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.

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.

THE RACES

GOVERNOR

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!

ATTORNEY GENERAL

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

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

SECRETARY OF STATE

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

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (10) Jesse White

COMPTROLLER

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: NO ENDORSEMENT

 

TREASURER

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

 

CONGRESSMAN

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.

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

1ST CD- Bobby Rush

2nd CD- Robin Kelly

7th CD- Danny K. Davis

14th CD- Lauren UnderwoodSPECIAL HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY***

 

STATE SENATORS UNCONTESTED

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: YOU DECIDE

 

STATE REPRESENTATIVES UNCONTESTED

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: YOU DECIDE

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

 

STATE REPRESENTATIVE CONTESTED

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.

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: DUPAGE COUNTY Alyssia Benford

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 (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.

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: Geoffrey Cubbage

 

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, 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

 

COUNTY CLERK

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (72) Karen Yarborough

 

COUNTY SHERIFF

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (74) Tom Dart

 

COUNTY TREASURER

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: (75) Maria Pappas

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

COUNTY ASSESSOR

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)

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

(113) Tom Sam Sianis

JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF EGAN)

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

(114) Rosa Maria Silva

JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF DUNFORD)

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

(115) Thomas F. McGuire

JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF FLANANGAN)

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

(116) Preston Jones, Jr.

JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF HARTIGAN)

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

(117) Cecilia Anne Horan

JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF JORDAN)

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

(118) Clare Joyce Quish

JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF MCGINNIS)

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

(119) Peter Michael Gonzalez

JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT (VACANCY OF PRENDERGAST ROONEY)

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

(120) Jack Hagerty

BALLOT FOR JUDICIAL CANDIDATES SEEKING RETENTION IN OFFICE

IMPORTANTIMPORTANTIMPORTANTIMPORTANTIMPORTANT

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

VOTE NO

JUDICIAL RETENTION SUPREME COURT:

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

(201) Anne Burke

JUDICIAL RETENTION APPELLATE COURT

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

(203) Margaret Stanton McBride

JUDICIAL RETENTION CIRCUIT COURT:

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS:

(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) 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

(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.”

#WIIFTBP RECOMMENDS: YES

#WIIFTBP Voter’s Guide Cheat Sheet Pg. 1

 

#WIIFTBP Cheat Sheet Page 2

Black Students Return to School But Will the Funding

by

Maze Jackson

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.

 

 

 

 

 

BLACK DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES WORK, WHITES GET PAID

 

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by

Maze Jackson

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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

 

Chicago Budget Fix Relies on Dysfunctional Springfield

(as published in the October 7-13 Chicago Defender)

by

Maze Jackson

Illinois legislative leaders Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton (photo courtesy of The Daily Herald)
Illinois legislative leaders Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton (photo courtesy of The Daily Herald)

When Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he would be proposing over a $588 million property tax increase in the city of Chicago, a collective groan was heard across the neighborhoods. While many knew that the day of pension reckoning was finally upon us, the shock of actually hearing Emanuel deliver the message was palpable. While he discussed a wide range of services savings and cuts, most Chicagoans fixated on the $500 million property tax increase.

 (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A $588 million increase that equates to an approximate 58.1% increase over what Chicagoans had been paying. That increased property tax assessment could potentially have a dire effect on the Black community whose property values are rapidly increasing, while their incomes are not. Combine that with the fact that the Black community has not fully recovered as quickly as others from the recession, while struggling to hold on to their homes. At the same time, White developers are buying every bit of property they can get their hands in anticipation of the Obama library on the South Side, and Silicon Valley 2.0 which is being built on the near West Side.

In an effort to provide some relief from the enormous tax increase, and prevent some of those things from happening, Mayor Emmanuel proposed an exemption for homes that are valued under $250,000. The move was hailed as an attempt to ensure that the cities most vulnerable homeowners would be spared the massive increase that would eventually drive them from their homes and communities, a fact that members of the Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus applaud.

“I believe it will encourage investment, while lessening the impact on people with less income,” said 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. who represents a portion of the West Side and West Loop, where high-income development is booming.

(photo courtesy of Chicago Reader)
27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. (photo courtesy of Chicago Reader)

But to get the necessary relief, the mayor’s budget relies on approval from a dysfunctional Springfield that has not been able to pass its own budget. As a matter of fact the state of Illinois has been operating without a budget for the past five months with no solution in the foreseeable future. In spite of that, Burnett remains optimistic that “Governor Rauner will do the right thing, help the city of Chicago, and low income residents.”

While all parties would agree that the city of Chicago is on the brink of financial peril all parties do not agree on the solution, the most important of which is Governor Rauner, who has called for a statewide property tax freeze. Combine that with the fact that when Governor Rauner addressed the Chicago City Council back in July, he made it perfectly clear that if Chicago expected to get any relief from the state he expected that they would make concessions in Springfield. Regardless of Rauner’s ominous statements, Springfield insiders remain optimistic that they will be able to pass the property tax exemption and get Governor Rauner to sign it.

(photo courtesy of the Daily Herald)
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (photo courtesy of the Daily Herald)

Assistant Majority Leader Art Turner, Jr. (D-Chicago) is one of those insiders. “Most of the constituents I represent would benefit from the exemption and I am for it. It’s progressive which is something that we should look at on the state level as well. Those who can pay more should,” Turner states.

 

(photo courtesy of Jewish United Fund)
Assistant Majority Leader Arthur Turner, Jr. (photo courtesy of Jewish United Fund)

“The City of Chicago is the largest economic engine in the state, and while I think it will be tougher to get through Springfield, I am confident that the Governor understands how important Chicago is to the rest of the state. Mayor Emanuel has taken the first step in fixing the situation, but because he and the Governor have a working relationship and talk regularly, I think we will get a bill passed and signed,” Turner explained.

Turner’s optimism is based on Emanuel and Rauner’s relationship, because Rauner’s relationship with Democratic leaders in Springfield is tense to say the least. Governor Rauner and Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan are currently locked in a budget fight to the death over who will control Springfield, and neither seems willing to compromise. But if the city of Chicago hopes to plug its budget holes and pension problems, it must rely upon cooperation with legislators, leaders and the Governor to get it done. But so far no party has shown any willingness to give, which is what makes Emanuel’s role in the situation so crucial.

Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan (photo courtesy of Chicago Now)
Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan (photo courtesy of Chicago Now)

Mayor Emanuel has stated, we must fix the “structural deficit” and we cannot “kick the can down the road any longer” as he has so often accused the previous administration of. And, while he is careful not to blame the Daley administration by name, one only need listen to Emanuel talk about the city’s financial situation to know that he will not wear the jacket for the massive property tax increase alone.

One thing is clear, if the City of Chicago wants to keep growing, it must tackle the financial woes created by years of underfunding police and fire pensions. The intentional underfunding of police and fire pensions have reduced Chicago’s bond ratings to junk status, driving the cost of borrowing money to unmanageable levels. But with the property tax increase, Emanuel and the Chicago City Council still have to convince voters why they should accept such a large property tax with very few to no new services.

To combat the perception, Emanuel has also proposed using a rare state law that allows the city to levy a $45 million school improvement tax to ease the tensions associated with such a large increase. Emanuel has also tried to make the increase more palatable by phasing it in over 3 years, with increases being $318 million in 2015, $109 million in 2016, $53 million in 2017, and $63 million in 2018.

But none of that will make a difference if he can’t get Springfield to work together, something they have been unable to do for the last five months. Emanuel needs them to if he hopes to save Chicago from being devoured by its pension obligation.

Should the Chicago Pay for Employee Gender Reassignment (Sex Changes)?

 

SocialMedia_Maze

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the City of Chicago is finalizing a plan to cover gender reassignment (sex changes) as part of their healthcare plan. As we continue to discuss the pension issue, school closings, and a budget mess, the city announces sex changes are a priority?  This morning on The Matt McGill Morning Show on WVON 1690AM – The Talk of Chicago,  The Maze Jackson Social Media Question of the Week was:

“Has the LGBT agenda trumped the common sense agenda? Why is the city even discussing gender reassignment (sex changes) in the midst of the pension crisis we claim to have?”

What do you think?  Should the City of Chicago insurance cover sex changes?  Is that a moral issue or is it just a new age medical issue that we need to get used to?  If so, I think the City should the city pay for breast augmentation, tummy tucks, and booty lifts?  What do you think?

 

 

Among Blacks, Mayoral Election Forces a Push for New Ideas and Leaders – NYTimes.com

The poor showing of Carol Moseley Braun in the Chicago mayoral election has galvanized many blacks to push for new ideas and new leaders in the black community.

Source: Among Blacks, Mayoral Election Forces a Push for New Ideas and Leaders – NYTimes.com