The most vociferous advocate for Black self-interests in the United States, relentless in his determination to the answer to the question, "What's in it for the Black People?" And if they don't like it, "You can tell 'em, Maze Said!"
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.
The “What’s In It For The Black People?” Political Action Committee is the premiere organization focused on the advancement of Black self-interests particularly in the areas of business, politics, grassroots, education, and spirituality. Our goal is to serve as honest brokers for the Black community ensuring that Blacks get our fair share of all the opportunities that impact the Black Community.
It is with that understanding that we encourage you to review the “What’s in it for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide. This does not tell you who to vote for, but rather who we think you should consider if you are voting based on Black self-interests. Often times we vote on emotions, who had the best commercial, or who we “like.” The goal of the “What’s in it for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide is to provide a list of candidates that have been vetted based on their ability to ACTUALLY get something done.
With that in mind, we hope you will review our list and consider the candidates we have recommended.
As the “What’s in it for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide, we almost feel an obligation to support the candidacy of Tio Hardiman/Patricia Avery (6)– As the only Black candidate in the Governor’s Race, Tio Hardiman was the odds on favorite to be the #WIIFTBP nominee for Governor, although he was one of the last candidates to submit answers to our questionnaire. When asked why he took so long to submit, Tio stated he didn’t think he had to, which is essentially how Black Illinoisans got into our current position, LAST! Unfortunately, we’ve been taken for granted by our Black elected officials, even more so than White politicians. It is our expectation that Black candidates run TOWARDS the question, “What’s in it for the Black People?” not FROM it!
While Tio is woefully underfunded and will face an uphill battle in a general election against a multi-millionaire, who are WE as #WIIFTBP PAC to say he cannot aspire to the highest office in the land. When he points to the fact that he garnered almost 30% of the vote in the 2014 Democratic primary against Pat Quinn, combined with the fact that the Black Community is growing increasingly frustrated with a Democratic Party that has consistently taken us for granted, we have to take him seriously in a 6-way primary.
JB Pritzker/Julianna Stratton (1) – While we are still uncomfortable with JB Pritzker’s comments on an FBI recorded phone call, and Juliana Stratton’s six month tenure as a State Representative and weapon of the Ken Dunkin destruction, we believe JB is the best candidate for BLACKTRANSACTIONAL POLITICS. In previous years, JB Pritzker would have been a welcome addition to the race. Well funded, compliant, and willing to put “money in the streets.” But after LaQuan McDonald, Rekiya Boyd, Quintonio LeGuire, and a host of other disrespects, the paradigm has changed. Black People are just not feeling the same old song and dance. However, in comparison to the rest of the candidates, JB clearly has the most to offer. He has done everything he’s been told by his Black advisors. He’s hiring Blacks on his staff at all levels to opening multiple campaign offices in various Black communities around the state. JB Pritzker has even put together comprehensive policies to address Black issues and expressed his willingness to commit to a “Black List” of staff hires and appointments to state boards and commissions.
Whenever we have posed the “What’s in it for the Black People?” to JB Pritzker, he has not only attempted to answer, but provided an in-depth plan to address Black issues with more than just a sound byte. When it comes to staff, JB has the largest and Blackest staff of all the campaigns, with many Blacks in senior staff level positions. As far as we can tell JB’s biggest flaws are his Black operatives, who have left a lot of Illinois Black influencers outside looking in. If JB makes it through the primary, he will need to fix that if he hopes to inspire a disaffected Black electorate.
While the Chris Kennedy/Ra Joy ticket bills itself as the outsider ticket, Kennedy was the ultimate insider, until he wasn’t, and it was only then he became a champion of Black issues. As a member of Green Team royalty, Kennedy was not concerned with equity for Blacks when he was building his Wolfe Point Tower or when he presided over the steep decline in Black students at the University of Illinois. His unwillingness to ensure developers have a workforce reflective of the state’s population and his firm stance against reparations disqualified him.
Daniel Biss and Litesa Wallace are easily the most likeable candidates in the race, but have not spent much time trying to lock down the Black vote. They also have a very strong message when they come to the Black neighborhood. The problem is, they rarely come to the Black neighborhood. Litesa Wallace, who is a star on the rise, seems to be marginalized in a campaign that initially selected someone else as its Lieutenant Governor nominee. Illinois is the worst state in the country for Black People, and we need a Governor that will make us a priority.
The Daiber/Todd ticket features the only down-stater in the race Bob Daiber. Jonathan Todd is well-known and respected on the local political scene, but the two have not mounted much of a statewide campaign. Their campaign was largely symbolic.
Dr. Robert Marshall is also running.
#WIIFTBP endorses Tio Hardiman (6) for those that choose to cast a protest vote against the Democratic Party establishment. JB Pritzker (1) is recommended for everyone else.
ATTORNEY GENERAL’S RACE
No less than eight candidates have entered the race to replace Lisa Madigan as Attorney General. Former Governor Pat Quinn and State Senator Kwame Raoul are deeply flawed front-runners, but with so many people in the race and a high number of undecided, it’s still anyone’s race. Maryland native Sharon Fairley is the media darling and Nancy Rotering has the inside track on suburban White women. State Representative Scott Drury is the only person who can say he voted against Mike Madigan, while TV commentator Renato Mariotti, hasn’t gotten much traction. Throughout it all, former Public Defender and Attorney Aaron Goldstein continues to impress. His thoughtful approach to the office, his history of beating The Machine (he took out the all powerful Dick Mell), and his sensitivity to Black issues can’t be ignored. His wife is Black and he has two kids that while mixed, will eventually be Black too. All that aside, in a crowded race Goldstein has consistently resonated with Black audiences whenever they’ve actually had the chance to hear him. While he is a long shot to win, it is for that reason, Aaron Goldstein (15) is endorsed.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Jesse White (16) Is this Jesse’s last stand or will he be back again in 4 more years? Fact of the matter is Jesse White is and will remain the most popular elected official in Illinois. Perhaps this is why the radio sounds like one long Jesse White commercial. Let’s hope Jesse saves some of his credibility for himself. He deserves it. Jesse White is endorsed.
NO ENDORSEMENT- SHE IS NOT OUR FRIEND!
Michael Frerichs (18) is a good guy with lots of upside (literally) and we expect to see him running for something else in the future. He consistently hires Blacks to senior level positions and has made a consistent effort to make Black issues a priority when he can. Frerichs is endorsed.
Like it or not Congressman Danny K. Davis (22) has been in the fight for the Black community since before many of us were born and he deserves the respect of an elder, but the time for new leadership is NOW. It’s doubtful that Anthony V. Clark (23) will beat him, but we look forward to the Congressman being able to enjoy the fruits of his labor in the very near future, at which time we believe there will be a robust contest for his seat. Ideally, he will give it up before the remap, allowing himself to be a mentor for his replacement, available to help him or her navigate the halls of Congress.
The same can be said about Congressman Bobby Rush (21) who doesn’t have a challenger this time around.
Congresswoman Robin Kelly (22), the New York transplant went home to get money from Michael Bloomberg to get elected on an anti-gun platform, but has gone on to distinguish herself in the US Congress and among her Congressional Black Caucus colleagues. She’s taken a leadership role and has some of the best Black staffers in the country. She represents Illinois well, and we hear whispers from the Illinois delegation that she could be a potential Senate candidate when Durbin retires.
All three candidates are endorsed, along with Chuy Garcia (24) to replace Luis Gutierrez in the 4TH Congressional District.
*STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEMAN/WOMAN
This election is VERY IMPORTANT because these are the people who elect Mike Madigan as the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. They run the state of Illinois Party. This is the closest opportunity voters outside of the 22nd District have to directly impact his role as Speaker…if that was something you were concerned about. WE WILL ONLY LIST CONTESTED RACES. PLEASE DO NOT SKIP THESE RACES IF YOU SEE THESE NAMES ON THE BALLOT!
*2ND STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEEWOMAN
This race pits one of the brightest stars in Congress against the one of the last of the old school political bosses left in the Black Community. And while we enthusiastically support of Robin Kelly for Congress, we must support Carrie Austin (32) for re-election as state , just as enthusiastically. You see this is a PARTY BOSS position, and Carrie Austin is just that, A PARTY BOSS. What that means in this instance, is when White Party Bosses start getting out of their body, she has no problem reminding them. Just ask any Black judge, state representative, or young woman who she’s mentored, helped start a business or get a promotion. And when a certain Queen Sugar teamed up with the Green Team to oust Tim Evans, guess who saved the day…Carrie Austin. So until Mike Madigan steps down, we can’t give up our baseball bat for a tennis racket. And all you have to do is hear her on the campaign trail to know she can still hit it out of the park. Carrie Austin (32) is enthusiastically supported for 2nd State Central Committeewoman.
*2ND STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEEMAN
As enthusiastically as we support Carrie Austin her knowledge of the Party and being an insider, we offer the same enthusiasm for millennial William Calloway as 2nd State Central Committeeman. While Al Riley has served with distinction in the Illinois House, we believe Calloway will bring a new perspective. Ideally, a combination of Carrie Austin and Will Calloway working together might just make the 2nd State Central District the most powerful in the country for Black People in the DNC. William Calloway (34) is enthusiastically endorsed.
7TH STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEEMAN– DANNY DAVIS (32)- Danny Davis has made a career of standing up to the powers that be in the state Party, so we see no need to replace him at this time.
STATE REPRESENTATIVES (ONLY BLACK CONTESTED RACES…CHECK FOR THESE NAMES)
1ST DISTRICT STATE REPRESENTATIVE- The younger brother of Green Team King Alderman Ed Burke is in the political fight of his life, and Black People are not his issue, as a matter of fact, Black folks can save Burke, a fact which he acknowledged when he sat down with us. Burke has 7 Black precincts that could make all the difference in this race. In previous years Burke represented large swaths of the Black community and ensured that he hired from within. So while the Chuy-backed Aaron Ortiz is gaining momentum, what efforts has his campaign made in those seven Black precincts. According to our sources, little to none. Dan Burke (51) is endorsed.
4TH DISTRICT STATE REPRESENTATIVE- IRIS MILAN IS ENDORSED (53)
5TH DISTRICT STATE REPRESENTATIVE- Ken Dunkin is the likely winner in this 5 way race after being unceremoniously dumped by the Party two years ago. He has the highest name recognition in the race, although Felicia Bullock is someone to watch in the future. Dilara Sayeed was endorsed by the major papers and seemed to be cruising until she got caught in a pay to play media scandal. While we will not offer an endorsement in this race, DO NOT BELIEVE Lamont Robinson reflects the values necessary to BUILD the Black Community. The handpicked candidate of Mike Madigan and Alderman Pat Dowell (of whom we can’t ignore the rats in Mollison, the $55 million TIF theft, or the closing of NTA), Robinson has allowed himself to be the face of the White People funded “SELLOUT” ad campaign in the Black community. We do not need to send any more Black elected officials to Springfield that put the Party before the People! No endorsement is offered, but Black we don’t believe that the campaign Lamont Robinson is reflective of the values we’d like to see in a Black State Representative.
25TH DISTRICT STATE REPRESENTATIVE – As an attorney, brewery owner, husband, and father, Curtis Tarver(52) is the perfect example of the intersection of Black People who are working on taking advantage of the economic opportunities in our state. He will represent us all well in Springfield. Curtis Tarver is strongly endorsed.
Flynn Rush, Angelique Collins, Anne Marie Miles, Grace Cham McEbben, Adrienne Irmer and William Calloway are also running.
27TH DISTRICT STATE REPRESENTATIVE – NO ENDORSEMENT
28TH DISTRICT STATE REPRESENTATIVE – NO ENDORSEMENT
29TH DISTRICT STATE REPRESENTATIVE – COREAN DAVIS (53)
31ST DISTRICT STATE REPRESENTATIVE – All you need to know in this race is that the current state representative Mary Flowers has been in Springfield for 30 years and nobody knows what she’s accomplished. When her challenger Willie Preston (52) asked to debate she refused. The question we want answered is “Where’s Mary?” and since she won’t answer, we proudly endorse father, carpenter, and activist Willie Preston for “a new breed of leadership.”
38TH DISTRICT STATE REPRESENTATIVE – DAVID BONNER (55)
METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS (6 YEAR TERM) – COMMISSIONER KARI K. STEELE (63) is the MOST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. As the only chemist and environmentalist on the board, the job is about more than politics for Kari, which is why she has taken on so many leadership positions at the MWRD from chairing the Budget, Employment, Monitoring and Research Committees. KARI K. STEELE (63) is enthusiastically endorsed for re-election. *MARTY DURKAN (64) is endorsed.
METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS (UNEXPIRED 2 YEAR TERM) – NO ENDORSEMENT
METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS (6 YEAR TERM VACANCY OF BRADFORD) – WRITE IN:SIMON GORDON
PRESIDENT OF THE COOK COUNTY BOARD – While there’s a lot that could be said about Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, they can be summarized as: the “pop tax,” subsequent revenge tactics, “pop tax part 2,” the Stroger lie, and the continued defense of the regressive property tax system. She became what she spent so many years fighting. Bob Fioretti(72) is unspectacular but still endorsed. If we don’t like him four years goes by pretty quick. Just ask Todd Stroger.
COUNTY CLERK – Karen Yarborough (73)
COUNTY SHERIFF – Tom Dart (76)
COUNTY TREASURER – NO ENDORSEMENT
COUNTY ASSESSOR– Joe Berrios is the face of the regressive property tax system in Cook County, which disproportionately affects Black People. Fritz Kaegi (81) is hesitantly endorsed. We are still not sure how he gets around Madigan and Burke, but the change has to start somewhere.
COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS – 1ST COUNTY BOARD- While we believe Brandon Johnson is a fighter for the people, politics is transactional and it’s a business, which is why we have to throw our support behind Richard Boykin (91). When every other Black Commissioner stood with the Democratic Party on the infamous “pop tax” Boykin chose to stand with the people, and the pop tax was eventually overturned. But Boykin choosing the people over the Party got him in trouble which meant a well-funded challenger in Brandon Johnson. The thing is, if Boykin goes down for standing WITH the people, very few Black Politicians will have the courage to stand against the Party when needed. That’s why we are enthusiastically supporting Richard Boykin!
COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS – 2ND COUNTY BOARD- While we like Darryl D. Smith for his years of experience, when Dennis Deer (92) was called upon to vote against the pop tax he did. That is enough to earn our endorsement for Dennis Deer this time around.
COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS – 3RD COUNTY BOARD – This seven-person contest to replace retiring Commissioner Jerry Butler, features some very impressive candidates including two women and five men. That bodes well for a person like former MWRD Commissioner Patricia Horton who already has some name recognition. The most colorful character in the race is easily Horace “Washington” Howard, but the most qualified is Bill Lowry (92), who we endorse in this race. March 20th is just the beginning though, because whoever wins has to face George Blakemore who is running as a Republican in the November General Election.
COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS – 4TH COUNTY BOARD – Ever since Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore (92) and Latino Caucus Chairman Gilbert Villegas were teamed up as Directors of Workforce Development at IDOT in the early 2000’s, Stanley has always vociferously advocated for Black People getting contracts. He also ran against the Madigan Machine for State Representative and paid a dear price, like so many others who have challenged the Machine. Even after he voted for the “pop tax” initially, he was the elected official that offered support for #WIIFTBP. As a matter of fact, he bought all the pop for the event and got us permits when everyone else was acting funny. When the time came to repeal the pop tax, Stanley Moore was a co-sponsor of the ordinance. Stanley Moore was asking #WIIFTBP in 2007 and has been asking ever since. Stanley Moore is strongly endorsed.
COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS – 5TH COUNTY BOARD- We were willing to give Incumbent Deborah Sims a good look, even though she was the last holdout on the “pop tax.” But when she unflinchingly, and unequivocally stood by Mike Madigan, it gave us pause. After hearing from all three candidates including Commissioner Sims and Tim Parker, we settled on Dr. Audrey Lynn Tanksley (93) as our choice. Bright, energetic, and full of ideas, we think it’s a great idea to have an actual medical Doctor on the Board, especially considering the Cook County Health and Hospital System is the largest part of the state budget.
COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS- 6TH COUNTY BOARD- Donna Miller (93) is endorsed. This is a no brainer Black People!
COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS – 7TH COUNTY BOARD – This is a primarily Latino District, if you are Black and have an opportunity to cast a ballot in this race, you’d be wise to cast it for Angeles Sandoval (91). Angeles is the daughter of State Senator Marty Sandoval, who has gone above and beyond to develop a relationship with the Black Community. And if the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, then we can expect Angie to be negotiating for tangible outcomes, not just living off of old pictures of Harold Washington. If Blacks and Latinos are going to ever forge an alliance, it will begin with the negotiation, and there are fewer Latinos better to negotiate with than the Sandovals. Angeles Sandoval is endorsed.
COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS – 10TH COUNTY BOARD – If you live on the Northwest Side of Chicago, know that Bridget Gainer (91) spends a lot of time relationship building on the South and West Sides. Some say she’s got mayoral aspirations which may not be a bad thing, but first she needs to be re-elected. Bridget Gainer is endorsed.
COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS – 12th COUNTY BOARD – John Fritchey (91) keeps a tan in the winter, keeps his medical marijuana card in his pocket , and voted against the “pop tax.” He is endorsed.
COOK COUNTY BOARD OF REVIEW 3RD DISTRICT
LARRY ROGERS (101)
JUDGES ARE VERY IMPORTANT…DO NOT SKIP THESE VOTES! THEY ARE VERY IMPORTANT
121- JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF BREWER) – ORAN F. WHITING (121)
129- JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF CLAY) – LORI ANN ROPER (129)
130- JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF DOOLING) – TOM SAM SIANIS (130)
133- JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF EGAN) – ROSA MARIA SILVA (133)
134-JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF DUNFORD) – THOMAS F. MCGUIRE (134)
136-JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF FLANANGAN) – PRESTON JONES (136)
140-JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF HARTIGAN) – KEITH L. SPENCE (140)
141-JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF JORDAN) – CLARE JOYCE QUISH (141)
145 – JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF MCGINNIS) – PETER MICHAEL GONZALEZ (145)
148- JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF PRENDERGAST ROONEY) – MABLE TAYLOR (148)
152-JUDGE OF THE 1ST SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF HAMBRIGHT, JR.) – ERIKA ORR (152)
152-JUDGE OF THE 2ND SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF LAMPKIN) – FREDERICK H. BATES (152)
154- JUDGE OF THE 2ND SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF LAWS) – ADRIENNE ELAINE DAVIS (154)
155-JUDGE OF THE 2ND SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF RHODES) – TOYA T. HARVEY (155)
158-JUDGE OF THE 2ND SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF TURNER, JR.) – IESHIA GRAY (158)
159-JUDGE OF THE 2ND SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF WILLIS)- DEBRA A. SEATON (159)
163-JUDGE OF THE 2ND SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF TURNER)- ARTHUR WESLEY WILLIS (163)
151-JUDGE OF THE 3RD SUBCIRCUIT (DELEHANTY VACANCY)- PATRICK THOMAS STANTON (151)
152-JUDGE OF THE 5TH SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF BANKS)- YVONNE COLEMAN (152)
157- JUDGE OF THE 5TH SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF JONES)- DAVID L. KELLY (157)
158-JUDGE OF THE 5TH SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF WASHINGTON, II)- ROBERT HARRIS (158)
152-JUDGE OF THE 6TH SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF CHEVARE)- KENT DELGADO (152)
155-JUDGE OF THE 6TH SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF COOKE)- CHARLES “CHARLIE” BEACH (155)
157-JUDGE OF THE 6TH SUBCIRCUIT (LOPEZ CEPERO)- LINDA PEREZ (157)
154-JUDGE OF THE 8TH SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF FABRI)- ROBIN DENISE SCHOFFNER (154)
151-JUDGE OF THE 15TH SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF SCULLY, JR.)- ASHONTA RICE-AKIWOWO (151)
154-JUDGE OF THE 15TH SUBCIRCUIT (VACANCY OF ZELEZINSKI)- ANTHONY C. SWANAGAN (154)
The following are NON-BINDING REFERENDUMS, put on the ballot to crowd out real issues that tha would give Black People a direct say in their government. These are essentially opinion polls.
TO THE VOTERS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO – “Should Governor Rauner act to protect the 650,000 Illinois residents who obtained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act by supporting legislation amending the Illinois Insurance Code to preserve important benefits like pediatric services and maternity care, and by investing in outreach campaigns to encourage residents to sign up for health insurance?”
TO THE VOTERS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO – “Should Governor Rauner support Illinois legislation to ban firearm bump stocks and strengthen penalties on illegal gun traffickers?”
TO THE VOTERS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO- “Should the State of Illinois develop a comprehensive strategy to address the recent rise in opioid-related and heroin-related deaths including committing additional state resources for addiction treatment and requiring health insurers to cover opioid alternatives and limitations on prescription length?”
We hope you find this information useful and encourage you to share it with your friends and family. We have provided so much detail, because we don’t just want Black People to “VOTE!” We want you to VOTE SMART and in our collective Black best interests. Download, print, share, and take it to the polls.
Bolingbrook and Calumet City Show Contrast in How White Mayors Deal with Black Voters
With the April 4th, 2017 Suburban Municipal Elections upon us, I have been bombarded with questions about who to vote for. The suburban municipal elections are of interest and more importance to the Black community, particularly because Blacks are increasingly choosing the South and West Suburbs as safe havens, IF they choose to remain in Illinois. Recent reports that Chicago lost more population than any big city in the country only affirm, what most Black People know, We are leaving the city.
Combine that with the fact that the traditional Democratic alliance with Blacks is being skewed by an over-emphasis on the growing Latino population, which leave Blacks in the suburbs in a quandary. Support the existing governments or create a new paradigm? And while the Democratic Party would have Black People think the answer is simple, just vote D, in suburban elections the answer is more complex.
Take for example my hometown Bolingbrook, IL, located about 35 miles south of Chicago off of Route 55, where 31 year incumbent Mayor Roger Claar finds himself facing an unprecedented challenge from Will County Board Member Jackie Traynere. Once an unknown village that we called “Boringbrook” growing up, with a population of 40,000, it has grown to over 70,000 residents and a retail/restaurant mecca in the suburbs. A tremendous amount of that growth comes from Black Chicagoans seeking a better life for their families. Democrats, recognizing the tremendous number of Black voters with Democratic leanings hope to use their challenger, some mailers featuring Barack Obama, and the Black community’s propensity to vote to automatically vote Democratic to steal a victory from Claar.
Claar, a moderate Republican who has learned to use Bolingbrook’s diversity as an opportunity to build a strong community has done well by the Blacks who live there. You’re as likely to see Claar at Coop’s Den as you are a BHS Raider Basketball game. Through the years, Claar has managed to build an inclusive government, from Deputy Mayor Leroy Brown, Sr. to Village Trustee Sheldon Watts while creating a haven for Black businesses to succeed.
While Cook County Democrats hope to use a Claar fundraiser for Donald Trump as the reason to elect their candidate, Black Bolingbrook residents would be wise to remember that the same people supporting Claar’s opponent supported a water tax, a beer tax, and a bag tax, while Claar ended the vehicle sticker tax. The Bolingbrook First slate is recommended, because until they can get it together in Chicago, Cook County politicians need to stay home.
Roger C. Claar- Mayor
Carol S. Penning- Village Clerk
Michael T. Lawler
Sheldon L. Watts
Maria A. Zarate
In contrast to the mayor’s race in Bolingbrook, Mayor Michelle Qualkinbush has taken to dividing people in an effort to defeat what would be the first Black Mayor of Calumet City. After former Black Alderman and State Representative Thaddeus Jones lost his bid to remain on the ballot, Qualkinbush, feeling confident chose to undermine the candidacy of Black City Clerk Nyota Figgs in the primary. After Figgs soundly defeated her opponent, she successfully convinced her challenger to withdraw from the general election, leaving her unopposed in the general election.
City Clerk Nyota Figgs may have decided to throw her support behind Qualkinbush challenger Larry Young, which could be the deciding factor in ejecting Qualkinbush, who draws most of her support from Calumet City workers who no longer reside in Calumet City. Figgs who was once seen as a potential mayoral candidate may have set her sights on a new target, vulnerable State Rep. Jones’ House seat.
Meanwhile, as the race has tightened, Qualkinbush has taken to mudslinging with obvious racial overtones. As Calumet City has become a majority Black city, it can no longer be led by a mayor that seeks to exploit Black racial stereotypes to destroy the character of her opponent. We recommend the following candidates in Calumet City.
Larry Young- Mayor
Nyota Figgs- City Clerk
Rene Chandler- Treasurer
Gina Young- 2nd Ward Alderman
Anthony Smith- 7th Ward Alderman
Aurora- What many people don’t reaalize is that the City of Aurora has quietly become the 2nd largest city in Illinois, and after 11 years, former Mayor Tom Weisner abruptly stepped down after announcing a battle with cancer. Democrats were left in a precarious position after Madigan backed State Representative Linda Chapa Lavia finished third in in a five way primary, leaving Black war veteran, and 3 term city councilman Richard Irvin to face Rick Guzman in a runoff. As the mayor of the 2nd largest city in Illinois, Richard Irvin would increase Black influence and political power in Illinois. Richard Irvin is endorsed regardless of any party affiliation.
Markham While there appear to be four candidates in the race to replace outgoing Mayor David Webb, only Perry Browley seems to have a chance to win. Browley’s opponents include a convicted felon who could not be sworn even if he won, and two write-in candidacies which are next to impossible campaigns to win.
Robbins For years Robbins has been mired in a mix of bad politics, disinvestment, and just bad luck. After years under Dr. Irene Brody, the citizens elected new leadership that seemed to continue their old ways. But even as things continued to get worse for Robbins, a group of young people, born and raised decided to take things into their own hands during the last election cycle, getting elected as trustees and to other positions, and making preparations to lead. Their time is now. In the Robbins election, we recommend the following candidates:
David R. Dyson- Mayor
Ila Davis- Clerk
Darren Bryant- Trustee
Gregory N. Jackson- Trustee
Danny E. Johnson
Bobby D. Murphy
If you live in Proviso Township, then you know how important the race for the Proviso School Board is, and the parents were concerned that the board members were more concerned about budget than the outcomes for the kids. Because of the large amount omoney at stake, we fully expect that all the local powers that be will be heavily involved in the race, giving the little guy a limited chance of winning, but their efforts should be commended. Every vote for Proviso Together sends a message to career politicians that the people want their government back. We recommend:
Arbdella “Della” Patterson
After a term limits battle that seems oddly similar to what happened in Calumet City, the incumbent Mayor was forced out of office, giving Broadview the opportunity to elect the first Black woman as it’s mayor. While there are two women in the race, we are recommending current Village Clerk Maxine Johnson as our pick for Mayor, because of her institutional knowledge. Our Broadview recommendations include:
Debra Gillespie- Clerk
Norlander Young- Trustee
Sandra Taylor- Trustee
As the competition for resource gets greater between the Black and Latino community, political tensions between the groups are increasing, even as calls for a Black Brown coalition grow more urgent in the Trump era. The “What’s in it for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide is really a look at who Black should consider voting for in their own best interests. Understanding that, if you are Black and reside in Hanover Park, please vote for Eira Corral Sepulveda for Village Clerk.
That’s it for this and remember, your vote is your choice, but if you need some help in deciding on a candidate and your only choice is Democrat or Republican, consider using this list if “What’s in it for the Black People?” is something that would help you make the decision.
(You can print this document and take it into the polling place with you!)
The “What’s in it for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide, is just that, a guide of candidates based on their history, actions, and plans as they relate specifically to the interests of Black people. We decided to provide this list after receiving a recommended candidates list in the mail from a major political Party who shall remain nameless. After research and review, we found numerous candidates who had a record of being hostile to the Black community, regardless of Party affiliation. So we decided to create the “What’s In It for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide.
This list is not meant to be partisan and is unapologetic in its purpose, “to elect candidates in the best self interests of Black People.” We will also provide insights and explanations for our choices in the most controversial and contested races. It is our hope that providing this list will allow the Black community to begin electing candidates that best represent our interests, not because of the letter behind their name, but by the actions they have demonstrated.
THE “WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE BLACK PEOPLE?” VOTER’S GUIDE
SAFE ROADS AMENDMENT (For the proposed addition of Section 11 to Article IX of the Illinois Constitution)
2-Hillary Rodham Clinton & Timothy Michael Kaine
UNITED STATES SENATOR
You Pick- While not a fan of current US Senator Mark Kirk, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth continues to ignore the Black community.
ILLINOIS COMPTROLLER (Unexpired 2-year term)
15- Leslie Geissler Munger- Although Munger is a Republican she has consistently courted the Black community’s support, even hiring Blacks to highest levels in her administration. Her competitor, Susana Mendoza, has consistently proven herself hostile to the Black community, whether voting to expand the death penalty, supporting the LaQuan McDonald cover up, or voting to expand red light cameras, Mendoza will continue the politics that have driven this state to be the worst for Black in the nation.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, STATE SENATE
Uncontested For future reference uncontested races mean they never have to answer “What’s in it for the Black People?”
METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT 6-YEAR TERM (CHOOSE 3)
51- Barbara McGowan
52- Mariyana T. Spyropoulos
*53- Josina Morita (Most likely to be the Cook County’s first Asian-American elected official, this candidate has a history of working in the Black community and earned our respect when she publicly addressed a colleague’s hypocrisy on criminal justice reform. She’s one to watch.)
METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT COMMISSIONER 2-YEAR TERM
58- Marty Durkan
62- Kim Foxx You already know the deal…Don’t front! GO KIM!
CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT
64- Dorothy Brown
RECORDER OF DEEDS
65- Karen A. Yarborough
JUDGE OF APPELLATE COURTS- EPSTEIN VACANCY
71- Eileen O’Neill Burke
JUDGE OF APPELLATE COURTS- QUINN VACANCY
NO Bertina E. Lampkin DO NOT RETAIN (Loyal Burge era prosecutor)
JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- BIEBEL, JR. VACANCY
*73- John Fitgerald Lyke Make sure you vote for John. He’s got a bright future, let’s get him big numbers!
JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT-ELROD VACANCY
74- Rossana Patricia Fernandez
JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- HOGAN VACANCY
75- Alison C. Conlon
JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- HOWLETT, JR. VACANCY
76- Aleksandra “Alex”Gillespie
JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- JOHNSON VACANCY
77- Carolyn J. Gallagher
JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- KARNEZIS VACANCY
78- Mary Kathleen McHugh
JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- LOVE VACANCY
79- Brendan O’Brien
JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- O’BRIEN VACANCY
80- Mary O’Donoghue Hannon
JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- PALMER VACANCY
81- Susan L. Ortiz
JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- RUSCITTI GRUSSEL VACANCY
82- Daniel Patrick Duffy
JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT- WALSH VACANCY
83- Patrick Joseph Powers
JUDGE 1st SUBCIRCUIT- BRIM VACANCY
JUDGE 1st SUBCIRCUIT- HOPKINS VACANCY
JUDGE 2nd SUBCIRCUIT- SAVAGE VACANCY
D. Renee Jackson
JUDGE 4th SUBCIRCUIT- KUNKLE VACANCY
Edward J. King
JUDGE 5TH SUBCIRCUIT- EADIE-DANIELS VACANCY
92- Leonard Murray
JUDGE 5TH SUBCIRCUIT- STUART VACANCY
*94- Freddrenna M. Lyle
JUDGE 5TH SUBCIRCUIT- WILLIAMS VACANCY
96- Darryl Jones
JUDGE 6th SUBCIRCUIT- PONCE DE LEON VACANCY
Eulalia “Evie” De La Rosa
JUDGE 6th SUBCIRCUIT-SANTIAGO VACANCY
Richard C. Cooke
JUDGE 6th SUBCIRCUIT
JUDGE 7th SUBCIRCUIT-BURRELL VACANCY
JUDGE 7th SUBCIRCUIT- RIVKIN-CAROTHERS VACANCY
Patricia “Pat” Spratt
JUDGE 9th SUBCIRCUIT-BERMAN VACANCY
JUDGE 10th SUBCIRCUIT- HOWARD VACANCY
Eve Marie Reilly
JUDGE 11th SUBCIRCUIT- KELLY VACANCY
Catherine Ann Schneider
JUDGE 11th SUBCIRCUIT-ZWICK VACANCY
William B. Sullivan
JUDGE 12th SUBCIRCUIT- KAZMIERSKI VACANCY
Marguerite Anne Quinn
JUDGE 12th SUBCIRCUIT- MATHEIN VACANCY
James Leonard Allegretti
JUDGE 12th SUBCIRCUIT-TRISTANO VACANCY
JUDGE 12th SUBCIRCUIT- ADDITIONAL JUDGESHIP
James Edward Hanlon
JUDGE 12th SUBCIRCUIT- FECAROTTA VACANCY
Ketki “Kay” Steffen
JUDGE 14th SUBCIRCUIT- MURPHY VACANCY
BALLOT FOR JUDICIAL CANDIDATES SEEKING RETENTION IN OFFICE
*VOTE NO– By voting no, it allows you to select the judges individually and stop the bad judges from getting back in office. Included in this batch of judges are former John Burge accomplices, LaQuan McDonald decision makers, and judges that have upheld the wrongful convictions of people who were eventually proven innocent. It is here where we can make the most political impact on our daily lives. REMEMBER: If you vote “yes” all of the judges will be re-elected without having to answer for the decisions they made against the Black community.
SHALL EACH PERSON LISTED BE RETAINED IN OFFICE AS JUDGE OF THE APPELLATE COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT?
201- YES- Joy Virginia Cunningham
SHALL EACH OF THE PERSONS LISTED BR RETAINED IN OFFICE AS A JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT, COOK COUNTY?
VOTE NO FOR THESE JUDGES (DO NOT SKIP, YOU MUST VOTE NO)
258- Jeanne Cleveland Bernstein (Cook County Bar Association recommendation)
234- Charles Patrick Burns (Burge prosecutor)
304- Ann Finley Collins (blocked the appointment of Black judges)
232- Nicholas Ford (Burge prosecutor)
210- Vincent Gaughan (Issued gag order in LaQuan McDonald case)
262- Kay M. Hanlon (previously ran as Republican, switched to Democrat to get elected in Cook County)
222 -Bertina Lampkin (known as “Hang ‘Em High amongst Black judges, Lampkin was a Burge prosecutor, defended wrongful convictions, particularly hard on Black defendants)
240- Diane J. Larsen (Madigan ally, blocked redistricting reforms)
242- Daniel Joseph Lynch (sentenced Black man to 6 years in jail for contempt of court, removed by Illinois Supreme Court)
270- Patrick T. Murphy (publicly opposed Chief Judge Evans in attempted power grab)
282- Daniel James Pierce (led public charge against Chief Judge Tim Evans)
206- Irwin J. Solganick (Cook County Bar Association recommendation)
VOTE YES FOR THESE JUDGES
255- Robert Balanoff
299- Steven James Bernstein 211- Robert W. Bertucci 259- Kathleen Marie Burke 297- John P. Callahan 301- Bonita Coleman 251- Paula M. Daleo 213- Deborah Mary Dooling 253- Laurence J. Dunford
*215- Timothy C. Evans
305- Daniel J. Gallagher
235- Denise Kathleen Filan
279- John C. Griffin
203- Sophia H. Hall
291- Edward S. Harmening
285- William H. Hooks
229- Arnette Hubbard
217- Cheryl D. Ingram
219- Raymond L. Jagielski
307- Sharon O. Johnson
309- Linzey D. Jones
263- Thomas J. Kelley
*237- John P. Kirby
295- Geary W. Kull
287- Thomas V. Lyons, II
311- Terence MacCarthy
223- William O. Maki
293- Daniel B. Malone
249- Leroy K. Martin, Jr.
227- James Patrick McCarthy
265- Clare Elizabeth McWilliams
267- Mary Mikva
289- Raymond W. Mitchell
283- Allen F. Murphy
271- Timothy P. Murphy
243- Kathleen M. Pantle
313- Sandra G. Ramos
273- Jim Ryan
245- Kevin M. Sheehan
225- Sharon M. Sullivan
315- Susan Kennedy Sullivan
247- John D. Turner
275- Edward Washington, II
207- Alexander P. White
277- Thaddeus L. Wilson
ELIMINATE THE COOK COUNTY RECORDER OF DEEDS?
EARNED SICK TIME EMPLOYEE ACT
No. (This is a non-binding referendum designed to make Black people turn out to vote, with no intentions of passing the bill. We should only consider this if it is a BINDING referendum).
INCREASED PENALTIES FOR GUN CRIMES
No. (This is a non-binding referendum designed to take advantage of crime in the Black community. Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the country. More jail is not the answer, more jobs and resources are.)
SHOULD CHICAGO WORK WITH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ON INFRASTRUCTURE
Yes. (Again this is a non-binding referendum. All three of these questions were placed on the ballot to prevent term limits for the Mayor from being voted on by the people.)
It is legal to take this list with you to your polling place. This guide is not meant to tell you who to vote for as much as to provide some insight from an unapologetically Black perspective on who Black people should consider voting for. Our recommendations take into consideration a variety of factors based on particular insights we may have Remember, this is the “What’s in it for the Black People?” Recommended Candidates Guide. If THEY are complaining about the list, or the candidates we picked, just ask their candidate, “What’s in it for the Black People?” If they get offended or don’t have an answer…you have you answer.
Early voting has already begun. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th!
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.
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 Barwhere constituents and developers alike allege that they have been victims of his drunken tirades,rants, and “private meetings” in the basement.
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?”
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.
With a hastily released statement and a suspension of the rules, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Commissioner Peter Silvestri’s attempt to strip Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown of her position went down in flames. Community activists, Black businessmen, and seniors descended on the May 11, 2016 Cook County Board meeting to let the Cook County Board of Commissioners exactly how they felt about Silvestri’s resolution.
The meeting attendees were vociferous in their opposition to any attempts to disenfranchise Black voters in Cook County. The resolution, sponsored by Elmwood Park Republican Commissioner Peter Silvestri,was billed as a cost cutting measure, not meant directly to target Clerk Brown. Commissioners who asked to remain off the record acknowledged that Silvestri was acting at the behest of County Board President Preckwinkle, who has made no secret of her disdain of Clerk Brown, even going as far as having her removed from the Democratic Party slate of endorsed candidates. Observers in the audience labeled the attack petty, as some even began whispering, “Toni Pettywinkle.”
The tension continued to mount prior to the vote and it was apparent that many of the Commissioner were nervous about taking such a the vote. Shortly afterwards, Reverend Leslie Sanders, community outreach specialists delivered a hastily worded statement placing responsibility for the resolution in the hands of the Chief Judge Timothy Evans and Commissioner Silvestri. The statement read as such:
The proposal that the Chief Judge appoint the Clerk of the Circuit Court was initiated by Commissioner Silvestri, and not by my office. I was not informed in advance of Commissioner Silvestri’s intention to introduce this resolution. I am neither endorsing nor promoting it, and I met with and informed Circuit Court Clerk Brown of my position. The resolution will go to a Board committee for discussion and, in any case, this is not a change the County Board could implement on its own, but rather would need approval from the state Legislature.
Community leaders refused to accept the statement and demanded that “Pettywinkle” as they referred to her, oppose the resolution. After the statement was distributed, the crowd became even more unsettled and became raucous, as Dorothy Brown sat quietly watching the who thing unfold.
When Preckwinkle took the podium she gave the floor to Cook County Commissioner John Daley, who immediately moved to suspended the rules, at which point (click to watch video) Silvestri announced that he was holding the resolution in committee, at which point the crowd erupted with applause. Cook County Board Commissioners, who often operate in anonymity were put on notice that they would be receiving the same scrutiny as the Chicago City Council, as shouts of “What’s in it for the Black People?” rang out from the audience.
Coincidentally, on the same day, the Cook County Board also passed a $375 million dollar bond deal to finance the redevelopment of the old Cook County Hospital. Considering the County is using the same Black contractors who have been accused of leaving the Black community out the last time the County Hospital was rebuilt, that scrutiny is warranted and will be intense. Just listening to the audience, it does not appear that Target Group and Rite-Way Construction will be enough to satisfactorily answer the question, “What’s in it for the Black People?”
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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!
On Friday, April 8, 2016 multi-millionaire businessman, philanthropist, and donor Elzie Higginbottom hosted Democratic US Senator Garry Peters of Michigan for an intimate breakfast of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Senator Peters provided the attendees with an inside perspective on the inner workings of Congress and the differences between serving in the House and Senate. Peters also provided the attendees with insights on the challenges in getting his Republican colleagues to recognize the need for federal involvement in the Flint Water Crisis.
While many people in the world think of Chicago as the focal point of Illinois, it is really Springfield, a small town in central Illinois with a population of just under 120,000 people that makes the state go. Springfield, like any other city has a local government, with a mayor and city council, but unlike any other city in Illinois, it also has a monarchy, run by its king and the most powerful man in Illinois, Speaker of the House Mike Madigan and his court of legislators, lobbyists, lawyers, and union members. It’s a world that many in the Black community do not understand, but that controls our very existence.
Mike Madigan Background
Mike Madigan is the state representative of the 22nd District, a Southwest Side ward that is centered near Midway Airport. It is composed of Chicago, Burbank, and the Bedford Park communities. Madigan was elected State Representative of the District January 13, 1971, became Speaker of the House in 1983, and has remained in that position since that time, with the exception of two years. Madigan was defeated as Speaker of the House in 1995, when the Republicans Led by Lee Daniels, took control of the Illinois House of Representatives. It is rumored that Madigan, known for his determination, discipline, and relentless pursuit of power began knocking on doors the morning after his defeat, and by the next election in 1997, he retook the House, and has remained the unquestioned leader of Springfield since that time.
Madigan was born a Democrat, the son of a New Deal Democrat father also named Michael, who believed in the benefits government could provide people. He passed that tradition along to his son and namesake, who would eventually ascend to the position of most powerful Democrat in the state. On the path to that title, Madigan, who grew up in the Clearing neighborhood, a predominately Irish Catholic neighborhood, attended St. Adrian’s elementary school, St. Ignatius College Prep, and the University of Notre Dame. He went on to attend law school at Loyola University in Chicago.
Madigan distinguished himself early in his political life by becoming a favorite of Mayor Richard J. Daley. Eventually, Madigan and Daley’s eldest son, Richard M. Daley would start their political careers at the same time, when the two served as delegates to the Illinois Constitutional Convention. Even though Madigan and the younger Daley eventually became bitter rivals, Mayor Richard J. Daley would eventually go on to appoint Madigan to a job in the City Law Department, allowing him to pay for his law school tuition. After completion Madigan partnered up with fellow Loyola graduate Vincent J. “Bud” Getzendanner, Jr. to form Madigan & Getzendanner, a property tax appeals firm. Since forming the law firm, Madigan has saved businesses millions in property taxes, at the same time making himself a millionaire, while fighting for “Democratic values.”
While Madigan himself is a millionaire, he has used his position as Speaker of the House to amass power through the distribution of wealth, jobs, and contracts to build a political organization “so gangster that Don Corleone would be scared to mess with him,” said a Springfield insider who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. While federal investigations and Shakman decrees have crippled the once powerful Democratic Machine in Illinois, Madigan’s Machine keeps just keeps on rolling. Many complain that Madigan has no real concern for the people, just the power.
They point to his recent financial outpouring of over $200 million for new schools in the Latino community, while CPS was closing over 50 schools in predominately Black neighborhoods. Madigan even jettisoned his White state senator and replaced him with a Latino state senator to burnish his Latino credentials.
The engine that makes the Madigan Machine go is a compliant legislature, willing to go along with the Speaker’s program regardless of the impacts to their community. To ensure compliance, Madigan works hard to make sure that his members have no opponents in their elections. By doing this, Madigan makes it possible for the legislators to defy their communities to do his bidding with no consequence.
With no opponent, most members of the state legislature can take the rose garden approach campaigning, only going where they are fawned over and complimented, never having to answer the tough questions. That insulation is what provides Black legislators in particular the cover from having to explain why the state’s economic resources so often miss the Black community, while making it to areas like Beverly, Oak Lawn, and Evergreen Park. Madigan’s iron fisted control of the legislature is what drives the machine, so Madigan uses whatever tactics necessary, from fear, intimidation, contracts, or oppositional candidates to maintain that control.
Madigan’s ability to manipulate the laws of the land also play a significant role in his power. Madigan employs a team of lawyers that are subject matter experts in every area of the state and in politics. Often times those lawyers are former Madigan staffers and loyalists who have gone on to graduate from law school. During their time in law school, they are generally assigned to Madigan’s consigliere, Atty. Mike Kasper, to handle challenges against Madigan’s House members. Once they have completed law school, those lawyers are dispersed in legal departments throughout state , governmental agencies, and corporations.
While in those positions, they make lucrative salaries and make sure the Speaker’s will is carried out on demand. Madigan also uses law firms to reward political loyalists while staying away from the public scrutiny. Even though lobbyists play a key role in the transfer of money, it is through law firms where Madigan enriches his most loyal subjects and members, by forcing corporations to do business with his preferred law firms. In turn, those law firms raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Madigan by way of campaign contributions. Outside of labor unions, members of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association are among Madigan’s top contributors.
While lobbyists have garnered a nefarious reputation, they are key to passing the laws that govern our state. Lobbyists serve as trusted policy experts on specific issues for legislators who are bombarded with thousands of bills each session. On small issues, it’s every man for himself mentality, but when a company has a big issue that they need solved in Springfield, the lobbyists are expected to collect the king’s ransom. It’s often said in Springfield, “every bill that passes makes or loses someone millions of dollars.”
With so much at stake, companies are willing to do anything they are told, and they often ask the Speaker who should they hire as a lobbyist. Based on whose “turn” it is, or the issue, they are assigned a lobbyist. The lobbyist assignments for both sides are given out by Mike McClain, a former legislator turned lobbyist, who is now commonly called “Mike Madigan’s Messenger to Corporate America.” Once hired, generally at fees upwards of $10,000 per month, the lobbyists set out to “convince” Madigan ‘s legislators to vote for or against the issue. The Speaker knows how the vote will go in advance and the game is fixed, but win or lose, Madigan’s lobbyists get paid their fees. In turn, they pay their “tax” through the companies they represent.
Unfortunately, the number of Black lobbyists in Springfield is extremely small and their clients tend to be small social service agencies. When they do happened to get large clients they are often responsible for lobbying the entire Black Caucus. Conversely, their White counterparts make double the fees for one tenth of the work. Outside of Springfield, Black lobbyist would have an EEOC claim for hostile work environment.
When the big deals get cut, often times the lobbyists work out the deals with no Black lobbyist in the room, leaving the interests of the Black community unaddressed. Typically, when the final bill is voted on, there has been no Black input. And because Madigan controls the compliant legislature with an iron fist, most Black Caucus members are unwilling to challenge him, even when it means the Black community gets left out.
If lobbyists are considered Madigan’s messengers, then the trade unions could be considered Madigan’s enforcers. Trade unions are made up of and led by predominately White Irish men. The trade unions supply Madigan with an endless supply of troops and “resources” (dues) to fight and finance anyone who dares challenge Madigan. These same trade unions are often accused, by members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, of limited Black membership and relegating potential young Blacks to never-ending apprenticeship program. Black Caucus members have quietly fought trade unions on this to no avail, while the speaker remains silent on the issue. Because they know they serve as the Speaker’s enforcers, the trade unions are protected from their openly discriminatory practices without fear of retribution.
Over the last 45 years, governors have changed, members have changed, even centuries have changed, but one thing remains constant in Illinois, Speaker Mike Madigan. At age 73, Speaker Madigan will not have to deal with consequences of his 40 plus year reign, but Illinoisans will be paying for it for generations to come. So as the House that Madigan built crumbles under it’s own weight, the only question that remains is will Illinois survive?
While readers have been bombarded with stories of Chicago’s financial and police crises, the war of words resumed in Springfield last week. The state of Illinois, which has operated without a budget since June of 2015, is rapidly facing it’s own moment of truth. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has asked the Illinois Labor Relations Board to declare an impasse in the states negotiations with AFSCME. If that happens, then Illinois residents will finally begin to feel the true impacts of a government shutdown.
The state does not now have a budget, so Illinois residents have been spared the true impact of a government shutdown. State operations have run because of a series of court judgments and consent decrees, but if Rauner gets his way, and a budget impasse is declared, Illinoisan will begin to feel the real impacts of what decades of indecision and mismanagement have brought to the state. The situation is coming to a head, and in spite of the headlines and articles, Illinois’ crisis did not begin with the election of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. The roots of this crisis can be traced back to another Republican Governor, Jim Edgar with the assistance of Illinois’ most powerful Democrat, Speaker of the House Mike Madigan.
In 1994, then-Governor Jim Edgar introduced a bipartisan bill that he claimed would fix Illinois’ $15 billion pension crisis. According to state law, Illinois pensions must be funded, and with a balloon payment looming and Illinois short on the cash, Edgar conspired with Madigan to extend the terms on the debt to 2045, essentially leaving future governors to deal with the mess. The Edgar solution relied on lower earlier pension payments (during his term) gradually increasing them over time. Edgar left office in 1999, a wildly popular and respected governor, and has since gone on to become one of Illinois’ senior statesmen. In reality however, he left the future Illinois a financial mess that residents are paying for to this day.
Disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich did not help the situation when he and Speaker Madigan passed what was infamously dubbed the “pension holiday.” That “holiday” allowed the Illinois General Assembly to skip a $2 billion dollar pension payment and reinvest those dollars into capital projects, many that accrued Blagojevich, favor with the Black community. Popular programs such as free senior rides on CTA, Kidstart, and a variety of road and building projects were funded, but union pensions were not. Not only were the pensions not funded, but also the interest accrued and in some cases compounded. Now the payment has come due.
7% Percent Crippling 93%
According to Bloomberg BNA, of the state of Illinois’ almost five and a half million workers, only approximately 7%, or 383,600 have government-backed pensions. Many question how 7% of the state’s working population could be dragging down the other 93% of the population. For some the answer is simple. They say, “We live in a different world, just cut the pensions and move on,” but in Illinois politics it’s not that simple.
But unions are the lifeblood of Illinois politics, and while they are often closely associated with Democrats, many downstate public employee unions are filled conservative Republicans who closely identify with local Republicans. They supply money, volunteers, and mail, all essential components to successful campaigns, and they take their retirement benefits seriously. In fact, the state’s largest employee union, AFSCME, has over 37,000 active members and approximately 100,000 retirees. While active members to recognize that the benefits packages of the past will most likely go from defined benefits to defined contribution, any discussion of changing retirees’ plans is met with fierce resistance.
Retirees complain that they did their part by allowing their retirement payments to be taken out of every check, and now it’s the state’s time to pay up. It’s a hard sell for the Governor and the Illinois constituents who will have to make up the difference. As Illinoisans continue to see their taxes rise while services continue to get cut, the public employee union retirees stand to bear the brunt of years of mismanagement.
The state’s bond a rating is crashing, CPS is on the brink of bankruptcy, and the impending literal shutdown of state government is looming. There are reports that Governor Rauner and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton are attempting to forge ahead with a solution, while Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan refuses to participate in reforming a mess that all agree he helped create. One cannot deny Governor Rauner’s role in the situation Illinois is facing today, but the truth is the state’s mess was not created during Rauner’s one year in office, and will take until long after he is gone to correct.