CHICAGO (CBS) — In the Chicago mayoral race, Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot each outlined how they would attack Chicago’s crime problem in a forum at the University of Chicago.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley was there.
Lori Lightfoot, the former federal prosecutor, backed a crackdown on repeat gun offenders to help reduce street crime.
“Somebody who decides to, again, pick up a firearm and and cause harm is a danger to the community, pure and simple,” Lightfoot said. “You should not be back out on the street.”
Lightfoot said the feds need to step up prosecution of Chicago gun cases. And she said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s two-person public safety staff must be radically expanded.
“If you compare that to New York, that has about 50 people in its mayor’s office of public safety, or 30 in L.A. it’s hard to say that we are really serious about public safety in this city,” Lightfoot said.
Meantime, Toni Preckwinkle said racism is the reason violence is worse in Chicago than other big cities.
“Neither New York or Los Angeles has the profound segregation that we have here in Chicago. I think that’s part of the reason they have less violence and further more, the poorest communities in Chicago are poorer, relatively speaking, than the poorest communities in New York and Los Angeles,” Preckwinkle said.
Both candidates said poor communities need more investment, jobs and mental health facilities. And both agreed police need better training, but they disagreed on the new police training academy approved Wednesday by City Council.
Lightfoot said the city may be spending too little.
“It’s not going to be $98 million. If you’re really going to do it right, it’s going to be far more than that,” she said.
While Preckwinkle is wary of both the price tag and the location.
“I just question whether or not we need to spend $95 million dollars on a brand new facility, whether there’s an opportunity to reuse a facility elsewhere,” Preckwinkle added.
The forum was organized by the University of Chicago which wanted the two mayoral candidates to appear together. But Toni Preckwinkle declined to share the stage with Lori Lightfoot.
With just 20 days left until the election, vote-by-mail ballots go out Thursday to 21,000 voters who requested them. Election officials said they should be mailed back by March 20.
Early voting begins this weekend at the Super Loop site, and then citywide next Monday.
You can watch Derrick Blakley’s one-on-one interviews with both candidates on our website, CBSChicago.com/voterguide.