It shouldn’t surprise anybody that a communist who wants to defund the police and introduce a bundle of new taxes aimed at the city’s dwindling business community just won the mayoral run-off election in Chicago.
After all, Chicago is the city where the Communist Party of America was founded in 1919 by Socialist Party members who were inspired by the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.
So the fact that radical socialist/communist Brandon Johnson won the mayor’s race against pro-Police moderate candidate Paul Vallas did not really surprise me—though it certainly disappointed me.
I am not a native Chicagoan. In fact, I’m from Kansas City—another city where corruption has had a long connection with City Hall. But that’s a story for another time.
The point is I spent a good part of my journalistic career with the Chicago Tribune, where I held a variety of positions from reporter and editor to foreign correspondent and member of the editorial board.
So, even though I wasn’t a native, I grew to love the City of Big Shoulders, as Carl Sandburg once called it.
I lived in the city when Mayor Richard J. Daley was in charge—a man the late Tribune columnist Mike Royko dubbed “Boss.” During Daley’s reign as mayor from 1955 to 1976, Chicago was the “city that worked.”
So the fact that radical socialist/communist Brandon Johnson won the mayor’s race against pro-police moderate candidate Paul Vallas did not really surprise me—though it certainly disappointed me.
Chicago was a great place to live. Its streets were clean, the police were a force to be reckoned with, new skyscrapers such as the Hancock Building and Sears Tower were built, and Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile was truly magnificent.
That gangs of thugs could casually walk into one of the “Mile’s” 450 retailers—from international designer boutiques and department stores such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Saks Fifth Avenue—and scoop up thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and walk out again unhampered by police as they have done in today’s Chicago, could never have happened.
No. Not in the “Boss’s” town. Blood would have been spilled, and lots of it.
But Mayor Daley is gone, and so is Lori Lightfoot, the nation’s most incompetent mayor, whom voters finally banished from City Hall earlier this year when she managed to get just 18 percent of the vote in the regular mayoral election.
So now we have Brandon Johnson, a communist who is preparing to destroy what’s left of a once vibrant city by driving businesses and residents out of town with an inventory of taxes that includes a 3.5% city income tax on Chicagoans and suburbanites earning more than $100,000 a year; a financial transaction tax; a 66% increase in the city’s hotel tax, which is already the highest in the country; a revived employee head tax; a new tax on aviation fuel at the city’s airports; and a hike in the real estate transfer tax on high-end home sales.
Then, there are Johnson’s views on crime and punishment.
Johnson argues that more money for policing and incarceration isn’t the answer to safer streets and that more should be invested in mental health care, schools, and affordable housing. He has also supported the use of social workers and EMTs to respond to some 911 calls instead of police officers. He adds that the current system of policing isn’t working and that he wants to make sure Chicago has “smart police.”
Meanwhile, the number of homicides in Chicago hit a 25-year high in 2021 with more than 800, according to the Chicago Police Department, and crimes, including carjackings and robberies, have also increased in recent years.
Overall, crime in Chicago has increased during the past five years by nearly 20%, according to an official report by the Chicago Police Department. The year-over-year change in crime was even greater last year. Between 2021 and 2022, overall crime in Chicago increased by 41%.
John Cataranza, the Chicago Police Union president, warns that up to 1,000 officers could leave the department now that Johnson is mayor. The police department is already down nearly 2,000 officers, he added.
Now that the anti-police Johnson is in City Hall, “We’re going to see an exodus like we’ve never seen before,” Cataranza predicted.
Friends and former colleagues of mine who live in the city, as opposed to the suburbs, tell me that Johnson’s entire campaign was based on “anti-whiteness.”
“The guy’s racist. He hates white people.” That’s the phrase I heard most often in discussions about Chicago’s new “red” mayor.
It’s a recurring story in most of America’s big cities today. Cities like New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Detroit, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Chicago are being mismanaged by leftist and socialist Mayors and George Soros soft-on-crime district attorneys.
The result? Cities that were once the envy of the world are now garbage dumps replete with homeless tents and hovels, junkies smoking crack and fentanyl on the streets, carjackings, rape, muggings, theft, and murder.
Nevertheless, one of my friends, who describes himself as a “hard-core Chicagoan,” says he plans to stick it out in the city.
“I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life,” he said. “The only way I will leave the city is if Johnson drives me out because crime grows worse and taxes move higher. I hope that doesn’t happen.”
My advice? Don’t hold your breath. Chicago is no longer “that toddling town,” we once knew.
Let’s go, Brandon!
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