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We The People Media’s Coverage of the Chicago Mayor’s Race

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

Dear Friends:

In the next few hours, voters in Chicago will decide on a new mayor as well as the City Council and other citywide offices. Among the issues the successor to Mayor Richard M. Daley will face will be the housing crisis for the city’s poor. Last year, when the Chicago Housing Authority opened its waiting list for the first time in years, more than 200,000 families registered for just 40,000 slots – on the waiting list. The new Mayor will have to decide how to fulfill his predecessor’s pledge to rebuild mixed-income communities on the sites where the infamous high-rises once stood.

Since the beginning of the mayoral race, We The People Media has covered the contest from the perspective of those who see Chicago’s low-income families as an underutilized resource. As you make your decision, we offer you an easy way to read all of our articles and videos. These reports include exclusive interviews and comments with the candidates.

Please don’t hesitate to write to us and let us know what you think – about our reports as well as about the mayor’s race itself!

Click here to read all of our coverage of the Mayor’s race, beginning with our first pieces in December:

http://wethepeoplemedia.org/tag/chicago-mayoral-candidates/

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Watkins Warns Transport Jobs May Be Lost

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins warned recently that as many as 17,000 jobs and millions in revenue will be lost if the city’s infrastructure isn’t improved.

Watkins issued the warning during a press conference Feb. 8 outlining her transportation policy plans for the city at her campaign office at 2312 W. Harrison Ave.

Chicago mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins talking to the press about her transportation plans for the city, if elected mayor, during her press conference at her campaign office on Feb. 8, 2011. Photo by Mary C. Johns

Chicago has one of the busiest rail gateways in the U.S., accounting for one-third of the nation’s rail traffic and resulting in 38,000 jobs and $22 billion in economic value to the region, Watkins said.

“We cannot overlook the fact that we have a public transit system that provides over 1.7 million rides per day, and yet too many of our citizens live in communities that are disproportionately impacted by crumbling infrastructure, service cuts and poor access to jobs and opportunity – despite the fact that they have been forced to pay increasingly high fares over the years,” Watkins declared.

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Mayoral Candidates Views about Chicago Public Housing

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Tenants wondering what will happen to their homes and communities got a chance to question three of the candidates running to succeed Mayor Richard M. Daley during the Mayoral Forum on Public Housing at the Chicago Cultural Center last month.

National Public Housing Museum Keith McGee and the museum's national spokesperson Bern Nadette Stanis, also known as "Thelma" on the Good Time television series, thanking everyone for attending the mayoral forum. Photo by Mary C. Johns

At the forum, sponsored by the National Public Housing Museum in collaboration with the tenants’ Central Advisory Council, City Clerk Miguel Del Valle, Patricia Van Pelt Watkins and Bill “Dock” Walls each discussed their plans for public housing.

“As the infamous high rises fade from the city’s skyline, public housing in Chicago is still a vibrant and necessary topic,” museum officials wrote in materials for the forum.

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Rahm Wants Urban Farms, Mobile Food Trucks

by Mary C. Piemonte 

More than 600,000 Chicagoans lack easy access to a grocery store offering healthy and fresh foods, according to mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel.

To eradicate food deserts in low-income communities throughout the city, Emmanuel plans to increase access to fresh food options, by “engaging smaller local grocery stores, facilitating public-private partnerships and encouraging community gardens to thrive,” he said at a Feb. 1 press conference at Growing Power Iron Street Farm, 3333 S. Iron St.

Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel fielding reporters questions, during his press conference at the Growing Power Iron Street Farm, on Feb. 1, where he talked about his plans to combat food deserts in low-income communities across the city. Photo by Mary C. Johns

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Torture Victim Reflects on Burge Sentence

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The 4 ½ -year sentence handed down to former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge recently for federal crimes of lying and obstructing justice did not sit well with a lot of people, including Mark Clements, who is one of those tortured by detectives under Burge’s command.

This protester was among the many encouraging Mayor Daley to take part in jailing former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, and to go after Detectives under his watch accused of torturing murder suspects in their custody in the 1970 and 1980s, during a rally outside City Hall in May 2010. Photo by Mary C. Johns

“It was outrageous,” Clements declared to Residents’ Journal during a phone interview on Jan. 25, a few days after the sentencing. “It was a smack in the face to the African American community concerning what Mr. Burge did.”

Clements, a longtime advocate to jail Burge, was tortured in June 1981, when he was 16 years old.

Burge, 63, was sentenced Jan. 21 to serve 4 ½ years in a federal prison for lying in a federal civil trial about torture committed against more than 100 African American men and women at Area 2 and 3 Police Headquarters in the 1970s and 1980s. The torture victims were murder suspects in police custody. Burge was fired as police commander in 1993.

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