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That toddlin’ town roundup

Monday, Mar 6, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This is a pretty good story in Crain’s, but it fails to mention the name of Paul Vallas, who was a principal Daley budget architect back in the day

As Chicago’s second Daley dynasty ended in May 2011, the departing regime left a gift for the new one: a pension-debt problem that had been quietly snowballing for a decade before exploding into view in the run-up to the election.

With nearly a third of the City Council following departing Mayor Richard M. Daley out the door, a bewildered cohort of freshmen council members scrambled to understand the mess they had inherited.

* On to the Tribune

Unofficial election results show Vallas and Johnson had obvious bases of support, with clear room for potential growth. Vallas was strongest in the conservative white bungalow belts along the Northwest and Southwest sides and found backers along the lakefront near downtown. But it was Lightfoot who won all the city’s Black wards, while U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” García was successful in low-voting Latino wards and generated some white lakefront support. Johnson’s best showings were in progressive areas around the northern lakefront, though he also won some Black votes. […]

“I actually did well in every ward, and I don’t think Brandon won a single Black ward,” Vallas said Wednesday morning. “So I just want to point that out.”

That’s obviously why the Jesse White endorsement is so important for Vallas on many levels. Bernie Sanders-style lefties (and Sanders himself) generally don’t do well with older Black voters. Jesse White can help Vallas take full advantage of his position and fend off attacks that he’s a racist.

* But this is important as well

Veteran political consultant Delmarie Cobb said she isn’t surprised by White’s endorsement. But while White is popular, she said, it also gives Johnson an opportunity to argue that the endorsement represents “the politics of old … that got us in this mess in the first place.”

Why does the city have such fiscal problems? You can trace it back to skipping pension payments during the Daley years. And Vallas was there, mapping the path.

Even so, Johnson’s defund the police comments are undoubtedly gonna be a powerful weapon against him. And after four years of instability and upheaval, some folks are definitely looking to the past for comfort, regardless of how hazy that looking glass might be.

* Then again, speaking of older folks…

* Sun-Times

Retiring Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) chose Paul Vallas, becoming the first of seven mayoral challengers to choose sides in the April 4 runoff. […]

Although Johnson no longer talks about “defunding” the police, Sawyer said he is equally concerned about Johnson’s refusal to commit to filling the 1,700 police vacancies or fully funding the Chicago Police Department’s $1.94 billion budget.

In fact, Johnson wants to cut at least $150 million from the CPD budget by reducing the ratio of supervisors to rank-and-file officers and make the shortage of officers worse by promoting 200 detectives.

“When Johnson talked about moving up detectives, I didn’t see a real plan to replace those officers. I don’t want to take more officers off the street to do that,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer said he has no doubt Vallas will get the 20% to 25% percent of the Black vote he needs to win the runoff. His only concern is how ugly and racially divisive the race might get.

* Greg Hinz

Johnson, in Selma, Ala., over the weekend for the Bloody Sunday march, reported the first contribution of what’s likely to be a flood of national union money: $568,500 from the American Federation of Teachers. SEIU is expected to write a big check, too.

Vallas is hoping to get help from building trades unions that were big Lightfoot backers. Johnson’s folks are hoping to keep them neutral, with no firm indication yet whether the Chicago Federation of Labor will join in.

And Vallas may also get a flood of big business dough from execs worried about Johnson’s tax-hike plans. The $100,000 he got from Citadel COO Gerald Beeson could be just a down payment of such cash.

Meanwhile, both sides are holding their fire in their TV ads so far, sticking to positive messages. That could change after Wednesday’s scheduled debate on Channel 5, which could be a very lively affair.

* When Charlie Kirk is saying nice things about you, does that tell the rest of us something?…

* Fox 32

Activists rallied Sunday in front of Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas’ headquarters to demand a controversial piece of history be returned to Grant Park.

They said Vallas recently promised the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans that he will put the Christopher Columbus statues back in Grant Park and Arrigo Park. Vallas has not made that statement publicly, and his campaign did not return FOX 32 Chicago’s requests for comment.

“The confusing thing is he’s saying it behind closed doors, he’s not saying it in public,” said activist Frank Coconate. “We want clarification. We don’t want to just go out there and support a guy that saying it behind closed doors because we’ve been let down in the past by [Mayor Lori] Lightfoot and other people.”

* Isabel’s Chicago roundup…


  1. - Montrose - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 2:13 pm:

    Johnson needs to expand his funding base yesterday. These national trips/TV appearances are about getting new money in the door, but I am worried he just can’t compete with the deep pocketed Chicagoans writing six figure checks for Vallas.

  2. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 2:15 pm:

    Note to UIC friends, the way to respond to provocative speakers is to ignore them. They have the right to say stupid and hurtful things. You have the right to not attend. Please exercise it.

    If you ignore them, you deny them the platform they are after: the attention of the liberal mob. That’s why they come to college campuses and bring their own videographers. Stop reflexively protesting people you disagree with.

  3. - Roadrager - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 2:20 pm:

    ==“The confusing thing is he’s saying it behind closed doors, he’s not saying it in public,”==

    I am beginning to detect a bit of a theme with Mr. Vallas’ promises and statements.

  4. - Anon 2:11 - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 2:26 pm:

    I am very surprised just how quiet this race is. Both camps are running ads from the “primary”, not necessarily in large buys either.

    If either Brandon Johnson or Paul Vallas are sitting on explosive revelations about each other, they ought to get that out there soon. I wager that the longer this race stays dormant, the better Paul Vallas’ chances are of becoming the next Mare.

  5. - Hot Taeks - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 2:27 pm:

    I do feel part of Danny Davis endorsing Mr. Johnson is so that Johnson doesn’t primary Davis (as I could easily see Johnson dethroning Davis). I really don’t think Davis retires until the wheels fully fall off.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 2:27 pm:

    The Daley-ites of Vallas and Gery Chico, throw in Jesse White, you have “Daley Days”, and why Vallas chose less than 24 hours after Jesse endorsed him to trot out Chico, it’s tone deaf to the large noise Jesse made by wading in.

    Stepping on the White endorsement with Chico gives that “Daley Days” impression instead of letting Jesse cover all the sins of this past election, including the FOP.

    Head scratching.

    Chico ain’t moving numbers or helping like Jesse. It’s not addition by addition there…

  7. - Homebody - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 2:27 pm:

    Chicago already spends more on policing per capita than basically anyone else in the country. Throwing more money at the CPD won’t solve any problems.

    Vallas has not articulated any policy solutions other than “Let’s keep doing the thing that hasn’t worked, but do it harder[banned punctuation]”

  8. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 2:29 pm:

    Interesting that the photo of Johnson and Davis was taken at Pritzker Park. Maybe Johnson is sending subliminal messages to the Gov?

    Since my office is nearby, I really hope Johnson’s advance staff spent some time cleaning up the park for this event. It could use a good scrubbing. So could the El stop they are beneath.

    If you happen to win this thing, Brandon, you’re going to have to sweat the small stuff. Might as well get started early.

  9. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 2:29 pm:

    I think Ald. Sawyer makes some good points about Brandon Johnson. CTU shouldn’t negotiate contracts with itself. Bandon Johnson also seems to be pulling a Lightfoot on public safety. His campaign talks about hiring 200 detectives, probably because he knows public safety is such a big issue, but is really going to do that once he is in office?

  10. - Amalia - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 2:44 pm:

    Charlie Kirk AND Frank Coconate what a haul of support. Fellow travelers.

  11. - R.J. - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 2:49 pm:

    Expect this to be covered shortly in Chicago media: Brandon Johnson in 2020 addressed an “abolish the police” group — not defund, *abolish* — that blared out on its invite, “WE DON’T CALL POLICE.”

    The question becomes whether undecided voters find that view and audience as problematic as Vallas’ with Awake Illinois.

    Last but not least: Whew, Robert Peters tweets nonstop. When does he find time to work?

  12. - James the Daley - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 3:07 pm:

    Daley 5 for 22 in the city’s pension payment.
    Policy wonk Paul was there from tge get-go.

  13. - Lincoln Lad - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 3:09 pm:

    Agree that Chico’s endorsement is meaningless. White’s endorsement is huge. Chuy - where-for-art-thou?

  14. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 3:09 pm:

    ===When does he find time to work? ===

    I dunno, but he passes more bills than most. Indefatigable.

  15. - Betty Draper’s cigarette - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 3:26 pm:

    ===His campaign talks about hiring 200 detectives, probably because he knows public safety is such a big issue, but is he really going do that?===
    Why wouldn’t he? If you go to his website it’s all part of his aim to solve crimes, since crimes have such a low rate of being solved currently.

  16. - Leslie K - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 4:48 pm:

    ==Chicago already spends more on policing per capita than basically anyone else in the country.==

    The spending is high, but it’s not the highest. After some googling, I found it at most 3rd (behind Baltimore and NYC), and in one case 7th.

  17. - JoeMaddon - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 4:56 pm:

    **I do feel part of Danny Davis endorsing Mr. Johnson is so that Johnson doesn’t primary Davis (as I could easily see Johnson dethroning Davis). I really don’t think Davis retires until the wheels fully fall off.**

    LOL - no. I’d bet decent money that Danny Davis doesn’t run for re-election.

  18. - From DaZoo - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 5:08 pm:

    CPD errors and general Chicago crime both play for attention. The bit about Chicago having spending more on policing per capita than any other large city, does it include payouts for lawsuits and settlements?

    Johnson could get notice by spinning the “defund police” into improving X, Y, and Z services are shown to reduce crime.
    Vallas might get some swing votes by talking about improving CPD training and background checks of recruits (things already required by recent lawsuits).

    Right now if feels like old school vs. new way for Mayor’s race. Given the millstones that weighed Lightfoot down, it looks like (from an outsider) that Vallas (old school) has the lead in the race. Johnson needs to find that message that hits the right tone showing his leadership material and potential for the wider voting population.

  19. - Gravitas - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 5:29 pm:

    I have some doubts about Brandon Johnson which are related to his short tenure as an elected official. He has completed one term on the Cook County Board of Commissioners and was recently reelected.

    Voters have elected several candidates to important offices in recent memory who lacked much political experience (Rauner and Lightfoot are prime examples), By experience, I am not restricting this to be elected. I also include government service in appointed posts.

    Vallas is more of a known quantity while Johnson seems to be a newbie and a cipher.

  20. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 5:40 pm:

    ===The bit about Chicago having spending more on policing per capita===

    I think the person was confused. I believe it’s one of the highest in police force per capita.

  21. - thisjustinagain - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 6:00 pm:

    Johnson has to fill the patrol ranks before he can promote patrol officer to detective. LL pushed promotions and lost too many ‘uniforms’ trying to solve the puzzle. But how Vallas will fill 1,700 openings when people don’t want to be CPD, or get through the hiring and training process, remains to be seen.

  22. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Monday, Mar 6, 23 @ 11:15 pm:

    = Vallas is more of a known quantity…=

    Right. We know he closes public neighborhood schools.

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