WBEZ | chicago politics http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-politics Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The night Chicago politicians spent punching each other in the face http://www.wbez.org/news/night-chicago-politicians-spent-punching-each-other-face-112267 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/roar%20by%20shore%20image.jpg" style="height: 351px; width: 620px;" title="" />Things have been getting pretty heated on the Illinois political beat lately, but as it turns out, it&rsquo;s nothing compared to the fisticuffs of nearly two decades ago.</p><p>I want us to look back at a time in Chicago&rsquo;s history when aldermen were punching each other in the face.</p><p>For real.</p><p>It was a mild summer night in June of 1997. Families and political insiders cheered from all sides of the boxing ring at the South Side Cultural Center.</p><p>In opposing corners of the ring (you knew that was coming): Chicago aldermen with their reputations and faces on the line. If not for the few videos and news photos that are still around, it might be hard to believe this actually happened. One newsreel features a sweating and panting Ald. Michael Zalewski, who was pulled in front of the camera as soon as he stepped out of the ring.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m out of shape,&rdquo; he huffed. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been in politics a little bit too long.&rdquo;</p><p>It was a boxing match with a name as big as the egos on the roster: The Roar by the Shore. The event was the brainchild of alderman and former boxer Walter Burnett Jr.</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/roar%20by%20the%20shore%20text.jpg" style="height: 272px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>&ldquo;Everybody thinks they can beat someone,&rdquo; Burnett said. &ldquo;You know, they look at you and think, &lsquo;Oh I can beat you. Right?&rsquo; That&rsquo;s always in people&rsquo;s minds until they actually get into a fight.&rdquo;</p><p>Whether that&rsquo;s true for <em>everybody</em> is up for debate, but when the Chicago Park District boxing program needed some cash, Burnett instantly thought throwing his colleagues in the ring would make for the perfect fundraiser. As it turns out, it couldn&rsquo;t have been a bigger hit at City Hall. Burnett remembers that even old-school guys like Ald. Bernie Stone and Ald. Burt Natarus, who weren&rsquo;t ever really going to step foot in the ring, were apparently talking smack.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh, all week, all day, everywhere you went, it was jokes about the boxing match,&rdquo; Burnett said. &ldquo;I mean, that&rsquo;s all that was going on. It just took over. It just literally took over City Hall.&rdquo;</p><p>The roster included 10 guys from Springfield to City Hall and two women - one alderman and one park district employee. There was even one journalist, WGN anchor Larry Potash, who is remembered as a &ldquo;killer&rdquo; in the ring.</p><p>John Kass was the <em>Chicago Tribune</em> City Hall reporter at the time, and says he may have nudged Burnett a bit to put the event together.</p><p>&ldquo;The aldermen are generally cocks of the walk, okay?&rdquo; Kass said. &ldquo;Stiff legged, puffed chests, you know, like dogs on the corner.&rdquo;</p><p>Who would have thought that those same politicians would put themselves out there in the ring? Apparently the decision didn&rsquo;t come easily for everyone.</p><p>&ldquo;I went to a boxing coach at the East Bank Club and he said, where have you been? People have been training for weeks and months!&rdquo; Ald. Daniel Solis recalled. &ldquo;And I got second thoughts.&rdquo;</p><p>Solis was so concerned about being embarrassed he wouldn&rsquo;t even let his wife and daughters come to watch. This was clearly more than just any old fundraiser for him and other fighters&mdash;winning really mattered.</p><p>Solis says he went into his match with Zalewski with a game plan.</p><p>&ldquo;When I was in high school I used to take karate. So I said you know I&rsquo;m gonna just take hits, and if I get an opening I&rsquo;m gonna use in karate what you call a straight punch. And I did that - and it worked perfectly, he fell down,&rdquo; Solis said.</p><p>Zalewski, however, remembers it a bit differently.</p><p>&ldquo;I had bought a brand new pair of gym shoes for the event, and they weren&rsquo;t really the right size, so when I fell, people thought I was knocked down, but actually I just tripped,&rdquo; Zalewski said.</p><p>At that point, Solis says his East Bank Club coach told him, &ldquo;I thought you were gonna get killed, but I think you&rsquo;ve got a chance now.&rdquo;</p><p>Solis eventually won the bout. The event ended up all over television, and on the front page of the newspaper. But even after all that, this would be the one and only time the city ever heard the so-called Roar by the Shore.</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/Screen%20Shot%202015-06-28%20at%207.25.45%20PM.png" style="height: 557px; width: 620px;" title="(Chicago Tribune)" /></div><p>&ldquo;The next day when everyone was in pain, and their wives had to massage &lsquo;em and put Bengay on &lsquo;em and all that stuff, couple of guys were like &lsquo;my wife (is) mad at you! For getting me to do this!&rsquo;&rdquo; Burnett said.</p><p>I figured this story was appealing to me because I cover these guys all the time. But turns out, many Chicagoans I talked with want to see Roar by the Shore Round 2.</p><p>Fred Smith was taking a cigarette break by Daley Plaza, and he told me a boxing match would be a welcome break in the performance that Chicago politics has become.</p><p>&ldquo;I want to see the real person, because that&rsquo;s what people relate to. I say you&rsquo;d get the sweat, the grit, the blood, the scratches, all of that stuff. That&rsquo;s what Chicago people are all about,&rdquo; Smith said.</p><p>Mary Curry was setting up an event near City Hall.</p><p>&ldquo;The difference between athletics and politics is you can&rsquo;t shim sham a winner, you&rsquo;re either the fastest, or the strongest or you can throw the ball the farthest. You can&rsquo;t lie about that, that&rsquo;s the real deal,&rdquo; Curry said.</p><p>As for our boxing aldermen, they said they&rsquo;re not against a rematch, but it being nearly 20 years later and all, they&rsquo;d prefer to leave the gloves to younger aldermen.</p><p>Burnett he said it might actually be good for politics.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a funny thing after you fight someone. It brings you closer to each other,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>A lot of people I talked to, both politicians and civilians, say a boxing match might be a good option for Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan as they attempt to work through the state budget.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s city politics reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/night-chicago-politicians-spent-punching-each-other-face-112267 Emanuel wins re-election over Garcia in race for Chicago mayor http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-wins-re-election-over-garcia-race-chicago-mayor-111840 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rahm for hp.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Rahm Emanuel won re-election Tuesday as voters in Chicago&#39;s first mayoral runoff decided that, despite his brusque management style, the former White House chief of staff was best equipped to deal with the many dire challenges facing the nation&#39;s third-largest city.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Map: <a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/elections/2015/runoff-map/" target="_blank">2015 Runoff Election Results</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Emanuel was forced to campaign furiously across the city to beat Cook County Commissioner Jesus &quot;Chuy&quot; Garcia after failing to capture a majority against four other candidates in a February election. The mayoral runoff was the first since the city changed the way it conducts elections about 20 years ago.</p><p>&quot;To all the voters I want to thank you for putting me through my paces,&quot; Emanuel told supporters Tuesday night. &quot;I will be a better mayor because of that. I will carry your voices, your concerns into ... the mayor&#39;s office.&quot;</p><p>With nearly all voting precincts reporting results, Emanuel had about 56 percent of the vote compared to around 44 percent for Garcia.</p><p>&quot;We didn&#39;t lose today, we tried,&quot; Garcia told supporters gathered at the University of Illinois at Chicago. &quot;We fought hard for what we believed in. You don&#39;t succeed at this or anything else unless you try.&quot;</p><p>The incumbent highlighted tough decisions he&#39;s made since succeeding former Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2011, but admitted that his management approach too often rubbed city residents the wrong way. He portrayed Garcia as too inexperienced to handle the city&#39;s financial crunch.</p><p>Many of those heading to the polls Tuesday said the election should be a signal.</p><p>&quot;Hopefully he (Emanuel) takes heed of the runoff when he should have been a shoo-in,&quot; said Richard Rowe, a 50-year-old, who planned to vote for the incumbent.</p><p>Jesus Fernandez, a 44-year-old window washer who voted for Garcia, had the same view.</p><p>&quot;If he (Garcia) gets close, we might push Rahm to do something,&quot; Fernandez said. &quot;At least we push him a little bit.&quot;</p><p>Emanuel raised far more money than Garcia, plastered the airwaves with ads and had support from his former boss, President Barack Obama, who cast an early ballot for him from Washington.</p><p>The mayor faces huge obstacles in his second term, from fixing the worst-funded pension systems of any big U.S. city to stemming stubborn violence and confronting labor unions that just spent millions trying to defeat him.</p><p>Chicago&#39;s four pension systems are about $20 billion in debt, and the fund for Chicago Public Schools teachers is short about $7 billion of what&#39;s needed to pay benefits as promised.</p><p>If Emanuel can&#39;t work a deal with labor unions or get the Illinois Legislature to approve relief, the city is on the hook for an additional $550 million payment to the retirement accounts, bringing the total payment to about $1 billion. He&#39;s said that would be roughly equal to the annual cost of having 4,300 police officers on the street or raising property taxes by 150 percent.</p><p>Emanuel also must deal with ongoing concerns about crime, one of the areas Garcia hit him on repeatedly during the election. After a spike in homicides early in his first term, the number fell to the lowest level in a half-century though the number of shootings has climbed 12 percent.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m proud of what we&#39;ve accomplished in these past four years, but I understand the challenges we face will require me to approach them differently and to work in a different fashion,&quot; Emanuel said. &quot;The only way to meet these challenges is to bridge the gaps between the things that divide us and start focusing on the things that unite us and bring us together.&quot;</p><p>Garcia, a former community organizer, alderman and state lawmaker, ran a campaign focused on the city&#39;s neighborhoods, with support from teachers and unions upset with Emanuel. He accused the mayor of being out of touch with voters and blamed him for the fiscal problems, while playing up the mayor&#39;s push to close about 50 schools and a gang violence problem that spiked during Emanuel&#39;s first term.</p><p>He also vowed to end Chicago&#39;s troubled red-light camera system, which some residents believe is discriminatory and focuses more on revenue than safety.</p><p>Election officials said more than 142,300 Chicago voters cast early ballots for the runoff, far outpacing early voting turnout in February and four years ago.</p></p> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 19:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-wins-re-election-over-garcia-race-chicago-mayor-111840 Results: 2015 Chicago runoff election http://www.wbez.org/news/results-2015-chicago-runoff-election-111826 <p><div id="all"><a name="all"></a></div><script type="text/javascript" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/scripts/pym.js"></script><script> var pymGov = new pym.Parent('all', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2015/by_state/IL_Page_0407.html?SITE=2015ELECTIONS&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); </script></p> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 01:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/results-2015-chicago-runoff-election-111826 Jesse Jackson Jr. leaves federal prison for halfway house http://www.wbez.org/news/jesse-jackson-jr-leaves-federal-prison-halfway-house-111763 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/jjj_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated 3/27/2015</em></p><p>CHICAGO (AP) &mdash; Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. arrived at a Baltimore halfway house late Thursday, hours after leaving an Alabama federal prison where he was serving a sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal items.</p><p>Jackson arrived Thursday night with members of his family at the Volunteers of America halfway house, where he begins his transition back into society.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m very very happy that I&#39;m with my wife and children, I&#39;ve missed them a very long time,&quot; Jackson said as he pushed through a group of reporters to enter the halfway house.</p><p>Earlier in the day, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, speaking by phone shortly after picking up his 50-year-old son, described his release from the minimum security federal prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base as a &quot;joyous reunion.&quot; He added that the younger Jackson was doing &quot;very well.&quot; The civil rights leader was not with his son when he checked into the facility.</p><p>The halfway house has been in operation for more than 30 years in the same two-story brick facility in Baltimore, according to spokeswoman Danielle Milner.</p><p>The facility serves between 500 and 700 residents annually with housing, employment counseling and other transitional services. Some people are allowed to live in their own homes, but that&#39;s up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, she said.</p><p>Jackson Sr. had said earlier Thursday that his son will be living at the halfway house for six months, but federal officials have not confirmed that.</p><p>&quot;He is respecting the rules and the process,&quot; the Rev. Jackson said. &quot;He is not asking for any special privileges.&quot;</p><p>Jackson Jr. said he didn&#39;t know what would happen once he has checked into Volunteers of America.</p><p>Jackson began his 2 &frac12;-year prison sentence on Nov. 1, 2013, and his release date is Sept. 20, 2015. After that, Jackson must spend three years on supervised release under jurisdiction of the U.S. Probation Office and complete 500 hours of community service.</p><p>At some point, it will be his wife&#39;s turn to serve out her punishment on a related conviction.</p><p>Sandra Jackson, a former Chicago alderman, was sentenced to a year in prison for filing false joint federal income tax returns that knowingly understated the income the couple received. In a concession to the couple&#39;s two children, a judge allowed the Jacksons to stagger their sentences, with the husband going first.</p><p>Jackson served in Congress from 1995 until he resigned in November 2012. In June 2012, he took medical leave for treatment of bipolar disorder and other issues.</p><p>The Jacksons spent campaign money on fur capes, mounted elk heads, a $43,350, gold-plated men&#39;s Rolex watch and Bruce Lee memorabilia, as well as $9,587.64 on children&#39;s furniture, according to court filings.</p><p>Jackson&#39;s resignation ended a once-promising political career that was tarnished by unproven allegations that he was involved in discussions to raise campaign funds for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to President Barack Obama&#39;s vacated U.S. Senate seat. Jackson has denied the allegations.</p></p> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 18:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/jesse-jackson-jr-leaves-federal-prison-halfway-house-111763 Garcia, Emanuel battle in heated first debate of runoff http://www.wbez.org/news/garcia-emanuel-battle-heated-first-debate-runoff-111708 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rahmchuydebate.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>UPDATED: 1:32 PM 3/17/2015</em></p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s two mayoral hopefuls turned up the heat for their first one-on-one debate Monday night.</p><p>In the first of three live, televised events before the April 7 runoff election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Commissioner Jesus &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; Garcia hit each other in the same spots as usual during the NBC and Telemundo debate: Emanuel criticized Garcia for not giving specifics, and Garcia called out Emanuel for paying too much attention to downtown, rather than the neighborhoods.</p><p>The two went back and forth on a number of topics that are familiar to the campaign trail, like public safety, schools, city finances and red light cameras. On finances, Emanuel said a property tax hike was not on the table, despite comments to the contrary from a top ally last week, as well as a warning from Emanuel himself last Friday that property tax bills would &ldquo;explode&rdquo; if Springfield didn&rsquo;t help reform pensions. Campaign staff later said that property taxes are the &ldquo;very last resort&rdquo; and any increase would &ldquo;protect middle-class homeowners and seniors.&rdquo; The city of Chicago faces a looming $550 million dollar state-mandated payment toward police and fire retirement funds.</p><p>&ldquo;Every effort going forward on police and fire is to avoid a property tax. I&rsquo;ve laid out a specific plan before the election. You&rsquo;ve laid out a commission,&rdquo; Emanuel said to Garcia.</p><p>The mayor says he&rsquo;d ask employees &ldquo;to help us a little&rdquo; to stabilize pensions, and that he&rsquo;d lobby Springfield for reforms to the sales tax and a Chicago-run casino that would be &ldquo;fully dedicated&rdquo; to pensions.</p><p>Meanwhile, Garcia sought to further define himself as the &ldquo;neighborhood guy,&rdquo; taking many opportunities to try and convince viewers not only that his experience in the community will drive his decisions, but that Emanuel focuses too much on the &ldquo;rich and wealthy&rdquo; or on downtown interests.</p><p>&ldquo;The mayor doesn&rsquo;t mind taxing low-income people and working people,&rdquo; Garcia said, referring to the city&rsquo;s red light camera program. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s why on day one I will get rid of all those cameras.&rdquo;</p><p>The two candidates also sought to blame the other for the city&rsquo;s financial crisis. Emanuel took a new swipe at his opponent where he maintained that Garcia, as a state senator, voted in 1997 to create a holiday for Chicago Public Schools teacher pension payments. Garcia continued to accuse Emanuel of not following through on his campaign promise to put the city&rsquo;s financial house in order.</p><p>On public safety, Emanuel contended the city was &ldquo;safer than it was before, but not safe enough where people from all parts of the city can enjoy it.&rdquo; Garcia repeated his push for more police officers, and said he&rsquo;d start hiring them with half of what the city spends now on police overtime.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ political reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 08:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/garcia-emanuel-battle-heated-first-debate-runoff-111708 Election officials report light voter turnout in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/election-officials-report-light-voter-turnout-chicago-111617 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ballot receipt_me_1.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Election officials in Chicago say they expect turnout in the city&#39;s municipal election to fall well below 2011 levels, when the mayor&#39;s race was wide open.</p><p>Four years ago, about 42 percent of eligible Chicago voters cast ballots. Mayor Richard Daley had retired after more than two decades in office. In municipal contests before 2007, the turnout hovered around 33 percent.</p><p>Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen says turnout reports are citywide, including wards where there are uncontested races. He says there could be an evening rush.</p><p>The cold and wind might be keeping some away. The temperature was 8 degrees with a wind chill of 8 below when polls opened.</p><p>Election officials say the anticipated lower turnout follows higher early voting numbers than in previous years.</p></p> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/election-officials-report-light-voter-turnout-chicago-111617 Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced into April runoff election http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-forced-april-runoff-election-111616 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" andrew="" class="image-original_image" garcia.="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rahmface_ag.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks to supporters after finding out he faces a runoff with Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia. (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" wbez="" /></div></div><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed to capture a majority of the vote Tuesday in his bid for a second term, an embarrassment for the former White House chief of staff who now faces a runoff this spring against Cook County Commissioner Jesus &quot;Chuy&quot; Garcia.</p><p>The result exposed possible vulnerability for an incumbent who has widespread support from business leaders, national name recognition and raised millions of dollars in campaign funds. He participated in half a dozen debates and forums and received a last-minute boost from President Barack Obama.</p><p>Still, he wasn&#39;t able to capture the more than 50 percent necessary to avoid an April 7 runoff against Garcia, a former alderman and state senator, who finished far below Emanuel&#39;s vote total but far above the other three challengers.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" an="" andrew="" april="" class="image-original_image" election="" emanuel="" face="" garcia="" in="" ll="" mayor="" mean="" rahm="" rallies="" response="" results="" runoff.="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chuyspeech_ag.jpg" style="height: 434px; width: 620px;" supporters="" that="" the="" title="Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia rallies supporters in response to the election results that mean he'll face Mayor Rahm Emanuel in an April runoff. (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" to="" wbez="" /></div><p>&quot;We have come a long way, and we have a little bit further to go,&quot; Emanuel told supporters. &quot;This is the first step in a real important journey for our city.&quot;</p><p>Nodding to the themes in the weeks ahead, Emanuel noted the city&#39;s immigrant history after a bilingual address by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat who&#39;s been prominent in the national push for immigration reform and once was a critic of Emanuel.</p><p>Garcia, born in Mexico and raised in Chicago, got his start in politics as an immigrant rights activist in the city. He was a water commissioner under the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.</p><p>&quot;This city needs a mayor who will listen to people,&quot; Garcia told supporters, noting his support from neighborhood residents.</p><p>Garcia and Emanuel&#39;s other challengers &mdash; Alderman Bob Fioretti, businessman Willie Wilson and activist William Walls &mdash; had hoped to capitalize on resident discontentment over Emanuel&#39;s handling of schools and city violence.</p><p>Emanuel pushed for the closure of about 50 neighborhood schools in 2013, a year after the city&#39;s first teachers&#39; strike in 25 years. The Chicago Teachers Union &mdash; whose fiery leader had once considered a bid to challenge Emanuel &mdash; backed Garcia during the race as the alternative to Emanuel.</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/luis_ag.JPG" style="height: 434px; width: 620px;" title="Rep. Luis Gutierrez spoke in support of Rahm Emanuel on election night. (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" /></div><p>Voters noted both issues at the polls, with early estimates signaling lower turnout than 2011 after former Mayor Richard Daley retired and the mayor&#39;s race was wide open. About 42 percent of eligible voters came to the polls.</p><p>Joyce Rodgers, who is retired, said she believed the school closings cost Emanuel the trust of the African-American community &mdash; and possibly the president&#39;s.</p><p>&quot;There is total disappointment (in Emanuel),&quot; she said. &quot;I believe that Obama&#39;s been let down, too, he&#39;s just not going to say it.&quot;</p><p>Still others in the South Side neighborhood of Englewood said they were supporting Emanuel because he is positive on issues such as job creation, education and safer neighborhoods.</p><p>&quot;Rahm has all (those) contacts and he is getting those corporations here, so he is giving people hope they can get a good job,&quot; said Willie King, a 56-year-old retired janitor.</p><p>On the campaign trail, Emanuel said his first term saw some tough decisions and payoffs, including budgets that didn&#39;t rely on property tax increases, drawing business to the city, getting a longer school day and raising the minimum wage.</p><p>The non-partisan election on Tuesday also featured contests for a new city treasurer, aldermen and advisory-style ballot questions on campaign finance and an elected school board.</p><p>Emanuel won his first mayoral race without a runoff four years ago. He ran an intense re-election bid, raising roughly $16 million, more than four times his challengers combined.</p><p>He vowed to hit the campaign trail on Wednesday morning, shaking hands at El train stops as he&#39;s been doing.</p><p>&quot;We will get back out there, talking to our friends and families and neighbors as they make a critical choice about who has the strength, who has the leadership, who has the ideas to move this great city forward,&quot; Emanuel said.</p></p> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-forced-april-runoff-election-111616 Results: 2015 Chicago municipal election http://www.wbez.org/news/results-2015-chicago-municipal-election-111614 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ballot receipt_me_0.PNG" alt="" /><p><div id="all"><a name="all"></a></div><script type="text/javascript" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/scripts/pym.js"></script><script> var pymGov = new pym.Parent('all', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2015/by_state/IL_Page_0224.html?SITE=2015ELECTIONS&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); </script></p> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/results-2015-chicago-municipal-election-111614 Inaccurate voter data could hurt Asian voter blocs, other ethnic groups http://www.wbez.org/news/inaccurate-voter-data-could-hurt-asian-voter-blocs-other-ethnic-groups-111605 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ward.PNG" style="height: 274px; width: 620px;" title="File: A map on the wall of a Chicago campaign office. Many campaigns use the same source to find likely voters, but the advocacy group Asian Americans Advancing Justice worries inaccurate data diminishes minority voter blocs' appeal. (WBEZ/Derek John)" />The staff at Asian Americans Advancing Justice has been busy registering new voters and planning their exit poll strategy for Tuesday. The organization wants to increase visibility for the Asian community.</p><p>But Kathleen Yang-Clayton with the organization says that&rsquo;s difficult when even the staff is misidentified.</p><p>&ldquo;He identifies as Japanese-American, multi-racial and he was listed as African American,&rdquo; Yang-Clayton said of one of her co-workers.</p><p>Many campaigns and advocacy groups like Advancing Justice use a database to target voters. Yang-Clayton took a little sample in her office, researching all of her co-workers, most of them Asian. Exactly half of the 14 were incorrectly identified.</p><p>&ldquo;Brian Hara who also identifies as Japanese-American was listed as Caucasian, Irish,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Chicago has more than 1.4 million registered voters. The database shows just over 35,000 Asians are among the voting population.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s already what we empirically have experienced as being under counts,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>When you register to vote, you give your name and address. You check a box saying you&rsquo;re a citizen and if you&rsquo;re of legal age. But campaigns know more about you than that -- like your race, age, past voting behavior.</p><p>&ldquo;I can also see household income and the car that you drive and some cases, your magazine subscription. And I can use this information to find out what you might be interested in,&rdquo; said Michael Miller, an assistant professor in political science at Barnard College.</p><p>Miller has worked on a number of campaigns as a strategist. The refined information he&rsquo;s talking about is called micro-targeting. He says any campaign that wants to be successful needs this.</p><p>&ldquo;You can cut turf so that you can have walkers just dropping literature for the people who you know are going to vote for you,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Maybe a reminder to go out to vote. Others are going to be trying to have conversations with folks the campaign thinks are persuadable.&rdquo;</p><p>Miller says the main database website Democratic campaigns use is maintained by a Washington, D.C.-based organization called NGP VAN. It&rsquo;s the same one Yang-Clayton uses.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Testing out the voter database &mdash; one hit, one miss</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/san%20for%20cms.PNG" style="height: 346px; width: 620px;" title="A view of the voter information stored in a database commonly used by local campaigns. (Courtesy of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago)" /></div><p>Just to test it out, we entered my name into the database. The information showed my race as Asian and ethnicity as Korean. That&rsquo;s correct. But then we entered in the name of my colleague Odette Yousef. The database said her race is Hispanic and her ethnicity is Mexican. Odette is actually of Middle Eastern descent.</p><p>These data errors might seem a little funny, but Yang-Clayton says the difference in numbers could dictate the way campaigns do outreach and the language they do it in.</p><p>&ldquo;What we&rsquo;ve seen in the data we use from VAN is that when there&rsquo;s a systematic undercounting, the impression that&rsquo;s given is that Asian Americans don&rsquo;t vote. So why make the effort,&rdquo; she asked.</p><p><span style="font-size: 24px;">Voter database only meant as &#39;starting point&#39;</span></p><p>Bryan Whitaker with NGP VAN, the company that maintains the database website, says the voter lists are generally good, but admits there are flaws across the board, not just for Asians.</p><p>Whitaker says he lives in a predominantly African-American community in Washington, D.C.</p><p>Whitaker, a white man, says campaigns try to appeal to him as if he is African-American. He says he&rsquo;s likely misidentified as being black because of his neighborhood.</p><p>He says the data is collected and analyzed by a separate group. They collect information from boards of election, marketing research and the U.S. Census. However, census data is based on the census tract and not at an individual level.</p><p>Whitaker says the lists are meant to be used as a starting point for campaigns.</p><p>&ldquo;A successful campaign will have a volunteer in those neighborhoods who is checking the lists before they actually go out and start knocking on those doors. That&rsquo;s the quality assurance check on those lists,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Yang-Clayton says the group Asian Americans Advancing Justice is able to make corrections to their own list, but that won&rsquo;t show up system-wide. And she questions whether campaigns actually take the extra steps.</p><p>Asians make up about 5.5 percent of the city&rsquo;s population. Yang-Clayton feels data inaccuracies hurt smaller groups like this.</p><p>&ldquo;Every point that&rsquo;s shaved off because they&#39;re misidentified or you don&rsquo;t click the right radio button to add people in has a significant impact,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>She says improvements could be made with finer data or even if the state has voters self-identify themselves.</p><p>Yang-Clayton says better data could show that Asians have a bigger influence on election day.</p><p><em><a href="http://twitter.com/soosieon">Susie An</a> is a WBEZ reporter.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/inaccurate-voter-data-could-hurt-asian-voter-blocs-other-ethnic-groups-111605 Early voting starts in Chicago's mayoral race http://www.wbez.org/news/early-voting-starts-chicagos-mayoral-race-111522 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3002776434_643d076694_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Early voting is set to begin for Chicago&#39;s municipal election, including the mayor&#39;s race.</p><div><p>Early voting starts Monday at 51 locations in Chicago. The <a href="http://www.chicagoelections.com/en/early-voting.html" target="_blank">Chicago Board of Election Commissioners</a> says each site also will offer voter registration. The election is Feb. 24.</p><p>Sites will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Five sites will be open on Sunday, Feb. 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.</p><p>Voters need a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot. Voters can use any site in the city regardless of their address.</p><p>Election board officials say voters who need to change their name or address or those registering to vote for the first time need to have two forms of ID. At least one must have the voter&#39;s current address.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 09 Feb 2015 12:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/early-voting-starts-chicagos-mayoral-race-111522