The idea behind a referendum is to give voters a direct voice in making their community better. These ballot questions can cover anything from stem-cell research to the fate of an empty lot. They may be binding or just advisory. Last month, referenda were on ballots in nine Chicago precincts.
A Chicago-based group called CeaseFire works in the city’s toughest neighborhoods. It trains former gang members to mediate conflicts that could turn violent. Those conflicts might be over turf or money, a pecking order or a personality clash.
Another Chicago mayoral candidate is pulling out of the race. The Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus said Friday he’d throw his weight behind lobbyist Gery Chico. De Jesus leads a mostly Puerto Rican church called New Life Covenant, one of the city’s biggest congregations.
Jose Guerrero does make art in his Pilsen studio. In fact, he’s getting ready for a show as we speak. But mostly, Gerrero gives tours of all the murals around the Pilsen neighborhood. It’s because of this that he calls himself an amateur anthropologist.
Jose Guerrero is from San Antonio. His nifty wife Margaret, who doesn’t want to talk, is from Tennessee. She sits in the corner, laughing at our jokes. I’m not sure they’re all that funny, but she’s a good-humored woman, and probably doesn’t need the prompting.