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

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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:

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

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Watkins Warns Transport Jobs May Be Lost

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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

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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

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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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Emanuel Removed From Ballot, Candidates’ Education Plans

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The Illinois Appellate Court threw Chicago’s mayoral election into chaos Monday when it said that Rahm Emanuel, until recently President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, did not meet the requirement for residency in Chicago and therefore could not run in the February contest. Emanuel has vowed to appeal the ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Emanuel was ahead of his rivals in terms of fund-raising and in some polls of the race, so his departure from the field would make the campaign difficult to predict.

Today’s development makes the plans of Emanuel’s rivals suddenly more important. Last month, several mayoral candidates – excluding Emanuel – outlined their plans for the Chicago Public Schools system during the Forum on Education at Walter Payton College Prep High School.

Chicago Mayoral candidate Miguel De Valle, talking about more recess time for kids as part of his education plans for the city, if elected mayor. Looking on are his rivals, Gery Chico and Carol Moseley Braun, during the Mayoral Forum on Education at Walter Payton High School on December 15, 2010. Photo by Mary C. Johns

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Mayoral Candidate’s Plans for Low-income people and Ex-offenders

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Chicago mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins told Residents’ Journal in an interview that she felt a sense of responsibility to run for mayor, and she would carry the voice of the people into decision making of the city.

If elected mayor, Watkins said the people of Chicago can expect an “open government with transparency,” Watkins said during a visit to Residents’ Journal’s offices.

Chicago Mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, talking to Residents' Journal reporter Quintana Woodridge, on January 1, about her plans to service low-income people of the city, if elected Mayor this February 22. Photo by Mary C. Johns

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Emanuel’s Anti-Crime Plan for Chicago if elected Mayor

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Chicago mayoral contender Rahm Emanuel recently introduced his plan to “put more police on the beat, and keep kids, guns and drugs off the street.”

Emanuel’s anti-crime agenda includes adding 1,000 new cops to the neighborhoods that need them most without pulling them from other parts of the city. He intends to fund this initiative with the use of $25 million of “excess” Tax Increment Financing or TIF money.

A police officer holds a touting sign of current Mayor Richard M. Daley, during a police protest outside the Chicago Police Headquarters, to oust their boss, Superintendent Jody Weis, on September 19, 2010. Photo by Mary C. Johns

Emanuel’s plan also would add 250 new cops on the streets over a three-year period.

Emanuel claims that he will also cut bureaucracy, crack down on abuse of police sick leave—by “medical abusers” who earn full pay but leave fighting crime to their colleagues—and expand the Chicago Police Cadet program to get uniformed officers who are working desk jobs back on the street.

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Three Chicago Mayoral Candidates’ Take on Public Housing

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In this news video, three of the four candidates who participated in the Chicago Mayoral Forum on Education at Walter Payton College Prep High School on December 15, 2010, talked to Residents’ Journal after the event about their plans for public housing, if elected next year. Pastor and state Sen. James Meeks said, “We need to make them better.”

Former Ambassador and US Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun said, “I believe we should stop tearing them down,” and cited the still-standing Lathrop Homes development on the North Side as an example of a development that should be made into environmentally sound, “green” housing.

“We can provide both public housing and public safety without running (residents) out to the suburbs or forcing them to go hunting for someplace to live,” Moseley-Braun said.

City Clerk Miguel Del Valle said, “We need more affordable housing in Chicago.” Del Valle emphasized that the Chicago Housing Authority’s current plans to redevelop Lathrop Homes do not provide enough affordable housing. “The foreclosure crisis has hit us very hard.”

The future of Chicago’s public housing will continue to be in front of the mayoral candidates all through the election.

The National Public Housing Museum recently announced that in January, they are inviting the mayoral candidates to participate in a “Conversation on Public Housing in Chicago.”

The discussion will take place January 11 from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Chicago Cultural Center. Public housing residents and media figures will have the opportunity to question each of the candidates to learn how they will “ensure public housing to be a significant part of their agenda,” if elected.

In a press release, National Public Housing Museum Executive Director Keith L. Magee stated, “It is essential for the residents of Chicago to know exactly how the incoming Mayor will handle this delicate and important topic.”

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