I received a phone call a few weeks ago. “Arlene, I want you to come to a meeting,” the caller said. I questioned the caller and was given just basic information. In fact, to be truthful, I didn’t even recognize the caller’s name. But since he had my home number, I was willing to listen. Then he said the best part of all. The meeting was working to put forth a candidate to run for mayor of Chicago in 2007. Now that’s something I like!

I have never subscribed to the notion that the current mayor is unbeatable. In the 2003 election, I am always reminding people that only 34 percent of the registered voters came out to vote. And out of that number, the current mayor got 87 percent of the votes that were cast.

So using my Chicago Public School math, if Chicago only had 100 voters, 34 of them came out to vote. Of that 34, about 30 voted for the mayor. The other four voted for somebody else. But what about the other 66 voters? Well they stayed home and didn’t vote. I don’t know the reasons, but more stayed home than came out. So there is a group of voters who, if we can tap their interest, will come out in true record numbers and put their candidate in office.

I went to the meeting. I was curious and skeptical. As I sat and listened, I found myself nodding in agreement more than disagreement. But even more important, I found myself looking into the face of a young man. I was looking at a well-educated, intelligent black man who could take over the leadership of this city and do it for 20-plus years. I saw in Bill Dock Wall all the political hopes and aspirations I saw when I joined the Obama campaign. Potential-Potential-Potential!

Who is Bill Dock Wall? Well I met Dock Wall in 2003 when he, like myself, was at the Board of Election fending off challenges to the signatures on our petitions. When an elected official has the signatures of those who “run” against them challenged, that is the first sign of a weak politician. What good is a race if there is no one to run against? And if you are the Florence Griffith Joyner of politicians, you want all challengers to come forward so you can leave them in the dust.

In 2003, Dock Wall was running for city clerk. To keep him off the ballot, our current city clerk challenged his signatures. And guess who a lot of the ones that signed Dock’s petitions were? Why none other than those in the 66 percent category I mentioned previously. Bill Dock Wall had enthused those kinds of voters to sign his petitions. But the Board of Elections had a trick up its sleeve. They had an illegal rule that said if you don’t vote, they can make you an “inactive” voter. “Inactive” doesn’t mean you can’t vote when you show up at the polls. It means you might be asked for an ID. But this being Chicago, our politicians do all they can to keep you from voting unless it’s for them.

Bill Dock Wall got knocked off the ballot. And those in the 66 percent category again stayed home. Bill Dock Wall didn’t sit down and accept what happened. He sued the Board of Elections, won his suit and there is now the ‘Wall Rule’ which states that being an inactive voter is not a reason to reject a signature on a petition.

Bill Dock Wall is running for mayor. The next West Side meeting is Saturday July 30, 2005 at Wallace’s Catfish Corner, 2800 W. Madison from 3 to 5 p.m. Whether you are one of the 66 percent who stayed home or the 34 percent who came out, we can together be the 100 percent that replaces the leadership on the fifth floor at City Hall.


CONTACT: westside2day@yahoo.com