Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Fioretti, Garcia want ‘more cops’ to create votes come Election Day

We’re back from the winter holidays, and mayoral hopeful Robert Fioretti hoped to kick off the ‘new year’ portion of his campaign by making a plea for more police officers.

It’s a simple issue that can be used to appeal to voters – having more cops translates to more public safety. It’s really not that simple an issue, but political campaigns aren’t the entities that ever want to get into the specifics of any such issue.

SO MORE COPS, it is! Fioretti said Monday he’d want to bolster the number of police officers by 500, while also finding replacements for another 500 existing officers who either plan to retire or quit for their own reasons.

A mayor more interested in cost-cutting might use those positions as an excuse to save money by not hiring replacements. But not Fioretti!

Although Fioretti made claims Monday that Mayor Rahm Emanuel could have found other ways to save money – such as dropping official support for that DePaul University basketball arena to be built near McCormick Place or for expansion of a walkway along the Chicago River in the downtown area.

Which means Fioretti can take pot shots at Emanuel while also claiming to be for our public safety. Let’s just hope the public isn’t too demanding of details, because that is where campaign rhetoric always falls apart.

DOES ANYBODY BELIEVE we’d be coming up on “Gov. Bruce Rauner” beginning next week if he had been forced to discuss in detail all of his campaign proposals?

If it seems like I’m not too enthused about Fioretti’s talk, you’d sort of be right. I’d want to know more about where these officers would be stationed in the city. Because if it’s just more officers for the police district near Wrigley Field while ignoring the serious needs for officers in other parts of Chicago, we might as well not bother.

Even though I’m sure Lake View neighborhood residents would be thrilled if the police could crack down on all those drunken Cubs fans who think front lawns or alleys are perfect places to urinate publicly!

Besides, it’s not like Fioretti is the only candidate who wants to get Election Day votes by promising more police officers – Jesus “Chuy” Garcia came out last year with a pledge to hire 1,000 more police officers.

HIS RHETORIC WAS equally vague – saying he’d find financial “inefficiencies” in municipal government operations, and also would reduce the amount of overtime paid to police officers.

As though what we need in Chicago are officers who punch the time clock and go home after an eight-hour shift – regardless of what is actually happening.

All this talk of hiring more police officers sounds nice, but it doesn’t come across as a solid pledge we ought to take literally.

Although Fioretti was not the only one trying to start out 2015 with a campaign boost – Willie Wilson received a $1 million contribution to his mayoral campaign.


Wilson is the African-American man who turned ownership in McDonald’s franchises across the South Side into a fortune that he now uses to donate to charitable organizations.

Apparently, Wilson now regards himself as a charity case – although his campaign has the Emanuel operatives concerned that he could invest so much of his own money into a campaign operation that he could become credible.

Just as Rauner did in last year’s gubernatorial election cycle!
I DON’T KNOW if he’ll get that far. But his rhetoric about how Emanuel as mayor has been harmful to African-American residents of Chicago will resonate with some voters.

To the point where another mayoral hopeful, Robert Shaw, has gone so far as to publicly endorse Wilson.

Can Wilson become another Emanuel challenger (along with Fioretti and Garcia) who can take just enough votes to ensure Emanuel can’t win a majority come Feb. 24? Will he be the reason city voters will have to join their suburban brethren in voting for municipal office on April 7?

We’ll have to wait to see if the millions already raised by Emanuel’s campaign can be sufficient to squash the political desires of all three of these men – and give us “four more years” of Rahm!


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