Machine politician’s endorsement of Lightfoot comes as growing number of #RahmsCoalition members jack up campaign contributions and political backing for corporate attorney.
CHICAGO—Susana Mendoza, who was elected with outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on his 2011 “rainbow” ticket, remained largely silent as Emanuel instituted a wave of devastating cuts to public programs and hand outs to wealthy businesses.
Now, Mendoza has thrown her political support to Lori Lightfoot, like a growing number of wealthy Rahm donors and political backers looking to preserve the status quo and secure an election victory for the candidate that will most closely follow Rahm’s policies in office.
“This endorsement is cut from straight from that infamous Chicago machine saying, ‘We don’t want nobody [that] nobody sent,” said CTU President Jesse Sharkey. “The political elites who bankrolled Emanuel’s campaigns are lining up with Lightfoot, just as Daley hacks like Gery Chico—and now, Susana Mendoza—are lining up to kiss the ring. Their support puts the lie to the candidate’s claim of a ‘progressive’ agenda. Welcome to Rahm 2.0.”
Mendoza, like Lightfoot, got a hand into Chicago politics from Richard M. Daley—in Mendoza’s case through the vehicle of Daley’s now disgraced Latinx political outfit HDO. Lightfoot got her first city gig from Daley himself. Mendoza shares Emanuel’s enthusiasm for school privatization. She announced her run for City Clerk in 2011 on Emanuel’s ticket from a campus of the disgraced UNO charter network, saying that winning state funding for the school was “one of my absolute proudest accomplishments [as a state representative]. Lightfoot has been strangely silent on charters in her official educational platform, even as the charter industry draws increasing fire for profiting at the expense of public school children. And Mendoza has a history of hard line positions on criminal justice issues, just as Lightfoot has drawn fire from reform advocates for a troubling record as OPS chief for Daley and as a corporate attorney in high-profile police misconduct cases.
Mendoza was largely silent on Emanuel’s wave of deeply unpopular fines and fees—from red light cameras to steep increases in the cost of water and garbage pickup—that have left Chicago’s working class families reeling. While Lightfoot has said we need a “fairer” city, she’s laid out no plan on how she would remedy this pilfering. She has, however, said that she, like Emanuel, opposes reinstating the corporate head tax. Rahm killed in that tax 2011, gifting a a $23 million handout to the city’s wealthiest corporations at about the same time he embarked on a massive series of TIF giveaways to some of the richest developers and businesses in the nation.
In recent weeks, Rahm Emanuel and Lori Lightfoot have come to have even more in common, including a growing number of corporate donors and clouted political supporters.
“Mendoza has always backed the status quo that put her in power in the first place,” Sharkey said. “Follow the endorsements and follow the money, and you see a pile-on from the exact same Rahm allies who will do all they can to preserve a status quo that boosts wealthy interests over struggling neighborhoods, and gives low-income residents the shaft.”
On Wednesday, at least $750,000 in campaign contributions from Finnegan, as well. Corporate financier John Canning of Madison Dearborn gave Lightfoot $100,000, who with Finnegan gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rahm’s campaign coffers last year alone. Chicago airport contractor Rich Melman has donated to Lightfoot, as has Rahm’s corporation counsel Steve Patton. Rahm’s personal attorney, Michael Forde, who represented Emanuel in his residency case and his efforts to keep his emails secret, is a Lightfoot donor who headed up a marquee fundraiser for her.half a million dollars to school privatization advocate Stand For Children, and $300,00 to Bill Daley, who ran on an education platform even more retrograde than his brother. Rahm collected