Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 - Uber responds *** Lightfoot says Uber is buying off black ministers to oppose her rideshare tax plan with $54 million
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*** UPDATED x1 - Uber responds *** Lightfoot says Uber is buying off black ministers to oppose her rideshare tax plan with $54 million

Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

* StreetsBlog Chicago

In case you missed it, last week Crain’s Chicago ran an excellent piece by columnist Greg Hinz on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to raise the tax on traffic-clogging solo and downtown ride-hail trips, while lowering the fee for more sustainable shared rides in the neighborhoods, and earmarking about $2 million of the revenue annually to fund transit. He did a great job of explaining why, despite Uber and Lyft’s self-serving claims that the initiative would hurt South and West side residents, “in fact, it targets Lincoln Park types, and it is intended to shore up CTA service that is far more important.”

However, this weekend Uber tweeted out an earlier Crain’s op-ed on Lightfoot’s proposal, written by some of its official allies in local chambers of commerce, which is full of misleading — or even downright false — statements about the plan. The piece was penned by Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce head Jaime Di Paulo, Illinois Chamber of Commerce chief Todd Maisch, and Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce senior vice president Michael Reever. All three organizations are listed as partners of Moving Illinois Forward, a lobbying group for Uber and Lyft. Let’s take a look at some of the claims from their op-ed.

Go read the rest. Good stuff. Lots of disinformation out there.

* From November 6

A group of more than 30 South and West side ministers is complaining that Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed ride-share tax increase will hurt low-income riders and drivers, but city officials dispute the claim.

“Ride-share has truly been a blessing,” said the Rev. Walter Turner of New Spiritual Light Missionary Baptist Church in the South Shore neighborhood, at a news conference on Tuesday. Turner said the proposed fee hike would have a “major impact” on people trying to get to doctor visits or buy groceries.

“Do not tax our people,” said Turner, who was among the group of ministers who signed a letter to Lightfoot complaining about the fees.

* Today…

That’s a pretty darned bold statement to make. Let’s see if she can make that stick. If not… well, let’s just see what happens first. Whew.

…Adding… Sun-Times

“Is this the one where they’re paying off black ministers by $54 million? That one? Or is this a new one?” the mayor said.

“They offered up black ministers $54 million — a one-time deal — if they would convince the mayor to do away with any other kind of regulation. And as we walked these ministers through the realities of what’s actually at stake here, I think they realized that, frankly, they’d been hoodwinked.”

Pressed for proof, Lightfoot said, “I’ve had a number of ministers who’ve met with us and said, `Uber promised us $54 million if you [convince the mayor to] back off.’ … We’ll get those names to you.”

*** UPDATE *** Response…

If this was about $54 million in revenues for the city and not $54 million in payoffs to black ministers, she’s got some walking-back to do. Again.

This kinda reminds me of when Maryann Loncar said she witnessed then-Rep. Lou Lang being offered a $170 million bribe, but it was actually about new revenues for the state.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ares - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    Uber is a 21st century variation on the “jitney cabs” which operated in areas Yellow / Checker refused to serve.

  2. - Roadrager - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    Lori saying out loud what’s been the business model for decades, but enough people were getting their slice one way or another to keep it quiet.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    Any mayor… *any* mayor… willing to stand at a podium and in front of the mics and cameras to say what was said.


    That’s putting credibly on the line, or using that platform to expose something… wow.

    It’s out there, let’s see it play out.

  4. - CommonSenseCary - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    Probably true…and probably not illegal either. It pays to be part of the clergy in Chicago.

  5. - Montrose - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 1:51 pm:

    If her goal was to get the press to talk about something other than her dismal outing in Springfield, then well done.

  6. - j - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 1:51 pm:

    Uber learned from the utilities

  7. - Anon 12:30 - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 1:51 pm:

    =Lightfoot says Uber offered the ministers $54 million to oppose her plan.=

    $54 million? That’s Maryann Loncar stratosphere.

  8. - Bruke Andersoon - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    drawing from the ________ toolchest

    good for lightfoot for having the courage to speak the truth

  9. - JM - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    Lightfoot can’t go 5 minutes without saying something that boomerangs on her — like blaming lazy cops for Chicago shootings:

  10. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    ===Uber learned from the utilities ===


    If this story is true, they over-learned. No way has anyone EVER paid that much for a bit of ministerial astroturfing.

  11. - j - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    Lol. Fair point. I was speaking to the practice not the dollar amounts..

  12. - levivotedforjudy - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    Even if true, do you really want to get into that public fight? Religious leaders have followers (who are also voters) who follow them religiously.

    This is like calling the FOP representative a clown. No need to throw a haymaker at every poke.

  13. - Sayitaintso - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    OW’s comment exactly right in my opinion. She has enough self-inflicted mistakes you’d think she might want to go easy on the high wire lambasting. If you are going to throw haymakers, you might want to have indisputable facts on hand while you’re swinging.

  14. - VoteQuimby - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    “we’d love to help you, but what you going to do for the church…”

  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    ===might want to have indisputable facts on hand===

    I do not doubt that donations were made. That happens a lot. But $54 million? Who pays that much? And if they are shelling out that much, I need to sell them two blog ads. lol

  16. - City Zen - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:12 pm:

    CTU financially supports dozens of neighborhood groups, those groups join CTU on the picket line and social media, no one says boo.

    Everyone has a price.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    === But $54 million?===

    That’s quite a specific number.

    That’s also one heck of a number too.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    Heck, $5.4 million would be an impressive number.

  19. - GA Watcher - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:18 pm:

    Happens a lot in Springfield. Without mentioning names, it’s a favorite tactic of the companies who hire tons of lobsters and pull out all the stops to support the bills they either want passed or want to defeat.

  20. - Montrose - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:19 pm:

    “CTU financially supports dozens of neighborhood groups, those groups join CTU on the picket line and social media, no one says boo.”

    I think the distinction you are failing to acknowledge is that those community groups are already aligned with CTU on the issues and advocating for them. That’s different from getting groups to take on your issue through a direct payoff.

  21. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:23 pm:

    Montrose is right.

  22. - Jocko - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:32 pm:

    $54 million to thirty South and West side ministers? I guess saying “a zillion” would’ve sounded ridiculous.

  23. - SpfdNewb - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    wow, just wow

  24. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    “Lightfoot says Uber offered the ministers $54 million to oppose her plan.”

    Surely, this will be the instance where Mayor Lightfoot isn’t too far out over her skis, rite?

    – MrJM

  25. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:53 pm:

    To the Update:

    Lightfoot — not her staff — owes the ministers a big public apology.

  26. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:55 pm:

    Amateurs use a podium to try to make a point, without grasping the point they’re trying to make.

  27. - Driving a car - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:56 pm:

    Wow, I mean I expected that without any elected experience there would be a steep learning curve — but this last month has been…. wow…. Really bad stuff.

  28. - Montrose - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 2:57 pm:

    Is it possible that a minister misunderstood that $54 million was in reference to revenue and not support for congregations? Sure. Does it make any sense at all the the Mayor misunderstood that? Nope.

  29. - Ebenezer - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 3:02 pm:

    Combined $5,000 a month for sweepstakes.
    $54 million for ridesharing.
    I guess the efficient market hypothesis is truly dead.

  30. - Billy Sunday - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 3:10 pm:

    When it comes directly from the Mayor/her bully pulpit, it carries a lot of weight…how do you get a figure/statement incorrect prior to going on live?

  31. - Anon - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 3:11 pm:

    Did the Mayor actually think to herself - yep, Uber is willing to pay $54 million just to defeat my plan. She couldn’t possibly have believed that, right?

  32. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 3:15 pm:

    I have no problem with Lightfoot’s comments even if the number isn’t exact. I actually do think Uber has been great for the communities being discussed, but tend to roll my eyes when the ministers start wading into the matter.

  33. - Anon - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 3:15 pm:

    “Oh that’s very different. Never mind.” Emily Litella / Mayor Lightfoot

  34. - Robby - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 3:23 pm:

    I would respect her more if she would get past trying to frame things in some kind of positive political light and just admit “we are broke, and I want more of your money by any means I can possibly get away with without causing open revolt”. This is by necessity I understand, but she can drop the silly subterfuge. Nobody is naive enough to not see the motive.

  35. - Not a Superstar - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    == Amateurs use a podium to try to make a point, without grasping the point they’re trying to make. ==

    OW, can we just stipulate this should be cross-posted to every single thread?

  36. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 3:31 pm:

    - Not a Superstar -

    Maybe tape it to those podiums, so thinking becomes part of preparation?

    Same mistakes since summer.

  37. - Shytown - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 3:32 pm:

    I’m sorry, but you can’t just throw around an accusation like that when it’s not based on facts and you can’t back it up. That might be something that Donald Trump would throw around but not the mayor of Chicago. More than anything it seems to be a distraction from the bad casino news coming out of Springfield and the counter proposal that Uber put on the table which actually seems pretty reasonable – they’re not even asking to eliminate the fee increase proposal. They’re trying to spread it around more equitably to areas that are wealthier. I thought that this is what this administration was all about?

  38. - James - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 3:54 pm:

    She’s having a bad day.

    =”ministers who’ve met with us and said, `Uber promised us $54 million’…we’ll get those names to you.”

    Whoever “us” and “we” are within the administration, they’re headed to the woodshed.

  39. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    === This kind of reminds me of when ===

    This kind of reminds me of when Mayor Lightfoot alleged the Police Union was telling officers not to stop crime on Memorial Day Weekend.

    This Mayor traffics rumors about her foes. It’s not a rookie mistake, it is not a misunderstanding. As she keeps reminding us, she is a very smart lawyer whose abilities are underestimated.

  40. - Nieva - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 4:30 pm:

    Ubers gross revenue for the city would not equal 54 million in how long??

  41. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 4:30 pm:

    Ed Rollins in reverse.

  42. - Responsa - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 4:32 pm:

    == donations were made==

    I love this. “Donations were made” now enters the permanent political euphemism lexicon along with “mistakes were made”.

  43. - OurMagician - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 4:33 pm:

    Perhaps Her Honor is auditioning for a part on SNL and the Not Ready For Prime Time Players.

  44. - Rahm's Middle Finger - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 4:40 pm:

    She really really loves those podiums. She gets to spout out all her slights, real and imagined, and we are all forced to listen to them.

    This is amateur hour. You’d hope to see some growth from her. A recognition of her mistakes. Like learning that it’s better to inform the people who have to vote on your proposal before they hear it in the press. Yet she does it over and over. That she shouldn’t use the press to repeat unsubstantiated rumors about people and organizations she doesn’t like. Yet she does it over and over.

    I understand she looked good in comparison to the rest of the people running for Mayor, but is this really the best the City can do?

  45. - Sue - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 5:02 pm:

    Maybe after her Term Uber will afford her a driver so she can unwind the police drivers ex mayors now receive

  46. - Ashland Adam - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 5:04 pm:

    To the question - “I understand she looked good in comparison to the rest of the people running for Mayor, but is this the best the City can do?”

    I voted for Preckwinkle, not Lightfoot, because Preckwinkle has demonstrated the ability to manage a big government executive office. Preckwinkle knows how to communicate the county’s needs to the general assembly. She’s been part of a legislative body, understands budgeting, negotiations, and working w diverse interest groups.

    Here’s hoping Mayor Lightfoot grows into her role. Hopefully she’ll listen to the experienced people around her, and learn to compromise, trust.

  47. - The Most Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 5:30 pm:

    Is this the one where the mayor gets in her own way again? She’s an executive nightmare.

  48. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 6:41 pm:

    === This Mayor traffics rumors about her foes. It’s not a rookie mistake, it is not a misunderstanding. As she keeps reminding us, she is a very smart lawyer whose abilities are underestimated.===

    It’s not a rookie mistake, or an error.

    It’s an amateur, thinking that to try to change things, think “outside the box” with approaches…

    Like… ignoring truthfulness while behind a podium.

  49. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 6:59 pm:

    I’m tired of our Mayor making amateur mistakes. I voted for her thinking she had enough experience and the alternative was corrupt, but I’m beginning to wonder if I made a mistake.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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