GAC Endorses Tio Hardiman for Governor of Illinois

A couple of weeks ago I posted on my Facebook page which stated, “What questions do the people have for the next Governor of Illinois?” I received various responses, people were wondering what his views were on the “Fight for 15” movement as well as the would-be Governor perspective on unions. So I reached out to Tio Hardiman an activist and adjunct professor who did a lot of ground work with CeaseFire. In 2004 he founded “Violence Interrupters”, which is a program that utilizes ex-gang members and returning citizens to intercept street violence before it happens. According to one PBS Frontline article on CeaseFire,

“In 2008, the Justice Department hired independent researchers to evaluate CeaseFire’s work. The researchers found a 17 to 24 percent decline in actual and attempted shootings at four of the seven sites they surveyed. “I found the statistical results to be as strong as you could hope for,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Wesley G. Sokgan, a political science professor at Northwestern University.”

Now imagine if we had the adequate resources from the state to efficiently duplicate this program in the most violent areas in Chicago. It would definitely be a beautiful thing and a game changer in terms of how we interact with each other on a daily basis. Take a glance at some of the policies he plans and get an insight on the candidate below. And here’s an in-depth study on just how CeaseFire along with Violence Interrupters is: http://cureviolence.org/partners/us-partners/illinois-partners/

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QM: Give us your story on where you’re from, how you got started with CeaseFire and expound on the role of Violence Interrupters.

Tio Hardiman: “Well my name is Tio Hardiman, I’m running for Governor in the State of Illinois and my running mate is Patricia Avery. My background consists of a Masters Degree in Inner City Studies and I’m the former director of CeaseFire Illinois. I’ve sat on various boards throughout the state of Illinois dealing with the public defenders board and federal defenders. I’ve done a lot of work to change some of the conditions in the Illinois Department of Corrections and make the conditions more humane for inmates. I’ve done a lot of work in the field of criminal justice reform and reducing gun violence. I’ve stood up for women’s rights, I’e helped rescue 12 young women from a prostitution ring some years ago. Along with that I’ve intervened and mediated conflicts with thousands of young men and women in the city of Chicago. The list goes on and on, I’m a father a family man doing everything I can do to make things right across the board for everybody. I have about a 25 year history in leadership positions and I’m currently serving as an adjunct professor at Governors State and North Park University. Not only that I’m the President of a non for profit organization called Violence Interrupters, that’s what I’m doing right now and that’s my history at a glance.”

QM: Exactly how did you get started with CeaseFire as far as you activism is concerned?

Tio Hardiman: “I’ve always been a community activist but now I look at myself as more of a seasoned community leader. I grew up in the Avalon Park community on the southside and the Henry Horner projects on the westside. So at an early age I looked up to people that were involved in community activism. People I never really met but I studied the Black Panther Party. I studied their motto and how they stood up against police brutality and excessive force. I wish I would’ve met Huey P. Newton but I was too young at the time, they were much older than I am and those were a group of people I looked up to for some reason. Fred Hampton, you got Bobby Seale, Malcolm X I read all of his books while I was growing up. My uncles introduced me to black leadership and that’s what happened. It just became a second nature for me and I was always interested in standing up for the under dog. I grew up around some pretty tough circumstances, I grew up in the heart of the ghetto. I’ve seen drug addiction up close and personal, I’ve seen violence up close and personal. I’ve seen people go through a lot of changes and started to take a look to see what I could do to help change some of the conditions of all people. I got involved with CeaseFire back in 1999 when we only had about 4 staff back then, and we helped build that program to the highest level ever. I became a household name known as Mr. CeaseFire, people still look at me as Mr. CeaseFire today. I created the Violence Interrupters in 2004 and it became a sensation, so to speak. There was a documentary filmed called “The Interrupters” that kind of went viral and it was on PBS. Basically I can put my hands on several hundred young men that I helped turn their lives around personally. A lot of them are still doing real good , they’ve re-enrolled in school they’re obtaining degrees and living their lives.”

QM: What are your priorities?

Tio Hardiman: “Our priorities are for the state we have a 2020 Plan which represents a Perfect vision to Move the State of Illinois forward. Our plan includes supporting Veterans senior citizens college students People with disabilities women’s rights Children Returning citizens. As well as doing everything we can to open mental health clinics throughout the State of Illinois and reduce unemployment overall. This is the thing unemployment In the African American community Throughout the State of Illinois is 14.2%. The highest in the nation for African American people. Is 43% for African Americans males between the ages of 20 through 24, we have to reduce those numbers. Now unemployment state wide is Around 5%. But no community has been hit as hard as the black community. We have 1.7 million people living in poverty 30% of those people are African American And the list goes on and on. I’m running for governor to support the farmers also. I support the $15 minimum wage increase because people need to have a living wage. People actually need more than $15 but that’s fair just to get started. Another one of our goals is to reduce gun violence by 50% in the State of Illinois. I have a non traditional approach to working with gun violence. I will work with the ATF in state police to intercept Illegal gun trafficking. On the other side I plan on Creating more job opportunities through apprenticeship programs. I plan on hitting the streets myself, And you will never hear another governor say this. I will train and appoint a violence prevention czar that works with me to go out and reduce the shootings and killings In the streets of Chicago East Saint Louis and Peoria Decatur all over the place. I plan to bring all these young men to the table and roll our sleeves up and go to work in order to really put an end to this epidemic known as gun violence that continues to take the lives of so many young men and women.”

QM: What do you say to people who feel like the fight for 15 movement is a joke?

Tio Hardiman: “I can see people seeing why they think that the Fight for 15 movement is a joke based on a couple of reasons. One is that a lot of politicians are going to say they are all for a $15 an hour minimum wage increase but this is the problem. Yes its good to say that, I believe that and I would I would like see that happen, as soon as that bill hits my desk I’ll sign it to make it a reality in State of Illinois. But small businesses will suffer so we have to make sure that we provide small businesses with subsidies and incentives so that they could stay in business even though once we raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Now corporations like McDonald’s, of course they can pay $15 an hour and some of these CEOs are making $3500 an hour, so why step on the poor and working class people. So it’s not a joke it’s just going take the will of the people to make it a reality, we don’t have enough people fighting for that $15 minimum wage even though it appears to have a lot of support it’s obvious we need more support. As far as the people that think it’s a joke they need to just stop thinking that way because it can become a reality in Illinois.”

QM: Why do you want to run for Governor?

Tio Hardiman: “Well my name is Tio Hardiman, we say this in my campaign and the T-I-O stands for “Turn It Over”. I want to turn the state over to the people and the people never had the state. We have a governor now, Bruce Rauner who, during a Black History Month event, drank some chocolate milk to show that he supports diversity. I’m getting tired of this mess, I’m running for Governor to combat discrimination. We got racism going on, mass incarceration we have a mass Exodus of people moving from Illinois and Chicago. These billionaires continue to drown out the voices of the working class and poor people and we have to bring an end to this type of nonsense. It’s timeout for these billionaire tactics and strategies that they’re using, they’re dividing the black vote and dropping off money bags in the communities. They’re taking pictures of random black babies and when you look at their websites its black people all over the place, but our conditions have not changed. The thing is you have a few select preachers, these sell-out preachers in Chicago, not all preachers just a few of them. They’re having these backroom deals with these people running for Governor and some of these elected officials are doing the same thing because its about money, money, money. The love of money. We have to turn this type of narrative around and bring it back to the people. Instead of individual gain I’m running to show the state that we have a leader that believes in collective gain. See everybody is going to have a seat at the table and an opportunity for success with Patricia Avery and Tio Hardiman.”

QM: What’s your take on legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis?

Tio Hardiman: “I’m a proponent and a supporter of legalizing and decriminalizing small amounts of recreational usage of marijuana, for the tax money and to commute sentences where people were a locked up to for marijuana related crimes.  They shouldn’t be locked up anyway, this is a non violent crime. They’ve legalized marijuana in Colorado and they had a surplus, a 6.2 billion  surplus in the state of Colorado. Not just because of the marijuana but they’ve been making a lot of tax money which is a good thing for the state. I’d like to lead the state Illinois to a surplus sooner than later to write but it is not gonna happen because these billionaires create this catastrophic type of atmosphere in a state. Everything is falling down so they can set themselves apart and prop themselves up as a savior. But yes, I as governor would commutes sentences and legalize small amounts of recreational use of marijuana. But there’s a flip side to it we have to be honest as men and women and leaders. I don’t wanna see a lot of young people thinking its OK to smoke marijuana, because what happens then, some people not all people, graduate from marijuana and they end up using other drugs. Tobacco, alcohol and marijuana could serve as gateways to higher levels of drug usage.  And I don’t want anybody struggling with that type of stuff. A lot in teenagers and highschool students  look up to me and I’ll never tell them it’s OK to smoke marijuana. Now if you’re an adult, you wanna smoke, thats your business model have as a leader-“

QM: So are you saying that there should be age limits, some type of restrictions?

Tio Hardiman: “There should be age limits and some restrictions because I’ve seen the ugly side of addiction, in my community where I grew up at.”

QM: Whats your take on unions in general?

Tio Hardiman: “I support unions, I’m a former Union employee I have no issue with the unions, but the unions should be backing me. I don’t believe Illinois should be a right to work state because the unions I have a lot of power and unions do protect employees, for the most.  Unions protect employees but you have to understand the model of unions the model comes from the mafia days, the mobster days. They were controlling its stockyards controlling industries but I think that the unions are more sophisticated. Some of these employers would like to fire you without giving you any benefits. Especially if you’re on a leave of absence for medical conditions, you just might have to take a break and you need to be protected. How can an employee work somewhere for a company 10 to 15 years and you’re only seen as a number. That’s not good, you’re a human being and these employees especially if they’re making a lot of money. If they can show where they’re making millions and billions of dollars then take care of the employees. That’s where I stand with unions.”

QM: What are your plans to assist with community development for inner city entrepreneurs?

Tio Hardiman: “Well when it comes down to community development for inner city entrepreneurs, I’m all over that issue. My running mate, she used to oversee a budget of 80 million dollars in central Illinois where she would provide start up monies for the small businesses  throughout central Illinois. So that’s one of our main properties, to help promote small business opportunities here in the State of Illinois for everybody. The way we do it is by pushing the financial transaction tax, the LaSalle Street Tax, which is projected to bring in 3 billion dollars that’s projected OK. Let’s say it brings in 1.5 billion dollars that’s enough revenue, new revenue, that we can use to help boost the economy in the state especially the small business arena help the inner city entrepreneurs.”

QM: How do you play alone protecting our sanctuary city?

Tio Hardiman: “As governor of the head of this state, the executive in charge, I don’t agree with that and policies that a Donald Trump administration’s is trying to push forth. No human being should be seen as a legal anyway but I say this every time that question is asked of me. I support DACA, if you were raised in the USA, raised in Illinois I plan to make sure you stay. But we have to be clear about this and I bring up my ancestors when I talk about this. My ancestors came over on the bottom slave ships, we’re not immigrants here, people need to know that across the world. I’m going to say it time and time again because I traced my roots all the way to a slave plantation in Louisiana. I’ve traced my roots so it really hits home with me when we talk about a describing and defining people as immigrants anyway. Now we need to work on a pathway to citizenship for people and that’s the best we can do right now. But I plan to make sure that Illinois is a sanctuary state. However, I wish people would come over here the proper way therefore you don’t have to go back-and-forth on all these issues. But the truth of the matter is that 90% of the people that live in the United States came in from a distant land, except my people were not immigrants and were forced over here. I don’t play the game when it comes to that question there but I do support a human being’s right to be safe in a sanctuary state.”

QM: How do you plan on bridging the gap between the north and south side in regards to economic development?

Tio Hardiman: “Its just a matter looking at the different models that exists when you look at thriving communities. What’s the difference between the north and south side? There are more resources being poured into the north side because of the a leadership, because the aldermen, the Congressmen, the state reps and state senators. They’re going to make sure they take take care of the a north side. On the south side that we have a lack of development and it appears that some of our elected officials are not doing everything in their power to make sure that we have this economic boost. I would have to take a look at the whole landscape was going on on the South side and develop and design a plan to help move forward with strong economic development. I was on 79th street yesterday and I was live on social media. I started from 79th street all the way to 79th and Yates. I counted 100 maybe 120 abandoned buildings and abandoned store fronts. That story has to change because you ask people grow up and do good in these communities and they don’t have nothing to look forward to. There’s an old Sears off 79th and Kenwood that should be changed into a Target or Walmart some type of big chain store so we can hire the people in the community. Another thing I thought about, Amazon’s trying to move their number 2 headquarters to Illinois. Why not move it to the south side of Chicago, East Saint Louis or Peoria where people need the help? Why not move it to the west side of Chicago? So I’m real strong on economic development, especially on the south side. The north side they will be OK they have quite a few resources but anything I can do to help them as well I’m interested in.”

GAC Endorses Willie Preston for 31st District Representative

The phrase “out with the old, in with the new” is a saying that we all have heard before and it usually relates to New Years Eve resolutions, making progress and bettering ones life. Even though New Years has long past this analogy applies to the race for the 31st District Representative. The 31st District encompasses portions of Chicago’s Englewood, West Englewood neighborhoods, Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge, Palos Hills, and other nearby communities.

I had a chance to catch up with Willie Preston, an organizer out of Englewood who has a passion for the people and is running against the incumbent. He’s very much in favor of a progressive income tax and understands the importance of having a STEM focused curriculum for our children. He’s just a regular family man that wants to see change in his community and has stepped up to the plate to do so.

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Candidate for 31st District State Rep Willie Preston and family (above)

QM: As 31st District State Representative what do you plan on doing differently in comparison to the incumbent?

WP: “Many things, my plan, unlike my opponent, I have a plan and it calls for bringing our back trade schools to Chicago. Everybody is not coming to college when I go down to Springfield I’m going to be down there fighting for vocational training inside our schools. We’re talking about plumbers, electricians, boiler makers, truck drivers. And this has to be done at the state legislature and that’s what we’re going down to Springfield to do. When my kids graduate high-school, south side of Chicago, I don’t want them lost or having to go to college and take out debt just to make a decent living. I want them to graduate with their diplomas in one hand and their union card in the other, if they decide their not going to college and that’s OK with us. My mother-in-law is a carpenter, she makes $100,000 annually, every year $100,000. She can raise a family, that’s head of household income, you can have you a home, a new car, your children can go to school, a good school that you can afford. You definitely won’t have to go to anybody’s aid office looking for food stamps. That’s the type of life changing politics that’s what this campaign is based on, we’re doing this to save people’s lives and change people’s lives. That’s one thing on the economic side, as far a property taxes go we plan on banning Mike Madigan and other law makers who practice property tax appeal law.”

QM: What is that exactly, property tax appeal law?

Preston: “So, when you get your property tax bill in the mail, lets say its $900. You think that’s too high for your little house so you go and say, “Hey, this is too high!” You need to hire an attorney because you don’t know the property tax law, property tax code, so you go and hire an attorney to get your property tax reduced. Mike Madigan, coincidentally, or not coincidentally who is one of the most powerful lawmakers in Illinois has the number one firm in Illinois. That’s not by coincidence so what we have is a situation that I have here is a situation where-“

QM: So you’re saying that he’s controlling what the law is-

Preston: “That’s right, he’s controlling it to make sure that he personally benefits and gets rich from it, and he does do it. Then what he does is re-funnel that money back into politics and make sure that he gets to come into the black community, Latino community and chooses who he wants to represent that community.

My campaign represents a stark contrast from that, he wont get to choose the leader over here anymore. We win this election we send a strong message that this community is an independent community and we’re going to choose our own leaders.

So right now we have two buildings that have been recently sold downtown. What we knew as the Sears Tower is now called the Willis Tower at 1 N. Clark, they got $50 million in property tax reduction. So the government doesn’t need $50 million laying around. We give somebody a reduction we increase some where else. So where’s the increase coming from? Its coming right here from my people, my people have a extra $200, $300, $500, $700 increase in their property tax, regular working class folk while rich folk downtown are getting under-assessed we’re getting ours over-assessed. There needs to be a property tax frieze or a serious reduction in property tax. And that’s what also is driving up the rent of people who are just getting started. 1500 dollars for a 1, 2 bedroom apartment? We’re gonna end that and how we’re going to stop it is by having people like me down there at Springfield that will say no, and fighting against that and winning.”

QM: In one interview you say, “Springfield politicians largely just go along to get along, and that’s what I’m seeing in my district right now and I want to work to change it.” What exactly do you see that needs to be changed that hasn’t in the past 30 years?

Preston: “Well a lot of things, but one thing I can site is this. We have somebody that’s been in office for nearly 50 years, Mike Madigan, he’s the Speaker of the House. Every last Democrat votes for him in the House, every last Democrat in Springfield votes for him to be Speaker of the House, “go along to get along”. That is so much centralization of power it’s unnatural, it’s un-American. We don’t have kingdoms, or supposedly we’re not supposed to be about that, this is supposed to be about democracy. And one thing I’m going to do is not vote for him as Speaker of the House that will be a stark difference. Throughout the years as Chicago and Illinois have gotten blacker and browner, the state funding to our education system has gotten lesser and lesser. We have more black politicians that most people inside this nation in terms of our state government, and they went along with that. That’s why today Illinois is last in state funding for public education. Last in America in the funding percentage allocated to public education. I got family in Mississippi, like most of us do down south, we used to laugh at them and call them country. But you know what, they’re ahead of us, they have a state government, a supposedly racist state government in Mississippi and they are racist. But they invest more in their education than we do. We’re going to end that, in Springfield that’s what Mike Madigan and other lawmakers who prioritize our state budget that went along with it. I was a victim of it, if you were a student of CPS you were a victim of it. Other people were surpassing us but we didn’t know it because we were children and they were getting invested in more than us. And so look around at 28, 29, 30, 33 years old they are executives, they’re in media, they’re in government. They’re in a host of things and enjoying the spoils of a global economy, we’re not because we were not trained, we were not invested in. Its nothing wrong with us, it was something wrong with those state  politicians who allowed it happen and I’m taking one of them out with the help of people from the movement.”

QM: So being more specific are you saying that in regards to CPS’ education or Illinois in its entirety?

Preston: “Illinois in general. CPS is obviously where the most black and brown children, more specifically black from a historical context. That is where the large share of black and brown children attend school in Illinois, which is CPS and we have been underfunded for decades, the last in America. We have to get billions more dollars in order to treat these kids fair so they can be ready for this global economy they’re going to inherit.”

QM: Whats your take on CPS as an entity and what do you plan on implementing to reverse the school-to-prison pipeline?

Preston: “Well one of the things that’s extremely important, something I’ve been working on prior to running for office, is focusing on de-centralizing power. What do I mean by that? Right now one person gets to appoint the entire school board, that’s the mayor of Chicago.  That is why we find corruption because its a billion dollar budget that these folks have with contracts galore. One person should not be appointing all these people, they have to be accountable to the people who vote for them as well as the taxpayers. The way that we do that is by making certain that we have an elected school board. We have to force these people to run in elections and I think if we do that it would have to happen again at the state level. At the state level if we run a bill and make sure that it happens now, an elected school board, we’re going to have elections. In fact many other school boards districts, except for CPS, does it so we’re going in that direction. By the way, my opponent, in the 90s voted to make this law by having the Mayor of Chicago appoint the entire school board.”

QM: Regarding education, what is going to be your main focus?

Preston: “Science. Technology. Engineering. And mathematics. We all know what the recipe for the future success is going to be, we all know. But it takes billions of dollars, school should look radically different from when I was in school. In fact schools should look radically different from when my grandmother was there, but they don’t. My grandmother went to Gillespie and if she walks into a school on the south side of Chicago it’ll look identical to when she was a child. And that is a serious problem. So we need billions more dollars-“

QM: That means the architecture is old, and perhaps unsafe-

Preston: “Yes, the architecture is old, the technology is old, we’re very clear on that. When we think about lead and all these other things we have to consider the lack of investment we’ve made into our capital funding inside of our buildings, including our schools. To your question with schools, we need billions more dollars to invest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Making certain that these are at the core of what our children are learning. So that when they’re eighteen they’re not wondering, “What am I going to do now?” No, they’re going to school to actually prepare them for a career inside the industries that are going to be dominating the economy over the next decades. So, how do we get there? We need a progressive income tax, which I support. We need to be able to fund our schools not based on the property tax, that is regressive, it never has worked and its failed folks in our generation. Lets say J. B. Pritzker is worth seven billion dollars lets say I’m worth seven thousand dollars. We’re paying the exact same income tax, that’s a problem. For me, this is not a new idea however we have Republican states surrounding us such as Wisconsin and Indiana who back this. As you make more and more in your income, you just pay a higher rate, its that simple. And if we do that, this progressive income tax, and scale up the tax revenue we’ll generate from this will be billions of dollars. Enough money to be able to pay for the schools that I just envisioned. Imagine when we walk in schools and they were technologically relevant. Imagine if we walked into a school and instead of a green chalkboard, that my mother and grandmother were writing on, there were interactive white boards. Where children can interact with professionals who have different occupations such as farming, folks inside business, etc. We need to make certain we’re giving our children the opportunity to thrive and be successful. This is what the progressive income tax will help us pay for. I’m calling all people from the movement to get involved right now because this is a serious campaign. This is the campaign for those of us that’s in the movement. This is the campaign that we should target, we should take out an old incumbent who’s been there for thirty three years unopposed and put in one of our own. Lets actually get some results for our people. We haven’t seen anything out of this government but just a handful of people we don’t know. We don’t know them because we’re too busy trying to survive but there are people who are receiving billions upon billions of state money. No one knows them or interacts with them or are benefiting from them. Its time for us to go in a different direction, we need a #NewBreedofLeadership that’s thinking totally different from that. One that understands government, appreciates its history and also has a vision for the future as to what things can be. Imagine what it would be like if we had 14% of the states procurement budget. And I say we meaning black firms, you’re talking billions and billions of dollars. Its not a hard lift either, 14% going to black firms in our community. The thing for me is that we’re going to go down to Springfield and fight for 14% procurement for black firms. That is a win for everybody, that’s a win for black business owners who will create jobs within the community. Especially the ones who have nothing to do who are standing on the corner and this will prevent them from either going to jail or winding up in a casket. We’re going to offer something different for this community, we’re going to offer something different for the south side of Chicago. I’m not interested in giving individuals with power more power, these same folks and old contracts that have been used again and again. We need to get new contracts for new entrepreneurs. If we lean in as much as we possibly can up until the 20th they won’t have a choice but to see some black power politics coming out of the south side. We’re going to make it happen.”

The HUD Hustle

Will you help us stop the hustle hurting the hood?

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HUD rental assistance and Section 8 pays on average:

  • $1,000.00-$1,500.00 a month, for a year. That is $12,000-$18,000 that HUD spends per voucher holder!
  • $12,000-$18,000 a year x 10 yrs equals $120,000-$180,000! This is what HUD spends per voucher for Renting.
  • $12,000-$18,000 x 20 years equals $240,000-$360,000 per voucher for Renting.
  • $12,000-$18,000 x 30 years equals $360,000-$540,000 per voucher for Renting.

We submitted a plan that would take a section 8 voucher holder, and put them in a low risk Homeownership Pilot Program, and have them OWNING in 10- 20 years, depending on the portion of rent they pay.

  • The house can be protected from foreclosure by putting it in a Community Land Trust.

  • The same thing can be applied to multi family HUD units, like the Parkways on Stony Island, and Parkways on King Drive, using a cooperative housing model.

  • Rehabilitation of vacant properties, and development of new ones on vacant lots that require Community Controlled Development, and hiring of those who have lacked labor force participation.

This Pilot Program would reduce blight and crime in our communities, turn renters into community caring homeowners, create small business opportunities, contracts, and jobs for the unemployed and unemployable youth.

sdg-2030-bannerWe have several times, presented this to multiple congressional members on both sides; republicans and democrats, and participated in discussions with HUD and FHFA.

Discussions included multiple private sector financial institutions, and addition, discussed efficient ways to create low credit score and low income loan products.

To make this happen ourselves, all we have to do is organize as a collective on effective policy and programs that serve a purpose for our people.

Will you Help us stop the Hustle that is hurting our Hoods?

(IF INTERESTED, send email to antieviction@gmail.com, or leave your info in the contact form below)

PayitFwd
BringBackOwnership
DisciplineYourDollar
PushOnThePolicy
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#chiantieviction
#chicagoantieviction 

http://www.chicagoantieviction.org

 

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A Letter to Trump: Divestment vs. Investment

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Dear Mr. Trump,

Chicago is a global city, and if anyone knows that, it would most certainly be you; a man who owns prime real estate in one of the world’s most appealing locations for tourists, and business professionals. There is an elephant in the room though; there has been a stark contrast in the divestment versus investment when assessing the micro economies that clearly exist within this city. That could very well be a bit of the brush that was ignited when your campaign was disrupted in this very city. No apologies are in line for the actions of my brothers and sisters of this struggle that you can never understand; you can only learn to empathize with the plight of African descendants within this country. Though I don’t hold all the same values, and thought processes of my fellow activists, I do stand in solidarity with their dedication to fight injustice with proportionate force. With that said, I do believe in your claim to have an agenda to bring America into its full potential of being the greatest nation, not only on the planet, but the greatest nation that we can become. Enough small talk, as I’m sure you have a lot of work to do; Chicago’s Public School system is a bridge built on sand, and that sand is Rahm Emmanuel, City Counsel, Barbara Byrd-Bennet, our long-standing clergymen with political affiliation, and the perspective of the American people that this problem is isolated, or unable to be corrected.

In 2013, my elected officials closed a record breaking 48 schools at one time; the largest scale school closing ever in U.S. history. The decision to devastate 12,000 elementary school students was blamed on a $1 Billion deficit brought on by decades of misappropriated funds, and a scandal that placed an interesting criminal light on our prior mayor. We understand how a deficit could call for the need to bring expenses lower than income, but what we don’t comprehend is why every social and economic experiment in this country has to be conducted at the expense of the quality of life of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens; minorities specifically, and moderate-low to very-low income families. If you’re inquiring as to why I’m crying over spilled milk; well, because that now spoiled milk is being force fed to us as yogurt, and it smells bad.kids1

In May of this year, the city began a quest to acquire an old post office location, and they proposed plans to transform that location into a new middle school. The project in total will cost $55 Million, and $11 Million in Tax Increment Funding (TIF) has been allocated to this project, that will benefit families within close proximity to the southern outskirts of the downtown area; an area comprised of mostly middle income families, and high income families that were able to survive the gentrification efforts pushed following the demolition of Chicago’s public housing project buildings (i.e. Cabrini Green Housing Projects). This is a concern of the African American community, because we have continually been forced to watch the spoils of us being robbed, being redistributed to those who didn’t need the resources in the first place.kids4

Contrary to popular belief, the African American community has no desire to continue to exist as a welfare community; one dependent upon foreign businesses and investors. We have no desire to dwell on where blame for our economic enslavement should be placed; we are clear on how we got to this position, but more importantly aware and ready to take the steps to bring us out of our social and economic incarceration. We understand that you have no authority to intervene in locally approved plans for development, but we do have a request.

Please redirect 30% of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and ecenomic development dollars to grassroots organizations and small businesses within their respective communities, the very organizations and businesses that create the micro-economic changes that “We the People” desire to see.

We would like to see a national effort to redirect CRA and economic development monies into a community controlled mechanism. Our community is in dire need of small business investment plan that acknowledges the disparities in capital, credit, and collateral that has been created by a long-existing system of oppression (relative barriers of entry into business). What we are really requesting is a small business startup and stimulus package that will help create healthy and self-sustainable communities; a major and bold push towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

 

 

Works Cited

City of Chicago: Tax Increment Financing . (2016, September 14). Retrieved December 23, 2016, from City of Chicago: https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/provdrs/tif/news/2016/july/tif-proposed-for-new-south-loop-elementary-school.html

Jr., J. P. (2015, January 22). Study looks at aftermath of Chicago school closings in 2013. Chicago Tribune.

Marisa de la Torre, M. F. (2015). Schools Closings in Chicago: Understanding Familie’s Choices and Constraints for New School Enrollment . Chicago: University of Chicago.

Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, J. C. (2013, May 23). CPS approves largest school closure in Chicago’s history. Chicago Tribune.

 

 

Who I’m NOT Voting For

Hello beautiful people, its been a while since I’ve written anything simply because I’ve been focusing on what I have to do in my life. We all know its difficult to help others when you haven’t helped yourself. But since its election time with perhaps two of the most despised United States presidential candidates in history, I’ve decided to tell you who I’m not voting for.

Before I get too deep the first question that I pose to the reader is, “Are you voting out of fear or are you voting our of hope?”

I asked this question because we should keep in mind that these campaigns are typically based on playing off of individuals fears, rather than their hopes and aspirations. For example, Trump has a lot of right-wing power because he preaches that Mexicans are murderous and rapist so a wall would cut down on America’s overall murder and rape problem. Many individuals are surprised that hes galvanized such a following, but it only makes sense. The Republicans have been pissed off since before Obama’s inauguration as President of the United States and for the past eight years have had an egg on their faces, while at the same time making Obama’s presidency as difficult as they possibly could.

Lo and behold the anomaly known as Trump….

Trumps rhetoric is definitely reminiscent of the times before affirmative action and his support speaks volumes. Its a direct reflection of what a lot of white right wingers talk about at the dinner table with their families, which is utterly sickening to think about. But what the Republicans don’t like about Trump is that he’s too honest and that’s bad for big business.

Our next contestant is Hillary Clinton, known for whipping a bottle of hot-sauce or two out of her purse. She coined the term “super-predators” and suggested that these animals be brought to heel, particularly the darker skinned individuals. If one were to closely examine the history of the KKK you would discover that it came out of a radical group of bitter southern Democrats bent on making life living hell for black people. In 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act and with that the Democrats had won over the black vote in its entirety.It was actually the Republicans in the North who fought along side slaves in the Civil War, these are minor details to know and should put these parties in a different light.

One should also note that under the Clinton administration the 1994 Crime Bill was initiated. It implemented the three-strikes  mandatory life sentencing for repeat offenders and $9.6bn in funding for prisons. Yeah they say crime was down, thats because everybody was getting locked the hell up for life. It left black communities shattered, in shards, nearly lifeless. In the 22 years since the bill was passed, the federal prison population more than doubled. In 1994, the Bureau of Prisons held 95,162 inmates; today that number is 214,149. I don’t want another Clinton in office but, we’ve been duped time and time again. Lets be honest, neither party has nothing on paper thats for the uplift of black people. We should be doing for ourselves regardless. If you are voting for Hillary are you voting for the stanky-leg dancing, hot-sauce slanging version or the round ’em up, lock ’em up version. Pick your poison.

Not only that you have to research who’s endorsing these candidates but in Hillarys case she’s getting funded by George Sorors. September 16, 1992, is also known as, Black Wednesday, the day that George Soros broke the Bank of England. It has been reported that he made a $1 billion profit that day, which cemented his reputation as one of the greatest forex traders who has ever lived. He’s also been known to speak out against gun violence only to buy up the stock when its dirt cheap. This hypocrisy should be noted and we shouldn’t be fooled by neo-liberal fascist with right wing agendas. Its not in the best interest of the people.

Voting for a 3rd party candidate is the only viable option because at least if the party gets 5% of the vote it forces to open up the debates and breaks the bi-partisan system.

As voters we should be taking the time out of our day to actually examine what each candidate has to offer, not just vote out of tradition or worse than that, fear. Go to ballotready.com and check out the candidates for yourself before you vote cuz this ain’t yo mamas election.

Remember a vote for the lesser of two evils is still an EVIL

Quintin Martins

S.I.N.

Silvestri: The Sneaky Salmon

On May 10th 2016 I was asked if I would like to voice my concern about a resolution proposed by Commissioner Silvestri, the Commissioner of the 9th District of Cook County . The major theme of the proposal was to change the position of Cook County Circuit Clerk from elected, to appointed. This would mean that the people wouldn’t have a say so in who they feel is the best person for the job, and only the Board of Commissioners would decide.

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 The problem with this is that 17 people, who all have salaries over $100,000, couldn’t possibly represent the people in an effective manner with the Peoples’ interest in mind. This simple fact was all of the ammunition I needed to attack these fascists, though there was more evidence to bring to light. The hearing for Mrs. Dorothy Brown was on the 11th so I was hard pressed to find more information to back up what I would say the following day.

Keep in mind that this “resolution” was brought to the table shortly after Mrs. Brown asked for a raise; the last time her position got a raise was 16 years ago, and this after the Democratic Party, chaired by Preckwinkle, endorsed Michelle Harris.  How can you expect a person to do better than the previous year when expenses go up each year, and you won’t give them the resources they need to function effectively?

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When the resolution concerning Dorothy Brown came up, Silvestri saw all of those African faces in there, and decided to cut his losses. It was at least 30 Dorothy Brown supporters in there, and he definitely didn’t want us to turn up! Though this was just to shut us up collectively because they don’t want certain messages broadcast (the hearings are live), and they don’t want YOU to THINK for YOURSELF!!! Once they told us that we couldn’t speak, I left, but this is what I wrote:

Good morning,

My name is Quintin Martins representing B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S. Inc. and I’m here to voice my concern regarding Mr. Silvestri’s proposal. This proposal would change the Circuit Clerks position from elected to appointed which means that  we would have to rely on the 17 individuals on the board of commissioners to choose a clerk that’s in the interest of the people. That’s 17 votes out of the 1,171,349 votes for circuit clerk, which is not even half of a half of 1 percent. This, Mr. Silvestri, is an absolute spit in the face of democracy and the fact that this is even up for discussion is disgusting. Lets be clear about what this is really about, the powers that be became disappointed that Ms. Brown rightfully won her seat as Cook County Circuit Clerk. When she asked for a raise she was declined and is expected to perform better than she did the year before, even  though she has 9 times as many employees as her associates. Its obvious that their priority is to stifle Ms. Brown in any way, but shouldn’t their priority be to the people and not the pocket? Maybe if the democratic party was concerned with representing the people instead of splitting votes then maybe, just maybe she wouldn’t have won. I have my own proposal, let’s focus on an appointed position we would like to see on the ballot in the future and petition for that!

 

The American 1%: Social Class Divide on Crack

Who Rules the United States?

The United States of America is supposed to be, by design, a representative democracy, but who really runs the United States? Two perspectives that hypothesize on who runs the United States is the functionalist and conflict perspectives.

 

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WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 12: U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), delivers his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol February 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. Facing a divided Congress, Obama focused his speech on new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy. (Photo by Charles Dharapak-Pool/Getty Images)

Crucial to this question, is a sound understanding of the fundamental reasoning that make up both perspectives; the demand and supply of authority. Also key, is an understanding of citizenship, democracy, and capitalism. Lastly, it is imperative to have a strong grasp on the U.S. Political Infrastructure, and how all these factors are waged into the arguments of the functionalist and conflict perspectives. The first step in this inquisition is to come to an agreed definition of authority, which is the common goal of any government; the monopoly over power and the use of violence.

 

Authority and You!

Authority, is the extension of power by one group, or government, over the larger population of people within a defined territory. Functionalists view states, or governments, as having arisen from the necessity of social groups, to protect the masses of people from anarchy, which is unrestrained disorder and crime. Conflict theorists would agree that an unrestrained government is detrimental, but they differ in that they believe the current government to be functioning in a way that doesn’t contribute to the welfare and longevity of its citizens. There are three types of authority that societies recognize: traditional authority, rational-legal authority, and charismatic authority. Traditional authority is the type of authority that is extended over a social group by way of culture and customs. Rational-legal authority is a type of authority that is recognized by the people as legitimate due to its establishment in the laws of the land. Charismatic authority is the type of power offered to individuals based on their outstanding traits, which prompt others to follow them. This brings us to the question of the natural forces that bring people within a defined territory together; citizenship.

Citizenship: Consented Violence

Citizenship is the concept that birth (residence or naturalization), is the basis upon which individuals are afforded basic rights. This is one of the great benefits of this country; this is the idolized land of opportunity. The place where anyone can become Steve Jobs. The part of the story they leave out is that during that struggle for opportunity, you will face unfathomable obstacles, and if you are a woman or a person of color, you will encounter far more pressing odds on your pursuit to the American dream. Poverty and social class divisions do exist in this country, which brings us to the concept of universal citizenship, which addresses discrimination with its emphasis on everyone having the same basic rights. Now, let’s focus in on the guiding principles of this country. Before we dive more into the country’s political infrastructure, let’s get an understanding of capitalism, and how it plays a role in our country’s social makeup.

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Capitalism: The American Nightmare

Capitalism, is the concept around which the private ownership of the means of production, and the desire and pursuit of profit controls the supply and demand of economic markets. There are two types of capitalism that currently exist in societies: lassiez-faire capitalism, and welfare capitalism. Laissez-faire capitalism is unrestrained by government, and is commonly called hands-off capitalism. Welfare capitalism is a form of capitalism where government encourages the private ownership of land, but regulates capitalism to ensure the welfare of the masses of the nation’s population. Conflict theorists coined the name power elite, to refer to the 1% of Americans, made up of the super-rich, heads of military, top legislators, but most importantly, the heads of this country’s top corporations. They say that it is this small group of individuals who make the decisions that control the major functioning of the United States of America. This brings us to how both the functionalists and conflict perspectives view capitalism, as it relates to the U.S. political infrastructure.

The U.S. Political Infrastructure

The infrastructure of the United States political system is bipartisan, with several smaller roadways that we will collectively refer to as third parties. Minus the presence of these almost non-existent third parties, the U.S. political system is dominated by democrats and republicans. Democrats are associated publicly with advocating for the welfare of the masses of the population. Republicans are associated publicly with advocating for the interest of the wealthy. The supposed common denominator is that both parties adopt the philosophy of free education, a strong military, and the freedom of religion, speech, and assembly of the American people. Functionalists view this system of representative democracy, fused with the safe guard of this system’s checks and balances system, as sufficient and effective, as it grew directly from the need of the people to have a government. They also see capitalism as necessary, as both parties of this country’s bipartisan arrangement view capitalism as essential to the welfare of our economy. Conflict theorist, on the reverse, sees the influence of capitalism on policy, as an illegitimate form of control (coercion) of the people by corporations; the power elite, or ruling class. This power elite is comprised of the super-rich 1% of Americans, who head the country’s top corporations, are top ranking military officials, and are our country’s most influential elected officials. The conflict perspective also provides an analysis on the hierarchy of the power elite group. The three groups are not equal in power, but because all three segments of the group view capitalism as crucial to American economy, corporations wield more power in this group makeup.

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In Context: Functionalist and Conflict Perspectives

There are two perspectives on who rules the United States of America; the functionalist and conflict perspectives. Authority is the extension of power over the people, fused with the exclusive monopoly on the use of violence. Key to answering this question, is the gaining of understanding around both the functionalist and conflict theories. Also important, is the understanding of authority, capitalism, and democracy. Lastly, you must have a sound understanding of capitalism, and how it is perceived to fit into the scheme of the United Stets political infrastructure. No one perspective covers each point that I believe is important and accurate, and no one party can represent all the ideals of every constituent, but understanding who makes the decisions in this country is key to understanding how to change the decisions that are being made to cause latent dysfunctions in our economy. Signing off, but never offline!

Written by: Eugene Stanley

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