Ald. Arena apologizes for derogatory text sent to his 2011 & 2015 opponent Garrido
by BRIAN NADIG
Alderman John Arena (45th) issued an apology to his 2011 and 2015 runoff opponent John Garrido for a derogatory text message he sent to the police lieutenant following his aldermanic election loss on Feb. 26 to Chicago firefighter Jim Gardiner.
Arena sent a message to Garrido, a Chicago police lieutenant, in response to an image making fun of his loss that someone had sent to Garrido and he then sent via a text message to Arena.
The image sent to Arena included a picture of the alderman with the following statement: "That look when you try to jam up city workers and you just lost your job, and pension, to one."
"I apologize to Mr. Garrido for my rude text message. I should not have let my frustration at his comments get the better of me. This is an emotional time for many of us who have withstood bullying attacks from right-wing Republicans for 8 years. I hope that we can all rededicate ourselves to partaking in a thoughtful and respectful effort to make this a more inclusive and tolerant community," Arena said in a statement.
In the text message, which has been posted on social media and shown with edits on WGN Channel 9, Arena wrote, "Oh johnny. I’ve lost nothing. You impotent little boy. Beat you’re ass twice. Knowing that for eight years you watched me build while you diddle away on Facebook was all I needed.
"Today (Feb. 27) I’ll cut the ribbon on an annex where generations of children will learn, you made a meme. Oh, and every time you drive MKE (Milwaukee Avenue) you’ll think of how I owned you. Good luck collecting your pension. 20 percent funded. Go write me your property tax check. Cuck [sic]."
It’s not clear what Arena meant at the end, but the word is a modern abbreviation of the word "cuckold," which refers to a man whose wife is unfaithful, has been used as a derogatory term for progressives and is also a genre of pornography.
"Alderman Arena has had plenty of opportunity to contact me directly to apologize; that hasn’t happened yet. To qualify his apology with the ‘bullying’ spin is simply damage control. It’s basically, ‘Sorry, not sorry,’" Garrido said in a statement on Monday.
"He has made comments like the text he sent to me and worse to businesses owners and members of our community for years. After what he said about my family, police pensions and myself, his non-apology rings hollow."
Garrido said in an interview that police officers are furious that Arena is making light of the under-funded pension fund.
Garrido added that he is proud of his community-based accomplishments the past 8 years, including the launching of the "Throwback Music Fest" on Milwaukee Avenue, the creation of an animal rescue foundation and an art project involving a newsstand shed near Milwaukee and Central avenues.
Arena has pending complaints against dozens of city workers who expressed opposition on social media to a housing proposal on Northwest Highway.