In Chi-town, we got polls. Who's for mayor? Vallas looking strong in the stretch. Solutions for decline of the Loop. More cops on the street or more fun things to do? Hear candidates out. . . .
Advertise, says one worthy. But where's Da Mayor in all this chatter? In no mood for it. . . .
Start with this, day before yesterday, from Crowd Wisdom. Chicago Mayoral Polls 2023: Vallas and Lightfoot In Tight Contest, Fight Likely Heading for Runoff
Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia: 13.6%, Lori Lightfoot: 14.2%, Brandon Johnson: 10.8%, Willie Wilson: 12%, Paul Vallas: 18.36%
Plus a look at whom people are looking up:
Google Search Trends – Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia: 17%, Lori Lightfoot: 28%, Willie Wilson: 22%, Paul Vallas: 33%
Vallas ahead fairly comfortably on both counts. (Although to be kept in mind — I know, I know — only the foolish get comfortable eight days before the counting starts.)
Another fever-taking, later, showing yet more strength:
The latest independent poll by Victory Research shows Vallas in front with 22.%, followed by Lori Lightfoot at 17.1%, and Brandon Johnson a point behind her. Chuy Garcia and Willie Wilson round out the top five, and no other candidate is in double figures.
Cautious comment by temperature-taker:
"I think Paul has solidified himself as the front runner in the race with his message of law and order," said Rod McCulloch, a pollster at Victory Research. "It appears unless something changes that Paul Vallas will be in the runoff with someone. I don't know who that is, lots of candidates are close enough to be there."
Vallas called for replacement of police Supt. David Brown, a return to community-based policing, and an invitation to retired officers – or officers who have left for other jobs – to return under new leadership without losing any seniority. [That’s a new one.]
Garcia also deemed Brown “a failure, and everyone knows it.”
Oh, and forgetting polls, let us praise sprightly coverage of Vallas by Axios and a few others, demonstrating how different are his pointed comments from the others’ when asked, “🏙 How would you get people back to The Loop?”
"We have to restore the public trust for people to want to go downtown again [said V.]. ... I will work with CPD to restore beat integrity and bolster the CTA Division of the CPD so anyone feels safe traveling into the Loop on public transit.
Beef up cop presence on street. Ditto on subways etc. None of the others talk that way. None are as accurate as to the problem, none as detailed (and informed) about a solution.
"We also need to recognize that the mayor's failure to support local business and rein in crime has led to a major business exodus from downtown. Corporate and commercial anchors alike have withdrawn or downscaled their presence.
In addition to addressing crime, we have to also address the rising property taxes ... that have stripped downtown commercial areas, including Mag Mile, of their former vibrancy for which they had world renown.
It’s the death of a city he’s talking about. Or is that a trifle dramatic?
His opponents, on the other hand, focus on hot-button issues, ping-ping-ping.
🏙 "I represent the Loop in the Illinois General Assembly, and the resurgence of the Loop is both incredibly important and personal to me.
"Downtown Chicago is very reliant on office space, and the economy relies on daytime traffic connected to people coming to work. We have to rethink the downtown of the future. Our storefronts need to lend themselves to experiential commerce like we've seen experimented with on Michigan Avenue.
We have to make sure we’re prioritizing safety and functional, reliable CTA service so folks can explore all of our neighborhoods easily. We have to find a way to program iconic streetscapes and make it easier for people in our city to move around on bike and by foot. We need to convert some traditional office space to create innovative residential spaces as well."
Stump talk, using language he’s heard others use, leading us to wish-ville, we-need land. Some of it crying for explanation. None of it telling us what to do about the problem or what we don’t already know. . Just dream about it.
From another front-runner, Chuy Garcia:
"Here are some of my priorities for revitalizing downtown:
"Focusing on public safety.
"Year-round art and cultural events, including open markets and food halls.
"Invest in the CTA.
"Address high costs of rent."
From mobs smashing store fronts to open-air markets? Why not?
And not quite last and surely not least, this from Ja'Mal Green:
"The process of creating recovery in The Loop starts with providing people accessible transportation. Easy access to The Loop will give the city the opportunity to create free community-based events that are entertaining for all demographics, including children.
Accessible, eh? Does he thinks that the problem?
We need to advertise our small businesses and restaurants in The Loop and give people more security to walk around safely with their families and loved ones. Increasing safety and accessibility to The Loop will incentivize people to spend their free time in our downtown area."
Downtown as playground, if we only advertise our small businesses etc. We? Our?
And definitely last and not least of all, the inimitable incumbent, who rose to glory as something new on the scene and turned out shockingly so, Madame Mayor.
Of note: Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the last candidate we were going to highlight, declined to participate after weeks of requests.