Mayoral forum: Paul Vallas swings back in TV debate with Brandon Johnson

Chicago mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson (left) and Paul Vallas (right) shake hands before a mayoral debate at WLS-TV ABC Channel 7’s studio on Thursday.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Paul Vallas came out of his technocratic shell and fired back at Brandon Johnson Thursday in a spirited debate that put Johnson on the spot for his past support for the idea of defunding police and his current plan to raise $800 million in taxes to “invest in people.”

During their first televised debate last week, Johnson was the undisputed aggressor.

He accused Vallas of fronting for “right-wing extremists” and of setting the stage for an avalanche of property tax increases with the “accounting gimmicks” and pension fund raids Johnson accused Vallas of engineering as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools.

That night, Vallas played it safe by trying to remain above the fray. His primary response to Johnson’s broadside was to call those criticisms “nonsense.”

On Thursday, it was a dramatically different Vallas who showed up to debate his runoff opponent at ABC7 Chicago.

With the race tightening, even in his campaign’s own internal polls, Vallas brought the verbal equivalent of his boxing gloves to battle.

Answering the first question of the night, Vallas threw a verbal punch about Johnson’s history of talking favorably about the political goal of defunding the police.

Johnson is not saying it anymore. But, he still won’t commit to fully funding the Chicago Police Department’s $1.94 billion budget. In fact, he’s vowed to cut the CPD budget by at least $150 million, in part, by reducing the number of supervisors.

“My opponent wants to defund the …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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