Covering the WestSide as it is today and Challenging everyone to become involve as we move into the future.
Friday, October 08, 2010
I attend a lot of meetings all over the city. I do it not only to be able to report to those who read this column or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or my blog, but also because I enjoy following the political antics of this city. Following politics is a good way to see the world through a variety of spectrums. When I go to the polls to vote, I want to vote for the candidate who is offering to represent my best interests and not what some people say.
Part of the problem with listening to already elected officials who spout the party line is that good candidates who are on the ballot don't get any press. For example, most folks have only heard of the Democratic and Republican candidates for U.S. Senate. Very little press has been given to the Green Party candidate, LeAlan Jones. Why? Because we are being led to believe that Mark Kirk as a Republican or Alexi Giannoulias as a Democrat are the only options.
Who is LeAlan Jones? Well to start, he is a very intelligent, young, African-American man who has been slowly gaining more percentage points as voters have become disenchanted by the other two candidates. LeAlan Jones is a native Chicagoan, who came to the public's attention at the tender age of 13 when he, along with another young man, Lloyd Newman, and a radio producer, David Isay, made a NPR documentary "Ghetto Life 101." At age 16, he followed up that successful report with an in-depth investigation into the death of Eric Morse, the 5-year-old who was dropped from the 14th floor of the Ida B. Wells housing project where Jones was a resident.
Now if this is the first time you've heard about LeAlan Jones and his run for the "senate seat of Barack Obama," that is not surprising. Candidates who are not of the top two parties are relegated to the oblivion of "no news coverage." That's why small newspapers like this are so very important. We report on the news, people and events that the big papers don't consider worthy of their ink. Jones has been out campaigning and trying to get press, but the mainstream media has been blocking him. The U.S. Senate candidates are scheduled to do a Meet the Press debate on Oct. 10, but Jones hasn't been invited to participate. Why not? His numbers are growing and he is on the ballot. The media doesn't have a problem telling us daily about the Tea Party and its shenanigans. But a Green Party candidate who is also a young, highly qualified black man doesn't warrant a chance to speak on the issues.
Jones has taken some very interesting and astute stances on the issues. When asked to comment on the political process, he responded, "When people ask me if I am a spoiler candidate, I ask them: 'How do you spoil something that's already rotten?'" Now that's a refreshing answer. On fixing the economy, Jones says, "I want to finish what the New Deal started and create a sustainable economy with good, green jobs by moving our money out of big banks and Wall Street." On the state of education in Illinois: "If the economic meltdown taught us one thing, it is don't trust Wall Street. So why are we trusting for-profit companies with the education of our children and turning our public schools into corporate factories run by the mayor's hand-picked CEO?" His position on health care: "Nobody should make a profit when you get sick. We need a single-payer health care system that is accountable to patients, puts prevention first, and ends inequality."
LeAlan Jones is a young man who shouldn't be ignored in his quest to go to the senate. His website is www.lealanforsenate.org. Take the time to learn more about this young man and on Nov. 2, don't be scared of going Green. A fresh new voice and choice may be exactly what this state needs.
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Arlene Jones' Biography
I was born in Chicago. I grew up in Cabrini Green. I attended Wells Sr High, the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle where I majored in Spanish and minored in Education. I have a diploma in Computer Programming.
I moved to Austin when I purchased a home here. I have two children.
I have been active in the community since moving here. I started with my blockclub. In the early 1990s, I worked with several people to try and form the North Austin Homeowners Association. I even went on patrol with a group of people who had a walkie talkie car patrol of the neighborhood.
As with most programs in the AA community, many factors led to the demise of those groups. Lack of support from elected officials was at the top of the list.
There were several people who had a group and we met out of DaVinci Manor. DaVinci Manor was at the corner of North Ave and Central where Walgreen now stands. Again there was very little interest in saving that building and our community lost a beautiful hall.
I have protested the state of the Central Ave bridge. I worked with Leola Spann and did many a smoke out including one in the 1500 block of North Lorel where drug paraphenalia layed on the ground. I have over the years here in Austin worked with the following groups at one point or another:
Northeast Austin Organization (Mary Volpe, Tom Hosea);
Northwest Austin Council;
Brotherhood of Black Men;
Westside Health Authority;
Every Block A Village;
25th District Housing Committee;
African American Employees at the Merchandise Mart (AAEMM);
Lafollette Park Advisory Council;
Garfield Park Conservatory Advisory Council;
Westside Executive Advisory Council;
Austin Landmark Cultural Center;
Concerned Citizens of East Garfield Park
and so many others that it gets hard to remember.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. -- Malcolm X