The author of this West Side Blues blog urges everyone in Chicago to vote for Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who is challenging Rahm Emmanuel in a runoff election for mayor.  A longtime community leader and Cook County commissioner, Chuy has promised to pay more attention to Chicago’s neighborhoods. Chuy led a push for opening (not closing!) a high school in his Little Village neighborhood.  His first mentor was the master of neighborhood-oriented politics, the late mayor Harold Washington, who often promoted local ethnic arts and culture.

 At a fundraiser on the West Side last Thursday where he and his wife Evelyn boogied to music by the blues and soul band of West Side Blues ambassador Larry Taylor , Garcia singled out the West Side as being an area long neglected by the city administration.  At a West Side NAACP forum Sunday for both mayor candidates, Rahm Emmanuel failed to mention the West Side at all until a citizen questioned him.

 Media investigations have pointed out that the city for years has directed property tax money to gentrified neighborhoods through TIF districts:   This results in schools, streets and parks in poor areas becoming even less funded. 

 Also, the huge waiting list for CHA low income (“section 8”) housing has grown longer for years while Rahm has sat on money allocated for housing. Both renters and landlords like Section 8 because it guarantees landlords money to provide safe low income apartments:  The effect has been to drive poor people, especially people of color, out of the city instead giving them a chance to better themselves.  

 Early voting is open now for one location in every ward, and continues through next Saturday, April 4. You can register at the same time you early-vote by bringing a state ID and a utility bill with your address on it.  Check the Chicago Board of Elections website to see where you can vote early or on Election Day April 7.

 Chuy’s campaign has a regional office on the West Side, 5215 W. Chicago Av., phone: 872-256-5112 ,where people can volunteer to make phone calls and knock on neighbors’ doors to urge everyone to vote.  More info about volunteering, Chuy’s bio and his platform at the Garcia campaign website:

 Note: This piece does not constitute an endorsement by Austin Weekly News or its related media; only by the author.

Bonni McKeown

"Barrelhouse Bonni" McKeown, the author of "West Side Blues Blog," has played piano and written about blues music for over 15 years.  She has led classes for young and old on...

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