Posts Tagged ‘lori lightfoot’

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.

By John Ruberry

Okay, Republicans, you have an easy lay-up shot at the basket. But of course, sure things, such as Red Wave midterm blowouts, can end up as air balls. 

America’s worst big city mayor, Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot, is running for reelection. She has eight opponents, a couple of whom, such as Ja’Mal Green and the Chicago Teachers Union-endorsed Brandon Johnson, are extreme leftists who provide answers to the question, “Can Chicago have a worse mayor than Lori Lightfoot?

Chicago’s elections are non-partisan. In the likely scenario that no candidate achieves 50 percent of the vote in the first round of voting, which is February 28, the top two candidates face off in an April 4 runoff. As with the congressional midterms, polling has been all over the place in the mayoral race, but the top four candidates in terms of popularity appear to be Lightfoot, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, businessman and vote-buyer Willie Wilson, and US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. 

The Chicago mayoral race is the first major election, unless you count December’s Georgia Senate runoff race, since the collapse of cryptocurrency firm FTX.

By most accounts Garcia, who endorsed Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign, was the early frontrunner in the contest. But then Lightfoot went on the attack. 

You see, Garcia’s congressional campaign fund accepted $2,900 from former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who was indicted last year for charges surrounding the collapse of the crypto currency firm. Worse, SBF’s PAC, Protect our Futures, spent over $150,000 on glossy mailers sent to Chuy’s remapped and gerrymandered 4th congressional district to introduce him to new voters for the 2022 Democratic primary. Only Garcia was running unopposed in that race. Chuy is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees cryptocurrency. The $2,900 Bankman-Fried contribution to Garcia has since been donated to charity.

And Lighfoot’s attack appears to be a solid blow against Garcia in a TV spot where she connects Garcia not only to SBF, but also to former Illinois Democratic Party chairman and state House speaker, Boss Michael Madigan, who was indicted last year, as well as Chicago’s deservedly unpopular red-light cameras. 

Most of the Lightfoot attack ad against Garcia begins at the 1:22 mark in this Fox Chicago video.

The upshot? In the two most recent polls, one that you should look at with suspicion comes from an internal survey from the Lightfoot campaign, and the other one from a suburban Republican pollster, Garcia has dropped to third place. Lighfoot’s poll has her on in the lead, the other poll has Vallas in the lead with Lighfoot close behind–but both surveys have the top two in a statistical tie. 

Garcia, although he did force Rahm Emanuel into a runoff in the 2015 mayoral race, is accustomed to comfortable elections, so it might be a struggle for Chuy to fight back.

Back to the GOP.  

Republicans, you know, or should know, what to do. Target every Democrat who has taken Sam Bankman-Fried cash so hard that voters will believe that these Dems have SBF as a running mate.

Even if it means following Lori Lightfoot’s lead.

John Ruberry regularly blogs just north off Chicago at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

America’s worst big city mayor, Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, finds herself in trouble again. 

Last week, Chicago’s PBS station, WTTW, reported that Lightfoot’s deputy campaign manager, Megan Crane, sent an email to Chicago Public Schools teachers and City Colleges of Chicago instructors, telling them the campaign was seeking students to volunteer as “externs” for Lightfoot’s reelection effort. “Lightfoot for Chicago is seeking resumes from any volunteer interested in campaign politics and eager to gain experience in the field,” the email read. Later in that message comes a quasi-bribe, “Externs are expected to devote 12hrs/wk to the campaign. Students are eligible to earn class credit through our volunteer program.”

When the email became public, the campaign quickly defended its call for volunteers, avowing in a statement that the request was done “to provide young people with the opportunity to engage with our campaign, learn more about the importance of civic engagement and participate in the most American of processes.”

But in a second statement, the campaign said it would “cease contact with CPS employees” citing an “abundance of caution.”

Finally, a couple of hours later, in a third statement, they finally surrendered. “All campaign staff have been reminded about the solid wall that must exist between campaign and official activities and that contacts with any city of Chicago, or other sister agency employees, including CPS employees,” the campaign said, “even through publicly available sources is off limits. Period.”

Last summer, after Willie Wilson, a gadfly candidate who is running for mayor, gathered a lot of attention for gasoline and grocery giveaways, Lightfoot followed suit with her giveaways. But unlike Wilson’s generosity, the mayor’s handouts were paid for by taxpayers.

Laura Washington, a liberal Chicago Tribune columnist, had this to say back in August in a behind-the-paywall op-ed:

Thanks to an “avalanche” of federal stimulus funds, Lightfoot is “running for reelection armed with a seemingly bottomless gift bag of giveaways that includes everything from gas cards, Ventra cards, bicycles, locks and helmets to more than $1,000-per-household in rebates to defray the cost of security cameras, outdoor motion sensor lighting, cloud storage and GPS trackers to hunt down vehicles in the event of an auto theft or carjacking,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported in June. 

Lightfoot’s “Chicago Moves,” is the city’s $12 million transit response to skyrocketing fuel costs and inflation. It will distribute up to 50,000 prepaid $150 gas cards and 100,000 prepaid $50 transit cards to Chicago residents. 

Earlier this year, Lightfoot pushed through a controversial guaranteed income program for low-income families. The pilot program will provide no-strings-attached $500 payments to 5,000 Chicago families per month for a year. The recipients were chosen through a lottery system.

“By coincidence,” Fox Chicago’s Mike Flannery sarcastically opined this morning on his Flannery Fired Up program, “each [gas and public transit] card had Mayor Lighfoot’s name emblazoned right on it.”

The ACLU of Illinois forcefully condemned the campaign’s call for student volunteers. “It is striking that Mayor Lightfoot presented herself four years ago as a candidate who would eschew the old corrupt patronage ways of Chicago politics,” the ACLU of Illinois said in a statement, “Now her campaign employs practices that harken back to the worst days of the Chicago political machine.”

And the ACLU of Illinois says the call-for-volunteers email may have violated federal law.

Crime has skyrocketed since Lightfoot took office. And it shouldn’t surprise you that Chicago’s population is declining. “The city is dying,” former Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass has said at least a couple of times in his Chicago Way podcast.

Lightfoot faces eight opponents in next month’s first round of voting for mayor. In the likely scenario that no candidate achieves a majority in the initial round, the top two candidates face the voters again in April.

In the only opinion poll so far on this race, Lightfoot finished third.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

The latest media controversy in Illinois is the mailing of what the liberals call “pink slime” newspapers. The term was invented a decade ago by Ryan Zickgraf, a Washington Post reporter, to describe newspapers that aren’t “real,” such as the copy of North Cook News which was mailed to my home last week. On the other hand, as you can see in the photo, the North Cook News is printed on paper and it contains, get this concept, news. North Cook News, and similarly named publications (yes, I said it), is published by Local Government Information Services, which is run by Dan Proft, a conservative activist and former Illinois gubernatorial candidate, who is a co-host of a morning talk radio show on WIND-AM Chicago, part of the Salem News Network.

Proft is also the chair of the People Who Play By The Rules PAC, which has run a series of commercials, including “The Scream,” that have drawn much-needed attention to the SAFE-T Act. Among other things, the law eliminates cash bail in Illinois. Riding off of the emotion after the murder of George Floyd, the voluminous SAFE-T Act passed the Illinois state Senate at 5am on the last day of the lame duck session of the General Assembly early in 2021. It passed the state House that same day. Illinois’ Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, signed it into law a month later. Sensing trouble, Dem legislators, or whoever wrote the law, pushed the date that the SAFE-T Act takes effect until January 1, 2023, nearly two months after the 2022 general election. 

Not a single Republican voted for the SAFE-T Act.

As I noted in my Da Tech Guy post last week, in a discussion about the SAFE-T Act, Will County State’s Attorney, James Glasgow, a Democrat, told Fox Chicago’s Mike Flannery on his Flannery Fired Up show, “There are forcible felonies that are not detainable: burglary, robbery, arson, kidnapping, second degree murder, intimidation, aggravated battery, aggravated DUI, [and] drug offenses.” Not detainable means they’ll be set free until their trial date. 

Crime, particularly in the Chicago area, has skyrocketed since 2019. Blame is being given to Cook County’s catch-and-release state’s attorney, Kim Foxx and the anti-police policies of Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot. The mayor was sworn into office in 2019, as was Pritzker. Foxx supports the SAFE-T Act, while all but one of the other 101 county prosecutors oppose it.  

The mayhem of Chicago and Cook County will spread statewide. And the Chicago area will suffer even more because of the SAFE-T Act. 

People Who Play By The Rules PAC television ads and the Proft “pink slime” newspapers must be working. Pritzker and Illinois’ attorney general, Kwame Raoul, say they are open to amendments to the SAFE-T Act–but they don’t offer details. My guess is that the Democrats are panicking. I have no sympathy for them, they’ve had nearly two years to make major changes to the SAFE-T Act.

Meanwhile, Pritzker, a billionaire, is pushing back. He cancelled an appearance at a forum with his Republican opponent, Darren Bailey, sponsored by the Daily Herald newspaper. That paper is published by Paddock Publications, which printed Proft’s Local Government Information Services newspapers; LGIS used Paddock’s bulk-mailing permit to distribute them. That infuriated Pritzker. The governor’s campaign manager, among other things, called Proft’s papers, “fake and misleading and newspaper-style mailers.” Tellingly, the Pritzker camp doesn’t specifically attack the content of Proft’s papers. They are committing the ad hominem fallacy. Paddock, in a statement, announced that it cancelled future printings of LGIS papers. The forum is back on.

The headline of my North Cook News is “Former Chicago chief of detectives: Violent offenders given ‘get out of jail free card.'” That’s true.

Not only have Pritzker and the Democrats, who thanks to gerrymandering enjoy supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, been negligent in fixing the SAFE-T Act debacle, so has the local media. With occasional exceptions, the newsrooms of Illinois’ major newspapers are woke echo chambers. They still claim to be the watchdogs for the public, but these so-called journalists are mostly interested in protecting and advancing leftist narratives. Contemporary reporters are a toxic combination of “the cool kids” in high school, with all of their arrogance, and the false ethical superiority of Iran’s morality police. Community newspapers usually only report on petty crime, but if you need to locate the nearest bake sale, well, you know where to find that information. These weekly papers are in fact weakly ones.

If the Illinois media performed their jobs honestly and capably, there’d be no need for “pink slime.”

Fact-checkers have been unkind to opposition arguments to the SAFE-T Act. The worst of these fact-checks comes from Jeff Cercone at PolitiFact. He deemed such opposition as “false.” Politi-Farce, that is Dan Bongino’s nickname for them, is partially funded by Facebook; the social media giant has used Cercone’s fact-check to blur out a video pointing out the flaws in the SAFE-T Act. Interestingly, Cercone’s Tweets are protected on Twitter. Is he afraid of his readers? I’m not. You can find me on Twitter. Come and get me, I’m not a coward!

Who did Cercone seek out as experts in his fact-check? Cops? No. Prosecutors? Nope. County sheriffs? Uh-uh. He called on Pritzker’s press secretary, Jordan Abudayyeh, and two criminology professors. Oh sure, he included links to articles with opposing opinions. As for Cercone’s experts, I don’t believe their defenses of the SAFE-T Act.

Instead, Cercone should have reached out to John Curran, a suburban Chicago Republican state senator who is a former Cook County assistant Cook County state’s attorney. That, my friends, is what I call an expert.

“You cannot take deterrence out of the system,’ Curran told John Kass last week in the former Chicago Tribune’s columnist’s Chicago Way podcast, “They’ve been doing that for years, the SAFE-T Act is the final straw. Crime is rampant because people don’t fear getting caught. They [the criminals] don’t stop, the police can’t pursue anymore because of insurance issues, coverage issues, and safety issues. They run and then when they do get caught–they know they are going to get processed, booked, and be back out that day. When there is no fear of accountability in the system, what is going to stop someone who sees something and says, ‘I want to take that?'”

Keep in mind, Curran is talking about the current status quo–before the SAFE-T Act kicks in. When that law goes live, Curran warns, what he described will “put that in place permanently.” Only worse, I’d like to add.

For flight risks, apologists for the SAFE-T Act claim, accused criminals can be detained. “The problem with that,” Curran pointed out to Kass, “is to show that someone is a willful flight risk the prosecutor has to prove that they are planning or attempting to intentionally to evade prosecution by concealing oneself. That is never going to happen,” adding, “You literally have to catch them with the plane ticket in their pocket going to the airport.”

So called fact-checker Cercone needs to listen to that Chicago Way podcast with an open mind.

As I mentioned earlier the SAFE-T Act, which is 764 pages long, passed on the last day of the 101st General Assembly. Curran said he was given one hour to read it.

Social media regularly blocks or suppresses stories that the “enlightened ones” deem false. Most notably is the New York Post’s initial report on the information found on the Hunter Biden laptop, which has since been found to be as genuine as today’s sunrise. On a personal note, I’ve been repeatedly warned by Facebook that my blog entries that I’ve posted on Facebook will be pushed lower into the general FB feed, meaning of course that fewer people will see my posts, because my writings have been labeled “false and misleading.” I am fairly certain I am “shadowbanned” by Twitter. I used to oppose setting up alternative social media platforms for conservatives–it’s best that the libs see the truth, was my reasoning.

Only they don’t see it.

Twitter and Facebook used to suspend accounts of users who claimed that COVID-19 was manufactured in a Chinese laboratory. That story, still not debunked, may end up being authenticated. There are numerous similar tales

What to do?

Well, as a resort, to get an alternative message out, conservatives can mail out “pink slime” newspapers. As a last resort there is always the Howard Beale approach. You can open the window and scream, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna to take it anymore!”

Proft is undaunted. In a statement he fired back at the billionaire, “Governor Pritzker believes his money guarantees him control of government and entitles him to make all media subservient to his government. He lords over Illinois through executive orders. He sees the Fourth Estate as no different than his equestrian estate in Wellington, FL. If he doesn’t like a television ad, it must be taken off the air. If he doesn’t like a newspaper, it must not be printed or circulated.”

Oh yeah, television. Two Chicago TV stations pulled a People Who Play By The Rules PAC ad featuring a Pritzker critic, which the governor says is “false and defamatory.”

In that same statement, Proft vowed that his papers “will continue to be printed and distributed even if we have to return to the Gutenberg press and must enlist fair-minded people across Illinois who want the truth, not Pritzker’s ‘truth,’ to hand deliver them door-to-door.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs from suburban Cook County at Marathon Pundit.