Monday, April 1, 2019

Who Will Be The Next Mayor?

Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle face each other in an April 2, runoff election for mayor of Chicago, Illinois. They were the top two vote-getters among 14 candidates in the general election on Feb. 26. On September 4, 2018, incumbent Rahm Emanuel, first elected in 2011, announced he would not run for a third term as mayor of the nation's third-largest city. The 2019 race is Chicago's fourth open mayoral race in 100 years.
Both Lightfoot and Preckwinkle describe themselves as the progressive in the race and have called each other's progressive credentials into question-based on their political and professional histories. Lightfoot presents herself as the reform candidate in the race who is independent of corrupt machine-style politics. She notes her background as a senior equity partner for Mayer Brown and her past roles in city government, saying she has requisite experience managing teams and budgets.
Lightfoot has referred to Preckwinkle as a party boss due to her roles as Cook County Democratic Party chair and former party committeewoman. Preckwinkle highlights her experience as an alderman and Cook County Board of Commissioners president, saying she has the experience to run the city and a progressive record. She contrasts her experience in elected office with Lightfoot's previous appointments to positions by mayors, saying the latter connects Lightfoot to the political elite. Preckwinkle has also described Lightfoot as a wealthy corporate lawyer.
A number of issues are shaping the mayoral race, including the city's pension system shortfalls, crime rates, policies around K-12 school performance and under-enrollment, economic and racial divisions, policing, affordable housing, and government ethics. This page will follow key issues that emerge in the race and how Lightfoot and Preckwinkle approach them as the race develops.
The real issue being debated in Chicago leading up the historic election is who will provide a master plan for the rebirth of black communities on the south and west sides? For so long, and under Rahm's leadership, he has diluted the black vote by pairing with a few black leaders who helped him basically ignored the black community and their need for revitalization.
There are other serious matters that will require the attention of either Lightfoot or Preckwinkle, once the votes are counted on April 2 and winning has been chosen; like funding education, and of course, the pension crisis, expanding and the salvaging of the city's mass transit, which has badly eroded over the years.
But not many can discount how important the growth of mainly black and brown communities are to the future of what has been touted as a "World Class City" by the Emanuel administration. Chicago is a wonderful and vibrant city but for a select a group of implants who seemingly have taken over mostly the downtown areas, west and near south loop portions of the "Windy City" as their own personal play pin.
And when the new mayor of Chicago takes her oath of office, she will have to also build relationships with many incumbents but also a crop of new city council members who are looking to make it a strong city council and a weak mayor, a title that didn't stick with Rahm. He dominated the city council and got most if not all or what he wanted during his tenure.
Come tomorrow late evening, the world will be tuned in to see who'll not only be the next mayor of Chicago but which person will become the first black woman to command the fifth floor in City Hall. Who do you think it will be?

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Enough is Really Enough

Correspondent: C. Dwayne West

Illinoisans have finally secured a balanced budget from the governor and the state legislators, but the long-awaited so-called accomplishment has destroyed families, much-needed community social programs and created such a maligned division between two groups (Dem & Rep) that are supposed to think people first, their own egos, last.
But unfortunately, both of the state's political parties acted in a very immature and unreasonable manner. They seem to have had very little concern for the voters of the state of Illinois, and the condition that millions would find themselves in, negatively, as long as they restricted each other from being labeled the winner in restoring the state's budget. It was horrible and they should be ashamed.
I've been fortunate enough to partner with AARP to present some much-needed dialog about the state's fiasco and how families, individuals, and organizations have been affected as well as the ones who've survived the state's budget shortcomings. And on Tuesday, October 2, AARP Illinois and community leaders will engage in a Town Hall Forum to share stories on how the fiscal crisis has impacted communities.
The Forum is from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at Gallery Guichard, 436 E. 47th Street (Chicago). FREE event and DINNER will be served. All must register at https://aarp.cvent.com/BronzevilleForum. The prestigious panel will include FM Supreme, a global youth activist who has either organized or participated in dozens of protests and/or marches, who's currently working on her Ph.D. Award-winning journalist, Mary Mitchell, with over four decades in the media industry, and Jim Allen from the Chicago Board of Election, will also participate.
Today, millions have been devastated by the delay of a balanced budget. For too long Illinois suffered through a prolonged state budget crisis that impacted residents of all ages. Everybody suffered from the lack of programs and services – from college students to working families and their children, and from older residents to social service providers. Illinoisans of all backgrounds in every corner of this state mobilized to put pressure on their elected officials to work towards a balanced state budget.
We now have a state budget – but that does not mean we are out of the woods. Illinoisans still face daily challenges: residents are paying the highest property taxes in the nation, paying increasing local and state fees, higher rates for utilities and struggling with an increasing cost of living. Additionally, many lost their jobs as businesses and social service providers closed their doors or reduced their hours and become unable to further extend the credit used to cover the state’s unpaid bills.
The impact to Illinois has been enormous. We need to keep urging the Illinois General Assembly and the governor to put politics aside and continue to work to restore Illinois’ fiscal health. The Forum will be streamed and broadcast live by NPR Illinois.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Black Excellence

To achieve Black Excellence is not an easy task. But to fight for Black Excellence is imperative for anyone who hungers for progress and fulfillment.
Black Excellence can be obtained in multiple ways. Black Excellence is something that's first conceived, developed and executed by those who desire excellence. You cannot buy Black Excellence! You cannot be rewarded Black Excellence! No one can bestow Black Excellence upon you! You must fight and scrap for excellence with your own sweat equity.
To achieve excellence requires extreme hard work. Excellence is accomplished when people believe in their abilities. You must have complete confidence in your skill set. If someone placed you on an island, you'll figure out how to not just survive, but advance the island into a much sought after resort.
Black Excellence requires one to be innovative enough to get the job as well as to rise up the corporate ladder to maybe even becoming the CEO. I've seen Black Excellence deterred, though. I know amazingly bright people who have some minor deficiencies in terms of believing in themselves. This has caused them to be robbed of achieving Black Excellence. You cannot have low self-esteem and achieve excellence. You cannot be weak and expect excellence. It doesn't mean you have to be a superman or superwoman, but you must be in control of your life. You cannot short-change your abilities to gain Black Excellence.
I also know people who (sellout) their abilities. They take what they can get, when they can get it, from whomever, because they don't believe in their own abilities to get it. These can be educated and credentialed individuals who lack character and or guts. See, it's not about the plaques on the wall, it's about the strength that's deep in your soul which allows you to even pursue Black Excellence.
I can't remember doing any thing for money, only. I've been presented with several opportunities to gain resources. But I didn't think it met my standards for Black Excellence. See, I have complete confidence in my abilities. I don't feel the need to be bought or sold. That's not achieving Black Excellence!
Let me give an example of Black Excellence being robbed. Newly retired Charles Thomas, who spent over 30 years in mainstream media and over 20 years at local ABC 7; was unquestionably a professional, political journalist. He followed his job duties and did everything his corporation asked him to do. But rarely did the corporation do what he asked them to do. There were many occasions when Thomas wanted to promote Black Excellence within (his) community, in a different light from what ABC 7 thought was excellence.
Charles was par-excellent in his profession but subpar as a black man and leader for his own community. That he admits! Today, Charles will scream at every opportunity that he's FREE! And those screams can be heard each morning on WVON. Thomas is now FREE to present Black Excellence.
How many black executives live Charles' experience? They give their intellectual capital to an organization or company that will not allow them to support Black Excellence. Black executive are most times robbed of their abilities to truly grow as a person or professional. They're afforded the luxury as an employee to build their employer's Fortune 1000 brand, but are not allotted the freedom to fight on behave of Black Excellence. I see and hear it everyday as I engage with executives who are not FREE to even pursue their own Black Excellence.
Charles' new experience is what Black Excellence is about. Not only being the best in your career, or exploding up the corporate ladder, but being able to scream that you're FREE to support Black Excellence, openly. Unfortunately the world we live in doesn't allow Black Excellence to rise. (See Colin Kaepernick).
When you finally promote or achieve Black Excellence, you must acknowledge what Mr. Thomas now know---that Black Excellence and freedom comes with a price! Until the next edition........ Peace and One Love.
I Write to Differ