(CBS) — Mayor Emanuel and challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia tangled Monday over finances and red-light cameras, among other issues, in their first one-on-one televised debate before the April 7 election.
In a rapid-fire hour of questions and answers, Emanuel sounded definitive about the city’s budget problems and how to solve them, while Garcia, a Cook County commissioner, sought to cast doubt on the incumbent’s plans.READ MORE: When Insurance Company Wouldn't Budge On His Claim, He Took Matters Into His Own Hands; Who Monitors Complaints Against Insurers In Illinois?
Emanuel said reducing the city’s crushing pension debt would require broadening the city’s sales tax and using money from a future casino and Chicago’s tax-increment financing (TIF) funds. He slammed Garcia for wanting to study the numbers.
“Chuy, you laid out a commission, not a plan,” Emanuel said.
But Garcia says the mayor is wrong to assume a pension fix will be upheld by the courts.READ MORE: Local Vaccination Sites Begin Administering Pfizer Vaccine To Kids Ages 12 To 15 Thursday; Some Sites Extend Hours
“Then we’ll be back to square one,” said Garcia, who said he would consider supporting a Chicago-based casino, given the city’s dire finances.
Garcia again pledged to dismantle the city’s unpopular network of red-light cameras that sock drivers $100 per violation. Emanuel said his administration had tamed administrative abuses and even removed several of the cameras.
In post-debate comments to reporters, Garcia said the mayor is “out of touch” with most Chicagoans. Emanuel went to a tavern to meet with supporters. Earlier, he conceded his style can be confrontational but said his motives are good.MORE NEWS: Dive-In Prayer Service For End Of Ramadan Being Held At Aurora's Fox Valley Mall
Monday’s debate was televised by WMAQ-TV and moderated by reporter Carol Marin.