City Council abruptly adjourns after heated exchange between Lightfoot, alderman; no vote on Lake Shore Drive renaming

Chicago News

CHICAGO — The City Council did not vote Wednesday on the renaming of Lake Shore Drive in honor Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, a Black man recognized as a key settler of the city.

The vote was expected to happen but was delayed again when the meeting was cut short after Mayor Lori Lightfoot went out of the regular order of business to allow for immediate consideration of her appointment Celia Meza, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Meza would serve as the first Hispanic woman to serve as Chicago’s corporation counsel.

The meeting took a chaotic turn when Ald. Raymond Lopez and Ald. Jeanette Taylor announced they would defer the motion on behalf of Anjanette Young, the woman at the center of a 2019 wrongful raid in which she was forced to stand naked and handcuffed.

“In light of everything going on with Ms. Anjanette Young, Alderman Taylor and I move to defer and publish this item,” Ald. Lopez said.

“When do we stop playing the game of mistreating people in our community?” Ald. Taylor said.

Lightfoot allies pushed back. 

“This was not a topic of discussion. This looks like a last minute drive by,” said Ald. Pat Dowell.

According to the Sun-Times, Meza filed a motion last week to dismiss Young’s lawsuit against the City of Chicago.

A recess was then called and as the mayor walked off the rostrum towards the chamber, she engaged in a heated exchange with Ald. Taylor. After a minute or so the mayor stormed off. The two women have reportedly clashed repeatedly over the last two years.

“You saw how she talked to me. I am not a child, I’m a grown woman. I do not work for Mayor Lori Lightfoot. We are co-workers and when she understands that this city will move forward. This is about corporation council is supposed to work for the city, not the mayor and too often they side with her and their mistreatment of Anjanette Young,” Ald. Taylor said. This is to teach you a lesson about you have to work with us. That’s her responsibility and her duty to the city of Chicago.”

The meeting was adjourned shortly after and has been moved to 1 p.m. Friday. The abrupt end prevented the Council from moving to other business such as the renaming of Lake Shore Drive for Jean Baptist’s Point DuSable. 

Afterwards, Lightfoot released a statement that said:

Our residents expect the City Council to pass critical legislation that impacts their daily lives. However, today, a small group of Aldermen brazenly created a spectacle and did a disservice to their constituents, instead of raising their concerns through the appropriate forum. As a result of their cynical actions, the City Council failed to pass protections and relief for our hotel workers, primarily Black and brown women, who were most impacted by the pandemic, and our small businesses. On Friday, we look forward to continuing our work on behalf of Chicagoans.   

On background of the renaming of Lake Shore Drive, Ald. David Moore (17th) has fought to rename it to honor Jean Baptiste Point DuSable. But Lightfoot has argued that change could complicate things for first responders, residents and tourists in the area.

He says Mayor Lightfoot needs to be more inclusive. 

“You cannot continue to put your foot on people on people’s necks and expect not to get a George Floyd response from it,” Ald. Moore said.

Moore says he’s confident he has enough votes to pass his original renaming plan, if it gets called for a vote.

DuSable, a native of Haiti, is considered to be Chicago’s first permanent, non-indigenous settler. He had a successful trading post in the late 1700s. He died in 1818.

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