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!"
If the 2019 Mayoral Election proves one thing, it is that the mythological Cook County Democratic Machine is either non-existent or a mere shadow of its former self. One only need to look at the 2019 Chicago Mayoral Election for proof. In what “Machine” scenario under say a Mayor Richard J. Daley, would the CHAIRMAN OF THE COOK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY lose ALL 50 WARDS and only win 20 precincts out of 2069!?!?!? Under what “Machine” scenario would a Democratic Committeeman be able to have any respect if they could not persuade their voters to vote the “right” way? Under what “Machine” scenario would Democratic Committeemen be able to endorse any candidate other than the Chairman of the Party for the highest seat in the land?
You see, this race wasn’t for the local school council (although those races are very important), this was for the crown jewel, the highest seat in the land, the most coveted position in Chicago politics…MAYOR OF CHICAGO, GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD! And yet, there was Madame President Toni Preckwinkle, Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, in that exact scenario. She was out of money, off of TV, and on political life support against a relative unknown, a former employee, who had come back for a hostile takeover of the City she had once worked for. And instead of having the so-called “Machine” to rely on, she was left to work with a few political warlords, celebrity rappers, black businessmen, complete with an inexperienced staff who had never been battle tested.
Meanwhile, Toni’s former White progressive allies were rushing to the assist the insurgent Lightfoot, showering her with cash, resources, and the “Machine” remnants and gears hoping to rebuild a new type of machine, a smartphone type of machine. Think of it like the progression from typewriters to technology, from analog to digital, from snail mail to email, with all the iterations in between. Lori’s team was thinking and planning in the smartphone era, while Toni Preckwinkle’s team thought they were innovating with Harold Washington Campaign 2.0. Team Preckwinkle was insistent on selling the Black community a word processor even though all of us had smartphones in our pockets. In the smartphone era, credit and debit card run the “Machine” and Toni had neither with Black People.
But back to the so-called “Machine” Black People have been programmed to fear. That so-called “machine” that is the convenient vehicle for White People to use Black People to get what they politically want when it’s convenient. Be “loyal” Democrats when we want to raise and spend millions to take out a “disloyal” Ken Dunkin, but won’t raise $500K to help the Cook County Democratic Party Chairman win the mayor’s race. Be “loyal” Democrats when it’s time to slate the type of judges that get Jason Van Dyke home in 3 years, but stand by idly and watch as local police chiefs that they govern attack Kim Foxx. The so-called “machine” demands loyalty when it’s time for fear, respect, money, jobs, and contracts to be given to White Men with the most money and lowest voter turnouts. That’s the “Machine” that Black People have.
In the meantime, not one of the White so-called Machine bosses carried their wards for Toni Preckwinkle. As a matter of fact, none of them carried ONE PRECINCT for her and she is THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COOK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY! That’s not “Machine” or “Boss!” That’s just straight bull, but that’s what you get using a word processor in the smartphone era like Black People seem to keep doing.
It’s time for Black People to leave the word processors behind and build our own new machine, and I’m not talking about a smartphone either. I’m talking about building the Black Political Terminator, an artificial intelligence driven robot that destroys anything that gets in the way of building Black political power. It’s time to junk our political word processors and prepare for a new day in Black politics! It’s time we get our own voter database and contact system, it’s time we train and create our own precinct captain, build our own bench, and elect Black politicians that are Black FIRST! It’s time to go from victims to victors!
(Now I recognize that some of you may not get the similes, metaphors, and analogies contained herein, which actually proves my point.)
MISSION: WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE BLACK PEOPLE ILLINOIS?
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?
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 .
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: DO NOT VOTE FOR ANYONE UNTIL THEY ADDRESS THE BLACK COMMUNITY DIRECTLY!
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.
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (8) Erika Harold
SECRETARY OF STATE
Jesse White is a no-brainer versus Jason Helland (R) and Steve Dutner (L).
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (10) Jesse White
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: NO ENDORSEMENT
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.
98TH DISTRICT STATE REPRESENTATIVE- HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY
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.
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 (UNEXPIRED 2 YEAR TERM)
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: NO ENDORSEMENT
*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: NO ENDORSEMENT
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (72) Karen Yarborough
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (74) Tom Dart
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (75) Maria Pappas
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.
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (76) Fritz Kaegi
COOK COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
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
JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF DOOLING)
(113) Tom Sam Sianis
JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF EGAN)
(114) Rosa Maria Silva
JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF DUNFORD)
(115) Thomas F. McGuire
JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF FLANANGAN)
(116) Preston Jones, Jr.
JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF HARTIGAN)
(117) Cecilia Anne Horan
JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF JORDAN)
(118) Clare Joyce Quish
JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF MCGINNIS)
(119) Peter Michael Gonzalez
JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF PRENDERGAST ROONEY)
(120) Jack Hagerty
BALLOT FOR JUDICIAL CANDIDATES SEEKING RETENTION IN OFFICE
JUDICIAL RETENTION SUPREME COURT:
(201) Anne Burke
JUDICIAL RETENTION APPELLATE COURT
(203) Margaret Stanton McBride
JUDICIAL RETENTION CIRCUIT COURT:
(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
(224) ****NO*** Peter Flynn IMPOSES EXCESSIVE BAIL ON BLACKS
(225) Paul A. Karkula
(228) NO Maura Slattery Boyle IMPOSES EXCESSIVE SENTENCES
(229) Mary Margaret Brosnahan
(232) NOMatthew 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
(278) NO Thomas R. Allen TRIED TO OUST BLACK CHIEF JUDGE
(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
TO THE VOTERS OF COOK COUNTY
“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?”
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: YES
TO THE VOTERS OF COOK COUNTY
“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?
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: YES
TO THE VOTERS OF COOK COUNTY
“Should the State of Illinois strengthen penalties for the illegal trafficking of firearms and require all gun dealers to be certified by the State?”
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: YES
TO THE VOTERS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO
“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?”
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: YES
TO THE VOTERS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO
“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?”
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: YES
TO THE VOTERS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO
“Should the City of Chicago ban the use of plastic straws within the corporate city limits?”
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: YES
TO THE VOTERS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO
“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)?”
#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: YES
TO THE VOTERS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO
“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.”
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.
According to the Mayor and CPS officials, Chicago Public School students have made tremendous progress in spite of school closings and budget cuts. But as those students prepare to return to school on September 9th, they will feel the impact of the $500 million teacher pension crisis in the classroom. While most would agree schools are built for the children inside them, increasingly those children are losing to factors outside of the school. Combine that $500 million deficit with the gridlock in Springfield, and the trip back to school will be a difficult journey for Black Chicago Public School students and their parents.
To understand the impacts of a $500 million shortfall, it is important to understand how we got here. Currently, Chicago is the only school district in the state of Illinois that must fund its own teachers’ pensions.
“This budget reflects the reality of where we are today: facing a squeeze from both ends, in which CPS is receiving less state funding to pay our bills even as our pension obligations swell to nearly $700 million this year,” new CPS Chief Forrest Claypool stated. Claypool has asked the Illinois General Assembly to resolve that by having the state of Illinois cover Chicago teacher pension costs as well.
“We look forward to continuing to work with our leaders in Springfield to rank education funding reform and finally end the inequity that requires Chicago alone to take scarce dollars from the classroom to pay for teacher pensions,” Claypool said in a press release. Democrats have indicated that they are willing to aid CPS, but Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has made clear he will not support without passing his “Turnaround Agenda.”
“For Chicago to get what it wants, Illinois must get what it needs,” Rauner told a skeptical city council in a July address to the City’s governing body. With little to no progress in Springfield, and little expectation of any movement in the Rauner-Madigan face-off for the near future, it seems that CPS students will return to school with far fewer resources than last year, $68 million fewer to be exact. But what does that mean exactly for students?
It means 1500 layoffs district wide. Those layoffs will include 479 school teachers, 866 in-school support staff, and 146 citywide employees. According to CPS, those cuts will impact less than 2 percent of teachers citywide, including 204 high school teachers and 275 elementary school teachers. While that number may seem nominal, it means direct impact to the lives of students, particularly on the South and West Sides of Chicago. Not only does it mean increased classroom size, it also means less support for those teachers who will be operating with increased classrooms, which are predicted to grow to almost 40 students.
The impact of increased classroom size is compounded, when special needs are factored in. According to a Catalyst Chicago Report, “Specialty schools for high-needs students lost on average 16.8 percent of their staffing since the start of last school year — significantly higher than the average 1.6-percent staffing reduction that other district-run schools saw.”
Upon further analysis, Catalyst Chicago concludes, “Schools with high concentrations of African-American students and students in poverty make up many of the schools hardest hit by staffing loses, again reflecting enrollment trends. Among those same 75 schools, more than half were schools where 95 percent or more of the student population were black or low-income.” Essentially, as the city continues to grow, cuts to the budget are coming disproportionately out of Black schools that arguably need the most resources.
In addition to the fact that services cuts are disproportionately affecting Black and special needs students, the school day will shift anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. In the case of elementary schools, students may begin as early as 7:45am, and in the case of some high schools, start times will begin as late as 9:00am. According to CPS, the change in start times will save about $13.5 million annually. While the savings will be significant for CPS, they may be more expensive for the parents who will have to make childcare arrangements to accommodate the changes.
Elementary schools students will also take a blow as the 2015-2016 CPS budget removes funding for all elementary school sports programs. Unlike the cuts to special services, the removal of elementary school sports is not disproportionate to schools that are predominately Black, because they were removed from all elementary school programs. Like all cuts CPS maintains that they are fair and equitable across the board, which appears to be the case with elementary school sports. It is important to note that CPS did not ban elementary sports totally, but required the schools to do their own fundraising to support their teams.
Critics point to the fact that the more affluent CPS schools on the North and Southwest Sides have greater fundraising ability to support their athletic programs, while predominately Black schools struggle to find the more resources like basic supplies and school books. Additionally, with cuts to music and arts programs as well, many are Blacks are concerned that Black children will be left without the necessary programs to keep students engaged and well-rounded.
The 2015-2016 school year for CPS is shaping up to be one of the most challenging years ever. With a $1.1 billion structural deficit and no relief from Springfield anticipated in the near future, the back to school season is going to be a costly issue for parents and students alike. For parents it will be everything from adjusting work schedules, paying for after-school activities, and the massive property tax hike which appears inevitable. For kids it will be adjusting to larger classrooms with fewer teachers, resources, and extracurricular activities. Next week will definitely be back to school week, but with all the cuts, there will be a lot fewer familiar faces and activities for Black students.
Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed introducing employee empowerment zones in Illinois and it has not been received with open arms by unions or legislators around the state. While the Governor initially proposed changing Illinois, known as a union stronghold, into a right to work state, he has settled on empowerment zones.
Governor Rauner says, “Employee empowerment zones will allow Illinois to better compete with employment-flexible states, like Indiana. The Turnaround Agenda empowers local voters and communities to decide if they should be open or closed shop, and these zones will help attract businesses, which will create jobs, particularly in areas with high unemployment.”
It would also exploit historic tensions between the trade unions and the Black community, which has long-held that the unions are barriers to Black employment in Black communities.
Trade unions, formed after slavery were initially created for workers rights, but also to prevent skilled slaves from taking jobs from White workers. Over time, as Blacks migrated North and White businessmen sought to break strikes, they often employed Black “scabs” who were willing to accept the verbal and often physical abuse of White union members and expendable to the White business owners.
Concurrently, Black leaders like A. Phillip Randolph eventually began organizing groups like the Pullman Porters who advocated specifically for Black workers. Eventually, Black unions were integrated into larger White unions with their presence being relegated to Black “caucuses.”
The trade unions, which traditionally have the highest paid remain primarily dominated by White ethnic men in membership and leadership, and receive complaints from legislators and community activists alike for their lack of diversity. Conversely, low wage Black and minority workers dominate the service unions, with “liberal” White leadership making most policy decisions. Both groups say that right to work laws are bad for working middle class families, pointing to a Public Policy Polling report that states, “55% of voters are resistant to right to work laws.”
But with a Black unemployment rate of almost 25% in Chicago, and projected to be almost 14% statewide, the question becomes what is the benefit of employee empowerment zones for Black community? Black community activists and Black legislators alike agree that while unions provide great jobs and wages, they are the barrier to Blacks accessing those great jobs and wages. “Right to work zones are needed to allow the people who have been left out to participate in rebuilding their own communities. Then, once the community is rebuilt they want us to leave,” stated community activist and organizer of Voice Of The Ex-offender (VOTE).
The unions counter with the fact that while there are opportunities for growth, Black people are not applying to become part of the trade unions. In response, they have increased their outreach efforts. “One of the biggest challenges we find it that most people do not know the process of how to find the job. Once a person gets in the program, they can be as successful as they want to be, “ said IBEW Local 134 official Mario Miller.
State Representative Ken Dunkin, counters, “We have to hold these unions accountable. They’ve got to explain to our community why they should not have the right to work. “
Right to work zones will most likely be voted on this week, will fail miserably, and the unions will be able to claim a big victory against the Governor. What remains to be seen is how this vote plays out in the upcoming Statehouse elections. If the Black unemployment rates remain disproportionately high and social services continue to get cut, many of the same Black legislators who will vote against the right to work zone legislation will have to explain to their constituencies why they voted for unions and against their right to work. That will be difficult to sell to unemployed Blacks.
Last night, for the first time since Election Night, March 15, 2016 I attended a Democratic fundraiser. While I have not been in hiding, as some would like to think, I had avoided attending some high-profile events because as a true Chicago political operative, I knew it was coming…the jokes about 68%-32% drubbing that my good friend Ken Dunkin received. I knew I would be the target of the jokes, because as many felt, rightfully so, that I had worked for Dunkin behind the scenes.
Dunkin was ultimately crushed by the sheer weight of the entire Democratic Party putting every available resource against him, but he did not go down without a fight. And when he was given the resources, party leaders were clearly concerned that Dunkin could still win the election, so concerned that they even called in the leader of the free world. That’s right, even President Obama weighed in on the election, at which point I faced the reality that the Democratic Party was willing to do ANYTHING to ensure Dunkin’s defeat. It was a tough loss and I knew they would come for me afterwards.
But walking into that fundraiser and hearing fellow Black political operatives laugh about how they “Kicked my butt!” stung a little. Then when a committeeman that I have known, supported, and respected shouted out in front of a table of strangers, “WE KICKED YOUR ASS!” it stung A LOT. It stung because so many times, I had been on the other side, laughing at those idealistic political wannabees, whose hopes we laughed at, as we mercilessly kicked their butts at the ballot.
It stung because as a Black political operative, I know that there are two different “WE’s.” As a Democratic political operative any win against the opposition is cause for celebration. But “WE” for Black Democratic political operatives usually means working as the “field” director, while inexperienced young White Democratic political operatives handle jobs like media director, communications director, campaign manager, and fundraiser.
“WE” to Black Democratic political operatives means that you get a small raise or promotion, while White Democratic political operatives get lucrative contracts or new business clients. “WE” to Black Democratic political operatives means a win bonus that may pay for a weekend in Wisconsin, while it means buying a vacation home in Michigan for a White Democratic political operative.
I was content being a Black Democratic political operative until I went to Springfield and saw what it meant to be a White Democratic political operative. I saw all of those young twenty and thirty something hustling around the Capitol in their fancy suits, with big contracts, representing corporate America working 3 days a week, six months per year. I saw them taking multiple family vacations, living in big houses in (847) area codes, and driving fancy cars on the weekend. Their outcomes looked nothing like those of the Black Democratic political operatives I know.
The top Black Democratic political operatives I know are the people behind the desks at your local ward office. You may see them walking around city hall, or they may be sitting in the back of the room at your local block club meeting. They know what to do, who to talk to, and where to be in their communities. Black political operatives are experts in their communities. It’s generally who the White Democratic political operatives rely on for success when they are dispatched to Black communities.
But few if none of them will ever be millionaires like the White Democratic political operatives that they work along side during election season. As a political operative, I understand that when the boss sends you on a mission, your only goals are to destroy the competition and win. But as a Black Democratic political operative, I know we are rarely if ever allowed to control the budgets, make decisions, or be part of the strategy team. They will let us handle the “ground game” and “visibility” which is cool, but we won’t ever retire millionaires like the White Democratic political operatives.
Going against the Party in the Dunkin race may not have been the smartest thing for my political or professional career, and I admit that. I’ll even admit I did get my butt kicked. But while that Black Democratic political operative was at the same event with me on a cold dreary March night, laughing, the White Democratic political operative that needed him to win, was chilling on a beach with his family. When I reminded him of that, things weren’t so Democratic or funny anymore.
When the topic of wealth is discussed, the state budget of Illinois is not typically the first thing that comes to mind. But when you consider the fact that the state of Illinois has an operating budget close to $55 billion and spends over $10 billion annually for goods and services, the state budget plays a major role in building wealth in certain communities. While the Black community primarily focuses on social services and jobs, when dealing with state government, the role of business and contracting opportunities cannot be ignored in the discussion of building wealth in the Black community.
It is no secret that historically, White men have dominated all aspects of business throughout the country. It is the institutionalized racism that was targeted by the affirmative action programs of the 60’s and 70’s that lasted through the 90’s. Those laws ensured that discrimination in the workplace was illegal, regardless of race, creed, color, or religion. Critics argued that affirmative action laws were unfair because they created racial quotas, “unfairly” denying Whites opportunities because of their race. In spite of years of systemic discrimination, many White’s argued they were victims of “reverse discrimination.” In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action programs were illegal, in the Grutter v. Bollinger case.
With that ruling, affirmative action programs around the country were dismantled, and Blacks saw their numbers drop at educational institutions, in the workplace, in contracting, and business. As those levels began to drop across the board and Black people complained to their elected officials, states attempted to address the issue by creating more “inclusive” programs. Those programs included other groups that had been subject to discrimination at the hands of White males. While White women, Latinos, Asians, Veterans, and the disabled have not suffered the same level of discrimination as Blacks, they were all included in the more “inclusive” programs, diluting Black participation in a program that was initially intended for Blacks.
The State of Illinois attempted to address the affirmative action issue by creating one of these more “inclusive “ programs. They called it the Business Enterprise Program, and more commonly referred to it as the BEP. The BEP establishes minority contracting goals for the more “inclusive” group at state agencies and state funded institutions, colleges and universities. These agencies are required to report the progress toward those goals annually. Based on the more “inclusive” minority group, one would think the Business Enterprise Program was a smashing success, but upon further examination, that success does not translate well for the Black community.
During fiscal year 2015, CMS Acting Director Tom Tyrell reported that BEP vendors did $425,822,468, which was 38.5% of the $1,106,236,144 subject to that goal. Of the 1,712 businesses in the BEP program, only 301 are Black. Those 301 businesses do a total combined business of $76,269,333 between state agencies and state funded universities, approximately 20.48% of the BEP. Comparatively, Latinos do $69,305, 191 or 18.61%, while Asians do 64,058,131 or 17.2%. But the most striking figure is the fact that White female own businesses do $156,410, 883, or 41.99% of the BEP.
Essentially, a program that was initially created to address inequities Blacks face in business due to institutional racism, has been taken over by White women who are often married to White men in similar businesses. In fact, White women do at least twice the amount of business as Blacks or any other group in the more “inclusive” program, effectively selling the reverse discrimination argument with the BEP to the detriment of Black businesses. If Black businesses are not able to participate in the state business that they pay taxes in they are not able to take part in the wealth comes for institutions that should spur economic growth.
This is exemplified by Chicago State University, which by all accounts, is the state’s HBCU (Historically Black College and University). Located on Chicago’s east side, Chicago State University sits in the heart of the Black community, and is a shining jewel of the community. Black legislators like former Senate President Emil Jones, Jr. and State Senator Donne E. Trotter have spent years directing dollars to Chicago State to ensure Black students have access to world-class learning facilities. Having expended so much Black political capital on Chicago State, the logical assumption is that like most universities, CSU would become the economic engine and anchor for the local business community.
With an annual budget of $88,061,276 and a BEP goal of $12,566,846, Chicago State only has a total of 7 Black contractors, contracts totaling a $318,856. While institutional racism is an issue throughout the state, the lack of wealth building opportunities at Chicago State is baffling. With a Black President, a predominately Black board, and administration, Blacks participating in the BEP program at a Black institution should not a problem. But according to the BEP report Chicago State is one of the worst offenders in the program as it relates to Black people. But Chicago State University is only one example.
Consider the Illinois Department of Corrections, which has a 65% Black population has an annual budget of $1,303,767,800 (billions) of which $30,125,105 is subject to BEP goals. Black businesses have a total of 10 contracts totaling, $951,367 while White women have 47 contracts totaling $5,900,920. The story is the same at the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), which has a $1.2 billion dollar budget.
At DCFS, Black businesses do $377,867 in business while White women owned businesses do approximately 10 times that amount with $4,129,479 in business. DCFS has a $1.2 Billion dollar budget.
No where is the irony more of Black business opportunities in the state of Illinois more obvious than in the agency titled Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which as a $3.3 billion budget. Black businesses have a total of 8 contracts totaling $89,160, while White women do 16 times that with $1,482,427 in business.
After watching the Sandra Bland video, it is clear that she knew her rights and exercised them, almost to textbook perfection in dealing with the police officer. She was still arrested and ended up dead. Tune in to the Matt McGill Morning Show on WVON 1690AM – The Talk of Chicago for The Maze Jackson Social Media Question of the Week, where I will ask:
Did Sandra Bland’s attitude get her killed? If not what could she have done to save her life?
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Let me begin this post with the fact that I think rape is wrong, no means no, and we should not blame victims of rape. You are right, a woman should have the right to go to a man’s hotel room, butt naked, at 3 am in the morning, to talk and SHOULD have be able to go home in one piece. As a matter of fact she should be able to walk naked through that room and no one should assume that she is there for sex. There, I’ve gotten that out of the way. La La land requirements fulfilled, now to the reality of LIFE.
Let me also say that somewhere in these sordid tales, I believe some rape did occur, but I also believe there were some willing participants as well. I believe it because I heard the “Spanish Fly” skit, but I also heard a lot of people laughing and clapping. Because the skit was recorded in 1969, during an era of free love, I assume that putting drugs in drinks was common practice for the time period. Am I saying everyone did it? No, but I am saying that some people did it and it was part of the celebrity, Hollywood lifestyle of the time period that was marked by the phrase “sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll.” I honestly believe that early on in Bill’s career, he was introduced to and rolled with a crew that participated in that lifestyle.
I also think drugged up girls was his “thing,” like S&M or other fetishes people have, and it became a regular part of his sexual routine. Initially, it probably began as a party thing, but eventually became the norm. Over time, I think Cosby got arrogant and lazy. By arrogance I mean that he assumed that he was “The Great Cosby” and anyone would give it to him, which is why we hear so many people say, “he didn’t have to take it,” but that’s all the more reason he may have actually taken advantage of some women. So many said yes, he probably could not fathom anyone telling him “no.” As far as lazy, I believe it went hand and hand with his arrogance, pills were part of his version of foreplay, he just stopped asking and assumed that everyone wanted pills. It sort of like when the man used to spend time getting a woman worked up, but now he just goes straight for the sex.
Do I think 90% of those women would have given Cosby the a$$ if he asked? I certainly do…but like most men, once he got used to getting the a$$ on the regular, he skipped the foreplay and went straight for the cookies! My bet is that he got away with it for all of those years because the women went to his room for some exchange, but they did not get the exchange the way they wanted it (which was their choice as women) so they settles to avoid the embarrassment of having to explain why they went to his room, knowing he was married, at obscene times of night. They took the checks and made it all go away. Was Cosby wrong? NO doubt, no excuse…just pay for what you want how you want and be done. There are no shortage of women who would have happily participated for much less with no drama.
Bill Cosby is going to catch hell for the rest of his life deservedly so. White people are going to pick his bones clean, so my question is, why do Black people need to participate? Right now they are trying to remove Bill Cosby’s legacy, but if they do where will that leave us a people? You see White American can’t afford to let Bill Cosby get another run in our living rooms. The last time he did that, he had all of America viewing itself through the lens of a successful Black family. HE had White people wanting to be Black.
Bill Cosby made the entire country recognize that #blacklivesmatter before there was a such thing as a hashtag. During the era of the Cosby Show, White people would have envisioned Trayvon Martin as Theo Huxtable. It would not have been so easy to dismiss his murder. Bill Cosby made the Black family human. Not to mention all the money, resources, and inspiration he has provided for Black people. Think about how many of us saw ourselves in college because of A different World. Cosby created A Different World for Black people in America. Remember that before you join the lynch mob.
Bill Cosby has done wrong, and he will pay for it…but he has given so much to Black America, do we need to stand in line for a pound of flesh too?