Alderman Bob Fioretti

On Tuesday the Grassroots Collaborative threw a big rally at the UIC Forum that was attended by 2,000 or so roaring, red-blooded, Rahm-hating activists!

So of course I had to be there.

They called it Take Back Chicago—a chance for activists to “present a new economic plan for the city.” But, really, it was the opening round of the 2015 mayoral election.

Think of it this way. Last week, Mayor Emanuel revealed he’d collected about $5.1 million in campaign contributions from various cronies, flunkies, and friends.

It was the mayor’s way of raising his middle finger to everyone he doesn’t give a shit about—a vast assemblage that includes cops, firefighters, teachers, public school parents, and pretty much everyone south of 47th Street not named Brazier.

So Tuesday’s rally was a way for activists to raise their fingers back.

In short, the mayoral campaign will be showdown of money versus volunteers. Let the battle begin!

The joint was rockin’. I’ve got to tip my hat to Amisha Patel, executive director of the Collaborative, for a job well done.

It was a command performance for various politicians, including aldermen, state reps, and Governor Quinn.

At times it almost felt like 1983. I half expected Harold Washington to walk through the door.

All this movement needs is a candidate. Oh, yeah, there’s that.

For now, it doesn’t look like that candidate will be Cook County board president Toni Preckwinkle, even though everyone knows she’d beat Mayor Emanuel like he was Tony Tubbs and she was Mike Tyson.

President Preckwinkle was supposed to attend. But at the last minute she canceled on account of a “schedule conflict.”

Which ranks right up there with “I need to spend more time with my family” as the excuse everyone offers but no one believes.

Word at the rally was that Preckwinkle’s miffed because the Chicago Teachers Union’s backing Jay Travis over Christian Mitchell, her hand-picked state rep, in March’s Democratic primary.

So it looks as though I’ll have to cancel the orders for my “Run, Toni, Run!” T-shirts—for now.

At least Alderman Bob Fioretti’s itching to run. He got so fired up blasting the mayor that he exceeded the 45-second limit the Collaborative had imposed on politicians and they turned off his microphone.

Yes, that’s right, they turned off his mike midsentence, like we were back in the days of Boss Daley.

I’m telling you—that Amisha Patel does not play. Hey, maybe she should run for mayor.

By far my favorite moment came when Alderman Toni Foulkes, the pride and joy of West Englewood, took off on an impassioned speech that culminated, “I’m close to unleashing the bitch in me!”

Her speech got Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno so fired up he asked the crowd to “help me fight this administration.”

That declaration caught pretty much everybody by surprise because no one could recall when Alderman Moreno had ever actually fought the administration.

In fact, the last time I saw Alderman Moreno, it was during the teachers’ strike and he was on Fox TV trying to outdo the Fox TV newscaster in denouncing the teachers’ union.

It may be a situation like in Freaky Friday, where Lindsay Lohan’s character switches bodies with her mother. Only in this case Alderman Moreno switches bodies with Alderman Scott Waguespack.

Now that would be a great movie.

In any event, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Alderman Moreno gets his what-the-fuck-was-that-all-about call from Mayor Rahm—who was most definitely not at the rally, but was undoubtedly getting updates from his spies who were.

The night’s biggest boo went out to Alderman Will Burns. Man, did he get booed. Like Mayor Emanuel at the Northwestern football game or at Father Plfeger’s basketball game or at the V103 concert or pretty much anywhere the mayor goes these days. Except for invitation-only fund-raisers thrown by his hedge fund friends.

Word of warning to black aldermen: Mayor Emanuel is exceedingly unpopular—repeat, exceedingly unpopular—in your wards on account of all those cuts and closings and firings.

So you might want to reconsider your blind-support policy, if only to get reelected.

Maybe Alderman Moreno can lend Alderman Burns a few pills of whatever he’s been taking.

Anyway, it was such a grand time that many people wanted more. One guy got so carried away he felt compelled to quote Isaac Hayes to Alderman Foulkes as she walked out the door.

“They say that Alderman Foulkes is a bad motherf—”

OK, I was that guy.

What can I say. Like Proco Joe, I got caught up in the fervor. Let’s see how long it lasts.