Chicago mayoral candidates campaign in New Year

January 3, 2011 3:37:06 PM PST
It's a new year, and on the first Monday of 2011, the candidates for Chicago mayor hit the ground running in a full sprint for voters.

At her first 2011 news conference, Carol Moseley Braun said the city was "snookered" by the investment company Morgan Stanley, which financed the deal to lease Chicago's parking meters to a private company. Braun said the meters were worth a lot more than the $1.2 billion paid for them, and the University of Chicago-educated lawyer vowed that if elected mayor, she'd work to recover the city's losses.

"There is law, casebook law up the wazoo about what happens when you get ripped off like that," Moseley Braun said.

But candidate Gery Chico called Braun "irresponsible" for suggesting for campaign purposes that a done deal, albeit a bad deal, could be reversed.

"You have to come up with $1.2 billion to give those people their money back. Where's the money? The money's gone," Chico said.

Then Chico blasted Braun, who refused Monday morning to release her income tax returns.

"I think it's about transparency," Chico said. "Give it out. There's nothing to hide there. You pay your taxes, you pay your bills, give it out."

And Chico took a shot a Rahm Emanuel, who spent the holidays with his family in Thailand.

"I don't know what would possess you to go to Asia in the middle of a campaign for mayor of Chicago," Chico said.

Braun's campaign was boosted during the last eight days of December when major opponents State Senator James Meeks and Congressman Danny Davis withdrew from the race. Meeks said the three African Americans appealed to the same base of voters, meaning two of them had to withdraw for one to be successful.

"Congressman Davis had supporters, I had supporters, Senator Carol Moseley Braun had supporters, and we never could have advanced to the second round under that scenario," Meeks said.

Former senator Braun blamed the media for suggesting that she, Meeks and Davis played racial politics.

"The race conversation is coming from you guys more than it is from my campaign or anybody else," Braun said.