CN March 28 2019

Two discussions this week.

Sarah Karp (WBEZ) leads off with her coverage of alternative schools and the significant role they play in boosting the graduation rate at CPS. Turns out that, although CPS has made important improvements in the past few years, the truth is hidden somewhere in the statistics.

In the second half of today’s show, Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization executive director Jawanza Malone talks with us about the critical need for a community benefits agreement to be hammered out before construction of the Obama Presidential Center gets out of the ground. He also tells us that there’s pretty much no community support for the Tiger Woods-designed PGA golf course in Jackson Park, and he can’t muster the enthusiasm to endorse either mayoral candidate.

Watch the show by tapping the image above.

You can listen to the show here.

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CN March 21 2019

Two separate discussion this week.

First, journalist Audrey Henderson fills us in on the latest developments in the ongoing struggle to site an Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park. Henderson just wrote an extensive treatment of the process in Next City.

Then Business writer Robert Reed joins us to talk about his recent Chicago Magazine column  entitled “Why a Chicago Casino May Never Happen”.

You can view the show by tapping on the image above. The Robert Reed segment begins at approximately the :30 minute mark.

You can listen to the show here.





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CN March 14 2019

It’s a double header this week as we’re visited first by the great Maya Dukmasova (Chicago Reader) and then by former Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas.

Dukmasova expresses some surprise at the strength of the resistance to two big votes yesterday in the City Council. “It’s for the generally spineless City Council that tends to vote 100% with the mayor on whatever he wants – this is a pretty significant amount of opposition,” she reports.

We’re talking about the twin votes on Lincoln Yards on the north riverfront and the Police Academy in West Garfield. Lincoln yards passed 33-14, and the police Academy passed 38-8.

“There’s kind of an interesting mix of people who are sort of progressive and folks who it’s not surprising that they would go ahead and vote no on something the mayor wants. And then, there’s some people who I think are feeling the heat of their upcoming re-election battles on April 2nd. So for the Lincoln Yards deal you had of the 14 no’s, basically half of them were aldermen who face tough re-election battles against more progressive candidates.”

There are plenty of observers speculating that the next City Council may be a bit more progressive, or independent than we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Whether or not the runoffs will prove that theory, Dukmasova credits the activism of a dedicated band of young Chicagoans. “I really think that we should consider the fact that this became an issue purely because of the relentless agitation and organizing of young black and brown kids and community organizers who made this a thing,” she asserts. “They turned this from like a swept under the rug kind of barely announced mayoral initiative that was rolled out on a 4thof July weekend a couple of years ago into a litmus test on progressive values in this election and into really a huge visible battle that’s going to energize, that’s probably energizing a new generation of organizers and activists.”

We point out that, despite the activism, voter turnout, particularly in the West side wards adjacent to the future Police academy, was dismal. So it will require a great deal of stamina for these younger activists to see tangible results from their activism.

“I do think that change and changing power dynamics takes a really long time,” she explains, “and it takes a lot of losses and it takes a lot of experience of coalition building and community organizing and knowing especially on the cop academy how young the people were who were waging that fight, who made that into a battle in the first place. Frankly if I was these aldermen I would keeping my eye on what these folks are going to do next because these battles are not going to be over.”

It’s not directly related, but two aldermen who were defeated in February fell to first-time challengers who were considerably more left-leaning.  “”But,” she adds, ” I think Joe Moore from the 49thWard and Proco Joe Moreno from the 1stWard -both of them voted yes on these deals going out the door – which I just think it speaks to the character of these people whose political careers at this moment are kind of over.”

We ask if she’s observed that there is a slowly-emerging ideological split  between progressives regarding whom to support in the Mayoral runoff.

“Yeah,” she says, “and the progressives who don’t buy that Lori is the progressive candidate or Lori Lightfoot is the progressive candidate, from what I’ve observed it all comes down to the fact that she is not a progressive choice when it comes to criminal justice policy based on her track record which is the only thing she has a track record on…But policing and criminal justice stuff is like only one aspect of this election and I think that the other thing for the progressive kind of that the more left progressive camp out there who is for Toni, I suspect that someone like Carlos Rosa is also looking at Toni Preckwinkle’s record in county government, the policies she’s actually pushed for, the stuff that she’s actually passed, the stuff she’s been a champion on and saying like okay well she doesn’t have like a strangely mixed bag of like a pro-police record and she’s also got these other things going in her favor. The problem of course is there are a lot of people that really don’t see Toni a progressive because of the taxes… ”

We’re just over two weeks away from the Mayoral election as this is recorded, and we asked Dukmasova for, if not an outright prediction, where she thought things were trending.

“I think that people are right to suspect that there’s going to be perhaps an even less turnout. I don’t know if the confusion of 14 candidates is going to be compensated by now there’s only two given that a lot of people aren’t very excited about either of them. What I do think is that Lori Lightfoot’s base is way more excited about her than Toni Preckwinkle’s base. I don’t even know if Toni Preckwinkle has a base frankly, and based on the results of how things shook out between the 14 candidates, her winning only a couple of wards that says a lot about her lack of base… But Lori Lightfoot’s base who most of them are whites, these are white wealthy people who actually aren’t themselves impacted by the city’s discriminatory policing who are looking at her record like oh, this is the person who was Rahm’s police reform or whatever. They are seeing her as a progressive because they don’t actually know what it feels like to be a family member of a person who has been battered or killed by a police officer who then has to stand in front of her and try to make a plea for the police board to do something about it. But those people in her base are very energized. They are working hard. Lori is very diligent about being at every possible public debate to make herself available and Toni has really been digging her heels in and trying to run a much more politically dirty campaign, so I don’t know.”


Note: Maya Dukmasova’s interview is the first 30 minutes of this program, and the Paul Vallas interview begins at about 30:00.

You can watch this program by tapping the image above.

You can listen to the discussion here.

You can read a full transcript of this discussion here:CN Transcript March 14 2019


Paul Vallas

Paul Vallas believes fervently that the pension funding crisis doesn’t have to be a crisis. He agrees that, over the next four years, the City has to find about billion extra dollars to meet pension payment obligations, but he says that can be done without raising property taxes.

We begin the discussion with  this graph, which was created by  Daniel Kay Hertz at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability:Screenshot 2019-03-14 06.34.36.png


As Hertz says in his narrative: if you take a closer look the benefits themselves aren’t what’s driving the pension debt crisis, rather it’s pension borrowing, a failure to pay in full for the benefits earned in prior years has led to a situation in which the city is not only paying for new benefits every year, but billions of dollars for benefits that were earned in prior years. So our problem isn’t that we’re paying too much in benefits, it’s that because we were irresponsible about making payments for years, we now owe a billion extra dollars in interest to the banks.

First, Vallas says, “they’ve got to bring some sort of financial accountability to the investment practices.” There are hundreds of various funds that invest pension moneys in hopes of using the dividends to augment the pension funds. But that’s not what’s happening, he says.

“First of all there’s no substitution for having some sort of comprehensive agenda in Springfield, right. Now the legislature is moving to enact or to take steps that will bring about the enactment of a progressive income tax increase. There’s going to be a state income tax increase…But the bottom line is if the income tax is going to be increased it’s important that the city protect its share of the local government distributed fund because a portion of all income tax received is supposed to go to local governments. The last time they raised the income taxes they juggled the formula so locals would not get that share. If that happened the city might get another $140-150-million a year.”

“Secondly,” Vallas asserts, “now that we have a Democratic governor they’ve got to stop borrowing or taking or stealing from the corporate personal property replacement tax. The corporate personal property replacement tax was created by the Constitution or mandated to be created by the Constitution to replace the constitutionally-abolished tax on corporate personal property. And about $1.2-billion dollars is allocated to local governments a year. For the last I don’t know five, six or seven years, I don’t know when it got started, they’ve been diverting about $300-million of that money to the state coffers. First of all it’s illegal. Somebody should challenge that. Secondly, of that $300-million $100-million is from Chicago.”

“And you don’t have to do it in a single year,” he continues. “You do it over a period of four years because remember we want to ramp up here. So if you are able to protect a share of new income tax revenue, so local governments would get their share as they have historically, and if you are able to end the illegal diversion of the corporate personal property replacement tax revenues you would have between $250-275-million you know and instead of having a billion dollar net you would have closer to a $700-million net.”

Chipping away at “funding inequities” with the State could get the total down to less than $500 million,  he claims, asserting that reprogramming a City budget that (depending how you describe it) is between 7 and 20 billion a year, can yield a half-billion  that can be used for this purpose. So before the deadline hits, Vallas thinks the billion dollars can be found without new taxation.

It’s a complicated presentation, and Paul Vallas is among the world’s fastest talkers. But he’s offering the two remaining Mayoral contenders his best advice on how to get out from under what he calls the “Sword of Damocles” as one of their first actions.

Watch the show by tapping the image above, and moving the pointer to 30:00.

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CN March 7 2019


Willie Wilson and Ja’Mal Green dropped by today for two separate interviews about  the Mayor’s race, a bunch of Aldermanic races, Bernie Sanders and the role each of them is playing in  this important period – after they didn’t make it to the Final 2. Both are planning to endorse either Preckwinkle or Lightfoot. Wilson’s making his official announcement tomorrow, Friday.

You can watch the show, with both interviews, by tapping the image above.

You can listen to the show here.

You can read a full transcript of the interviews here: CN transcript Mar 7 2019

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CN February 28 2019

Here’s our election wrap-up with talk host and political analyst Bruce DuMont and political activist Jacky Grimshaw, who was an advisor to Mayor Harold Washington. The journalists on our panel are two of Chicago’s most respected reporters – The Daily Line’s AD Quig and the Tribune’s Bill Ruthhart.

Tap the image above to watch this show.

You can listen to the audio of this show here.

We’ll be updating this post on Friday with quotes from our panelists.

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CN Feb 21 2019

The “March to Inevitability” edition

Two of Chicago’s most knowledgeable political reporters join us this week for a head-spinning discussion about the crazy municipal election we’re all enduring.

WGN-TV’s Tahman Bradley and the Daily Line’s Heather Cherone say there’s never been an election like this in Chicago – literally. That’s because this is only the second runoff-style election we’ve ever had, and the other one was headlined by incumbent Rahm Emanuel. He led decisively enough that there was never doubt that he and challenger Chuy Garcia would be the two runoff contestants. But this time, with fourteen candidates, the percentages are being sliced so thinly that the final outcomes may be determined by mail-in ballots, and those won’t be counted until perhaps a week after the election. Add to this the fact that at least ten of the aldermanic races are highly contested, and several well-entrenched aldermen could find themselves losing to upstarts.

We talk about how a much younger and more inexperienced Council, possibly in conjunction with a less-experienced mayor – will face the responsibility of redistricting the Council immediately after the 2020 census, and that the widely reported vast reduction in the population of black Chicago could mean the loss of two African-American-majority wards this time.

There’s also an interesting discussion about whether the new Council could become more progressive in its politics as newer, younger aldermen come into their own. But that’s something that very much has to play out over the next two years or so.

Cherone tells us that as she and her colleagues at the Daily Line have interviewed the Mayoral candidates, all have changed the subject or swerved deliberately away from any discussion about specific measures to deal with the looming billion dollar obligation that the next Mayor will have to settle during this next term. And since the solution will require significant tax increases and/or important reductions in benefits, there’s no up-side in discussing the situation in detail at this point (althoughPaul Vallas is given credit for offering some detailed plans.)

Bradley, when discussing the steady, well-funded rise of Bill Daley, utters the phrase that we’ve honored as the title of this edition. Daley’s “March to Inevitability.”

And Cherone, in her own explanation for Daley’s apparent rise to the top, says we all have an innate sense that Chicago is not governable, and that it takes a strong-man figure to hold things together. And that, she says, has a lot of people thinking – hey, maybe we need another Daley.

At the end of the program we ask producer David Resnick to come to the table to explain in detail why there’s so much concern that this election’s results might not be apparent until days after the polls close. We can’t explain it all in this written document, but it’s well worth your time to hear Dave lay it out piece by piece. His appearance begins  at about the :40 minute mark in the program.

You can watch the show by tapping the image above.

You can listen to the audio of the show here:

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CN Feb 14 2019


In a searing suite of articles and digital posts over recent months, ProPublica Illinois’ Melissa Sanchez and WBEZ’s Elliott Ramos have laid out for us the particulars of the City’s program to punish “scofflaws” who fail to pay city sticker fines or tickets for red light cams and license plate stickers.

“The city sticker costs between like $90 and $130-something, depending on the size of your car,” Sanchez explains, “but the ticket for not having a city sticker is $200. You don’t pay it on time … it doubles to $400, and then after some time they tack on one more fee so it’s $488 and we found thousands of cases of people getting hit with two, three, four of these in a single day. So you can see how that can quickly add up if you can’t afford to pay it right away.”

“So we focused on those because it’s easier for you to wrap your head around,” she explains. “It’s not like you got a ticket for driving badly or for parking like a jerk. It’s because you did not or could not afford to pay the fee to register your vehicle in the city.”

Ramos explains that every day after the boot is attached to your car the fines escalate. “So you have the tow fee which is $150. Then you have on that same day you get a $20 a day storage fee. On day #5 it goes up to $35 a day, at which point it’s almost a sure that the person is going to lose the car. There’s very few people that are caught up in that cycle that actually get their car out and they just lose it. And when I say lose it it’s held in the impound for about 21 to 30 days and then they sell it to a private contractor.”

And the costs don’t stop even after you permanently lose your car. “On top of everything else that we talked about,” Sanchez continues, “You have to pay the crushing fee even if the city sold the car to the towing company and the towing company could have sold it at auction and made a profit. That doesn’t matter.” The crushing fee is $100.

So at this point, you’ve lost your car, you owe more than you can pay and your credit rating is in jeopardy. Ironically, though, the City may have collected some fines, but it hasn’t really benefitted much either. The real winner, in so many cases, is the private contractor. Again, Elliott Ramos:

“And so the way that the city wrote this contract, which is really really funny because there’s no safeguards built into this, no oversight built into this, is that they just transfer wholesale the assets of these cars as if they are all junkers,” he explains. “I went into the towing data and got the VINs all decoded that says what the make, year, and model of it and some of these were from 2015, 2013, 2012. Any used car dealer will tell you that most of these cars are worth thousands of dollars. Now because of the way that they are transferred the city doesn’t actually retitle them, they get a salvage title on them and then a rebuilt title which the city is like well then it means it’s not worth that much. And like you’re still driving a BMW, like it’s still a newer car.”

Sanchez laments that, as debt and bankruptcy began to soar, the City’s response was to try to insure itself against loss of revenue from citizens who’d declared bankruptcy.

“The debt just exploded after 2011 and what that’s meant is thousands of people are going into bankruptcy each year because that’s one mechanism they have to deal with this,” she tells us.  “It helps them get their licenses back and in the Law Department they hired a guy to deal with this. And what do I mean by deal with it? They hired a guy to figure out some way to keep people from filing for bankruptcy so the city could get money… somebody knows that this is a problem but their response hasn’t been how do we adjust our policies so people aren’t going into debt over parking tickets? Instead their solution is how do we figure out some new legal tactic to keep people from stiffing us? This is kind of how they see it.”

And there’s yet another aspect to City-related tows. We’ve already seen from these reports that 50,000 cars have been booted, towed and sold for scrap by the city since 2011 – just during the Emanuel administration – but Ramos says that’s just a small portion of the total.

“That was just the scofflaws,” he explains. “It’s probably, so I’m literally going to City Hall after this to pick up more records, but the number is probably closer to 150,000 when you include the crime-related tows.”

And this issue of City-induced bankruptcy goes deeper than sticker fees. Ramos tells us that the team is starting to look into a number of unrelated fee escalators, and how they may play some role in Chicago’s declining  population. The City, he says, raised a lot of different fees.

“My colleague today published a story on water shut-offs and it’s the same neighborhoods we’re seeing that were affected like Englewood, Lawndale. We’re seeing the same stuff but also the same neighborhoods that are losing their population. At some point or another someone is going to start connecting the dots that the city may have had a role in creating abject poverty.”

One final note: As a direct result of this series of reports, all fourteen mayoral candidates have said they will work to modify the system of escalating fees, fines and impoundments that have been sending thousands of Chicagoans into bankruptcy.

WBEZ’s story on how quickly a Chicagoan can descend into City-induced bankruptcies is HERE.

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CN February 7 2019

Our guest this week is Mayoral contender Bob Fioretti, the former alderman of the second Ward.

Here are some highlights from our conversation:

On the role Danny Solis played in carving up the second Ward, moving Fioretti’s Ward away from where he lived – and why the mayor and the re-mapping aldermen did it:

But you see what happened in the 2ndWard in the areas that we’re in now that went to, and the North when they moved me all the way up North my ward, the historic black ward was chopped up for about five or six different wards, and a large portion of that went to Danny Solis and a large portion went to Walter Burnett, people who will never challenge a developer. I think the whole aim was to make sure that development went the way the developers wanted and the campaign contributions went to the aldermen. I think you may know that I made a pledge when I first ran not to accept developer money. I turned back $100,000 in my first year, but some of these things that we see that Danny Solis was ruling on down here it was all campaign contributions.

On how he’d raise enough money to fund municipal pensions without raising property taxes further:

First of all six years ago I proposed a commuter tax, 1% of a commuter tax on people that live in Indiana, Wisconsin and the suburbs. They come into this city to work and they can write it off on their federal income taxes. It would generate $300-million. All that would have to go to the pension fund. That’s a measure of equality, a justice and they come into this city they want safe streets, good streets, ambulance services, fire, the whole bit. You know and where do they spend their money? They go back to wherever their homes are and they pay property taxes in those suburbs, those counties, those different states. They don’t spend it here, the vast majority. I am not in favor of raising any more taxes on anybody in the City of Chicago and we have to look at ways to close this gap…Video poker would probably bring in about $75-million at this point.

On why he doesn’t think Lincoln Yards is a good idea at all.

I haven’t looked at the wind studies, shadow studies or traffic studies because I don’t think any have really been done in this area. I think the people that live here and near that area understand how congested it will be at this point. There’s really no transportation options in that area. There really is no schools so what are we building? A city without a structure really and it’s our taxpayer money that’s going to help this developer. They can fend for themselves. It’s another scheme and it’s another payoff scheme as the mayor is leaving office to help his friends and that’s all this is.

The surprising revelation that Bob Fioretti seems to be endorsing the construction of the Peotone airport, and that he believes Governor Pritzker might get it built.

Uh, you know the state owns a lot of land. They better figure out what they’re going to do, and who knows under this governor because he’s going to be listening to the mayor and maybe the speaker as to whether or not they will acquire the final 10%.

Ken:             So would Mayor Fioretti be in favor of a Peotone airport?

Bob F:          You know I’m going to have to sit down on all the airports because I think we need a better way to utilize from Rockford to Gary and the airports in between for cargo reasons, for other reasons. You know it’s one thing to say oh yeah, we finished all this off. You know maybe we should be using Rockford for cargo or even we can’t find a user at Gary International. We’re spending $5-million a year over there, our taxpayer money for that compact that was signed in the 1990s, so what are we doing?

You can watch the entire show by tapping the image above.

You can listen to the conversation on SoundCloud.

You can read a transcript of the conversation here:CN transcript Feb 7 2019

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CN January 24, 2019


LaShawn Ford isn’t an alderman. But his Illinois State Representative district covers parts of three west side wards, and he sees first hand the ravages of disinvestment, poverty and violence. He feels so strongly about the need for radical change in the way that Chicago treats its less-powerful citizens that he decided he could do a better job than the current mayor.

“I don’t think that Rahm has the will and the desire to represent all communities because his focus has always been his relationships with corporate America,” he begins. “You know Rahm is focused on making sure that he has great relationships with Google. That he has great relationships with Boeing. That he has great relationships with all of the billion dollar industries. So for that I thank him for bringing some of those industries here so that now we can tap those industries to help deal with some of the problems in the inner city like the South and West Sides of Chicago.”

Ford’s unusually diverse district includes both affluent suburban communities and urban pockets of deep poverty. It gives him a unique perspective and a real sense of outrage over the inequality.

“I mean the ignoring of the South and West Sides of Chicago, ignoring the parts of the West Side that were hit in the 1968 riots you know? We should have had TIF dollars come into those areas to develop those areas to eliminate the blight. And because of that we continue to see crime in those areas on the West Side like Austin. We continue to see trauma festering in peoples’ lives because there seems to be hopelessness in families because of the stress of their neighborhoods.”

We talk at some length about the need for durable, inexpensive housing in communities where incomes are low and services are often lacking. We ask him why  developers can’t seem to build affordable housing in Chicago on a smaller, human scale.

“What you have is a city that is not friendly to small developers,” he claims. “It’s so very difficult to get permits in the City of Chicago. It is corrupted in the Permits Department and the Zoning Department and we have to make sure that we eliminate that corruption….So you have people that struggle as developers that want to help develop these blighted communities but because they don’t want to pay to play they run away from development.”

LaShawn Ford’s personal story is inspiring. He’s a successful politician today, but his origins might not have predicted that.

“I was born in Cabrini and my mother was 15 when she had me. I never met my father. I still don’t know who he is today. My grandmother adopted me at birth so I had the honor of being raised by my grandmother and I still have a great relationship with my mother that is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, a heroin addiction.

“You see more people in need of mental and behavioral health treatment,” he continues. “We see more people using substance, having a substance abuse disorder. That’s a sign of a city that needs healing. We have people that are sleeping on the streets of Chicago. That’s because we have a problem with affordable housing but we also have a strong mental health problem in this city. We have people that’ve been arrested because they are mentally ill, and we have our police department that is not equipped with helping people with behavioral health problems.”

“But the neighborhood, your zip code dictates whether or not you are going to get out of poverty,” he asserts. “If you’re black, if you’re born into poverty the chances are you are going to remain in poverty until you die because the system is set up that way. And it’s not every day people, white people that we could hold accountable, it’s the rich and powerful people that hold all of us down. So somehow we have to figure out how we are going to come together as a group.”

Our new mayor will face a daunting array of problems, but the Police Department’s relationship with African-American Chicago will be at or near the top.

“The question is are they seeing a black man in the same lens as a white man?” he asks. “And the answer is no, and so we have to call that out…Then you have a white cop that intentionally killed Laquan McDonald because he shot him 16 times and then you had a whole police department that covered up. The value of black people’s lives have to be equivalent to their counterparts, their brothers and sisters of the races. And until we can have the conversation and make people comfortable with it we are going to continue to have these type of unfair rulings, unfair sentencing, and we are going to continue to have white officers shooting black men in the back. And so we have to have a mayor that is going to say, “That’s not our city. Our city will not stand for that. We want to have a police department, a justice system and laws on the books that protects the dignity and the humanity of our society.”

You can watch the show by tapping the image above.

You can listen to the show on SoundCloud here.

You can read a full transcript here: cn transcript jan 24 2019


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CN January 17 2019


Ben Joravsky’s not on the radio any more. He lost his popular radio show on WCPT in, let’s just say, an abrupt fashion.

“About eight days before I was fired this fellow Pinsky called me in for a delicious breakfast, I might add, at Ellie’s on Milwaukee Avenue with pancakes and the omelette,” he explains.

So it looked as thought things were going well.

“So he called me in. He evaluated me. I didn’t even know I had an annual review. I didn’t have one the year before and he told me what a wonderful job I was doing, the revenue is up and they are really pleased.

“Then I went back to the studio and eight days later that same Pinsky called me into the office and said, “You’re hired to be fired, beat it.” Wow. To this day I think it was a set-up move. You’ve almost got to give him credit. You know what I mean? I was caught off guard. Yeah, it hurt really bad that first few days out of the box. Man did that hurt.”

“I mean there’s no way to escape the notion that this was a political hit job,” I suggest. “I mean you were fired because of what you were saying and here this is supposed to be the progressive radio station and all that.”

“Beware of progressives,” he responds. “They smile in your face, as the song says.”

But you have to be the right kind of progressive, right? I ask him.

“So it’s okay to be on progressive radio and bash Donald Trump,” he explains. “Everybody – Arne Duncan is bashing Donald Trump. You know what I’m saying? Rahm bashes Donald Trump. Get in the box and bash Rahm or bash a TIF deal or make fun of Toni Preckwinkle or J. B. Pritzker you know, we made fun of all these people. We had a lot of fun with it. Uh-uh – got to go. I learned my lesson.”

For Joravsky’s fans, it’s especially galling that he was fired just as the mayoral and aldermanic races were getting rolling.

“Could you imagine the field day I would have had with Toni Preckwinkle and Ed Burke and all that?” he muses.

Ben Joravsky still writes his weekly column in the Reader, and he tells us hat there are  some very promising efforts under way to get his voice back  in his listeners’ ears, hopefully before the election’s over.

We spend there rest of our time talking about the mayoral candidates. A few highlights:

Bill Daley: I do not believe he will try to implement any of these ideas that he is throwing out there. I think this is his way of trying to distance himself from that last name of his which is like an anchor dragging him down, the Daley name. Once in office it will be pretty much a continuation of Rahm and Richie in terms of how they divvy up the pie, how they finance downtown developments and developments around the area and just continue this overall planning policy.

Amara Enyia: I’m impressed with Amara as well. She’s a great guest on the radio and she’s got great ideas. Last night I saw her at a mayoral forum. It was a grassroots collaborative and she was I think probably the most popular person there. She’s so impressive and she got up and started speaking in Spanish. The place went…you know, the Spanish-speaking part of the audience went up for grabs.

Ken:             She speaks like six languages.

Ben J:  Yeah, six languages. So yeah, if it’s just being impressive she would probably make the runoff if it’s just based on being impressive. But you know Chicago politics is a little tougher than that.

Bob Fioretti: I liked him when he was the alderman. Bob Fioretti was alderman of the old second ward then they redistricted him out of existence to punish him for…

Ken:             Part of the reason that the second ward looks like it does today is because he was the second ward alderman.

Ben J:           For two reasons, one they wanted to punish him and two, follow me on this folks, they wanted to put all properties around the Chicago River into one ward where they could have one alderman that they could depend on to approve these huge humongous… Am I cynical?

We ask, are you talking about Lincoln Yards? Didn’t the Alderman there just stand up to the mayor and insist that the soccer stadium and big entertainment venues had to go?

Ben J:          Young Kenneth you’ve been around town long enough to know the game that is played. What you do is a developer comes in with everything. Follow me on this people. A developer puts absolutely everything on the table.

Ken:             We’re going to put 200-story buildings in our…

Ben J:           Listens to what people are clamoring against and says, “All right I will remove that.” And everybody goes, “Oh my God! Democracy works in the City of Chicago.” And meanwhile nobody is paying attention the fact that he’s just up from 800-million to 900-million. Nobody is talking about that. The TIF handout that they are going to get…

LaShawn Ford:  I like LaShawn. I don’t see his path to victory just from a horseracing analysis but I like him. He’s got some interesting ideas down through the years. He was one of the, he and John Kass were talking about bringing the National Guard to Chicago a few years back. He’s a gentleman and I like Lashawn Ford, but he’s a state rep from the west side, I don’t believe he’s going to make the runoff.

Lori Lightfoot:  I’m impressed with her too…she has that sort of a reassuring quality to the conservative cautious part of Chicago particularly on the lake front who are looking for a professional, somebody that is like them. She’s a well-regarded lawyer, went to the finest of law schools, worked for the feds.

Garry McCarthy:  If you are a Chicago Teachers Union member, and this is going to sound weird but he’s great on – he just came out with a re-endorsement of the Chicago Teachers Union…he had this press release, he said, “I know you’re not going to support me but I support you.” There’s a lot of teachers in the southwest and northwest sides who are either married to police officers or come from the same family as police officers. They want to know that whoever the next mayor is will look out for teachers. I too thought he would be a formidable foe in the pre-Rahm. When Rahm was still in the race.

Paul Vallas:  Paul Vallas for the younger people out there was tagged with Gery Chico back in the day. They were like, I don’t want to say Abbott and Costello type of thing, a pairing team, but Chico was the president of the board and Paul Vallas was the CEO of the public school system and when Mayor Daley took complete control that was the duo that Daley brought in to run the schools and they got magnificent reviews from the Tribune and the Sun Times, of everybody but me. And it was typical me. I was very critical of the way they ran the schools. I thought they were very autocratic, so Vallas and I didn’t get along back in those days and he didn’t have much tolerance for me back in those days. But you know 20 years later he came on my radio show and we dueled, so I enjoyed having him as a guest on the show. He’s very knowledgeable. He’s fun to talk to and it’s great he’s out there. I actually value the role he has played in the election, just putting out ideas.

Willie Wilson:   Well he’s a lot of fun to talk to because I like to give him a hard time about his supporting Rauner and Trump. I appreciate the fact that he would come on even though I was giving him a hard time about supporting Rauner and Trump. I will never understand why he did. I immediately pointed out to him that, I go, “Willy, Rauner threw you under the bus. You supported him and then as soon as you became unpopular with the giving away of money Rauner was like, ‘Oh I’m outraged by this.’”

Suzana Mendoza:   Susana’s roots are different than my roots politically speaking. She comes out the southwest side, Democratic organization. She was an ally, I never understand her love for Ed Burke. What’s with Ed Burke? I don’t get it, and also Michael Madigan. She’s an ally of Michael Madigan…I like the role that Susana Mendoza played in the last year or two of Rauner’s reign as state comptroller. And I do believe, how about this what I’m about to say, that people can actually evolve…So you know, it’s possible that people grow and change.

Toni Preckwinkle:  Now Toni Preckwinkle seems to be going in the opposite direction. She started off, her roots are similar to mine, liberal, reform, progressive, whatever the word was. Independent is what we called them in the old days, politics in Hyde Park.

And then she made her alliances with the machine.

I’ve been saying if I were putting money in Vegas I would bet on Toni Preckwinkle being the next mayor of the City of Chicago…and the conventional was the runoff between Toni Preckwinkle and Susana Mendoza. That’s the conventional wisdom.

Man, I’m looking forward to that. I hope to be back on the airwaves for what one, man.

And Ben’s guess who who will ultimately get his old radio job?

Rahm Emanuel.

You can watch this show by tapping the image above.

You can listen to the audio here.

You can really a full transcript of this show here: cn transcript jan 17 2019


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