CHICAGO — Residents of the 47th Ward filled the auditorium at Lane Tech High School Sunday evening to hear platform pitches from each of all nine candidates running for mayor in Chicago.
With WGN’s Ben Bradley serving as moderator, public safety continued to dominate debate culture when it comes to the Chicago Mayor’s race, and it was no different Sunday. This time, the specific topic relating to public safety was CPD technology and resources.
“We could be using part-time officers or retired officers to come take calls, for example,” said Roderick Sawyer.
Sawyer also emphasized removing the gang database, something fellow candidate Brandon Johnson noted he helped eliminate at the Cook County level.
“It is disappointing to be on a stage with multiple individuals who claim to be Democrat and they’re growing one of the largest budgets in [Chicago],” Johnson said. “And we do not feel any safer even though we are spending more money on policing.”
Alongside CPD technology and resources, safety on CTA buses and trains was also discussed.
“I’ve been in conversations with the CTA, with Metra, and with Pace,” said Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia. “They need to collaborate. we are also anticipating huge deficits in the coming years that need to be addressed through integrating all the members of the regional transit authority.”
With the latest mayoral forum taking place at a North Side high school, funding for Chicago Public Schools naturally took center stage alongside public safety as well.
“We have to lead with collaboration,” said Sophia King. “We will not go forward in our city unless we are able to do that in a meaningful way.”
Incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot continued to point toward more funding being needed from Springfield to buttress the CPS system.
“The legislation that some championed that is currently the law would cut off any ability for the City of Chicago to influence the programs, the infrastructure, and the investments in CPS,” Lightfoot said. “That doesn’t make any sense to me.”
The general election for mayor of Chicago will take place on Feb. 28 and if no single candidate crosses the 50% threshold needed to win the election outright, a runoff election will be held on April 4 between the top two vote getters.