WBEZ | Luis Gutierrez http://www.wbez.org/tags/luis-gutierrez Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Swept from their homes, Chicago's Latinos built new community http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="300" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/45010154&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Chicago is famous for its ethnic neighborhoods. And there&rsquo;s a funny thing about them. A neighborhood&rsquo;s identity can seem like it has been in place <em>forever</em>, even when big ethnic shifts took place just one or two generations ago. This is how many Chicagoans see Pilsen and Little Village, a corridor with the biggest concentration of Latinos in the Midwest. These neighborhoods have so much vitality &mdash; dense housing, bustling commercial strips, packed playgrounds &mdash; that it seems like Latinos must have been there for ages. A curious citizen named <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#CM">CM! Winters-Palacio</a> was wondering how long, so she asked us:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Why are Latinos concentrated in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods? When did it happen?</em></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LUCY%20FINAL.jpg" style="float: right; height: 328px; width: 400px;" title="Near West Side resident Rosie Valtierra holds her goddaughter there on the day of her baptism in the mid-1950s. City Hall has embarked on massive construction projects that will raze much of the area. Valtierra and many other displaced Latinos will end up in Pilsen. (Photo courtesy of Rosemarie Sierra)" />We answered the <em>when</em> part of the question just by looking at census numbers: Pilsen did not become mostly Latino until the 1960s; Little Village didn&rsquo;t until the 1970s. Answering <em>why</em> those changes happened took a little more work. We interviewed experts, searched newspaper archives, pounded Pilsen&rsquo;s pavement and tracked down some of the neighborhood&rsquo;s first Latino residents. In our audio story (above), Lucy Gutiérrez, 87, tells us about bringing her family to Pilsen when the place was still populated mainly by Central and Eastern European descendants &mdash; including the Bohemians whose forebears named it after Plzeň, a city in what is now the Czech Republic. Our research also led to some text snapshots from the history. The snapshots begin on Chicago&rsquo;s Near West Side, which included the city&rsquo;s largest Latino enclave just a few decades ago.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">In old neighborhood, the beginning of the end</span></strong></p><p><strong>FEBRUARY 15, 1949</strong>: A Chicago housing official complains about residents refusing to leave a 14-block stretch from Desplaines to Paulina streets to make way for a new superhighway along Chicago&rsquo;s Congress Street. The official, Detlef E. Mackelmann, says some would not go &ldquo;until the buildings next door were being torn down.&rdquo; The highway&rsquo;s first section, completed in 1955, will displace thousands of people. It will be among several massive construction projects that will raze much of the Near West Side, including a Mexican neighborhood that dates back to the 1920s. The projects will include three expressways, a university campus and public-housing developments. Some of those Mexicans will move to Pilsen, a neighborhood just south. They will form the nucleus of what will become a much bigger Latino community. The Congress highway, for its part, will eventually be named the Eisenhower Expressway.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">1</a></strong></span></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1%20TAYLOR%20STREET%20FINAL.jpg" style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1%20TAYLOR%20STREET%20PIES%20FINAL.jpg" style="margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px;" title="(WBEZ illustrations by Erik Nelson Rodriguez)" /></div></div><p><br /><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">White exodus from Pilsen makes room for newcomers</span></strong></p><p><strong>OCTOBER 18, 1953</strong>: St. Procopius, a 72-year-old Czech parish in Pilsen, rededicates its school with a Sunday dinner. The meal includes turkey, dumplings, sauerkraut, rye bread and kolacky. The music includes the Czech anthem &quot;Kde domov můj?&quot; and an Antonín Dvořák composition. Although the school has begun to enroll some of Pilsen&rsquo;s first Latino children, today&rsquo;s program includes no hint of their cultures. And Rev. Peter Mizera, the St. Procopius priest, has been complaining to the archdiocese about &ldquo;the recent infiltration of the Mexicans.&rdquo; But Pilsen&rsquo;s white population is declining and growing older as young families head to suburbs. St. Procopius and other parishes will have to open their doors to Latinos. By 1955, six Pilsen parochial schools will be enrolling Mexican children. Over the next two decades, several Pilsen parishes will retool themselves, sending priests to learn Spanish in Mexico, building altars and shrines to the Virgin of Guadalupe, even bringing mariachi music into masses. Some other parishes, slow to adapt, will close.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">2</a></strong></span></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Campus construction pushes more Latinos into Pilsen</span></strong></p><p><strong>MARCH 19, 1961</strong>: Led by a mariachi band, hundreds of Mexican protesters march from St. Francis of Assisi Church and tie up Near West Side traffic. The protesters slam a City Hall plan to replace their neighborhood with a University of Illinois campus. They blame Mayor Richard J. Daley and shout, &ldquo;Down with Daley,&rdquo; &ldquo;Daley sold us out&rdquo; and &ldquo;Respeten nuestros hogares&rdquo; (Respect our homes). The protest is part of a much larger effort to derail the university plan. Italians, the area&rsquo;s biggest ethnic group, are leading the resistance but Mexicans are also visible. Roughly 4,800 of them live in the census tracts the city wants the university to take over. The resistance will fail. On May 10, the City Council will designate 106 acres for the campus. Some of the Mexicans will move a few blocks west, but campus expansions will displace them again. Many will end up in Pilsen. The University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus, meanwhile, will open in 1965.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">3</a></strong></span></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Chicano movement builds neighborhood&rsquo;s new identity</span></strong></p><p><strong>APRIL 24, 1969</strong>: More than 100 residents of Chicago&rsquo;s Pilsen neighborhood gather for a public meeting of the Latin American Alliance for Social Advancement, known by its Spanish acronym, ALAS. The meeting occurs at Howell House, a community center focused for decades on Czech immigrants. At the meeting, ALAS endorses Arthur Vázquez to lead Howell House; he will be its first Mexican-American director. The meeting also develops strategies to improve Pilsen schools, expose police brutality and publicize a national grape boycott. The organizing reflects two major changes in Pilsen. First, Mexicans have been pouring into the neighborhood for two decades. Along with the arrivals from the Near West Side, many have come from South Texas or various parts of Mexico. A smaller Latino group in Pilsen has roots in Puerto Rico. The 1970 census will record the neighborhood&rsquo;s first Latino majority. The other big change is the rise of the Chicano civil-rights movement. Reflecting that change, Howell House will get a new name: Casa Aztlán. <span style="font-size: 11px;"><b><u>4</u></b></span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2%20MEETING%20TONIGHT%20FINAL.jpg" title="" /></p><p><strong style="font-size: 22px;">Latino community expands west to Little Village</strong></p><p><strong>OCTOBER 30, 1979</strong>: At the urging of Latinos and veterans, the Chicago Park District board agrees to a proposed memorial plaza honoring Manuel Pérez Jr., a World War II hero killed by enemy fire at age 22 and posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Pérez grew up on the city&rsquo;s Near West Side long before his neighborhood was razed and before many of its Mexican residents moved to Pilsen. The city will build the plaza in 1980 in Little Village, a Southwest Side neighborhood known as the &ldquo;Mexican suburb&rdquo; because of its proximity to Pilsen, its larger homes, and its fast-growing Latino population. Next year&rsquo;s census will show that Latinos constitute the majority of Little Village residents. The Pilsen and Little Village corridor now has the largest concentration of Latinos in the Midwest.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11px;"><b><u>5</u></b></span><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3%20PLAZA%20FINAL.jpg" title="" /></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>Neighborhoods help put Latino in Congress</strong></span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/web%20PilsenFoundGutierrez1crop_0.jpg" style="height: 242px; width: 190px; float: left;" title="" /><strong>MARCH 17, 1992</strong>: In a Democratic primary election for U.S. House, Chicago Ald. Luis V. Gutiérrez (26th Ward) easily defeats his strongest challenger, Juan Soliz. A 1990 court order required a Chicago district with a Latino majority. Shaped like an earmuff, the district covers the Pilsen-Little Village corridor and Puerto Rican neighborhoods on the Northwest Side. Gutiérrez, who was an ally of the late Mayor Harold Washington, has Mayor Richard M. Daley&rsquo;s backing in the Congressional race. After the general election, Gutiérrez will become the first Midwest Latino in the House. Although his family is from Puerto Rico, whose residents are born with U.S. citizenship, Gutiérrez will champion immigrant political causes and maintain strong support in Pilsen and Little Village. <span style="font-size: 11px;"><b><u>6</u></b></span></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Pilsen remains Latino, but for how long?</span></strong></p><p><strong>MAY 20, 1997</strong>: In the name of job creation, Ald. Danny Solis (25th) leads a rally for a plan that would extend the University of Illinois at Chicago southward to the edge of Pilsen. The Daley administration, meanwhile, is planning a tax-increment financing district to boost industry in Pilsen. Some residents are linking those efforts to gentrification on the neighborhood&rsquo;s east end. Those residents say the changes are threatening Pilsen&rsquo;s Mexican-American character and pushing rents and property taxes too high. This summer, artists led by Hector Duarte (<span style="font-size: 11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">7</a></strong></span>) will transform an outdoor wall at 1805 S. Bishop St. into a colorful mural called &ldquo;Stop Gentrification in Pilsen.&rdquo;&nbsp;The mural will depict United Farm Workers co-founder César Chávez and Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata flanking a multigenerational Pilsen family, a pushcart vendor and anti-gentrification protesters. Such efforts will not stop affluent newcomers from moving into Pilsen but, for years to come, the neighborhood will remain the cultural heart of the Chicago area&rsquo;s Mexican-American community. <span style="font-size:11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">8</a></strong></span></p><p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="color:red"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4%20MURAL%20FINAL.jpg" title="" /></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;"><a name="CM"></a>Our question comes from: CM! Winters-Palacio</span></strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cm winters FINAL.jpg" style="height: 194px; width: 185px; float: left;" title="" />African-Americans in Chicago cannot help but look at the city&rsquo;s most heavily Latino neighborhoods with some envy, according to WBEZ listener CM! Winters-Palacio, who lives in Auburn Gresham, a South Side neighborhood. &ldquo;If you drive through Little Village or Pilsen, they&rsquo;re thriving with little local stores,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;When you go on the South Side, it&rsquo;s a totally different experience.&rdquo;</p><p>Winters-Palacio chairs Malcolm X College&rsquo;s library department and tells us her interests include community development and racial segregation. So what does she think of our answer to her question? Pilsen&rsquo;s Latino identity is &ldquo;relatively new,&rdquo; Winters-Palacio says. &ldquo;It helps dispel one of the myths.&rdquo; Namely, that a strong community must have long historical roots.<a id="sources"> </a>Winters-Palacio says Pilsen and Little Village provide hope for her part of town.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Notes</span></strong></p><p><strong>1.</strong> Lilia Fernández, <em>Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicago</em> (University of Chicago Press, 2012). &ldquo;City&rsquo;s &lsquo;DPs&rsquo; sit tight in path of big projects: Evacuation notices just a &lsquo;wolf cry&rsquo; to them,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (February 16, 1949). <strong>2.</strong> Deborah Kanter, &ldquo;Making Mexican Parishes: Ethnic Succession in Chicago Churches, 1947-1977,&rdquo; <em>U.S. Catholic Historian, Volume 301:1</em> (Catholic University of America Press, 2012).&nbsp;<strong>3.</strong>&nbsp;&ldquo;Protest rally today against U. of I. campus,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (March 20, 1961). &ldquo;Council OKs W. Side U. of I. site, 41 to 3: Crowd in gallery boos action, vows fight,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (May 11, 1961). Fernández, op. cit. <strong>4.</strong>&nbsp;Fernández, op. cit. Administrative History, Bethlehem Howell Neighborhood Center collection, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago. <strong>5.</strong>&nbsp;&ldquo;New post of Legion honors Mexican-American hero slain on Luzon,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (June 30, 1946). &ldquo;Slain vet who killed 75 Japs is honored in memorial service,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (February 14, 1949). &ldquo;Ordinance requesting the City of Chicago to convey the Manuel Pérez Jr. Plaza to the Chicago Park District,&rdquo; <em>Journal of the Proceedings of the Board of Commissioners of the Chicago Park District, </em>1979-1980. <strong>6.</strong> John Kass, &ldquo;Gutiérrez picks up Daley&rsquo;s backing for Congress,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Tribune</em> (December 10, 1991). Lou Ortiz, &ldquo;Gutiérrez coasts toward big win in Hispanic district race,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> (March 18, 1992). <strong>7.</strong>&nbsp;Editor&#39;s Note: Duarte is married to WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton. <strong>8.</strong> Gary Marx, &ldquo;Opposition brewing to UIC expansion; proposal may drive out the poor, foes say,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Tribune</em> (March 12, 1997). Ernest Tucker, &ldquo;Latinos urge UIC to move forward with expansion,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> (May 21, 1997). Teresa Puente, &ldquo;Pilsen fears upscale push may shove many out,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Tribune</em> (November 4, 1997).</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a>&nbsp;is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1" target="_blank">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud" target="_blank">@WBEZoutloud</a>. <a href="http://twitter.com/ero_nel" target="_blank">Erik Nelson Rodrigue</a><a href="http://twitter.com/ero_nel" target="_blank">z</a>&nbsp;is an&nbsp;illustrator and graphic designer in Chicago.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538 Gay rights groups bristle at being excluded from immigration bill http://www.wbez.org/news/gay-rights-groups-bristle-being-excluded-immigration-bill-107316 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/durbin_0_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some Illinois gay rights advocates say they feel betrayed by their Democratic allies because same-sex couples aren&rsquo;t legally recognized in an immigration overhaul bill that&rsquo;s headed to the floor of the U.S. Senate next month.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/legislation/immigration/amendments/Leahy/Leahy7-%28MDM13374%29.pdf" target="_blank">provision</a> to recognize so-called bi-national same-sex couples was dropped from the bill at the last minute on Tuesday, just before it was approved, 13 to 5, by the Senate Judiciary Committee.</p><p>Some Senate Republicans had warned the amendment would sink the larger immigration bill. That apparently prompted some Democrats who traditionally back gay rights issues, including Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, to urge his colleagues to leave the language relating to gay couples out of the bill.</p><p>&quot;I believe in my heart of hearts that what you&#39;re doing is the right and just thing,&quot; Durbin said at Tuesday&rsquo;s hearing. &quot;But I believe this is the wrong moment, that this is the wrong bill.&quot;</p><p>Recognition of a same-sex relationship in federal immigration law would mean that marriage or civil unions could be grounds to grant legal status to an immigrant spouse, or to prevent their deportation. Federal law currently defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, although the U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the issue.</p><p>Its exclusion from the Senate bill, after months of lobbying lawmakers, prompted a backlash from Illinois gay rights advocates.</p><p>&ldquo;My initial reaction is anger. Anger that, again, we get scapegoated,&rdquo; said Julio Rodriguez, chair of the LGBTQ Immigrant Rights Coalition of Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s not only a tragedy, but I think it&rsquo;s a sad statement on the part of our allies, and the relationships that I think we believed that we had,&rdquo; Rodriguez said.</p><p>Despite the setback, activists will continue to lobby lawmakers to include recognition for gay couples in a later amendment to the bill in the Democrat-led U.S. Senate, said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state&rsquo;s largest gay rights advocacy group.</p><p>&ldquo;This is the right bill and this is the right time,&rdquo; Cherkasov said Wednesday. &ldquo;You know, this is a comprehensive immigration reform. This could be the only chance we have in a decade, if not in a generation, to fix all the problems of our broken immigration system.&rdquo;</p><p>The pressure from gay rights groups puts Illinois&rsquo; two senators in a difficult political position. Durbin is a liberal Democrat who has traditionally enjoyed support from the gay rights community, and Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk recently bucked his own party to announce his support for same-sex marriage.</p><p>But Durbin didn&rsquo;t immediately respond to WBEZ&rsquo;s interview request Wednesday. And Kirk&rsquo;s office declined to comment on whether he supports recognition of same-sex couples, saying that he&rsquo;s still reviewing the bill.</p><p>The news comes as a blow to the estimated 267,000 gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, according to one <a href="http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/census-lgbt-demographics-studies/us-lgbt-immigrants-mar-2013/" target="_blank">recent study</a>.</p><p>The lack of legal recognition puts that group in limbo, said Phillip Knoll, a 31-year-old Chicagoan who has been dating his boyfriend, who came to the United States from Singapore on a student visa, for the last five years. The legal uncertainty makes it hard to plan for their future together, Knoll said.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s weird to have to consider whether or not you&rsquo;re able to make the sort of decision that&rsquo;s really personal, and that something political has to happen first,&rdquo; Knoll said. &ldquo;I think that&rsquo;s an odd way to think of yourself.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, Knoll said he and his partner remain optimistic that they&rsquo;ll stay together geographically. But down the road, Knoll said his boyfriend&rsquo;s immigration status could affect their decision to marry &ndash; or even to leave the U.S.</p><p>&ldquo;And it would feel like getting pushed out, right?&rdquo; Knoll said.&rdquo; I think it would feel like we were not welcome in the country [where] I was born, and in a country that he&rsquo;s been welcome as a student. Why can&rsquo;t he stay and contribute?&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alex Keefe is a WBEZ political reporter. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/akeefe" target="_blank">@akeefe</a></em></p></p> Wed, 22 May 2013 15:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gay-rights-groups-bristle-being-excluded-immigration-bill-107316 Where was Congressman Gutierrez at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-congressman-gutierrez-25-107062 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/luis25.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://gutierrez.house.gov/about-me/full-biography">Illinois U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez</a> has made a name for himself across the nation as one of the most vocal &nbsp;proponents of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/gutierrez-ryan-push-immigration-overhaul-chicago-106786">immigration reform</a>.</p><p>Gutierrez is a longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives &ndash; he&#39;s been serving since 1992. And years before that, he served as alderman of the 26th Ward in Chicago.</p><p>So, you&rsquo;d think, this guy must have been working toward a spot on Capitol Hill all his life.</p><p>Wrong.</p><p>25-year-old Luis Gutierrez was a 1st, 2nd and 3rd teacher in Puerto Rico. He had followed his then-girlfriend, Soraida, there and eventually married her.</p><p>The two were making a life for themselves - Soraida was going to school, and Luis was the lone male teacher in a little school out in the mountains. He was paid minimum wage - about $3.25 per hour, he says &ndash; which was hardly enough to feed the two of them and get Soraida to school. So, as Gutierrez recalls, he gave what little money he had to Soraida for school and then got creative.</p><p>&ldquo;I remember - it&rsquo;s probably a violation of the law today, I hope it wasn&rsquo;t one then, although I&rsquo;m sure the statute of limitations have run out,&rdquo; Gutierrez said. &ldquo;I used to eat with all the children in the school lunch program.&rdquo;</p><p>Gutierrez says he soon realized Puerto Rico wasn&rsquo;t the best option for him and his wife, so they moved back to Chicago, where he was from originally. After a month or so of fruitless attempts to find a job, Gutierrez decided to get his his chauffeur&#39;s license and drive a cab.</p><p>Yes, you read that right. Illinois U.S. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZbMdFUFAro">Congressman Luis Gutierrez</a>, drove a cab when he was 25 years old.</p><p>&ldquo;So, for all of those that see the cab driver, remember, it could be a transitional moment in their life, and one day they could be actually adopting and proposing the laws of the nation, that guy in the front seat,&rdquo; Gutierrez said.</p><p>In this interview with WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian, Gutierrez tells the stories of his 25th year, and explains how that person had not a clue in the world that he&rsquo;d wind up in elected politics. He also discusses how his personality has changed over the years, and what parts of his 25-year-old self had to change in order to be the lawmaker he is today.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is the WBEZ Morning Producer and Reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Tue, 07 May 2013 15:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-congressman-gutierrez-25-107062 Gutierrez, Ryan push immigration overhaul in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/gutierrez-ryan-push-immigration-overhaul-chicago-106786 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ryan gutierrez WBEZ Alex Keefe.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Midwestern political odd couple teamed up in Chicago Monday to build momentum for an immigration overhaul in Congress, even as some lawmakers have urged a slowdown following last week&rsquo;s bombings at the Boston Marathon.</p><p>United States Reps. Luis Gutierrez, a Chicago Democrat, and Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said they hope to usher an immigration reform bill through the GOP-led House by the end of the summer.</p><p>A sweeping immigration bill that would provide a path to legalization for millions of illegal immigrants was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week. Gutierrez said he and Ryan are in the process of drafting a House bill.</p><p>&ldquo;[N]ow it is time, at the end of the day, after they sweat and they toil, that they can receive the same satisfaction of being a citizen,&rdquo; Gutierrez said.</p><p>Ryan, meanwhile, stressed that changing the &ldquo;broken&rdquo; immigration system goes along with quintessentially Republican ideals. He pointed to his own family&rsquo;s immigration from Ireland during the Great Famine.</p><p>&ldquo;There is no other economic system &ndash; no other immigration system &ndash; that has done more to lift people out of poverty than the American free enterprise system and the American immigration system that we have here,&rdquo; Ryan said.</p><p>The congressmen offered few specifics about the contours of a House immigration bill, but they did highlight several possible components.</p><p>The measure would include an electronic verification system that would allow employers to check the immigration status of would-be workers, Gutierrez said. He also stressed that U.S. officials should crack down on people who overstay their visas, and wants to implement a guest worker program that includes safeguards to protect immigrants against exploitation.</p><p>Ryan, for his part, stressed that an immigration overhaul would strengthen national security by beefing up the country&rsquo;s borders.</p><p>In the wake of the Boston bombings, allegedly perpetrated by two ethnic Chechen brothers who immigrated to the U.S. legally, some Republicans have raised concerns about moving forward with an immigration overhaul too quickly.</p><p>But Ryan said he&rsquo;s not concerned about fellow Republican withdrawing their support, and cautioned against making a &ldquo;knee-jerk assessment&rdquo; about how the Boston bombings might play on Capitol Hill.</p><p>&ldquo;We need a modern immigration that helps us not only protect our border, but protects national security in all of its aspects,&rdquo; Ryan said. &ldquo;So if anything, I would say this is an argument for modernizing our immigration laws.&rdquo;</p><p>A bill in the U.S. Senate would provide a path toward legal status for millions of illegal immigrants, provided they pay a fines and back taxes. Those immigrants could be eligible for citizenship after 13 years. The bill would also provide billions of dollars to beef up border security, and would impose an electronic verification system for employers.</p><p>But some groups have taken issue with the Senate bill, saying it may not provide enough protections for some foreign workers. Others have complained it would abolish visas for immigrants from countries that are underrepresented in the U.S.&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 17:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gutierrez-ryan-push-immigration-overhaul-chicago-106786 Gutiérrez: Cicero officials trying to suppress Latino vote http://www.wbez.org/news/guti%C3%A9rrez-cicero-officials-trying-suppress-latino-vote-105591 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Gutierrez%20and%20Ochoa%209crop.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 234px; width: 250px;" title="U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez and Cicero candidate Juan Ochoa, right, on Monday call for investigations of alleged voter intimidation. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></p><div>A door-to-door canvass by town of Cicero employees over the weekend has U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-4th, and a candidate for the town president&rsquo;s post calling for probes of alleged voter suppression.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Gutiérrez and Juan Ochoa, who is trying to unseat Town President Larry Dominick, say Cicero community-service workers visited homes on Saturday and Sunday to harass and intimidate Latino voters who had requested mail-in ballots ahead of the western suburb&rsquo;s Feb. 26 primary.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The town employees, according to an Ochoa campaign statement, &ldquo;knowingly and falsely portrayed themselves as police officers or private investigators and interrogated and intimidated voters, telling them that voting by mail is illegal and that, if they submitted their mail-in ballots, they would be committing fraud and that their votes would not count.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>At a news conference Monday, the Ochoa campaign called on Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Clerk David Orr and Sheriff Tom Dart to investigate the canvass.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;You need to come here to Cicero and protect the rights of [Latino voters],&rdquo; said Gutiérrez, who is backing Ochoa in the primary. &ldquo;Alvarez, come here. Protect the voters here against this infamy of corruption here in Cicero.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ochoa, former chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, said the Dominick campaign had &ldquo;used public resources to intimidate and suppress the Latino vote.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>About 87 percent of Cicero&rsquo;s 84,000 residents are Hispanic, according to the 2010 census.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cicero officials insisted that the town employees were only looking into what they characterized as likely fraud in the absentee-voting process.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;There were people applying for absentee ballots from lots that are empty lots, from boarded-up homes, from churches &mdash; asking for absentee ballots from places that they could not possibly live at,&rdquo; Thomas Bradley, an attorney for the town, said at a Monday afternoon news conference.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania said about 2,000 absentee ballots had been requested for the primary. That number, he said, was about five times more than in previous town elections.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A Dart spokesman said the sheriff was aware of the Cicero situation and, as a result, planning to increase the number of sheriff&rsquo;s employees scheduled to help monitor next week&rsquo;s balloting.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But the spokesman, Frank Bilecki, made no promises the sheriff&rsquo;s office would probe anything before Election Day. &ldquo;We would have powers to investigate but it has traditionally fallen under the purview of the state&rsquo;s attorney and Illinois attorney general,&rdquo; Bilecki said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Orr, at a news conference Monday afternoon,&nbsp;said his office had notified the U.S. Justice Department and Alvarez&rsquo;s office about the allegations of both voter intimidation and fraud.&nbsp;Orr said Alvarez&rsquo;s office had begun investigating the allegations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alvarez&rsquo;s spokespersons on Monday&nbsp;did not respond to WBEZ requests for comment.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The skirmish follows months of charges and countercharges by the campaigns. Dominick&rsquo;s team has alleged that Ochoa has used gang members as campaign workers. Ochoa&rsquo;s campaign has pointed to Dominick family members on the town payroll and to Cicero&rsquo;s history of mafia influence.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Dominick, a former Cicero police officer, is seeking a third four-year term.</p><p><em>Angelica Robinson contributed reporting. Follow <a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 18 Feb 2013 14:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/guti%C3%A9rrez-cicero-officials-trying-suppress-latino-vote-105591 Durbin to undocumented youths: Watch out for unscrupulous lawyers http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-undocumented-youths-watch-out-unscrupulous-lawyers-101546 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Durbin4cropscaled.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 401px; width: 250px; " title="‘Don’t let them exploit you,’ the senator tells immigrants in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood Tuesday afternoon. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />Two U.S. congressmen from Illinois are warning undocumented youths not to pay steep fees to get help applying for a deportation reprieve under a new immigration policy.</p><p>Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, both Democrats, say most eligible youths can take advantage of the policy, known as &ldquo;deferred action,&rdquo; without a lawyer or any payment beyond a $465 fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency accepting the applications.</p><p>&ldquo;There are <em>notarios </em>as well as attorneys out there who are trying to take money away from these young people and their families,&rdquo; Durbin said Tuesday afternoon at a meeting with immigrants in Chicago&rsquo;s Pilsen neighborhood. &ldquo;They say, &lsquo;Oh, give me $1,000, give me $2,000, and I will help you.&rsquo; &rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t let them exploit you,&rdquo; Durbin said.</p><p>Under the policy, announced by President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration in June, undocumented immigrants can request permission to stay and work in the country by submitting a document starting August 15. The administration, which has not released that document yet, is expecting more than 1 million requests, according to an Associated Press report.</p><p>To qualify, immigrants must be 30 or younger, have arrived in the United States before turning 16, have lived in the country at least five years, and be in school or graduated or served in the military. They also must have no criminal record and pose no safety threat. The permission to live and work in the country lasts two years and is renewable.</p><p>The policy does not provide a path to citizenship &mdash; a key difference from stalled legislation, known as the DREAM Act, that Durbin has pushed for more than a decade.</p><p>Durbin and Gutiérrez urged immigrants who may be eligible for relief under the policy to attend an August 15 workshop at Chicago&rsquo;s Navy Pier, where the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is organizing hundreds of volunteers to provide information and help fill out the applications.</p><p>Gutiérrez added that the policy could lead to an overhaul that stretches far beyond the youths. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s incumbent upon us, now that we&rsquo;ve got this, to move on to their moms and their dads,&rdquo; the representative said. &ldquo;Comprehensive immigration reform is what is necessary and that&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;re going to work on next.&rdquo;</p><p>Conservative critics call the Obama policy a backdoor amnesty plan aimed at increasing the president&rsquo;s Latino support before November&rsquo;s election.</p></p> Tue, 07 Aug 2012 16:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-undocumented-youths-watch-out-unscrupulous-lawyers-101546 Emanuel's former opponents grade his first 100 days http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuels-former-opponents-grade-his-first-100-days-91045 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-26/AP110217115127.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Today we wrap up our coverage of Rahm Emanuel's first 100 days in office. All week we've brought you stories about the new Chicago mayor: what he's accomplished, where he's fallen short.</p><p>Now we give the microphone to people who tried to stop Emanuel from getting the job in the first place. We asked the mayor's political opponents to grade his first 100 days.</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483665-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-august/2011-08-26/emanuel-critics-feature110826sh.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>Miguel del Valle thinks this story is stupid. Okay, so he didn't actually say that to me. He's too polite. But last week at a diner on Western Avenue, around bites of oatmeal and raisins, del Valle complained about the whole notion of 100 day assessments.</p><p>"Well, I don't think it's a benchmark that should be used at all," del Valle said. "It takes time."</p><p>Del Valle is a former city clerk, and up until February 22, a candidate for mayor. He finished a very distant third to Emanuel.</p><p>"The 100 days is more about a perception of whether or not there's movement, whether of not that movement is in the right direction," del Valle said.</p><p>One area where del Valle thinks Emanuel is moving in the wrong direction is on property taxes.</p><p>"The mayor said there would not be a property tax increase in the city of Chicago," del Valle said. "Well, we're looking at a property tax increase for CPS. Now, I think it's a bit disingenuine on the part of the administration to say, 'Well,&nbsp; we said that there wouldn't be a property tax increase for city services.' Well, the schools are a part of the city."</p><p>Generally speaking, though, del Valle said Emanuel is doing well, has energy and a no-nonsense approach to governing. But he said it's too early to judge how Emanuel will do when it comes to the city's $600 million budget deficit, or other big-ticket items.</p><p>"Well, I'd give him an A for effort," said another mayoral candidate, Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, delivering a preliminary grade for Emanuel. If the 2015 election were held today, Watkins said she'd vote for her one-time opponent.</p><p>"He has surpassed my expectations," Watkins said. "I did not expect him to get out in the neighborhoods like he has, and talk to the people, because he shied away from all the forums. And he was more like a television - he ran a campaign - a Rose Garden campaign. But I've seen him in the neighborhoods. And I've seen him talk to people, and try to figure out what people are concerned about."</p><p>One thing Watkins is concerned about that she hasn't heard Emanuel address, is the issue of ex-offenders: how to help people leaving prison stay out of prison.</p><p>"Now, I met with Rahm Emanuel right after the election, and I talked to him about the ex-offender issue," Watkins recalled. "And he told me he understood it. He said, 'I understand if we do not provide some type of re-entry support for people coming back...they're going to continue in that cycle and we're going to continue to pay. He said, 'I haven't figured out how to deal with it yet.' But he said, 'It's important to me, and I am thinking about it, and I want you to know that.'"</p><p>Watkins is still waiting.</p><p>During the campaign, she got a lot of exposure after a major candidate, former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, ridiculed Watkins for her past - admitted - drug abuse.</p><p>The former senator declined to talk for this story, because - she told me - an interview would be like "one cocktail" for a "recovering politician." But one of her key supporters did agree to weigh in on Emanuel's first 100 days.</p><p>"Right now, it's a mixed review," said Jonathan Jackson, who is the national spokesman for Rainbow PUSH, and - though he'd rather not be known just for this - the son of the Reverend Jesse Jackson. He sharply criticized Emanuel during the campaign as a stranger to the South Side who only came around to get votes.</p><p>Sitting in his father's office last week, Jackson told me he wishes Emanuel were speaking out more on some things - like the increase in shootings by police. But he sees positive signs.</p><p>"I would congratulate him on taking a stand on increasing the school day," Jackson said. "I like to see that the new schools CEO is going to reinstitute recess back into the Chicago Public Schools. It never should have been gone. So those are important steps."</p><p>Jackson said he has not met or talked with Emanuel since the election day, though he acknowledged he has not requested a meeting.</p><p>U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez has met with Emanuel. Perhaps uncomfortably, though, as Gutierrez backed candidate Gery Chico in the mayoral race, and recorded a Spanish-language commercial claiming Emanuel "turned his back to us and our most vulnerable families" when it came to immigration reform.</p><p>Gutierrez's tone has changed dramatically. The congressman's spokesman said in an email that Gutierrez "is extremely impressed and encouraged by the mayor's first few months in office" especially his work "related to immigrants." And he said Gutierrez and Emanuel are "developing a good working relationship."</p><p>Gery Chico, it should be noted, has been appointed chair of the state Board of Education but is still awaiting state Senate confirmation - a limbo that could explain why he didn't answer my repeated interview requests.</p><p>Chico's biggest supporters during the campaign - and therefore, Rahm Emanuel's biggest detractors - were labor leaders. And many of them declined to comment for this story. But not Rocco Terranova.</p><p>In addition to having an awesome name, Rocco Terranova is head of the Sheet Metal Workers' Union Local 73. About a thousand of his members live in Chicago, but only 87 of them work for the city. Still, their union was - and is - concerned about Emanuel. About privatization that could cost jobs. About overtime changes that could mean smaller paychecks.</p><p>"He's probably a little better. He's better than we thought," Terranova said this week. "We haven't had a lot of changes that we thought were going to come down right away against the unions, to be honest. So, we haven't...we feel very fortunate to be working with him."</p><p>Other union leaders have criticized Emanuel's early posturing with labor. But for the sheet metal workers, the mayor is benefiting from exceptionally low expectations.</p><p>And there could be something else at play in all this nice talk. Who could blame Rocco Terranova, Luis Gutierrez and other former Emanuel critics from trying to develop "working relationships" with him? Or all those others who didn't want their comments in this story?</p><p>For at least the next three years and 265-odd days, he is the mayor.</p></p> Fri, 26 Aug 2011 17:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuels-former-opponents-grade-his-first-100-days-91045 GOP members of Congress sue Illinois over remap http://www.wbez.org/story/gop-members-congress-sue-illinois-over-remap-89731 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-28/IL-congressional-maps-3_WBEZ_file.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois are suing the state over new boundaries for congressional districts.</p><p>According to the lawsuit filed in federal court, the new map is an "outrageous partisan gerrymander" designed to eliminate five Republicans in next year's election.</p><p>The lawsuit also makes the case that Latino voting power is being diluted. The map, it claims, packs "an excessive super-majority of Latino voters" into U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez's district.</p><p>The complaint was filed by all of the state's congressional Republicans except for U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson.</p><p>"While Congressman Johnson believes the redistricting process leading to this map was unfair and a distortion of the people's wishes, these challenges have not succeeded in the past," said Johnson's spokesman, Phil Bloomer. "So Congressman Johnson has decided to devote his energy and his resources to his re-election campaign."</p><p>Bloomer added that Johnson is "hopeful that an impartial court will modify the map in a way that's in the voters' best interests."</p><p>If the map remains intact, it's likely to set up some incumbent-versus-incumbent GOP primary fights. One Republican House member who finds himself in a complicated political position is freshman Joe Walsh from the Northwest suburbs. He currently represents the 8th Congressional District.</p><p>"I know I'm running somewhere," Walsh said Tuesday, before the lawsuit was filed. "I don't know where. I live in what would be the new 14th. My district office is in what would be the new 10th. A big chunk of my district is in what would be the new 6th."</p><p>If Walsh does choose to run where he lives - the 14th - it is likely to set up a primary against another freshman congressman, Randy Hultgren.</p><p>On Wednesday, the heavy-weight conservative group Club for Growth announced in a news release that if the redistricting lawsuit fails, it will endorse Walsh for that seat.</p><p>"In less than a year, Congressman Walsh has distinguished himself as a pro-growth leader," said Chris Chocola, the group's president and a former congressman from Indiana.</p><p>Hultgren's staff didn't immediately return requests for comment.</p><p>Last week the GOP's leaders in the Illinois legislature, state Rep. Tom Cross and state Sen. Christine Radogno, sued the state over the boundaries included in the map for state legislative districts.</p><p>Both lawsuits name as defendants the Illinois State Board of Elections, which will be represented in court by the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.</p><p>Regarding both cases, Madigan spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler emailed, "We plan to vigorously defend the state."</p></p> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 20:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/gop-members-congress-sue-illinois-over-remap-89731 Chicago Democrats clash over Illinois House seat http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-democrats-clash-over-illinois-house-seat-87408 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-03/MendozaCityHallcrop.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A top Chicago official is criticizing the way her party is filling her former Illinois House seat.<br> <br> Susana Mendoza resigned as District 1 representative last month to become city clerk. To replace her, the district’s Democratic ward committeemen chose Chicago police Sgt. Dena Carli.<br> <br> Party insiders say the plan is for Carli to exit the seat this summer, once a long-term replacement establishes residency in the district, which spans parts of several Southwest Side neighborhoods, including Little Village, Brighton Park and Gage Park.<br> <br> The sources say Carli’s replacement will be Silvana Tabares, a former editor of the bilingual weekly newspaper Extra. Tabares graduated last year from the leadership academy of the United Neighborhood Organization, a clout-heavy Latino group.<br> <br> UNO chief Juan Rangel says he doesn’t know anything about the plan but praises Tabares. “She would be, by far, the best candidate to fill the seat,” Rangel says.<br> <br> Mendoza doesn’t think so. She pushed for her replacement to be Evelyn Rodríguez, an aide to U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Illinois.<br> <br> “Neither Carli nor Tabares is qualified,” Mendoza says. “The citizens and the residents of the First District were completely shortchanged in this process.”<br> <br> The Illinois constitution requires state lawmakers to live in their district for two years before their election or appointment.<br> <br> Tabares, listed at 4335 S. Spaulding Ave., says she’s lived in the district for “about two years” but claims she can’t remember the month she moved in.<br> <br> Tabares says she’s eager to serve in the seat but says she knows nothing about the plan for her to take it. She referred WBEZ questions about the plan to two of the committeemen: Chicago Ald. Ed Burke, Ward 14, and State Sen. Tony Muñoz, District 1.<br> <br> Burke and Muñoz didn’t return the station’s calls about the seat. Neither did Carli.</p></p> Fri, 03 Jun 2011 21:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-democrats-clash-over-illinois-house-seat-87408 What the numbers mean for Emanuel, Braun and Chico http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-02-25/what-numbers-mean-emanuel-braun-and-chico-82949 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Rahm Election Night_Getty_Scott Olson.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img title="" alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-February/2011-02-25/rahm%26carol.jpg" style="width: 487px; height: 313px;" /></p><p>There&rsquo;s no disputing the numbers: Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel had an overwhelming victory in an election that &ndash; while not quite as big as had been anticipated &ndash; brought a higher percentage of registered voters to the polls than any other municipal campaign since 1995.</p><p><span style="font-family: Arial;">Emanuel won the heavily white, Jewish and gay lakefront by more than 60 percent of the vote, scoring nearly 75 percent in the 42<sup>nd</sup>, 43<sup>rd</sup> and 44<sup>th</sup>.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Rahm also won four of the ten Latino majority wards: the 26<sup>th</sup>, 30<sup>th</sup>, 31<sup>st</sup>, 33<sup>rd</sup> and 35<sup>th</sup> &ndash; all north side wards, each and every one far away from his good buddy Juan Rangel&rsquo;s sphere of influence (in other words, though Rahm may be giving him a shout out, there&rsquo;s no way Juan, based on the southwest side, had squat to do with those victories).</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">But most significantly &ndash; and perhaps most crucial to avoiding a run-off -- Emanuel won every single African-American majority ward in the city: the 3<sup>rd</sup>, 4<sup>th</sup>, 5<sup>th</sup>, 6<sup>th</sup>, 7<sup>th</sup>, 8<sup>th</sup>, 9<sup>th</sup>, 15<sup>th</sup>, 16th, 17<sup>th</sup>, 18<sup>th</sup>, 20<sup>th</sup>, 21<sup>st</sup>, 24<sup>th</sup>, 28<sup>th</sup>, 29<sup>th</sup>, 34<sup>th</sup> and 37<sup>th</sup>.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">And he won big -- often by breathtaking margins of 30 and even 40 points. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">No question the President&rsquo;s coattails were long in this case (again, in spite of Rahm&rsquo;s shout out, I don&rsquo;t buy that Jesse White&rsquo;s late endorsement had much to do with this win). And there seems little doubt that, in spite of a pre-election<a href="http://www.chicagodefender.com/article-10079-we-endorse-carol-moseley-braun-for-mayor-feb-22.html"> editorial</a> in <em>The Chicago Defender</em> that endorsed Carol Moseley Braun and claimed Emanuel &ldquo;has shown no affinity for (Chicago&rsquo;s) 1 million African-Americans,&rdquo; the vast majority of the city&rsquo;s black voters thought otherwise. Emanuel&rsquo;s victory margins in each African-American majority ward evidence support &ndash; frankly, very enthusiastic support.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">But in a contest with a &ldquo;consensus&rdquo; black candidate &ndash; with a campaign supported by some of the African-American community&rsquo;s best known and best loved figures and financed by black millionaires -- this kind of turnout for Rahm Emanuel is also irrefutable testimony of just how out of touch the old black leadership may well be with its own grassroots community. It is also startling proof of the utter lack of an on-the-ground organization to get the vote out, which means the &quot;consensus&quot; group's endorsement was ultimately meaningless.<br /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">How badly did Braun, the &ldquo;consensus&rdquo; candidate, lose? Catastrophically. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">She came in fourth overall in the city, behind both Gery Chico and Miguel del Valle, and only better than the other two African-American candidates, both mavericks who were never expected to get more a few votes. </span><span style="font-family: Arial;">In her own 5th ward, Emanuel humiliated Braun 62 percent to 16.7 percent.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Carol didn&rsquo;t win a single ward &ndash; <em>not one</em> &ndash; in all of Chicago. And in the black majority wards, that was <em>her </em>Rahm Emanuel was trouncing by 30 to 40 points over and over. <br /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">In the 18<sup>th</sup> ward, where African Americans make up nearly 68 percent of the population, Braun even came in <em>third</em> to Chico, 20.3 percent to 17.7 percent. Granted, the 18<sup>th</sup> ward has a maverick streak: Until Mayor Daley appointed Lola Lane to finish out Thomas Murphy&rsquo;s term once he got bumped up to judge, Murphy had been the only white alderman from a black majority ward. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">In fact, outside of the black majority wards, Braun was held to <em>single digits</em>. Only in the 27<sup>th</sup>, which is a black plurality ward, did she hit 10.5 percent of the vote.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">And in four wards &ndash; the 14<sup>th</sup>, 38<sup>th</sup>, 41<sup>st</sup>, and 45<sup>th</sup> (all white majority except the 14<sup>th</sup>, which has a Hispanic majority), she actually scored<em> less than one percent</em>.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">In spite of endorsing Braun days before election (in a twisted editorial that emphasized her resume way more than her achievements), <em>The Defender</em>&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.chicagodefender.com/article-10128-black-chicago-leadership-failed-in-this-election.html">editorial</a> late on election night may have bared the staff&rsquo;s real frustrations:</span></p> <blockquote><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Arial;">&ldquo;This election was lost over the last 22 years, because what constitutes Black leadership in Chicago seemed to be caught with its pants down when Daley decided he wasn&rsquo;t going to run for re-election. Since Harold Washington died in 1987, a whole generation of able and qualified aspirants to City Hall have been co-opted, bought out, or chased away, and when leaders went looking for mayoral candidates, they found the cupboards largely bare. So we got Cong. Danny Davis, at 69, running for mayor, a year older than Daley, who was retiring. We got Braun, who had not been active in politics for nearly 15 years, stepping into the fray. We had William &lsquo;Dock&rsquo; Walls running for this third different post in the last four years, and we had Patricia Van Pelt Watkins coming out of nowhere to seek the office of mayor in her first foray into politics. She obviously didn&rsquo;t read the book about paying political dues &hellip; This was a watershed election for Chicago, but especially for Black Chicago. Not only could we not come up with a &lsquo;consensus&rsquo; Black candidate (while the white community certainly did by sending Tom Dart and Lisa Madigan home to spend more time with family), we didn&rsquo;t really support any Black candidate.&rdquo;</span></p></blockquote><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Indeed, it might be time to make way, not for those who still have memories of Harold but for those for whom Harold fought for a better future long after he was gone.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">*<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>*<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>*</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">One other election note: Second place winner Gery Chico won ten wards, of which six were Latino majority wards. But the actual picture&rsquo;s a little bit more complicated. <br /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Who supported Chico? Well, if you look at the wards he won, Chico's Machine ties are glaring. His victories came in:</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; * the 10<sup>th</sup> ward, Ed Vrdolyak&rsquo;s old territory, where alderman and committeeman John Pope adheres to Machine tradition; </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; * the 11<sup>th</sup>, run by John Daley, the most &quot;old school&quot; of the Daleys; </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; * the 12<sup>th</sup>, coordinated by committeeman Tony Muñoz, the Machine ally who ousted progressive Jesus Garcia as state senator years ago;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; * Michael Madigan&rsquo;s 13<sup>th</sup>;<span style="">&nbsp; </span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; * Ed Burke&rsquo;s 14<sup>th</sup>; <span style="">&nbsp;</span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; * the 19<sup>th</sup>, where Matt O&rsquo;Shea, the new alderman and heir to Machine stalwart Virginia Rugai, is also the committeeman;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; * the 23<sup>rd</sup>, which is run by Daley&rsquo;s president <em>pro tempore</em> of the City Council, Michael Zalewski, also the old school ward committeeman; </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; * and finally, the 25<sup>th</sup>, where Ald. Danny Solis is also the committeeman, and when he&rsquo;s not Daley&rsquo;s best Latino ally in the council, he&rsquo;s allied with Cong. Luis Gutierrez, who put everything he had into getting Chico elected this time.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Chico also won the 41<sup>st</sup>, the city&rsquo;s most Republican ward (and the most bipartisan, if we&rsquo;re talking old style Dems), where he may have found his most natural constituency. It&rsquo;s fair to say that most GOPers would find Rahm Emanuel's politics unthinkable, except for the utterly unfathomable and even more liberal and progressive politics of Carol Moseley Braun and Miguel del Valle. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Chico also won the 22<sup>nd</sup>, the city&rsquo;s most Latino ward, where he challenged alderman and committeeman Rick Munoz, County Commissioner Jesus Garcia and state legislature aspirant Rudy Lozano, Jr., all del Valle supporters, on their home turf. This was a classic 22<sup>nd</sup> ward fight, where ethnicity doesn&rsquo;t matter and the very last remnants of the Machine refuse to die while the progressives continue to flail. It&rsquo;s also the ward which historically casts the fewest votes, as was the case again with 4,847.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">And in spite of the tough words Chico had for Rahm Emanuel during the campaign, be assured that Chico will be back, and probably sooner rather than later. David Mosena, the former Daley chief of staff who made Chico his deputy and launched his career as Daley&rsquo;s go-to guy, has just been named to Mayor-elect Emanuel&rsquo;s transition team. </span><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br /></span></p></p> Fri, 25 Feb 2011 06:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-02-25/what-numbers-mean-emanuel-braun-and-chico-82949