Racial group endorses just 3 Black aldermen

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Crusader Staff Report

Two weeks after releasing a disappointing report card on members of the Chicago City Council, a racial equality group has released a voter’s guide that endorses just three of the city’s 18 Black aldermen.

To mark the first day of Early Voting, the Center for Racial and Gender Equity (CRGE) released the Racial Justice Voter Guide, which endorses Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward), Toni Foulkes (16th Ward) and Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward). All three aldermen earned A’s on their score cards that CRGE released earlier this month.

Overall, seven aldermen received endorsements because of their ‘A’ grades.

CRGE said the guide is designed to serve as “an informational resource for voters committed to advancing safety, opportunity and liberation for people of color by electing candidates that reflect our communities, share our values and champion our self-interests.”

The endorsements suggest that CRGE sets high standards for achieving racial justice before giving its political support. CRGE graded its aldermen based on their record of sponsoring ordinances that protect the rights of individuals. While the CRGE says this shows the aldermen’s independence on policy matters, the report did not include their voting history.

The aldermen’s voting history “offers little insight into lawmakers’ positions on racial justice issues as the vast majority of aldermen rarely act independently, but rather vote with the mayor and council leadership over 90 percent of the time” according to CRGE.

In the guide, CRGE said it escalated its outreach efforts in the weeks leading up to election day. The group said it engaged in “door knocking, phone banks, texts and social media ads.”

According to the Voter Guide, CRGE expressed its opposition to eight Black aldermen who earned a ‘C’ or lower on its scorecard. They include Gregory Mitchell (7th Ward), Anthony Beale (9th Ward), Derrick Curtis (18th Ward), Howard Brookins, Jr. (21st Ward), Michael Scott, (24th Ward), Walter Burnette (27th Ward), Carrie Austin (34th Ward) and Emma Mitts (37th Ward).

CRGE declined to either oppose or endorse incumbent aldermanic candidates who received a ‘B’ on their report cards. They include Pat Dowell (3rd Ward), Sophia King (4th Ward), Leslie Hairston (5th Ward), Michelle Harris (8th Ward), David Moore (17th Ward) and Jason Ervin (28th Ward).

Based on their “exemplary records of commitment to advancing equity” CRGE has also endorsed four non-incumbent candidates. Those candidates include Alexandria Willis (3rd Ward), Rafa Yanez (15th Ward), Matt Martin (4th Ward) and Maria Hadden (49th Ward).

In its Racial Justice Voter Guide CRGE noted its opposition to seven mayoral candidates. They include Susana Mendoza, William “Bill” Daley, Paul Vallas, Garry McCarthy and Willie Wilson. The guide does not endorse any candidate for mayor because the group “welcomes a wide spectrum of contestants who are explicitly committed to addressing Chicago’s racialized structural inequity and injustice.”

Overall, CRGE gave the City Council an ‘F’ for failing marks on all standards in the categories of Equitable Schools and Fair and Affordable Housing.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the CHA have been accused of sitting on a $400 million surplus of funds that would help alleviate the city’s homeless problem and affordable housing shortage. CRGE in its report said the city failed to call on state lawmakers to lift the statewide ban on rent control.

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