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*** UPDATED x1 *** That toddlin’ town roundup

Thursday, Mar 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

*** UPDATE *** He’s really trying hard…

Democratic mayoral candidate Paul Vallas is releasing the following statement reacting to the indictment of former President Donald Trump:

“This unprecedented and historic news begins the process of proving once and for all that no one is above the law and everyone must be held accountable for their actions. A grand jury has reviewed the evidence and found that a crime was committed by a former President — that is unprecedented and must be taken seriously. Donald Trump repeatedly and shamelessly violated the rules and norms that govern the Office of the President, cheapening the most widely respected elected position in the world and demeaning our democracy. He must be held accountable and I’m grateful the first step towards justice has been taken.

The threats of retribution and violence that have been made recently by Donald Trump are dangerous and irresponsible. Our nation is still grappling with the devastation of January 6th and just how close the peaceful transfer of power came to being cast aside, and we must always do whatever is necessary to protect the integrity of our democracy.”

…Adding… This just in over the transom. When talking about the Trump impeachment, Vallas said on February 16, 2021 while substitute co-hosting for Dan Proft, “I always felt that it was a witch hunt.” 1:05:11

For those wanting to put Republicans on the spot, if he would have been censured, it would have put much more pressure on them. And, you know, I always felt that it was a witch hunt. I mean, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t make mistakes and that Trump has acted irresponsibly and I’ve certainly been a critic of what he’s done. But at some point it is time to move on because what do we need for years of people chasing Kamala Harris? At the end of the day, the country needs to move forward and you know, Biden’s talked about unity and here’s an opportunity. So I just think that, you know, they need an enemy.

…Adding… The Vallas folks point to this…

But a month after that, he’s calling the impeachment a witch hunt. Go figure.

[ *** End Of Updates *** ]

* We’re gonna do a little “dueling oppo” today. To set up the first one, here’s Crain’s

After weeks of jostling between Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas over whether Vallas really is a Republican, the horse’s mouth of sorts has something to say about it: Word from the Chicago GOP is that Vallas is not one of them.

Huh. OK. But check out this video taken of the Chicago GOP’s Lincoln Park office

Did you catch the end of it?…

Does that logo look familiar?…

Imagine that.

Isabel has been trying to reach that office since early this morning, but nobody’s answering.

* And now, this…

Brandon Johnson Currently Owes The City Of Chicago $3,357.04 In Unpaid Water And Sewer Charges. (Chicago Department of Finance Records, Accessed 3/21/23)

    • Johnson’s Payment Of $91.08 On February 13, 2023 Was The First Time He Had Paid His Water Bill Since June 22, 2022. (Chicago Department of Finance Records, Accessed 3/21/23)
    • Since 2010, Johnson Has Accrued $6,661.70 In Fines And Penalties Due To Nonpayment. (Chicago Department of Finance Records, Accessed 3/21/23)

Johnson Also Owes The City Of Chicago A Combined $1,044.58 In Unpaid Traffic Tickets From 2014 And 2015. (Chicago Department of Finance Records, Accessed 3/21/23)

Illinois Law Would Prevent Johnson From Being Sworn In As Mayor If His Debts To The City Remain Unpaid

Under Illinois Law, A Person Who Owes An Unpaid Debt To A Municipality Is Not Eligible To Take The Oath Of Office For An Elected Position In That Municipality. “(b) A person is not eligible to take the oath of office for a municipal office if that person is, at the time required for taking the oath of office, in arrears in the payment of a tax or other indebtedness due to the municipality or has been convicted in any court located in the United States of any infamous crime, bribery, perjury, or other felony, unless such person is again restored to his or her rights of citizenship that may have been forfeited under Illinois law as a result of a conviction, which includes eligibility to hold elected municipal office, by the terms of a pardon for the offense, has received a restoration of rights by the Governor, or otherwise according to law. Any time after a judgment of conviction is rendered, a person convicted of an infamous crime, bribery, perjury, or other felony may petition the Governor for a restoration of rights.” (65 ILCS 5/3.1-10-5, Accessed 3/29/23)

Johnson Currently Earns A Combined Salary Of Over $175,000 Per Year

Cook County Commissioners Earn $93,500 Per Year. “Under the plan, the board president’s annual salary will be bumped to $187,000 from $170,000, while commissioners will see a hike to $93,500 from $85,000 a year and the board’s finance chair salary will increase to $99,000 from $90,000. (Alice Yin, “Cook County Board Members Vote Themselves 10% Raises, With Automatic Future Pay Bumps,” Chicago Tribune, 5/24/22)
In 2022, The Chicago Teachers Union Reported Paying Johnson $85,906. (Chicago Teachers Union Form LM2, U.S. Department of Labor, 11/1/22)

The oppo is from a FOIA. Click here for the documentation.

I can’t believe he didn’t pay that off before getting into the race.

* Another press release from the 43rd Ward runoff…

Aldermanic candidate Brian Comer is once again playing shell games with his finances. This time, Comer broke campaign finance laws by taking several contributions over the legal limit and failing to report several high-dollar donations within the required two-day window.

“Brian Comer is breaking the law and continuing a pattern of hiding information about his finances from voters,” said Alex Hanns, Knudsen’s campaign manager. “Comer previously refused to tell voters any information about his clients from his last nine years as a ‘consultant,’ and now he’s taking illegal contributions and failing to disclose his donors as required by law. Voters deserve better than a shady candidate who is trying time and again to deceive them.”

Two donors, including Comer’s campaign treasurer, donated above the $6,900 limit for individuals. A total of 13 contributions of $1,000 or more were filed past the two business day window that is required by law.

Two donors gave an aggregate of $10,000 each to Comer’s campaign — $6,200 over the limit — both of which included at least one late filing:

There’s more, but you get the idea.

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * Block Club | The New Stop And Frisk? Chicago Police Make Millions Of Traffic Stops While Searching For Guns: Chicago police pulled over hundreds of thousands more drivers than they previously reported, but they found guns in fewer than one of every 150 stops, according to a new data analysis.

    * Sun-Times | Dollars vs. decentralization: Johnson’s and Vallas’ vastly different fixes for CPS: Paul Vallas plans drastic changes to CPS structure, bolstering principals and local leaders’ power over spending and programming — and even the ability to let a charter school take over their campus. He would prioritize standardized testing and make it easier to hold students back a grade so they don’t graduate without necessary reading and math skills. […] Brandon Johnson would rather the school district’s central office end per-pupil funding and guarantee a baseline of resources for every school — such as art teachers, social workers and librarians. This would reduce the role enrollment plays in whether a school can afford staff and, he says, help ensure every neighborhood can offer a quality education. He would focus on addressing poverty and trauma.

    * Sun-Times | Betsy DeVos-founded, Republican-funded school choice group backs Vallas campaign for Chicago mayor: A Vallas spokesman said his campaign “would strongly reject any endorsement from Betsy DeVos.” “Our campaign has not been in contact with this organization, we have certainly not sought its support,” the spokesman said in a statement. “Campaigns cannot coordinate activities with independent expenditure committees by law and we have no control over this group’s actions.” … The American Federation for Children created its Illinois Federation for Children PAC as an independent expenditure committee in March 2022 to support and oppose candidates for statewide office, all with the mission of advancing school choice. The political committee spent over $700,000 toward those efforts last year on Republican candidates for the Illinois Legislature. The PAC lists a Washington, D.C., address. … The Illinois Federation for Children PAC is chaired by Nathan Hoffman, who was a registered American Federation for Children lobbyist in Springfield until January. He has tweeted from Vallas’ February election night party and fundraising events since then.

    * Sun-Times | Young voters explain low turnout in Chicago elections: John Cook, 21, said he has noticed excitement about politics declining since 2020. Cook, a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, said he did not vote in February. “Our first election in 2020, it was like, everything is the most important that could possibly be, and so I think everybody was up on that. It’s been like a big deflation in political activism,” Cook said. “Even people who were engaged before have dwindled off.”

    * Jewish Insider | Chicago’s Jewish community could swing mayoral race: In February’s nine-way mayoral election, Vallas, 69, performed best in some of the city’s most heavily Orthodox areas, winning two precincts in the 50th Ward with more than 80% of the vote. Across the entire ward, where the majority of Chicago’s Orthodox community is concentrated, he claimed 50% of the vote, defeating Johnson, a Cook County commissioner and outspoken union organizer who has embraced a progressive platform, by more than 30 points. … Meanwhile, Johnson’s close affiliation with the Chicago Teachers Union, which endorsed him even before he announced his candidacy, has fueled speculation that he is beholden to its interests. He has rejected those claims. The union, from which Johnson is on leave as a paid organizer, has opposed the continuation of a tax credit scholarship program that has benefited low-income students who attend Jewish day schools. In alignment with Orthodox leaders, Vallas has expressed support for the state legislation, which is set to expire this year.

    * Alisa Kaplan | With an increase in dark money, Chicagoans have a right to know who’s trying to buy their vote: The U.S. Supreme Court says we can’t limit super PAC money, but it has consistently upheld efforts to illuminate it. Our organization, Reform for Illinois, worked with state Rep. Maurice West this year to introduce House Bill 3804, a bill that would require big donors to disclose the original source of their funds no matter how many secretive groups the money passes through. Alaska, California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Minnesota have all enacted laws aimed at unveiling hidden political contributors, and last fall, 73% of Arizona voters approved a referendum requiring comprehensive donor disclosure. If they can do it, we can too.

    * CBS Chicago | Lightfoot, City Council gathering for special meeting Thursday: Several aldermen are calling for a vote on the new rules and committees for City Council members during the 2023 to 2027 term. The timing is considered unusual as council members typically vote on these matters *after the election.

    * Tribune | West Side incumbents fending off challengers in 24th and 29th ward runoffs: In the 24th Ward, which includes North Lawndale, challenger Creative Scott received only about 15% of the vote to Monique Scott’s 45%. In the 29th Ward, which includes parts of Austin north to Montclare, former Chicago police sergeant Taliaferro was forced into a runoff by just a few dozen votes, though community activist CB Johnson received nearly 40% of the vote in the first round.

    * ABC Chicago | Chicago mayoral candidates break down how they would manage city budget: In his $800 billion tax plan, Johnson proposes bringing back the city head tax, where large corporations who do most of their work in the city will pay a 1-4 dollar tax for each employee. Johnson also pitches increasing the hotel tax, jet fuel tax, a tax on securities trading and increasing the transfer tax on property sold for more than a million dollars.

    * Sun-Times | 6th, 21st Ward candidates discuss future of South Side ahead of runoff: Time to ‘resurrect dreams of residents: Hall, 38, lead pastor at St. James Community Church in Chatham and a field director for the Rainbow PUSH social justice organization, narrowly came in first place with 23.82% of the vote during the Feb. 28 election — only about 70 votes ahead of Wooten, an Army veteran and retired police officer.

    * NBC Chicago | 3 Former Chicago Police Superintendents Join NBC 5 For Conversation About Public Safety, Crime: “Without question, public safety is top of mind for many Chicagoans,” said Holt. “It’s clear, we need to figure out how to make the city safer. This show is a unique opportunity to sit down with three men who have been at the forefront of tackling this crisis. It’s a chance to learn from the mistakes of the past, figure out new ideas, and try to forge a new path toward a safer city.”

    * NBC Chicago | Chicago Department of Transportation Plans 150 New Miles of Bike Paths as Part of Cycling Program: The biggest part of the plan includes adding 150 additional miles of bike lanes. Other parts include adding low-stress options like concrete curbs separating the bike lanes from vehicular traffic, making bicycles like Divy more accessible to everyone.

    * Block Club | Workers At Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago’s Oldest Museum, Are Voting To Unionize: “We’re forming our union because we want to work with our colleagues and leadership to ensure that our institution is always becoming an equitable, inclusive and safe workplace,” said Anabel Hirano, a member of the union organizing committee who is a volunteer and intern coordinator at the Nature Museum. “That can’t happen unless we have an equal say in the decisions that affect us.”


  1. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:22 pm:

    Well at least it doesn’t appear that Johnson has taken multiple homestead exemption. Really that is just dumb not to have paid those bills

  2. - Hot Taeks - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:24 pm:

    On one hand: What a goof not paying off your water bills and parking fines.
    On the other hand: How did oppo not find this until now? I guess FOIA took some time to go through.

  3. - Montrose - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:28 pm:

    The Chicago GOP certainly wasn’t trying to help Vallas by distancing themselves from him. Nope.

  4. - Big Dipper - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:29 pm:

    I read that Vallas doesn’t have a Chicago vehicle sticker on his car and if that’s true you would think that might resonate with a certain subset of voters.

  5. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:31 pm:

    PS politicians not paying their city bills taxes and tickets just reek of special privileges. I know there are moratoriums on shut offs but that should not apply to elected officials

  6. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:33 pm:

    Do you want a guy who can’t pay his water and sewage bill despite making $175,000 a year managing a 28 billion dollar budget?

    Surprised he didn’t propose doubling the water and sewer tax given he doesn’t pay it regardless

  7. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:36 pm:

    One candidate may not live in Chicago. The other owes the City $4,000. Good job, Chicago political campaign establishment.

  8. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:45 pm:

  9. - Al - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:49 pm:

    Back in 1988 the unions had organized and taken control of the City of Saint Louis. A big property tax increase was put through to pay the Library, City, School, Police and Firemen union contracts. Anheuser Busch owned a complex of four story high brick warehouse buildings near the river covering several city blocks. The property taxes were going up from $868,000 to $925,000 or something close to that. The nice beer folks sold all those buildings to the Catholic Diocese for $1 and a 99 year lease for $225,000 a year. Neat hat trick.

    The tax credit is distorting the free market. I imagine you can find the story on microfilm somewhere for the Riverfront Times. This would have been published prior to June 1988.

  10. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:50 pm:

    “Word from the Chicago GOP is that Vallas is not one of them.”

    It’s a moot point, it’s Democrat Paul Vallas the lifelong liberal. He keeps telling us, over and over and over. His key supporters tell us.

  11. - Back to the Future - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:50 pm:

    Looks like Candidate Brandon wants to “Defund” the Water Department too.

  12. - Pundent - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:55 pm:

    A $3,300 water bill doesn’t result from a missed payment or two. It would take years of not paying your bill to run up that kind of balance. There’s simply no plausible explanation for the issue and failure to correct it. Further underscoring how truly lousy the options for mayor are.

  13. - Paddyrollingstone - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 1:59 pm:

    Lucky Pierre

    Surprised he didn’t propose doubling the water and sewer tax given he doesn’t pay it regardless

    LP - credit where credit is due. That’s pretty funny. Kudos.

  14. - TinMan - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 2:01 pm:

    So much noise in this election for mayor. It’s about who can manage the city and bring everybody together. So, focus on issues and not the noise by different support groups.

  15. - Pundent - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 2:10 pm:

    =It’s about who can manage the city and bring everybody together.=

    The criticisms of both candidates are legitimate and concerning. I would not characterize them as noise. And they lead to the conclusion that neither are capable or deserving.

  16. - West Sider - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 2:20 pm:

    I’m not making excuses- public employees should pay their government related bills and that goes double for elected officials. Having said that, Rahm jacked up water bills and for residents without a water meter- which is still common- the tab is over $150 per month- which is insane.

  17. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 2:34 pm:

    I’m anti-Vallas, but Johnson doesn’t make it easy to vote for him. None of the above will be the overwhelming winner of this election…

  18. - Austinman - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 2:42 pm:

    Vallas doesn’t even get a bill bcz he doesn’t live in the city. Which is why his car doesn’t have a city sticker.

  19. - Chris - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 2:44 pm:

    Johnson’s water bill would be a lot lower if he had a meter—unless the relentlessly waters his lawn.

  20. - Demoralized - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 3:03 pm:

    Well, if Johnson wins at least the city will have direct access to his checks so that they can get their money

  21. - Politix - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 3:11 pm:

    Newest IL GOP strategy: Hide your affiliation. AWAKE IL is great at this.

  22. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 3:12 pm:

    When a candidate comes before the king makers, a few questions are routinely asked:

    Have you paid your real estate taxes?

    What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done that is not in the public eye?

    Do you actually live in the district?

    Up to date with municipal regs and payments?

    These save the campaign from a boatload of embarrassing
    and campaign killing situations.

    BTW, I can’t believe how long Chicagoans paid so little for water.

  23. - Big Dipper - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 3:19 pm:

    ==BTW, I can’t believe how long Chicagoans paid so little for water.==

    And Chicago property taxes are lower than many suburbs and places like Springfield. But demagogues still scream that they are obscenely high.

  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 3:21 pm:

    === But demagogues still scream===

    Not just demagogues.

  25. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 4:45 pm:

    Back to considering not voting.
    Holding my nose just ain’t gonna do it.

  26. - Old time Independent - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 5:21 pm:

    I mean it’s to late for Vallas to get it on the tv. Maybe radio and social media but that liberal and moderate lake front and North Shore won’t be happy with Johnson over this.

  27. - DuPage - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 5:25 pm:

    What does Johnson do for all that money from the teachers Union? The feds took a dim view of Tom Cullerton accepting employment from the Teamsters.

  28. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 5:27 pm:

    ===dim view of Tom Cullerton accepting employment===


    It wasn’t about the job, it was that he falsified time cards.

  29. - Big Dipper - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 5:36 pm:

    So Vallas is now calling January 6 devastation when he previously downplayed it?

  30. - Just a Citizen - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 5:52 pm:

    Can’t believe Johnson didn’t pay those bills. It reeks of privilege

  31. - Tim - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 6:43 pm:

    I’d say that one would be surprised how many candidates and electeds don’t know this law exists, but I don’t think most readers here would be surprised.

  32. - HLV - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 7:22 pm:

    That IS a Vallas sign that was deposited in front of the Chicago GOP office door, possibly from one of the condos above. True story. Happened last week.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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