The race for Chicago mayor is intensifying and the feuding among candidates has begun. We take a deep dive into that story and other top political headlines in our weekly roundtable, Spotlight Politics.
Race heats up: There were two mayoral forums Tuesday and one scheduled for Thursday. Candidate Bill Daley has been conspicuously absent from all of them. (His campaign says he is out of town fundraising.) On Tuesday, multiple candidates took aim at Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. First, Gery Chico said that her soda tax had “really hurt us.” Next, Lori Lightfoot called on Preckwinkle to join her in taking a tougher stand on Ald. Ed Burke.
Rahm and pensions: Whoever the next mayor is will face a major challenge. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to make sure his successor can’t say “I’m trying to clean up the mess my predecessor left me” by essentially making the case that he began to clean up the pension problem and has provided a road map to finish the job.
No candidate for mayor has been realistic about the scope of the pension problem and how to realistically solve it. They have mostly pledged to find “more revenue” from a progressive income tax, gambling and a casino. But it is not enough. This comes as transit agencies are all crying poor and higher education institutions want more money. The money simply isn’t there, and candidates will have to get real about cost savings, reforms, re-amortization.
Krupa vs. Machine: Some residents in the 13th Ward say precinct workers have come to their doors, saying things like: “Are you sure you want to support David Krupa? He’s a Trump supporter. Are you sure you don’t want to take your name off his petition?”
They say they feel very creeped out, as if they are living in some sort of Soviet satellite. A similar dust-up is happening in the mayor’s race: Candidate Jerry Joyce decided to drop his challenge of Daley’s petitions, but not before admitting that the Joyce campaign was able to get Daley circulators and petition signers to sign affidavits revoking their original signatures. The Joyce campaign denies any intimidation was used to secure these affidavits.
Meanwhile, in the 14th Ward: Progressive aldermen introduced an ordinance to strip Ald. Ed Burke of power. Lightfoot and Preckwinkle support the plan, but mum’s the word from other mayoral candidates and Emanuel. Also this week, the Sun-Times reported that Burke had his cellphone seized, and that his political chief was paid a visit from the feds as well to warn him about the raid.
WBEZ reports that Burke has retained powerful attorneys from Jenner & Block, including former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas.