Ald. Anthony Beale: looting, Lightfoot, and attempts to "silence our voice"

In an audio interview with veteran Alderman Anthony Beale of Chicago's Ninth Ward, Dave Glowacz explored the Lightfoot administration's relationship with some of the more independent-thinking members of the City Council.

Dave asked Ald. Beale his reaction to the city's efforts to kick off construction under its INVEST South/West (ISW) initiative—which initially did not include the Ninth Ward's Roseland or Pullman areas.

Regardless of which communities get the city's first ISW attention, Beale complained that the administration of Mayor Lori Lightfoot is pursuing its own development agenda.

"We haven't had that substantive discussion on what my community really needs," Beale said. "This is coming from the top down instead of the bottom up."

"There's not a conscious effort to listen, as far as implementing what we want," he said.

In the premium version, Dave played part of a speech by Mayor Lightfoot in which she pledged "to push myself harder to work with people with whom I do not agree and who do not agree with me." Beale said he hasn't observed any such shift on the mayor's part.

"The mayor's office has a lot of meetings and a lot of briefings, just to say, 'Well, we've talked to the aldermen'," Beale said.

"But are you listening to us? Do you hear us?" said Beale of the mayor. "I just don't see that."

Also in the premium version, Dave and the alderman spoke of Beale's effort to launch a privately funded pilot program around community policing and city services in the police department's Fifth District—called the Community Oriented Policing House, or COP House.

Beale said the COP House program has proven elsewhere to reduce the level of shootings and murders in surrounding communities, calling it "an innovative plan—and I've secured the money to fund it."

Dave asked Beale about the mayor's recent statement that she's "not familiar with the specifics of that."

"There is no way the mayor does not know about this program," Beale told Dave—saying that he's pushed it for over a year with the mayor's staff and the police department.

"I cannot get movement on it because . . . why? I have no idea," Beale said.

Next, also in the premium version, Dave talked with Beale about several incidents at a special meeting of the full City Council on Aug. 21, called by Beale and three other aldermen.

Beale and others wanted the council to approve a resolution calling on Gov. JB Pritzker to declare a state of emergency for Chicago, which they hoped would lead to National Guard protection of neighborhoods from persistent violence.

The resolution's co-sponsors questioned how the administration handled past disturbances, and how it plans to deal with ongoing mayhem.

"We got caught flat-footed on two rounds of looting," Beale said. "What's the plan in the future? Why can't we bring the National Guard in to help secure certain areas—like they did downtown?"

At the Aug. 21 meeting, it seemed that the mayor was not going to let aldermen speak before the voting on the resolution—until Beale insisted.

"It was a public display to squash our voice," Beale said.

Thinking about squashed voices, Dave asked Beale what he thought of a remark by Ald. Brian Hopkins (2) that "council meetings are reserved for statements and roll call votes," but not questions.

"Our rules are very clear," Beale said. "We have a right to ask questions."

Beale then spoke of "another approach to silence us:" two ordinances introduced on Aug. 21 that would forbid aldermen's actions at council meetings to solicit co-sponsors of legislation, and to use their phones for calls and recordings.

"That's another avenue to silence our voice," Beale said. "I'm very disturbed."

Length 4.3 minutes standard, 20.8 minutes premium.

Music: "Gypsy Blues" by Ladd's Black Aces

Standard audio:

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