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Activists issue Lightfoot's 100-day report card
by Matt Simonette
2019-08-27

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A coalition of Chicago-based community activists gathered the morning of Aug. 26 at City Hall to issue Mayor Lori Lightfoot a figurative "report card" on how well she's done in her first 100 days in office.

The marks, based on the perceived progress the mayor has made on her various campaign promises, were not good as far as the coalition is concerned, ranging from "incomplete" at best to "F" at the worst. They were compiled under the auspices of United Working Families ( UWF ), a political organization that recruits and trains Black and Latinx political candidates for progressive causes, and is affiliated with a number of area unions, among them Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana.

The coalition's goal, according to a statement from the coalition, is "to work more collaboratively with Mayor Lightfoot in the future to realize the bold, progressive agenda she campaigned on."

Among the criteria were affordable housing and homelessness, for which Lightfoot earned a D ( for promised work towards increasing the Real Estate and Transfer Tax to fund programs for person ) and an "incomplete" ( for promised work to pass an ordinance that would stem gentrification and displacement ); immigration defense and sanctuary, which earned Lightfoot a D; police accountability and criminal justice reform, which earned the administration both an F ( for supposedly failing to implement a substantial police oversight mechanism ) and a D ( for not yet ending the money bond system ); public education, which was an F ( activists alleged Lightfoot undercut efforts for an elected school board ); and mental health centers and violence prevention, which were both ranked as "incomplete."

Organizer Emma Tai of UWF said, "One of the questions that gets asked when you have conversations like this is, 'Where is the money going to come from?' We're going to see Mayor Lightfoot deliver or preview her budget address on [Aug. 29]. If there is money going to Lincoln Yards, there is money for violence prevention."

Rev. Charles Straight, who is gay, spoke to the assertion that Lightfoot has been slow to deliver on money bonds, noting, "In her campaign, Mayor Lightfoot pledged that she would end money bond as a means of reducing pre-trial incarceration and addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system."

He added that Lightfoot was given a D as opposed to an F "because she has previously talked explicitly about ending money bond and addressing the root causes of violence, and we want to encourage her to stick to her word."

Windy City Times asked the Mayor's Office for comment on the UWF report. Officials there did not respond directly to all the assertions, but noted that Lightfoot had, among other accomplishments, appointed a diverse school board and increased school budgets and staffing so as to promote equity; stewarded on "all-hands-on-deck" approach to public safety that incorporates advising from various stakeholders to better centralize police deployments; and issued an executive order that terminated ICE access to city databases and facilities.


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