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The [Monday] Papers

"In the race for mayor, one of Toni Preckwinkle's allies crashed a Lori Lightfoot news conference," Bill Cameron reports for WLS-AM.

"Lightfoot was accusing State Representative [and 38th Ward Democratic committeeman] Rob Martwick of trying to stifle reform by filing a bill in Springfield to make the Cook County Assessor an appointed position. Martwick crashed the Lightfoot presser and the two of them got into a heated debate post-presser."

Preckwinkle denied having anything to do with Martwick's stunt - in fact, she says she opposes Martwick's bill - but this is still not a good look for her campaign, least of all because it once again dredges up her loyalty to former assessor Joe Berrios, whose office, populated by numerous members of his family, for years ran an astoundingly outrageous system that screwed poor people in favor of rich people.

Even after that system was exposed, Preckwinkle stood by Berrios, a friend who was also her predecessor as Cook County Democratic Party chair. This relationship, in conjunction with the help she offered Ed Burke's son in getting a county job, has marked the longtime progressive as a Machine boss at the absolutely worst time of her career. It's not a good look. To wit:

Martwick: "This sort of Trump style where you're trying to draw attention to yourself without assessing the facts of the situation shows exactly why you are wholly unprepared to be mayor of the City of Chicago."

Lightfoot: "You are Joe Berrios's surrogate."

Martwick: "Old news."

Lightfoot: "You filed this bill to profit yourself. Who benefits from a system that's not changed?"

Martwick is a tax appeal lawyer.

Martwick: "Oh, that's ridiculous. This is beneath you."

Lightfoot: "People like you are part of the broken political machine. Why would you not give Fritz Keigi an opportunity to . . . "

Martwick: "I did. I called him."

Lightfoot: "After you dropped the bill!"

What Martwick did there was turn a Lightfoot campaign gambit into a very nice moment for her eight days before Election Day, splashing his own mud against the putative frontrunner Preckwinkle along the way.

Preckwinkle's team felt moved to perform some damage control - and managed to get former antagonist Kaegi to issue a joint statement with her opposing Martwick's bill:

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Cameron also said in his report that "the optics of the white politician arguing with the diminutive black woman was also a factor."

I don't know about that, but here's what it looked like, via the Tribune:

At least in that still shot, I'd say Lightfoot is getting the best of Martwick.

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The Tribune has more on the exchange:

Martwick, himself a tax appeal lawyer, said he introduced the bill simply as a way to "start a conversation" about the way assessments are conducted in Cook County. Martwick noted many Illinois counties appoint their assessors. "Shouldn't we be having discussions about the best way to move forward and reform those systems?" he said.

"Why are we not having that discussion?" Martwick said.

"Because you're not credible," Lightfoot said, standing a couple feet from Martwick as reporters crowded around them.

"Neither are you, Lori. Neither are you," he responded. "If you intend to govern the City of Chicago like this, this is exactly why you're not prepared to be mayor of the City of Chicago."

"This is Rob Martwick, Exhibit A of the broken and corrupt political system," Lightfoot said.

"Oh thank you. That's very nice," Martwick said.

"Thank you for showing up," Lightfoot said.

I'm not even sure the assessor's office should be an elected position, but Lightfoot clearly won the morning and managed to show both fire and cool under pressure at the same time. I don't know if she should be mayor, but she's still under consideration in these quarters. And remember, she is one of the original candidates who began running when Rahm Emanuel was still in the race.

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More Martwick:

"When finally Lightfoot left the room, Martwick insisted that he filed the bill only as a conversation starter. He insisted that he had no intention of moving the legislation," the Sun-Times reports.

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The Sun-Times has video at the link; I tried to embed it, but when I did I kept getting "Video not found."

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Judging by conversations I've been having and social media posts I've been reading, some folks inclined to vote for Lightfoot are worried that by doing so, Toni Preckwinkle will fall out of the top two and we'll be looking at a Daley-Chico or Daley-Wilson runoff. Lightfoot needs to convince her voters she can make it to the next round. Otherwise, progressive-minded people might "come home" to Preckwinkle to keep a worse option out of City Hall.

On the other hand, the Sun-Times notes that the Cook County Democratic Party will honor Berrios at its annual fundraiser Thursday night. Maybe that's enough to "come home" to Lightfoot instead.

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Some folks I know who don't like Lightfoot cite her work as head of the police board as a reason to oppose her - they think she acted slowly against cops such as Dante Servin and stifled their demands. My understanding, though, is that activists were demanding Lightfoot essentially act extrajudicially by ignoring the process and rule by fiat. Those same activists called the police reform task force Lightfoot led "illegitimate," and I might have agreed when it was first formed by Rahm Emanuel, but the results Lightfoot turned in were pretty spectacular. Lightfoot has often described what it was like to hear what citizens had to say about their interactions with the police in a way that demonstrates her acute understanding of the problems this city faces, and her work led directly to the consent decree that will now guide police reform here.

Of course, the bigger challenge for Lightfoot has been for her to show that she can jump from police accountability maven to mayor of the nation's third-largest city, with the broad array of issues and myriad of challenges that go along with it beyond police reform, even if that is one of the top issues of the moment.

I'm not sure she's met that challenge, but maybe her slow, steady style is what we need at the moment.

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Elsewhere on the campaign trail . . .

Bill's getting the old band back together.

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Follow the thread.

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Hey, that's Bill Daley's line!

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Chicagoetry | Courtyard Still Life: Cardinal And Cricket
Apartment acoustics prevail.

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TrackNotes: Prep Walk
"You can't jump on a bandwagon that doesn't leave the station for another 76 days," our very man on the rail Tom Chambers writes.

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SportsMonday: Surging Hawks' Huge Hole
"The primary problem is that this team simply doesn't have a No. 1 defenseman. A guy becomes a No. 2 defenseman by effectively doing whatever the No. 1 guy needs him to do in a team's top pairing and the Blackhawks don't have that guy either," our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman writes.

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ChicagoReddit

Any Nicas in Chicago? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Slowdive at the Pitchfork Midwinter Festival

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BeachBook
A sampling.

How Simple Math Cost The Rams A Chance To Win The Super Bowl.

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Romance Scams Rank Number One On Total Reported Losses.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Sharp, short, shocked.



Permalink

Posted on February 18, 2019


MUSIC - DeRo, Hero.
TV - John Oliver Robocalls The FCC.
POLITICS - Fact-Checking Kessler.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - The Bias Hiding In Your Library.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - County To Historic Wash Park Bank: Drop Dead.


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