Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-12-07
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

POLITICS Ald. Raymond Lopez talks mayoral run, Lightfoot, Fox News
by Andrew Davis
2022-04-29

This article shared 1075 times since Fri Apr 29, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


"I'm in."

With that short statement on Twitter, Chicago Ald. Raymond Lopez announced his attempt to become the city's next mayor. A fierce critic of current Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Lopez (who, like Lightfoot, is part of the LGBTQ+ community) has said, "My core principles will be simple: safety, rebuilding our economy and supporting our first responders and city employees that serve the taxpayers of Chicago."

Recently, Lopez talked with Windy City Times about a variety of issues, including his appearances on Fox News, Lightfoot and self-realization.

Windy City Times: When you announced your mayoral run, you compared Chicago to a "rudderless ship."

Raymond Lopez: Yes. Chicago is a city without leadership; it's both without a rudder and just floating aimlessly on the water. We don't have a guiding star that we're following and we're just adrift.

That's how it's been for the last three years. We've been responsive and reactive, as opposed to being aware of where we want to go and being proactive.

WCT: Did you support Lori Lightfoot when she ran for mayor?

RL: In the general race, I supported Gery Chico; I believe in supporting your family and friends. After he didn't make it to the runoff, I endorsed no one. Either way, it was a historic election, with the city's first Black, female mayor. I figured my residents could make up their own minds, and I would work with either candidate.

WCT: You said you were willing to work with her. When did things turn?

RL: I think the turning in our relationship—and with a lot of other aldermen—happened during her inauguration. That was an event for all of us, and there we were—celebrating the next chapter in our history. Then, the new leader of the city turned around and called us all corrupt; that left a bad taste for all of us. You can see pictures of us; our facial expressions changed in, like, 2.2 seconds while my family's in the audience. I know [that statement] played well with the audience.

Despite that, I still offered to work with her—but that was an offer that was seldom accepted. But I let her and her team know that if they wanted an off-the-books talk, to let me know. I believe we met twice during her tenure, for an hour; I told her that I thought she was misusing her mandate and missing an opportunity to truly transform the city—even suggesting we could pass aldermanic prerogative changes on zoning if there was a comprehensive citywide plan that we could all commit to. Unfortunately, that was not a track she wanted to go down. And that was a pattern that repeated itself until March 17, 2020, when the city shut down because of COVID. Unfortunately, we were never able to build a relationship that had us working together.

WCT: I'm curious about who your political role models are.

RL: There have been local politicians I've grown up with—it was a different dynamic. I grew up in an era of precinct captains knocking on doors and politicians holding ward nights. I got my political chops working with Bill Lipinski in the 23rd Ward on the Southwest Side. It was those kinds of political leaders who showed and taught me the value of what professionals refer to now as "retail politics." It wasn't retail politics to me; it was being a good person—getting to know my residents and their issues with the ward.

WCT: I know that crime is an important issue for you. That includes speed bumps in your ward—which at least one of your residents (a friend of mine) complained about.

RL: [Laughs] You mean the "Lopez mountains." They have affected crime because people have to slow down so much that if they don't, their vehicles get seriously damaged.

My ward had sustainable policies in place that shifted once the new administration and superintendent changed the dynamics of the neighborhood, compromised the integrity and didn't use technology to the best of their ability.

Speed bumps aren't for every neighborhood. But it's a tool that addresses the issue directly. Infrastructure is a public-safety issue.

WCT: Every mayoral candidate who's been elected has had one thing in common: political allies.

RL: [Smiles] I thought you were going to say that they're short.

WCT: [Smiles] Not quite. They had political allies, and you almost seem like a political island. Without naming anyone, do you feel you have allies?

RL: I do. I feel that what I represent is an elected official who can move within various circles. I don't belong to one particular group. I can work just as easily with my Democratic socialist colleagues as I can with my more conservative colleagues from the Southwest and Northwest sides. Being able to go from one group to the next and deal with everyone in between, I personally think, is how that body should work.

Too often, we're focused on "This is my clique" or "This is my caucus." I think that's why many people find me to be somewhat of an enigma—because I just don't stick with one group. There have been times when I've stood with the Black Caucus—for example, when they addressed the issues in the cannabis industry and zoning; I was the only Latino who stood with them. But I'll also stand with the more liberal members regarding police accountability and oversight. Or I'll stand with the more conservative members regarding lawsuits for gangbangers who are trying to game the system.

Every one of those groups is separate from each other. I'm involved in the issues, as opposed to the politics behind them.

WCT: Your mention of conservatives leads me to Fox News, where you've appeared on shows with Tucker Carlson, for example. What led you to appear there?

RL: Well, I've appeared on Fox News quite a few times. They asked for an interview, and I granted it. You asked for an interview, and I granted it. We need to answer to everybody.

It's ironic that it's the two-year anniversary of when the mayor said that she'd only speak to certain journalists. That's the right way to go about things, and it's been mentioned that [what Lightfoot did] was more of a stunt. The best way to deal with media is to be open and discuss things with everyone. It's not healthy for journalism. When I win, I want to be open and available on a weekly basis to all reporters, even if it's a hybrid model.

WCT: I'm curious about what you think of the job Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx is doing.

RL: I didn't support Kim Foxx for re-election. But it would not be my position to criticize Kim Foxx when my own house is in disarray. We need to get our house in order. We need to get our police department in order. When I know the officers are doing everything correctly and by the book—with a different superintendent—then I can deal with the shortcomings of Kim Foxx and the justice system. To [criticize] her now would be a mistake and would come off as political deflection.

And to be fair, I called for a special meeting to allow Kim Foxx the opportunity to address the city council. I invited her to come down and tell us what we needed to address. Unfortunately, the administration didn't want to hear from her. [NOTE: Lopez, through his campaign consultant, provided what was called "the transmittal submitted by Alderman Lopez and several of his colleagues for a special meeting requesting reports from the State's Attorney and Chief Judge Timothy Evans on their unified effort to address the crime, looting and safety of residents throughout Chicago."]

And she [Foxx] was on the Zoom call for the special meeting that we called. The mayor refused to acknowledge her and [ended] the meeting so she'd never have the opportunity to present, which, in my opinion, was a lost opportunity.

WCT: What do you think is the biggest issue for Chicago's LGBTQ+ community?

RL: Our world has changed so much since we were kids. I remember what it was like sneaking up to Boystown—or "up there," as I was on the Southwest Side. Now, so many youths don't have the same challenges we had, especially among their peers.

But I think one of the challenges for the LGBTQIA+ community is that we still have issues of blatant racism within that community. There is life within our community outside of Northalsted; I don't care how integrated we are—people still fail to recognize that fact. I'm a testament to that fact, and we don't address that issue. Are we really that rainbow flag, or is it just a token flag to make people feel good? Again, it's been a missed opportunity by this mayor—who is a Black lesbian—to highlight that fact.

Even when it comes to HIV/STI prevention, the money overwhelmingly goes in one direction and to one part of the city; we need to address the entire city. There's no advocacy group in most Latino neighborhoods to address LGBTQIA+ Latinos. There are sex workers on the street with no resources to support them—at least, not of the same caliber you see on Belmont and Halsted.

We know how to walk and chew gum at the same time. And if you're a mayor who says you're a part of our community, you need to focus on the needs of that community, like rising crystal-meth use in our constituencies.

If you don't bring it up, no one knows about it. If no one knows about it, no policy will address it. Then things go from being a snowflake to being an avalanche—and then we won't know what to do. And that's something that's been the hallmark of this administration from day one.

WCT: This last question is something I've asked a variety of people: What have you learned about yourself these past two years, with the pandemic everyone has dealt with and the racial awakening some people have had?

RL: This pandemic taught me a number of things. One, I don't do well in isolation. It's hard for an extrovert to not be around people; my husband, on the other hand, has always wanted to be a hermit and was in seventh heaven. He didn't have to deal with people and didn't even have to go grocery shopping; he just bought things online. I guess that's why I'm the politician and he's not. [Smiles]

But aside from that, I learned that it's a very humbling experience when you cannot help someone, despite your best efforts. When the whole world shuts down and people need help, you have to figure out how to say, "I don't know how to help you." That's a very impactful moment for people.

I remember the early days [of the pandemic], when the great toilet-paper run happened. What do you do with a senior who's on her last roll and is afraid to go to the grocery store? I figured that, if the world's gone crazy, then what the hell—I started emptying my own office. I'm a packrat, so I started doling out whatever I had: toilet paper, Lysol.

What I learned is that you can't always help everyone. But what you CAN do is exude … that you're trying to help—that you recognize their problems. If I can't do it, we have to find someone who can help.

Politicians have a knack for sugarcoating problems and not telling you the truth about what's happening. You need to lay it all on the line.

But I also learned that you never know how much you truly miss people until something like [the pandemic] happens. One of the hardest things I had to deal with was learning about my residents who had passed on—and sometimes learning four, five, six months after they died. You can't really help the community deal with the grief that they never got to address.

Some people have become more robotic and desensitized since the pandemic started. I think I've become more sensitive, to be honest. People have seen the public persona of Raymond Lopez, the gangbanger fighter; now, they're seeing a more [vulnerable] side.

Raymond Lopez's campaign website is www.raymondlopezchicago.com .


This article shared 1075 times since Fri Apr 29, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023: Incumbent 49th Ward Ald. Maria Hadden talks accomplishments, second term goals 2023-02-01
- ELECTIONS 2023: Incumbent 49th Ward Ald. Maria Hadden discusses accomplishments, second term goals By Carrie Maxwell This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023: 49th Ward challenger Belia Rodriguez on why running, differences from incumbent 2023-02-01
- This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28. Belia Rodriguez is a lifelong Chicagoan who attended Chicago Public Schools. ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023: 48th Ward candidate Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth on why running, biggest differences from other challengers 2023-01-31
- A lifelong Chicagoan, Leni Manaa-Hoppeworth is running to become the next 48th Ward Alderperson. She is currently a small business owner (Chicago Dance Supply, 5301 N. Clark St., for the past 20 years) in the ward ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023 Lamont Robinson talks political switch, guns, LGBTQ+ issues 2023-01-30
- This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28. When it comes to politics, Lamont Robinson has, for several years, ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023: Candidate Larry Svabek describes his vision for the 48th Ward 2023-01-30
- This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28. Twenty-nine year old Larry Svabek has been an instructor, lecturer and ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023 Jessie Fuentes: 26th Ward candidate talks mental health, LGBTQ+ Chicagoans 2023-01-30
- This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28. The 2023 race to represent Chicago's 26th Ward—which includes parts of ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023: Incumbent 35th Ward Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa seeks third term, talks accomplishments 2023-01-30
- This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28. A life-long Chicagoan, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward) is running unopposed ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023 Raymond Lopez on running for alderman, endorsing Willie Wilson 2023-01-29
- This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28. The last time Chicago Ald. Raymond Lopez talked with Windy City ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Missing student, Utah bill, Atlanta Pride, crime items, Castro bar 2023-01-29
- A New York City law student has been missing for weeks—and his brother said his last known location was The Q, a gay bar in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, NBC News reported. Jordan Taylor, 29, a ...


Gay News

Quigley commends progress in FDA LGBTQI+ blood donation draft guidance 2023-01-27
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Vice-Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, released the following statement commending long-awaited updates to the FDA's blood donation guidance for LGBTQI+ ...


Gay News

Equality Illinois responds to violence, murder of Black and Brown trans people on the south side 2023-01-25
--From a press release - Statement by Myles Brady Davis, Director of Communications at Equality Illinois, the state's civil rights organization for LGBTQ+ people, regarding the violences and murders of Black and Brown trans people on the south side of Chicago: ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Calif. bills, DeSantis, HIV vaccine, Meta, college items 2023-01-22
- Buried within the bills California legislators filed after Gov. Gavin Newsom released his budget proposal for the 2023-2024 fiscal year is a line seeking to retrieve $13 million back from the state's Transgender Wellness and Equity ...


Gay News

WORLD Dutch vote, landmark ruling, French teen, UK items 2023-01-22
- Dutch senators voted 56-15 in favor of including an explicit ban on discrimination on the grounds of disability or sexual orientation in the constitution, DutchNews.nl reported. This development clears the way for the constitution to be ...


Gay News

Early voting in downtown Chicago to start Thursday, January 26 2023-01-17
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Early voting in Downtown Chicago for the February 28, 2023 Municipal Election will start at two vote centers — the Voter Supersite at 191 N. Clark and Board Offices at 69 W. Washington, ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Asylum-seekers, equality updates, cannabis, HIV and COVID 2023-01-15
- Advocacy groups that specifically work with LGBTQI+ asylum-seekers and migrants criticized the Biden administration's expansion of the use of "expedited removal" of Cubans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and Venezuelans who enter the ...


 




Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.