One attack came from Paul Vallas, who charged that rival U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s security plan, unveiled at a high-profile City Club of Chicago event last week, was “not significantly different” from current failed policies implemented by current Mayor Lori Lightfoot .
As an alternative, Vallas pointed to his own plan, which includes:
- Dismissal of Police David Brown.
- Basing all department promotions on merit, bringing back retired detectives while restoring police numbers to the level of when he was city budget director.
- Overtime cuts he says are often just for show.
- Bringing back uniformed police to the Chicago Transit Authority.
- Prosecuting “inconvenient” crimes that Attorney General Kim Foxx will not prosecute.
- And loosening police recruitment standards so that potential police officers are not rejected just because they grew up in a “bad” neighborhood.
Then, Commissioner Cook Co. Brandon Johnson ripped Lightfoot for failing to deliver promised parental leave to Chicago Public Schools teachers and other staff. “You have to question this decision by the mayor to offer parental leave to city workers, most of whom are men, and then shut out a profession that is more than 70 percent female,” said Johnson, who works with the Chicago Teachers Union.
Lightfoot did not immediately respond, but said in a statement that she had been endorsed by Local 762 of the Theater and Television Technicians union.
State Rep. Kam Buckner hit out at Lightfoot, Garcia and Johnson for their crypto ties. Lightfoot cut the ribbon at the Chicago office for FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried’s company that has since been indicted, and Garcia received $200,000 spent on his behalf by Bankman-Fried-funded PACs.
Both Lightfoot and Garcia said they did nothing wrong. Buckner’s mention of Johnson stems from his recent endorsement by U.S. Rep. Jonathan Jackson, D-Chicago, who has also benefited from massive spending on his behalf by Bankman-Fried-affiliated groups.
Activist Ja’Mal Green said he would repeal — not just temporarily waive — the city’s inflation-linked annual property tax increase passed by Lightfoot. Green says he would give low-interest loans to people at risk of losing their homes because their property taxes went up by at least 50%, cut property taxes by up to 40% for longtime homeowners and give 10 to anyone who builds on previously vacant land . -annual tax relief.
In terms of money, the leaders are still businessman Willie Wilson, Lightfoot, Vallas and Garcia, although Johnson has now joined the group thanks to big money from the teachers’ union.
Wilson, who is self-funding his campaign, reported having $4.1 million in his bank account as of Dec. 31, not counting the $7.5 million he owes himself.
Lightfoot has reported $1.4 million in her main political fund. She received a healthy $1.5 million, but spent twice as much, more than $3 million. The mayor will need to significantly increase her fundraising if she is to be fully competitive in the remaining six weeks.
Vallas had $1.15 million to spend through Dec. 31, but said in a statement that figure has since grown to $1.5 million due to contributions since Jan. 1, despite spending more on TV ads than any other candidate.
Garcia reported having $1.3 million in cash to spend at the end of the quarter. But the number is relatively high only because Garcia has spent relatively slowly so far, with revenue during the quarter of $1.5 million and expenses of just $151,000.
Johnson reported income of $1.83 million and expenses of $578,000 during the quarter, leaving a balance of $1.33 million. But that total doesn’t include the $400,000 he got from the American Federation of Teachers the other day, so his total war chest is right up there with the rest.
Finally, a coalition of reform groups asked mayoral and council candidates where they stood on issues such as handing over redistricting to an independent organization. Click here for answer details—but also keep in mind that just because a candidate now says they’re going to do something doesn’t guarantee they’ll do it.