I remember the pimps and players on the West Side such as Bishop Don Juan and others hanging outside with their tailed feather suits and styling hats strolling along Madison near Cicero. They were trying to convince the community “it’s better to give than to receive.”

Now, yesterday’s players have been replaced. The new pimps are now in political offices instead of on the streets looking for some more businesses for the community. They have traded in their feathered and loud-colored suits for business suits. The old-time political players have dominated the West Side Community for years, pimpin’ the people out of their money, land, and the list goes on and on. You wonder why these so called smooth-talkin’ players/politicians get elected every election year. Well, all players say, “It’s the name of the game,” right? “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

A couple of weeks ago, the city council unanimously approved a deal to turn over the Brach’s Candy site to a manufacturing developer instead building a school at the site. If that’s not big time pimpin’, I don’t know what is. The proposal passed the city council without one no vote. Proposed manufacturing “jobs” were touted in order to pimp the community, but no specifics about how many Austin residents the deal would employ were stated. I can answer that question: The distribution center will only create about 75 new jobs, and ML Realty has no contractual obligation to provide these jobs to Austin residents.

Pimpin’ is so easy in Austin. Just ask Rep. Lashawn Ford who had an idea for a high school at Brach’s and gathered up support from the community, then later turned his back to the idea. When Ald. Ed Smith decided to play Batman and allowed parts of Brach’s site to be blown to smithereens for the Dark Knight film, no one asked where the money from the movie was going.

How many production assistants did the movie company hire from the Austin community during the days they were filming? While people from the community stood around, Rep. Ford was right there, telling the media he wants a high school at the Brach site. Ford fooled the community and is a flip-flopper when it comes down to getting his feet wet. Rep. Ford, please be the man you say you are, and stand up for the issues you promised to deliver.

West Side politicians have a history of pimpin’ us for crumbs while others get steaks and lobsters. Some of us have this “I gotta get mine, you gotta get yours” attitude. We are being selfish and don’t care how it affects others in our community, just to get a buck. Right? Is it worth selling out an entire community for a few pennies?

We are not united, my brothas and sisthas, so stand with me and everything will be fine. The problem is Austin is scared of the reality and truth. If not, we would not have aldermen Ed Smith and “Ike” Carothers. What pimps-flipping things around to blame the community. The lackluster leadership in Austin is like a growing cancer, spreading throughout the body. Again, this is not about you. It’s about the community.

The fight for a high school is not over by a long shot.