Who the hell does Governor Pritzker think he is? Ward Boss?
COAL encourages its membership, partners and greater community-of-interest, to attend candidate forums, read independent analysis, assess the performance of incumbents, analyze the platforms of those aspiring to hold office, talk with friends and engage in meaningful discussion – all towards casting informed votes for Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer, Alderperson, and Police District Council Member.
If an officeholder is running unopposed, we must still make demands of them for the next term, soliciting commitments that can be used to assess their performance throughout the term.
Let us use this election, the February 28th Municipal Election, to begin to transform the City Council, to transform City Hall; to make City government more responsive to the needs of all communities. The choice for Mayor and the choice for Alderpersons can be transformative, can move us beyond ‘business as usual’. We have the leverage, should we choose to use it.
This is not a game; Voting is our Voice.
Let us stop for a moment, and take as an example, the 6th Ward, a majority Black ward on the southside of Chicago. Does Pritzker think that he knows the issues important to the residents of the 6th ward, better than the residents of the 6th? Does he know what services the residents require, the state of the schools, the concerns of its elderly, the type of local leader they want, better than its residents, such that he can determine the best candidate to address those concerns and improve the lives of the residents of the 6th Ward?
And then let’s take, for example, the 10th Ward, a majority Hispanic ward on the southside of Chicago for which he did not make an endorsement. Should we infer that he then is not aware of the issues of import to the residents of the 10th? Does he have less concern? Or is it that he has no one to ‘push’ in that race? Or what? It is anyone’s guess.
Well, COAL proffers that his endorsements were not born of a concern for the residents of either the 6th or the 10th, the Black or Hispanic or other residents of those two wards. ‘Cause if he really cared about those residents, he would do what a Governor can to improve their lives. He would, as a specific example, complete the Southland Airport, an investment in a true economic generator that would spur economic revitalization, business opportunities and good paying jobs from the south suburbs of Cook up through Chicago southside wards such as the 6th and the 10th. (Over the years, many have documented FAA support, the regional need, and significant economic benefits to be realized by making this investment and completing the airport – see COAL Committee Report, COAL Commentary, PublicityWorks Press Release, CMAP-Community/Mobility Benefits.)
Billionaire Governor Pritzker, talk is cheap, those endorsements are for whatever political gains you’ve determined you can accrue from them, but they were not made out of concern for the residents of the 6th or 10th wards. By the way, did you even bother to ask the residents of the 6th and 10th what are the issues of major concern specific to their neighborhoods, prior to making or not making an endorsement? Did you solicit input from state representatives or senators elected to represent Chicago wards? Did you task your Lieutenant Governor or Deputy Governors with querying Chicago residents?
Governor Pritzker, put your actions where a Governor can and should, and demonstrate a real interest in the futures of these residents, an interest beyond mere politics, by investing in a real and substantive economic generator for the 6th and 10th wards, the completion of the Southland Airport.
Use your influence to make measurable progress in diversity and inclusion across all areas under your responsibility, equity and parity of opportunity for all communities, across all parts of the State. These would also benefit the 6th and 10th wards.
Focus on completing the Airport, and on actions you can take toward creating a State with equal opportunity for all, and leave the election of local representation, to the residents of each ward in Chicago, minus your thumb on the scale.
Governor, what say you?