CHICAGO (CBS) — Some aldermen are still feeling the sting of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s confrontational rebuke of City Council corruption at her inaugural address.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley looks at whether those bruised feelings could have lasting consequences.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot reported for duty on her first full day in office. But some aldermen are still burning over the most dramatic moment of her inauguration speech: condemning aldermanic privilege. Lightfoot turned and looked directly at the 50 aldermen on stage.
“Turning and giving us all the evil eye, mean mugging us to try to make it feel like she’s trying to intimidate us, was completely uncalled for,” said 15th ward Ald. Ray Lopez. “She painted us all in a very broad stroke, basically calling every member of the City Council part of a corrupt operation.”
But Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) who chairs City Council’s Black Caucus said he wasn’t offended.
“I don’t think it was toward me because I don’t do the things she was alleging that some of us do,” Sawyer said.
Lightfoot stripped two senior black aldermen of important committee chairmanships: Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) who lost the budget committee and Anthony Beale (9th) who lost transportation. Still, Sawyer called the new mayor even handed.
“Out of the 18 committees or so, I believe nine of them are chaired by African Americans, which was something I was most concerned about,” Sawyer said.
Lightfoot’s first hurdle is getting the 26 votes she needs to install her chosen council leaders. Feeling antagonized, Lopez is not likely to vote with her.
“I’m hopeful that she realizes the error of that kind of rhetoric,” Lopez said.
Sawyer is likely to support the new mayor, with this advice:
“We are not her enemy. We want to work with the mayor’s office. We want to get things done for the city,” Sawyer said.
Austin was offered another committee chairmanship by Lightfoot, the Contracting, Oversight and Equity Committee.
That council re-organization vote comes a week from Wednesday at the council’s first meeting under Mayor Lightfoot. Several aldermen CBS 2 spoke to, including Ald. Sawyer, thinks she will have the votes she needs.
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