Robert Martwick and supporters introduce an elected school board bill at a 2018 press conference. Credit: Dan "Slow Hand" Pogorzelski

Somehow or other state senator Rob Martwick has managed to pull off a rare daily double in local politics—earning the enmity of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.

In fact, you might say that the only person Mayor Lightfoot and Catanzara hate more than each other is Martwick—which is saying a lot, because they hate each other very much.

Lightfoot has a more-or-less legitimate reason for disliking Martwick, going back to her 2019 mayoral race against Toni Preckwinkle. A Preckwinkle supporter, Martwick did a very foolish thing during that campaign by showing up to one of candidate Lightfoot’s press conferences to essentially heckle her.

I’m not justifying what Martwick did. I wish he hadn’t done it. From what he’s told me, he wishes he hadn’t done it. And he’s apologized for it.

But a lot of people around here did and said foolish things in the heat of that political campaign. Including Congressman Bobby Rush, another Preckwinkle supporter, who said of candidate Lightfoot, “If any young Black male or female is killed by a police officer, under a Lightfoot administration, then the blood would be on those voters’ hands who elected her.”

As vile and unwarranted as those comments were, Lightfoot forgave Rush for making them. Probably because after that election, he went back to Congress and didn’t bother her.

In contrast, Martwick continued to upset the mayor by tag-teaming with state rep Delia Ramirez to advance the elected school board bill. It passed over Mayor Lightfoot’s objection.

And then Martwick doubled down by advancing a firefighters’ pension reform bill—which also passed over the mayor’s objection.

In both cases, it was nothing personal. Martwick was a champion of the elected school board bill long before Lightfoot was even a candidate for mayor.

As for the pension bill, his northwest side district is filled with firefighters who pleaded with him to push for that legislation.

Essentially, the bill makes Lightfoot set aside more money upfront to pay annual firefighter pension obligations.

Lightfoot is not the first, nor will she be the last, mayor to object to having to pay firefighters’ pension obligations. Mayor Rahm hated it so much that for a while in his first term, he fell into the habit of showing up at firehouses—always with bodyguards—to taunt firefighters that he was going to cut their pensions.

Thank you, firefighter Sam Holloway, for forcing Mayor Rahm to back off on that stunt.

Lightfoot hasn’t gone that far. But her objections to mandatory pension payments are similar to Mayor Rahm’s.

The more pension payments she has to make up front mean the less money she has to spend on other things. And what’s the point of being the mayor if you don’t have discretionary money to throw around like confetti?

Catanzara hates Martwick for different reasons. He hasn’t forgiven Martwick for voting for last year’s criminal justice reform bill.

A word about Catanzara. He loves Donald Trump and he’s not afraid to say it. No, that’s not strong enough. He loves saying it. He loves Trump so much he frequently wears T-shirts emblazoned with an I-love-Trump message. You might say he’s to Trump-loving T-shirts as I am to Bulls hats—no matter how many he has, it’s never enough.

A few years ago, before he was president of FOP, Catanzara got into hot water with the police department for posing for a picture in which he was holding an American flag and standing in front of a sign that read, “I stand for the anthem. I love the American flag. I support my president and the 2nd amendment.”

You can probably guess which president it was that Catanzara supported. But just in case you can’t, I’ll give you a hint—it wasn’t Barack Obama.

Catanzara got written up because he was wearing a police uniform and standing in front of a police car in that photo.

As a believer in free speech, I champion his right to pose for that photo. Though I must point out that Catanzara has vowed to oust from the union any member who took a knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters.

It’s pretty hypocritical to champion your right to free speech while trying to cancel that right for people you disagree with.

But that’s MAGA.

In this case, Catanzara’s trying to cancel Martwick’s culture because Martwick dared to vote for a bill he opposed that would have passed even had Martwick voted against it. It doesn’t get more MAGA than that.

Last week, Catanzara got into a fracas with three northwest side alderpersons—Nick Sposato, Anthony Napolitano, and Jim Gardiner.

They’re former firefighters who apparently appreciate Martwick for standing up for pensioners.

Catanzara threatened to run candidates against Sposato, Napolitano, and Gardiner if they didn’t bow to his command and endorse Erin Jones, a police officer running against Martwick in June’s primary.

“Our members want Martwick’s head on a platter,” Catanzara declared. “He has to go. And you either are for our members or you are for Bob Martwick . . . there is no middle ground. And if you do support Bob Martwick, there will be retribution in the elections next year.”

For the moment, the alderpersons are standing strong and endorsing Martwick. As is the Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2.

Obviously, those three alders and I are miles apart on many ideological issues.  But they’ve got guts for defying Catanzara. Got to give them credit for that.

My bet is Martwick will defeat Catanzara’s puppet in the primary. Chicago voters are a little schizophrenic about these things. They may be bullied into voting for bosses. But deep down, they respect politicians with the courage to stand up to them.

The “fuckton” twins . . .

I was fired up to excoriate Mayor Lightfoot for her recent “fuckton” comments, when . . . John Catanzara released a video of himself holding a sign that read: “John Catanzara for mayor 2023.” And immediately I was overwhelmed with an urge to excoriate him. As Johnny C has come to Lightfoot’s rescue with his…

Johnny MAGA

Having been exposed to the wit and wisdom of John Catanzara for a couple of years, I’ve reached a rather obvious conclusion about the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police. It would be better off for everybody—Catanzara included—if he just hurried up and moved to Florida, where he’ll probably be living soon enough,…