Chicago Police Union President: Vote For Cop-Endorsed Paul Vallas OR DIE!!!
Next Tuesday is Chicago's run-off election for mayor. Current, soon-to-be-former Mayor Lori Lightfoot came in third during February's first round of voting, and the two remaining candidates are Paul Vallas, a former public schools executive, and Brandon Johnson, a county board commissioner.
A recent poll shows Vallas leading Johnson 46 to 41 percent with 13 percent of voters undecided. Vallas is the "tough on crime" pro-cop Democrat with an endorsement from Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police. He actually has a little more than a mere endorsement, though.
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John Catanzara, who retired from the police force in 2021 to avoid disciplinary action, is the powerful police union's president because that sentence somehow reflects reality. He told the New York Times — a major newspaper most of the time — that he "predicts" 800 to 1,000 Chicago police officers would leave the force if Johnson wins. This kinda sounds like gangster talk: "Nice city you have here, shame if the police self-defunded."
“If this guy gets in we’re going to see an exodus like we’ve never seen before,” he said, predicting “blood in the streets.”
At least Catanzara had the self-restraint to call Johnson, who's Black, "this guy" and not, you know, something else. So, if I'm understanding Catanzara, and I wish I weren't, Chicagoans must vote the way he wants or cops will walk off the job in sufficient numbers to willingly endanger the public. I'm pretty sure that's a reign of terror.
Nonetheless, the Times describes Catanzara like the lovable goof on a 1980s sitcom. He's Sheriff Lobo but with more racism and fascist sympathies.
Still, there is nothing quite like Chicago’s relationship with the Fraternal Order of Police, especially with its president, John Catanzara, who expressed sympathies for the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, called Muslims “savages” who “all deserve a bullet” and retired from the police force in 2021 rather than face potential disciplinary actions. He punctuated his retirement papers with a handwritten note, “Finally!!! Let’s go Brandon,” a stand-in phrase for a more vulgar insult against President Biden.
Regarding January 6, Catanzara insists, “There was no arson, there was no burning of anything, there was no looting, there was very little destruction of property. It was a bunch of pissed-off people that feel an election was stolen, somehow, some way.”
It's a shame there's no live footage of the January 6 insurrection ... oh wait, there is:
White-washing the January 6 doesn't seem very "tough on crime," but as Chris Rock said, it's all right, if it's all white.
Catanzara loathes Chicago's teachers union, which supports Johnson, who he considers its “Manchurian candidate.” Johnson has endorsements from other non-thuggish unions, including service workers, nurses and government employees.
Vallas has been careful to avoid direct association with Catanzara and he's said he's "not beholden to anybody." However, he openly enjoys support from former Black Panther Bobby L. Rush, who recently completed a 30-year tenure in the House of Representatives. During the summer of 2020, Rush called Chicago's police union “the most rabid, racist body of criminal lawlessness by police in the land” and suggested the police union and the KKK are "like kissing, hugging and law-breaking cousins." (He's not exaggerating. The police union has an extensive racist history.)
Rush still has no patience for union leadership, which he "detests," so why is he backing Vallas?
“I had my son killed by street violence," he said, referring to his 29-year-old son's fatal shooting in1999. "I cannot be anti-police.”
Surely, the police can do better than John Catanzara ... in theory, at least.
Not securing Rush's endorsement is objectively bad news for Johnson, and it gets worse: Former mayoral candidate and City Council Member Sophia King, who serves as alderman from the fourth ward, is also expected to endorse Vallas. On the upside, Martin Luther King III, son of the late civil rights leader, endorsed Johnson this week.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."