by Maze Jackson

The debacle Progressive turned Back Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle should be a lesson to Black politicians and Black voters alike. If you pay attention to the White and LGBTQ+ Democratic Committeemen and elected officials who ARE NOT openly supporting Black Woman President Preckwinkle even though she openly courted and supported them and their progressive label, you will understand why we have to think BLACK FIRST politically.

I expressly remember hearing Progressive President Preckwinkle on FB Live pushing Debra Shore, a White LGBTQ+ Woman candidate over Commissioner Kari K. Steele, a Black Woman, for the historic opportunity to become the first Black Woman President of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

At issue was newly elected Commissioner Kimberly Neely DuBuclet, a Black woman, and how she would vote for President of the MWRD. At stake was the opportunity to elect the first Black Woman or the first White LGBTQ+ Woman president of the MWRD. When given the choice between the two, Progressive President Toni Preckwinkle, most likely thinking ahead to the Mayor’s race, assumed she had Black support and threw all of her weight behind the White LGBTQ+Woman Shore.

Not only did Progressive President Preckwinkle push the Black Commissioner DuBuclet to support the White LGBTQ+ Woman Shore against AGAINST Black Commissioner Steele, she even bragged on social media about how she employed White Irish U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Jewish American U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Progressive Third Ward Alderman Pat Dowell, and Progressive Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston to pressure DuBuclet to vote AGAINST the Black Woman Steele FOR the White LGBTQ+ Woman Shore.

I also remember my outrage when I found out a group of White North Side Democratic Committeemen had the audacity to call the Black Woman Commissioner DuBuclet, threatening that she’d better vote for the White LGBTQ+ Woman Shore over the Black Woman Steele or they would attempt to un-slate her in the next election cycle. It appeared that they were already basking in the political returns their support of Progressive President Toni Preckwinkle as Progressive Mayor AND Progressive President of the Cook County Democratic Party would bring when combined with their Progressive White Lakeshore Northside liberal privilege.

It was smart business, but those same Progressive White and LGBTQ+ elected officials were unable to handle their business when they failed deliver their PROGRESSIVE constituents to the now apparently Black Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle.

On Election Night, not only did the Progressive White Lakeshore Northside Committeemen not win their own wards for the now Black Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle, many of those same Progressive White and LGBTQ+ elected officials didn’t even win their own precincts for Black Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle.

And to top it off, the then Progressive President Toni Preckwinkle lost almost every Black Ward, making her a 2nd place finisher to the newly crowned White People’s Progressive Black Woman Lori Lightfoot. Initially considered an also ran in a 14-way race, Lightfoot embarassed Preckwinkle, reducing her to the Black Woman Machine President Preckwinkle in her once coveted Lakeshore liberals.

That night, the now Black Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle learned the hard way that the Progressive White People had chosen themselves a new Progressive Black Woman, and she was out. The Jay Z song calls it “Still OJ,” which for those of you unfamiliar with the urban legend, is polite talk for “still a N**GA!”

Now those same big time White and LGBTQ+ elected officials that the once Progressive now Black Woman Machine President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle fought so hard for are either now endorsing their “new” Black Woman Progressive Lori Lightfoot- some publicly, others cutting deals behind the scenes, or they’ve just become extremely quiet. Just think, Progressive President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle encouraged the Black community to stick with Governor JB Pritzker even after his infamous secret recordings, discrimination issues, and black face controversy, and he’s staying neutral. Ouch…OJ!

Where is the White LGBTQ+ Woman Debra Shore that she fought so hard for? Shouldn’t she be Black Woman President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle’s biggest standard bearer in the LGBTQ+ community? Shouldn’t she be standing up for Black Woman President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle against all the homophobic allegations? Where is she now? Probably hiding, because campaigning for Toni in her community is like bringing OJ to the Goldman’s family reunion. It’s not going to happen!

Why aren’t those White Democratic Committeemen rallying their troops to turn out the vote for Black Woman President Toni Preckwinkle? Because they don’t have troops and they don’t turn out the vote, they ride the wave and wave is against Toni in their wards. But what about Democratic loyalty to the President of the Cook County Democratic Party? Do you know any White People that feel like they need to be loyal to OJ? Exactly!

Because just like then-Progressive President Toni Preckwinkle before her “OJ moment,” White Democrats prioritize a relationship with the LGBTQ+ community over a relationship with the Black community…until they need to use us to get what they want.

Like President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle does now.


Should we trust politicians at the end of their careers with our future?

This week it was alleged the Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was behind Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri’s attempt to change the position of Clerk of the Circuit Court from elected to appointed.  While the move would have affected Clerk Brown for the short-term, in the long-term it would have limited voter participation and decreased elected opportunities for aspiring future politicians.  Billed as a cost saving measure by Silvestri and applauded by Commissioner Larry Sufferdin, the resolution would have consolidated power for Preckwinkle, who is admittedly at the end of her political career, which brings me to today’s blog topic:

Should we trust politicians at the end of their careers with our future?  In other words, why should a generation about to take the reigns of power cooperate with a generation determined to hold on to that same power?  Do political appointments make the appointees loyal to their constituents or Party bosses?  Do you find it odd that progressive leaders are calling for an elected school board while their champion is simultaneous trying to increase her ability to appoint decision makers?




Preckwinkle, Silvestri Smokescreen Goes Down in Flames


Maze Jackson

With a hastily released statement and a suspension of the rules, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Commissioner Peter Silvestri’s attempt to strip Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown of her position went down in flames.  Community activists, Black businessmen, and seniors descended on the May 11, 2016 Cook County Board meeting to let the Cook County Board of Commissioners exactly how they felt about Silvestri’s resolution.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was called "Pettywinkle" by protester?
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was called “Pettywinkle” by protesters (Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune)

The meeting attendees were vociferous in their opposition to any attempts to disenfranchise Black voters in Cook County.  The resolution, sponsored by Elmwood Park Republican Commissioner Peter Silvestri,was billed as a cost cutting measure, not meant directly to target Clerk Brown.  Commissioners who asked to remain off the record acknowledged that Silvestri was acting at the behest of County Board President Preckwinkle, who has made no secret of her disdain of Clerk Brown, even going as far as having her removed from the Democratic Party slate of endorsed candidates.  Observers in the audience labeled the attack petty, as some even began whispering, “Toni Pettywinkle.”

The tension continued to mount prior to the vote and it was apparent that many of the Commissioner were nervous about taking such a the vote.  Shortly afterwards, Reverend Leslie Sanders,  community outreach specialists delivered a hastily worded statement placing responsibility for the resolution in the hands of the Chief Judge Timothy Evans and Commissioner Silvestri.  The statement read as such:

The proposal that the Chief Judge appoint the Clerk of the Circuit Court was initiated by Commissioner Silvestri, and not by my office. I was not informed in advance of Commissioner Silvestri’s intention to introduce this resolution. I am neither endorsing nor promoting it, and I met with and informed Circuit Court Clerk Brown of my position. The resolution will go to a Board committee for discussion and, in any case, this is not a change the County Board could implement on its own, but rather would need approval from the state Legislature.

Community leaders refused to accept the statement and demanded that “Pettywinkle” as they referred to her, oppose the resolution.  After the statement was distributed, the crowd became even more unsettled and became raucous, as Dorothy Brown sat quietly watching the who thing unfold.

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown
Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown watched the proceedings unfold (Photo courtesy of ABC 7)

When Preckwinkle took the podium she gave the floor to Cook County Commissioner John Daley, who immediately moved to suspended the rules, at which point (click to watch video)  Silvestri announced that he was holding the resolution in committee, at which point the crowd erupted with applause.  Cook County Board Commissioners, who often operate in anonymity were put on notice that they would be receiving the same scrutiny as the Chicago City Council, as shouts of “What’s in it for the Black People?” rang out from the audience.

The old Cook County Hospital is set to be redeveloped but the community wants to know, "What's in it for the Black People?"
The old Cook County Hospital is set to be redeveloped but the community wants to know, “What’s in it for the Black People?” (Photo courtesy of CBS 2)

Coincidentally, on the same day, the Cook County Board also passed a $375 million dollar bond deal to finance the redevelopment of the old Cook County Hospital.  Considering the County is using the same Black contractors who have been accused of  leaving the Black community out the last time the County Hospital was rebuilt, that scrutiny is warranted and will be intense.  Just listening to the audience, it does not appear that Target Group and Rite-Way Construction will be enough to satisfactorily answer the question, “What’s in it for the Black People?”

Is Cook County Clerk Resolution a $375 Million Smokescreen?


Maze Jackson

May 10, 2016


Black community activists were outraged, at what has been perceived as a blatant attempt at voter disenfranchisement, when Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri introduced a resolution to change the position of Clerk of the Circuit Court from elected to appointed. This would effectively nullify the election of current Clerk Dorothy Brown, who was re-elected overwhelmingly, in spite of the Cook County Democratic Party flip-flopping on her endorsement.

Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvertri
Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri. (Photo credit Daily Herald.)

While Silvestri sponsored the ordinance and maintains it’s not “personal,” insiders say Silvestri does not make a move without Preckwinkle’s approval, and Preckwinkle’s disdain for Brown is no secret. Preckwinkle led the charge to have Brown dumped by the Democratic Party, and when she couldn’t defeat her at the ballot box, she’s apparently decided to go the legislative route, hoping to cash in on her growing political clout.

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown
Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown. (Photo credit ABC 7.)

Brown did not help matters by requesting a raise earlier this week. While some of her colleagues agreed Brown’s points were valid, they also agreed the timing was not good. In today’s toxic political environment, no politician wants to tbe on record voting for a raise, especially another politician’s raise, so Brown’s proposal was dead on arrival. Preckwinkle, apparently seeing that as another opportunity to attack her nemesis, allowed Silvestri to float the resolution of changing the position from elected to appointed.

In a county, city, and state with a reputation for corruption and cronyism, any attempt to place more decision-making power in the hands of politicians is sure to be met with fierce resistance by the local activist community, and like clockwork,  activists are organizing a protest for tomorrow’s Cook County Board meeting. Even if the resolution passes, it must be approved by the Illinois General Assembly, which is dominated by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. Black caucus members have already signaled they would oppose any such legislation, as the have in the past, especially when it limits opportunities for elected advancement.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is feeling her power.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is feeling her power. (Photo credit NBC.)

Understanding all of those dynamics, I had to wonder why would the Cook County Board President allow such an outrageous resolution to see the light of day, knowing the potential outrage it would cause, particularly among the activist community? I mean I understand using Silvestri to keep her hand hidden, but why such a bold move against another Black woman?  So I did some calling around, and while I expected to discuss the Brown resolution I was pointed to this from today’s Finance Committee Meeting:

To pay the costs of the Refunding, the Bonds shall be issued from time to time in one or more Series, all as may be determined by the Chief Financial Officer, provided that the aggregate principal amount of any Bonds issued pursuant to this Ordinance shall not exceed $375,000,000. The Bonds shall be designated substantially as “General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 2016,” with such additions or modifications as shall be determined to be necessary by the Chief Financial Officer at the time of the sale of the Bonds.

16-2696 PROPOSED ORDINANCE Bond Refunding

The Cook County Board will be authorizing $375 MILLION DOLLARS in bonds, coincidentally on the same day we have to save Dorothy Brown?  Now don’t get me wrong, I think the bonds will go for a great cause, the redevelopment of the of Cook County Hospital. I think it will be an awesome project, and I will be glad when it is rebuilt. I love Chicago and I think our city is becoming more dynamic everyday. But with $375 MILLION on the line, I had to ask…What’s in it for the Black People?”

The old Cook County Hospital is finally getting redeveloped. (photo courtesy od Chicago Sun-Times)
The old Cook County Hospital is finally getting redeveloped.  (Photo courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times.)

What I found out was troubling. I found out that some commissioners actually asked, “What’s in it for the Black People?”  They got a community benefits agreement, but it was rushed.  They asked WHO would get the contracts and some of the same old characters who sold their contracts last time they rebuilt Cook County Hospital were back representing Black business again. Who is ensuring that the Black people participate in the contracts and job opportunities? You guessed it, the same company that had Black people doing less than 5% of the business in the city of Chicago. Which one of them has helped create new economic opportunities for the Black community? You don’t know? Neither did they, so coincidentally the Dorothy Brown issue comes up on the same day as they have to answer the question regarding that $375 million bond vote.  May 11th Cook County Board Meeting.

The reality is Dorothy Brown isn’t going anywhere, but that $375 million dollars is…in a cloud of smoke!


Cook County Goes Back to the Future


Maze Jackson


As Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle prepares to raise the Cook County sales tax by one penny, she should consider that it was that same penny that got her predecessor “lynched in the media.”

On December 4, 2006, Todd Stroger was sworn in as Cook County Board President. He replaced the interim Board President Bobbie Steele, who had only been in office since August 4th of that same year, completing the term of Stroger’s father. John Stroger had been County Board President until he was incapacitated with a stroke.

New County Board County Board President Stroger only had three months to craft an $3.1 billion budget that had a $500 million deficit . “The apparatus was in place to put a budget together, but no one took responsibility during the interim presidency,” Stroger said during an interview.

Stroger consulted his advisers, who all agreed that county government needed to be reformed. Stroger mandated across-the-board cuts of 21% for all 28 departments under his control. He requested the same from the other county officers, who all generally complied, with the exception of the Sheriff’s and State’s Attorney’s Offices.

Was former Cook Count Board President Todd Stroger right all along? Will it lead to a political comeback? (photo courtesy of ABC7 Chicago)

When Stroger directed the hospital system to make “$90 million” in cuts, they recommended closing Provident and Oak Forest Hospitals.   “Oak Forest was in the South Suburbs, and our flagship hospital, the County Hospital is 45 minutes away from Robbins. Our (Black) people needed that hospital, especially with so many Blacks moving to the South Suburbs,” Stroger stated.

“And when you look at Provident, that hospital was the biggest economic engine in that community, plus Michael Reese (hospital) was going to close. It was just too important to close, so we went back to every department and scraped together every bit of money we could, and we kept those hospitals open and balanced the budget in our first year.”

In Stroger’s 2nd year, Cook County found itself $238 million in the hole again because “the union agreement increased every year. We had to solve the problem.” So Stroger along with Ralph Martire and the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability came up with a plan that “paid the bills without taking it out on the employees or over burdening the taxpayers, but we knew we needed revenue.”

In 2007, after trimming as much waste as possible, making almost every reform suggested by advisers and critics alike, and even voluntarily signing on to the Shakman decree, President Todd Stroger passed a balanced budget that included a one penny sales tax increase.

“Not only was the budget balanced, it addressed the structural deficit created by the labor agreements that continue to increase every year, “ Stroger said. “When President Preckwinkle came in she basically replicated my plan, but when she cut the sales tax, she found herself back at square one.”

As Preckwinkle seeks to pass the same one-penny sales tax that many say was the deathblow to the Stroger Presidency, she is finding unlikely opposition.

“The sales tax may be the easiest for the County Board to pass, but it will be hardest on the working families when everyday purchases  – diapers, toothpaste, kid’s clothes – get more expensive. And it will be hardest on businesses who risk losing customers to Indiana or Will County. Cook County needs revenue to provide quality health services and a just criminal justice system, but a tax that hits the hardest on the hardest hit is not the way to go,” County Commissioner Bridgette Gainer (D-10) emphasized.

Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer opposes the “Toni Tax”

The “Toni Tax” as it is being called will likely pass, but no politician ever wants their name directly associated with a tax. Just ask Stroger.

“The newspaper and media made my name and tax synonymous. Say tax and people said Stroger. Water, property…any tax was The Stroger Tax, and I only asked for one penny,” Stroger finished. “At least I kept the hospitals open for that penny.”