Mayoral candidates spar in first debate since midterm election

SHARE Mayoral candidates spar in first debate since midterm election
mayoralforum_111018_30_e1541896209937.jpg

From left to right, Mayoral candidates, Ja’Mal Green, William ' Dock’ Walls, Paul Vallas, Amara Enyia, LaShawn Ford, Roger Washington and John Kozlar, speak to community members and the media at a mayoral candidate forum at Greater St. John Bible Church, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Chicago. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Seven candidates in the crowded race for Chicago mayor made their case for being elected to the city’s top political office at a Saturday forum in the Austin neighborhood, the first since the midterm election.

During the debate before a crowd of about 50 at Greater St. John Bible Church, themayoral hopefuls discussed their plans to address the city’s violence and policing problems, education andhow to stem the exodus of black people from the city .

Saturday’s contenders made up just over a third of the field — at least 17 are running to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel — with participants including community organizer Amara Enyia, former CPS CEO Paul Vallas, activist Ja’mal Green, state Rep. LaShawn Ford, Chicago Police Officer Roger Washington, attorney John Kozlar and perennial candidate William “Dock” Walls.

Nearly all seven said investing resources back into communities would help address the city’s full plate of problems, but from there, they split off.

Enyia spoke of creating a public bank for the city to help people get loans for homes, while Green urged a level playing field for all schools “because education must be a right” which could help slow the tide of people leaving the city.

Ford talked about reinvesting in trade schools “to train people to fill the jobs that are available,”while Vallas talked about establishing work study programs at CPS high schools to help teens get enough credits to go on to college.

MORE:

Rahm’s out — Latest list of Chicago mayoral candidates who are in, considering

Re-elected Mendoza to do quick pivot to ‘main event’

Chico ad takes a bow for CPS tenure — but doesn’t say he worked alongside Vallas

Washington urged a mandatory, four-year residency requirement for police officers to make sure officers have a good understanding of the city — Kozlar argued to change a city ordinance making it so that in order to police in a district, at least 60 percent of officers have to live in the district. Walls said if elected he’d put police officers on a rotating schedule of partners to make sure that they’re exposed to different philosophies and more officers on their beat.

When pressed by the moderator, ABC-7’s Evelyn Holmes, on how they’d pay for their loftier campaign promises, the candidates didn’t go far on specifics.

The “very vague” answers were troubling to South Shore resident and audience member Sharon Lewis, a candidate herself running for 7th Ward alderman.

“With the exception of Walls or Vallas, I felt like I was hearing a lot of supposition instead of how they’d roll out something that’s actionable,” Lewis said. “I’m scared for the city in terms of how things will roll out after Mayor Rahm Emanuel leaves office. For good or bad, he got a lot done — who will get a lot done now?”

Candidates have until Nov. 26 to gather at least 12,500 signatures to appear on the Feb. 26, 2019, ballot.

The Latest
A petition organized the Coalition For A Better Chinese American Community and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) will ask the city next week to revoke licenses for No. 18 Karaoke Bar.
Griner is 135 days into her detainment in Russia and one day into her trial on drug charges, which are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
“It’s just standing on it, trusting it and throwing with what I have that day,” Kopech said.
In fatal attacks this weekend, a woman was killed and a gunman was among two others wounded in a shootout Friday night in Chinatown, Chicago police said.
An autopsy released Saturday ruled the death an accident.