In the ongoing effort to get control of the city’s streets, Mayor Lori Lightfoot staged a news conference last Friday that was meant to make a statement.

Standing on a platform in Olive Park, offset by a sapphire Lake Michigan on a topaz-sky day, the Magnificent Mile’s skyscrapers served as backdrop. Aldermen, clergy, federal and state law enforcement officials all stood as socially distanced props.

Lightfoot even invited Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to stand within shouting distance of her new police superintendent, David Brown. Days earlier, Foxx had called out Brown and Lightfoot for “dishonest blame games,” after they implied Foxx’s lenient release policies were setting would-be looters loose on the streets.

During Foxx’s turn at the microphone, a police helicopter made a showy swoop past the platform. Foxx needed to stop talking as the chopper blades drowned out her voice. Surely that wasn’t part of the plan, right?


David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.

Greising’s career started at the City News Bureau of Chicago, with stops at the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Week magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. He was a co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative and worked briefly as a consultant to World Business Chicago. Today, Greising writes on government issues in regular columns for the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Under Greising’s leadership, the BGA has played a key role in uncovering public corruption amidst the wide-ranging federal probe, starting with an in-depth report about Ald. Ed Burke’s conflicts of interest before the federal charges against Burke. The BGA also has exposed waste and fraud at O’Hare and the proliferation of corruption and poverty into Dolton, Lyons and other Chicago suburbs. The BGA’s policy team has led calls for ethics reform in Chicago’s City Council and in state government.