Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson exchange attacks over ‘MAGA’ sign, ‘racist’ criticism over police defense


Brandon Johnson and Paul Ballas have escalated attacks on each other as Chicago’s mayoral election enters the final week of campaigning ahead of the April 4 election.

On Monday morning, Vallas held a rally with the unions that support his campaign, accusing him of trying to put up lawn signs linking him to former President Donald Trump across the city.

“What’s interesting is that they’re showing up in the south and west,” Vallas said in response to a question about “Vallas for Mayor.” Signed at “MAGA 2024” A logo that appeared primarily in the black neighborhoods of cities. “So we all know who is setting them up. there is.”

“It’s really insulting to think that voters can pull off a stunt like this,” added Vallas. “But that’s arrogance.”

Mr Johnson spoke with the City Club of Chicago this afternoon, defending the tax and public safety plans and dodging criticism of past support for the “defend the police” movement. He also said he had “nothing to do” with signs intended to tie the Ballas to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

On the first topic, Johnson reiterated his contention that requiring the wealthy to pay their “fair share” of taxes was a perfectly Democratic ideal, and that the Chicago public school pensions under his oversight denounced the treatment of opponents as “Paul Vallas’ budget witchcraft”.

Vallas says Johnson is misleading voters with his tax plans.

“My opponents are raising taxes by $800 million,” Vallas said. “He says this is ‘taxing the rich.’ The income tax he’s now trying to get away from just happens to be the money he claims he’s trying to make on $800 million.” would generate more than half of the total, but not the wealthy’s tax.”

Johnson accused Ballas of misunderstanding his plan and denied the city’s income tax fluctuations.

Vallas has often argued that he left CPS with a budget surplus at the end of his tenure as CEO of CPS from 1995 to 2001. But he also oversaw changes that shifted annual payouts from the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, which critics say hurt the system over time. bring.

Cook County Commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union organizer Johnson said Ballas was lying when Johnson warned he wanted to defend police funding, citing Illinois Governor JB It added that it was a Republican “intimidation tactic” that was also deployed against Mr. Pritzker and President Joe. Biden.

“We’re not going to take a penny off the CPD budget,” says Johnson. “But again, I’m not going to defend the police. Paul Vallas lied. He lies about everything else. So don’t surprise anyone anymore.”

Chicago mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson speaks to the media after giving a speech to the Chicago City Club at Maggiano's Gala on March 27, 2023.
Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Ballas answers questions from reporters on March 27, 2023, supported by members of the City of Chicago Plumbers Union.

The duel attack reflected the goal of both campaigns to characterize the other as too extreme for Chicago. MAGA’s signature linking Valas with Trump is an effort to link him with an unpopular Republican and undermine his claim to voters that he is a lifelong Democrat.

Johnson has tried to downplay criticism of his public safety plan as Chicagoans remain concerned about a high crime rate, but has stepped back, saying the “defensive” attacks against him are “racist.” said it is.

“Paul knows that Chicago’s 1,600 police vacancies can’t be filled. And can you afford to wait for 1,600 vacancies? In Austin, there have been more murders in my neighborhood in the last four years than on the entire North Shore combined,” Johnson said. “I wake up to violence every day. Don’t tell us our safety comes down to the dog hashtag. It’s racist and ridiculous.”

When asked again about his previous support for police budget redistribution during a Q&A session with members of the City Club, Johnson jokingly reminded the audience that it was his 47th birthday. A gift, and you ask this question. It’s a fake setup out there. “

Johnson then got more serious, talking about the police killing of George Floyd.

“No, no, listen. “We say ‘disbelief,’ but it’s much more dramatic than that. It’s the number of lives lost due to police brutality and police murders. Because we weren’t taking people’s cries seriously — my brother said he couldn’t breathe — and I told the police I wasn’t going to defend him. Isn’t it easier to believe black people when they’re telling the truth?”

While his City Club speech focused mostly on finance and crime, Johnson also addressed the topic of education during Monday’s press conference.

In response to a question, he said, “We can’t afford to have tiered school districts where you have to apply to get access to quality schools.” However, he did not respond to follow-up questions about what changes he would like to see in the application process, instead stating that parents should consider well-funded neighborhood schools and a “fair and just system”. ‘, he repeated.

The campaign later released a statement clarifying that Johnson would not be phasing out selective admission schools, but lamented that families would have to “navigate a difficult application process.”

Earlier in the day, Vallas spoke about his support for organized labor, promoting support for unions such as Plumbers Local 130, International Elevator Builders Union Local 2, and Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2. Labor Assistance, CTU.

“The more attention I could divert from Johnson’s candidacy, the more he was still bought and paid for by the Chicago Teachers Union, the more he had only worked as a teacher for four years when he retired. Despite the fact that they receive a teacher’s pension.” Valas said. “The more they can make it, or try to make it about me, the less he has to say about his plan to defund the police. He has less to say about how to stand up.”

The organized workforce is split between Valas and Johnson. Industry groups such as plumbers and electricians have endorsed Ballas, and Johnson has represented thousands of city workers on the U.S. State, County and Local Government Employees Council 31, CTU and Service Employees International. It is endorsed by local 1 and 73 unions. .


What do you think?

Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

Leave a Reply

California Lawmakers Approve Nation’s First Penalties for High Gas Prices

Valas, Johnson pledge to revive Environment Ministry in Southwestern forums