The “What’s in it for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide-2018 General Election (Cheat Sheets Included)


Billionaire JB Pritzker takes on multimillionaire Governor Bruce Rauner November.


The mission of What’s in it for the Black People Illinois is to advocate specifically for Black self-interests through the acquisition of mainstream political power; rebuild the pillars of the Black community (business, politics, spiritual, education, and grassroots); and re-instill Black pride and self-reliance; while also ensuring that Black self-interests are included in city, state, and national policy development, REGARDLESS of traditional party affiliations and/or socially defined categories of persons. Our political interests are BLACK FIRST.


The purpose of the “What’s In It For The Black People?” Voter’s Guide is to provide Black voters with a “guide, not a Bible” to use when they go into the voting booth. Often times we are forced to rely on voter guides, endorsements, and palm cards of organizations that may not necessarily make Black People a top priority. In some cases, we have been misled into using guides that include people that have an established history of working against Black People.

The goal of the “What’s In It for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide is to ensure that Black voters have a guide that provides an option to view candidates through a purely BLACK perspective. That does not mean that we will always choose Black candidates, specific party affiliations, or based on being “fair.” We are unflinching in our desire to elect candidates that will move the Black Community forward.

It is important to note that while candidates have tried to sponsor or advertise in the “What’s in it for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide, We have made a conscious decision NOT to accept the revenue in an effort to ensure that politicians do not taint our mission, and operatives who would rather pay for an endorsement than do the work that Black People demand do not get an easy pass.

We hope you find it useful and will take it with you when you vote, whether early or on Election Day, November 6, 2018.



For Republican incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner, it’s been a rough first term, having presided over a 3-year budget stalemate that left him wearing the jacket for devastating cuts in social service funding. He rode into Springfield on a dark horse after spending a personal fortune to essentially buy the Republican Party of Illinois for a chance to save Illinois from its evil Emperor Mike Madigan. Initially, it seemed as though he had a chance because Illinois had never seen anyone with that much money get in the race and win. People held their collective breaths, wondering whether the multi-millionaire could defeat the Emperor. Three years later, after being thwarted by Madigan at every turn, one would think that Rauner would try a new strategy, perhaps just bow down to Madigan like everyone else, and salvage his pride. But like most people with a lot of pride he’s going to go out swinging.

So instead of highlighting the wins he’s had in the areas of school funding reform, fair contracting for Black state vendors, and criminal justice reform, his platform is all Madigan all day with a few toilet commercials sprinkled in to break up the monotony. Recently, he’s been trying to catch JB up for tax fraud, which might have been a great story earlier in the cycle, but it’s probably too little too late. While Bruce Rauner was a titan of industry, Illinois politics might have been a little over his head.


On the other hand, seven months ago, while we were uncomfortable with Democrat JB Pritzker’s comments caught on an FBI recorded phone call, and Juliana Stratton’s 6 month tenure as a State Representative and Madigan tool, we still believed that JB was the best candidate for BLACK TRANSACTIONAL POLITICS, which is why we endorsed him in the primary (which he won handily BTW). Since then, JB has fallen into the same pattern of the Democrats before him, pandering to Black People during the primary and ignoring us in the general.

We only need to look at the amount of Black staff and confidants JB’s team jettisoned after the primary to confirm our beliefs. Gone is the cadre of local Black preachers, operatives, and campaign staff workers that accompanied JB to everything Black. Gone are the wise Black businessmen and fixers that knew how to quietly fix things and keep people moving forward together. Gone are all the Black People that gave us a modicum of trust in JB. All that’s left for Black People is JB and the Black Carpetbaggers from Georgia, Baltimore, and Detroit taking orders from an Italian from Philly. Combine that with the recent allegations of discrimination and campaign workers in blackface, and we are just not comfortable with JB anymore.  To add insult to injury, when we looked at the D-2’s from the primary, JB spent more money with consultants and vendors from Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York than in Chicago.

Once JB secured his 20-point primary win, we never saw him again, except in TV commercials or from a distance in the Bud Billiken Parade (which he used to make dancing negroes TV commercials). In the face of the LaQuan McDonald/Jason Van Dyke hearing, all we got was a tweet AFTER it was safe. We’ve heard nothing about his economic plan for Black People, and we won’t even talk about the fact that he’s talking about raising our taxes, while literally taking toilets out of his SECOND MANSION to save $330,000 and he’s a BILLIONAIRE.

With so many challenging issues specifically facing the Black People in Illinois, JB Pritzker’s performance in the Black community since the primary has been disappointing to say the least, and disrespectful considering he will most likely get 90% of the Black vote. We expected more from the Democratic nominee. Then there’s Libertarian candidate Grayson Kash Jackson who has delivered some of the best one-liners of the campaign season and would make a great protest vote if one were so inclined. Conservative candidate William “Sam” McCann is simply not a viable option for #WIIFTBP consideration .



In what has to be the most disappointing race of this election cycle, we have TWO Black candidates Erika Harold and State Senator Kwame Raoul running for Attorney General, and both are doing their best job to ignore Black People. The fact that Black People heard nothing from the TWO Black Attorney General candidates on the biggest trial so far this century for Black Illinoisans, the Jason Van Dyke trial, speaks volumes as to what we can expect from either of them. On this issue, there has been no discernible difference between the two. The Libertarian candidate has been virtually non-existent on the issue.

While we differ with Erika Harold on some policy positions, since she entered the race she has always been responsive, whether it is answering a questionnaire, attending an event, or providing an answer to “What’s in it for the Black People?” In the face of #MeToo and “The Year of the Woman,” we think that Erika Harold could be an inspiration to young Black girls throughout the state. She would also provide some much-needed balance in the executive branch of Springfield, especially in the event that Governor Rauner is unsuccessful. And perhaps finally we could get an investigation of the property tax racket that has run so many Black People out of their homes.


Attorney and former Miss America Erica Harold seeks to make history as the first black woman to serve as Illinois Attorney General.


Jesse White is a no-brainer versus Jason Helland (R) and Steve Dutner (L).






Mike Frerichs is endorsed on the sheer number of Black People on his Executive Team. He made a commitment to Black inclusion 4 years ago and has delivered on that promise.

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (16) Michael W. Frerichs



While we have been critical of what our congressional delegation has brought back to the Black community, it is imperative that we maintain Black seniority in Congress while preparing new talent for the future.


1ST CD- Bobby Rush

2nd CD- Robin Kelly

7th CD- Danny K. Davis








Benford seeks to make history as the first Black woman to represent the 98th District.




Black woman business owner and DuPage County elected official Alyssia Benford is a Black suburban political success story waiting to add another chapter, but first, she must defeat Democratic incumbent Natalie Manley. To do that, she’s going to need the support of the local Republican Party as well as all of the Black People that live in the district, which includes parts of Bolingbrook, Joliet, and Plainfield. While she’s not a Democrat, she’s definitely Black and not afraid to speak up on issues that impact her community, regardless of party affiliation. If you are Black and live in the Southwest Suburbs, ignore your instinct to hit the D and vote for your own self-interests. Alyssia will give Black People the voice on the other side of the aisle that we need.


As a chemist and environmentalist, Commissioner Kari K. Steele is the MOST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE on the MWRD Board.

METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS (6 YEAR TERM) VOTE FOR 1– Commissioner KARI K. STEELE 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 including chairing the Budget, Employment, Monitoring, and Research Committees.

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (52) Kari K. Steele





*METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS (6 YEAR TERM VACANCY OF BRADFORD) This seat is up for grabs due to the unfortunate passing of Commissioner Tim Bradford who held the seat to ensure that the South Suburbs were represented at the MWRD. Progressives used Bradford’s passing as an opportunity to steal the seat from the Black community and give it to a White progressive. The Progressive Democratic plan to rob the South Suburbs of a voice on the MWRD alone is enough for #WIIFTBP to support Green Party candidate Geoffrey Cubbage over Cam Davis for the Bradford vacancy. #WIIFTBP does not believe that Progressives should be rewarded for their attempt to disenfranchise the Southland.




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, the continued defense of a regressive property tax system, sexual harassment scandal, and more Black People fired. Combine that with the fact that she’s trading away every bit of Black Power we have in the city in an effort to become the Mayor and the one-time progressive stalwart has been reduced to a run of the mill machine hack. Endorsing the unopposed Preckwinkle for a job she clearly doesn’t want would be the height of hypocrisy.




#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (72) Karen Yarborough






#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (75) Maria Pappas

(Democratic nominee Fritz Kaegi looks to fix the broken property tax system)


Fritz Kaegi defeated Cook County Democratic Party Chair and Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios in the primary. Berrios had become the face of a property tax racket that was responsible for devastating Black homeowners. He faces Republican Joseph Paglia in what should be an election night romp.




The 3rd District Cook County Commissioners race is the only contested race on the Cook County Board that impacts Black People and it pits businessman and attorney William “Bill” Lowery against Chicago activist and political gadfly George Blakemore. While Blakemore is a walking government watchdog, his antics can and be distracting at times and might impede the work that must be done. Lowery conversely is a polished businessman that will fill the role of a politician easily. The key is will he deliver and can he stand up to his sponsor Toni Preckwinkle? We’re not sure but we think that George Blakemore will serve as an excellent watchdog to keep Lowery in line…from the gallery. #WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (81)William “Bill” Lowery




(113) Tom Sam Sianis



(114) Rosa Maria Silva



(115) Thomas F. McGuire



(116) Preston Jones, Jr.



(117) Cecilia Anne Horan



(118) Clare Joyce Quish



(119) Peter Michael Gonzalez



(120) Jack Hagerty







(201) Anne Burke



(203) Margaret Stanton McBride



(205) Kathleen Flanagan

(207) Moshe Jacobius

(209) Stuart Lubin

(211) Martin S. Agran

(213) Ronald F. Bartkowicz

(217) Catherine Marie Haberkorn

(219) James M. Varga

(221) Marcia Maras


(225) Paul A. Karkula


(229) Mary Margaret Brosnahan

(232) NO Matthew E. Coughlin– Used his position to shield Burge accomplices that tortured innocent people. Partially blamed a 13 year old for his own death when killed by a drunk off duty cop. Regularly sentences black and brown marijuana users to prison. Peers deemed him disrespectful to attorneys and Black People NONO***.

(233) Joyce Marie Murphy Gorman

(235) Joan Margaret O’Brien

(237) Thomas David Roti

(239) Colleen F. Sheehan

(241) Carl Anthony Walker

(243) Daniel Patrick Brennan

(245) Grace G. Dickler

(247) Ellen L. Flannigan

(249) Carol M. Howard

(251) Jill C. Marisie

(243) James Michael McGing

(255) Mike McHale

(257) James Patrick Murphy

(260) ***NO**** Thomas W. Murphy TRIED TO OUST BLACK CHIEF JUDGE

(261) Ramon Ocasio

(263) Mary Colleen Roberts

(265) Diane M. Shelley

(269) Celia Louise Gamrath

(271) Lorna Ellen Propes

(273) Tommy Brewer

(274) Andrea M. Schleifer


(279) Erica L. Reddick

(281) Aicha Marie MacCarthy

(283) Lionel Jean-Baptiste

(285) Michael R. Clancy

(287) Regina Ann Scannicchio

(289) Diann Karen Marsalek

(291) Pamela M. Leeming

(293) Larry G. Axelrood

(295) Carl Boyd

(287) Daniel R. Degnan

(299) John H. Ehrlich

(301) Terry Gallagher

(303) William G. Gamboney

(305) Elizabeth Mary Hayes

(307) Martin C. Kelley

(309) Kimberly D. Lewis

(311) Edward M. Maloney

(313) Lisa Ann Marino

(315) Michael Tully Mullen

(319) Karen Lynn O’Malley

(321) Paul S. Pavlus

(323) Cynthia Ramirez

(325) Beatriz Santiago


“Shall the minimum wage in your municipality match the $13 per hour Cook County minimum wage law for adults over the age of 18 by July 1, 2020, and be indexed to the consumer price index after that?”



“Shall your municipality match the Cook County earned sick time law which allows for workers to earn up to 40 hours (5 days) of sick time a year to take care of their own health or a family member’s health?




“Should the State of Illinois strengthen penalties for the illegal trafficking of firearms and require all gun dealers to be certified by the State?”




“In the event marijuana is legalized, should the City of Chicago appropriate revenue from the sale of marijuana to increase funding for Chicago Public Schools and for mental health services?”




“Should the City of Chicago seek that the State of Illinois create a homeowners property tax exemption for families in municipalities of over 500,000 that have lived in their home for over 10 years and whose income is under $100,000?”




“Should the City of Chicago ban the use of plastic straws within the corporate city limits?”




“Shall Chicago adopt the following term limit for the office of Mayor effective for the mayoral election in 2019 and thereafter: No person may hold the office of Mayor for more than two consecutive elected 4-year terms (with all prior consecutive elected terms of the current officeholder counted in determining the term limit for that officeholder)?”




“Shall Chicago establish an elected Consumer Advocate for taxpayers and consumers to replace the appointed Commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection? The office of Consumer Advocate shall be elected in 2019 and every four years thereafter in the same manner and with the same eligibility and candidacy filing requirements and removal provisions as the office of City Clerk. The Consumer Advocate shall receive the same salary as the City Clerk and a vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as a vacancy in the office of City Clerk. The Consumer Advocate shall hold office for a 4-year term and until a successor is elected and qualified. The Consumer Advocate shall have the following powers and duties: 1) protect taxpayers and consumers from unfairness and inequality; 2) monitor city compliance with the Illinois Freedom of Information Act; 3) promote a healthful environment; and 4) replace the appointed Commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and manage all duties and responsibilities of the Department.”


#WIIFTBP Voter’s Guide Cheat Sheet Pg. 1


#WIIFTBP Cheat Sheet Page 2

The “What’s in it for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide 2.0

Maze Jackson

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.

Bolingbrook Mayor Claar has a reputation of being moderate, inclusive, and friendly to Black business, but he faces a challenge from Democrats hoping to hold a Trump fundraiser against him. The question is will Bolingbrook residents want the same people who messed up Cook County running their Village?

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

Calumet City

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.

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.

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

Proviso Township

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:

  • Samuel Valtierrez
  • Amanda Grant
  • Arbdella “Della” Patterson
  • Rodney Alexander


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
  • Craig Flowers

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 Cheat Sheet

So many of you have asked, so Black voters, here it is, the “What’s In It for The Black People Cheat Sheet?” with the judges listed in numerical order as opposed to alphabetical order for ease of use. Print and follow this list. YOU CAN TAKE IT INTO THE VOTING BOOTH WITH YOU. Explanations for all of our picks can be found at: REMEMBER, VOTE “NO” TO RETAIN ALL JUDGES AND USE THE NUMBERS AND NAMES PROVIDED HERE TO GET JUSTICE. Please print and share.


2-Hillary Rodham Clinton & Timothy Michael Kaine

You Pick

15- Leslie Geissler Munger

Bobby Rush

Danny Davis

Robin Kelly

Your State Representative
Your State Senator

51- Barbara McGowan

52- Mariyana T. Spyropoulos

53- Josina

58- Marty Durkan

62- Kim Foxx You already know the deal…Don’t front! GO KIM!

64- Dorothy Brown

65- Karen A. Yarborough

71- Eileen O’Neill Burke

73- John Fitgerald Lyke 

74- Rossana Patricia Fernandez

75- Alison C. Conlon

76- Aleksandra “Alex”Gillespie

77- Carolyn J. Gallagher

78- Mary Kathleen McHugh

79- Brendan O’Brien

80- Mary O’Donoghue Hannon

81- Susan L. Ortiz

82- Daniel Patrick Duffy

83- Patrick Joseph Powers

Jesse Outlaw


Renee Jackson

Edward J. King

92- Leonard Murray

*94- Freddrenna M. Lyle

96- Darryl Jones

Eulalia “Evie” De La Rosa

Richard C. Cooke

Anna Loftus

Marianne Jackson

Patricia “Pat” Spratt

Jerry Esrig

Eve Marie Reilly

Catherine Ann Schneider

William B. Sullivan

Marguerite Anne Quinn

James Leonard Allegretti

Carrie Hamilton

James Edward Hanlon

Ketki “Kay” Steffen

Matthew Link



*VOTE NO– By voting no, it allows you to select the judges individually and stop the bad judges from getting back in office.


201- YES- Joy Virginia Cunningham

203- Sophia H. Hall
206- Irwin J. Solganick

207- Alexander P. White

210- Vincent Gaughan

211- Robert W. Bertucci

215- Timothy C. Evans

217- Cheryl D. Ingram
219- Raymond L. Jagielski

223- William O. Maki

225- Sharon M. Sullivan

227- James Patrick McCarthy

229- Arnette Hubbard

232- Nicholas Ford

234- Charles Patrick Burns

235- Denise Kathleen Filan

237- John P. Kirby

240- Diane J. Larsen

242- Daniel Joseph Lynch 243- Kathleen M. Pantle

245- Kevin M. Sheehan

247- John D. Turner

249- Leroy K. Martin, Jr.

251- Paula M. Daleo

253- Laurence J. Dunford

255- Robert Balanoff

258- Jeanne Cleveland Bernstein 
259- Kathleen Marie Burke

262- Kay M. Hanlon

265- Clare Elizabeth McWilliams
267- Mary Mikva

270- Patrick T. Murphy

271- Timothy P. Murphy

273- Jim Ryan
275- Edward Washington, II
277- Thaddeus L. Wilson

279- John C. Griffin

282- Daniel James Pierce

283- Allen F. Murphy

285- William H. Hooks

287- Thomas V. Lyons, II

289- Raymond W. Mitchell

291- Edward S. Harmening

293- Daniel B. Malone

295- Geary W. Kull

297- John P. Callahan

299- Steven James Bernstein

301- Bonita Coleman

304- Ann Finley Collins 305- Daniel J. Gallagher
307- Sharon O. Johnson
309- Linzey D. Jones
311- Terence MacCarthy
313- Sandra G. Ramos
315- Susan Kennedy Sullivan






Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th! PRINT this list, take it to the polls with you, and then pass it along!

Mt. Carmel: Black Parents Want Out of Football Mecca



Maze Jackson

By all accounts most parents that sent their kids to Mt. Carmel Catholic High School thought they knew what they were getting themselves and their children into. Known as a “football school,” Black parents that send their children to Mt. Carmel to play football know that it will be tough, but hope that the outcome will be better mean and productive citizens. Knowing this, they optimistically place their children in the care of Mt. Carmel.

Mount Carmel is a football mecca, few would argue with its success because the proof is in the pudding. Lead by Frank Lenti, an old school Catholic League football coach who rules his teams with absolute authority, Mt. Carmel is second only to Joliet Catholic with thirteen Illinois state football championships under its belt. Mt. Carmel also has a record of consistently producing college level players, which is a major factor that attracts Black parents, sometimes with limited resources to the Catholic League football powerhouse.

But behind the bright lights, state championships, and college recruiting come allegations of academic discrimination, punishment vs. payment, and a football first mentality that many of those same Black parents did not expect. This first in a series of articles will focus on Mt. Carmel as one of the last Catholic high schools on the south-east side of Chicago, struggling to maintain its connections to traditional base while keeping a tight grip on changing Black athletes.

Legacy on Hard Times

Mt. Carmel has to maintain the delicate balance between staying connected to its legacy while generating revenue under current market conditions. Mt. Carmel’s issues are compounded by its physical location which is at 64th and Dante, in a neighborhood bordered by the edge of the University of Chicago and Stony Island. Based on its location alone, Mt. Carmel has to fight the stigma of being in the “hood” as it also tries to compete with rival Catholic schools that are located closer to “safer” enclaves on the southwest and northwest sides.

Increasingly, the same Catholic schools in those same enclave, are becoming a refuge for the residents of the northwest and southwest sides seeking to protect their children from the ills that plague CPS, a fact that Mt. Carmel’s Principal John Stimler readily admits.

“We have to compete for students with places like Saint Rita and Marist and it’s a challenge to get them to come here when their parents are concerned about shootings on Stony Island. It’s really tough,” he lamented. “We have the other schools saying we are going to be the next Hales,” he continues, referring to Hales Franciscan High School, the predominately Black Catholic high school on 49th and Cottage Grove.

But Mt. Carmel’s history and legacy as a football powerhouse keep the alumni contributing and college recruiters in the building. Some parents allege that as Mt. Carmel continues to struggle to find the resources to operate, it has traded academics excellence for a win at all costs mentality to appease alumni, who are willing to write checks for champions. Which is why some allege Mt. Carmel is willing to go to extreme measures to control its players

Football Plantation

One such example is Foster Williams IV. By all accounts, Williams was a standout player on the rise whose parents were actively involved in his life and football career. They agreed to send their son to Mt. Carmel for the opportunity to play for Lenti with hopes that the powerful coach could translate his football skills into a scholarship opportunity. But after three years, when Williams’ parents could no longer afford Mt. Carmel’s $11,300 tuition and fees, they decided to transfer him to Simeon because of financial hardship, a fact that Principal Stimler disputes.

“Foster Williams was a disgruntled parent who thought his son was better than he was, so he transferred his son to Simeon so he could play football. He used financial hardship as a way out. If a kid goes to school three years at Mt. Carmel we bend over backwards to make sure they graduate from here, so that wasn’t really the issue. Mr. Williams transferred his son purely for football reasons, which just isn’t right,” said Stimler.

Williams’ father tells a different story. “I could not afford Mt. Carmel anymore. How can anyone tell me my finances? They did not want my son to play anywhere else,” Foster Williams III said in an interview. Williams also states that when he decided to transfer his son out of Mt. Carmel, his family was subjected to threats and intimidation from the school, coaches and players.   According to Williams it began with Mt. Carmel trying to convince him to stay, but when they realized that he was determined to transfer to Simeon, things got ugly.

It began with Lenti allegedly telling a team captain that he would make sure that Williams would never be recruited by colleges. Williams says,” Lenti tried to make sure my son could not play in Chicago his senior year. He chose to sink his teeth in to my son. They tried to make him an example for the other kids, using fear and intimidation.”

According to Williams, one evening, a group of Mt. Carmel players showed up at his doorstep, looking for his son, and pinned a note to the door demanding the helmet. “A helmet I paid for. My son used it for summer camps so we bought it outright,” Williams recounts displaying a paid email from Mount Carmel. “But in today’s world, why any grown man would send a group of young people to my door is just unbelievable. It’s just plain irresponsible. They crossed the line.” Williams said.

“His son kept one of our helmets, painted blue, and posted it on Twitter. So yes, maybe coach encouraged some of the boys to go get the helmet. I mean come on, he posted our helmet painted blue, so of course nobody liked that, and you know how kids are,” Stimler said, referring to the same incident.

Williams also alleges to back up Lenti’s threat that Williams would never play football in Chicago again, Mt. Carmel refused to provide his son’s transcripts in a timely fashion for “fees,” which his father said was a tactic to “make my son miss the eligibility deadline. But I paid for everything including the fees. I wanted to make sure we could walk out of there free and clear.”

But he wasn’t free and clear according to the school. After giving Williams the transcripts, Mt. Carmel asked the IHSA to block Simeon from allowing Williams to play football based on boundary restrictions. “We did ask the IHSA to enforce its own rules,” confirmed Stimler, who is coincidentally a member of the IHSA board.

The rule he references is IHSA bylaw No. 3.043.3, which requires a student athlete transferring from a private to public school also to sit out of athletics at their new school for one year. This applies even if the student-athlete already resides in his or her public school district.

Stimler wanted to eliminate the younger Williams’ high school career and any potential scholarship opportunities at the same time his family was going through financial hardships. “What they did to my son, It was just wrong!” the elder Williams emphasized.

“When we said we couldn’t afford it anymore, they told us to ‘get a loan,’ his wife chimes in.

Williams eventually won his case with the IHSA and his son was able to play for Simeon after missing one game. He finished the season as a standout and has received interest from some colleges. But he is discouraged about his future prospects because of his decision to leave Mt. Carmel. According to his father, he “knows Coach Lenti is going to ruin me, he’s done it before.”

In the meantime, his father Foster Williams III is emphatic when speaking to Black parents who are considering sending their kids to Mt. Carmel to play football. “If your kid is good they sink their teeth into them. And if you don’t do what they say, they do their best to ruin them, both athletically and academically. Do not say I did not tell you! But as for us, we just want amnesty for our kids” he says as large group of parents waiting to tell their story nod in agreement,

(The Chicago Defender attempted to give Mt. Carmel the opportunity to respond to the allegations. They declined, but did send a letter in response to our inquiries.)




The Big Payback


Maze Jackson


There is an old political saying that goes, “Good politics equals good government and good government equals good politics.” Politics defined is the interrelationships between the people, groups, and organizations in a particular area of life insofar as they involve power and influence or conflict. Taking that definition of politics into account is important in providing context for understanding how and why people are chosen or appointed to positions of power in government at all levels.  Politics is the process that transforms a citizen into an elected official, which then gives the elected official the ability to govern.  So politics, by its very nature is transactional, whether Democrat or Republican.

In Illinois, the transactional nature of politics has often come under scrutiny, not only from local watchdogs and media outlets, but also by the federal government.  Long known as the corruption capital of the nation, the underbelly of transactional politics in Illinois have been in the national spotlight.

Illinois governors Ryan and Blagojevich were sentenced to federal prison for what had previously been known as political horse trading.  While those are two of the more egregious examples, transactional politics continues.  To the victor goes the spoils, and part of those spoils include key cabinet, board, agency appointments, and jobs that are known as “exempt positions” which are all generally reserved for the winner’s supporters.  The level of those appointments are generally based on what the appointee was able to give the politician during the campaign, with the top spots often going to high level political donors, business leaders, and campaign volunteers.

Generally, the appointees are expected to advance the agenda of the elected official that appoints them.  In this article we will examine some of the most recent appointments of Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, why they were appointed, what the appointment means, but most importantly, what it means to the Black constituency that they represent.

Rauner Appointments

When candidate Bruce Rauner threw his hat in the ring to be the governor of Illinois, he knew he faced an uphill battle, particularly because of Democratic dominance in Cook County.  That dominance is widely credited to the Black community. Blacks vote for Democrats over 90% of the time in one of the largest counties in the nation.  While recent Illinois Republicans have avoided the Black community during gubernatorial contests, Rauner made a conscious effort to appeal to Black voters.

Hoping to take advantage of the Black community’s increasing disillusionment with Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, Rauner enlisted the services of some high-profile Black community leaders including Rev. James Meeks, Pastor Corey Brooks, N’Digo Publisher Hermene Hartman, and Dr. Willie Wilson to act as surrogates for his campaign.

While Meeks, Brooks, Hartman and Wilson were vilified in the Black community for supporting the Republican candidate, they remained loyal and when Rauner was elected to office, he rewarded that loyalty with key appointments.

Rev. James Meeks

Rev. James Meeks was once considered the heir apparent to the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Operation P.U.$.H., but in recent years has focused on expanding his own power base.  Meeks, pastor of Salem Baptist Church, which is based in the arena-sized House of Hope in the far South Side’s Roseland community.

No stranger to politics, Meeks has been a vocal advocate for equitable education funding to the point of threatening to run in the 2008 Democratic Primary against former governor Rod Blagojevich.

Blagojevich eventually agreed to provide an additional $1 billion dollars in funding for Illinois schools but was ousted from office before he could follow through on their agreement.

Meeks ran and was elected to serve in the Illinois State Senate in 2002. Throughout his time in Springfield, He remained singularly focused on education funding, but became increasingly frustrated with the difficulty he encountered trying to increase education funding in Springfield, which was controlled completely by Democrats.

Meeks eventually rose to Chairman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus in 2008. In 2013, Meeks resigned from the Illinois State Senate, disillusioned with the lack of progress on his mission.

Fast forward to 2013 and Bruce Rauner enters the race and one of his major goals is increased education funding, Meeks number one goal.  The two met and after some discussion, Meeks agreed to join the Rauner campaign.  Throughout the campaign, Meeks remained a steadfast supporter of Rauner because of his promise on education funding, even as large portions of the community branded him a “sellout,” sure that Rauner would cast him aside if he were to win the election.

Rauner won the election, appointed Meeks to his transition team, and eventually appointed Meeks to become the Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).  Meeks’ critics claim that the appointment was political payback for selling out the community.  For Meeks, serving as the Chairman of the ISBE, which administers billions in school grants, allowing him to have a direct say in the education process. “The primary job of the state board is to make sure districts are providing the best possible education to all students. As chairman I believe it is vital that all students, especially low-income students and students of color receive the education they deserve. An education that will lead to success after graduation in college and careers,” Meeks stated.

Pastor Corey Brooks

Indiana native, Pastor Corey Brooks first made news when he decided to camp out on the rooftop of his church until he raised enough funds to build a community center for his church.  He successfully raised the funds with donations from notables such as Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry.  Brooks followed that exploit up with a walk across the country against urban violence.  He also launched the Project H.O.O.D. initiative in the Woodlawn and Englewood communities. Operating a church in one of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods, many Blacks may question his intentions, but few question his authenticity.

Brooks was already familiar with the Republican Party and had been known to court conservative leaning politicians not traditionally welcomed in the Black community. All of Brooks’ initiatives garnered national media attention, making him a household regular in Black and White communities, and a likely target of support for Rauner in the Black community.

Like Meeks, Brooks looked at the state of the Black community and realized Springfield was completely controlled by Democrats. Things didn’t seem to be getting better, so he too decided to break from the ranks and openly support Rauner. He too was ridiculed, criticized, and called a sellout by many in the Black community.  Used to being stung by Democratic politicians regularly, Black people talked openly about Rauner ditching Brooks after the election.

Also like Meeks, Rauner appointed Brooks to his transition committee after he was elected. Rauner consults with Brooks regularly when making decisions that impact the Black community.  Just recently, Rauner appointed Brooks to the Illinois Tollway Board.  While Brooks will only collect an annual salary of  $31,426, the Illinois Tollway annual budget is in excess of $1 billion dollars and is one of the state of Illinois’ largest economic engines.  As one of Illinois’ largest economic engines, Black participation at the tollway remains at minimal at best.  Brooks’ detractors doubt the impact he can have as only one of a nine-member board.

Consider however, that Brooks, who is also a lawyer, has already proven that he knows how to cut the deals to get to the table with conservative Whites.  They key will be if Brooks can translate that Board appointment into Black economic opportunity and development.

Hermene Hartman

Once a dominant force in the Chicago political, social, business scene, N’Digo founder and publisher Hermene Hartman had found herself struggling for relevance before she signed on with the Rauner campaign.  While Hartman still operated her publication, it was but a mere shadow of what it had been in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  But with an email list and a recognizable masthead, Hartman made herself one of Rauner’s most vocal advocates and one of Pat Quinn and the Democratic Party’s harshest critics.

Unlike Brooks and Meeks, Hartman served as a paid campaign consultant for Rauner during the campaign, working to connect Rauner with various community organizations and influencers.  While Rauner spent millions on campaign consultants, Hartman was ridiculed for only receiving $55,000 for her services.

Hartman was in a precarious place post-election, because her services were paid for, Rauner had no post-election obligations to Hartman.  In fact, until Hartman published a scathing electronic editorial five months after Rauner’s election, the governor had not contacted her for anything.  After the editorial, Rauner appointed Hartman to the $46,960/year Human Relations Committee, where she will have a say in settling employee discrimination complaints in Illinois. While the position is rather innocuous, Hartman fight workplace discrimination.


Rev. Willie Wilson

Rev. Willie Wilson is the plainspoken South Side businessman, preacher, TV host, philanthropist, and donor that used his influence among local ministers to become one of Rauner’s biggest supporters.  Unlike the other Black Rauner supporters, Wilson’s interest in Rauner’s election was business.  Sources say that Wilson, who owns a business supply company, is positioned to take over the concessions at the Illinois Department of Corrections.

If true, Wilson will have translated his support for Rauner into hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts.  Those contracts can potentially lead to more jobs, business opportunities, and higher quality meals for prisoners if Wilson is genuinely concerned about the Black economic development.

That remains to be seen, because Wilson has gone from supporting Rauner, to an unsuccessful mayoral run, to a recently announced Presidential campaign, potentially squandering any political capital he may have earned if he shows poorly.

Payback is a political fact of life.  Meeks, Brooks, Hartman, and Wilson have all been paid back based on what they did to get the Governor elected.  It remains to be seen if they can translate their personal payback into benefits for the Black community as a who

Anthony Eats America featuring Maze Jackson

Check out Maze as he prepares his favorite dish, New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp, with Anthony Anderson of “Blackish” on his AOL web series, Anthony Eats America!  Try it out and let me know what you think!