The West Side is all over the news

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We wanted to make sure you saw the piece in Thursday’s Sun-Times about longtime organizer Bob Vondrasek. He’s being honored Friday night by the South Austin Coalition Community Council, where he’s worked for 30-plus years.

Columnist Mark Brown describes Vondrasek as “the real deal.”

“In a field that burns people out, Vondrasek has not only hung in there but seems to thrive on the never-ending challenges of working on behalf of the poor,” Brown writes. “Whether it’s organizing Austin residents to patrol the streets after school to stop kids from fighting or making a public show of a do-it-yourself pothole-filling project to shame city officials into doing a better job of their own, Vondrasek has been an unvarnished rabble-rouser for improving the community.”

This is what 73-year-old Vondrasek told Brown when they talked earlier this week: “If you really like it, community organizing is a wonderful job. You’re helping people. You feel good about that.”

And just as important, Vondrasek added, “You’re kicking the big shots around. . . . Sometimes we step on toes. That’s the job. You’ve got to step on toes. It’s about redistribution of income and resources. The rich have too much going, and the poor have not enough going.”

Don’t miss the rest of Brown’s column.

Congressman Danny K. Davis was the subject of another Sun-Times column Thursday. Mary Mitchell starts her piece this way:

“Everybody loves Danny. So why did it take weeks for a coalition of elected officials, pols, community activists and clergy to select Danny Davis, a former alderman and longtime U.S. congressman, as its consensus candidate?

“The fact that it took so long to reach this decision makes suspect a process that was supposed to launch a unified bid to put an African American back in the mayor’s seat.”

Mitchell goes on to say that “Davis is no lightweight. He has represented the 7th Congressional District since 1996 and sits on the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

“Though his name often surfaces in times of trouble — like when local Democrats were frantic to give Todd Stroger the boot — ultimately, Davis ends up bowing out for the sake of black unity.”

Here’s what else Mitchell says in her column titled “My people, my people, why can’t we get it together?”

And finally, John W. Fountain – not our John W. Fountain III – writes about being proud about being from the West Side.

“I am West Side born and bred. I made the announcement, beaming with pride as usual, as I stood in the gymnasium of the West Side’s Christ the King School recently, where I was invited to speak words of inspiration as a native son.

‘I’m glad to be back on the West Side. I call the West Side, the Best Side!’

The students cheered.

“It is often my calling card — this proclamation of my West Side roots. But for many, it is apparently the thing in my past of which I should be ashamed.”

To read the rest of Fountain’s piece in the Sun-Times, click here.

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