July 20, 2024
As Summer Shooting Season Commences in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot Picks a Fight with Police
In this Saturday, June 1, 2019 photo, Chicago police investigate the scene where multiple people were shot in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago.
In this Saturday, June 1, 2019 photo, Chicago police investigate the scene where multiple people were shot in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago.

One sometimes hears of politicians enjoying a “honeymoon” period in the early days after taking office. During these honeymoons, political differences are for the moment put aside so the newly installed officeholder can put his administration in place unperturbed by petty squabbles. In Chicago, where Mayor Lori Lightfoot was elected in April and sworn in on May 20, the honeymoon is already over.

Regular readers will recall I have a special fondness for Chicago, where I first visited more than 30 years ago and made friendships that have lasted to this day. So it saddens me to watch from afar as the city’s reputation for culture, architecture, and professional sports is overshadowed by its reputation for corruption and crime. To cite just one of the latest examples of corruption, Alderman Ed Burke, who has served on the city council for 50 years, is facing federal racketeering and bribery charges after being secretly recorded by Alderman Daniel Solis, who, facing corruption allegations of his own, cooperated with the FBI and wore a wire for at least two years during meetings with Burke and other city officials.

Political corruption is an enduring feature of life in Chicago, and despite Mayor Lightfoot’s previous experience as an assistant U.S. attorney, it’s more likely that by the time she leaves office she will have been consumed by or adapted to the Chicago Way than have done anything significant to alter it.

But a mayor can do something about crime, as Rudy Giuliani proved in New York, where he installed William Bratton as police commissioner with the instruction to reverse the city’s descent into dystopian mayhem. The result: murders and other violent crime in New York fell dramatically and have remained low. In 1990, 2,245 people were murdered in the city; in 2018 the number was 289.

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