* Sun-Times editorial…
Kennedy is playing a dangerous game. He is playing the race card unfairly, knowing that’s the quickest way to get a headline in Chicago. But playing the race card — in this case without the goods — also is the quickest way to destroy a reputation, divide us against each other, and set back whatever progress in racial fairness our city has made. […]
As Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell wrote last week, there is no doubt that Chicago has seen an exodus of working-class and poor black people. The city’s African-American population has dropped by more than 250,000 people since 2000, which is to say since 11 years before Emanuel first was elected mayor.
But, as Mitchell also wrote, to blame Emanuel for the exodus is to feed “age-old conspiracy theories” instead of “coming up with fresh ideas that would benefit the black community.”
WBEZ’s South Side reporter Natalie Moore said Kennedy wasn’t wrong in describing disinvestment in African-American neighborhoods, but said the candidate misused the term.
“We see many challenges in black South and West Side neighborhoods,” Moore said. “I don’t dispute his evidence is there about the challenges that those neighborhoods are facing but we are not seeing a replacement of people in those neighborhoods. We’re seeing population decline.”
Merriam-Webster defines “gentrification” as the “process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.”
As the root of the word suggests, gentrification is linked to socioeconomic class rather than race, although those factors can coincide.
* Meanwhile, one of Kennedy’s favorite targets is in more trouble…
Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios is facing $41,000 in fines for failing to return campaign contributions from property tax appeals lawyers whose donations exceeded legal limits, according to a pair of new rulings by the county ethics board.
The rulings raise the level of scrutiny on campaign contributions given by appeals lawyers to Berrios, who doubles as chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party and depends heavily on their donations in raising political funds. The action also ignites another high-profile showdown with the county Board of Ethics, with which he previously clashed over nepotism issues. […]
In rulings released late Monday, the ethics board listed 30 examples of property tax attorneys or firms whose donations to Berrios’ main political fund in late 2016 or early 2017 exceeded the $750 limit. It fined Berrios and the Committee to Elect Joseph Berrios Cook County Assessor $1,000 for each violation, for a total of $30,000. The $1,000 fine per violation is the maximum allowed.
An additional $11,000 in fines were imposed on Berrios and his 31st Ward Democratic Organization, the source of his main power base.
…Adding… Berrios campaign…
Every contribution received by the Assessor’s campaign complies with State Law. Attempts by the county ordinance to limit the rights of contributors are invalid. Assessor Berrios is not personally wealthy so he must rely on campaign contributions from supporters. Wall Street Republican Fritz Kaegi broke the contribution caps in late September in an attempt to buy the Assessor’s office.
According to Illinois State Law, the maximum an individual can contribute to a candidate is $5,600. No contribution to Assessor Berrios’ campaign exceeded that amount. In addition, Fritz Kaegi broke the contribution caps so all campaigns for the Assessor’s office are considered exempt from any campaign caps.
We intend to supply further evidence that there was no violation of the election law by accepting any contributions. We believe we will prevail in the upcoming motion for reconsideration. The Assessor believes the fines are improper and expects the order will be ultimately vacated by the ethics board or the court.
Assessor Berrios believes in a fair playing field for all candidates, who are seeking office, not just the wealthy 1%.
* Kaegi overcomes challenge to his bid to run against Berrios