Ja’Mal Green is the youngest candidate in the February Mayoral election. “Because it’s time,” he says, for younger people to lead. “I don’t believe we need another career politician or someone who has been a part of the establishment. We need something new, something refreshing, someone who thinks different, someone who is a decision-maker.”
Green joins us as this week’s guest, as we attempt to have hour-long conversations with all ten of the announced mayoral candidates.
Green is “From Chicago, born and raised in Englewood as well as in Gresham.” And he’s not unfamiliar with the violence that plagues those neighborhoods. “I saw a lot of things in front of me with people being shot, being scared. I was hiding behind bushes being scared that the gunman was going to shoot me.”
He’s personally witnessed shootings and gunfire. “Definitely, with my own eyes,” he says. “Even times at my house in Englewood and looking outside my window because I hear gunshots and a guy right in front of my house is shooting at a car you know. These are things I saw going on.”
Green says he supports most of the provisions outlined yesterday by the ACLU and Back Lives Matter that would, from their perspective, strengthen the provisions in a draft consent decree for police reform that was unveiled last week. He says that he supports, for example, a proposal that the officers must report every time they unholster their weapon. That’s because “we need to know how trigger happy our cops are. We need to know if there is some gap in training and we have to train officers better… If we find out that we’ve got 1,000 officers on the street a day who unholster their weapon we have to figure out what made you feel like that situation needed to escalate so quickly.”
And he says he’s proposing that police officers be required to carry liability insurance. Officers with few or no complaints will have very low premiums, but the costs escalate with the number of complaints, putting insurance more out of reach.
“And once you’re uninsurable and you are dropped from your policy you are automatically reassigned to desk duties,” he explains. “That would save us billions of dollars in police misconduct settlements as well as the interest that we’re paying on the bonds to take out to pay for these settlements.”
Green does not believe that adding more police officers to an already volatile situation, such as last weekend’s large numbers of shootings and murders, is a solution. And he laments the family and domestic circumstances from which many of the shooters and their victims, come.
“They come out of a broken household then where do they go?” he asks. “They go to school, right? But then they’ve got a school with 40 kids in the classroom, a lack of clinical staff members, no after school programs, lack of resources, and they go in there and act up or display some behavior that’s really from the home that they got from the home then they get put out or expelled, or they just say, “Forget school, I’m dropping out because no one in this school care about me.” Then they go where? They go to the streets. Now you’re in these communities without a mental health facility if they have mental health problems, without a job because of the lack of job opportunities without anyone to grab them and put them back on the right path.
“Nor are they in school. And so what happens to them? They go out and say they commit a crime or they are hanging with their friends, they get arrested and they go down to 26th and California. They get a $10,000 – forget $10,000 – a $5,000 bond that bond is $500, but their family is poor and they don’t have the money to bond out for $500. So what do they do? They take the plea, which overwhelmingly, 98% of cases end in plea deals, so now they’ve got a record now. Back on the streets. They get probation or a few months of jail, now they are back on the streets with a record. Now that really prevents them from getting a job or any opportunity, so this is a never-ending cycle.
“What I’m saying is that we are not only failing them in the home, right, we have a parenting problem in this generation, yes, but then when they come out the home we are failing them in these communities.”
Ja’Mal Green believes that Rahm Emanuel can’t get re-elected. In fact, he believes that if Pat Quinn’s initiative is able to get on the November ballot – the one that asks Chicagoans if they favor a two-term limit on Chicago Mayors – Emanuel won’t survive that vote and will be kicked off the February municipal ballot. “If he gets it on the ballot Rahm is done, yes…hands down,” he asserts.
But Green’s ambivalent about the term-limit measure. He wants to confront Emanuel directly at the ballot box. “I would like to run against him,” he assures us. “I would like to debate him and I want to embarrass him for what he’s done in his two terms. I don’t think we should just let him off the hook.”
Turning to taxes, Green reveals that he’s for taxing the rich. “We need a LaSalle Street tax. We need to tax the rich. They are making trillions of dollars down here and that tax won’t do anything to them…So when you talk about pensions and how we’re going to balance this budget, we’ve got to start talking about new progressive sources of revenue, and that’s not going to happen with borrowing a bunch of money.”
Green favors rent control, says that gentrification’s a bad thing, and he’s willing to confront Barack Obama to assure that hisWhen Presidential Center is more connected to the community. “When it is time for us to take our administration I think our main thing will be making sure that people can stay where they are in those communities and they sign a community benefits agreement.” he tells us.
You can watch this show by tapping the image above.
You can read a transcript of the entire show here:CN transcript August 16 2018