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Community activists give Lightfoot a D for her first 100 days

In specific areas of concern, the mayor’s grades were three D’s and two F’s; she also received three ‘incomplete’ marks.

Emma Tai (left) and Michelle Garcia, from Access Living, stand with other community activists at City Hall to issue their report card for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s first 100 days in office.
Emma Tai (left) and Michelle Garcia, from Access Living, stand with other community activists as they issue their report card for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s first 100 days in office.
Rachel Hinton/Sun-Times

A group of community activists gave Mayor Lori Lightfoot a dismal D grade for her overall performance during her first 100 days in office, saying she’s failed to enact key parts of the progressive agenda she campaigned on.

“We urge the mayor to turn this around while there is still time and work transparently with members of Bring Chicago Home to address this crisis,” Leeanna Majors, a leading member of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, said at a City Hall press conference Monday.

“Our homeless situation is not getting better without action. We need the mayor to be the change and keep her promises for the 86,000 homeless people dependent on her to bring the services to better the quality of their lives.”

At the news conference, the activists issued their overall grade, as well as specific grades in several areas.

Majors and others who want more money for homelessness and affordable housing programs gave Lightfoot a D in that area. Lightfoot campaigned on a promise to increase the real estate transfer tax on million-dollar properties to fund those measures; City Hall sources say Lightfoot will instead use that revenue to address a looming budget deficit.

The rest of the report card:

• An F for not passing the Civilian Police Accountability Council Ordinance.

• Another F for not fully supporting an elected school board.

• Another D for not yet closing loopholes in the Welcoming City Ordinance that allow for police collaboration with ICE as well as an ordinance or executive order to protect Chicagoans from “Trump’s racist raids.”

• And another D for not ending the use of money bond, which would reduce pre-trial incarceration.

• Three incompletes: one for not passing the community benefits agreement housing ordinance to stop gentrification and displacement caused by the Obama Presidential Center; another for not reopening the city’s shuttered mental health clinics; and the third for not yet establishing an Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

“We need a police accountability council that is ran by people — we should say who polices in our neighborhoods,” said Shasta Jones, a member of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. “Too many lives have been lost in Chicago … we need Lori Lightfoot to stand up and say .. what can I do?”

Erica Clark, from Parents 4 Teachers, cited Lightfoot working with state Senate President John Cullerton to “kill a bill” that would have paved the way for elected school boards in the city. The move reminded her of something former Mayor Rahm Emanuel would have done.

“When it comes to bringing democracy and transparency to our school district, we’re giving Mayor Lightfoot a big, fat ‘F’ and we’re urging her to stick to the promises she made during the campaign to support an elected school board and to work the grassroots groups who ave been working on this issue for the last decade,” Clark said.

“She has not made one phone call to us. She used her power play behind the scenes, just like Rahm Emanuel did, and that is not OK.”

In May, Lightfoot asked Cullerton to hold the bill, which would create an elected school board, so she could have her more time to review it, Cullerton’s office said then.

Parents and incoming Chicago aldermen urged its passage at a Chicago rally but the bill, which passed the state House in April, did not pass the Senate.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a news conference.
At a Monday news conference during which she addressed ongoing contract talks with the Chicago Teachers Union, Mayor Lori Lightfoot also discussed the poor grades issued to her by a group of community activists.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

The elected school board is one piece of Lightfoot’s school troubles. Early Monday, the Chicago Teachers Union rejected Lightfoot’s contract offer, inching the new mayor closer to a potential strike.

Emma Tai, the executive director of United Working Families, said she’s often asked where the money will come from to address concerns brought up by activists.

“If there is money for Lincoln Yards, then there’s money for the Office of Gun Violence Prevention,” Tai said.

“If there’s $2 billion to promise to the world’s richest man — Jeff Bezos and Amazon — then there is money for fully funded schools. There’s money for an Office of Gun Violence Prevention, there’s money to reopen public mental health clinics,” she added.

“That’s a fact and we’re holding Mayor Lightfoot to the promises she made as a candidate. We give her a D grade. She hasn’t failed yet but this is a far cry from what the people of Chicago were promised when they voted her in.”

At an unrelated press conference Monday morning, Lightfoot called the 100-days-in-office measuring stick a “Hallmark holiday created by the media, not us,” she said. Days before Lightfoot took office she released a list of things she wanted to accomplish in her first 100 days.

”My record speaks for itself,” Lightfoot said. “And particularly someone who challenges me on immigration, you gotta take what they say with a big, big grain of salt. I’m proud of our accomplishments. It has only been 100 days,” Lightfoot added.

”Of course in 100 days’ time we haven’t been able to get everything done. No person could do that in this short of a time,” Lightfoot said. “We are making good on the commitments that we made over the course of the campaign and the transition — more to say about that later this week. But challenging me on things like immigration, I can’t even dignify that.”