Apr 29, 2019
Lori Lightfoot was elected mayor of Chicago in a landslide at the beginning of April. Many who had hopes in her as a reformer were excited when she came out saying two multi-billion-dollar development projects should be given a closer look – that there should be more affordable housing, and fewer taxpayer dollars involved.
It took just 48 hours for her to pop that illusion.
A whole drama unfolded in the city council, with a lame-duck Rahm Emanuel bowing to her wishes by postponing a city council vote for a massive tax handout to the developers. He pushed back the vote . . . by 48 hours.
Is 48 hours enough time to thoroughly go through hundreds of pages of complicated financing? To do what they call “due diligence?” Is it long enough to see that 1.6 billion in property taxes is well spent? Obviously – no.
But it IS enough time for the developers to get a meeting with Lightfoot, and to impress on her how much money is in this project. And to give a small increase in the amounts dedicated to “minority and women contractors,” so Lightfoot can say she got something. By the end of the 48 hours, Lightfoot changed her tune, followed promptly by the vote.
The lightning turnaround showed that just like Emanuel, Lightfoot wants Chicago open for business – and that means opening the city’s coffers to every developer that comes calling.