Friday, February 25, 2011

Grass Root Lies and Consensus Candidates

Congratulations to Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel. I don't have a problem congratulating him on his win, even though he wasn't my candidate of choice.

The 2011 Chicago mayoral election should be required study for everyone. If you want to know why our young black people are so disenchanted with black leadership, all one has to do is review the lies, deceit, backstabbing and sell-outs that occurred within both the established black political community and the activist community.

Most people who followed politics could read their tea leaves and know that losing the Olympics was the signal that it was time for Mayor Daley to go. The only one who initially planned to take on Daley was Bill "Dock" Walls, who didn't excite the imagination of the voting public. A lot of that had to do with his being labeled a "perennial" candidate - plus he didn't have the money to turn what was perceived to be a negative into a positive. Walls ran too much of his own campaign and thus made decisions that proved to be flawed. But this column isn't about him.

Years ago, Lu Palmer, known as the Godfather of Political Activism, coined the phrase, "It's enough to make a Negro turn Black." That phrase was, and continues to be, used to describe situations where descendants of enslaved Africans would get so angry or see such an injustice that they would start to see themselves as Black (willing to fight the powers that be) as opposed to being a Negro (going along to get along).

The recent elections had me thinking of Lu's signature signoff. And after watching what went on in the black community during this mayoral debacle, the phrase can be updated to: "It turned Blacks into Negroes." I was going to initially go into the entire history of what went on, but to review the entire escapade would create something I could name the "Consensus Black Candidate Comedy Show." To review it in its entirety is to see buffoonery, bamboozling and chicanery all in one. So I'll just do the "highlights."

It started with a "call" meeting, held at Bethel AMC Church on Oct. 16, 2010. When the meeting got started, Eddie Read a protégé of Lu Palmer, asked if there were any journalists in the room. When those folks raised their hands (I didn't), they were gathered together and led out of the room. For some reason, Read didn't want any reporters in the room. To top it off, he didn't want the meeting videotaped. A number of speakers spoke, and then two months later in December (yeah you can tell that they were finding a candidate on CPT Time), the committee announced a consensus candidate in Danny Davis. When a news story did emerge about that meeting, the story labeled them the "The Grass Root Guys." But as I see it, their actual name should have been "The Grass Root Lies."

Now Davis was supposed to be the consensus choice. But during a "historic" radio broadcast (now only historic in that none of them won), the question came up suggesting that two of the three black candidates should drop out of the race so that one could win. Meeks asked the question, Davis didn't have a problem with doing it, and Braun declared she was "in it to win it."

By the end of December 2010, both Meeks and Davis had dropped out the race and Braun was the "consensus" candidate. Thus began a campaign that claimed she had "experience" while acting like an "amateur." Most notably, there was the infamous "crackhead" video exchange. Rewatching the exchange as it was reported by Fox News, the report said TV coverage of the debate wasn't allowed. Yet they got the footage of the ugly exchange via Trinity UCC. Why?

One additional piece of footage I watched showed Braun trying to go to a forum at Rev. Hatch's church while grown men carrying Patricia Watkins signs blocked her entrance. Such poor behavior from people wearing coats that said, "Save Our Sons," while they acted like the very reason our sons need saving. Sad!

I got a number of requests to check out the Soul Slate when they announced their choices. Looking at the people who continue to be selected by that group, it has become obvious that the better terminology is "Sold Slate." If the purpose of that recommendation is to tell black folks who to vote for, why was the consensus candidate (Braun) not the recommendation for mayor? Rather they went with Patricia Watkins. How come? Is it really just money involved in that process?

But what had me almost drive my car off the road was listening to Eddie Read's commentary on WVON 1690-AM. The man who had stood in the pulpit at Bethel AME Church back in October 2010, the man who was hosting meetings all over town to get the community to settle on a single candidate, the man who was tutored in activism by Lu Palmer, announced that he was supporting not the consensus candidate Braun, but newcomer and amateur Patricia Watkins. WTF? After all their talk of Blackness, their Negro came out. I am sure Lu Palmer is reeling in his grave.

The Election is Nearing, Vote....Vote....Vote

The countdown to Municipal Election Day is finally here. Much is being done to suppress the "black vote," for though we may not be the majority when it comes to residency, we are the majority when it comes to being registered voters.

Many people already believe Rahm Emanuel will win the election. He has the biggest war chest and has spent the most on ads. Money is always the defining factor in elections, they say. Yet if that is the truth, then Meg Whitman who spent $178.5 million in her attempt to become California's governor shouldn't have lost to Jerry Brown, who spent a paltry $36.5 million. But don't tell that to Rahm. Let him continue to spend and spend. In the end, it's voters that vote. Ads don't.

There are only four offices to vote for in this year's election. Mayor, City Clerk, City Treasurer and Alderman. Let's start with mayor.

I continue to support William "Dock" Walls. He may not have the money of the other candidates, but when it comes to addressing solutions to the issues, none have been able to hold a candle to him. His parking meter solution of paying for an "enhanced" city sticker would allow people to park at any meter for up to two hours without getting a ticket. Plus it would allow Chicago to again earn money from those meters. His promotion of "nanotechnology" as the next major industry for Chicago would again put us on the map for manufacturing. His idea to limit the amount of profits that large construction companies make off the city is admirable. And most of all, his idea to give a million dollars to 200 businesses all around the city would have them creating self-perpetuating jobs that would begin to cut into the unemployment rate. His election, as his campaign slogan states, would be: "A Clean Break from the Past." Visit his website at

Since I am not one to believe all those phony poll results that have been making their way into the news, I would love to see a runoff election between Walls and anyone else. There are too many real issues going on in this city to allow the next mayor to just slide into office because he had so much money from outside interests that we bought into the hype. When people try to tell you that, just remind them of that California governor's race. It's not who spends the most money. It is who garners the most votes. And we can make it happen by getting everyone we know to come out and vote on Feb. 22. Punch 11. Punch eleven. Punch 11.

The next most important office to vote for is City Clerk. That is a no-brainer. Punch 21 and elect Patricia Horton. Since the City Treasurer doesn't have any opposition, all she has to do is have two people vote for her and she wins. Punch 31 to elect Stephanie Neely.

Lastly, there is that election for alderman. I've been to a number of candidate forums and have been impressed by some and disappointed by others. But I will say this about those running against the incumbents. If bringing business to the ward were as easy as your challengers make it sound, all the wards would have new business. If building a community center were as simplistic as you want to make it, every community would have them. Those are the kinds of things incumbents would do just to have notches on their belts. But when the city doesn't have money to keep the park district buildings open and functioning, it doesn't have money for additional centers that need to be funded. And if Jewel and Dominick's wanted to be anywhere in this city, they would be.

When candidates talk about empowering those already in business over trying to put their constituents into business, it shows who is worth voting for and who is worth ignoring. And any candidate not willing, front and center, to tell you who they are supporting for mayor doesn't deserve your vote either.

The elections will again be on the table this Sunday on WRLL 1450-AM from 10 until midnight. Tune in. Call in. 773-591-6777.

And on Tuesday Feb. 22, Vote ...Vote ...Vote!


As much as I love discussing politics, I can't wait for the mayoral elections to be over. I am tired of learning of brainwash-after-brainwash commercials from Rahm Emanuel that insult anyone who thinks.

Yes, this city is an employment agency. It constantly taxes us to pay for employees, so in my mind, people should look to the city to not only hire but find jobs for those that don't have one. Yes, the city is an employment agency in that it controls the education of all the children in the Chicago Public Schools. Educate them well and they will have employers looking to hire them. Mis-educate them and you will continue the cycle of illiteracy that permeates too many individuals. And with a budget of over $12 billion annually for just the city and the schools, I don't want a mayor who is telling me what the city "ain't." I want a mayor who will tell me what the city "is."

I am not a big television watcher. So I have been spared the Rahm "assault of brainwash" commercials that have been playing on all the local stations morning, noon and night. But as I do love to be on Facebook, people have sent me links to people who have rebutted things that have been shown in Rahm's commercials. My favorite thus far is a short YouTube video done by a group of Sullivan High School students.

Those young people were following politics and saw the WGN debate that featured four of the six candidates for mayor. The fact that many in the media overlook the fact that there are six candidates is an additional reflection on the dumbing down of this city. But I digress. At the WGN forum, Rahm said: "When you take out Northside, and when you take out Walter Payton, the seven best performing high schools are all charters."

Well, those young people went and did their homework. The top seven schools beside Northside Prep and Walter Payton are; Lane Tech, Whitney Young, Jones College Prep, Gwendolyn Brooks and Lincoln Park High School. How could Rahm have made such an error regarding the Chicago Public Schools? Very simple. The man hasn't been living here. He has had no real interest in what has been going on here and if Daley hadn't decided to retire, Rahm wouldn't be anywhere near here.

What that short video clip did is highlight children who go to their neighborhood schools. They are just as bright, concerned and inventive as any child who is enrolled in a selective or charter school. Every time I see that video, I think of a young man named DeAndre Robinson from Douglas Academy here in the Austin community who has been basically saying the exact same thing. We can have all the "selective" enrollment and charter schools that the world will allow. But invest in neighborhood schools.

Maybe if Rahm came to the neighborhoods and attended forums where people talk about local issues, he would have known about those other schools. But when one has to be "schooled" on what has been going on in this city while he lived in Wash., D.C., then it comes as no shock that he's not familiar with those schools.

I remember a while back, Robinson came to the radio show and was talking about education. When the subject of a new high school for Austin came up, he made a very salient point. We as adults can run around planning on a new high school. But there are children like him who are trying to get the best education they can based on what they are working with. So, until that new school comes along, don't denigrate what he is dealing with as we make plans for a future high school.

There are barely two weeks left until Election Day. If the black community comes out and votes their best interest, we should have a run-off. And it is important to make sure that we have a run-off so that Rahm doesn't ease into office without answering all the fundamental questions he is so fond of spewing without giving us details as to what they are.

There are still a number of debates scheduled. If you miss them and have access to the internet, you can catch them online. On Feb. 16, there will be a forum at Westinghouse High School, 3223 W. Franklin from 6:30 - 8 p.m. As West Siders, we need to pack that auditorium to hear the plans those candidates have for our side of town.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

More Snow Photos - Part Deux

Snow Photos. It sure is pretty!

Rahm's Requim was, sadly, premature

I was just getting a handle on my euphoria over Rahm Emanuel getting kicked off the ballot for the upcoming mayoral election when I got hit by a ton of bricks. The Illinois Supreme court voted in favor of allowing Rahm Emanuel back on the ballot. "Oh %&#!" was my response. I could take the news that Rahm was back on the ballot. What I dreaded was having to listen to my friend in her smugness mouth the I-told-you-so happy dance.

When I finally got the chance to speak with her, I was surprised to learn she too had jumped ship. She had seen some things while working Rahm Emanuel's campaign and now was put off by him. We both have concluded that Rahm has "issues" when it comes to the black community.

Sure, he worked - or perhaps better to say "sabotaged" - at the White House. And if you've been paying attention to news reports, when Gery Chico attempted to hold a press conference at some local health clubs with the owners to speak out against Rahm's proposed luxury tax, those owners were intimidated. Already the Emanuel machine is at play and the results don't bode well for Chicago - or for those who feel the need to stand up to it.

As we chatted about the latest mayoral forum held at Trinity United Church of Christ, a forum which Rahm had politely turned down, it dawned on me. Is he avoiding those forums because they are in the black community or he is avoiding them because they are held in black churches? In an era when the average politician bites at the bit to get into black churches to speak with those parishioners/voters, Emanuel has shaken his head "no" to almost every invite. How come?

Even more interesting, how come the ministers, preachers, reverends and so forth in this city haven't stood up and said anything about it? The silence of the black church has been noteworthy, or perhaps better to say, "Bought and paid for."

Speaking of Trinity, I didn't have the pleasure of attending this past Sunday to witness firsthand the diatribe that went on between Carol Mosley Braun and Patricia Van Pelt Watkins. But having seen them interact at a number of forums without rancor, I found the sudden attack of one on the other to be a less-than-skillful, staged performance. Why? Because anyone looking at the numbers knows if blacks all go for one candidate, Rahm cannot win without a serious runoff. So scenarios must be manufactured to turn off black voters. Otherwise, just by our numbers alone we can control who gets into the mayoral seat.

Braun is a "seasoned" politician. She's been a state representative, the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, a U.S. senator and ambassador. How does a woman with over 20 years in elected offices allow herself to be upstaged by a rank amateur? Unless...
yeah, I'll say it, the entire debacle was staged!

Watkins acknowledged struggling with cocaine and marijuana use. So her bristling at being labeled a "crackhead" is interesting. Do we now have a social hierarchy so that those who snort cocaine are better than someone who smokes it?

Heck, at the time didn't we label all children born with drugs in their system as "crack" babies?

Emphasizing subjects that don't address the serious issues facing this city must be meant to distract. How come those same mayoral candidates aren't addressing issues like the Garda robbery that occurred on Chicago and Homan avenues? What level of desperation would motivate two middle-age fools to use some black pipes taped together to look like a sawed off shotgun in order to rob an armored truck? What is going on that those candidates who claim they want to be mayor aren't front and center, addressing the crime and lack of employment here on the West Side?

Brainwashed, Bamboozled, and the Okey-Doke - that's what we are being served. We don't have to swallow it, nor do we have to like it.

And we cannot afford to sit home on Feb. 22, 2011