Susana Mendoza lit into rival mayoral hopeful Bill Daley on Monday for the city’s leasing of parking meters, accusing him of lying about his role in the unpopular privatization deal.
“It was good business for your family, but it was terrible business for Chicagoans,” Mendoza said, criticizing Daley for writing an op-ed defending the deal a year ago. “That’s about as big of a lie as you telling Chicagoans right now that you were not a key advisor to your brother during his key caretaker years as mayor. Of course you were.”
Daley fired back: “I obviously helped my brother get elected, I was his political advisor. … I had my own life, I went off and did a lot of things that had nothing to do with my brother and this administration.”
Daley took his own dig at Mendoza, criticizing the state comptroller for double-dipping, hold a city job in former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration while serving in the Legislature.
“So [for] Susana to say this, who worked for Rich while she was also a state rep … I never heard her complain,” Bill Daley said.
The fireworks came during a debate featuring five of the mayoral candidates on WTTW-TV.
Coming just over a week before voters get the first crack at picking a replacement for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the forum also included Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, businessman Willie Wilson and former CPS CEO Paul Vallas.
The candidates fielded questions on public safety, transportation, infrastructure and education in the second of three mayoral forums hosted by Chicago Tonight.
After Wilson answered no on all questions relating to implementing taxes, moderator Phil Ponce asked if the businessman, who supported President Donald Trump and Gov. Bruce Rauner, was a Republican.
Preckwinkle chimed in “yes.”
“Let me tell you this here, if Republicans are for lowering taxes on the citizens, I’m Republican, if Democrats are for lowering prices on the citizens I’m a Democrat,” Wilson said. “Republicans have good ideas, Democrats have good ideas, all must be included.”
But the most spirited exchanges were between Mendoza and Daley.
Daley has denied accusations from Mendoza and Vallas that he made money off the parking meter deal. Vallas held a news conference last week, arguing Daley was heavily involved in the 2008 deal as midwest chairman of JP Morgan Chase.
Despite writing an op-ed piece last year arguing that the parking meter deal made good business sense, Daley said he didn’t advise his brother to go for the deal.
Mendoza also took a dig at Daley for questions surrounding a state exam to sell insurance that the former Commerce secretary took nearly half a century ago. Daley flunked on his first try, and passed in 1973, facing accusations that friends of his father pulled strings.
Bill Daley denied any allegations of cheating.
“He said he didn’t cheat on his test, he let someone else cheat for his test,” Mendoza said. “This is how it works when you have the privilege and the name of a Daley, you don’t have to do things yourself, other people can do them for you.”
Ponce asked a series of rapid-fire yes-no questions.
A casino would have the support of all the candidates, though Vallas is the only one who said he wouldn’t use the revenue for the city’s pension obligations, choosing instead to use the money for community infrastructure projects and using revenue from legalizing pot for mental health centers.
A corporate head tax? All were a no. Daley says a commuter tax isn’t off the table if he’s elected.
All agreed on banning outside employment and giving the city’s inspector general subpoena powers but Preckwinkle differed from the group, saying she didn’t agree with term limits for the city’s top political office or others. She said the real issue, in indicted 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke’s case and others, was dual employment.
“I think the first thing to know is I served with Ald. Ed Burke for almost 20 years, he was neither a friend nor an ally,” Preckwinkle said. “We were on divided votes, we were on opposite sides, I think the critical issue about Ed Burke is the dual employment issue. It’s critically important that people understand our elected officials are serving them, their constituents and not their clients, so I’ve taken a strong position against dual employment.”
When asked if their voices could have appeared on recordings with Ald. Danny Solis, all answered no, though Mendoza said if she was recorded, “it would be nothing that I would need to worry about.”
The state comptroller also had to defend why she got married at Burke’s home in a small civil service officiated by Anne Burke, who she called a “role model of mine for many, many, many years.”