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创造历史,这座城市有了首位黑人女市长

这座深受枪支暴力困扰,即将陷入财政困境的城市迎来了首位黑人女市长。

芝加哥创造了历史,这座深受枪支暴力困扰,即将陷入财政困境的城市将前联邦检察官洛丽·莱特福特选为首任黑人女性市长。

同时,对这座美国人口第三多的城市来说,强势击败库克县委员会主席托尼·普瑞克温克的莱特福特还将成为历史上第一位公开出柜的领导人。芝加哥选举委员会的反馈信息显示,在几乎所有选区已经报告结果的情况下,莱特福特和普瑞克温克的得票率分别为74%和26%。莱特福特此前从未担任过选举产生的职务。她将接替已经决定不再寻求第二次连任的拉姆·伊曼纽尔。

今年2月26日的初选中,上述两位黑人女性在参选人数最多的一次芝加哥市长选举中击败了12名对手,从而为上周二的历史性选举结果奠定了基础。落选者中包括父亲和哥哥都曾经担任过芝加哥市长的比尔·戴利,而且和伊曼纽尔一样,比尔·戴利也曾经是前总统贝拉克·奥巴马的办公厅主任。

在芝加哥市中心的一家酒店内,莱特福特对欢呼的人群说道:“大家团结起来,最终就能把我们所有人的利益置于少数有权势者的利益之上。我们可以而且一定会打破这座城市无止境的腐败。”

56岁的莱特福特曾经被伊曼纽尔任命为警察系统改革工作组成员,本次作为独立改革者参选。普瑞克温克72岁,她把自己多年来经选举担任公职的经验作为宣传点,称市长并非入门级工作。在民主党政客左倾之际,普瑞克温克的建制派履历并不得人心。

莱特福特的胜选演说效仿了马丁·路德·金和已故的芝加哥首位黑人市长哈罗德·华盛顿,她说自己当选是“变化之令”,并且承诺将拥抱多样性,欢迎移民,确保芝加哥不会萎缩,同时对抗该市臭名昭著的政治腐败。

对于唐纳德·特朗普总统的移民政策,莱特福特将其斥为“仇恨和恐惧的气候”,她说这样的政策让来自于全世界的移民感到恐慌。

普瑞克温克在承认失败的同时也提到了这个夜晚的历史性。她对支持者说:“不久之前,由两位非裔女性来角逐这个职位还是件不可思议的事。”

民主之城

芝加哥的市长选举不涉及党派问题。民主党已经在此主导了几十年,因此竞选一直是民主党人士之间的争夺。普瑞克温克仍然是库克县民主党组织的首脑。

击败普瑞克温克后,莱特福特接掌的这座城市有280亿美元的养老金债务、不断下降的人口以及远超纽约和洛杉矶的凶杀犯罪率。虽然伊曼纽尔通过增加税收让投资者对芝加哥的垃圾级债券感到放心,但他的继任者需要应付养老金缺口以及预计将威胁到该市财政稳定的预算赤字。

设在伊利诺伊州莱克福里斯特的债券研究公司Axios Advisors的管理合伙人特里特·阮说:“她还需要好几个月来了解财政问题,而这对投资者来说是最重要的。一方面我们感到乐观,但随之而来的也有非常多的不确定性。”

莱特福特参选引发关注的原因是她被伊曼纽尔任命为工作组负责人,而该工作组在芝加哥警察射杀手无寸铁的青年拉奎·麦克唐纳后就芝加哥警察局发表了一份尖刻的调查报告。

挑战伊曼纽尔

莱特福特于2018年5月宣布参选,也就是说她在伊曼纽尔放弃第三个任期前向后者发起了挑战。作为候选人,她表示将致力于消除芝加哥的贪污恶名。的确,本次初选期间就出现了有人被控试图敲诈的丑闻。

普瑞克温克曾经是受人青睐的候选人,但和阿尔德曼·艾德·伯克的关系让她受到了连累。伯克于今年1月被控参与联邦腐败。检方称他向一家快餐连锁店施压,要求后者聘请他的税务律师事务所,以便在他掌管的辖区中获得建筑物改建许可证。伯克表示自己无罪。

联邦检察官指控伯克向公司高管施压,要求他们向一位不知姓名的政界人士捐献1万美元,后来发现该政界人士正是普瑞克温克。在普瑞克温克参选县委员会主席期间,伯克还曾经在家为她举办筹款活动。

普瑞克温克曾经在芝加哥担任市议员,从2010年开始领导库克县政府。她还得到过几个最大工会的支持,包括芝加哥教师工会。

她和莱特福特均未非常具体地阐述将如何解决芝加哥的财政问题,但莱特福特得到了当地商会以及《芝加哥论坛报》和《芝加哥太阳时报》的认可。

财政障碍

在伊曼纽尔领导下,芝加哥摆脱了“拆东墙补西墙”的日子,也就是借新债还旧债,还清偿了利率互换债务。三大评级机构目前对芝加哥债务的展望均为“稳定”。穆迪给予芝加哥债券的评级比投资级低一个等级,标普全球评级和惠誉评级的评级则至少比垃圾级高一个等级。

财政障碍依然存在。芝加哥退休金的资金到位率只有27%。伊曼纽尔增强退休金偿付能力的办法是提高缴费比例、房地产税以及其他收费。但在他离职后,芝加哥每年需要的退休金增加了一倍,达到20亿美元以上。

Belle Haven Investments管理着89亿美元市政债券,包括芝加哥债券。该公司的研究部门负责人朵拉·李说,今年5月上任的新市长没有时间可以浪费。芝加哥市政府一般在10月公布预算。

李指出:“芝加哥的财政状况对任何候选人来说都没有多大的回旋余地。‘蜜月期’将非常短。”(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

Chicago made history, electing former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot its first black, female mayor as the city struggles with gun violence on its streets and looming fiscal woes.

Lightfoot, who also will be the first openly gay leader of the nation’s third-most-populous city, soundly defeated Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, 74 to 26 percent with nearly all precincts reporting, according to city election board returns. Lightfoot had never held elective office and will replace Rahm Emanuel, who chose not to run for a third term.

The historic outcome of last Tuesday’s vote was assured after the two black women beat 12 rivals in the campaign’s Feb. 26 first round, Chicago’s most crowded mayoral ballot ever. It included Bill Daley, the son and brother of two past Chicago mayors and, like Emanuel, a chief of staff to former President Barack Obama.

“Together we can and will finally put the interests of our people, all of our people, ahead of the interests of a powerful few,’’ Lightfoot told a cheering crowd gathered at a downtown hotel. “We can and we will break this city’s endless cycle of corruption.’’

Lightfoot, 56, who Emanuel named to a police-reform task force, campaigned as an independent reformer while Preckwinkle, 72, touted her years of experience in elective office, calling the mayoral post not an entry-level job. At a time when Democratic politics is leaning left, Preckwinkle’s establishment resume didn’t sell.

In a victory speech that evoked Martin Luther King Jr. and Chicago’s first black mayor — the late Harold Washington — Lightfoot said her victory was a “mandate for change.” She pledged to embrace diversity, welcome immigrants, ensure the city doesn’t shrink, and combat its infamous political corruption.

Referring to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, Lightfoot decried a “climate of hate and fear” that she said is frightening immigrants from around the globe.

In conceding defeat, Preckwinkle noted the historic nature of the night. “Not long ago, two African-American women vying for this position would have been unthinkable,’’ she told supporters.

Democratic Town

Chicago’s election, while nonpartisan, was fought between Democrats in a place that the party has dominated for decades. Preckwinkle remains the head of the Cook County Democratic organization.

In defeating Preckwinkle, Lightfoot inherits control of a city beset by $28 billion in pension debt, a shrinking population, and a murder rate far surpassing that of New York and Los Angeles. While Emanuel reassured investors in the city’s junk-rated bonds by boosting taxes, his successor will contend with the pension shortfall and projected budget deficits that put the city’s fiscal stability at risk.

“It’s going to take quite a few months to get her arms around the fiscal situation, which is the thing that matters most for investors,” said Triet Nguyen, managing partner at Axios Advisors, a bond research firm, in Lake Forest, Illinois. “On one hand you have optimism but there is a lot of uncertainty that comes with that.”

Lightfoot’s campaign drew attention for her leadership of an Emanuel-appointed task force that issued a scathing review of the department in the wake of the shooting of an unarmed teenager, Laquan McDonald, by a Chicago policeman.

Challenging Emanuel

Lightfoot challenged Emanuel before he dropped his bid for a third term, announcing her candidacy in May 2018. She presented herself as the candidate who would combat Chicago’s notorious reputation for corruption. Indeed, a scandal involving allegations of attempted extortion erupted in the middle of the campaign’s first round.

Once a favored candidate, Preckwinkle was hurt by her connection to Alderman Ed Burke, who was hit with a federal corruption charge in January. Prosecutors alleged he pressured executives of a fast-food restaurant chain to become clients of his tax-specialty law firm in exchange for a remodeling permit in his ward. Burke has pleaded not guilty.

The federal complaint alleges he pressured company executives to donate $10,000 to an unnamed politician, later identified as Preckwinkle. He’d also held a fundraiser for her in his home during her campaign for county office.

Preckwinkle, a former Chicago alderman who has led the county government since 2010, also was backed by some of the largest labor groups, including the Chicago teachers union.

Neither she nor Lightfoot offered many specifics on how to handle the city’s financial problems, but Lightfoot won the endorsement of the local chamber of commerce as well as the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.

Financial Hurdles

Under Emanuel, the city ended its so-called scoop and toss, the process of borrowing to pay off maturing debt, and also unwound its debt portfolio of interest-rate swaps. All three major rating companies now have a stable outlook on the city’s debt. Moody’s rates the bonds one step below investment grade, while S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings consider Chicago at least one level above junk.

Financial hurdles remain. The city’s retirement funds are only 27 percent funded. Emanuel put the pensions on a path to solvency by boosting the city’s contribution and raising property taxes and other fees. After he leaves office, though, the city’s required annual pension payment doubles to more than $2 billion.

The next mayor, who will be inaugurated in May, won’t have time to waste once she takes office, said Dora Lee, director of research at Belle Haven Investments, which manages $8.9 billion of municipals including Chicago bonds. The city budget is typically presented in October.

“Chicago’s financial situation does not afford any candidate a lot of runway,’’ Lee said. “It’s going to be a very short honeymoon.’’

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