A pair of politicians who could help round out the field in next year’s mayoral election touted new policy proposals downtown Sunday.
Troy LaRaviere, a declared candidate for mayor, made bold promises that his administration would “diminish and conquer our prejudices and racial biases” and “end segregation” if voters send him to City Hall. He also said it would disengage from the so-called war on drugs, which he said is really a “war on poor working black people and people of color.”
LaRaviere’s proposals came roughly an hour after state Rep. LaShawn Ford touted a bill that would require metal detectors in public schools in an attempt to guard against mass shootings. Ford is considering a run for mayor.
The men held their afternoon press conferences downtown as a deadline loomed to file quarterly fundraising reports this week.
LaRaviere gave a speech that lasted about a half-hour at the Civic Opera Building, insisting that most of Chicago’s problems could be attributed to political corruption and racism. He laid out several proposals for attacking those problems, insisting he would build an “anti-bias culture” in every department, fight gentrification and measure police by community relationships rather than arrests.
He also decried the war on drugs and said, “as mayor, I will be pulling us out of that war.” When later asked to elaborate, LaRaviere said the city has to take a “careful, thoughtful look” at crimes to consider how they are enforced and whether people should get treatment rather than jail time for committing them.
“Marijuana possession, I don’t even know if there’s a need for treatment,” LaRaviere said. “Let’s just leave them alone. Let them do what they’re going to do.”
Ford held his press conference at the Thompson Center, where he promoted a bill filed last week that would create the “Safe Spaces in Public Places Act.” The bill would require school boards to place walk-through metal detectors at all public entrances to all schools as soon as next school year.
The law is a product of the bipartisan Legislative Public Safety Group task force, Ford said, and would also require metal detectors at colleges, courthouses and hospitals. Ford said a federal grant program could help pay for the metal detectors.
“I think what we have to do is have safety top of our mind, making sure that the public knows that we are trying to protect them,” Ford said.