What is Lori Lightfoot’s new Covid mandate war with cops and firefighters all about?

By John Kass

What is Mayor Lori Lightfoot up to in her new war against Chicago police and firefighters who don’t like her bossing them around with her new Covid mandate?

Is she truly concerned about their safety and the safety of the public as she insists?

No. If she were so concerned about public safety, would she ever have endorsed catch-and-release Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx for re-election? Of course not.

But that’s exactly what Lightfoot did, though she knew better. She endorsed Foxx because it suited her politics. So don’t tell me that Lori is about public safety. Lori is about Lori.

Paul Vallas, a real manager, not some empty suit, knows what Lightfoot is really up to with her new war. He knows it cold.  All 50 Chicago aldermen know it.  Savvy reporters know it, too, even if they don’t say much.  And I think you know it too.


Because you’re not chumbolones, even if politicians and much of the legacy corporate media treats you like chumbolones, as if you’re idiots, fools, livestock to be led by the nose. You are not chumbolones.

And this is the No Chumbolone Zone.

So, what is Lightfoot up to, really, in this petty and vindictive Covid war of hers against cops and firefighters who don’t want to comply with her mandate? She threatened them last week, played her unnecessary game of chicken, and when cops pushed back, she ran to a judge to get a gag order put on the police union boss.

This week, on the day a police officer was shot in the face and survived, she was back at it, all cold bureaucratic vengeance, calling cops in, stripping the non-compliant, even if they’d been vaccinated, of their guns and badges. Police Supt. David Brown began threatening officers who are considering retirement—and there are thousands of them in police department that is down at least 1,000 officers. His memo states “sworn members who retire while under disciplinary investigations may be denied retirement credentials.”

Is that a way to build morale of people who risk their lives every day? Or is it the way to break them? Once people are broken, they become resentful. But Lori is wrapped up in her revenge, and her politics.

The mayor calls non-compliant cops and firefighters “insurrectionists,” even though they’ve risked their lives for the people of Chicago throughout the pandemic. Many are vaccinated, and many have become ill with Covid and now that they have immunity they don’t want, or need, the vaccine. And many who have been  vaccinated don’t want to give up their health information to the city.

“If it’s so important, why not make it a law?” a veteran police officer told me. “Why not have the state legislature write a law and pass it, and the governor sign it, that everybody gets vaccinated. Why not have the aldermen do it, oh, but they’re exempt. They’re aldermen and they’re exempt.”

She wars with her police force, but she’s rolled over again and again for the militant lefties of the Chicago Teachers Union who shut down the schools for a year.

And she’s desperate. She can’t deal with skyrocketing violent crime, in the rough neighborhoods and now violence is in the Loop, on the North Side, everywhere. And now police are issuing warnings about violence on Michigan Avenue. She has no clue. She never had a clue.

Adding to her desperation is her coverup of the Anjanette Young raid, which hangs over her head, particularly with Black voters, because she was caught lying about what she knew and when, just like a mini-Rahm, if that’s even possible. More attention on that is coming. And she knows it.

And then on Tuesday the White Shadow came forth. Arne “The White Shadow” Duncan, Barack Obama’s basketball buddy, spoke at his very own City Club of Chicago coming out party. The White Shadow has been positioned for a mayoral run with oodles of friendly media, well-placed op-eds in the downtown papers, and supported by the Obama/Rahm machine and their money guys.

Arne is a pleasant enough fellow, but does he have the management chops for the job? I don’t think so. He’s wasn’t going to announce on Tuesday anyway. He’s not ripe yet.

So in the meantime, what is Lori’s war all about?

“Orchestrated distraction,” former Chicago Schools CEO Paul Vallas told me on Tuesday. “She needs a bogeyman, and she made cops and firefighters, and all city workers her bogeyman. She’s even using the ‘I’ word, “insurrection,” to describe those who won’t comply with her mandates. That’s appalling and insulting.”

Bingo.“An ‘insurrection’ against what? Her regime?” Vallas said. ” This is a labor dispute, not an ‘insurrection.’”

From the outset of the pandemic, as Chicago Public School teachers stayed at home, other city workers, cops, firefighters, paramedics, Streets & San workers, all showed up on the job. They came to work with no Covid protection, no real direction, just City Hall saying get out there and work.

“So they worked,” Vallas said. “They risked their lives. She called them heroes. And now she trashes them, to distract from the fact that the crime pandemic is out of control, the (police) beats in the neighborhoods are underserved, violence downtown. She uses her war on police and firefighters to distract from her record on crime and the state of the schools, and her budget.”

The mayor’s office sets the tone and media follows her script. Newsrooms, like police districts, are thin. News loves the theatrics. And giving cops and firefighters the benefit of the doubt doesn’t fit the script.

I’ve been vaccinated. I support vaccination. But I don’t like governments forcing Americans to take vaccinations.

What’s odd is that her appointed Chicago Public School Board decided that taxpayers will pay for Covid tests for unvaccinated teachers at the schools.  But unvaccinated cops and firefighters must pay out of pocket for their own tests?  Of course, they’re balking, even police officers I’ve talked to who have been vaccinated, balking because they don’t want to give up their personal health information.

 She takes their vacation days and comp time, which is petty. And as I write this, there are reports that 36 percent of police, and 28 percent of firefighters are non-compliant with her decree, though many have been vaccinated.

She rips through the city like some mad Jane Byrne. What will be left of Chicago when she’s done?

Business leaders see Lightfoot’s irrational management. They know that crime has eclipsed property taxes as the number one issue, and that retail businesses hesitate to open up on North Michigan Avenue. The Magnificent Mile was once the crown jewel of Chicago shopping districts.

I’ve spoken to several business owners off the record. They tell me that if she were the chief executive of a private company, the board of directors would fire her immediately. Duncan is the next Lightfoot.

But he won’t be able to handle the Lori aftermath. Media spin and Obama’s smile  and slick commercials about “feelings” don’t cut it in a city in crisis. That’s not management. That’s  spin.

So, in fighting her war against cops and firefighters, what does Lori Lightfoot leave behind?

Her politics.

The remnants of her vengeance.

And a broken city.


(Copyright 2021 John Kass)

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