By John Kass
January 1, 2023
Some still think of Chicago politics as prizefight, with the winner grabbing the government hammer to beat opponents into submission with “the rule of law” and take the spoils the Chicago Way.
Some still think? LOL. You’re too kind, John. It’s the truth. C’mon buddy.
And now the holidays have passed, the main event, the race for mayor of Chicago, is about to begin in full this week.
The lead candidates are well known, businessman Willie Wilson, incumbent Lori Lightfoot, former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas, U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson and 6th Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer, son of the late Mayor Sawyer.
And the issues? If you know anything about Chicago, you know there are four critically important issues:
Crime, crime, crime, and crime.
Ask yourself: Which candidate has the capacity to manage a thoroughly broken city and repair the damaged police department?
We all know who has broken the police department! Hell, her hand-picked police chief David Brown hasn’t even fully moved here from Dallas. He reportedly still flies home most weekends. Talk about one foot out the door! Or is it a half-foot in the door? Oh yeah, and don’t forget his cop-killer son.
That’s right… David Brown’s son, also named David, was a double-murderer and cop killer, high as a kite on PCP when other police shot him more than a dozen times shortly after he killed a random, innocent man and the first officer to respond to the call for help. “He wasn’t raised like that,” he reportedly told the victims’ family. Oh really? How was he raised then?
The Brown family liked to say their son suffered from mental illness. That seems to be the go-to for bad people committing evil acts. Maybe part of it was how he was raised? I mean, is it that difficult to raise your child not to murder people and kill cops?
But then again, it runs in the family. Brown the police chief’s brother was killed by drug dealers in Arizona. Gee, was he on his way to church to sing in the church choir when he was killed or was he maybe involved in drug-dealing low-life behaviors?
And which candidates will just run their mouths and play the race card?
Ask yourself who has been running her mouth and playing the race card for the last four years? As she drove the city into the sewer…
But you can’t help Chicago that way. Pay attention. A great city is dying.
It is being killed by violence and a political class that sees benefit in a terrible bargain: they’d rather virtue signal about “mass incarceration,” than protect the virtuous by segregating the violent from the decent. They buy votes with Chicago’s death.
You won’t see that sort of analysis in ANY of Chicago’s mainstream media. They don’t want their access to City Hall revoked.
“Over the holidays, everyone was talking about crime,” said a man who loves Chicago and has been close to mayoral politics for decades. “What do people talk about? It’s all about crime. Where do you go to avoid it, how not to go to dinner downtown? How Michigan Avenue is a ghost-town. If the city’s not safe–and it’s definitely not safe now–then the city can’t come back. And every day Chicago loses more and more people.”
That’s from a “connected” Chicago resident, not some guy downstate who avoids driving through Chicago, much less stopping there for any reason short of taking do-gooders’ money at a gun buyback.
Don’t take my word for it that Chicago has become a cesspool of violent crime.
So as the mayoral race begins in earnest, in the city of tribes, the tribes gather. And how you see them depends on where you sit.
You might see them as the Visigoths running down that seventh hill to the city, or as the government (public) employee unions dominated by the white lefties. You might see them as street gangs activated as in the old days, or as legitimate social justice warriors committed to ending cash bail and reducing the reach of law enforcement.
You might see them as small business owners trembling and fearful at those political forces that keep whispering, “Get the bleep out.”…
Years ago… there was a truth about politics then.
The corruption was only about the money. It didn’t take your soul.
The left hated that old spoils system, and the newspapers especially hated patronage…
Patronage was a stench in their delicate nostrils, because it had nothing to do with qualifications or merit.
But now the Democrats are all about “equity,” which is government using skin pigment to reward some at the expense of others and buy political support from the beneficiaries. It is nothing but racist political patronage. They use it to buy votes and pound even more equity into, or out of, the taxpayers.
It is what it has become.
There have been thousands of shooting, again this year, and more than 700 people murdered in Chicago according to reports. Again…
But overall, the ruling Democrat approach to violent crime in Cook County and statewide–endorsed by the incumbent mayor, governor, county prosecutor, county chief judge, state attorney general and Cook County board president–is to offer mercy to the violent.
You’re too kind, John.
And, to avoid avoiding incarcerating these thugs in exchange for votes.
I’ll never forget the first time I had a black Chicago politician tell me, in front of a committee hearing, that they were not in favor of enhanced penalties for career bad guy felons who use guns to hurt and kill other innocents. “We’re not in favor of putting more black and brown people in prison.”
“These people are slaughtering members of your community!” I replied.
She reiterated that they weren’t supporting enhanced penalties for bad guys who do bad things to decent people. “There are too many black and brown people in prison already.”
I’m sure my jaw hit the floor. She had just shattered my naive view of what anti-gun pols think about controlling crime, as opposed to controlling guns. Yes, these same Chicago politicians, by and large are BIG fans of gun control for the little people while they have their own guns at home and armed guards protecting them where they work.
Most of the victims of violent crime in Chicago are themselves minorities. And few lead Democrats in Chicago politics actually weep for their pain, or condemn this cynical bargain between politics and the habitually violent lest they themselves be called racists. If they condemned it they’d be hypocrites. Because they’re in on it.
Whoa. I hadn’t read this whole thing before I started this post. Then I wrote about my experience in Springfield and then Kass writes that paragraph. He’s soooooo right.
This how you kill a great city.
Wrong tense, John. “This is how they killed a great city.”
I write this column late on New Years’ Eve, as the State Supreme Court has finally weighed on the controversial “Safe-T Act,” the radical Democrat push to end cash bail in Illinois. It would be a state-wide expansion of Democrat Cook County crime policy that has devastated the metropolitan area with 40 percent increases in crime.
But at the last minute, the high court voted to continue using the old cash bail system for alleged violent criminal offenders.
Cook County Democrats, led by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, her protégé Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and the Black Legislative Caucus have tried to end cash bail with the help of Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.
Will Preckwinkle’s no-cash bail policy–appealing for votes at a painful cost–become part of the mayoral campaign debate? Of course, it should, but will it? Lightfoot endorsed Foxx to curry favor with Preckwinkle. Why did she do it? She trashed Boss Toni in the last mayoral campaign. You might think Lightfoot wouldn’t need to grovel. But she did.
So you might suppose media would make an issue of the Illinois Supreme Court move, in the context of the mayoral campaign. You might think it might have something to do with whether the city will survive or if it will devour itself in some dystopian frenzy.
Am I being impolite? I suppose so. Don’t ask me. Ask some milquetoast local news exec who loves “speaking truth to power.”
The stories of Chicago crime run together, anecdotes colliding in a never-ending orgy of violence. Some just give up on the news. But others who want real crime coverage don’t read the papers. They go to the CWB Chicago website…
And you should too. Because the so-called “crime coverage” in the Trib and Sun-Times is, ahem, “sanitized” at best.
The Norwegian painter Edvard Munch wasn’t Hollywood. His painting formally has nothing to do with Chicago, though it was completed around the time my grandfathers came here, hard-bitten mountain immigrants, with no education but plenty of guts.
They were poor, desperate and hungry men like those Visigoths with families depending on them, not looking for a city of God exactly, just hoping to find a few streets paved with gold.
Munch’s painting does speak to modern Chicago, today’s city of rising crime and the mayoral campaign, and the political class stepping over minority victims of violence, the politicos working to abolish cash bail for violent offenders.
And with a media ambivalent, in a city where public schools don’t teach kids to read at grade level, a city of small business owners trembling, waiting for the next wave of looters, with CEOS of large corporations waiting for the next shootout in some downtown parking lot, taxpayers voting with their feet.
Munch very much understands today’s city by the lake. Just look at the man in the painting. You can see him scream, like a Chicago taxpayer.