Archive for March 5, 2023

By John Ruberry

For all of you cynics who says there is no real choice in most elections, next month’s runoff race for Chicago mayoral election proves you wrong. 

The unpopular and incompetent incumbent, Lori Lightfoot, finished third in last week’s first round of voting, collecting an anemic 17 percent of the vote in a nine-candidate field. Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas took first place with 33 percent of the vote and Cook County commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union organizer Brandon Johnson in second with 21 percent of the tally.

Chicago’s municipal elections are non-partisan, but the remaining candidates are Democrats.

Vallas has been largely successful in other education jobs, including posts in Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Bridgeport, Connecticut–but he has butted heads repeatedly with teachers’ unions, most notably the far-left Chicago Teachers Union, which has strongly backed Johnson’s candidacy. And that’s not all. Johnson, who earns over $100,000-a-year as a Cook County commissioner, also has collected nearly $400,000 as a legislative coordinator for the CTU over the past five years.

So not only is Johnson in the pocket of the Chicago Teachers Union, the CTU is in Johnson’s pocket. 

As of this writing, Johnson has not said if he will quit his CTU post and stop cashing that paycheck. 

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, over the first two months of 2023, Johnson’s campaign was the recipient of over $4 million in contributions. Over half of that came from the Chicago Teachers Union and its affiliated unions. Of the rest, most of that cash was contributed by other unions, while just five percent of his campaign funds came from other sources.

Watch out, taxpayers. 

Johnson favors, as does the CTU, an array of anti-business and anti-consumer taxes and fees, including the hated employee head tax that Mayor Rahm Emanuel eliminated in 2014, although Johnson only wants large companies to pay for a new head tax.

The 2020 riots devastated Chicago’s main shopping and tourism district, North Michigan Avenue. Johnson supports “new user fees for high-end commercial districts frequented by the wealthy, suburbanites, tourists and business travelers.” Such fees will finish off North Michigan Avenue and similar areas. I used to work in the hospitality industry, and Chicago’s hotel taxes, the highest in the nation, were frequently used by officials in other cities to lure conventions away–Johnson wants to hike those hotel taxes by 66 percent. The COVID-19 has devastated ridership on Metra, the Chicago metropolitan area’s public train system, Johnson wants to institute a suburban commuter tax for Metra riders.

Johnson also backs a real estate transfer tax on high-end homes, a financial transaction tax, and maybe, a 3.5 percent municipal income tax on wealthy Chicagoans. In regard to the city income tax, which the Chicago Teachers Union supports, he said that it was a mistake by another far-left group, presumably United Working Families, to wrongly says he backs it.

Fine, that very well may be true. But late last month, on his Fox Chicago Flannery Fired Up show, host Mike Flannery asked Johnson five times if he backs a city income tax. Johnson deflected–he refused to answer “Yes” or “No.”

Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, and St. Louis are among the failed cities with a municipal income tax.

Most Chicagoans believe that crime is the biggest issue in the city. Where does Johnson stand on crime and the police?

“I don’t look at it as a slogan,” Johnson said of the defund the police movement in 2020, “it’s an actual real political goal.”

Since then, Johnson has waffled, he says many 911 calls are over domestic disturbances. Quite true. But the day after Election Day, a Chicago Police officer, Andre Vasquez-Lasso, was murdered by an 18-year-old gang member. Vasquez-Lasso was responding to a domestic disturbance call.

Last week, when former Chicago Police superintendant Garry McCarthy was asked by Amy Jacobson on WIND’s Morning Answer about Johnson’s support for sending social workers to respond to such domestic altercation calls, he replied, “We’re gonna end up with some dead social workers.”

And if Chicago elects Brandon Johnson mayor next month–remember, Vallas only received only one-third of the vote last week—get ready for an emptying city. The Detroit-doom scenario for Chicago is not far-fetched.

I’ll end with an apocryphal story about an Illinois governor, Adlai Stevenson, who twice was the Democratic nominee for president.

“Every thinking person in America will be voting for you,” someone remarked to Stevenson. The governor replied, “I’m afraid that won’t do—I need a majority.”

Let’s not go Brandon.

John Ruberry regularly blogs five miles north of Chicago at Marathon Pundit.

Major Hogan: [tosses a coin to Sharpe] What’s that, Sharpe?

Richard Sharpe: A shilling, sir.

Major Hogan: The King’s Shilling, Sharpe. Our last shilling. London’s late, the Army’s broke, and we owe the lads two months’ wages… What do you do when you’re out of cash, Sharpe?

Richard Sharpe: Do without, sir.

Sharpe’s Rifles 1993

Spent a day and a half with friends crashing over for a birthday (very odd to do so without DaWife, it almost never happens) so I’ve not been close to events over the last 48 hours so I was rather surprised when I walked into DaHouse this morning just after midnight, turned on the TV and saw this ad:

It’s a very clever ad and I endorse the sentiment expressed. A lot of other people must as well since they apparently sold 100,000 bars within 12 hours so I headed over to their web site to see what they were offering.

And that’s when I saw that their base chocolate bar was $6.99

$6.99? In contrast at my local market basket a Hershey’s bar goes for about $2.

Not to worry though you can choose to order 4 bars and pay$25 or $6.25 a bar

or if that’s too much you can buy 10 bars and pay $45.99 or $4.59 a bar

but the real bargain is a 24 pack which sets you back $100. So not only are you only paying a 25% premium to tweak Hershey but you get free shipping unlike those previous orders that don’t get to the $80 free shipping threshold.

You know I’m not a fan of wokeness but most normal Americans can’t afford to spend $100 on chocolate. That’s three water bills, or 3/4 of an electric bill or 2 1/2 fill ups of my car. I’m not going to blow that amount on candy just to poke these guys in the eye.

Apparently a lot of guys can and if Jeremy’s can find people in this economy who can, more power to them that’s free enterprise.

Me I’ll just buy a different brand without the 350% premium or do without. Just as effective but without the capital outlay.