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Lightfoot pushes back against critics

Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019

* As we discussed yesterday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is under fire for traveling to New York…

* Lightfoot defended the trip with the Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet

Lightfoot sees some travel as part of her job.

“We’re a global city,” Lightfoot said. “From time to time I’m going to leave town to make sure that I’m doing everything I can to raise Chicago’s profile, to form relationships with people and institutions that are going to inure to the benefit of residents in Chicago.

“And you know, that’s just going to happen. And if people have a problem with that that, I’m sorry but I’m going to do that. That is, part of my responsibility is to be a fierce advocate for the city of Chicago and the residents of my city, everywhere. And that means forming relationships, and sometimes relationships can’t be formed by telephone. They actually have to be face-to-face and across a beverage or a meal. And that’s what I’m going to do. And if people look askance at that, so be it.”

The most important part of her New York visit in my view was her meeting on Monday with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Chase, besides holding a lot of Chicago debt, is putting some $50 million in programs to bolster the economies in the South and West Sides.

“And you know, I’m still a novelty to some people across the country, and I think it’s important for me, as a mayor of Chicago, as the chief advocate and ambassador for the city to let people know what we’re doing and to get to know me.

“So I met with Jamie Dimon, who’s one of the most important business people on the planet. Chase has a big footprint in Chicago. … So for me not to get to know him given the importance of Chase to the city both in terms of our financial relationship with them — but also they employ a lot of people in the city of Chicago. They’re deeply investing from their foundation and charitable work. It’s a no-brainer that I would meet with somebody like him.”

* She also met with a ratings agency

In separate sessions as part of a three-day swing to New York City, the new mayor had what her office described as “a meet and greet” with Fitch Ratings and then sat down to talk with Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

The session with Fitch is one of a series the mayor is holding with large firms that can push or pan city bond issues, driving up or down the price local taxpayers have to pay to borrow money, spokeswoman Lauren Huffman said.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Todd - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:00 pm:

    So Command officers are not allowed vacations, but the Mayor can take her little city paid junkets.

    Got it

  2. - Bobby Beagle - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:00 pm:

    This is pretty thin gruel when it comes to criticism.

    I sense a lot of people who went all in on hating on Lightfoot during the campaign are rather desperately searching for scandal. I’m sure something will come eventually but this is certainly not it.

  3. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:02 pm:

    McCreary is right for blasting Lightfoot for going out of town to meet Oprah and Colbert.

    Just like she was right for blasting Rauner for heading out to Palm Desert to meet with the Koch boys, while his state had no budget.

  4. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:03 pm:

    meeting with Jamie Dimon is kinda important.

  5. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    Hurricane Kristin must be saying that Lightfoot needs to develop better timing. I mean, no one ever got shot in Illinois when Rauner took trips to D.C. or Japan or wherever. Otherwise, she would have pointed that out to us at the time.

  6. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:08 pm:

    How is the mayor being in town supposed to have an impact on the number of shootings over a weekend?

  7. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:08 pm:

    Ugh. Who cares if she visits Colbert or Winfrey? Did her visit cause people to shoot other people?

  8. - Perrid - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:10 pm:

    Meetings are a part of the gig. Being a/the public face of the city is a part of the gig.

    And I’ll second Cheryl, what exactly do they want her to do that she can’t do by phone, or can’t wait a few days?

  9. - Real - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:11 pm:

    Lightfoot is a joke just like Rahm. She is going traveling on taxpayers dime acting as an elitist.

  10. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:14 pm:

    She get all upset about a cop taking a pre-approved vacation but yet does two fundraising and PR trips in a week?

  11. - Michael Westen - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:15 pm:

    All of those people would have come to Chicago.

  12. - Real - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:15 pm:

    These elitist love to travel and eat dinner in meetings as if they hold the best answers.

  13. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:23 pm:

    With Lori’s relationship with CPD on shaky ground, maybe she asked Jamie Dimon to fund the Golden Company.

  14. - Groucho - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    While I am not a fan of Lightfoot’s yet, her travel is a non-issue for me. I would expect the Mayor of Chicago to be out and about raising the City’s profile and such. Plus, they have this thing called a telephone. It is not as if she is hiding in a cave in a mountain in Afghanistan.

  15. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:33 pm:

    Meh. Critics are going to criticize no matter what. If she hadn’t done it, they would be complaining that she isn’t out advocating for the city. McQueary in particular, will always find a glass-half-empty way of looking at any democrat. That is her game.

  16. - Cook County Commoner - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:41 pm:

    Meeting with a ratings agency and CEO of Chase is a big deal. Has anyone forgotten that Chicago is broke? Ms. McQueary’s tweet seems more intended to provoke the ignorant and maintain her social media footprint.
    Stopping the annual bloodbath will require heavy investment, not a Mayor staying close to a domestic microphone.

  17. - Cannon649 - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:47 pm:


    Lots going on in town yet she is traveling in the first month for ?

    Question her judgement. Comparison to being an elitist is questioned.

  18. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:48 pm:

    It’s a chicken-and-egg question: who did she book first, Colbert or Fitch’s?

    As Hannah pointed out, Pritzker managed to meet with ratings agencies without stumbling onto a TV set.

  19. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:48 pm:

    McQueary lost me with “Chicagoans don’t care much.” What her writing over the last several years have told me is that she’s out of touch with much Chicagoans and Illinoisans care about.

  20. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:54 pm:

    I’d change the title to “Lightfoot to critics: Bite me.

  21. - {Sigh} - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    =The most important part of her New York visit in my view was her meeting on Monday with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Chase, besides holding a lot of Chicago debt, is putting some $50 million in programs to bolster the economies in the South and West Sides.=

    How is that $50m going to be spent? It’s appears that the current programs are not working. Maybe a little more oversight to ensure the money is going to programs and not administrative costs.

  22. - Left Leaner - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 1:25 pm:

    Thoughts: She’s right.

  23. - Roman - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 1:30 pm:

    No problem here with the travel in it of itself. The problem was it was happening at the same time she was very publicly ripping a high ranking police office for leaving town on a long planned and payed for vacation.

    I thought the McQueary and Spielman criticism went a bit overboard, but the mayor kind of invited it.

  24. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 1:42 pm:

    =These elitist love to travel and eat dinner in meetings as if they hold the best answers.=

    Oh please. When someone is rich and educated with an R behind their name we call them a “job creator” when it’s a D they’re an “elitist”.

  25. - walker - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    Let’s get past this nonsense. We all have work to do.

  26. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 2:57 pm:

    Kristen McQueary is a Quack

  27. - Quibbler - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 3:02 pm:

    [whispers] No one cares about this unless they’re paid to care about it.

  28. - SW - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 3:25 pm:

    Give the lady a break. Sheesh.

  29. - Shytown - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    I think both sides make valid points. It seems tone deaf to so openly and publicly criticize a high-ranking officer for taking a long planned vacation with his family and at the same time be visiting both coasts to meet with celebrities and posting pics on social media but also conducting some business along the way.

    On the other hand mayors are going to visit other cities and make connections. She’s never been in the space before so let her expand her wings a bit and build some relationships and get a feel for the job, which also includes being an ambassador for the city.

  30. - Bavette - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 5:00 pm:

    I voted for Lightfoot primarily due to how bad Prekwinkle is. While I have not been impressed by her to date, this is a non issue.

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