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Thursday, February 10, 2011
Defender first to host all six candidates in mayoral debateby Wendell Hutson
The first candidate to arrive at the DuSable Museum of African American History, for the Chicago Defender mayoral debate, was William “Dock” Walls.
“I am the first one here and I will be the last one to leave,” he said. “That is a work ethic I have adopted since working for (the late) Mayor Harold Washington.”
Wednesday was the first time all six Chicago mayoral candidates – Walls, Carol Moseley Braun, Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins, Gery Chico, Rahm Emanuel, and Miguel del Valle – participated in a public debate.
Shortly after Walls showed up Watkins arrived ready and eager to start the debate.
“I am glad to be hear among Chicagoans and look forward to discussing issues that affect them,” Watkins said prior to the debate starting.
By the time the debate began at 6:30 p.m. Chico had also arrived making three candidates on time. Emanuel, Braun and del Valle all showed up late due to a prior commitment but did apologize for their tardiness.
Marion Brooks, news anchor for NBC5 Chicago moderated the debate and the four panelists were Lou Ransom, executive editor, Chicago Defender, Neffer Kerr, a representative from the Student Board of Trustees at Chicago State University, Cheryle Jackson, former president and chief executive officer for the Chicago Urban League, and journalist Monroe Anderson.
Candidates not only answered questions from the panelists but also questions submitted by the audience.
By the time del Valle and Braun arrived they had missed the opening questions about how to improve Chicago Public Schools’ drop out rate and the city’s economic development.
Chico said to lower the drop out rate, which is more than 50 percent; schools must get engaged when students are young and to extend the school day and school year.
Emanuel prefers giving schools a performance contract they must meet, much like many charters schools already do.
Walls took a different stance.
He said more attention is needed for students and for those students needing additional attention there should be no reason why they do not receive it.
And Watkins, who often stood to answer questions rather than remain seated like every other candidate, recommends first hiring an educator to head up CPS and then provide more emotional and social support to students and teachers.
Economic development was another topic tackled by the candidates.
“We have to make sure everyone has equal access to city contracts,” Walls said. (After all) communities are built around parks, schools and libraries.”
Creating more jobs is how Chico would improve economic development.
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Related to:our citymayoral debatechicago defenderwilliam dock wallspatricia van pelt watkinsmiguel del vallegery chicorahm emanueldusable museummayoral candidatesreparationseducationex-offenderseconomic developmentsmall businessesmarion
“We need more jobs in our communities. There has been too much attention on downtown,” explained Chico.
Removing hiring barriers could lead to more jobs, which could ultimately lead to more economic development, argued Watkins.
“Many people from our communities have felony records and cannot get a job because of it,” she said. “And I am not saying employers should not do background checks, but let’s not punish people for life.”
The billions of dollars the city’s 162 Tax Increment Financing districts have generated should be used to help build economic development, Emanuel said.
“TIFs have to be restructured to their original purpose,” he added.
Candidates were asked if they support slavery reparations and all of the candidates but del Valle said yes.
Rather than give a yes or no answer del Valle instead chose to discuss the need to build up neighborhoods and added that “this is reparations to me.”
For the last few years the city has faced a bigger budget deficit and candidates were asked how to deal with it.
Getting city contractors, who Walls said reap millions each year, to cut their profit margin, is one way to do it. He also said the city needs to grow its revenue stream.
Acknowledging that the city’s budget is broken Chico said he would review the entire budget to search for ways to cut waste to avoid raising taxes as a means to increase revenues.
Taxes is exactly what Emanuel said needs to be cut to reduce the budget. He favors eliminating the employee head tax employers must pay for each new person it hires. He would also cut the sales tax for specific retail items.
Braun would renegotiate the parking meter lease deal she said the city got robbed on. Additionally, she would place a moratorium on TIFs and eliminate some city subsidies.
Going through the budget line by line to identify unnecessary spending is the route del Valle said he would go.
And Watkins said she would conduct a forensic audit to identify any fraud or theft that may have occurred. She would also waive fees for two-years for entrepreneurs to allow them time start their business and to build it up.
Afterwards, members of the standing-room-only audience weighed in on the candidates’ performance.
“Now that I had a chance to listen to all candidates, I would vote for Carol,” said Chestine Allen, 79, who arrived undecided. “She strikes me as a person who cares about the community and that is important to me.”
Retired elementary school principal Steven Jones Sr. was also undecided but
now plans to vote for Emanuel.
“He gave the most logistical answers needed to fix Chicago,” said the 66 year-old Chicagoan.
Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Good job, Internet. Someone who must double as a sports fan and a MSTie remembered that "Mystery Science Theater 3000" episode Giant Spider Invasion made a running joke of "Packers won the Super Bowl! Go Packers!" Mike and the bots repeated the line — and variations thereof — repeatedly throughout the 1975 monsterfest, filmed in Merrill, Wisconsin. Here's a montage of all the references, which provide a charming celebration of last night's Super Bowl victory:
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
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