Police vaccines, Latino Caucus overshadow budget talks at city council meeting

CHICAGO — The Chicago City Council is meeting Thursday to discuss the city budget and Mayor Lori Lightfoot mayor is still rallying support for her proposal.

The politics of the budget is not the only story simmering.

Tensions between the mayor and the Latino Caucus and worry about police and the vaccine mandate were top of mind.

First, a meeting between Lightfoot and the City Council Latino Caucus ended with harsh words exchanged. The caucus has criticizing Lightfoot about Latino representation and hiring. They even sent her a letter complaining about the lack of diversity.

Lightfoot told the members on the private call that she was offended by the letter.

Aldermen fired back.

The meeting was first reported by the Chicago Tribune and now confirmed by WGN.

Also, the Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara is urging officers not to report their vaccination status Friday. Lightfoot is threatening that any city employee who does not report their status by Friday will be placed on unpaid leave.

The FOP is not budging and its raising fears that officers may not show up to work tomorrow.

“You have the FOP president telling his members, he’s saying over 50% of them are not complying with the mandate, Alderman Anthony Beale said. “And so if we have over 50% of our manpower not on the streets coming this weekend when we already have record numbers of homicides, record numbers of carjacking’s, record number of crime running rampant in the city — what’s going to happen?”

“The refusal not to get vaccinated is a form of not protecting the community that they were charged to protect,” Alderman Roberto Maldonado said.

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“I believe that people who are public servants, people who have signed up for this type of work — whether you’re a police officer or streets and sanitation worker or an elected official — most of the people that I’ve encountered or worked with are in this to do work. They’re in here to serve the public,
Alderwoman Maria Hadden said. “And I think it’s in the best interest of the public – the residents of our city – for folks to just comply with the information.”

A lighter note to the meeting came when the council honored Rev. Jesse Jackson who recently turned 80 years old.

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