The confessions of Karen Lewis


Host Erika Wozniak, CTU president Karen Lewis, and cohost DNAinfo senior editor Jen Sabella at last night's the Girl Talk show at the Hideout - LINZE RICE/THE GIRL TALK
  • Linze Rice/The Girl Talk
  • Host Erika Wozniak, CTU president Karen Lewis, and cohost DNAinfo senior editor Jen Sabella at last night's the Girl Talk show at the Hideout

Karen Lewis was in a confessional mood at her appearance last night at the Hideout—at least she confessed to having a nice word or two to say about her old adversary Mayor Rahm.

This is understandable, since she was sitting on the stage with Jen Sabella and Erika Wozniak, hosts of the Girl Talk, the monthly talk show at the Hideout that manages to get guests to open up—usually with a laugh or two.

The idea is that you never know what people will say if you put them in a barroom among friends. Obviously, the cocktail Lewis was nursing didn't hurt either.

The room was filled with teachers, activists, and a journalist or two, interested in hearing what the Chicago Teachers Union president had to say about a potential strike. The rank and file authorized a walkout a few days ago with a resounding vote.

Lewis didn't offer much news on that front, other than to say negotiations continue.

Instead, she jokingly complained about how pissed off she was for having had to turn down a ticket to Hamilton to keep her word about appearing on the show.

That is—I think she was joking.

She also made a nasty comment or three about the Tribune editorial that compared CTU to the North Korean government of Kim Jong-un.

That was pretty low on the part of the Troncsters. But, c'mon, Karen, what do you expect? It's a freaking Tribune editorial!

She praised house speaker Michael Madigan—speaking of people the Tribune loves to hate—for holding the line against union-busting legislation.

And she answered a question originally framed by Beyonce: What's worse, to be jealous or crazy?

"Crazy. Because you don't know you're really crazy when you're crazy."

At least Karen and Beyonce see eye to eye.

Then she got around to praising Rahm.

When asked what she'd do if she were mayor, Lewis sighed and said Chicago's problems may be too great for any one man or woman to solve.

"Listen, Rahm Emanuel is not stupid," she said.

OK, I didn't say it was high praise.

"If I were mayor I don't think we would be in a much better place," she continued. "The job is impossible to do well."

She said Rahm's easier to get along with than he was in his first term. They occasionally text: "The rudeness is gone. The rudeness didn't work."

We'll see if the good vibrations survive another strike.

Someone asked if she'd seen the mayor's recent speech on crime and punishment in Chicago.

No, she said. She was at a memorial service for Marvin Gittler, the labor lawyer, when the mayor was delivering it.

Coincidentally, Emanuel—an old friend of Gittler's—was entering the memorial service as she was leaving. And they had a brief conversation in passing.

He told her that he was excited about his initiative to expand a mentorship program for low-income boys. Though he pointed out he wasn't sure where the money for the program would come from.

"It's a good idea," she said. "Though there's never problem raising money for the Riverwalk, but a mentorship program . . . "

Amen to that.

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