Alderman Fioretti announces for mayor challenging Emanuel

Alderman Fioretti announces for mayor challenging Emanuel 5.00/5 (100.00%) 4 votes

Alderman Fioretti announces for mayor challenging Emanuel

By Ray Hanania

Bob Fioretti 2nd Ward Alderman candidate for Chicago Mayor 2015

Bob Fioretti 2nd Ward Alderman candidate for Chicago Mayor 2015

Chicago Alderman Robert Fioretti announced Saturday that he will challenge controversy plagued Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the February 24, 2015 non-partisan election. Also expected to enter the race is Karen Lewis who has headed the Chicago Teachers Union since 2010.

Fioretti has represented Chicago’s 2nd Ward since 2007. The 2nd Ward includes portions of Bronzeville, East Garfield Park, Illinois Medical District, Little Italy, Loop, Near West Side, Prairie District, South Loop, University Village, Westhaven, and the West Loop. Fioretti has been a champion of diversity and inclusion and promised in his mayoral announcement speech to reach out to communities that have been ignored by Emanuel.

Fioretti is also the 2nd Ward Democratic Committeeman, which is part of the Cook County Democratic Party. He was re-elected as alderman in 2011.

“Our current mayor promised so much, and like many of us, I hoped he would deliver.  But our schools are being gutted, our streets are not safer and so many are missing out on economic opportunities and jobs,” Fioretti said.

“I love Chicago and I can’t stand by while the current mayor looks out for some of us, but ignores the real struggles some families face – for good jobs, for good schools, for safe streets.  Because if we have a mayor who ignores some of our problems, we are left with a mayor who is letting all of us down. We can no longer afford leadership that divides us and ignores the needs and struggles of the majority of this city.”

, former White House Chief of Staff

, former White House Chief of Staff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since his election as mayor in 2011, Emanuel has failed to bring the city together. Emanuel has in fact excluded many minority communities because of political considerations. Worse, Emanuel has failed to take control of the city’s spiralling financial problems which were heaped on him by retiring mayor Richard M. Daley, who worked closely with Emanuel.

In 2011, Emanuel bought the mayoral election by outspending his three opponents by more than 14 to one. Emanuel had more than $14 million raised from out of city and out-of-state contributors, while his challengers including City Clerk Miguel DelValle, former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Brown and education leader and attorney Gery Chico. None of Emanuel’s opponents raised more than $900,000.

“Rahm Emanuel is a political bully who has pushed his way into City Hall and has used his power to help his friends while undermining the best interests of the residents of the City of Chicago,” one longtime political observer said Saturday.

“Emanuel has failed when it comes to improving the city’s finances, receives an F for failing to even bring a momentum of improvement to the Chicago Public Schools, and has implemented questionable policies that suggest his interests lie in higher public office.”

While Emanuel has claimed to support the Chicago Public Schools, he has put his children in parochial schools that offer better training, better programs and more safety, issues he promised to remedy when he ran for mayor but failed to achieve miserably.

One of Emanuel’s weakest issues and biggest failure is his inability to address the rising crime rate. Fioretti hammered the mayor on that issue in his announcement.

“During the last mayoral campaign, we were promised the City would hire 1,000 new police officers. It hasn’t happened.  There are fewer police on our streets now than when this administration took office,” Fioretti said.

Karen Lewis Chicago teachers Union President (Photo Wikipedia)

Karen Lewis Chicago teachers Union President (Photo Wikipedia)

“Families are grieving and whole neighborhoods and congregations are holding vigils and marches and funerals for young victims, but he doesn’t have a plan to crack down on crime – he’s got a plan to crack down on bad headlines. For the rest of us – tough luck. As Mayor, I will find the money to hire new officers. I will make safe streets the top priority of my administration and will not rest till we make sure that every child and every family in this great city feels safe on our streets and in their homes, no matter where they live.

“As Mayor I will fight crime with a holistic approach, because putting more officers on the street is only one piece of solving our crime problem.  We must have strong schools that are anchors of neighborhoods.  We must treat mental health like a priority rather than a part of the budget to slash.  And we must make job creation across this city a priority.  Dealing with crime requires a holistic approach, and Chicago deserves someone that will work to achieve that goal.”

Fioretti’s website is www.bobfioretti.com.

Click here to read Fioretti’s biography.

View Fioretti’s announcement video:

Here is Fioretti’s complete announcement statement:

Good morning Chicago!

My name is Bob Fioretti. I’m a proud native of Chicago, born and raised on the far South Side of this great city.

And today I am here to announce that I…no we…are running for Mayor of the City of Chicago.

I Love Chicago.  Chicago is a city where my Polish-American mother and Italian immigrant father met and chose to raise their family. Chicago is where I learned about hard work by delivering papers and busing tables.  Chicago is where I attended Mendel High School and through hard work earned a scholarship to attend the University of Illinois.

I love Chicago for teaching me to look for out everyone.  But, Chicago also taught me not everyone is treated fairly, that income and race can hold hard working people back.  It is why I became a civil rights attorney here in Chicago – because everyone in Chicago should have the same chance to get ahead, the same opportunity for a good education, and the same right to safe streets.

I have served two terms in the Chicago City Council, under two different mayors.  I have rolled up my sleeves and have dug into the legislative process, all the while working to be a voice of reason, representing the citizens who elected me and looking out for the interests of all the residents of Chicago.

Our current mayor promised so much, and like many of us, I hoped he would deliver.  But our schools are being gutted, our streets are not safer and so many are missing out on economic opportunities and jobs.

I love Chicago and I can’t stand by while the current mayor looks out for some of us, but ignores the real struggles some families face – for good jobs, for good schools, for safe streets.  Because if we have a mayor who ignores some of our problems, we are left with a mayor who is letting all of us down.

We can no longer afford leadership that divides us and ignores the needs and struggles of the majority of this city.

Four years ago, Rahm Emanuel promised he was going to be tough.  People voted for tough, but all we got was ‘tough luck!’

Let’s look at our economy.  There’s no doubt that the richest among us are doing better than ever. But Chicago has the 7th highest unemployment of the 50 biggest cities in America. Our bond rating has been downgraded to just above junk status.

But this administration doesn’t seem to get it. Their priorities for our economy haven’t just failed – they’re upside down. They’re pushing forward, building luxury facilities on the public dime, all while cutting health care benefits and pensions for retirees. Once again, his administration looked at everyday Chicagoans and said ‘tough luck!’

Even our churches and non-profits are being asked to foot the bill.

Let’s start by increasing the minimum wage in our city and state. It’s clear – no one can survive in this city on the current minimum wage of $8.25.

We can inject millions into the economy by requiring businesses making more than $50 million a year to pay their employees $15 an hour.  And as Mayor, I will work to make this so.

That $15 an hour wage will empower workers so they can put money back into their communities, boost their local economies and create more good jobs.  It is a wage that will give people respect and will help so many in this city get a leg up.

And it’s time we get creative about generating new revenue—instead of just adding more taxes and fees on the backs of middle-income Chicago residents.

During the work week, over 600,000 people wake up in the suburbs and drive or train into the city to work.

While here, they rely on our streets, our police, our fire department, and other city services like snow removal.

Then, they get back in their cars or onto trains and they go home and pay taxes and spend their money in the suburbs.

Now, those 600,000 plus people take a total of $30 billion annually in income out of Chicago.

As mayor, I will work to institute a commuter tax so that we are all paying our fair share of the services we use.  Everyone wants firemen and snow removal, so let’s make this happen.  With a one percent tax, we could generate $300 million annually.

But in the long term, building an economy that grows from the middle out – not the top down – means giving all of our children the opportunity for a top-notch education that will prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.

Great jobs are born in great schools, but today we have over 50 school buildings standing empty across the South and West Sides.

Yes, we have seen some population decline in some of these areas, but these closings have left 30,000 students without their neighborhood school, closing the door of opportunity for so many.

The overwhelming majority of those students affected are children of color. When parents, teachers, and students tried to speak up, they were ignored. Rahm said ‘tough luck.’

When I’m Mayor, I will listen to our residents. I’ll be a partner to our teachers and our families.

Rather than closing neighborhood schools against the will of our citizens, we’ll find new ways to fund improvements to our schools. We’ll reduce class sizes in CPS and make sure we give teachers the tools to be great at their job. Let’s get our students ready for college or a job, and stop treating our educators like the enemy.

But no matter how strong our economy is, how much work we do to improve our schools, none of it will matter until we make sure our streets are safe. So our children can walk to school without fear.

During the last mayoral campaign, we were promised the City would hire 1,000 new police officers. It hasn’t happened.  There are fewer police on our streets now than when this administration took office.

Families are grieving and whole neighborhoods and congregations are holding vigils and marches and funerals for young victims, but he doesn’t have a plan to crack down on crime – he’s got a plan to crack down on bad headlines. For the rest of us – tough luck.

As Mayor, I will find the money to hire new officers. I will make safe streets the top priority of my administration and will not rest till we make sure that every child and every family in this great city feels safe on our streets and in their homes, no matter where they live.

As Mayor I will fight crime with a holistic approach, because putting more officers on the street is only one piece of solving our crime problem.  We must have strong schools that are anchors of neighborhoods.  We must treat mental health like a priority rather than a part of the budget to slash.  And we must make job creation across this city a priority.  Dealing with crime requires a holistic approach, and Chicago deserves someone that will work to achieve that goal.

I truly believe that today we stand at a critical juncture in the future of this city that I love so much.

As the wealthy get wealthier and opportunities dry up for the rest of our communities, the divide in our city is growing larger and larger.

We can continue to ignore it. To write it off. To focus on one side of town to the detriment of the other. But that’s not the path Chicagoans want.

We need one Chicago, not two. And to get there, we need a leader who will focus on bringing everyone together to deliver results that improve the lives of every Chicago family.

I pledge to be that leader. To listen to the broad coalition that is represented here today. To work with you – not against you. To be an advocate not just for the businesses in the Loop – but for the parts of the city that are too often ignored, where crime is a part of daily life, where there aren’t enough jobs.

When we are done, Chicago’s broad shoulders will carry a positive agenda that will move Chicago forward.  We will work to make our streets safe for our kids to play and to walk to school.  We will help save neighborhood schools from closing so that we are building communities, rather than tearing them down.  And we will bring equitable economic development to all parts of the city, and not just to those people that fill the campaign coffers of this current administration.

All of us together play a role in building this city and we are its stewards.  This is our duty.

My better half Nicki and I know that we have a long campaign ahead of us.  This might be a bit of breaking news for some of you, but Chicago-style politics is sometimes a full contact sport.

But my love of this city, and my deeply-held conviction of what all Chicago can and will be, will keep me motivated every single day of this campaign.  I will have your back, and today I ask you to have mine.

Let’s go and make history.  Let’s go and tell our fellow Chicagoans that the time is now and that together we can build a city that works for everyone.

Thank you.  And bless this great city.

Ray Hanania

Blogger, Columnist at Illinois News Network Online
Ray Hanania is senior blogger for the Illinois News Network online news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley).

In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. He hosted a live weekend Radio Show on WLS AM radio from 1980 through 1991, and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM and shows on WSBC AM in Chicago and WNZK AM in Detroit.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. He currently is syndicated through Creators Syndicate and his column is feature every Sunday in the Saudi Gazette in Saudi Arabia. He has written for the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His Chicagoland political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News on several Chicagoland blogs including the OrlandParker.com and SuburbanChicagoland.com.

Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

His personal website is www.TheMediaOasis.com. Email him at: [email protected]
  • http://www.IllinoisNewsNetwork.com/ Ray Hanania

    Alderman Fioretti has an excellent chance to unseat Mayor Emanuel. Mayor Emanuel has been exclusive and has failed to bring diversity to Chicago. And he has failed on every promise he made incluidng controlling crime, improving education, reducing taxes and improving education. Fioretti has promised to reach out to EVERY resident of Chicago, unlike Emanuel.