In Chicago mayoral election, other issues are important, too
With all the usual issues being skirted and glossed over in the Chicago Mayoral election, voters should take notice of the undercurrent of issues on the sidelines that have as much impact on their lives as the rest. Conspiracies are a part of Chicago politics, so don’t rule them out. And “dibs” are as important as everything else
By Ray Hanania
As a suburbanite, I don’t have to justify my interest and concerns over the Chicago mayoral election. And I have many. But I also see some bright lights rising above the misleading political arrogance.
There seems to be this assumption that Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, whose record of breaking promises and raising taxes across the board, is leading the pack of about 14 candidates in the Feb. 26, 2019 Consolidated Mayoral Election.
Yet, for some reason, I think voters are much smarter than the news media.
It’s clear that Preckwinkle is playing the political angles by the Machine game book. She has locked in the unions. She is using where position as Chair of the Cook County Democratic Organization to reinforce her alliances. And, she has a slick commercial that has a specific message to one of Chicago’s most influential voting blocks, African Americans.
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African American herself, Preckwinkle has been talking credit for somehow singlehandedly exposing the shooting of Laquan Mcdonald. Personally, anyone who can take a tragedy like the McDonald shooting and exploit it for political voter “cred” is disturbing. Maybe the adjective is “concerning,” because Preckwinkle seems to display a lack of moral boundaries in her quest for power.
She’s already the president of the Cook County Board where she has reeked havoc on the suburbs to cater to her Chicago South Side voting base.
Being the “conspiratorialist,” I don’t take the official explanation on its face as truth. I’m convinced Lee Harvey Oswald wasn’t the only person involved int he assassination of President John F. Kennedy — Oswald had to have had help from a wide range of anti-JFK haters like the FBI, the mob and the Cubans. What that means is that Preckwinkle has to be getting some help from some of the other mayoral candidate’s.
The one who stands out is one I liked, Bill Daley.
As I watch Daley’s commercials, he has a strong appeal to another base, mainstream White voters who didn’t want to see his brother, Richard M. Daley, who I backed for many years until I was stabbed in the political back, leave office.
The question is, do Chicago voters really want another Daley running the city? How does Bill Daley be any different than Rich Daley? The Daley’s are always nice when they are out of power. But when they are in power, they are ruthless, selfish and they use Machine tactics that they have adapted to a modern-era for their agenda.
Which means, is Bill Daley working with Preckwinkle?
Despite his intelligence, and a great campaign slogan “No More Excuses,” does he really believe Chicago voters who lived under his brother will return the Daley dynasty to power in Chicago? Especially in light of the terrible stories of how the Daley’s gamed the pension system to benefit themselves, their union pals and their closest political allies. All of Illinois is paying for all that, and our taxes in Illinois are among the worst.
So I figure, he’s just being a loyal family member. If Preckwinkle becomes Chicago’s mayor — truly a nightmare for anyone who works hard and pays taxes (not everyone in Chicago does) — then Bill Daley’s brother, John Daley, who is the Chairman of the Cook County Board Finance Committee, would become County board president.
Under any other circumstance, I would love to see John Daley takeover the Cook County Board. But not at the price of Preckwinkle taking over Chicago and turning up the volume on using suburban and Illinois funds to cover for many of Chicago’s financial problems. Chicago has been doing that for years.
I remember in the 1980s when Chicago wanted the suburbs to pay for the expansion of the CTA — the “Chicago” Transit Authority. As I wrote columns opposing that money grab, Mike Royko and his pals were slamming me, including a series of vicious columns attacking me by name penned by editors of suburban newspapers that aspired to Royko’s grace. Royko had a duel personality of brilliant writing talent and abrasive mean outbursts, as described in former Chicago Tribune editor F. Richard Ciccone’s book, “Royko: A Life in Print,” which I am re-reading.
The battle was tough. I was writing a column for the Daily Southtown, and under siege from Chicago Mayor Jane M. Byrne who perceived me as a “Daley minion,” but I just can’t shut my mouth when I see injustice, especially from politicians and about taxation.
If Royko were still around, he’d be writing columns about the Preckwinkle-Daley conspiracy, too.
Still, there are so many choices for Chicago voters, and suburbanites who can help with money and moral support.
One of the bright choices in the race is Gery Chico. He’s run before, but for some reason, this time the stars seemed aligned. Taxation is a big burden underplayed by the media. While Preckwinkle has made herself the Tax Hike Queen, and Daley is touted a tax on suburbanites who work in Chicago, Chico is criticizing the tax-hikers and promising to “give working families a break.”
(If Bill Daley’s commuter tax becomes a reality, then the suburbs should impose taxes on Chicagoans who enter the suburbs including Chicago consumers who drive 0out to suburban shopping malls. If you are from Chicago, there should be a spending tax of 10 percent on dollars spent in suburban malls and stores on Chicago consumers to off-set the decades of Chicago preying upon suburban taxpayers.
But the issues are not just taxes, crime, education, and the economy in the election. All of the candidates are going to speak to those issues. But the candidates who speak to the broader issues over the expected topics should get some more attention.
Chicago needs someone with commonsense, a sense of humor, who is a little less uptight, and most importantly, not “into him or herself” the way some candidates are. (That “political entitlement attitude” that we saw in Hillary Clinton probably more than anything undermined her campaign, not to mention how she and her cronies compromised the Democratic Party to torpedo Bernie Sanders.)
Chico tweeted this week one of the issues that at this moment most concerns Chicagoans (and many suburbanites who live in communities that reflect Chicago’s gangway, bungalow belt neighborhood styles):
“Did you shovel out your car this morning and call dibs? Well leave that lawn chair, 2-by-4, or kitchen table out there! I used to, and if you’re going to spend an hour shoveling out your space, you ought to be able to use it. That won’t change when I’m mayor.”
A regular guy who cares about the big issues, and the little issues that hit close to home. And most importantly, won’t turn to taxation or dip his mitts into suburban pocketbooks to cover Chicago’s financial problems.
I’ve got “dibs” on Chico!
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Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
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His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.
Email Ray Hanania at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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