Chicago 2021 budget vote: mayor players and naysayers

In an interview by Ben Joravsky with Dave Glowacz on the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky Show, Ben and Dave listened to audio from November 2020's approval by the Chicago City Council of Mayor Lori Lightfoot's 2021 budget ordinances.

In the standard version of the episode, Dave played an audio collage of aldermen voicing their support for and objections to the mayor's budget proposals.

In the premium version, Dave and Ben spoke of seemingly incongruous budget votes by Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16).

Ben said that Coleman is "not the first person to do this . . . vote against increasing the taxes, and then turn around and vote to spend the taxes that she voted not to increase."

Ben noted that, in speaking of her "no" vote on a property tax increase, Coleman showed deference to Mayor Lori Lightfoot—which was amplified by Ald. Walter Burnett (27).

"I think, every year, he gives similar speeches," Ben said. "He's what you would call a mayoral loyalist."

Next in the premium version, Dave played Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33) describing her planned "no" budget vote. In the clip, the alderman said, "In one of the worst recessions ever, this budget does nothing to provide economic support. In fact, it will make our communities' economic conditions worse."

"I don't know how to argue with anything she says," Ben said. "This is a traditional budget . . . it's crafted not to offend the wealthiest people in the city."

Also in the premium version, Dave played a clip of Ald. Maria Hadden (49)—who voted "yes" on the budget ordinances while decrying the budget process.

Ben compared the remarks of Rodriguez-Sanchez and Hadden: "Other than the yes and the no vote, there was really no difference in the substance of their criticism."

Next in the premium version, Dave played a clip of Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35) identifying alternative sources of revenue not tapped in the 2021 budget.

Every progressive revenue option "always runs into naysayers from the mayor's office," Ben said. "Lori Lightfoot's naysayers are no different from" those of her predecessors.

Also in the premium version, Ald. Andre Vasquez (40) was heard explaining his "yes" budget vote, speaking of concessions made by the Lightfoot administration to bring the "not adequately equipped" aldermen into future budget planning.

Ben, skeptical about Vasquez's success, said that "it's not in the mayor's interest to share information with aldermen."

Next in the premium version, Dave observed that some "mainstream" alderman—notably the council committee chairs selected by Mayor Lightfoot—didn't feel obligated to vote for the mayor's budget.

If you're one of these aldermen thinking of reelection, Ben opined, "you realize that you're safer in your seat as alderman than Lori Lightfoot is in her position as mayor—and she can't punish you."

And in the premium version, after an audio clip with Ald. Anthony Beale (9) calling the 2021 budget's revenue sources "not sustainable," Ben pointed out that Beale voted for equally challenged budgets under past mayors. "He didn't say 'boo' back then," said Ben.

Finally, in the premium version, Ben and Dave puzzled over the characterization of dissenting colleagues by Ald. James Cappleman (46).

The premium episode contains material not heard on the Ben Joravsky Show.

Length 7.5 minutes standard, 60.8 minutes premium.

Music: "AUDIO-2020-05-17-11-56-52" by  u_xz3mdlhg

Standard audio:

Premium audio:

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