The Chicago mayoral race may be 10 months away, but some potential contenders are making themselves known.
Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), a vocal critic of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, offered his most stinging criticism yet at a speech Monday at the City Club of Chicago -- and receiving a standing ovation for his efforts.
Fioretti offered an alternative plan for fixing Chicago's pension problem. He suggests implementing a 1 percent commuter tax on the estimated 620,000 suburbanites who travel to Chicago daily, a tax he says would add up to $300 million. Emanuel has proposed raising property taxes to fill the pension void.
"This has been done in other cities. Given our fiscal state, this is certainly an option we should consider seriously," Fioretti said.
But Fioretti saved his sharpest daggers for Emanuel's leadership style, and invoked a Chicago poet.
"He writes, 'Rahm Emanuel is building a second city ... two cities really -- one white, one black. One for the rich, one for the poor,'" Fioretti said.
Despite the campaign tone, Fioretti says he's undecided on whether he'll run against Emanuel, but clearly, he and another rumored candidate -- Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle -- have met to discuss strategy.
"We have a continuing dialogue, we see each other often, we need to sit down and talk about where we're going and what her aims are," Fioretti said.
Emanuel's nemesis, Chicago Teacher's Union president Karen Lewis, also attended Monday's event, and is firmly in the "anybody but Rahm" camp.
"The mayor we have now just needs to go somewhere else and do something else," Lewis said.
Fioretti has undergone treatment for tonsil cancer, but he says his health is 100 percent.
His Second Ward district has been redrawn, so right now Fioretti says he's weighing all of his political options.