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That toddlin’ town roundup

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the Vallas campaign…

Former Congressman Bobby Rush, who represented the people of Chicago in Washington for 20 years until his recent retirement in January, is endorsing Paul Vallas for Mayor. Rep. Rush is the latest highly respected Black political leader to back Vallas, and in making his endorsement Rush highlighted Vallas’ plans to invest in historically underserved communities and increase public safety. Vallas and Rush appeared together at an anti-violence march on Chicago’s South Side today followed by a press conference.

“I’m supporting Paul Vallas because he’s a lifelong Democrat and he has a real plan to invest in our community and address the root causes of poverty and hopelessness that lead to crime,” said Congressman Rush. “Throughout Paul’s history as a public servant he has always prioritized collaboration, transparency and accountability. As Mayor, I’m certain that Paul Vallas will move our city forward and I’m proud to endorse him today.”

From the event…


* Splits are developing all over the city, including in the churches. From the Triibe

One prominent Wilson supporter who wasn’t in attendance [at Willie Wilson’s event with Black clergy endorsing Paul Vallas] was Bishop Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit Church on the South Side. Although Trotter endorsed Wilson in the Feb. 28 election, he split with him for the runoff, endorsing Johnson over Vallas. […]

Trotter also expressed dissatisfaction with Wilson’s hasty decision to endorse Vallas. According to the Chicago Crusader, Wilson had a meeting with dozens of pastors on March 4 at Trotter’s church. The majority of the room raised their hands in support of endorsing Johnson over Vallas. Trotter, who called Wilson his friend, said Wilson told people he would make his endorsement decision by March 15. Wilson also told them that he was going to bring in Vallas and Johnson so they could meet them, and that he’d have several town halls to discuss the matter.

Wilson instead announced his endorsement of Vallas on March 8. Trotter found out about the endorsement from the media.

“I wanted Dr. Wilson to know when he decided to go with Paul Vallas that we still had the right to do what we wanted to do; that he couldn’t just carry the pastors over with him,” Trotter said. “Some of the pastors felt a sense of betrayal, because the news media pushed [the endorsement] as if Dr. Wilson could influence the whole group and that’s not so.”

* Johnson campaign press release…

Today, as a grand jury is likely to indict former president and current Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, records revealed Paul Vallas has received more than a million dollars in big money checks from Trump donors.

“It’s no surprise that Donald Trump’s big money donors are backing Republican Paul Vallas,” said campaign senior advisor Jason Lee. “Vallas’ campaign is powered by Donald Trump’s wealthy corporate donors, which explains Vallas’ platform of increasing taxes on working-class Chicago families while cutting taxes for billionaires, large businesses and corporations. Republican Paul Vallas represents billionaires, CEOs, and Trump megadonors – not us.” […]

Donors who have given to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., Trump Victory, or Trump Make America Great Again Committee and have given at least $10,000 to Paul Vallas include:

    • Michael and Rosalind Keiser: $900,000 to Paul Vallas, $11,200 to Trump
    • John Koudounis: $100,000 to Paul Vallas, $630 to Trump
    • Noel Moore: $50,000 to Paul Vallas, $5,000 to Trump
    • Scott Gidwitz: $10,200 to Paul Vallas, $5,400 to Trump
    • Ron Gidwitz: $25,000 to Paul Vallas, $30,400 to Trump
    • James Gidwitz: $10,000 to Paul Vallas, $40,280 to Trump
    • Greg Kay: $30,000 to Paul Vallas, $3,800 to Trump
    • Patrick Heneghan: $12,500 to Paul Vallas, $1,950 to Trump
    • Mike Romano: $10,000 to Paul Vallas, $5,500 Trump
    • Peter Huizenga: $10,000 to Paul Vallas, $16,600 to Trump

* Notice this is not on TV and it has some really shoddy production values…

In a new digital ad released today, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania’s 2nd District and U.S. Rep. Troy Carter of Louisiana’s 2nd District expose Paul Vallas’ record of failure in Philadelphia and New Orleans, and endorse Brandan Johnson for mayor of Chicago.

Watch: Trail of Destruction

“On April 4, Chicagoans have an opportunity to elect a strong, principled leader in Brandon Johnson, or a political opportunist who has left a trail of destruction behind him throughout his career,” said Congressman Boyle. “Chicago deserves better than Paul Vallas. I urge voters to not make this mistake again and elect a mayor who they can trust to deliver for their communities and schools.”

“Chicago deserves a mayor who will unite the city, not one who exacerbates existing inequities in the system. I know that mayor is not Paul Vallas because New Orleans still grapples with the destruction he imposed after closing more than a third of public schools and laying off hundreds of teachers,” said Congressman Carter. “Chicago has a clear choice to elect a leader who has the passion for people and the vision to invest in people and schools. That leader is Brandon Johnson and I’m proud to endorse him.”

Paul Vallas has left a trail of destruction behind him in cities across the country. In New Orleans, Vallas closed over one-third of public schools and laid off hundreds of teachers—schools there now rank among America’s most inequitable. In Philadelphia, Vallas suspended 33 kindergartners and created an $80 million deficit. Then after admitting he didn’t know how to fix the deficit, he gave himself hundreds of thousands in bonuses and went on vacations paid for by no-bid contractors.

* In two stories now, the Sun-Times has yet to disclose that James Franczek, the founding partner of Franczek P.C. which represents the city and the Chicago Public Schools in labor relations, contributed $1K to Paul Vallas’s mayoral bid in 2019 and another $2500 during Vallas’ gubernatorial bid, and his spouse contributed $5,000 to Vallas just last week. Beyond the contributions, he’s likely no fan of the CTU’s candidate because he’s had to bargain with that union during some very contentious times

As the city’s longtime chief labor negotiator, attorney Jim Franczek worked for and survived four Chicago mayors: Jane Byrne, Harold Washington, Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel. He couldn’t survive the fifth mayor: Lori Lightfoot.

Sources said a vacationing Lightfoot called Franczek on Monday and summarily fired him for doing a lengthy interview on a Chicago Sun-Times podcast where he essentially endorsed Paul Vallas over Brandon Johnson in the April 4 mayoral runoff.

* Umm…

* Isabel’s roundup…


  1. - Mark - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 1:11 pm:

    At every Vallas endorsement press conference, is there a guy behind the camera holding a “Lifelong Democrat” cue card in one hand and a loaded gun in the other?

  2. - Hot Taeks - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 1:18 pm:

    Brandon Johnson’s campaign is way way too online and directed towards MSNBC viewers.

  3. - Anon324 - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 1:24 pm:

    The Rush endorsement is interesting, to say the least. Not sure how much value it adds, but there’s a lot going on there. For one, he’s long-since repudiated the current radical left, but Vallas seems to be a lot like Mark Kirk, who Rush once criticized with rather colorful language. It’s also reminiscent of the post-Harold Washington battle in the city.

    And that Vasquez post is par for the course for him. He’s popular in the ward because he’s substantially more responsive as compared to O’Connor. But every once in a while he does something like this, the equivalent of Trump NFTs.

  4. - Big Dipper - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 1:29 pm:

    Vallas can’t be an effective vulture as he is afraid to fly.

  5. - Back to the Future - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 1:30 pm:

    Great to see former Congressman Rush out on the campaign trail.
    He looked fit, excited and still ready to make a difference in this mayoral contest.
    Vallas picked up a good fellow to have in his corner.

  6. - Montrose - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 1:31 pm:

    “Brandon Johnson’s campaign is way way too online and directed towards MSNBC viewers.”

    He needs younger voters to get excited and vote, so a robust online strategy is important.

    He also has an intense, old fashioned ground game.

  7. - Give Us Barabbas - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 1:43 pm:

    I wonder every time I hear this idea of hiring back retired cops. To do what, exactly? Police work in the field is physically demanding, I’m not sure retirees could cut it if it has to get physical, or require foot chases. Assuming the idea is to put them all on detective work or office duty, to free up younger officers for the street, are we sure that there are enough patrolmen/women and detective-qualifed people willing to come back to work, and for how long? Would they just be doing it to make a pension bump and then retire again? What’s our ROI on this recall idea? Or is it just a p.r. stunt?

  8. - Pundent - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 1:44 pm:

    =Brandon Johnson’s campaign is way way too online and directed towards MSNBC viewers.=

    Each campaign has it’s strengths and the demographics couldn’t be any different. What it will really come down to is the GOTV effort and who shows up on election day. I suspect that Johnson needs strong election day turnout more than Vallas does but that’s just a hunch.

  9. - Amalia - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 1:47 pm:

    The Franczek non disclosure matter is yet another thing in the list of things that make me think that the regulars are desperately afraid that Brandon will win. the attitude really is take it back, before it’s too late, bring back the band. it’s sad.

  10. - Treefiddy - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 1:53 pm:

    Not gonna lie, I’m actually into that Spider-Man themed comic of Johnson/Vallas. Would be a cool political souvenir to have, even as someone who doesn’t live in Chicago or have any rooting interest in the race.

  11. - low level - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 1:56 pm:

    Vallas gets Rush; Johnson gets two unknown Congressmen from PA and LA. Vallas is running a textbook campaign.

  12. - Big Dipper - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 2:00 pm:

    ==Police work in the field is physically demanding, I’m not sure retirees could cut it if it has to get physical, or require foot chases.==

    It seems like many if not most current officers are in poor shape so not sure what difference that makes. They should have to pass a yearly fitness test and control the BMIs. Way too many pot bellies.

  13. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 2:07 pm:

    Voting has begun.

    The campaigns need to realize days need both campaigning and GOTV… both.

  14. - Forever906 - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 2:20 pm:

    == I wonder every time I hear this idea of hiring back retired cops. To do what, exactly? ==

    That’s a good question. A high number of sworn officers currently carry out desk duties in districts and other administrative functions at HQ. There are probably a couple hundred at least that could be freed up to go back out on the beat if you hire back retired cops as civilians. It’s a practice that already exists; there just needs to be more of an effort to scale it.

  15. - ChicagoBars - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 3:07 pm:

    From experience (even before pandemic) there’s a lot of on duty time spent processing arrested suspects that takes them off the street. If some retired officers can come back and assist in processing arrestees while younger beat cops get back out on calls even that would be helpful imho.

    One classic secondhand Daley era story was the new Police Stations built the last few years of his tenure had lockups built to hold arrestees for several hours until they could be transferred but staff to monitor and manage that prisoner holding were never budgeted for.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Afternoon roundup
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* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to yesterday's edition
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* Pritzker says he's 'expressed concerns' about the city's proposed migrant tent camps: 'I don't think this is the only option'
* Good luck, Henry!
* Jimmy Weiss asks for leniency, claiming his corruption would have eventually benefited the state and that he can no longer 'bribe his way back into business ever again'
* More misinformation from Bloomberg
* Open thread
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