Business-backed political funds challenge progressives to expand power at city hall | Chicago News


Members of the Chicago City Council will meet on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.  (WTTW News)Members of the Chicago City Council will meet on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (WTTW News)

Political funds, backed by some of Chicago’s wealthiest business leaders, are opposing progressive political organizations’ efforts to rebuild the Chicago City Council after a wave of retirements and resignations.

The Get Stuff Done PAC — an independent spending committee chaired by Michael Ruemmler, an adviser to former mayor Rahm Emanuel — has raised $1.74 million since early December. Frequent donor and advisor to Emmanuel.

According to records filed with the Illinois Board of Elections, the fund was established “to select practical candidates for the Chicago City Council.” A spokeswoman for Sacks declined to comment for him on WTTW News.

Fund spokesperson Ron Holmes said, “We aim to elect practical, supportive people to city council and prevent those who are outside the mainstream.

Separately, Sachs contributed approximately $86,000 directly to 12 city council candidates, according to records filed with the Illinois Election Commission. His wife, Cari Sacks, also donated $67,000 directly to nine of her candidates, according to state records.

Sax’s donations to the Get Stuff Done PAC accounted for more than half of the fund’s total, while three members of the royal family, Henry, James and Keating, contributed a total of $225,000 to the fund. District Council PAC donated his $200,000 to the fund, according to records filed with the Illinois Election Commission. LIUNA backed her Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s re-election bid.

The Get Stuff Done PAC is for members of the Chicago chapter of the American Democratic Socialists known as the DSA, which changed the balance of political power in Chicago by electing six members to the Chicago City Council in 2019. rice field. The group has nearly doubled its numbers this year and hopes to hand over more power to progressives than ever since the days of former Mayor Harold in his Washington.

Democratic Socialist members of the City Council have consistently campaigned to cut the Chicago Police Department’s budget to strengthen the city’s social safety net, increase oversight of distressed police stations, and combat gentrification. I have supported it. So for the most part they were put on a collision course with Lori his Mayor Lightfoot. The mayor frequently criticized them, sometimes clashing on very personal terms.

Nearly 20% of the more than $580,000 the group spent by Saturday went against Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez has made his second bid to represent his 25 boroughs on the West Side, including Pilsen, one of the city’s hottest property markets.

Sigcho Lopez belongs to the Democratic Socialist Caucus, which consists of five members of the City Council, and was endorsed by the Chicago DSA.

Sigcho Lopez, one of Lightfoot’s most active critics, opposed efforts to build a casino in his hospital ward on the Chicago River. her re-election campaign.

In addition, the group spent about $22,000 to support the campaign of Aida Flores, the principal of Chicago Public Schools, who is trying to overthrow Sigcho Lopez on February 28.

A further 15% of the group’s spending through Saturday went to ads and mailers designed to beat community organizer Nick Ward, who said he was waiting for a table while performing at the artworks around Chicago at the 48th Annual Ward Race. Paid. One of the first challengers to be endorsed by the Chicago DSA in this year’s election, Ward is one of his ten candidates vying to replace the retiring Aldo. Harry Osterman.

The race to represent Edgewater may not be resolved until the top two voted runoff on April 4, but Sigucho Lopez is the only player the Chicago DSA has approved to face a single opponent. and ensure the race is resolved in the first round. of voting. A loss to Sigucho Lopez could put all the candidates backed by the Chicago DSA on the defensive during the runoff.

Lincoln Square Aldo is the sixth City Council member who also belongs to the Chicago DSA. Andre Vasquez (40th district) — But Vasquez does not seek the support of the group and is not a member of the socialist caucus of the city council.

Additionally, the Get Stuff Done PAC spent over $200,000 on digital advertising and mailers for 14 candidates, including the three Lightfoot-appointed to City Council: Ald. Nicole Lee (Ward 11), Aldo. Monique Scott (24th Ward) and Aldo. Anabel Abarca (12th district).

Lightfoot endorsed Scott, Lee, and Abarka, but no one in the mayoral race.

Overall, the Chicago DSA endorsed 10 city council members in the February 28 election. The group withdrew its support for his Mueze Bawany running to remove Ald. According to an email sent to members of the Chicago DSA, Bhawani “withdrew his support” from the Chicago Police Department’s efforts to cut his $1.94 billion budget and “distanced himself from the socialist label.” After that, Debra Silverstein of the 50th Ward. February 14.

Bawany also chicago tribune reported that he sent out a series of tweets in 2019. This included profane criticism of Israel, the National Democratic Party leader, and white people.

In addition to the more than $580,000 spent by the Get Stuff Done PAC, a political fund run by Illinois realtors advocates “private property rights.” According to its websitespent more than $280,000 to support 14 city council candidates.

The fund backs many of the same candidates that the Get Stuff Done PAC backs, including Abarka, Lee and Scott. However, the Realtors Association of America (Realtors PAC) also endorses her Ald. Timmy Knudsen (Ward 43); Andre Peloquin running in Ward 48; Kim Waltz, who will be running in the 46th district, and Ebony Lucas, who will be running in the 4th district.

Realtors spent nearly $30,000 in six City Council contests to boost Knudsen, Lee, Scott, Lucas, Abarka and Waltz. Knudsen was appointed city councilor by Lightfoot, but she did not endorse her, and Peloquin is a real estate agent and a member of the Illinois Realtors.

Progressive Groups Divide Focus in Mayor, City Council Elections

Some of Chicago’s most prominent business leaders, including Sachs, focus away from the mayoral contest as the group works to increase the size of the city’s socialist and progressive caucuses They are wasted in those races, thanks to the decision to About city council elections.

Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Ballas has raised more than $2 million to boost his mayoral run, according to records filed with the Illinois Board of Elections.

At the same time, Chicago’s most powerful progressive labor organization, the Chicago Teachers Union, used most of its political funds to back union organizer, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson’s mayoral campaign. bottom.

According to state records, CTU gave Johnson about $1 million, plus $1 million from the American Teachers Federation and $440,000 from the Illinois Teachers Federation.

By comparison, CTU gave a total of $65,000 to 13 city council candidates, including $10,000 each for Sigcho Lopez and Bawanee.

United Working Families, a political organization closely affiliated with the Chicago Teachers Union, endorsed 17 city council candidates and donated $41,000 to the campaign. More than half of that was donated to Oscar his Sanchez, who is running to replace Aldo in the 10th Ward. Susan Sadrowski Garza. Sanchez, who is also endorsed by his DSA in Chicago, will face his three other challengers in that race.

According to state records, Johnson is also endorsed by the Illinois Service Employees International Union Health Care and Service Employees International Union Local 73, which gave his campaign a total of about $670,000, according to state records. rice field.

Two affiliates donated more than $650,000 to 33 city council candidates, according to state records. Desmond Yancey is a police accountability activist who helped create a new Police Oversight Commission operating to replace the retiring Fifth Ward Aldo. Leslie Hairston said she received $80,000 from two unions, while Ald. Daniel La Spata (Ward 1) and her Ald. Janet Taylor (20th Ward), according to state records, They were getting $50,000 each from SEIU affiliates.

The SEIU union also donated $50,000 to Ronnie Mosley, who is running to replace Aldo in District 21. Howard Bulkins and Lamont Robinson, who is running to replace 4th Ward Aldo. Sophia King running for mayor.

By the end of December, the Chicago DSA had donated about $5,600 to nine of the 11 candidates it originally endorsed, including Bawanee, according to state records. The group does not endorse the mayoral candidate.

Fighting over the direction of the progressive community

CHICAGO DSA, United Working Families, progressive union-backed candidates protest against business community efforts to block gains in power in city hall, but Chicago’s progressive political community is fragmented.

Chicago’s progressive group kicked off in early 2022, banding together in support of one candidate and laying the groundwork to defeat Lightfoot. Even after the CTU and the United Working Families endorsed Johnson, the effort fell through when his US Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García jumped into the mayoral race.

Garcia’s candidacy sparked fierce strife among progressives in Chicago, and could have thwarted efforts to increase the number of democratic socialists on the city council.

All five members of the city council’s Democratic Socialist Caucus support Mayor Johnson. Johnson was also endorsed by United’s Working Families.

Garcia, who has represented Pilsen and Little Village in Congress since 2019, has refused to endorse any of the ten candidates backed by the Chicago DSA. , favored Flores over Sammy Martinez, who is trying to usurp Aldo in the 33rd Ward. Rosana Rodriguez Sanchez.

In September 2020, Rodriguez Sanchez cut $1.94 billion in the Chicago Police Department’s budget to reopen mental health clinics closed by Emanuel, deploy emergency medical technicians, and run ambulances throughout the city. introduced what became known as “Treatment, Not Trauma”, a proposal to establish a program of Mental health professionals seek help for those in crisis.

Vazquez is the only democratic socialist to support Garcia on the city council.Vazquez slams Garcia’s decision to favor Martinez over Rodriguez Sanchez in a twitter thread Note that on Saturday, Martinez was supported by the Fraternity Order of Police Lodge 7, a union that represents general members of the Chicago Police Department and is led by a president who supports former President Donald Trump.

The police union backs Valas for mayor.

In the tenth ward race, Garcia and Sadrowski Garza favor Ana Guajardo over Sanchez in a race representing Chicago’s Southeast Side. Guajardo is co-founder of an organization that advocates for migrant workers.

At the 30th Annual Ward Race, Garcia is endorsing Jessica W. Gutierrez, daughter of former US Congressman Luis Gutierrez. Garcia replaced Luis Gutierrez in Congress in his 2019 and the two have been allies for decades. The Chicago DSA supported Warren Williams, founder of 30th United, an independent political organization, and represented Belmont Cragin.

In the 46th Ward election campaign, Garcia supports Marianne Lalonde, the scientist who nearly ousted Aldo. James Cappleman in 2019. With Cappleman retired, the Chicago DSA supported his activist girlfriend Angela Clay in a race representing his Uptown.

To contact Heather Chellone: @HeatherCherone | | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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