A coalition of community groups is giving Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot the low grade of ‘D’ as she looks toward marking her 100th day in office on Wednesday.
The groups, all members of the political entity called United Working Families (UWF), issued a “report card” Monday evaluating how well the mayor is keeping progressive promises she made on the campaign trail.
“Chicagoans voted for an agent of change,” said Emma Tai, executive director of UWF.
The organization’s evaluation covered eight issues. It awarded Lightfoot a “D” on sticking to promises for three issues: to enact a progressive real estate transfer tax to fund anti-homelessness efforts; to strengthen the city’s sanctuary policies for immigrants; and to end money bond. The groups gave Lightfoot an “incomplete” on her promises to pass a Community Benefits Agreement Housing Ordinance; to reopen mental health clinics; and, to establish an Office of Gun Violence Protection.
But it reserved the lowest grade, an “F,” for two areas: creating a Civilian Police Accountability Council and supporting an elected school board.
Erica Clark, with the group Parents 4 Teachers, cited Lightfoot’s role in freezing a vote in the Illinois Senate that would authorize an elected school board for Chicago.
“When it comes to bringing democracy and transparency to our school district, we’re giving mayor Lightfoot a big, fat F,” Clark said.
Clark compared Lightfoot’s tactic of arranging the delay with Illinois Senate President John Cullerton to the style of politicking that Lightfoot’s predecessor was known for. “She used her power play behind the scenes, just like Rahm Emanuel did, and that is not OK,” Clark said.
Overall, Tai said there’s been a “systematic pattern of retrenchment from the promises that [Lightfoot] made.”
However, Lightfoot rejected the accusation that she is not committed to the progressive promises on which she campaigned. “Of course in 100 days’ time, we haven’t been able to get everything done,” Lightfoot said. “No person could do that in this short of a time.”
The mayor pointed to ethics reform that her administration successfully pushed through the Chicago City Council that would, among other things, limit aldermanic privilege. “I think we’ve made a significant amount of progress to lay a foundation for a completely different way of governing in Chicago,” Lightfoot said.
Despite the harsh grades, UWF and individuals from its member organizations issued an invitation to Lightfoot to work collaboratively with them on the progressive goals.
Odette Yousef is a reporter on WBEZ’s Race, Class and Communities Desk. Follow her @oyousef.