Voters' stark choice in a new mayor: The "Chicago Way" or a new day.
Will they pick Brandon Johnson who aims to ignore the shootings and killings in order to advance the greedy interests of the Chicago Teachers Union?
Or will they elect a new mayor by the name of Paul Vallas who’s got the smarts, expertise, leadership skills and character to make Chicago “The City that Works” once again?
The coming April run-off election between Vallas and Johnson will decide whether Chicago will sink further into a crisis of crime, fiscal insolvency, rotten education choice and old fashioned machine politics that has devastated the once-great city.
Vallas is a moderate Democrat, a proven administrator who was Mayor Richard M. Daley’s chief financial officer and an education expert who turned around school systems in Katrina hurricane-devastated New Orleans, Philadelphia and Bridgeport Connecticut—and Chicago.
Johnson is the candidate of the Chicago Teacher Union (CTU) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)—public employee unions that have cast Chicago into its presently deplorable state. Johnson is not a season administrator. Johnson is a CTU organizer who has no experience or a successful record of running a multi-billion-dollar government institution. If Johnson is elected mayor it will, in effect, enable the unions to negotiate their contracts with a union-bought mayor. In other words, they will be negotiating with themselves.
A vote for Johnson is a formula for fiscal disaster. And a rotten deal for Chicago students and their parents who want an opportunity to pick the best school. He once committed to “defund the police” by reducing the police force, replacing officers with social workers. Getting attacked in the street or suffering a mob breaking into your small store? Call the local therapist.
Here’s the problem. Johnson managed to make the runoff because of the mobilization of an army of campaign workers—many from the teachers union. They rang doorbells. Followed up to make sure allies made it to the polls. In other words, they used the tried and true method of Chicago machine politics in which campaign workers who owe their jobs to the Chicago Way work hard to keep their jobs. Thanks to those workers Johnson, whom no one ever heard of before, managed rise to beat seven other mayoral candidates.
He didn’t beat Vallas, however, who won a plurality, leaving Johnson and the rest of the field in the dust. It’s significant margin to overcome, so they’ll pull out all the stops. Meaning they’ll launch personal attacks. Watch the ads: They’ll play the race card, charge him of secretly being an ally of “extreme right wingers” and of Donald Trump’s MEGA supporters. Who knows what else they’ll accuse him of. Anti-Semitism so he’d lose the support in theavily Jewish communities, such as West Ridge and others where he expects to harvest votes?
Meanwhile, Vallas will be discussing issues. Call him a policy wonk if you will, but at least he has the courage to say what he’s going to do.
Vallas has the support of the Fraternal Order of Police, but the number of first responders who can be counted on to be campaign foot-soldiers is vastly smaller than the number of teachers and their pals. Whether Vallas can mobilize enough volunteers to overcome Johnson’s, is a critical question.
The choice for Chicago mayor has never been more stark. Years ago, Chicago municipal elections were partisan, until no Republican was crazy enough to challenge the Democratic Machine. Elections became technically “non-partisan” reflecting the reality of Democrat domination. So, mayoral and other races typically became a question of who could turn out the biggest volunteer army, get the support of the unions and special interests—such as the numerous contractors who engage in pinstripe patronage.
Not this time. Voters can vote for change or for continuing down a disastrous path. A nation is watching.
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