Chicago aldermen block ordinance granting Mayor Lightfoot emergency powers amid pandemic

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot reacted angrily when City Council critics accused her of using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse for a power grab.

They succeeded, at least temporarily, in blocking emergency powers for the mayor, which would allow her to spend tens of millions of tax dollars until June 30.

The City Council may meet many more times via the internet, but there may be few meetings as raucous as Wednesday's session.

Anger flared when five of the 50 aldermen used a parliamentary maneuver to delay a vote on Mayor Lightfoot's bid for emergency spending power related to the pandemic. She was infuriated.

“I’m embarrassed by my own alderman,” the mayor said regarding the alderman who represents her ward.

Power grab? Or desperately needed power to fight COVID-19? The debate resumes anew Friday, when the council reconvenes and likely votes on the proposal.