As I sit writing this column on Sunday, Nov. 2, just before mid-term election day, I am so grateful that it will soon be over. For although I am not a huge watcher of television, even I tired of the commercials aired for both Gov. Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner.
It is said that between the two of them, they’ve spent close to $100 million on the campaign. Yet with so much money flowing, how much did any of those minimum-wage employees, whom both have lobbied, make off of either campaign or any other of the average voters? I would not be surprised if the amount didn’t equal a single dollar.
The mid-term election is also the kickoff every four years for the upcoming mayoral campaign. Every day the field gets more crowded as candidates enter the race. I was excited about the race when I though CTU President Karen Lewis was going to run. I already had my popcorn lined up as I salivated over the idea of a debate. With Karen Lewis out of the picture, the remaining candidates are barely able to elicit more than a yawn out of me.
I can already admit that I am going to have issues with the announced candidates. The current mayor is so unpopular that I must ask: Where are all the candidates from years past who tried and failed to become mayor? Where is Carol Mosley Braun? Where is Patricia Van Pelt Watkins? Where is Dorothy Brown?
All three in the past professed a great desire to be mayor, and yet with the current one’s ratings down in the toilet, where are they now? It makes me wonder just how serious they were four years ago.
Folks like me with long memories don’t so easily forget. And as the debating season for the job of mayor gets going, I hope people listen and think. Black voters are only important at election time.
But if we don’t demand to hear a politician’s concrete plans, then in the end, who is the fool? The current mayor based his entire political campaign on a pseudo-endorsement from Obama. What we got was loads of red “X” marks on buildings and red-light cameras, where the timing mechanism was set so yellow lights are too short.
Our struggling black neighborhoods are being cleared so that land and money is made available to develop the exact same piece of property that, when it was in foreclosure, we were told there isn’t any money to save it.
What is happening is being done not in the dark but right in front of our faces. Brand new charter schools are being built by UNO using black folks’ money while trying to assure that no black children get to attend those schools.
As the aldermanic elections gear up, ask them what have they done for you lately? And any project over a year old is nice, but what is upcoming and for whom?
Every time any property is taken off the tax rolls, the rest of us must make up the missing money.
And contrary to some folks’ beliefs, local government cannot just make up its own money.
My “pay attention” mantra continues as the quality of all our lives hangs in the balance of who will be our mayor and alderman for the next four years.