CHICAGO (CBS)– Presiding over her first City Council meeting, Mayor Lori Lightfoot let everyone know she is no push-over by slapping down the oldest and most feared Alderman, Ed Burke.
Later in a news conference, she eviscerated two other aldermen who have spoken out against her.
Any thoughts of a repeat of the 1980s “Council Wars” were quickly dispelled as Lightfoot’s controversial reorganization of Council and its committees were OKd by voice votes.
Only Burke and Ald. Ray Lopez voted against the re-design, which puts reformer Ald. Scott Waguespack atop the powerful Finance Committee once ruled by Burke.
Burke is under federal investigation and is expected to be indicted next month for attempting to shake down a Burger King ownership group in exchange for a city permit.
The FBI had tapped Burke’s cell phone.
“Alderman, please. I will call you when I want to hear from you,” snapped the Mayor when Burke rose to interrupt the vote on an element of her Council plan.
“That was a stunt … just grandstanding” Lightfoot told reporters later. “He’s a show-boater, and I don’t have patience for that.”
Saying further: “Alderman Burke is somebody who likes to test people. He likes to see if there are weaknesses. He has attempted to do this in the past with me, and he’s failed spectacularly every time. And every time he tries it, he will again fail spectacularly.
“I’m not going to start my term as mayor with a City Council putting up with somebody who is just playing games for the sport of it.”
Lightfoot shared her blunt view on how she views the affairs of aldermen: “The people in this City expect us to do our jobs. They expect the government to actually work on behalf of the people and not have a game of thrones gamesmanship on the floor of the City Council. I’m not having it.”
Lopez and Beale were left out of the new Council hierarchy. Both had been critical lately of Lightfoot’s management style.
Lopez today telling reporters “she comes in here vindictive and attacking us.”
Lightfoot responded by advising Lopez to “spend more time trying to actually reach out and be collaborative rather than vent himself in the media. He’s carrying the water for Alderman Burke-that was obvious.”
Lightfoot explained why Beale lost his chairmanship of the Transportation Committee with all its jobs and budget.
“Alderman Beale thought it was appropriate to not be forthright in discussions with me and to invoke my name in trying to carve up the spoils of government for himself,” she said. “I don’t take kindly to that.”
“When I confronted him with the things he was doing he told one story but I had too many people amongst his colleagues and otherwise come to me,” Lightfoot said. “We can’t countenance somebody who doesn’t stand for integrity and doesn’t tell the truth. “
It’s a bitter pill for Beale to swallow. For the last eight years he was a darling of the Emanuel Administration in exchange for support in Council votes.
Under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel Beale’s ninth ward received city subsidies for the Method soap factory, Gotham Greens indoor vegetable plant, Whole Foods warehouse as well as a modern sports facility partially bankrolled by the Chicago Cubs.