It started with such promise. She was going to be different than the others. Lori Lightfoot was going to be the anti-Rahm. She was going to be the anti-Rich Daley. But as The Who said fifty years ago, “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”
It seems as if every time our current mayor opens her mouth, she rubs someone the wrong way. She went after the city’s teachers for striking when they were only trying to make a better learning environment for their students. She’s battled and belittled aldermen when they aren’t on board with her latest misguided proposal. Recently, she even turned Cook County’s State’s Attorney Kim Foxx into a sympathetic figure.
I know this may be hard to believe, but Lori is now butting heads with someone who is held in even lower regard than she is. Meet the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President, John Catanzara.
Here are some of his basics:
He joined the police department in 1995. In his twenty-six years, Catanzara has had fifty complaints. In 2007, he had seven complaints in that one year alone. He has served multiple suspensions. One of those suspensions occurred in 2003 on charges that he harassed an ex-girlfriend. After the break-up, he continued to call her and leave voicemails with messages such as “You better answer the phone next time I call or you’ll never want to leave the house again.” He also threatened to go stalk her in Miami where she was on a vacation.
Catanzara also has a history of racism and bigotry. He was almost fired for a Facebook post saying that “all Muslims deserve a bullet.”
A strong supporter of former President Donald Trump, Catanzara controversially downplayed the insurrection in Washington D.C. on January 6. He was quoted by WBEZ as saying, “There was no arson. There was no burning of anything. There was no looting. There was very little destruction of property. It was a bunch of pissed-off people that feel an election was stolen, somehow, some way. There’s no, obviously, violence in this crowd.” This is in spite of five deaths and numerous injuries.
Lightfoot and Catanzara are now battling in public over the Mayor’s Covid vaccine mandate for all city employees. If you want a job on the city payroll, which includes the city police department, you either get the shot or lose that job. Catanzara naturally couldn’t keep his mouth shut about this. He compared the mandate to the Holocaust. It was followed by the two of them sniping at each other. It went on for so long that Catanzara was ordered to stop talking about the vaccine mandate on social media by a county judge until October 25. Then naturally Mayor Lori went on the offensive by accusing the Fraternal Order of Police of trying to “induce an insurrection” because of their opposition to the vaccine mandate.
The sniping shows no sign of ending anytime soon. It would be funny if the issue wasn’t so important. Obviously, it’s important to get the police vaccinated. It’s a matter of public safety and health. We would all be on team-Lightfoot on this issue if she wasn’t so heavy-handed about this. It would serve her to stop, or at least tone down, the rhetoric and let Cantanzara continue to play the fool. But, as she’s shown over the last two years, she can’t help herself.
So, when it comes to choosing between Lightfoot or Cantazara, I guess I have to support Lori on this one. But, I’m holding my knows because the whole thing stinks.
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