Rahm, Rauner and 29th Ward Alderwoman Deborah Graham
Although Mayor Rahm Emanuel belongs to the Democratic Party and Governor Bruce Rauner belongs to the Republican Party, they both belong to the same club—- the millionaires club.
That’s the millionaire’s club which attacks public education, keeps wages low, slashes pensions, fires public employees to replace them with cheaper labor, fails to create good paying jobs, cuts vital social programs and exploits racial divisions to create a Black unemployment rate that is twice that of whites.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed 50 schools, 6 mental health clinics and allows the CHA to withhold 13,500 housing vouchers at a time of rising homelessness in the city. While Rahm did finally agree to a $13 an hour minimum wage after months of street protests and strikes, it doesn’t take effect until 2019 when people need that raise NOW.
Governor Bruce Rauner’s first act was not addressing the problems of poverty and unemployment, but attacking unions who struggle for decent wages and working conditions. Now he wants to slash Medicaid when Illinois has an Black infant mortality rate worse the 68 countries.
Rahm and Rauner are both longtime pals based on the millions they made as high rollers in high finance. Before Rahm became mayor he even represented Rauner’s Chicago-based venture capital firm in a mega-deal that netted Rauner’s company hundreds of millions.
So what does this have to do with the 29th Ward? We don’t have millions to toss around on Wall Street. Instead we have a shortage of money and a shortage of social services. The 29th Ward is economically and racially diverse. A lot of us are struggling and some of us are doing Ok for now, but none of us are really financially secure.
So why does 29th Ward alderwoman Deborah Graham vote with Mayor Rahm Emanuel 100% of the time. This makes her a willing accessory of the Mayor’s destructive policies. Why does she remain silent?
A money shortage means businesses struggle for customers, renters struggle to make payments and homeowners count pennies to send off mortgage payments and property tax bills. A money shortage means that some people turn to crime, most of it non-violent, but some quite dangerous. A money shortage strains families and contributes to poor physical and mental health.
A shortage of social services means people can’t get extra help when problems get too big for them to handle alone. Yet Rahm slashes city social services while Rauner wants to cut state social services.
A money shortage is bad all around. So is a shortage of social services. Yet both the Mayor and the Governor have connections to hand out serious money to their friends. Very serious money. But somehow we don’t see much of that in that 29th Ward.
It isn’t that we don’t work hard. We do. Most of us work at jobs and others of us at small businesses. But the economic policies of Rauner and Rahm don’t work in our favor like they do for wealthy corporations who get major league tax breaks and public subsidies for the asking.
Economists call this austerity. More money for the wealthy, a money shortage for the working class and nowhere to turn for help.
Instead of standing up against the ugly politics of austerity, Ms Graham refuses to challenge Rahm or his close relationship to Rauner. She does not organize our community to resist austerity in any way. That is unacceptable.
We need a leader who will stand up to the politics of austerity, one who opposed the closing of health clinics and schools. One who fought for a $15 an hour minimum wage and wants the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes. One who has confronted the banks when they try to put people out of their homes. One who understands that we need social services when we run into serious family or personal problems.
As a grassroots community organizer, Zerlina Smith is that kind of leader, one who has been on the frontlines of fighting for the changes this city needs.
Republican Governor Rauner and Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel sometimes disagree, but they both believe strongly in the politics of austerity. We don’t need politicians like Deborah Graham who collaborate with their austerity politics. We need someone who is independent of both the Democratic and Republican parties. We need someone committed to building a political organization that will truly represent the people of Chicago who want a better future for all.
That person is Zerlina Smith. She has been on the front lines fighting for social justice, not in the back rooms cutting political deals. Tell your friends to get out and vote for her during the early voting period or on Election Day February 24th.