How Do You Like Brandon Now?

by Erin Geary

August 27, 2023

Chicagoans, you were warned. When the mayoral race was on you ended up with two candidates: Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas. Brandon Johnson was an empty suit filled with platitudes. He had no substance, but, man, that smile was so bright. Then, there was Paul Vallas who answered questions with facts and figures, had a clear direction, but tended to be stiff. Those of us who actually watched debates knew who could turn Chicago around, yet Brandon Johnson became mayor.

Now, three months into his tenure, can Chicagoans boast about their choice? His over 200 page “Building Bridges and Growing the Soul of Chicago: A Blueprint for Creating a more Just and Vibrant City for All” is an idealistic plan with no way of funding his proposals other than raising taxes. It also came with a glossary so readers of the plan understood the variances between words like Latina versus Latinx, because we need to feel as if all Chicagoans are represented.

As Chicago’s violence, robberies, carjackings, and flash mobs increased in the three months since Johnson’s swearing in, he finally named his police superintendent. And the mayor’s choice certainly can’t be approved fast enough in light of the 23 armed robberies reported on August 20th. Though police officers often are in pursuit, according to reports on CWB Chicago, they are told to stand down and stop chase. The fear that the CPD may cross a line or get other’s hurt in the process of apprehending suspects is far too much for the department to bear or afford. Of course, this directive only emboldens criminals and causes more citizens to live in fear.

Giving credit where credit is due, at least Mayor Johnson provided a glimmer of good faith in choosing new leader from within the Chicago Police Department. Larry Snelling has an insider’s understanding of the tasks before him and understands the negatives of handcuffing police officers wanting to make the city safer. His first test will involve Labor Day Weekend. It is doubtful that Labor Day will be less violent than the weekends of Memorial Day or July 4th—the latter leaving 73 people shot with 11 fatalities. Snelling hasn’t even been approved by the City Council yet.

We’re asked to remember that it’s only been 100 days. As Johnson stated after the Memorial Day violence, “Poverty didn’t go away over the weekend. We understand that when communities have been disinvested in and traumatized, that you’re seeing the manifestation of that trauma” (ABC News). It appears that Snelling is also on board with Johnson’s desire to make connections between communities and police officers to work together rather than being suspicious of each other. Hopefully, Snelling will be able to curb violence, but with a police morale at an all time low and a lack of new hires it will be a tough job. And the much touted “peacekeepers” getting $100 stipends haven’t been discussed since May.

Additionally, violence prevention is needed as school is about to get back in session for roughly 325,000 CPS students. So, going beyond crossing guards, the city will be again paying Safe Passage workers to ensure the safety of children going to and from school. There is no doubt that until gang violence is addressed in the city, these Safe Passage workers do a valiant job.
Over 1,000 Safe Passage workers will be making $15.80 per hour, five hours a day, and five days per week. Basically, these workers are getting paid the same minimum, not livable, wage that is dictated for businesses. Funny how no one is pointing that out.

Of course, added to the already violent nature of Chicago, there is the decision by Mayor Johnson to be a sanctuary city. Moving illegal migrants into the Wadsworth Elementary School is causing unrest in Woodlawn. Last month community members met with Alderwoman Jeanette Taylor and leaders in law enforcement to make their concerns known. The community claims that those housed in Wadsworth become disorderly and disrespectful. Prostitution and assaults ensue when the sun goes down leaving an already unsafe community feeling even more vulnerable. The meeting got so heated that one gentleman stated, “Let me say this. They got one more time to deal with it ‘cause, otherwise, next time they deal with it, they gonna deal with it from the streets. We’re going to take over it. Nobody’s going to be able to stop us from what we’re going to do to ‘em” (CBS 2 News). Trying to quell anger, Alderwoman Jeanette Taylor reassured residents that if those housed in Wadsworth were behaving inappropriately, they’d be kicked out of the temporary shelter.

Then what? Where will those individuals go? Police station floors seem to be the answer, certainly not City Hall.

Tensions are rising between black and brown Chicagoans. But anger is brimming toward politicians, too. Those in poverty who have been waiting for affordable housing have been overlooked by a new mayor who claimed to have their best interests at heart when he was a candidate. Instead, Johnson has spent over $100 million on illegals with no accountability regarding how those funds have been used. The pot is at the boiling point. The job of the new police superintendent will become even more difficult when that pot boils over.

So, in an attempt to address the Bring Chicago Home mission of affordable housing, Johnson announced this week to have a graduated tax on home sales. Those with homes being sold above $1.5 million will be paying the highest, a 3% tax on the real estate transfer. Johnson believes this will bring in $100 million annually.

But there is concern that with the already rising taxes and the growing lack of inventory, his dreams will be more like hallucinations. Crain’s Chicago Business, for example, ran an article this past June entitled, “Big-dollar home sales down by half this year.” Additionally, Redfin, an online real estate firm, claims that the median home price in Chicago has dropped over 1% to $350K, which is 18% lower than the national average; yet, Chicago’s cost of living is 19% higher than the national average. It doesn’t appear that Johnson’s annual expectation of $100 million is feasible without major changes elsewhere.

Beyond the violence and illegal migrant and, overall, affordable housing issues, Chicago Public School performance on test scores is “making encouraging gains…with reading proficiency at almost back to pre-pandemic levels and a modest recovery in math scores” (Chalkbeat Chicago). That is a twisted way of saying that Chicago Public School students still have an inability to read, write, and solve math problems on a basic level. But, hey, the scores are almost back to the horrid levels prior to Covid!

How does Mayor Johnson plan to fix CPS? Pour more money into a failing system, support the Chicago Teachers Union, and allow illegal migrants to not only go to school but expect to be taught in their native languages as well as English, which further burdens CPS. But the more illegal migrants in attendance, the more multilingual teachers will be hired As the CTU President Stacey Davis Gates said in her interview with South Side Weekly, “[Migrants aren’t] going to just need a place to lay their head; they’re going to need multilingual educators and support staff inside of the Chicago Public Schools.” Translated, this means more union dues for CTU. Also, there will now be an excuse for low test scores in the years to come, which will translate into dollars. For, the lower the test scores, the more money is allocated to schools who are “underperforming.”

And what is all of this dysfunction creating? Businesses leaving Chicago with no new enterprises entering. This, of course, will hamper the city’s growth. Youth are needed to revitalize a city. If Mayor Johnson cannot control crime and lower taxes, it affects businesses choosing Chicago as a hub. Thus no new jobs for college graduates are available, and they won’t be raising families in the city. This will lead to, of course, even higher taxes on those who remain.

However, Mayor Johnson is keeping one major campaign promise. He will get his wish to create an equitable city. Regardless of zip code, all are now subjected to violence and robberies. All are subjected to paying for illegal immigrants at $7,000 per person each month. All attending CPS schools will see failure. All will see their taxes rise. There’s no better illustration of a dying city than this equity.

But never fear, Mayor Johnson has awoken his supporters to what the rest of us already knew. He’s a CTU shill incapable of running anything. And Johnson makes no apologies for his lack of effort. Instead, his celebrity status is on full display. Photo ops abound with pictures of his attendance at a Cubs game with Kamala’ husband, meeting Dwayne Wade, introducing Billie Eilish at Lollapalooza, and shout outs to the likes of Beyoncé and the “thousands who enjoyed the aerial wizardry of Troupe Vertigo.” Johnson is merely beginning what will make an excellent scrapbook.

When will Mayor Brandon Johnson’s work really begin? According to John Roberson, the mayor’s chief operating officer, it will take time. Roberson recently told the Sun-Times, “Nothing can be done in a single year. It is going to require a strategic approach in terms of what things we can get done at what pace at what time, given the resources that we have.”

There it is, folks. This is the man YOU voted into office. Trust Mayor Johnson. He’s got your back.


Erin Geary is a writer, consultant, mother, wife, and volunteer. After thirty years of teaching, she left the profession to pursue her dream of writing. Her twice weekly articles on American culture and politics can be found at She recently celebrated her first year writing and is thrilled to be a guest writer for John Kass. 

Comments 41

  1. Erin,
    Several great points, and the solution is simple.
    Let’s just find a large city in America without these problems (that is run by Democrats) and do whatever they are doing.
    I’ll wait while someone puts up the list.

    1. Not perfect, but Dallas is the closest thing. They have a mayor who allows police to police and puts away repeat criminals for longer terms. Something neither Mayor Johnson or Kimmy Foxx would ever allow.

      1. I think the democrat run big cities in Texas are starting to have the same problems as the typical big cities.
        Losing population (“Right flight”) and escalating murder rates.
        Dallas is #7 in murder rates (and climbing).

    2. Let’s face it all the democratic mayors need to get together and insist that president Biden and leader of their party take control of the border!
      Wishful thinking, I know but nothing good happens until border order is restored.

  2. Chicago is perfectly Ok with Brandon Johnson and Brandon Biden. If you disagrees you are a MAGAmorph.

    The idiotic Sun Times and Obama cheerleader Lynn Sweet want union members to know just how excited they all must be in anticipation of Doctor Jill Biden’s stemwinder to the Federation of Labor on Wednesday.

    As exciting as the Bears v. Buffalo or ND in Dublin, Strap on the depends union men!

  3. Many good points. The mention of the new Supe. He spent the majority of career at the academy with no street experience, but he fits this mayors profile.

    Schooling illegal immigrants. The key word being illegal. But there will be money for that as opposed to our own homeless that have no where to go and will freeze in the coming months with winter setting in.

    Crime will outperform once again and we’ll get the blank surprised look from the mayor and the Supe. As if to mutter, but how did that happen.

    As much as Chicagoan’s screamed for change they only whispered at the polls. Paul Vallas didn’t fit the profile for a leftist city. BJ was a Barack wannabe and the left ate it up like cornbread on a Sunday afternoon rib fest.

  4. When only 35% of Chicagoans feel it’s important enough to vote this is what you get! I sometimes feel an IQ test is more important than voter ID!

    1. Honest question, since you bring up IQ: Were the voters who failed to show up the dumb ones, or were those who voted for Brandon the dumb ones? If the answer is “yes”, that would mean they’re all dumb and an IQ test wouldn’t mean anything.
      Democrats are many things, but they ain’t dumb. If nothing else, they know how to get elected…

      1. You are so correct! They’ve figured out a way to be a cohesive group at least until an election is over. They convince their followers that, as victimized as they are now, it will ONLY get worse if one of those dreaded Republicans gets into office. They’re so effective at it that the rank and file, if they vote at all (and believe me, EVERY precinct captain knows EXACTLY how many votes are expected of him!) know that they’re to vote for whatever (no, not whomever – WHAT ever) has a D. behind the name. If it’s a potted plant? Yup, plant it is! They sort out the differences they may have, but only after the election. Then a miscreant member of the ‘flock’ may do his penance, and if he’s good enough at it, may get back into the good graces of ‘the boys’. If not, they’ll assess later if he’s a useful idiot or needs to be sent away.

        The Republicans sit and stroke their imaginary beards, squint their eyes just a bit, and eagerly recall that one of ‘their’ candidates said ‘something not quite right’ at a speech he or she gave, oh…..I don’t know Henry, maybe some 10 or 15 years ago or so, so that’s IT!!! He’s a RINO, because we’ve declared him to be so and there’s obviously NO rehabilitaton possible or explanation good enough, so we’ll just trash him! That’s what we virtuous people do! and damn, those Dems won again! I just don’t understand how they do it, time after time like that.

  5. Second mayor not from Chicago who’s only explanation of why the west and south sides are the way they are is racism. I’ve never seen a black politician ask for diversity in these wards so by logic they support segregation. Johnson talks disinvestment yet plenty of money for those not born in this country, supposedly there are no jobs for black Chicagoans yet the administration wants to speed up worker permits for those not born here to get money for disinvested neighborhoods but if you go by what NYC is expected to spend plenty of money for those not born here.why isn’t this money going to the disinvested??( this could be a separate discussion that has many unanswered questions).if you talk about the out of wedlock problem that is a albatross around the necks of blacks your a racist.80 years of Democratic rule yet a certain demographic keeps voting the same way. Common sense is dead in crime keeps escalating I’m hearing a fiddle from the 5th floor.Johnson and his progressive miniature Goebbels are digging Chicagos grave a little deeper. Hopefully Chicago will wake up by 2027 and those that care about this city and law and order will get out and use the greatest right we have and Vote!

  6. My understanding is that the new top cop rose through the ranks by “merit” (who do you know) versus passing a written promotion test. I have little hope that he will get crime under control in the city. It seems that nothing can overcome tribal voting even when confronted with the facts.

  7. This isn’t normal but on crystal meth it is…..
    Good points. Add in that the City robs Peter to pay Paul; where did that $100M come from to house all those illegal migrants? Does anyone really ask that and ask for an accounting?
    The sad thing is that Mayor Johnson will get re-elected again and again. Too many voters buy into the hoopla he spews and the CTU will never give up their control of city hall.

  8. Spot on Erin. So typical of the leftists – it’s always someone else’s fault when things go awry. Like, let’s blame Hyundai and Kia for all those car theft of their cars, not the criminals. Oh, and please don’t call those street takeover rioters “mobs” either. Not to worry – those social workers sent to 911 calls will quell the disturbance! Regardless of the nomenclature, Chicago is done. Thanks to the new Marxist mayor, our Governor Maximus, both in lockstep with Joe Biden, with their socialist agenda masquerading as “progressive,” I just don’t see the city or state surviving the downward slide. Businesses are departing, taking jobs with them, and these “leaders” are clueless as to the havoc they are wreaking on us all. Grocery stores are closing creating “food deserts” in the poorest neighborhoods, and no one dares address the underlying reason – like crime. Look at the once mag mile – slowly becoming a ghost town, thanks to all those “peaceful but sprited” protestors that looted and vandalized all those stores. I just don’t have any reason to hope for a change any time soon, and probably not in my lifetime…..bye bye Chicago. But then, you never know!

  9. Geary expertly paints a neo-Guernica representation of Chicago now. Everything is sinking into civic hell, but the mayor celebrates thousands enjoying aerial wizardry.

    Remember how, when Chicago kept sinking deeper into criminal dysfunction under Mayor Lightweight, she would curse and threaten and get furious? Now, under Mayor Brandon Jr., we get smiles and shout-outs to plastic celebrities.

    I actually prefer the Lightweight temper tantrums to Brandon Jr.’s idiot smiles. At least she seemed to realize she was overseeing a disaster.

  10. This is excellent, Erin. When asked recently about rising crime, Johnson said this: “Like every issue, bring in all of our forces to address this dynamic. I’m looking forward to the strategy that we are prepared to implement as we go along.” In other words, he has no plan at all. When will voters learn to get out of their own way???

  11. I’m just surprised that no one out there seems to be able to “connect the dots” from their votes, to the riots and looting in the streets. 70 years of consistent Democrat rule and the editors of the two remaining (and I use the term very loosely) Newspapers still can’t figure out why things are turning to crap faster.

    The Media sure isn’t going to rock what’s left of the boat and the “cheerleaders” for the city have turned a blind eye to the problems. Pritzker and Johnson refuse to accept reality, aided and abetted by their media suck ups. “Hey, never mind the riots in your neighborhood and the closed grocery stores, look over there Trump was indicted!!!”

    The city motto of “Urbs in Horto” should be changed to, whatever the Latin is for; “We’re sorry your 11 year old daughter was killed by a drive by shooter Ma’am. But hey! Chicago sure has great restaurants doesn’t it?”

      1. Mike Royko and John Kass.

        The only two Chicago newspaper guys I know of who had the (guts) to look City Hall in the eye, call it straight, and damn the consequences.

        I miss Mike and sure am glad John is back and carrying the load.

      2. Nope. “Urbs in Horto” — “City in a Garden” is Chicago’s real motto. Royko suggested it should realistically be “Ubi est Mea” — “Where’s mine?”

  12. Kudos, Erin. The famous Mencken observation about people getting their deserved government good and hard would have been more salient if it had also acknowledged the chagrin of the typical 48% who knew better.

  13. The voters and those who were to lazy or stupid to vote are getting what they deserve,chaos.
    Neither a city nor country can survive without independent press/media……we have cowards in media both as reporters and owners and city and country that appear to be run by the three stooges.
    We have reached tipping point in Chicago and I believe it is too late to stop.
    I was asked by one of my former police bosses the difference between chgo and the titanic……the titanic had a orchestra play as it sank.

  14. I was with a very popular Catholic priest yesterday, who said that the new Police Superintendent, Larry Snelling was a great choice, and he is very well respected. My Priest friend said Snelling is the right man for the job, and he respects him too.

  15. Turn out was dismal, the 19th ward had 46% turnout and usually boasts 80%…basically the anti-cop letter Vallas sent out via his pro Taxwinkle campaign worker lost him the election. Why did Vallas hire taxwinkles guy?? Why did he put him name on that letter 10 days before the election??? WTF.

      1. Vallas lost due to the color of his skin, the apathy and ignorance of the Chicago voters, and the bought and paid for media who are servants to the progressive left.

    1. Was it a boneheaded move to hire Taxwinkle’s guy? Absolutely. But never underestimate the stupidity of the typical Chicago/Illinois voter who have been putting these people in office for decades.

  16. So glad we abandoned this lost city in 2020. Every time I read about what’s happening in Chicago, I can only ask “What did you expect?” Until voters get a clue, there will be no redemption. Only more of the same, and worse. This city bears no resemblance to the one the generations of my family once loved and thrived in.

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