Troy LaRaviere, our guest this week, was the first contestant to enter what’s now the ridiculously crowded Chicago Mayor’s race. He announced his candidacy on May 1 of this year. He sat with us this morning for a wide-ranging conversation about his candidacy and the major issues of this suddenly very high-stakes campaign.
We talked about police and policing, affordable housing, Amazon and Lincoln Yards, the privatization of public-sphere functions and jobs – and his potential relationship with Mike Madigan.
LaRaviere said that he would replace Janice Jackson as head of the schools.
(41:03) “I’m going to bring in someone who has a record of competence and effectiveness in running educational institutions,” he explains. “And the last time I looked at the college persistence rate of the school that she ran, when you looked at schools that started with similar students – I did some analysis. And I wasn’t even looking at her stats. I was looking at the charter school college persistence rate. And I was comparing the charter school persistence rate with the public school persistence rates but only with kids who had the same starting ACT scores so they could make an apples to apples comparison. The Noble Street charter network in particular was dead last in the college persistence rate and the public schools were all at the top. But there was only one public school that was down there dead last with those charter schools. It just happened to be the public high school that was run by our current CEO. So I have to look at the evidence when making that kind of decision and that evidence does not bode well for her retaining her position.” [Jackson’s LinkedIn page lists George Westinghouse College Prep as the high school at which she was principal, 2004-2014.]
“Under this administration,” he continues, “all you have to do to get that position is be able to repeat talking points faithfully. You’re going to have to be able to do a lot more than that under my administration.”
“I would put someone in who has a record of reforming and improving educational institutions,” he says. “A team of people…and let them advise me. That’s how we made Blaine the number one neighborhood school in Chicago.”
LaRaviere doesn’t say that he’d replace Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, but he speaks with equal disdain for the performance of both Johnson and Jackson under Rahm Emanuel.
“Eddie Johnson does not run the police department any more that Janice Jackson runs our school system. And anybody who runs a department under this administration is a highly-paid spokesperson. That’s your job,” he asserts. “I don’t know who the real Eddie Johnson is. I know what the Mayor’s Office puts in his mouth.”
Troy LaRaviere has a theory about why Rahm Emanuel isn’t running again. It’s because the wealthy power-brokers who backed him and who, in some cases, have profited from having him in office – they have decided to drop the mayor and switch horses. Why?
“Again,” he says, “This is not about Rahm. Rahm ran the city for them. They run the city. Privatization of our school system is not his idea, it’s their idea. It’s their agenda. Indebting us to banks with toxic loans – that’s not his idea, that’s their idea and they want that process. They need that process. The gravy train from our pocket to theirs has to continue. They have to get a candidate in office to make that happen. And I believe that they made the assessment that their chances of controlling the mayor’s office were no longer good. They did not have a good chance for…
Ken: You mean for a third term?
Troy L: Right. Their chances of running the mayor’s office through him were no longer good because his chances of being re-elected were getting slimmer and slimmer and I think they decided they needed to bail on him and find a candidate that didn’t have the baggage that he had but would institute the same policies for them that he had been instituting. And so for me and for voters I think the key right now is to look at who the real estate developers put their money behind. Who are the banks going to be putting their money behind? Because that’s going to be the candidate that is not serving our interest but is going to be serving the same interest he served. We have to make sure, that’s why I tell folk at every opportunity I don’t take campaign contributions from the banks. I don’t ask or take campaign contributions from real estate developers or any large corporation that is seeking to get city contracts, so that when I am elected mayor the only people I am going to owe are the people I’m sworn to serve, and I don’t think there are many candidates in the race who can say that.
Ken: They haven’t been calling you then and asking you if you would like to be their pony in this race?
Troy L: No sir. I think they’ve gotten the message that I’m not for sale.”
LaRaviere is adamant that public and private funds should be kept separate as much as possible.
“So I am not in favor of putting public money into projects that are designed to benefit and profit private enterprise,” he tells us. “I think that private enterprise has enough accumulated capital to the point where you don’t need what amounts to a public welfare subsidy from us to develop your project. I am not necessarily against private development in general. What I am against is treating Chicago taxpayers like we are supposed to be the payers or the people paying out welfare payments to these developers.
But what happened under Daley,” he continues, “and what happened under Rahm and what’s going to continue to happen if we allow them to put someone else into the mayor’s office who is going to serve their needs is that that money ends up going to them to pad their profits. We never see a return on that investment. They get a return on our investment and we end up losing not only the original amount we invested, but typically that investment involves land that is no longer, because it is owned publicly sometimes, because public money bought the land it’s no longer part of the tax base and then we end up having to pay more in property taxes and so we lose twice.”
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Read the full transcript here: CN transcript Sept 6 2018