A Small Space on the South Side
Alex Boutros believes in the value of voting.
Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot campaigned on a promise to “Bring in the Light,” positioning herself as a progressive candidate who would uplift all Chicagoans. Prior to the runoff, the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) asked both candidates where they stood on food justice issues that impact Chicago’s communities. In response to the eight detailed questions in the CFPAC questionnaire, Lightfoot simply responded “yes.”
The first thing to understand is that an eviction filing is not an eviction order. Think of an eviction filing like an arrest—a legal action that in no way indicates guilt. An eviction order, on the other hand, is the result of a court’s decision in favor of the landlord who filed the eviction. Thousands of evictions are filed in Cook County every year, and yet over one third do not result in an eviction order.
The energy in the auditorium at Benito Juarez High School in Pilsen on March 20 was charged and heated, at times feeling closer to a pep rally than a political debate. Neighborhood residents and members of various community organizations had packed in to hear the two runoff candidates for 25th Ward alderman, Byron Sigcho-Lopez and Alex Acevedo, present their visions for the next four years of ward leadership.
Several days after the February 26 election, as the last votes trickled in, it was revealed that financial advisor and Chatham community activist Deborah Foster-Bonner had forced two-term 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer, the son of former 6th Ward alderman and, briefly, mayor Eugene Sawyer, into a runoff. Running on a platform of community engagement, and assisted by, judging from precinct-level election data, widespread dissatisfaction with Sawyer’s tenure in the Chatham part of the ward (which is also made up of parts of Park Manor and Englewood), Foster-Bonner’s has been a small, mostly self-funded campaign—though she has picked up the endorsements of both the Sun-Times and the Tribune. It remains to be seen whether she can make inroads in the parts of the ward where Sawyer did well, but the act of forcing a family dynasty into a runoff in Chicago is no small feat in and of itself. This interview, conducted at Foster-Bonner’s Chatham campaign office before the February 26 election, has been edited for length and clarity.
The same day that City Council voted to approve the new $95 million police academy plan in West Garfield Park, mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot spoke at the University of Chicago about the need to build an even more expensive and expansive police academy. Lightfoot clarified that she does not support the current proposal “as is,” but that “we absolutely need a new training facility,” and “to do it right it would cost far more than” $95 million. She cited the New York Police Department’s new $750 million training center as an example. To Lightfoot, a police training center done right should involve more community engagement and “academic development.” Notably, she said the city should consider turning some of the thirty-eight remaining vacant schools of the fifty closed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel into police training facilities.