Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is criticized at a raucous council meeting weeks after losing the election
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was reprimanded by local journalist William Kelly during a city council meeting earlier this week and told to get out of town.
Kelly, who has long been an outspoken critic of Lightfoot’s policies, criticized the mayor for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to the closure of the city’s schools, churches and businesses.
Kelly, who runs a television production and events company, lashed out during a portion of the meeting where the public was invited to comment.
“You closed our schools, you closed the churches, you closed the businesses,” Kelly began.
You did the one thing I thought could never happen. As someone who was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, I never thought in my life that I would ever see the city of Chicago fall as low as you did.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was reprimanded during a contentious city council meeting with journalist William Kelly telling her to “get out of my city.”
William Kelly, who has a history of clashing with Lightfoot, condemned his leadership, his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and crime that has risen sharply.
“I hope that after today’s city council meeting, you’ll pack your bags and get the hell out of my town,” Kelly yelled.
“How embarrassing,” he continued. “That’s a legacy you’re going to have to carry.”
Kelly had a long-standing feud with Lightfoot, even suing her last year over her policies.
During her statement, Kelly criticized the mayor for revoking her press credentials as an act of retribution for her criticism and called her out for trying to silence critics.
“I feel like this is more of a victim impact statement than actual public comment,” he said.
‘What you have done to me is nothing compared to what you have done to my city, the city of Chicago, the city where I was born and raised, the city I love with all my heart. “You’re a pandemic,” Kelly added.
During the council meeting, pictured above, Kelly accused her of causing significant damage to the city, which she loves and where she was born and raised, describing it as a “pandemic.”
Last year, Chicago journalist William Kelly sued Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for violating her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights after she was barred from City Hall press conferences.
Lightfoot did not respond to Kelly’s comments and left the meeting after calling it a “pandemic.”
Lightfoot, who was elected in 2019, recently lost her re-election bid.
His tenure has been marked by criticism of his handling of crime in the city, which has risen sharply since he took office, with the homicide rate rising 40 percent last year alone.
The city saw 800 murders in 2021, the highest in 25 years.
Lightfoot has also faced controversy over her strained relationship with the city’s press and unions, with some accusing her of limiting freedom of information access to public records.
Despite Lightfoot’s claims of racism and gender bias after his re-election loss, critics continue to question his leadership and legacy.
Kelly’s verbal attack underscores the frustration felt by many in the city, who are calling for change and accountability at higher levels of leadership.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who was notoriously soft on crime, garnered just 17 percent of the vote in the city council race, forcing a runoff between former schools chief executive Paul Vallas and commissioner Brandon Johnson. Cook County on April 4.
Lightfoot, the first black woman and the first openly gay person to lead the city, won her first term in 2019 after vowing to end decades of corruption and underhanded dealings on City Hall.
But opponents blamed Lightfoot for a spike in crime that occurred in US cities during the pandemic and criticized her for being a divisive and overly controversial leader.
As crime continued to rise during the later years of her tenure, Lightfoot was heavily criticized for promoting issues other than public safety, including a citywide karaoke contest and dancing in the street during a festival.
Lightfoot first faced backlash after joining calls by Democratic mayors in 2021 to cut the budget for police departments, a move that also resulted in officers leaving the force and a rise in violent crime.
The embattled mayor then vowed to do a U-turn, opting instead to ‘reimburse the police’ and hire more officers, but the move has done little to curb crime.
According to the latest report from the Chicago Police Department, rapes have skyrocketed 16 percent so far this year compared to the same period in 2022.
Robberies were also up 13 percent, with aggravated assault and robbery both up 11 percent.
Theft in the Windy City increased 31 percent, and vehicle thefts, specifically, shot up 143 percent.
Homicide and shooting incidents were the only category to see declines, falling 18 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
While violent crime overall is up 52 percent from the same period last year, it’s up 102 percent compared to 2021.