democratic incumbent Sen.
Dick Durbin by a 4-point margin and received only 4% of the statewide vote. Wilson has remained steadfast in his refusal to disclose his 2020 voting preferences or to accept President Joe Biden’s victory as legitimate.
This week, Lightfoot conceded that Vallas is “rising” in the polls and appears to be consolidating much of the conservative vote in Chicago. That Vallas is the only White candidate speaks volumes.
Lightfoot told the media, “I would love to have Paul Vallas as my runoff challenger.”Although she frequently clashed with progressive politicians and groups, Lightfoot claims during the campaign that she offered progressive political solutions to Chicago while serving as mayor.
“The Runoff Makes Room For A Reformer,” Vallas Argued. The Way I See It, That’s How I Come Out On Top
Lightfoot has also criticized Vallas for trying to gain the support of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 7, which represents over 8,000 uniformed officers in the Chicago Police Department, and ultimately succeeded in doing so.
Vallas has pledged to carry out the federal court’s order to reform the Chicago Police Department in order to protect the civil liberties of the city’s Black and Latinx residents. While John Catanzaro, president of the police union, has been vocal in his criticism of the federal court order as a threat to public safety, so has Vallas.
In 2021, Vallas advised the police union for free and is credited with having persuaded union leaders to accept new provisions that make it easier for city officials to hold police officers accountable for misconduct.
Vallas said, “I killed myself on that contract,” adding that he was worried that 2,500 police officers would leave the department if a deal hadn’t been reached.
While the Chicago Police Board was considering whether to fire Catanzara for breaking nearly a dozen rules related to his inflammatory social media activity and false police reports he filed against a supervisor and former Supt. Eddie Johnson, Catanzaro resigned from the Police Department. Catanzara swore at Vice President Biden in his resignation letter, which read, “Let’s go Brandon.”
Catanzara also compared Chicago’s vaccination mandate for all city employees to Nazi Germany and initially defended the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
When Vallas ran for mayor of Chicago for the first time in 2019, he received a prominent endorsement from then-Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican who was widely despised by Chicago’s Democrats. Vallas received less than 5% of the vote and came in ninth place out of 14 candidates. Chicago State University, located on the city’s South Side and serving a predominantly Black student body,
had been plagued by financial mismanagement and scandal when Rauner appointed Vallas to lead the institution in March 2017. When Rauner first put Vallas on the board, he did so alongside another mayoral candidate from Chicago, Kam Buckner, who is now a state representative. But soon after, Rauner pushed for Chicago State University to grant Vallas extensive administrative power.