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Hopefully The Winds of Change are Blowing in the Windy City

Lori Lightfoot (left) and Brandon Johnson (Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file)

The City of Chicago is facing one of its most important elections in decades and the outcome will impact our whole country. Brandon Johnson, a “defund the police” activist has made the runoff after a bitter primary race. Lori Lightfoot, the current inept mayor, failed to reach the runoff after 4 years of rising crime and its public school system going down the proverbial toilet.

Many corporations such as Boeing and Citadel have left the city because of rising crime, exorbitant taxes and a failing school system. Redfin says that Chicago is among the top 5 metro areas that citizens are trying to leave.

The homicide rate in Chicago is 5 times higher than New York City and 2 times higher than Los Angeles.

The public schools are a disgrace where a high majority of the students do not perform at their grade level. The graduation rates are abysmal and the teachers keep getting rewarded with larger contracts and pensions. It is the equivalent of the Denver Broncos giving Russell Wilson a $20 million bonus after his terrible season this past fall.

Chicago ranks number 2 in the country for combined property and sales taxes. This distinction has convinced many businesses to leave the city that was once referred to as “The City That Works.”

Brandon Johnson, one of the candidates to make the runoff for mayor in the April 4th runoff, is a former teachers union official. Johnson has received $2.4 million in donations from various teachers unions. He has received $200,000 in non-union contributions. Who do you think he will take care of if he is elected?

Imagine if Johnson is elected Mayor of Chicago. The teachers unions would sit on both sides of the bargaining table at contract negotiations. Taxes will be raised and more businesses will flee from the city. The police department will be defunded  which will result in more crime which would keep tourists from visiting the once vibrant city.

Fortunately, there is another candidate in the run-off and he realizes that Chicago has strayed down the wrong path. Paul Vallas has focused his campaign on fixing the schools and beating back the crime wave in the Windy City. Vallas has spent his whole career in education where he has attempted to reform schools.

Vallas wants to make the schools safer for students and vows to make sure that budgeted city money makes it to the schools. Today, only 60% of the money budgeted for Chicago schools actually makes it to the schools.

Vallas also vows to fight the soft bigotry of low expectations for minority students. He wants to end the system that moves students through the  process without requiring them to reach certain test results.

Vallas also vows to increase the police budget and allow the police to make Chicago safe again. History shows that rising crime rates result in economic stagnation and urban decay.

For decades, Chicago was a well run city that allowed many people to climb the economic ladder. Recently, the city has followed New York City, Baltimore, Memphis, Los Angeles and Philadelphia into a cesspool of crime and poverty. How can America be a world leader when so many of our major cities are economic  and security disasters?

Hopefully, Chicago will support a strong mayor and allow the police department to take back control of the streets from the criminal element. Pushing back against the school unions and  making the education of students a priority will be a tough challenge for the new mayor. America needs him to be successful.

Bob Spencer
Manatee Herald

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