Protests at City Hall
After the fatal shooting of sixteen-year-old Seandell Holiday on May 14 in Millenium Park, Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded by tightening Chicago’s weekend curfew for teens. Residents across the city expressed concern amid fears police will further target and criminalize young people of color. More than twenty teens organized a “die in” on May 23 outside City Hall to urge the City Council to vote no. The young demonstrators laid down on the ground as if dead to symbolize Chicago youth who have died from violence. Teens said they want to be included in decisions around gun violence and additional programming. Chicago City Council approved Lightfoot’s curfew ordinance by a 30-19 vote. The same day, a group of sixty-five community groups from across the city signed an open letter calling Lightfoot to address gun violence by looking at the root causes. Parents also criticized the mayor for pushing a casino, stating that she should “put priorities in place” with education and safety being at the top. Community members also demanded Lightfoot use COVID-19 federal relief funds to invest resources in communities.
Expect a smaller light bill
Chicagoans could expect smaller light bills in the future because of the Carbon Mitigation Credit program, a part of the recent Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). The program provides support for nuclear power facilities in Illinois, which have a lower carbon footprint than power plants based on fossil fuels, until such time as Illinois is able to create more clean energy solutions. A provision of the program is that if electricity prices rise too much—as they have recently due to COVID-19 supply shortages and the Russian invasion of Ukraine—that consumers will receive credits to make up for it. ComEd submitted a filing with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) indicating that from June 1 of this year to May 31 of 2023, it will provide a credit to consumers equal to 3.087 cents per kWh, lowering bills by about $19.71 per month and saving the average family around $237 per year.
Lightfoot gets to appoint another alderperson
Last week, 24th Ward Alderperson Michael Scott Jr. announced he would be resigning his post to work at Cinespace Studios, a movie and television studio within his ward. Scott Jr., who was elected to the position in 2015, told reporters that the job had been too consuming and that he wanted to spend more time with his family. His resignation allows Mayor Lori Lightfoot to appoint the alderperson for the ward, who will stay in the position at least until next year’s election. Earlier this year, Lightfoot appointed Nicole Lee for the 11th Ward following former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson’s conviction for tax fraud. Though there will be an application and screening process, set to begin June 1, the final decision will be Lightfoot’s. Scott Jr. will be the head of community and industry relations at Cinespace, a company that has expanded in North Lawndale despite protests from residents that important streets have been cut off and filming takes place on their blocks without consent, as well as lack of employment opportunities for Black and brown residents of the area. Cinespace has donated at least $17,000 to political groups affiliated with Scott Jr. in the last few years. Those interested in applying for the aldermanic position should email their resumes to email@example.com or mail them to 24th Ward Vacancy Committee at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60602, by June 7.
Commentary: Mell Monroe- (A Strong Former Supporter and Voter for Bobby Rush & Pat Dowell)VOTE ON JUNE 28TH- But I Refuses to Vote with Machine Politicians for Illinois 1st District Congressional Seat
I am excited to see new candidates running for the Illinois 1st District in Congress seat and encouraged to learn many friends I know also refuse to vote for anybody resembling another machine politician based on privilege and protocol. As a homeowner and business owner in the district for 17 years, in past years, I voted for two politicians that are intimately involved in the race but this time I hate the idea based on principle. Both politicians have been aggressively pushing their agenda in the outcome of the race and one is the incumbent, while the other is a want-to-be. I’ve witnessed enough. Machine politicians involved in the congressional race in my opinion are non-performers filled with lots of speechifying, over-promises, and under-deliverables, especially in the African American part of their representative communities. Neither politician was or would ever be assertive enough to do what needed to get done in their political seat(s) from the very beginning. I still live in a mostly African American part of the district and used to reside in the 3rd Ward, and without a doubt, progress, as it relates to economic development in my community, has been underwhelming, to say the least. Today the 1st District needs a game-changing leader with an outgoing disposition, imaginative spirit, and a take-charge personality not the political personality of the past. Enough already with unchanged politicians recommended by the same cronies and Chicago’s well-oiled machine. This time, I recommend voting for new thought leaders with brilliant ideas and passionate drivers for newness. More than anything Black communities need strong economic development experiences and the kind of leadership that can leap tall buildings in a single bound not more of the same.
Clearly there is plenty of money being spent in the congressional race judging by the mailings I am receiving, but let’s not be overwhelmed by the narrative. Name recognition is going around redundantly once again while unknown candidates, some with dynamic ideas and intellectual capacities are crushed by big spending and the inability to raise enough funds to do mailers throughout the district. The politics of the privileged get noticed and protocol becomes another obligation to pay to play is the order of the day. I’m afraid good candidates will get lost in the shuffle and the rhetoric or name branding will interfere with real progress. My commentary is meant to describe my experiences over the years in my own district and ward represented by machine politicians and having lived and worked in the community, not as an idle individual, but as a proactive participant who invested heavily in my hopes and their promise. Sadly, I was disappointed and this time I won’t be fooled by the mail and their words on paper but instead by their actions. I want renewed ideas for my vote vs machine politics taking over once again for way too long.
Quite honestly, I have a bone to pick with politicians who just cannot seem to step aside to welcome new people with fresh ideas. Chicago’s political machine actually repudiates the entire process of change. Let’s examine a few examples of the race itself. When the current seat holder in Congress announced his plans to retire but remain in politics as a State Committeeman at 75 years old, but has not produced any noticeable bill or credit to his name during his entire 30 years tenure, he should be encouraged to chill out. But instead, the Congressman insists on promoting his own candidate by self-funding her because he still wants control just to stay relevant. Equally noticeable is a 3rd Ward Alderman, who could retire with a lifetime pension after serving only 13 years, but instead decides to continue to collect an annual salary of $120K part-time while campaigning for a new job. Last year, she was initially running for Secretary of State but after realizing she couldn’t win, in January switched bids to run for the Congressional seat and is now allowed to leverage her Aldermanic donations to support her new campaign. Of course, if she loses, she is still guaranteed to keep the current job she obviously does not want. Ironically, I fully supported and voted for both the 1st District Congressman and 3rd Ward Alderman in past years. Quite honestly, both experiences leave me with a bad feeling and nothing to show for my vote in the district. For me, it’s time for a new direction because the 1st District of Illinois deserves more drastic change. We need new people not new ways to work the system.
I’m also bothered as an African American and democrat voter all my life, and I am sick and tired of large organizations or the Democratic Machine, telling me what I should do with my vote. I don’t need the democratic party, SEIU, Teacher’s Unions, Lobbyists, real estate developers, or political influencers to suggest that I am too stupid to do my own homework. I believe the Congressional seat in my district should be an important vote to really care about. From what I’ve witnessed, nothing has been accomplished by those who commonly endorse the status quo candidates like those I’ve mentioned above. Make no mistakes about it. Too many endorsed candidates are beholding to big donors, not our constituents. It’s time we wake up to this reality. Period. I will continue to ignore and discard all mailings with endorsements sent to my home particularly when it is meant to overwhelm, intimidate and discourage good candidates from competing for the congressional seat. Endorsements don’t imply anything unless it relates to attracting major legislation or bills acted upon in congress to enhance the economic development and quality of life in African American communities like mine. It’s no wonder so many people of color are looking at becoming independent voters or other options because they want to be free to do their own examination and research. Right on.
I especially want to encourage all candidate-newcomers who really desire the congressional seat or those fed up with the same old political games and those who possess great ideas and promise to keep doing what you are doing. If you happen to lose the race this time, keep coming back or go after another seat. Do your homework, stay relevant, stay involved in the community, and keep up with current events and news. I think it’s really worth it to bring your bright minds to the table. Remember Toni Preckwinkle was a history teacher and she ran at least 3 times before she finally won her seat as Alderman and soon became a fresh new start. Keep pounding the pavement. Keep giving it to these forever politicians including those who are endorsed by the political machine. Informed voters like me are always seeking new leaders and rightly so. We want people who want the job and want new ways to think differently. We welcome you not your name and not your backers or unions. We need you.
The good news is there are some really solid contenders in the race for Congress on the ballot. I am particularly enthusiastic about the talented group of business-minded professionals. Savvy business leaders such as Jonathan Jackson, Jonathan Swain, and Steve DeJoie all of whom are high drivers with creative energy and a community portfolio of accomplishments worth noting. Qualifications for Congressman must possess extraordinary people skills and the ability to work with a wide range of cultures in the community, throughout the state, in congress, and around the country including the intellectual capacity to assertively affect legislation and negotiate progress. These professionals qualify quite nicely. Also, Senator Jacqueline Collins is fairly new, untainted, and was an Emmy-nominated journalist during her previous career in media. She has an accomplished business experience in life prior to politics. In my opinion, she would be the only political exception to be considered as a seat holder. Senator Collins knows exactly what the job of a Congressman entails. I am not endorsing anyone here! I am merely saying there are clearly other candidates worthy of being considered which is a very good thing for the congressional race next week. Each new candidate deserves to be explored so they may compete fairly and objectively against machine politicians in Chicago. In my experience, business and entrepreneurial-minded professionals tend to be fluent in working through complex information over a short period of time. They are enablers to manage large groups and offer solutions and they quickly become astute at achieving measurable results which is why I tend to gravitate to their talents. But again, I recommend voting for fresh minds.
I guess I am a child of the 60s or old school so I must speak my truth on principle as I’ve espoused. I have been involved in my community wherever I have lived and that won’t change. I have not rested on doing anything and have invested heavily in getting involved financially and as a volunteer. I have a voice and am not afraid to be free to say what needs to be said. We the citizens of the 1st District of Illinois need to change the paradigm by voting for anti-machine politics, anti-privilege, and anti-protocol. Vote now to take over the narrative and not let big-spending cloud your objective analysis. Vote for someone even if you think they may not win and even if only because you like them and what they stand for on principle or their record of accomplishments. Or maybe you want to vote for them because you want to encourage them to stay with it and you want them to have a voice. Whatever you do- just vote. I encourage everyone to do their own homework when voting for the 1st district congressional seat in Illinois, indeed I will do mine. Happy voting!
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