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Today’s must-read

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019

* Fran Spielman throws the kitchen sink at Mayor Lightfoot

Four weeks after taking office, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has already stumbled in a way that might make it a bit more difficult for her to govern.

From going to war with a police union that didn’t trust her to begin with, to hobnobbing with Oprah Winfrey and Stephen Colbert during fundraising trips to both coasts, Lightfoot appears to be repeating some of her predecessor’s early mistakes.

Go read the whole thing. Brutal.

* Related…

* CPD second-in-command won’t be punished for taking pre-approved family vacation to Aruba

- Posted by Rich Miller        

34 Comments
  1. - Birdseed - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    Fire. Ready. Aim.


  2. - Grand Avenue - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:14 am:

    Many saw Spielman as Rahm’s mouthpiece during his mayorship. Looks like that won’t be the case with Lightfoot.


  3. - Not Again - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    Don’t really disagree with anything Fran said outside of how LL has handled the Burke situation.


  4. - Ok - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    Its pretty brutal.

    But, it is an odd assortment of accurate assessments of mistakes (national fly-around), and inaccurate assessments of mistakes (calling out aldermen, calling for Burke to resign).

    Fran really believes the mayor should have not said anything when Burke was indicted? That she should have just let his words speak for themselves? C’mon.

    The best bet for the Mayor is to pick a path and stick with it. Populist and community-focused worked for her. Standing up to big bosses worked for her. People in Chicago want to see that right now.


  5. - competition - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    Is this an opinion column or news from Spielman?

    “Analysis” is a pretty squishy title for a piece with lines like “hardly the way to go about it” … “demonstrated a lack of grace”


  6. - Roman - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    She’s a skilled prosecutor, but still a novice politician — and it shows. She seems drawn to arguments that a political veteran would know to avoid. There’s no reason to publicly “punch down” at Ed Burke, the FOP, or Tony Beale.

    That said, her missteps are excusable rookie mistakes…plenty of time for her to hit her stride. What’s worrisome is she’s not exactly surrounded by a lot of seasoned political pros. Having a few graybeards in the inner sanctum would help her avoid some of those mistakes.


  7. - ChicagoVinny - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    As a resident I’m 100% ok with her sending some elbow’s the FOP’s way, they’ve been nothing but obstructionist to reform.


  8. - Fair - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:27 am:

    The single biggest issue facing Chicago is the public safety disaster. Seems odd to take aim at the boots on the ground dealing with that issue straight on.


  9. - Almost the weekend - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:29 am:

    Property tax reduction free of charge for Fran Spielmam’s residence courtesy of Ed Burke.

    The Burke thing is a joke. Whoever told her or did not pushback against LL with her fundraising and media hits outside of Chicago are living in a bubble. You call yourself an outsider ready to take on City Hall, you don’t follow the Rahm itinerary create your own path.

    Have to note I enjoyed her compromise on Chicago casino, and shows she’s willing to work together to get things done for the betterment of the city. But improvements could be made.


  10. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    Lightfoot is making many of the sames mistakes that every newly elected Executive makes, but she is smart and she’ll figure it out quicker than most.


  11. - GOP Truth Squad - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    It would be interesting if the FOP files for arbitration.


  12. - Ben Gazzara - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    Fran is/was a mouthpiece for the former Mayor and is obviously as uncomfortable with the current Mayor as many other longtime City Hall types are. GOOD! Most Chicagoans want to see the Burkes, Beales, and FOP put in place. Enough is enough.


  13. - Grand Avenue - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:41 am:

    Spielman’s analysis on Lightfoot and Burke is a bit unique. Many saw Burke’s indictment as a vindication of Lightfoot’s dressing down of Burke at City Council the day before.


  14. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:43 am:

    Richard J Daley, speaking about a fish he caught “He wouldn’t have got caught if he kept his mouth shut.” For heavens sake, keep your mouth shut, LL. An employee goes on vacation and you don’t like it or you hear a rumor or your nemesis has been indicted or your feet are sore you can handle that stuff in private.
    I don’t much mind her taking a victory lap around the country with some celebrities as long as it isn’t a regular thing. She ran a hard campaign and a little r and r is understandable.


  15. - Charlie Brown - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:44 am:

    The @Suntimes retweet refered to Lightfoot as “Rahm wannabe.” Which I thought was even more brutal.

    I also think its incorrect. Lightfoot campaigned as a populist in the end, and right now that’s how she is leading. Rahm was a technocrat who never really tried to be popular.

    The problem now is that Populists don’t have all-that-great a record of actually governing once in office: Blagojevich, Rauner, Quinn, Ventura, Trump, Huey Long, Bernie Sanders, The Tea Party, The Know Nothings….there are exceptions like FDR, Kennedy, Teddy Roosevelt too but by-and-large pragmatism outperforms populism.

    One of the problems with populism is that the public is much more adept at identifying problems than they are at identifying solutions, and they have tunnel vision….they struggle to attack more than one challenge at a time, and certainly no more than three. Also, they get fatigued pretty easily.

    As a consequence, its tough for a Populist to tackle complex issues and the multiple challenges facing a state or a big city.

    As we saw with Rauner, a lot of stuff that needs to be happening (passing a budget) starts falling by the wayside.

    As we have seen with Trump, it takes an increasing level of cra-cra to keep a weary base engaged.


  16. - Interested - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:48 am:

    And there goes the honeymoon…


  17. - Responsa - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:55 am:

    I agree the Celeb schmoozing was ill-timed and particularly tone deaf. For the rest, time will tell.


  18. - Urban Girl - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:58 am:

    I kept checking the byline because I thought I was reading Sneed with the Burke related jabs. It was a really oddly timed hodge podge.


  19. - So_Ill - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 11:43 am:

    Richard J Daley, speaking about a fish he caught “He wouldn’t have got caught if he kept his mouth shut.”==

    Exactly. Kind of reminds of a former Illinois governor who recently badly lost re-election…

    It seems like the politicians that pick the most fights are the least successful.


  20. - Groucho - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 12:19 pm:

    Trying to bully or shame the Alderman on what was also their inaugural day, is classless. She was implying that if they don’t agree with her that they are crooks. Makes me wonder if she has any real substance.


  21. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 12:21 pm:

    oh, please Fran. she has to come in strong and this is a way to do it. Colbert is smart and with a Chicago connection. She has to prove strong to the FOP. City Council meetings are must watch now.


  22. - Colin O'Scopy - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    First off, the Mayor is in the post less than a month. She is going to have “foot-faults” out of the gate. And that includes “foot-in-mouth-faults” from which she will learn.

    Secondly, why am I not surprised that the union-owned Sun-Times is putting out a hit piece on Mayor Lightfoot? FOP, CTU, etc, they are trying to embarrass her. And in my analysis, it won’t work.


  23. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 12:29 pm:

    ==As a resident I’m 100% ok with her sending some elbow’s the FOP’s way, they’ve been nothing but obstructionist to reform.==
    I think discretion and diplomacy would work better myself, but I realize nothing is going to make Kevin Graham and Co. happy.


  24. - Anon E Moose - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    Telling Ed Burke to shut up is not showing a lack of grace. Asking City Council members to stand up to support transparency is a good thing. Haters gonna hate, I guess.


  25. - Piece - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 12:49 pm:

    This article is brutal. I think it illustrates a bit of a double standard. Pritzker has made a number of errors, but no reporter that I am aware of wrote such a critical piece about him.


  26. - Pundent - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 12:57 pm:

    =Populist and community-focused worked for her. Standing up to big bosses worked for her.=

    Campaigning isn’t governing. We endured 4 years of that at the state level. Alienating the CPD and city council might score some initial cheap points with the electorate but it’s not a governing strategy.

    At some point Lightfoot is going to need rank and file, administrative, and council support to tackle that $700M deficit. Not sure if this is the best approach in securing it.


  27. - HCMcB4 - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 1:01 pm:

    I suppose that if I suddenly didn’t have the access to the Mayor’s office that I was used to, I also might lash out.


  28. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    The thing with Anthony Riccio and the rumor are kind of dumb, but those are minor stories. I don’t think it is the same as Emanuel’s CTU fight, and the FOP is no where near as popular as CTU was back then. Mayor Lightfoot won a lot of victories in Springfield this session too. I think her first month or so is going pretty well.


  29. - oh ? - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    Well…apparently the prosecutor does not believe in innocent til proven guilty. Will she apply that to all charged? If she chooses not to play well with others the results are on her. After all, she is mayor only because of the McDonald murder…not for a mandate.


  30. - City Zen - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    I miss the good old days when Chicago mayors partnered with the police department and Stephen Colbert was funny.


  31. - AlfondoGonz - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 1:39 pm:

    CPD would benefit from not being so sensitive. They’re more than deserving of criticism.


  32. - Shytown - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 4:36 pm:

    == Fran is/was a mouthpiece for the former Mayor == Is there another Fran covering City Hall that we are not aware of because Fran Spielman was anything but a mouthpiece for Emanuel. Quite the opposite actually.


  33. - Veil of Ignorance - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 9:03 am:

    @HCMcB4 i think you nailed it. Fran really gave Rahm a pass on tons of stuff. She’s citing arguably political mistakes mostly, but Lightfoot’s forging ahead on substantive policy and structural changes on how the City engages residents and their responsibilities. This is unlikely to be the same closed gate insiders-only 5th floor that a select few have built up their juice on in years past. Status quo folks won’t like that and will hurl “you don’t understand how this City works” criticisms. As a reminder, the status quo wasn’t working for tons of Chicagoans. Let’s see where Lightfoot and her team (still staffing up) is a year from now.


  34. - Veil of Ignorance - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 9:15 am:

    @Shytown: Fran headline in April was “Rahm’s leadership legacy: ‘A’ for making tough decisions, ‘F’ for collaboration.” If not a mouthpiece, then an apologist. This is textbook talking points that team Rahm has been spinning forever. The main objection by most engaged Chicagoans who had issue with Rahm wasn’t his style, but his actual “tough” decisions that mostly negatively impacted working class and low income Chicagoans.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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