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That toddlin’ town roundup

Monday, Mar 20, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Chalkbeat

Chicago’s two mayoral candidates have starkly different visions for reckoning with the city’s steep enrollment losses and under-enrolled schools.

Paul Vallas has said these shrinking campuses could become or share space with specialized magnets, charter schools, or alternative high schools — the kinds of overhauls he oversaw during his tenure as Chicago Public Schools CEO from 1995 to 2001. The city should continue to give families more quality choices, he argues.

Brandon Johnson, on the other hand, says Chicago’s system of choice — in which families can pick from a myriad of district-run, charter, and private programs anywhere in the city — has created a “Hunger Games scenario” in which neighborhood schools lose out to better-funded competitors. The solution, the Chicago Teachers Union organizer says, is a major influx of resources for schools that already exist.

That’s just a taste. Click here for more.

* Wall Street Journal editorial board

In two recent polls by IZQ Strategies, respondents were asked their view of the CTU, the longtime power in city politics. In January 57% of likely voters said they had a favorable view of the union. By February that number had sunk to less than half, while unfavorables rose.

That is true. The fave/unfave split in January was 57-40. The most recent poll had it at 48-46.

But Paul Vallas’ fave/unfave rating also took a hit with that same pollster. Vallas’ rating went from 46-31 in January to 47-47 in March. Brandon Johnson’s was 35-20 in January and 51-40 in March. Both saw increases in their unfavorable rating, but Johnson also saw a big spike in his favorability as more people came to know him.

But we can expect lots more intense hits on Johnson in the coming weeks.

* Here’s Greg Hinz

Mayoral hopeful Paul Vallas on Saturday pulled in his biggest cash haul yet, reporting just over $1 million in contributions in one day, many from big hitters in the real estate, trading and other industries. […]

Vallas appears to have pulled ahead of rival Brandon Johnson in the fundraising derby, despite major contributions to Johnson from teachers unions and units of SEIU.

Not mentioned in the piece is that, on Friday, INCS Action Independent Committee (charter schools) reported spending $258,000 on cable TV ads against Brandon Johnson. Two days earlier, INCS Action spent $359,000 on digital media against Johnson. More to come, I’m told. The group reported an $800,000 contribution from Wheels, Inc. executive chairman James Frank last week.

Johnson has reported $723,879.56 in contributions since a week ago Sunday. Vallas has reported $1,668,050 in the same time period.

…Adding… Greg Goldner’s Priorities Chicago PAC just reported spending $320,000 on TV ads against Johnson.

* Meanwhile, here’s a press release…

Chicago business leaders are endorsing Paul Vallas for Mayor and sounding the alarm on his opponent Brandon Johnson’s plan to raise taxes by $800 million, with much of it hitting the middle class and small businesses. The Chicago Tribune has called Johnson’s tax increase plan “radical,” and now leaders from the Chicagoland Apartment Association, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association are endorsing Vallas and speaking out about the disastrous impact Johnson’s plans would have on the city’s economy.

The organizations are releasing the following joint statement:

“It is imperative that business and government leaders work in tandem with a balanced approach to solving complex issues related to our city’s economy, and Brandon Johnson’s extreme tax increase plan would devastate Chicago and cost countless jobs. Johnson’s plan, which the Chicago Tribune called “radical,” would increase taxes by $800 Million and hit the middle class and small businesses. He would increase taxes on hotels and motels that are still struggling to get through the pandemic, reinstate the employee head tax which charges businesses for each job they create within the city, increase taxes on real estate transactions which would stifle affordable housing development and much more. Meanwhile, Johnson’s plan to defund the police would make the city less safe and further damage our economy. Paul Vallas is the only candidate in this race with a real plan for economic development that will uplift communities throughout the city, and that is why we are proud to endorse him today.”

* Two more alds for Johnson…

* Crain’s

And both candidates made appearances Sunday afternoon at a meeting of United Power, a church-based nonprofit, at the Harmony Community Church in Lawndale.

Unsurprisingly, at least five of Sunday’s stops were in Black majority wards Mayor Lori Lightfoot won in the first round of voting — Vallas in the 18th, Johnson in the 3rd, 28th and 37th and both at the United Power event in the 24th ward. This fight to win over Black voters will remain one of the key battlegrounds through April 4 — and whoever gets Lightfoot’s backing would almost certainly get an edge.

If, that is, she endorses at all.

Lightfoot remains an endorsement holdout and it’s getting late in the campaign. But you can bet either Vallas or Johnson would be thrilled to receive the outgoing mayor’s support and efforts even if campaigning for her replacement is a little awkward.

Your thoughts on that?

* Isabel’s roundup…


  1. - Montrose - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:59 am:

    I just don’t see Lightfoot endorsing. She can’t go Vallas given how many of her backers (Personal PAC, Equality IL, Rep. Cassidy, Connors-Irvin, Ald. Irvin) have gone with Johnson, and she won’t go with Johnson because she cannot swallow her pride enough to do that.

  2. - Big Dipper - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:14 pm:

    ==Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) has not made a public endorsement but told attendees at a February 45th Ward candidate forum that people “should strongly consider Vallas.”==

    Sure sounds like an endorsement if he doesn’t want them to consider the other guy.

  3. - Steve - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:21 pm:

    ‘He would increase taxes on hotels’

    The tax is so high : if you cut it at from this level you might bring in more revenue than what it is bringing in now. The high hotel tax is one of the reasons some conventions have gone elsewhere.

  4. - low level - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:21 pm:

    If Lightfoot endorses, the first thing that happens is your opponent sends a mailer with your picture w her. Her approval / disapproval is like 20/80 or something along those lines? You really want that endorsement?

  5. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:23 pm:

    Lightfoot thinks CTU had it out for her from the beginning. I would be very surprised if she endorsed Johnson now.

  6. - Early voter - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:26 pm:

    Big Dipper, he said to strongly consider Vallas, he did not say to not consider the “other guy”. Also, when he made that statement in February, there was not just a “other guy”, there was multiple candidates including the incumbent who is not a “guy”.

  7. - 48th Ward Heel - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:29 pm:

    “Hmm, you say schools are trapped in a cycle of underfunding and underutilization? Ok, guys, just hear me out on this one: What if we opened a second, administratively separate school in the same building to *compete* with the first one? Sure, we’d be paying for a redundant set of staff for the same shrinking pool of students out of the same already-strained budget, but at least they wouldn’t be union.”

    -Education Wizard Paul Vallas

  8. - Sue - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:33 pm:

    Johnson should ask another African American candidate how opposing school choice worked out for him in a certain 2018 Florida Gov race. Truth be told Black families as do many Hispanics support school choice.

  9. - Early voter - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:34 pm:

    Big Dipper, Lori Lightfoot and Sophia King are not “other guy”. Both were candidates for Mayor in February. Lori Lightfoot, a woman, is the incumbent mayor. Women are eligible to serve as Mayor of Chicago, incase you didn’t realize.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:35 pm:

    === The high hotel tax is one of the reasons some conventions have gone elsewhere.===

    Since Covid it’s been slow everywhere.

    The recovery of hospitality has more to do with conventions deciding to actually meet post-Covid.

    If you have facts or numbers that say otherwise, have at it.

  11. - JoeMaddon - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:37 pm:

    **Lightfoot thinks CTU had it out for her from the beginning.**

    Thinks? They practically declared war on her the day she won the election.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:38 pm:

    To Lightfoot,

    “Should Vallas or Johnson want Lightfoot to endorse them?”

    I’d raise $5-7K to send Lightfoot on vacation before she endorsed a crew.

    Then again, Lightfoot carried the South and West side wards…

    There’s no right answer. That’s also a Lightfoot Legacy, no?

    Lightfoot’s odd constituency, will they as a group, be swayed in any way Lightfoot is swayed? Dunno.

  13. - the 647 - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:39 pm:

    Would the two candidates be “thrilled” with a Lightfoot endorsement? I’d say no. I wouldn’t want such an unpopular mayor supporting me.

  14. - phocion - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:42 pm:

    OW, try google. You’re incorrect again. Chicago lags behind other cities in convention business recovery post-Covid. But, it’s not clear that hotel taxes has much if anything to do with Chicago’s failure to recover its convention business.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:51 pm:

    === Chicago lags behind other cities in convention business recovery post-Covid. But, it’s not clear that hotel taxes has much if anything to do with Chicago’s===

    If it’s unclear… as you say…

  16. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:56 pm:

    - phocion -

    Is that from.. June, 2022?

  17. - Big Dipper - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 1:01 pm:

    ==he did not say to not consider the “other guy”==

    You do know what an implication is?

  18. - Big Dipper - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 1:04 pm:

    And I clearly meant the other guy remaining, but nice try with the false sexism accusation when Gardiner calls women the “c” word.

  19. - The Truth - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 1:08 pm:

    I think a Lightfoot endorsement in this race, at this point would actually be a rare case of a negative for either Johnson or Vallas.

  20. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 1:13 pm:

    Lightfoot is backing the same candidate Pritzker and Biden are backing. I thought that was clear.

  21. - Responsa - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 1:38 pm:

    A Lightfoot endorsement would be a Typhoid Mary endorsement for the “lucky” runoff candidate.

  22. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:26 pm:

  23. - R.J. - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:43 pm:

    I have yet to see a good answer from Johnson supporters about the public-safety elephant in the room: Who is going to want to be a police officer under a Johnson admin? Johnson has not hid the fact that he and most of his supporters dislike (you could even say hate) the police. He wants to hire 200 detectives. Who is going to want to be a detective under a police-hating admin?

    Lightfoot tried to have a decent relationship with the police while calling out Catanzara’s extremism. No chance that Johnson has that kind of connection, given his past comments.

  24. - tominator - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:45 pm:

    Funny thing about that Chuy endorsement. I get all his emails, texts, requests to donate. Sometimes I get two a day. Since he lost I’ve gotten NOTHING. Since he endorsed I’ve still gotten NOTHING. He may have “endorsed” Johnson but he did on a Friday — worst news day to do it. And I bet he doesn’t do a THING to help Johnson.

  25. - Lakeview Fisherman - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:46 pm:

    Does anyone know if IRS liens, re Angela Clay in the 46th Ward, are filed if the person owning the money doesn’t own any real estate?

    Her bio as I understand it has her as a lifelong renter and community activist. That one is just unexpected.

    The Crain’s story also has her forming a more recent company in Delaware. Now I know Delaware is often used to form corporations because of their laws, but for some presumably tiny company with little income?

    This just doesn’t make sense on the face of it. Maybe it’s all reasonable, but her spokesperson ducking the question doesn’t help.

  26. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:48 pm:

    === He wants to hire 200 detectives. Who is going to want to be a detective under a police-hating admin?===

    We’ll see.

    Would it bother folks too much if the Proud Boy types who find their way into law enforcement decide not to be Chicago Cops?

  27. - Arsenal - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:51 pm:

    ==Johnson should ask another African American candidate how opposing school choice worked out for him in a certain 2018 Florida Gov race.==

    The fact that Johnson, unlike Gillum, is not under FBI investigation would seem to stretch the outer limits of the usefulness of this comparison, to say nothing of the fact that, generally speaking, Chicago does not vote very much like Florida.

  28. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:03 pm:

    === Chicago does not vote very much like Florida.===


    Ball Game

  29. - Anon324 - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:27 pm:

    ==Who is going to want to be a detective under a police-hating admin?==

    I understand your underlying point, but I would imagine that people who want a raise and to get off the street patrol duty on top of it would be interested.

  30. - R.J. - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:30 pm:

    === Would it bother folks too much if the Proud Boy types who find their way into law enforcement decide not to be Chicago Cops? ===

    Bizarre to dismiss the very real demoralization of thousands of police officers across the U.S. the past few years (unless you think the entire force is made up of Proud Boys). No Chicago police officer, good or bad, will want to serve under a mayor who has a history of expressing hatred towards their profession. See the already alarming number of police officers who have left the force (660 Chicago cops retired in 2021, almost twice as many as in 2018).

    Back to the Lightfoot topic, again - Vallas is getting a lot of support from wards that supported Lightfoot, but as others have noted, an endorsement from her (for either candidate) would likely go on a mailer targeting the parts of the city that voted massively against her.

  31. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:45 pm:

    === R.J.===

    You’re speaking for lots and lots of people.

    Many assumptions, it’s bizarre to think of there are so many good cops they’ll just quit, if we’re playing dorm room speak for everyone.

  32. - Big Dipper - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:50 pm:

    == See the already alarming number of police officers who have left the force==

    Many being far right types who have fled to suburban police departments. They can have them.

  33. - R.J. - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 4:09 pm:

    === dorm room speak ===

    Here’s the WSJ writing about the trend of police quitting, as well as the data on Chicago police numbers, but again, keep downplaying the trend and writing them all off as Proud Boys, then wondering why a candidate as flawed as Vallas even has a chance in this election when he shouldn’t.

  34. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 4:20 pm:

    === writing them all off as Proud Boys===

    And yet CPD won’t remove them, when one is found?

    If it’s a national trend, Vallas winning will stop the leakage, I mean, the worst elements (their president) of the FOP is a Vallas ally, no?

  35. - Soccermom - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 4:36 pm:

    I’m so old I remember when Greg Goldner was a Democrat.

  36. - Early voter - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 5:33 pm:

    Big Dipper, the election took place on February 28. It was not a two person race till after February. “The other guy” you are referring to is Brandon Johnson. Use him name, not “the other guy”.

  37. - Big Dipper - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 5:43 pm:

    Early voter, you are incoherent.

  38. - Amalia - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 7:25 pm:

    Soccermom for the win.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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