Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Toni Preckwinkle – A Record to Emulate?

Toni Preckwinkle has finally announced that she will not run for mayor. The fact that all accounts showed she had a chance to beat Rahm Emanuel in an election made her decision extraordinary. But what exactly would working class Chicagoans have stood to gain from a Preckwinkle victory?

Preckwinkle has repeatedly criticized Emanuel for his continuous stream of assaults on public education in Chicago, particularly the deep cuts and closings directed towards neighborhood schools in poor black and Latino neighborhoods. 

But what else does her record show? Preckwinkle has been Cook County president since 2010. She has not been an ostentatious dick, like Rahm Emanuel. However, she has presided over austerity budgets cutting every year she’s been in charge. Preckwinkle closed down most county services, including neighborhood clinics, and the clerks and treasurers’ offices, for five days over the course of 2011, and all county workers had to take five additional unpaid furlough days that year. Later, in fall of 2011, the County laid off 775 workers – public defenders, staff at Stroger hospital and others. The cuts included $40 million from County Hospital’s budget – during a time when presumably more people are using the hospital of last resort. If she’s willing to cut necessary services for the poor, like public defenders and the public hospital, is there any reason to believe she would have treated CPS any differently? 

This year, Preckwinkle sought pension cuts for county workers – with a proposal to cut pensions that is just as vicious as the one Emanuel foisted on City workers and CTU PSRP’s. 

(Btw - ratings agencies were already hitting Toni on the county's bond rating for not "fixing" the county's pension "crisis" - probably pressure to get her out of the race.)

At no time during Preckwinkle’s tenure as Cook County President, did she propose an alternative to cuts. 

Unlike Lewis and the CTU, she does not propose to go where the money is -- to tax the wealthy or the corporations in order to maintain necessary public services for the population. 

Union teachers are hopping mad that Pat Quinn attacked teacher and PSRP pensions, as well as those of other city and state workers. But over basically the same period, Preckwinkle has behaved in the same way. Preckwinkle has presided over the same kind of austerity cuts at the county and the hospital system that Emanuel has pushed. 

She may not be as arrogant, or as brazen, or as contemptuous of working people as Emanuel. She has a record of pushing reforms, like the Big Box minimum wage, and prison time for John Burge. She would be the “good cop” to Emanuel’s “bad cop.” 

But that’s the point of the “good cop, bad cop” routine: they’re both cops. They both have served and will continue to serve the city’s bourgeoisie, and if the bourgeoisie wants to cut public education, or public health care, Preckwinkle has demonstrated that she is perfectly willing to do so.

Preckwinkle is a part of the Chicago machine. She faithfully agreed to bow out of a "race" with Rahm even though all polls indicated she would have easily won. That proves there is no difference between these so-called democrats who represent capital hell-bent on destroying the working class.

Good riddance to Toni!

*The author of this opinion-editorial wishes to remain anonymous. Second City Teacher encourages those who wish to express their opinions on this site to submit writing to

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