TONI “OJ” PRECKWINKLE…FROM PROGRESSIVE TO “NEGRO” IN ONE ELECTION CYCLE

by Maze Jackson


The debacle Progressive turned Back Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle should be a lesson to Black politicians and Black voters alike. If you pay attention to the White and LGBTQ+ Democratic Committeemen and elected officials who ARE NOT openly supporting Black Woman President Preckwinkle even though she openly courted and supported them and their progressive label, you will understand why we have to think BLACK FIRST politically.

I expressly remember hearing Progressive President Preckwinkle on FB Live pushing Debra Shore, a White LGBTQ+ Woman candidate over Commissioner Kari K. Steele, a Black Woman, for the historic opportunity to become the first Black Woman President of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

At issue was newly elected Commissioner Kimberly Neely DuBuclet, a Black woman, and how she would vote for President of the MWRD. At stake was the opportunity to elect the first Black Woman or the first White LGBTQ+ Woman president of the MWRD. When given the choice between the two, Progressive President Toni Preckwinkle, most likely thinking ahead to the Mayor’s race, assumed she had Black support and threw all of her weight behind the White LGBTQ+Woman Shore.

Not only did Progressive President Preckwinkle push the Black Commissioner DuBuclet to support the White LGBTQ+ Woman Shore against AGAINST Black Commissioner Steele, she even bragged on social media about how she employed White Irish U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Jewish American U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Progressive Third Ward Alderman Pat Dowell, and Progressive Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston to pressure DuBuclet to vote AGAINST the Black Woman Steele FOR the White LGBTQ+ Woman Shore.

I also remember my outrage when I found out a group of White North Side Democratic Committeemen had the audacity to call the Black Woman Commissioner DuBuclet, threatening that she’d better vote for the White LGBTQ+ Woman Shore over the Black Woman Steele or they would attempt to un-slate her in the next election cycle. It appeared that they were already basking in the political returns their support of Progressive President Toni Preckwinkle as Progressive Mayor AND Progressive President of the Cook County Democratic Party would bring when combined with their Progressive White Lakeshore Northside liberal privilege.

It was smart business, but those same Progressive White and LGBTQ+ elected officials were unable to handle their business when they failed deliver their PROGRESSIVE constituents to the now apparently Black Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle.

On Election Night, not only did the Progressive White Lakeshore Northside Committeemen not win their own wards for the now Black Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle, many of those same Progressive White and LGBTQ+ elected officials didn’t even win their own precincts for Black Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle.

And to top it off, the then Progressive President Toni Preckwinkle lost almost every Black Ward, making her a 2nd place finisher to the newly crowned White People’s Progressive Black Woman Lori Lightfoot. Initially considered an also ran in a 14-way race, Lightfoot embarassed Preckwinkle, reducing her to the Black Woman Machine President Preckwinkle in her once coveted Lakeshore liberals.


That night, the now Black Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle learned the hard way that the Progressive White People had chosen themselves a new Progressive Black Woman, and she was out. The Jay Z song calls it “Still OJ,” which for those of you unfamiliar with the urban legend, is polite talk for “still a N**GA!”


Now those same big time White and LGBTQ+ elected officials that the once Progressive now Black Woman Machine President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle fought so hard for are either now endorsing their “new” Black Woman Progressive Lori Lightfoot- some publicly, others cutting deals behind the scenes, or they’ve just become extremely quiet. Just think, Progressive President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle encouraged the Black community to stick with Governor JB Pritzker even after his infamous secret recordings, discrimination issues, and black face controversy, and he’s staying neutral. Ouch…OJ!


Where is the White LGBTQ+ Woman Debra Shore that she fought so hard for? Shouldn’t she be Black Woman President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle’s biggest standard bearer in the LGBTQ+ community? Shouldn’t she be standing up for Black Woman President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle against all the homophobic allegations? Where is she now? Probably hiding, because campaigning for Toni in her community is like bringing OJ to the Goldman’s family reunion. It’s not going to happen!

Why aren’t those White Democratic Committeemen rallying their troops to turn out the vote for Black Woman President Toni Preckwinkle? Because they don’t have troops and they don’t turn out the vote, they ride the wave and wave is against Toni in their wards. But what about Democratic loyalty to the President of the Cook County Democratic Party? Do you know any White People that feel like they need to be loyal to OJ? Exactly!

Because just like then-Progressive President Toni Preckwinkle before her “OJ moment,” White Democrats prioritize a relationship with the LGBTQ+ community over a relationship with the Black community…until they need to use us to get what they want.

Like President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle does now.


#mazesaid

Black People: Remember Emmett Till before judging Roy Moore

by

Maze Jackson

I know some of you may find this shocking, but I think Black People need to reserve judgement on Roy Moore.  In case you don’t know who I am talking about, he is the extreme right candidate Republican candidate for US Senate from Alabama. Moore has been accused of molesting at 14-year-old girl when he was 32 years old. Now before you start your own Alabama style lynch mob let me explain.

As a father, husband, brother, uncle, and cousin of a lineage of dynamic Black Women, if any of them were victims (and based on the odds, I can’t honestly say that none of them were not) I would be the first person plotting to castrate the perpetrator. That is the emotional me, and trust me when I tell you I can understand the rush to judgement and punishment, but it must come AFTER the charges are proven. And BLACK PEOPLE need to be vociferous in the advocacy. We only need to look at the story of Emmett Till to understand why.

But if Alabama residents vote for and elect Roy Moore, and Black People jump on the bandwagon to give him a modern-day lynching before his day in court, I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot more Black People than Roy Moore’s people around the country will die to regret it!

Remember Till? Stolen from his home in the middle of the night, tortured, killed, tied with barbed wire and thrown into the river? Yes, THAT Till.  Well, all of that occurred because he was accused, judged, and punished before any charges were PROVEN, that he whistled at a White Woman.  And it did not occur 40 YEARS later, it happened within 48 hours!

Emmett Till and accuser Carolyn Bryant Donham (Photo credit: AP)

Can you imagine what could happen to the ranks of Black People if we could be accused, judged, and punished for offenses up to 40 YEARS old, without it being proven?  On just an allegation?  Rewind 40 years in your own life, think back, and imagine if someone could come back today and make you resign from your job, BEFORE you even had an opportunity to get your day in court.  In the long run, that’s not going to work out well for Black People.

So while I think the allegations against Roy Moore are more than likely true, and if they can catch him up, even on a technicality, I’m all for it.  But if Alabama residents vote for and elect Roy Moore, and Black People jump on the bandwagon to give him a modern-day lynching before his day in court, I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot more Black People than Roy Moore’s around the country will die to regret it!

#mazesaid

 

ALDERMAN REILLY CAN ONLY BLAME HIMSELF FOR CITY HALL FAILURE

by

Maze Jackson

Sun-Times columnist Dan Mihalopoulos wrote a story in the Tuesday, May 17th edition of the Chicago Sun-Times, in which 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly blamed Mayor Emanuel’s young aides for being insensitive to the concerns of homeowners who are seeing their neighborhoods transformed by the emergence of Air BnB vacation renters.

In the article Reilly stated:

“Because they’re closer to the millennial age group, this tech stuff is gee-whiz to them,” Reilly said last week of the Emanuel aides. “If it’s an app-based product, the general inclination by young people is to embrace it and want it to expand and do well.”

While I do agree with some aspects of Reilly’s analysis, he is missing some key dynamics to the story.

Donald, Eric, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. with 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly (Photo courtesy of
Donald, Eric, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. with 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly (Photo courtesy of Amanda Rivkin)

First, hardly anyone that I have met in business or government actually says they like Reilly. He has been accused of being a virulent racist behind the scenes by many of his colleagues, who choose to remain off the record. Reilly is also known to hold court at Chicago’s Boss Bar where constituents and developers alike allege that they have been victims of his drunken tirades,rants, and “private meetings” in the basement.

While Reilly serve as Vice-Mayor, Mayoral aides have questioned his loyalty to Emanuel. Rumors persist Reilly is trying to make a name for himself to run for higher office. But can he overcome his reputation? (Photo courtesy of The Chicago Sun-Times)

Additionally, Reilly has regularly proven disloyal to the Mayor’s administration, so much so that top mayoral advisors recommended removing his title of Vice Mayor; but, with Emanuel’s approval ratings in the tank and the title mostly symbolic, no other Alderman was enthusiastic about the idea, so Reilly remained. Combine that with the fact that Reilly fancies himself a candidate for higher office (potentially Mayor or Secretary of State) his detractors figure, “Why give him any victories or a platform?”

AirBnB is represented by former 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns, who cashed out on his years of governemnt service earlier this year (Photo courtesy of Windy City Media Group)
Former 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns cashed out on his years of government service earlier this year to work for Air BnB (Photo courtesy of Windy City Media Group)

Secondly, he ignores that Air BnB is now represented by former Alderman Will Burns, who was one of Mayor Emanuel’s staunchest allies, on almost every issue. Burns, who possibly saw the Emanuel future writing on the wall cashed in his political chips to represent Air BnB, one of the fastest growing companies in the world. In all actuality, it is the path that most in the Emanuel world hope to follow: do your time in government service, make the necessary connections, leave government and live a productive life off of the relationships you built.  To tank Burns would set a negative precedent for a young staff that is trying to convince aldermen on the benefits of remaining loyal to Emanuel.

Piggybacking off  of that is the third point Reilly missed in his oversimplified analysis: with Rahm’s future as Mayor questionable at best, many of his staffers are looking at their future job prospects. What that means is they are looking to be as helpful as possible to potential future employers. Look for all pro-business legislation to continue to have a friendly ear at City Hall, while Reilly’s suggestions continue to fall on deaf ears.

If Reilly is not successful, I am sure he would like blame the failure by deflecting to the Mayor and his young staff, but perhaps instead he should be looking in the mirror and reflecting on himself.

#MazeSaid

Should we trust politicians at the end of their careers with our future?

This week it was alleged the Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was behind Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri’s attempt to change the position of Clerk of the Circuit Court from elected to appointed.  While the move would have affected Clerk Brown for the short-term, in the long-term it would have limited voter participation and decreased elected opportunities for aspiring future politicians.  Billed as a cost saving measure by Silvestri and applauded by Commissioner Larry Sufferdin, the resolution would have consolidated power for Preckwinkle, who is admittedly at the end of her political career, which brings me to today’s blog topic:

Should we trust politicians at the end of their careers with our future?  In other words, why should a generation about to take the reigns of power cooperate with a generation determined to hold on to that same power?  Do political appointments make the appointees loyal to their constituents or Party bosses?  Do you find it odd that progressive leaders are calling for an elected school board while their champion is simultaneous trying to increase her ability to appoint decision makers?

Thoughts?

 

 

Is Cook County Clerk Resolution a $375 Million Smokescreen?

by

Maze Jackson

May 10, 2016

 

Black community activists were outraged, at what has been perceived as a blatant attempt at voter disenfranchisement, when Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri introduced a resolution to change the position of Clerk of the Circuit Court from elected to appointed. This would effectively nullify the election of current Clerk Dorothy Brown, who was re-elected overwhelmingly, in spite of the Cook County Democratic Party flip-flopping on her endorsement.

Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvertri
Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri. (Photo credit Daily Herald.)

While Silvestri sponsored the ordinance and maintains it’s not “personal,” insiders say Silvestri does not make a move without Preckwinkle’s approval, and Preckwinkle’s disdain for Brown is no secret. Preckwinkle led the charge to have Brown dumped by the Democratic Party, and when she couldn’t defeat her at the ballot box, she’s apparently decided to go the legislative route, hoping to cash in on her growing political clout.

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown
Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown. (Photo credit ABC 7.)

Brown did not help matters by requesting a raise earlier this week. While some of her colleagues agreed Brown’s points were valid, they also agreed the timing was not good. In today’s toxic political environment, no politician wants to tbe on record voting for a raise, especially another politician’s raise, so Brown’s proposal was dead on arrival. Preckwinkle, apparently seeing that as another opportunity to attack her nemesis, allowed Silvestri to float the resolution of changing the position from elected to appointed.

In a county, city, and state with a reputation for corruption and cronyism, any attempt to place more decision-making power in the hands of politicians is sure to be met with fierce resistance by the local activist community, and like clockwork,  activists are organizing a protest for tomorrow’s Cook County Board meeting. Even if the resolution passes, it must be approved by the Illinois General Assembly, which is dominated by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. Black caucus members have already signaled they would oppose any such legislation, as the have in the past, especially when it limits opportunities for elected advancement.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is feeling her power.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is feeling her power. (Photo credit NBC.)

Understanding all of those dynamics, I had to wonder why would the Cook County Board President allow such an outrageous resolution to see the light of day, knowing the potential outrage it would cause, particularly among the activist community? I mean I understand using Silvestri to keep her hand hidden, but why such a bold move against another Black woman?  So I did some calling around, and while I expected to discuss the Brown resolution I was pointed to this from today’s Finance Committee Meeting:

To pay the costs of the Refunding, the Bonds shall be issued from time to time in one or more Series, all as may be determined by the Chief Financial Officer, provided that the aggregate principal amount of any Bonds issued pursuant to this Ordinance shall not exceed $375,000,000. The Bonds shall be designated substantially as “General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 2016,” with such additions or modifications as shall be determined to be necessary by the Chief Financial Officer at the time of the sale of the Bonds.

16-2696 PROPOSED ORDINANCE Bond Refunding

The Cook County Board will be authorizing $375 MILLION DOLLARS in bonds, coincidentally on the same day we have to save Dorothy Brown?  Now don’t get me wrong, I think the bonds will go for a great cause, the redevelopment of the of Cook County Hospital. I think it will be an awesome project, and I will be glad when it is rebuilt. I love Chicago and I think our city is becoming more dynamic everyday. But with $375 MILLION on the line, I had to ask…What’s in it for the Black People?”

The old Cook County Hospital is finally getting redeveloped. (photo courtesy od Chicago Sun-Times)
The old Cook County Hospital is finally getting redeveloped.  (Photo courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times.)

What I found out was troubling. I found out that some commissioners actually asked, “What’s in it for the Black People?”  They got a community benefits agreement, but it was rushed.  They asked WHO would get the contracts and some of the same old characters who sold their contracts last time they rebuilt Cook County Hospital were back representing Black business again. Who is ensuring that the Black people participate in the contracts and job opportunities? You guessed it, the same company that had Black people doing less than 5% of the business in the city of Chicago. Which one of them has helped create new economic opportunities for the Black community? You don’t know? Neither did they, so coincidentally the Dorothy Brown issue comes up on the same day as they have to answer the question regarding that $375 million bond vote.  May 11th Cook County Board Meeting.

The reality is Dorothy Brown isn’t going anywhere, but that $375 million dollars is…in a cloud of smoke!

#MazeSaid

Jabari Dreams of Freedom Uses History to Address Today’s Issues for Children

Jabari Photo

by

Maze Jackson

By all accounts, I consider myself to be a pro-Black man, so I was somewhat skeptical of a play entitled “Jabari Dreams of Freedom” being produced by The Chicago Children’s Theatre.  How could the producers at the Chicago Children’s Theatre possibly translate the dreams of a nine-year old Black child, most likely from the South or West side into a stage play.  I wasn’t sure whether to expect an urban version of “Leave it to Beaver” or “Chi-Raq for Kids.”  After seeing the play my assumptions could not have been further from the truth. I not only found myself engaged and entertained, I also learned a few things about Civil Rights Era that challenged that I didn’t even know.

“Jabari Dreams of Freedom” is the story of Jabari, a normal tween who is living a normal life, until, like many Chicago children, he is forced to deal with an incident of violence.  As Jabari struggles to cope with the incident, overcome his fears, and the challenge of just going outside,  his parents are forced to confront the realities of living in inner-city Chicago, from the barrage on negativity on the news, to youth violence, and issues of police brutality.  Writer Nambi Kelly skillfully weaves historical events from the Civil Rights Era into a tapestry of modern-day situations, to illustrate lessons that can be applied to some of the tough issues that plague our community today.  Kelly does not shy away from some of the hard truths that our children must meet, instead putting them in context that even nine-year olds can comprehend (although this 45-year-old was completely caught up in the storyline).

Jabari, played by 13-year-old Philip Cusic (right), encounters a young Barack Obama (Gavin Lawrence) in Chicago Children’s Theatre’s world premiere of Jabari Dreams of Freedom by Nambi E. Kelley. Performances are April 5-May 1 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (Note: Philip Cusic alternates with another 13-year-old, Cameron A. Goode, as the title character in Jabari Dreams of Freedom.) Tickets: chicagochildrenstheatre.org or (872) 222-9555. Photo credit: Charles Osgood

“Jabari Dreams of Freedom” reminds of so many Disney movies that my kids “force” me to go see.  While we go for them, I wind up thoroughly entertained.  Jabari is no different.  Young Philip Cusic offers us an early glance someone I suspect we will be seeing a lot more of, in his role as Jabari.  Leslie Ann Sheppard took me through a range of emotions in her roles as Claudette Colvin and practically stole the show with her portrayal of young civil rights activist Ruby Bridges.  Gavin Lawrence, who played Jabari’s dad, was absolutely hilarious as Baby Obama.   

“Jabari Dream of Freedom” is an exploration of  realities that face our young people in a society plagued by violence through the eyes of a 9-year-old.  The play uses comedy, drama, suspense, and inspiration to teaches kids and parents how to use lessons from the past to develop relevant solutions for today.

While I saw the play with an audience full of students on a field trip, this play deserves to be more than a school field trip.  This play should be a family outing that can be used as an opportunity for families open dialogue.  This play creates the perfect opportunity for parents to have the discussions we talk about among ourselves as adults.  Unfortunately, our kids don’t have a water cooler, so let the discussion begin with them around “Jabari.”

This is a must see play for your family.

I rate it 3 1/2 stars.

 

A review of the children’s play, “Jabari Dreams of Freedom.”  Ideal for ages 9 & up

Written by Nambi E. Kelley     Directed by Lili-Anne Brown     Music Direction by Jaret Landon

Playing now through May 1st at the Chicago Children’s Theatre.

CAST

Phillip Cusic: Jabari (alternates the role with Cameron)

Cameron Goode: Jabari  (alternates the role with Phillip)

Gavin Lawrence: Jabari’s Dad, Obama, Young Obama

Patrick Agada: Emmet, ensemble

Emily Glick: Jabari’s mom, ensemble

Matt Keffer: News reporter, ensemble

Leslie Ann Sheppard: Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, ensemble

(Click below to buy tickets)

#MazeSaid Reviews “United Shades of America” featuring W. Kamau Bell

IMG_5525

by

Maze Jackson

 

This past Thursday, April 7th, I had the opportunity to attend the Rolling Out Chicago screening of comedian W. Kamau Bell’s new CNN series, “United Shades of America.”  The scripted reality series features Bell placing himself in situations that the audience would not expect to find a Black person in.  The première featured Bell meeting with modern-day members of the Ku Klux Klan.

The entire concept of a Black man meeting with KKK members in full regalia is sensational and attention grabbing to say the least.  When the episode opened and Bell was forced to meet a Klansman on a dark deserted road, I did feel the pace of my heart speeding up as all of my childhood fears of the Klan were rekindled.  The placement of the first commercial cliffhanger kept me in suspense for the first break.  And that’s where the whole thing came apart for me.

I was already trying to figure out what self-respecting Klansmen would allow themselves to be interviewed by a Black comedian on camera?  After the first interview, my suspicions were confirmed…these were not self-respecting Klansmen, but local trailer park dwellers looking for their shot at reality star fame, Bo0-Boo Kitty meets David Duke style.  I found it hard to take a Klansmen visibly wearing shorts and flip-flops under the his robe seriously. I. JUST. COULDN’T.

The climax of the show was the ceremonial cross burning, the ultimate symbol of terrorism against Blacks in America, but somehow the show found a way to make it anti-climatic.  In fact, instead of being terrified or angry, I thought it looked kind of cool in the night sky.  So much for Black terror.

Immediately after the screening was a Q&A Session with Bell and Rolling Out Publisher Munson Steed.  During the Q&A, I got a better understanding of Bell’s goal for the show, which was to have uncomfortable conversations, something that I like to do in my social media life as well, so that part of the show I appreciated.  Where I think the episode missed the mark was the fact that the Klansmen came off as buffoons and non-threatening which I think could be dangerous in the long run.

IMG_5531
There are real hate groups out there, who can cause real damage and harm in the Black community.  We saw it with Dylan Ruth during the Charleston Massacre in South Carolina in which nine innocent Black people were killed.  There are real hate groups out there, and they are neither cute nor funny, they are dangerous.  I did not appreciate Bell making them seem funny and dimwitted.  Oh wait, he’s a comedian, so perhaps that was the goal.

Radical-Christianity3

Nonetheless, in spite on my distaste for the first episode, I do look forward to future episodes that deal with more realistic issues. It’s hard to take a Black man interviewing the Klan seriously, it felt very Dave Chapelle-ish.  I will give “United Shades of America” three episodes to get it together, because I really like the concept. My hope is that the show will get better as it takes on more realistic issues in future episodes.

United Shades of America gets 2 and 1/2 stars.

#mazesaid

 

Is the U of Chicago hypocritical for funding youth activists while it’s own police department is accused of racial profiling?

Once again, the University of Chicago Police Department finds itself in the controversial position of being accused of racial profiling against the residents of the community it is assigned to patrol.  Apparently the data backs those claims up.  Among other things, the report found:

African-Americans make up approximately 59 percent of the population in UCPD’s patrol area but 93 percent of UCPD’s field interviews, as the investigatory stops are called when the person is on foot. Read the full story here.

That has to be troubling for Black youth activist movements  such as BYP 100 and others that receive a significant amount of funding from the institution.  While local Black youth activism has always been present in Chicago, the recent string of murders of unarmed Blacks gave those organizations a renewed sense of purpose.  Locally, when the LaQuan McDonald dashcam video was released, it was those same organizations that took to the streets and led the charge for police reform in CPD.  That resulted in the firing of Garry McCarthy, a new IPRA chief, and eventually a new police superintendent.

But now with their funders’ own police department under scrutiny, will they attack the U of C police with the same fervor?  I guess we” see how well the U of C invested those dollars.

What do you think?  Post a comment.

MJSMQOTW: Should Illinois Restrict Transgender Bathroom Use

While North Carolina has received international backlash, for a similar bill, Illinois Republican State Representative Tommy Morrison has introduced HB4474 in Springfield that would restrict the bathrooms that transgender students can use in schools, field trips, and school sponsored overnight stays.  While the bill makes the restrictions “optional” it would allow schools to adopt the policy, which LGBT groups claim is discriminatory.  Tune in to The Matt McGill Morning Show on WVON 1690-AM for The Maze Jackson Social Media Question of the Week, where I will ask:

Should transgender students in public schools be able to use the bathroom of the sex that they identify as, or what it says on the person’s birth certificate?

Call in to 773-591-1690, post to Facebook, or Tweet and we will try to get your comments on the air.  You can also watch what goes on Behind the Scenes on FACEBOOK LIVE.  Just click here at 8am and watch us live.

LGBT Groups Gear Up Against Transgender Restroom Bill

Was the Chicago Teacher’s Strike…Was it effective?

I believe that teachers should be compensated fairly, but I am not sure that the CTU strike this past Friday had anything to do with making things better for the kids.  Do you think the Day of Action was effective?  Did you support it?  What will be the long-term benefit?  What do you think?