Black Caucus-Governor Rauner…”Together?”

(from The Weekly Intelligence Report)

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Members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.

As the state budget impasse continues with little to no progress, the state budget battle is shaping up to be a battle of egos between two of Springfield’s “five tops,” holding the rest of Illinois hostage until someone blinks. I sat down with the Chairman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford on The Maze Said Radio Show and Podcast, and I got the distinct impression that some members of the Black Caucus were willing to negotiate with Rauner, depending on the terms.

Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Kimberly A. Lightford
Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Kimberly A. Lightford

On the flip side, sources inside the Rauner camp tells me Rauner wants the support of the Black Caucus so bad, he would be willing to fund Black Caucus priorities AND grow Black business opportunities with in each of the districts. Of course, that would mean supporting Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda.” Black Caucus members remain skeptical, preferring Rauner to bring business to the state before they consider cutting a deal, but they did not rule out the possibility of a deal, which is intriguing.

Gov. Rauner and Rev. James Meeks, who Lightford implied sided with Rauner after being frustrated with Democrats treatment of Blacks.
Gov. Rauner and Rev. James Meeks, who Lightford implied sided with Rauner after being frustrated with Democrats treatment of Blacks.

A Black Caucus/Rauner alliance would not solve the budget crisis, but it would change the balance of power in Springfield, giving the Black Caucus a bigger voice in directing where the state’s funding goes.   The Senate President John Cullerton has already shown some willingness to work with the Governor, but as Lightford acknowledged, has not been as “involved” in the battle as the Governor and Speaker Madigan. She also acknowledged that it would be more difficult to gather the same support in the House.

Sources inside the Caucus inform me that Rauner has been quietly meeting with Black Caucus members in the House. Democratic leaders were so nervous about Black Caucus House members meeting with Rauner, they requested written confirmation of the meetings. Members balked at the suggestion, but clearly there are concerns that the Black Caucus will begin to leverage the power of their numbers.

Gov. Rauner talks with Sen. Napoleon Harris at State Budget Address. (photo courtesy of Reboot Illinois)
Gov. Rauner talks with Sen. Napoleon Harris at State Budget Address. (photo courtesy of Reboot Illinois)

But “we are looking at it,” Lightford answered when I inquired why not cut the best deal for the Black people. “The Governor has a list,” she continued, “but we need to look at that list together” and pick which things “we can live with.”

“I’m not for term limits…that’s what elections are for,” she goes on. “Maybe some people have been there too long, I get that,” which is why they need to look at the list together she reasons.

Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan
Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan.

In a state where Blacks continually do less that 2 percent of the state’s business and cuts to vital services in the Black community are always on the table, the fact that the Black Caucus is talking about looking at a plan TOGETHER with Rauner should be of grave concern to the people Lightford said have built “legacies” while not letting the Blacks participate equally.

I don’t know whom she was talking about, but they better be concerned…

#mazesaid

 

The Maze Jackson Social Media Question of the Week 7/23

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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?

Call in to 773-591-1690, post to Facebook, or Tweet and we try to get your comments on the air!

Our Own Plan | The Chicago Defender

By the time you read this article, Chicago will have elected its next mayor who once again will not be Black, but by all accounts will be elected based on the Black vote. In Chicago’s first-ever may

rahm-black-caucusBy the time you read this article, Chicago will have elected its next mayor who once again will not be Black, but by all accounts will be elected based on the Black vote. In Chicago’s first-ever mayoral runoff between incumbent Rahm Emanuel and challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, both candidates have spent a significant amount of their time campaigning in the city’s Black wards. But with no true Black agenda, it is important that the Black community have its own plan for the next four years, regardless of who is elected mayor.

 

The Black Agenda

Since the gains achieved during the civil rights era, there are very few issues that the Black community has consistently coalesced around, stood for or stood against consistently, which has made it difficult to build unity within the Black community. Taking this into account, the first step is a meeting of representatives from the Black political, business, civic, service and education communities to develop a Black Agenda. The Black Agenda would serve as the measurement tool of Black progress, the measuring stick by which the Black community can judge how worthy both Black and white candidates, businesses, non-profits and schools are of our support. By creating a Black Agenda, with input from all aspects of the Black community, Blacks can create our own uniform standard of accountability.

 

Black Infrastructure

When Harold Washington successfully ran for mayor, it did not happen on a whim, but was a well-orchestrated plan made possible by the existence of a Black infrastructure that no longer exists today. Washington was able to rely on the independent Black politicians for signatures and votes, Black activists for organizing and Black businesses for funding. At the time of Harold Washington’s election, there were 28 businesses in Chicago on the Black Enterprise 100. Today there is only one. Between Daley and Shakman, the Black political organizations have been decimated and the Black activist community has aged out, leaving up-and-coming activists without clear guidance or direction. Regardless of who is mayor, the Black community must rebuild its internal infrastructure of businesses, political organizations, civic and service groups, and educational institutions through consistent communication. By developing the Black agenda and having the Black infrastructure to support it, the Black community can focus on economics.

 

Black Economics

When Black politicians pass laws that help Black businesses, those Black businesses in turn hire Black people. This means that regardless of who is mayor, Black people must be vociferous in the demand for their economic piece of the pie in every aspect of city government, including jobs, contracts and purchasing. City records show that whites are still dominant in the areas of jobs and contracts, so to advance economically in the city, the Black community must redefine its path to success. Oftentimes Black activists waste countless hours protesting worksites and construction companies, knowing that a limited few companies can actually compete for the work. Instead of constantly fighting for the construction jobs, Blacks should consider fighting for the jobs that create jobs by generating contracts and providing purchasing opportunities. Blacks should consider the route of procurement over the numbers working in streets and sanitation.

 

De-Emphasize Social Services

Social services have become an all-consuming liability in the Black community. In many cases, social service agencies are not only service providers, but also major employers in the community. This leaves the Black community in a precarious position because whenever the government needs to make cuts, the first place they cut is social services, which has a two-fold effect on the Black community — cuts in services and cuts in jobs. Going forward, if the Black community is to succeed, we must decrease our dependence on social services as an economic engine and replace it with other entrepreneurial ventures that are less likely to be impacted by government cuts.

 

Regardless of who is the next mayor, the Black community needs our own plan.

Source: Our Own Plan | The Chicago Defender

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