Chicago mayoral candidates clash on crime, taxes in latest forum

The gloves came off Thursday night as Chicago’s two mayoral hopefuls went head-to-head in the latest forum.

"You have refused to generate any real budget plans of how we're going to generate revenue to save lives," Brandon Johnson said.

"I’m surprised he's not criticizing me for being behind the grassy knoll in Dallas," Vallas responded.


The pair tackled everything from crime to public schools, tent cities, and mental health care.

We're talking about two very different candidates here, with drastically different strategies on handling just about every issue.

Fireworks flew tonight when each candidate was tasked with asking his opponent a question.

"There were individuals with Paul Vallas signs who accosted seniors right outside this event and I want to know tonight if you'd be willing to commit on television to disavow this behavior," Johnson said.

"I don't expect any of the individuals who supported me to go in and be disruptive with other candidates. But the point is, I've been the constant victim of disruptions but I've basically weathered the storm," Vallas answered.

"How do you expect the city to grow and prosper, particularly it's poorest communities, when you're talking about defunding the police and the type of defunding that will impact the poorest communities, and you're talking about raising taxes across the board by $800 million dollars," Vallas asked.

"I’m not going to defund the police. And you know that – you know that. I've passed multibillion dollar budgets over and over against. Not gonna do that. But here's the reality Paul, you can't run a multibillion dollar budget off of bake sales," Johnson responded.

The number one topic on Chicagoan’s minds is reducing crime. Vallas says he wants to reinvest in Chicago police so that residents get immediate assistance when they call 911.

Johnson wants to train and promote 200 detectives but focus heavily on sending social workers instead of armed officers to deescalate crimes.

Overall, violent crime is up 47 percent in the city from a year ago.

Either candidate will have their hands full.

The runoff is on April 4, and early voting begins Monday.