photo from the Lori Lightfoot facebook page
We are in that precarious middle time of Chicago politics, after the first election and before the runoff. The mayoral election took a surprising turn when Lori Lightfoot was named the frontrunner, with Toni Preckwinkle in second and Bill Daley not making the runoff.
This is a historic election in that it will mean no matter the outcome, Chicago will have its first black female-identifying mayor. That accomplishment has not stopped the discourse from turning to working to find out which one is the “more progressive.”
And it seems that quite a bit has been brought up surrounding Lightfoot, most of which was known to voters before the election, some of which are new developments.
One new development is very recent from today’s Chicago Public Safety Forum at the University of Chicago. According to Maira Khwaja, a journalist with the Invisible Institute, Lightfoot clarified that she didn’t agree with Rahm Emanuel’s proposed $95 million police academy as is, but instead wanted to budget for up to 38 more training locations.
“Shotspotter is incredible tech supported by philanthropic dollars & Strategic Decision Support Centers sponsored by Crime Lab do more than our detectives can alone.”— Maira Khwaja (@mairaka) March 13, 2019
-Lightfoot makes clear that she’d push policing even more to private entities that we can’t hold accountable.
Lightfoot just said she wants more training locations, and turn ~38 former/empty school buildings into police training centers. What in the absurd hell.— Maira Khwaja (@mairaka) March 13, 2019
One notable piece of information already known is Lightfoot’s history as a federal prosecutor. Many
Nearly 20 years ago, she was formally reprimanded for “professional misconduct” by an esteemed federal appeals judge who found that she had misled another judge in a botched extradition case. The reprimand raised questions about whether prosecutors had abused their power.
The situation created enough alarm that then-U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno sent a contrite letter to the judge who’d written the reprimand, calling what happened “unfortunate” and vowing changes. Reno opened an internal investigation that eventually cleared Lightfoot.
Her past work as a prosecutor, as mentioned by a piece from the Chicago Reader back in January, points to rulings that both made a case of being unfair to Republicans in the city and to battling corruption in Chicago’s political system.
According to the Reader’s Doug McGoldrick:
“She prosecuted violent crime extensively in addition to bankruptcy fraud and public corruption. She helped convict former 15th Ward
Lori Lightfoot’s vision for policing has also become a talking point, especially considering it was Rahm
Further new developments also point to Lightfoot’s recent endorsements and donations. She was just endorsed by conservative mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, who backed Trump and Rauner in the past, and has a history of homophobic comments.
Lightfoot has also been receiving donations from some of Chicago’s business people, including a 100,000 dollar donation from John Canning, who works in private equity and favored Daley prior to the runoff.
According to Chicago Business, l
“I’m a fan of Emanuel,” he said. “I just think she’s the best choice now.”
A pet issue for Canning is the potentially endangered $100 million
This is followed up by DSA-backed alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa’s daily commitment to pointing out each piece of Preckwinkle’s progressive policy.
Of course, details will continue to come in and Scapi Magazine will continue to sort through them as Chicago works to find its next mayor. Please feel free to share more thoughts with us, as we as a city have a big decision to make April 2nd.
Daniel Johanson (he/him) is a journalist and digital media specialist living in Chicago, Illinois. He serves as Editor-in-Chief at Scapi and in that capacity manages all things content, including writing and editing articles and producing digital content. His most recent work includes the docuseries Heart of a Nation: Tracking Socialism in the Midwest and co-hosting the podcast Scapi Radio. He spends his free time with cats.