Chicago City Wire

Chicago City Wire

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot planning set-aside deals for gay contractors


By Glenn Minnis | Oct 7, 2019

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Chicago Republican Party Chairman Chris Cleveland adamantly opposes Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s stated plan to create a "set-aside" for gay city contractors.

Set-aside contracts are typically offered to businesses that have fulfilled certain requirements.

“This makes no sense,” Cleveland told Chicago City Wire. “This is just a straight giveaway to a favored political group. On average, gay people are more educated and have higher incomes than straight people. A set-aside is just another opportunity for Chicago-style corruption in the contracting process, as favored insiders get contracts because they operate under the ‘gay’ label.”

Chicago Republican Party Chairman Chris Cleveland

According to the Sun-Times, just under 8 percent of adults in the city now identify as gay, meaning the program Lightfoot has in mind for them would increase the overall percentage of the adult population receiving set-asides for city contracts of some kind to a staggering 86.4 percent. But the Sun-Times' report reveals that Cleveland and other critics may have a reason to be concerned with how easily labels can be utilized to cash in on the city's preferential programs.

“Over the years, Chicago has seen countless examples of minority business fraud,” the Sun-Times article stated. “Women and minorities served as ‘fronts’ for white men.”

Many gay residents are not fully on board yet with what Lightfoot is proposing.

“The fact that the LGBTQ community has been discriminated against for decades does warrant a conversation,” Chicago Ald. Ray Lopez, a Gay Caucus member, told Wirepoints. “But I just don’t understand how [Lightfoot] can ensure that it’s not taking away from others who have also been disenfranchised.”

According to Wirepoints, of the nearly 87 percent of the population now receiving preferential treatment with city contracts, 30 percent of the set-asides are reserved for blacks, 29 percent for Hispanics, 17 percent for white women and 8 percent for other minorities.

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