Chicago's Mayoral Frontrunners Square Off at WTTW Forum - NBC Chicago
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Chicago's Mayoral Frontrunners Square Off at WTTW Forum

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    Chicago's Mayoral Frontrunners Square Off at WTTW Forum

    The race for mayor of Chicago is hitting the final stretch and there's just a week left in the campaign. Mary Ann Ahern reports. (Published Monday, Feb. 18, 2019)

    The race for mayor of Chicago is hitting the final stretch and there's just a week left in the campaign.

    Candidates tried Monday night to separate themselves during a forum on WTTW.

    With the sense this race is wide open -- frontrunners want to hold steady and challengers look for a break out moment. Five of the mayoral candidates tangled on Ald. Ed Burke, taxes and fighting crime. Bill Daley came out to say he played no role in Chicago's parking meter deal as an adviser to his brother former Mayor Richard Daley.

    "In hindsight, 10 years later, whatever it is, we can all pick it apart," he said.

    But the other candidates weren't so dismissive.

    "I thought it was a terrible deal then, I think it's a terrible deal now," Toni Preckwinkle said.

    And Susana Mendoza pulled no punches.

    "It was good business for your family, it was terrible business for Chicagoans," she said.

    But Daley was insistent.

    "Susana, that's a lie," he said. "You cannot say that, that is totally untrue."

    Preckwinkle defended her support for former Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios.

    "As president of the county, I have to work with 11 separately elected officials," she said. "One of those officials was Joe Berrios."

    Wilson said Preckwinkle and Mendoza should stick with the office they already have.

    "They should be working on the job they're getting paid for," he said.

    On fighting crime? One proposal buy drones to help police.

    "Every part of this city, people have a concern about crime," Daley said. "I think we've got to do everything we can to bring them a certain comfort, and help the police department at the same time."

    Mendoza cast doubt on Chicago's economic future because it's notoriety for violence.

    "The next mayor is going to have a more difficult time recruiting corporations and bringing those headquarters to Chicago, if when they turn on the TV set they're seeing that there's, ya know, a murder or a slew of murders."

    Paul Vallas focused on drug addiction treatment.

    "We also need to open up opioid and drug addiction treatment centers so there's that social service infrastructure working with the police department, working with the schools, working with the community," he said.

    Tuesday night WTTW will host the remaining five candidates for mayor. Early voting has been lackluster, but mail in voting is up considerably, leading to the question, will we really know who won next Tuesday, or will it be so close, we have to wait until the mail-in votes are counted?

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