It's not often that the citizens of Chicago can see justice served up twice in a week. The first helping came with the sentencing of John Burge-Torturer on Friday Jan. 21. His sentence of 4 1/2 years in prison is miniscule in relation to the havoc he created, but after years of fighting to have some sort of justice meted out, most folks are just glad that he got something.
As I write this column on Monday night, I have been jumping for joy ever since learning that Rob'em Manually won't be on the ballot. If there ever was a case where it appeared that the law was going to be shaped and manipulated to accommodate someone, this was it. Yes, at one time Rahm did live here. But packing up all his stuff, renting out his house and filing an income tax form that stated that he considered himself a part-time resident all combined to turn a ruling that should have been a cakewalk into a huge debacle.
When people talk about "why" Rahm rented out his house, I can answer it with one simple word. Actually I have a couple of words. Cheapskate and greed. After looking at the salary ($172,000) he would be making as White House Chief of Staff, Rahm figured out a way to make even more money. Renting out the house ($60,000). Then to add insult to injury, rather than pay a few dollars to have valuables stored in a heat-controlled storage locker, Rahm had the stuff stored in a crawlspace in the family's basement. I told you, "cheap" should be Rahm's codename.
It is also interesting that in April, 2010, Rahm stated he wanted to run for mayor. The lease on his house was expiring at the end of August, 2010 and he could have claimed his house and not gone through the headaches he just went through. But no, even though a mayoral election was looming, Rahm went ahead and renewed the lease and then ... Daley announces his retirement. Now that sends Rahm into a tizzy as he tried to terminate the lease on his house and return to Chicago to become our anointed next mayor. But fate intervened and two judges of the Appellate Court have ruled that Rahm isn't eligible to be on the ballot.
Last week, I told how Rahm bypassed the NAACP Mayoral Candidate forum. It was held at Friendship Baptist, 5200 W. Jackson. That church was founded by Sheldon Hall and in a case of pure irony, one of the presiding judges making the decision regarding Rahm was Shelvin Louise Marie Hall - the founder's daughter. I was hoping that in the back of her mind, Rahm's insult to her father's church would play a role. Can't say that it did, but the irony is still pure "payback."
I also had gotten a call from several activists because, with the exception of Bill Dock Walls, all the candidates had ignored the forum put on by the Montford Point Marines Association. These are all men who have served this country while none of the candidates have any military service. Just another insult to a black organization by those who will do commercials claiming they want to serve you. But what we end up getting is a kick in the behind.
For the next couple of days, until the Illinois Supreme Court rules on the case, we can expect Rahm to be off the ballot. The Supreme Court ruling, I expect, will just reaffirm the lower court's decision. But what it all comes down to is each voter doing his or her homework about who will best represent their interests as this city moves forward.
And in the back of my mind, as always, is the future of the black West Side. Our land has been valuable for years and political games have kept those valuations low.
So pay attention, Westsiders, pay attention! And on Election Day, come out and vote like you did in November 2008.
Lastly, several of the candidates for alderman of the 28th Ward have been coming on Garfield's show on Sunday night as well as those from the 24th Ward. These are two of the hottest contests around. Tune in Sunday nights from 10 until midnight on WRLL 1450AM.
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