Debating debates, DREAM Act, and DADT
Missed anything this week in Chicago-area politics? Never fear! WBEZ elections producer Kristin Moo here, and I’ve beefed up my Google Reader and perked up my ears to keep track for you. You can check back every Friday, or add The Best Game in Town to your own feed reader and you’ll have everything you need to sound smart at your weekend events. Or, you know, make decisions about for whom you might vote.
The Race for Mayor
We’ll start small this week with city news—where arguably the biggest stories emerged. The Chicago mayoral campaign continues to heat up, and candidates are signing on for forums and debates—and railing on Rahm Emanuel for opting out of some, including three forums scheduled for next week. And that, of course, is not the only Rahm-ripping going on. Gery Chico is out with a web ad questioning Emanuel’s transparency promises.
Emanuel’s also facing a ballot challenge, with a preliminary hearing today and a full hearing next week—the Chicago News Cooperative has the deets on what’s expected then and what happened on that front earlier this week. Also earlier this week, the mayoral field was winnowed with the removal of some lesser-known candidates like Ryan Graves, M. Tricia Lee and Alderman Berny Stone’s son, Jay Stone.
Candidates are beginning to reveal more and more about their plans for the city: a mobile City Hall idea from James Meeks, green industry recruitment from Chico, and “community learning centers” from Miguel Del Valle.
Meantime, as the SEIU-funded Progress Illinois points out, all the attention over Emanuel’s reluctance to promise he’ll send his kids to CPS may have drowned out his position on school turnarounds—he may be ready for more. Emanuel also puts out the message that he’ll be tough on crime with an ad featuring slain 16-year-old Blair Holt’s mom.
We’re also seeing a growing debate over ethics reform; Del Valle railed on Emanuel and Chico for being open to taking campaign cash from city contractors. And candidates’ income was an issue this week, with Del Valle choosing to release his tax returns and pressure mounting for other candidates to do the same.
Don’t Forget the Aldermen
But hey, the mayor’s race isn’t all that’s going on in the city. The CNC shared a great little bit of insight on how some organizations figure out who they’ll endorse among hundreds of aldermanic candidates.
A handful of folks are asking for Daley’s appointment to City Council in advance of the election to fill holes left by the likes of new Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (4th) and retired Ald. Ed Smith (28th).
And incumbents might want to consider what not showing up for a special meeting says about them. Some aldermen were hoping to put non-binding referenda on next year’s ballot to get voters’ thoughts on the recent parking meter deal and police staffing; only 11 aldermen came to the meeting.
Cook County Transitions
Widening our scope to Cook County, Preckwinkle took office this week with big plans for change, including a rollback of a half-percent county sales tax. She also expressed her disappointment that Joe Berrios hired family members to work for him, while still expressing support for the county assessor.
And in a bit of a city v. state spat, Mayor Daley is urging Governor Pat Quinn to veto a pension bill coming down the pike. Daley says it would force a property tax increase in the coming years. Greg Hinz has some analysis of just how the bill might affect Chicago.
Illinoisans on Capitol Hill
Speaking of money woes, Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Reps. Danny Davis (IL-7), Jesse Jackson Jr. (IL-2), and Luis Gutierrez (IL-4) are lamenting President Barack Obama’s deal to extend Bush-era tax cuts to wealthy Americans. Republicans are generally staying mum, but are likely supportive of the plan. Greg Hinz has the rundown on where other area congressmen may stand.
And the Senate turned out to be the final resting place—for now, anyway—of a Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell repeal. Supporters had been hoping Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) might go along with the repeal, but he joined the majority of his party in voting to keep the defense authorization bill from coming up for a vote in the Senate, effectively killing the DADT repeal. Kirk, by the way, is also on record with plans to vote against the DREAM Act.
So there you go—our first week of politics in review. Let me know what you think—did I miss something? Is this a bit TMI? Leave your comment below, and have a great weekend!