Monday, October 15, 2018

Moving up politically? Or not enough Latinos to run for political office?

It seems the people who were trying to get Jesus Garcia to give up the seat in Congress he’s likely to win a few weeks from now to run for mayor have a new focal point for their ethnically-oriented political efforts.

Should Mendoza be eager to return to City Hall in '19?
They’re now trying to get Susana Mendoza, the Illinois comptroller who’s trying to win re-election to a full term of her own come Nov. 6, to seek the mayor’s post come the municipal elections to be held Feb. 26.

IT LITERALLY IS the same Latino activists who were trying to persuade Garcia to move up(?) to Chicago mayor who are now behind the effort to get Mendoza – who once used to be Chicago city clerk before becoming the woman in charge of Illinois state finances – to want to give up all this Springfield nonsense and return to City Hall.

Which I know some people regard as the focal point for all politics that matters!

Or could just be the point that some people with lesser ambitions think is the place where government has an impact on the daily lives of people. Either that, or they think the idea of having to live in Springfield (state constitutional officers such as comptroller are required to maintain a mailing address in the state’s capital city) is so dreadful.

Anyway, we literally now have people out in the streets of Chicago circulating the nominating petitions gathering signatures of support so that Mendoza could run for mayor in next year’s election cycle – should she decide to do so.

GARCIA: Headed for D.C. -- NOT City Hall
FOR THE RECORD, Mendoza has been consistent in saying she’s focusing her attention on winning election to the post she has held for the past couple of years. The one she won originally in a special election against Leslie Munger – the Republican woman whom Bruce Rauner appointed to the state post when the elected official, Judy Baar Topinka, died just after being elected in 2016.

There are those Republican-type who feel the comptroller’s post was “stolen” from them, and they’d love to be able to claim that Mendoza is more interested in running for another government office, rather than focus on the post she now has.

Which is why Mendoza won’t say publicly she’s interested in running for mayor – she’d be giving her GOP opponent, Darlene Senger, a campaign issue.

SENGER: Can she stand in Mendoza's way?
Although there’s a part of me that really would want to see Mendoza finish out this four-year term for the office she’s now seeking.

YES, I HAVE an interest in Latino political empowerment. I’d enjoy seeing more Latino persons running for government office, and winning. Having the Chicago mayoral seat on a list of positions held by Latinos would be significant.

Particularly since it would offend the sensibilities of those kinds of people inclined to want to take Donald Trump seriously every time the president uses his Twitter account to engage in another one of his nit-wit rants.

But it almost seems like we’re inclined to keep re-using the same couple of names over and over again to have Latino officials run for political posts. When the goal for people interested in Latino political empowerment ought to be to have MORE Latinos in government offices.

It shouldn’t be about getting a couple of people already elected into as high-ranking of posts as possible! That seems rather limiting, and would play into the hands nativists who are determined to think Latinos “don’t belong.”

YES, I’D RATHER see Jesus Garcia, a Mexican-born naturalized U.S, citizen work the Halls of Capitol Hill and have an influence on our federal government.

While Mendoza, a Chicago-born and suburban Bolingbrook-raised daughter of Mexican immigrants, perhaps could someday be Illinois’ first female governor (she’s only 46), and perhaps be the one who frustrates the Republican desires to have an Illinois predominated by the 96 counties that, at best, comprise one-third of the state’s population.

Activists ought to try to grow the ranks of Latino government officials – or else they could wind up with a Chicago run by Latinos that has its every desire overruled by hostile federal and state political interests.
Besides, Mendoza has youth in her favor and could still get that future run for mayor – where (based on the video from her latest campaign ad) she could be the mayor who can handle a “real” football better than anybody playing professionally for the Chicago Fire.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Federal bureaucracy, red tape – is that the key to thwarting sanctuary cities?

It has long been the conservative ideologue manner for dealing with abortion – a medical procedure they’re determined to view as criminal, but which sensible people do not.
Just another step in Trump's efforts … 

They have their similar-minded elected officials push for policies and regulations that make a person’s ability to obtain the procedure so much of a burden that it effectively makes it impossible for many women to obtain – even if it remains in the law books.

IT SEEMS THAT the ideologues are taking a similar approach to immigration; specifically to the notion of Sanctuary Cities. As in the concept that federal immigration officials ought to do their own work in enforcing federal policies that are overly harsh, and shouldn’t be able to draft local law enforcement into doing their leg work.

It seems they’re once again trying to mess with the federal funds that many local police departments rely upon to fund their efforts. Almost as though they’re saying cities are free to declare themselves sanctuaries from the ideological nonsense that has taken over our federal immigration policies.

But those cities can count on being messed with in ways that it will make it difficult, if not impossible, to do the jobs that actually are within their listed responsibilities.

That certainly is happening in Chicago, where on Friday the city felt compelled to file a lawsuit yet again against the U.S. government for messing with the funds the Chicago Police Department expect to get. And that, in fact, every police department gets.

EXCEPT THAT IN this Age of Trump, officials want to withhold as their way of pressuring Chicago into accepting a more intolerant attitude toward “all those foreigners” whom they’re determined to believe are the root cause of all the problems our society faces.

Because once again, Chicago is being forced to fight for its share of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funds – a program that has become a significant part of the federal government’s efforts to help bolster local law enforcement.

Which is something that President Donald J. Trump always claims he’s interested in doing whenever he goes on yet another of his nonsensical rants about how messed up he thinks Chicago is.
… to bully Chicago and Rahm Emanuel into submission

But yet what does he actually do? Trump has talks with singer Kanye West about a whole lot of nonsensical babble, while messing with the funding that might help local police to do more in addressing crime.

THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE is pathetic in so many ways – largely because it occurred a year ago.

Chicago had to take legal action in order to get its share of grant monies, and a U.S. District judge wound up ruling in the city’s favor that federal demands requiring city and Cook County jail officials notify them of every inmate they were holding who had questionable immigration status were not sufficient cause for the feds to withhold some $2 million from the Chicago Police Department.

Yet it seems the Justice Department is once again refusing to cough up the cash, as city officials still have yet to receive the letter confirming that they’ll get the money this year.

As though officials in this Age of Trump have decided they don’t want to pay attention to any court order. They’re going to persist in pursuing their ideologically-motivated policies whose long-range intent are to make certain people feel so unwelcome in this country that they’ll want to leave.

ALMOST LIKE THAT “self-deporting” nonsense talk that came up during the presidential campaign of 2012. It’s as if this goes beyond anything that Trump says or thinks, and has become a part of the Republican platform for addressing the issue.
Ought to think before rants about bullying

Ignore those people who won’t do what they’re told, and maybe they’ll just give up.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes the courts to issue an order forcing the federal government to cough up Chicago’s share of the proceeds. It’s not like there’s anything new this year that didn’t apply last year.

As for whether the same nonsense will occur again next year, most likely it will. That may be the ultimate reason that strong turnout come Nov. 6 (and again in 2020) is so important – perhaps the so-called “silent majority” needs to be reminded their guy got 3 million fewer votes in 2016 – and that they’re really a loud-mouthed minority whose ideological bigotry doesn’t belong in the 21st Century.


Friday, October 12, 2018

Where does line lie determining when/if police officer justified in using force?

Paul Bauer was a police commander who literally walked into an incident that put him in the line of sight of a man fleeing the Thompson Center state government building, with that man then pulling out a pistol and shooting Bauer dead.
'Hero' cop Bauer versus … 

While Jason Van Dyke is the patrol officer now rotting away in a jail cell in Rock Island County, awaiting sentencing on the criminal charges that say he committed murder of a teenager whom he tried claiming posed a physical threat to his life.

VAN DYKE TRIED to make much of the fact that the teenager whom he shot to death had earlier in the evening been kicked out of area fast food restaurants for his erratic behavior, had slashed the tire of a police squad car and may or may not have been waving about that knife with its three-inch blade in a menacing manner.

He would have liked it if the jury that decided his fate would have sympathized with his thoughts that he could easily have wound up in a situation similar to Bauer – who earlier this year happened to be near the state government building when he heard a radio report of a suspect, then saw that very same individual run past him.

A brief foot-chase ensued, followed by a struggle, with the suspect then firing seven shots at Bauer.

Now I realize Van Dyke’s incident occurred nearly four years ago, whereas Bauer’s incident was back in February of this year. It’s not like Van Dyke would have had a memory of what happened to the police commander – which was still just over three years off in the future.

BUT IT HAS me wondering about the legal fine line that exists for when a police officer is permitted to use deadly force on the job – based on the logic that he’s protecting the public safety by doing so!

There are those who argue that had Van Dyke waited a little longer, a colleague with a taser gun could have arrived at the scene, used that weapon to stun the teenager in that incident, and he could have been subdued still alive.

For all we know, he’d have been someone celebrating his 21st birthday in prison, as a convict with a criminal record, instead of becoming a cause celebre who some will forevermore envision as an innocent-looking teenager in his bright-red graduate cap-and-gown.
… 'felon' Van Dyke -- how different are they?

Although I also suspect that many of the same people who have protested the teenager’s death would have protested just as loudly about what they’d want to view as merely another incident of police brutality.

JUST WHAT WAS the point that would need to have occurred before Van Dyke’s use of physical force would have been considered legal and justified.

Would the teenager have literally had to slash at the cop with his knife before a single shot could be justified from the Smith & Wesson 9 mm semi-automatic (the weapon that Van Dyke carried on the job)?

Would he have literally had to risk becoming the “hero cop” we now think of when Bauer’s name is mentioned? Would we have been willing to spare Van Dyke the public disgrace and humiliation he has endured if we literally had been able to hand his wife a medal for “giving his life” in the name of the people of Chicago?

Now I’m not trying to imply there was anything heroic about the way Van Dyke handled himself that night in 2014. If anything, his actions are more those of a man who gave in to his fear – with his over-reaction being something that he will now pay for with the next few years (if not several) spent in incarceration.

HE WAS TRYING to do a job, just as I’m sure Bauer all those months ago was trying to perform his own duties during his moment of truth that got his name etched in stone as a law enforcement tribute.

While Van Dyke awaits sentencing far from Cook County, out of the fear that inmates at our own county jail might have singled him out for abuse and brutality before he could ever have been sentenced to prison time for his crime. A fate that some may sickly believe is totally appropriate.

It’s a fine line that exists between use of force for protection and for abuse – one made all the more vague because the reality is we DO give law enforcement the authority to use force, and on occasion to kill.

Anybody who has a problem realizing that reality likely is just trying to support people who are just as much criminals as they proclaim Van Dyke to be.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

EXTRA: Emanuel not a lingering loser; he’ll remain a part of political scene

There are those people who are going to be determined to spin things in ways that say that Rahm Emanuel fled politics because he could see he was destined for a butt-whuppin’ – that he saw he’d wind up losing any bid for re-election.

EMANUEL: Will remain in spirit, no matter who wins
Yet anybody who looks at the situation objectively can see Emanuel had his backers, and may have won despite all the hostile rhetoric he’ll face in coming months from segments of Chicago society.

ALL ONE HAS to do is look at the finances that would have been available to him and to the people who were inclined to challenge him.

Rahm would have been capable of out-spending anybody who dared challenge him come the Feb. 26 elections (with a possible run-off April 2). Even now that he’s out of the race for mayor, he’s going to be spreading his influence around.

It’s likely that our city government will continue to have large segments of people who will owe their presence in politics to Rahm Emanuel, and who will be inclined to pursue the same kinds of ideals that Rahm would have pushed for if he were still mayor.

That’s a thought people ought to keep in mind if they’re the types of individuals who seriously want to believe they’ve dethroned the tyrant by getting Emanuel last month to announce he’s not seeking a third term in office at City Hall.

TAKE THE REPORT by the Chicago Tribune, which indicated the financial support Emanuel is giving to just over one-third of the City Council – members whom he believes were supportive of him on politically-sensitive issues.

The newspaper reported how 20 of the 50 aldermen were invited to a breakfast meeting at a restaurant within walking distance of City Hall. In addition to a morning meal where Rahm picked up the check, he also handed out checks to individual aldermen.

Roughly some $20,000 apiece, made out to their individual campaign funds, so as to help them financially with getting themselves re-elected.

As the Tribune pointed out, the money totaled some $500,000 – money that would have been part of his campaign fund IF he were still seeking re-election as mayor.

INSTEAD, HE’S ENSURING that the powers-that-be won’t be able to forget that Rahm Emanuel ever existed. Just because he won’t be working out of the suite of offices on the Fifth Floor of City Hall won’t mean people inclined to support him will be gone.

Now Emanuel is going about making statements about how the bulk of the money he had raised for a re-election bid will be returned to the entities that donated it to him.

But if he was able to cough up about a half-million dollars in checks for personal donations, it makes one wonder just how much he could have had to spend on himself.

As reported earlier this year, Emanuel had one day back in April where he received $1.7 million in contributions, and at that point in time had some $5.7 million available for use during the upcoming election cycle.

BY COMPARISON, THE mayoral hopeful with the most money now is William Daley – who this week received donations putting him just over the $1 million total. Just behind him is Garry McCarthy, the one-time Chicago Police superintendent, whom the Chicago Sun-Times reported has about $830,000 and will soon be over $1 million himself.

Financially, Emanuel could have buried either of them. When combined with the fact that there are going to be so many mayoral dreamers going about, it’s possible that Rahm could have taken advantage of that partisan split and prevailed politically.

So whomever does manage to prevail in becoming Chicago’s new mayor had best understand there are going to be elements of the ‘old way’ remaining at City Hall.

Anybody who thinks they’ve “overthrown” Rahm may well find themselves frustrated beyond belief in finding themselves incapable of getting anything done, what with all the people in place who owe their allegiance to Emanuel.


Avoiding talk of 'Quincy' while in Quincy key to analyzing gov. debate

Thursday is the last of the three official debates the candidates for Illinois governor will hold prior to Election Day, and there’s really one simple way of determining who comes out ahead.
We'll see a Quincy-centric world Thursday

Just how much does discussion focus on the Veterans’ Home in Quincy – the facility where several fatalities occurred from elderly residents who contracted the Legionnaires Disease.

BECAUSE YOU JUST know that Democratic nominee J.B. Pritzker is going to want to turn the entire session into a rant against how those men who served their country wound up dying while in the care of Gov. Bruce Rauner.

That’s actually a gross oversimplification of what really happened, but then again most of what gets said during a political campaign is oversimplification and distortion with only the slightest tidbit of truth to it.

So if we wind up being given the impression that Rauner is personally responsible for dead military veterans, it will mean that Pritzker will have “won” the debate – he will have been capable of having his version of “the truth” predominate.

Whereas if we wind up being given the impression that this election cycle is about a man who had the toilets ripped out of a mansion in order to get a significant property tax break (because it no longer qualified as an inhabitable home), then we can chalk up Thursday night to Team Rauner.

YOU MAY BE wondering “What’s your point?”
RAUNER: Caused negligence that killed vets?

It’s that these circumstances shouldn’t be surprising. Political debates have the great misfortune of being so filled with nonsense that it’s a wonder anything useful comes out of them. There actually are times I wonder why political candidates bother to participate in them.

Personally, what I always try to look for when watching such an event is just how quick on one’s feet one is. How they handle the back-and-forth of answering back.

And also watching for that moment (which can crop up at virtually any point in time, usually most unexpected) when a candidate goes off-script and says something from the heart. Telling us what he really thinks about an issue.
PRITZKER: A toilet-less tax cheat?

OF COURSE, THOSE moments can be dreaded by a candidate because “honesty” can often be ugly – showing us just how insipid a political aspirant truly is and all-the-more reason why we shouldn’t bother voting for that person.

For what it’s worth, Thursday’s debate between Rauner and Pritzker is meant to be the “downstate” debate. Unlike the two previous events sponsored by the Chicago Urban League and the League of Women Voters that were held in Chicago, this one is being held outside the Chicago area.

It will have a panel of broadcaster-types from Quincy, Peoria and Rockford, along with a reporter-type from the Herald-Whig newspaper of Quincy. Which means it may well have questions that focus on the rest of the state – the part of Illinois where Rauner dreams he’s the favorite and that will lead him to a victory over Pritzker.

Now I don’t doubt the downstate Illinois types will vote against Pritzker because he’s “too Chicago-ish” for them. Although how they manage to tolerate Rauner is a mystery. It must be a really tight clothespin tacked onto their nose while they cast their ballots.

EITHER WAY, I’M sure many think this election stinks.

It is a victory for Pritzker’s part that his political operatives were able to get a Quincy-based debate as one of the events, and pressure Rauner into having to accept it. I have no doubt that the governor would rather be anywhere else in Illinois than in Quincy Thursday night.
Will gov candidates muck up the shores of the Mississippi River?
And as for Pritzker, it’s probably a matter of following the old political adage – “Avoid saying anything stupid!”

Because amidst all the cheap shots and distortions that both candidates will make about each other, we need to realize we’re getting our last glance at the two multi-millionaires who want to think that their personal wealth is significant enough to buy the political post of Illinois governor.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Could Kanye West be the clue to resolving Chicago violence? Or is it merely evidence of Trump’s inanity!

Anybody who has read me for any length of time likely realizes I don’t think much of the overall skills level of President Donald J. Trump.
WEST: An Oval Office session?

But learning of the fact that Trump intends to have a meeting Thursday with a Chicagoan of some popular renown to gain his input into urban violence, prison reform and street gang violence is nothing more than laughable.

FOR THAT MEETING will be with the entertainer Kanye West. Who is a Chicago native and may well have opinions on all the issues that confront the city where he was raised.
TRUMP: He'll listen to anyone with material

But somehow, I just can’t see that “Mr. Kim Kardashian” has much of anything relevant to say. In fact, I think I take more seriously the thoughts of Chance the Rapper when it comes to finding solutions to Chicago’s problems.

He, at least, has been willing to put money into finding solutions for problems confronting the Chicago school system – which may be more of a real solution than anything I’m sure West will have to say to Trump when the two of them meet at the White House later this week.
CHANCE: Puts some money where his mouth is

By comparison, I expect West will mouth out lots of platitudes that Trump will be able to riff off of in terms of taking pot shots at Chicago – whose real problem, as far as Trump is concerned, is that it prevents Illinois from being like other Great Lakes states that were deluded enough to support Trump’s 2016 presidential bid with their Electoral College votes.

THEREBY MAKING IT a place he will go out of his way to ridicule, no matter how illogical or impractical his thoughts would be to actually implement. Then again, Trump once met with Kid Rock and Ted Nugent at the White House.

Anybody who doubts me ought merely to listen to Trump’s rant from earlier this week, when he told a gathering of law enforcement officials in Orlando, Fla., that the solution to Chicago’s crime problems is to give our police more authority to “stop and frisk.”
CEDRIC: What would he tell Donald?

A policy that specifically is prohibited under an agreement that police department reached with the American Civil Liberties Union – which regards such police policies as giving our cops far too much authority to harass people for no real reason.

If anything, the fact that Trump would make such a suggestion for Chicago shows he doesn’t have a clue as to what our city’s situation is and our problems are!

FOR THE MINDSET of those people who applauded the verdict of a jury in Cook County court with regards to police officer Jason Van Dyke is that it was a step towards limiting police authority in dealing with the public.

If we were to really start giving police the power to pat people down for any little suspicion the cops might have, it would go counter to the mindset of those individuals who are hopeful that a jury finally put aside their prejudices and issued a just verdict.

The only people who will think that “stop and frisk” makes any sense are the kind who were hoping for a Van Dyke acquittal on all those criminal charges a jury found him guilty of.

I don’t doubt West will come up with outrageous things to say come Thursday, and Trump will find a way to come up with what he thinks is a comical riff off of it. Which some may find entertaining, but which contributes next to nothing toward finding a solution to the problems that confront so many of our nation’s large cities.
Trump's idea of presidential 'advisers' -- Nugent and Rock, w/ Sarah Palin in the mix
SO EXCUSE ME (envision Steve Martin with the arrow through his head of some four decades ago) for viewing the thoughts of West (or just about any other entertainment personality) as being not all that relevant toward coming up with the answers to the great questions confronting our public policy issues.

Either that, or perhaps we ought to turn to Cedric the Entertainer.

Somehow, I suspect I’d take more seriously the thoughts of the actor who has both said Trump has a skin tone the color of Cheetos, but also has said it is wrong to think we can “boycott” the incumbent president.
And anybody who ever saw the 2002 film “Barbershop” still remembers what his “Eddie the barber” character said about civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Times evolve, but in some ways remain remarkably similar to the past

I couldn’t help but be amused by a story the Chicago Sun-Times published recently – one about restaurant help being taken advantage of because of their position on society’s fringes due to their ethnic status.
An ethnic mixture that's truly all-American

In this case, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism worked with the newspaper to prepare a lengthy story about all those workers doing the labor in Chinese restaurants and buffets located across the Midwestern U.S.

IT SEEMS LIKE an old tale – Chinese immigrants being used and abused as cheap labor who can’t really complain about their treatment. If they don’t like it, they can go back to China.

Except these weren’t Chinese immigrants. For it seems the kitchen help consists largely of Mexican immigrants. These are people who got these jobs though employment agencies that tend to cater to providing labor for Chinese-oriented businesses, including restaurants.

And in many cases, the news organizations reported, the decision to seek out Latino-oriented workers was a conscious one by the Chinese businesses.

One could try to put the spin on things by saying these businesses know hard workers when they see them, so the conscious decision to seek out Mexicans in need of jobs is a fully-legitimate one.

ALTHOUGH LET’S BE honest. What it really amounts to is the reason why many businesses in our society seek out individuals of ethnic origins to do the physical labor that needs to be done in order for a business to operate.

Not all jobs involve sitting around on one’s duff and tapping out a few keys on a computer of sorts.

They really do want people who might be trying to draw as little attention to themselves as possible while managing to earn an income in order to survive.
Past attitudes towards Mexicans not all that different … 
Finding those people whose immigration status makes many question their presence means you can have a work force inclined not to complain – even if one is treating those workers with less than proper respect as people and as a labor force.

BUT PERHAPS THIS is merely evidence of our society evolving – albeit in a manner that is rather embarrassing to all of us.

For there was a time when it would have been Chinese workers being brought over to this country to do the work that no one else wanted to do, and treating them in a demeaning manner.

Now, we get the image of Chinese ethnics seeking out Mexicans to do the work of maintaining those restaurants that can be quite popular with the bulk of our society. What comes next? Mexican business owners finding hard-working African Muslims in need of work and willing to put up with nonsense when it comes to human rights?

It’s embarrassing to see that on one level, our society isn’t evolving in the least. The idea that some people think exploitation of one’s labor force is the only way to manage to make a profitable business entity truly is appalling.

PARTICULARLY SINCE THE news organizations reported the degree to which these businesses are providing inadequate housing for their labor (which is part of the deal by which they get these workers to take jobs with them). And also that while the restaurants and other businesses pay these employment agencies a fee for finding the workers, the laborers then have money taken from their wages to reimburse the business for that fee.
… from those toward Chinese

Almost as though one has to “pay” for the “right” to hold a crummy job that manages to take advantage of their situation in life – which is to be in need of a job so badly that one thinks someone else is “entitled” to take advantage of them.

As one of Mexican ethnic origins myself, I’d like to think we’re somehow above this and will never be in a status where we choose to exploit other individuals in such a manner. Although in this Age of Trump, I wonder if there are those who would say that such status is evidence that we’re (as “The Jeffersons” of TV fame on told us) “Movin’ on Up.”

Although as we Chicagoans all know, there’s no “East Side” of the city to move up to – unless you count the 10th Ward neighborhood where many of us already live.