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That toddlin’ town roundup

Friday, Mar 31, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Brandon Johnson constantly says he “managed” a multi-billion dollar budget at Cook County. It’s pretty ridic, as the Tribune points out

But Johnson’s record is complicated by the realities of serving since late 2018 as one of the junior members on a 17-person body where President Toni Preckwinkle, who has endorsed Johnson, runs a tight ship and much of the real decision-making is top-down. […]

Preckwinkle and her financial team design the county’s annual budget and drive many of the policy decisions, taking suggestions from commissioners before the board passes their plans with overwhelming support. The Cook County Board president wears the jacket for those choices, as the mayor does for the city budget.

* I am flabbergasted at Vallas’ blatant flip-flop on this, but the reweeted thread does give a progressive explanation for Johnson’s angle…

* Another surprisingly good get for Vallas…

Democratic mayoral candidate Paul Vallas is being endorsed by Chicago baseball great and World Series champion Ozzie Guillen. A local legend as a player, manager and broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox, Guillen is supportive of Vallas’ plans to make the city safer, improve public schools and grow the local economy.

Guillen released a video endorsement that is available here:

“I love Chicago, I’ve made this city my home, and I know that Paul Vallas is the right choice for Mayor,” said Guillen. “We need a Mayor who will hit the ball out of the ballpark, and Paul Vallas is the candidate to do it. He will make our city safer, improve our public schools and invest in every neighborhood. We’re getting close to the 9th inning in this election, and I’m encouraging all Chicagoans to join me in supporting Paul Vallas so he can bring home a big win for our city.”

“Ozzie Guillen is a legend in our city and I’m so excited to have his support as we head down the final stretch of this election,” said Vallas. “I grew up in Roseland as a huge Sox fan, and baseball is such an important part of our city’s culture and history. I’m running to be a Mayor for all Chicagoans, and whether you’re a Cubs fan or a Sox fan we can all agree that we need a safer, more prosperous Chicago.”

* Preaching to the choir…

* Without any real money behind it, this is also mainly just preaching to the choir [UPDATE: The campaign now says this is going up on cable TV]…

Yesterday, news broke that Donald Trump was indicted by a grand jury in New York. Shortly thereafter, audio surfaced of Paul Vallas calling Trump’s impeachment a “witch hunt” in February 2021. This morning, the Brandon for Chicago campaign released a new digital ad, “Witch Hunt?”, exposing Paul Vallas’ opposition to holding Donald Trump accountable.

VALLAS: “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”

Here are five questions Paul Vallas must answer NOW about his stance on Donald Trump:

    Why did Paul Vallas call Donald Trump’s second impeachment a “witch hunt”?

    Does Vallas believe Donald Trump incited an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021 despite his endorsers dismissing the violence of that day?

    Does Vallas also believe the Mueller Investigation was a “witch hunt”?

    Will Vallas reject any further donations from Donald Trump donors, who so far have fueled his campaign with more than $1 million in campaign contributions?

    In 2021, Vallas described the Biden Administration as “a circus in terms of the administration’s inability to manage anything” and said, “it’s just incompetency,” and “I think they’re clueless, quite frankly.” Does Vallas stand by his own harsh criticism of the President?

The ad is here.

* The choir preaches back…

Today, the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association (CPAA) released their Mayoral Survey results, showing that Brandon Johnson was selected by 62% of principals and administrators who selected a candidate.

“Who better to chime in on which candidate should run the school system than the men and women who run each school in that system?” said Troy LaRaviere, President of CPAAA. “In a way, these survey results are more powerful than an endorsement because they represent the full breadth and depth of the mayoral preferences of Chicago’s school leaders rather than the decision of a handful of association officers.”

* Background is here if you need it…

The guy in the last pic appears to be this person. Sometimes, I think Steve Rhodes had a decent point.

* Ouch…

…Adding… Brandon Johnson release…

Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas is falsely denying his connections to former President Trump’s former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and an Illinois Super PAC that DeVos funds.

DeVos funds and controls the Illinois Federation for Children PAC which made a $59,000 independent expenditure in support of Vallas’ campaign last week. On the same day, DeVos’ American Federation for Children Action Fund, a national 527 PAC funded primarily by DeVos and her husband, made a $65,000 contribution to the Illinois Federation for Children PAC.

Yesterday evening at the Sun-Times-WBEZ mayoral debate, Vallas denied having contact with DeVos, stating “I’ve never had any conversations or contact with Betsy DeVos. And our campaign has not received any money from her.”

The Vallas campaign said on Wednesday evening that “our campaign has not been in contact with this organization [Illinois Federation for Children PAC].”

In reality, Vallas and DeVos served together as hosts at an Urban League of Chicago event on September, 9 2021 in honor of the superintendent of schools of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

Moreover, the chair of the Illinois Federation for Children PAC Nathan Hoffman has been regularly attending Vallas campaign events in the last month, including Vallas’ February 28th election night party:

Hoffman was a registered contract lobbyist in Springfield for the DeVos-founded and funded 501c4 American Federation for Children until January 2023.

On June 18, 2022, Vallas appeared on a panel hosted by extremist anti-LGBTQ+ group Awake Illinois with keynote speaker Corey DeAngelis, senior fellow at DeVos-founded and funded American Federation for Children.

Paul Vallas’ decades-long history of privatizing multiple school districts in the US and extensive support for transferring public funds to private schools are tightly aligned with DeVos’ ideological opposition to the existence of publicly-run, publicly-funded schools.

* Heh…

* Isabel’s roundup…


  1. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 2:21 pm:

    Does Vallas support the insurrection or that Trump should get away with it? He’s supposed be the law and order, pro-cop candidate? He really is a Republican.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 2:21 pm:

    ===Powerful storm to hit Chicago area Friday: Wind gusts greater than 75 mph, large hail, isolated tornadoes possible: The greatest risk of severe weather is in the south and west suburbs, from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m., though a hazardous weather outlook has been issued for Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Kendall, Grundy and Kankakee counties===

    In Kendall there’s a smell in the air of high humidity, warm breezes, and an odd “weather calm”

    Thank you Rich and Isabel, my goodness so much going on…

    There’s this odd “closing days” feel for both Johnson and Vallas that neither have secured the “base voter” for them that seemingly agrees more with a middle… but refuses to see the bad that each mirror in themselves.

    It’s an odd closing too that it’s a GOTV call to base voters to “stop” the other, not embrace the candidate… both… both are closing hard with this angle, and the difference here in that and above… who exactly is taking time to be the landing spot for the alleged 9-13% “undecided”, if the close for both is “stopping” things?

  3. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 2:28 pm:

    Q. Mr. Vallas, once and for all, Do you support Donald Trump or not?

    A. Yes and no…positively.

  4. - dr. jimmy - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 2:30 pm:

    rallies are lame, i don’t care who’s doing them.

  5. - Wonky Kong - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 2:32 pm:

    My gut says a close race favors the candidate with the better ground game, which SHOULD be Johnson, because of CTU, SEIU, and other groups who know how to knock doors. If turnout is low even better for him and his motivated voters.
    If turnout is higher than normal, then I feel like Vallas’s big name endorsements and more centrist pitch looks better.

  6. - Ogden - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 2:42 pm:

    Kind of surprising that only 62% of principals supported Johnson. There is a CTU/CPAA rivalry, to be sure, but still.

    Johnson’s campaign appears to be losing some steam. The rally is not a sellout (and it was a mistake moving it to a venue that would only be half filled BY DESIGN).

    His budgeting claims are really silly and I think voters are realizing that. His failure to pay his water bill is also somewhat comical and is the type of thing people latch onto.

  7. - Original Rambler - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 3:02 pm:

    Just when I start leaning towards Johnson BAM doesn’t pay his water bill and wants to fire Arwady. Back to undecided. sigh

  8. - Forever906 - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 3:04 pm:

    == Johnson’s campaign appears to be losing some steam. ==

    I think this is certainly correct, but so has Vallas’. His reputation as a guy who says too much and bends his opinions to be whatever will make him the most popular guy in the room has come to the forefront with some late-dropping oppo and a loosening of message discipline on the part of the candidate, who has held it together very well throughout the campaign until the past few weeks.

    Johnson’s issues speak to competency. I don’t think the guy can do the job. Vallas’ are more about character. Where he has failed in the past, I do not think it has been because of incompetency, but rather arrogance and stubbornness, or maybe better described as hubris.

    I usually vote very early, but will vote on election day for the first time in years because I truly cannot make up my mind. Will I vote for the guy who has a rooted set of values but can’t do the job, or the guy who can, but is such a chameleon I can’t trust what that will mean?

  9. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 3:16 pm:

    That Brandon Johnson failed to pay his water bill and traffic tickets/fines shows a lack of financial management in his personal affairs. Johnson certainly had the means and money to take care of these matters before he entered the race.

    These poor financial decisions reflect negatively on his ability to manage a city’s budget. Doesn’t matter the number of endorsements for Brandon Johnson. His inexperience and lack of candor are impediments to his candidacy.

  10. - Ogden - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 3:26 pm:


    I think that’s the best summation of this campaign I have seen. Well done.

    As to the water bill, between the CTU and the County, I think Johnson has to be clearing north of $200k a year without problem. Needs a payment plan for a water bill *as a candidate for MAYOR?!*

    So odd to me.

  11. - Techie - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 3:29 pm:

    “His inexperience and lack of candor are impediments to his candidacy.”

    Replace inexperience with bad experience, and you are also describing Paul Vallas.

  12. - Amalia - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 3:36 pm:

    I love the White Sox, but didn’t Ozzie Guilen get in trouble for using an anti Gay slur and get sent to HR classes for that?

  13. - James the Intolerant - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 3:40 pm:

    To borrow the punchline from one of Dad’s jokes, “His brother was worse.”

  14. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 3:47 pm:

    ===I am flabbergasted at Vallas’ blatant flip-flop on this===

    Did you think he was really with the crazies?

  15. - Big Dipper - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 3:57 pm:

    ==Did you think he was really with the crazies? ==

    Um, yes. He is just now pretending not to be because the crazy base isn’t enough and they have nowhere to go. Unless they (hopefully) stay home because he now pretends to not like Orange Man.

  16. - Hot Taeks - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 4:10 pm:

    As we head into the weekend, Johnson and the CTU couldn’t have had a worse day to head into the final days. First we find out that Johnson owes thousands to the city and can’t take office unless he pays it off completely if he’s elected. Then we find out that CTU is getting sued by ‘Members First’ coalition for unfair labour practices. Something tells me both camps (Johnson and CTU’s) finances are very, very sketchy.

    Advantage: Mr. Vallas

  17. - Lincoln Lad - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 4:27 pm:

    Vallas has secured the crazy vote, so he’s moved on to the next group. Tell them what they want to hear

  18. - West Sider - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 4:28 pm:

    My disagreements with Johnson are not insubstantial, but tend towards strategic (ie how to tax rather than whether). He can be headstrong and perhaps he is somewhat naive. However he is authenticly himself. I can work with an honest man I disagree with.

    Vallas on the other is choose your own adventure. As Rich Daley’s Budget Director he supported pension holidays- but claims he’s a “finance wonk”. As CEO of five/six school districts, he cared for kids so much- he gutted the school systems, left poor communities in tatters- and was fired from each.

    Either way the next three years are likely to be politically contentious- but I’ll, take the candidate who is true to himself.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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