I’m writing this column early in the morning on Tuesday, Feb. 2. The polls have just opened, and I hope many will get there and vote. It is also a day when there is no joy in liking, following or even wanting to be involved in politics. Why? Because this election has proven how low individuals will go to sling mud in order to get voters to vote for them.
Last week I took a stance and declared that I wouldn’t vote for any politician who has used the Burr Oak tragedy in their political campaign. I also reiterated my feelings on the radio show that I do with Garfield Majors (Sundays, 10-midnight, 1450AM) which caused one of the candidates for judge to stop her proud announcement that she was one of the lead attorneys in a Burr Oak lawsuit.
One of the sickest comments regarding Burr Oak came out of the mouth of Congressman Danny Davis when he stated in a robocall left on my answering machine: “Hynes hopes you’ll forget the African-American bodies left to rot in unmarked graves under his watch at Burr Oak Cemetery.” Obviously, the pain and guilt many of us share about the Burr Oak situation wasn’t a top priority on his list when he recorded that call for Pat Quinn.
There was a bright side to the Burr Oak debacle though. Sherriff Tom Dart was so self-assured that his role in bringing the tragedy to the forefront was such a “guaranteed” vote-getter in the African-American community, he didn’t feel the need to even campaign there for his job. The only name you saw all over the county was Sylvester Baker. I appreciated Sheriff Dart not grandstanding on the problem, but I still want a candidate to solicit my vote and not just assume he is going to get it.
I felt like I was being patronized whenever I heard from Gov. Pat Quinn. His robocall to my house yesterday was filled with the list of people who had placed calls on his behalf, including Rev. Jackson, congressmen Rush, Davis, Gutierrez and Jackson, Jr. and a former employee of Mayor Harold Washington, Jacky Grimshaw. He named-dropped so much during his interview on WVON-1690AM that the issues he was addressing got lost in the limelight of all the names he kept bringing up. As far as I was concerned, it was one step above that old line, “One of my best friends is black.” It was a turn-off and amounted to pandering to the black community for votes without offering substance.
I am going to have to investigate why there was so much interest from so many people to run for commissioner of the Water Reclamation Department. The job pays around $70,000 a year, yet one person was spending millions to get the job. There were giant ads and billboards all over the place. One has to wonder about what contracts are being given out and to whom for so many to be pursuing that position.
I have a feeling many of the incumbents will either lose their jobs or win by a narrow margin. If some of the Democratic incumbents win, then we need to hold their feet to the fire before the general election come November. No longer should a primary win be a shoo-in when the economy in the black community is on the verge of bankruptcy as we suffer unemployment figures as high as 50 percent among our teens and young men.
Lastly, there is no joy in acknowledging that Ald. Ike Carothers has resigned and pleaded guilty to bribery. His downfall and the possible indictment of several other aldermen still loom in the future. Developer Calvin Boender’s reach into the black West Side wards may take down several more aldermen. Let’s see what ex-Ald. Carothers has to say months from now when he does testify.