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Mayoral Candidates Debate Red Light Cameras, Campaign Contributions

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Emanuel faced off against his leading challengers at a spirited debate hosted by WTTW and the City Club.

WBBM Political editor Craig Dellimore reports red light cameras got a lot of play during the debate, with Alderman Bob Fioretti calling for a moratorium.

"I have introduced an ordinance abolishing red light cameras," he said. "It is fines, fees and forfeiture. It is not about safety."


Jesus "Chuy" Garcia also favors a moratorium but under rapid fire questioning from host Phil Ponce, Mayor Emanuel went on the attack.

"Chuy, right before the county voted on a red light operation, you took $1,500 the night before and then you had the swing vote the next day and Bob five years ago, you actually voted to expand the red light program. I am the only one that has actually shut down lights in the city of Chicago," Emanuel said.

Garcia responded, "I took a $1,500 contribution from a 30-year friend who does no business with the city."

Wilson said he would shut down the red light program.

There were also questions about Chicago Tribune stories showing some of Rahm Emanuel's biggest contributors somehow benefit somehow benefit from city business but challenger and businessman Willie Wilson tried to stay above the fray.

"I'm the only one who hasn't taken any money from nobody," he said. "When you take money from corporations and unions, you are going to owe 'em."

But Mayor Emanuel said that is not true for him.

"I have received support from business, they are against my increase in the minimum wage," Emanuel said. "I have actually received support from other businesses I closed loopholes as it relates to buying things outside the city so they can avoid sales taxes."

Bob Fioretti wasn't persuaded.

"All these board appointments and look at those top 103 contractors that received items, 60 of them received some kind of contract, some kind of benefit," Fioretti said. "If that's not pay to play, I don't know what is."

Garcia agrees with Fioretti.

A fifth mayoral candidate, William "Dock" Walls, was not invited to Wednesday's debate.

The final mayoral debate featuring all five candidates will take place next Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. on CBS 2. We've teamed up with the Chicago Urban League, the Business Leadership Council, and WVON Radio to sponsor that debate.

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