"There's a lot of trust that's been breached, and I know there's a lot of trust in me that's been breached, and I have a responsibility to build back that trust."~Lori Lightfoot
I first moved into the city of Chicago in 1977. Richard J. Daley had been Mayor of the city from 1955, when I was three years old, until 1976, when he died of a heart attack. I missed my chance to vote against him by a year. Daley was replaced by Mike Bilandic.
In January 1979, Chicago was crippled by a blizzard. Thirty-five inches of snow hit the city over two days. The response was slow. Many streets weren't cleared for a week. Trains were overfilled with citizens who had no other way to get to work. Chicago was pissed off and blamed Mike Bilandic.
When it was election time, Bilandic was challenged by Jane Byrne. Voters were still upset over the snow response. They took it out on Bilandic at the voting booth. I felt he was a victim of circumstances and voted for him. It was my first Chicago mayoral election. It was the first time I voted for a mayoral candidate who lost. It wouldn't be the last time...far from it.
Since then I've voted in five other Chicago Mayoral elections. The main figures in the first four of them were Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel. I voted for their opponents all four times. Loser. Loser. Loser. Loser!! I've never felt bad about being on the losing side in any of those elections. In fact, I was proud of it.
In 2019, it was time for another election for the Chicago Mayor's gig. Most of us figured Rahm was going to run again. We wondered who his next victim was going to be. Lori Lightfoot announced her candidacy on May 10, 2018. For a few months, it looked like she was going to be the main challenger/sacrificial lamb to Emanuel. But in the fall, Rahm announced he wouldn't be running for a third term. That was followed by a group of higher-profile local politicians dropping in.
By the time of the primary election, there were twelve candidates running. I liked a lot of what I heard from Lightfoot, especially that she was new and somewhat unknown, but I didn't think she had much of a chance, so I voted for someone who I figured might win. I think I put the jinx on Susana Mendoza. Another Mayoral election...another loss.
Lori won the primary but didn't have enough votes to avoid a run-off election. It was Lightfoot versus Toni Preckwinkle to see who would become the next Mayor of Chicago. There was no question of who I was supporting. I was all-in on Team Lightfoot.
On April 20, 2019, I cast my vote for Lori Lightfoot. I wasn't the only one...far from it. She won the election with seventy-three percent of the total vote. She captured the most votes in all fifty Chicago wards. Lori Lightfoot was going to be Chicago's Mayor. My election jinx had ended. As it was said when Susan Lucci finally won an Emmy award in her nineteenth try, "The streak is over."
It's been about a year and a half since Lori Lightfoot took office and it hasn't gone all that well. I gave her a break on the early issues. I figured it was due to her lack of governing and political experience. I figured she'd grow into the job. I figured wrong.
In the short time since she's been Mayor, she's had issues with the teacher's union, the police department, the police superintendent, and the city council. Gun violence in the city continues at a high rate. On May 18, 2020, the city had eighteen murders. It was the highest total in sixty years.
But the worst was yet to come.....
2020 has brought us the Covid-19 pandemic. Governing during a pandemic isn't easy. It's not as if there are any books you can read on how to do it. The early "stay home-save lives" ads were kind of cute...kind of. As we got further along, her tactics became more heavy-handed. Threatening and bullying citizens and businesses doesn't seem to be the way to make friends and win future elections.
And then came summer...
After the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, protests and riots broke out throughout the country. Like many cities, Chicago was hit hard by looting in the downtown area. Lightfoot's reaction was to shut off public transportation early. She also raised the bridges. That limited the ways you could get in and out of the downtown. Maybe it kept the looters away, but it also left the people who were still working there without a way to get home. It made a dangerous situation even more dangerous.
That leads us to this week. You most likely have seen the video where Chicago police broke into the wrong home to arrest a woman. She was changing at the time and police tried to handcuff her while she was still naked. The event took place before Lightfoot took office. She's not responsible for that. But, her office tried to keep the body camera footage away from the victim. They also tried to block CBS-Chicago from showing the footage. She definitely is responsible for that.
When questioned about this, she went on the attack. It's a lot easier to question the professionalism of a reporter than give a legitimate answer to a tough question.
"Reporting has been reckless and irresponsible — unfortunately, now, a pattern of his stretching back many months.
It's not the first time she's attacked a reporter. I wouldn't be surprised to hear the words "fake news" come out of her mouth before her tenure ends. That tenure doesn't end for two more years. I'd say it's impossible for it to get worse, but as we've seen in other local and national administrations, we know that isn't true.
I have only minor regrets about my vote of two years ago. My biggest regret is that Lori has shown that she's incapable of handling the responsibility of the office. To use her own words against her: Her governing has been reckless and irresponsible-unfortunately, now a pattern stretching back many months.
Although it's still two years away, I'm sure the many suspects/contenders are already lining up to take their chances against the current officeholder. I have no idea who it will be, but I look forward to voting for them. Let's hope that my current mayoral election winning streak stays intact.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.