Candidates bicker over crime, CPD, schools, housing and more at latest mayoral forum

Eric Horng Image
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Candidates bicker over crime, schools, more at latest mayoral forum
Eight of the 9 candidates for Chicago mayor went head-to-head in a contentious forum Tuesday night. Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia was at the State of the Union.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Eight of the nine candidates for Chicago mayor went head-to-head in a contentious forum Tuesday night.

U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia missed the forum to attend the State of the Union address in Washington D.C.

With Election Day exactly three weeks away, the rhetoric at times got heated, with candidates going after each other by name.

"Everywhere Paul Vallas has been in charge of finances, he's been run out of the city. He mentioned New Orleans. The entire school district has been privatized there," said candidate Brandon Johnson.

There was much pointed back-and-forth, especially on crime and its economic impact.

"Clearly, clearly there's this perception - or maybe it's reality - that downtown is unsafe. And if you talk to everyone, and I've talked to all the business groups there, public safety is the number one issue," said candidate Paul Vallas.

"You gotta stop the crime, alright? Lower taxes, keep people coming to shop," said candidate Willie Wilson.

Mayor Lightfoot was taken to task on the Chicago Police Department's compliance with the federal consent decree.

"That is only five-percent complied with. Five percent. That means we're at 95 percent failure," said candidate Kam Buckner.

"All these folks want to throw bombs from the cheap seats. The fact of the matter is the facts are really clear. We are in compliance. We're improving our compliance every single day. And this nonsense that you're hearing from these folks is really about, completely belied by the facts," Lightfoot responded.

"This is exactly what the people of Chicago don't want, people up here bickering. They want to hear our solutions to the problems," candidate Sophia King said.

The candidates were also asked about closing underutilized schools and expanding affordable housing.

"I support the moratorium until 2025, but let's start talking about this now. We have schools that are under five percent enrolled, zero percent proficient in reading and math. We have to do better," said candidate Roderick Sawyer.

"We move forward a plan to have a public bank in the city of Chicago, and a public bank can invest in public housing," said candidate Ja'Mal Green.