CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot wrapped up her weekly accountability meeting with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. This weekly meeting and news conference are new, something Lightfoot has brought to city hall.
Despite a steady number of shootings this summer, Lightfoot insisted police are making progress fighting violent crime.
As a candidate, Lightfoot said she would keep Superintendent Eddie Johnson through the summer before deciding his fate.
"Look, I think we’re trending in the right direction and I’m hesitating even to say that because I don’t want anyone to take from my comments that I’m satisfied because I’m not satisfied," Lightfoot said. "I’m not satisfied when I wake up on Saturday mornings or Sunday mornings and see my inbox littered with messages of people being shot, homicides or other acts of violent crime. but if you look at the trend, not just year over year, but over from 2014 to now, we’re definitely headed in the right direction."
While she works with CPD leadership to fight crime, the mayor continues to feud with the Fraternal Order of Police. She was caught on an open-mic calling a FOP official a "clown."
Also, since Lightfoot was sworn-in, the city and county officials have clashed over who’s to blame for gun violence. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Public Defender Amy Campanelli are pointing to CPD’s dismal rate of solving murders, while Lightfoot and Johnson shine a spotlight on gun offenders who make bail.
"It’s frustrating for our officers who put their lives on the line every single day to arrest someone who’s got a criminal history as long as your arm, who has for example, automatic weapons or barrel loaders, as they’re called, that can hold 200 bullets or have armor piercing bullets, which we know is only intended to do one thing, which is to piece protective vests of police officers," Lightfoot said. "Those people are dangerous, and they shouldn’t be on the street."
On the mayor’s to-do list are contracts with police and the Chicago Teachers Union. On Monday, the CTU rejected a contract proposal, setting the clock for a possible strike.
"It’s not about me letting them strike, my hope is we will get a deal done before it comes to that," Lightfoot said.
The teachers are not the only group unhappy. Activists on the left put out a 100-day report card full of D’s and F’s for Lightfoot. They’re mad she hasn’t passed a community benefits agreement for the Obama Presidential Center, closed loopholes in the Welcoming City Ordinance or passed an elected board with authority to investigate and fire police.
And there could be more discontent on Thursday when the mayor delivers a major speech explaining Chicago’s dire financial situation. She’s expected to say Chicago faces a billion dollar budget deficit.
"Look, I’ve heard loud and clear from people that they don’t want their property taxes raised," Lightfoot said. "We are in an environment where we still have a broken system where assessments have gone through the roof. Raising taxes in that environment, I think, would be a very tough sell. We’re looking at other options, but I can’t in good conscience take anything off the table at this early stage."
Lightfoot acknowledged property tax owners feel tapped out. The biggest accomplishment in the first 100 days is the mayor’s sweeping ethics reform, tough new rules for the alderman and Inspector General oversight.