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Lightfoot ally quote of the day. And I thought I was upset!

I'd hate to hear what her enemies think of her!


“I have never met anybody who has managed to piss off every single person they come in contact with — police, fire, teachers, aldermen, businesses, manufacturing, and that’s it. I said it. That’s it. I don’t care.”


Onetime Lightfoot ally says she will ‘absolutely not’ support mayor’s re-election campaign: ‘I’m tired of being ignored’

By GREGORY PRATT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE |

FEB 28, 2022 AT 11:50 AM



One of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s top City Council allies said she will “absolutely not” support her campaign for re-election and criticized the mayor for being divisive, comments that reflect broader discontent with Lightfoot’s leadership style as she prepares to seek a second term.


Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza, who Lightfoot tapped to lead the City Council Workforce Development Committee that often handles union contract issues, made the comments in an interview on the Ben Joravsky Show podcast after being asked if she would support the a second term for the mayor.


“I’m tired of being ignored. I’m tired of not getting phone calls returned. I’m tired of letting the inmates run the asylum. Yeah, no. Absolutely not,” Garza said in the podcast, published over the weekend. “I have never met anybody who has managed to piss off every single person they come in contact with — police, fire, teachers, aldermen, businesses, manufacturing, and that’s it. I said it. That’s it. I don’t care.”


The comments offer a window into the behind-the-scenes complaints aldermen share about Lightfoot, including people who were once friendly with the mayor.


Garza was a key ally early in the Lightfoot administration, helping the mayor pass labor legislation like the “fair workweek” ordinance requiring large Chicago employers to give workers at least two weeks’ advance notice of their schedules and compensate them for last-minute changes.


Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza, 10th, has been supportive of the mayor on initiatives like the fair workweek ordinance, on which she speaks on the City Council floor in 2019.

Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza, 10th, has been supportive of the mayor on initiatives like the fair workweek ordinance, on which she speaks on the City Council floor in 2019. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

At a celebratory news conference after that City Council meeting, Garza gave Lightfoot a bottle of Hienie’s hot sauce, a Southeast Side staple.


The two have exchanged friendly texts, including one where Garza vented about environmentalists in the 10th Ward she represents. Lightfoot responded, “I am riding with you til the end!” according to text messages previously published by the Tribune.


But in recent months, Garza has been critical of the administration with colleagues in comments that echo her public remarks on the Joravsky show, sources said.


Lightfoot has not formally announced her re-election campaign but is widely expected to seek a second term. Her political team has recently started hiring for key positions and she has been raising money, though she has also burned through more campaign cash than she’s collected since shortly after winning office two and a half years ago.


Lightfoot’s tenure as mayor has served as a crash course in crisis management, from the COVID-19 pandemic and destructive civil unrest to a teachers strike and skyrocketing violent crime. Her relationship with aldermen has also been rocky, dating back to her very first day as mayor.


While delivering her inaugural address, Lightfoot invoked Chicago’s history of corruption and turned to face aldermen on the rostrum behind her, which some interpreted as an attack on their integrity.


Asked about Garza’s criticism, Lightfoot’s office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.


Garza could not immediately be reached for comment.


Lightfoot has often dismissed criticism of her temperament and leadership style, saying much of it is driven by racism and sexism and arguing that she was elected to shake up the status quo.


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During the podcast interview, Garza also criticized the Lightfoot administration for blocking a permit sought by a clout-heavy scrap shredder seeking to operate on the Southeast Side. Garza said she received a call from public health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady telling her they’d be denying the permit.


“I asked, ‘On what grounds? You told me you were going to follow the science. I’m not understanding the decision,’” Garza said, recounting the conversation.


Arwady said the firm was “out of compliance,” according to Garza, who criticized the city for denying the permit and the jobs it would bring.


“I literally said, this is a political decision. I am not stupid. I am not stupid and I hope you can sleep at night knowing that you’re putting all these people out of work,” Garza said.


When she announced the permit’s denial, Arwady cited the long history of pollution problems at the General Iron scrap shredder RMG purchased and later closed on the city’s North Side, and at related operations on the company’s Southeast Side property.


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Garza’s criticism of Lightfoot’s communication mirrors an ongoing concern frequently raised by aldermen, who say she sometimes does not return messages.


In November, for instance, South Side Ald. Gregory Mitchell texted Lightfoot a series of topics he wanted to discuss, including quality of life issues and economic development.


Lightfoot did not text back, according to a copy of the exchange released by her office in response to a public records request.


Early the next evening, Mitchell texted Lightfoot and said he was “in the building” and wondered if she had time to talk before he left.


The morning after, Mitchell texted again.


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“Mayor, when are we going to talk? I have called, sent text and came up to the 5th floor,” Mitchell texted. “I hate to think that the only time I can talk to you is when you are trying to pass a budget.”


She did not text back to that message, according to the documents released by Lightfoot’s office.


Mitchell told the Tribune on Monday that the mayor still had not called him back about these issues.


“To this day, I haven’t talked to her,” Mitchell said. “I’m still frustrated.”


Gregory Pratt

Gregory Pratt

Chicago Tribune

CONTACT

Raised in Little Village, Gregory Pratt covers Mayor Lori Lightfoot and City Hall. Before joining the Tribune in 2013, he worked for the BGA, alt-weeklies in Phoenix and Minneapolis, and Hoy. He has been a finalist for the Livingston and earned other national honors, including from the National Headliner Awards, the Lisagors, and Scripps Howard.

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