Chicago’s next mayor has to be free of special interests

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“I’m not going to vote for mayor,” a security guard at a local Austin gas station tells me. “My president is black, and that’s good enough for me.”

“Wow!” I respond. “Are you serious?”


“I’m voting for Meeks because he is black,” says my barber,  a longtime Austin resident.

Commentator John W. Fountain III


“Yes, what other black candidate has what he has?” speaking of the 10,000-seat complex House of Hope located on Chicago’s South Side the thousands of members who attend Sunday services.

“Just because he is black?”


Two other guys in the shop both nod in agreement.

I cringe in each instance. Not one of these guys based their reasoning on policies that govern their daily lives.

African Americans in Chicago once again wrestle with finding a messiah by pinning their hopes on one savior.  If the President Obama inaugural night taught anything, it was that change came from the local, grassroots, inch-by-inch pavement pounding of a unified front against a long-standing, ill-driven political machine.

I was not in Grant Park that night, but I watched on television as people from all walks of life rejoiced in victory. These were not just black faces. They were of many ethnic backgrounds. The station flashed to get global responses, and everyone seemed to cheer.

The mayoral race should be no different.

It should not be about Hispanic, African American, Jewish or white. It should be about children getting the proper education, the unemployed finding work, and the homeless having a place to live. I want to feel confident that the next mayor of Chicago cares about my bus and train schedule running on time and not just picking pet projects from the series of European countries he or she has visited.

I want it to be about sensible budget balancing and not selling off anything else to private companies unless deemed absolutely necessary. I want to know that the veterans coming home from the war are being taken care of. I want the elderly to be looked after with proper attention.

I need a mayor who is well invested in the interest of my city without regard to race, creed, religion or sexual orientation. He or she has to be flexible in understanding that the needs of the West Side differ from those of the North Side. And who will you appoint to replace Police Supt. Jody Weis?

This is what we should vote for.

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