by Thelma Sardin
With less than a week left until the 2011 Chicago Municipal Elections, the mayoral race is picking up speed. On Sunday, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL-4) stumped for Gery Chico and Dr. Cornel West campaigned for Carol Moseley Braun. On Saturday, Chico picked up two endorsements from Cook County Democratic Women and a coalition of African American ministers. Braun picked up an endorsement from Rainbow PUSH.
Last week, all six mayoral candidates appeared in two important community forums. On Thursday night, FOX Chicago, the Chicago Urban League and Harriet’s Daughters presented a debate at Kennedy King College. The candidates gave their platforms on jobs, education and crime.
Chico explained why he thought Rahm Emanuel would not be able to create crime fighting strategies for the city. “I think growing up in our city like I did in the Back of the Yards, living with threat of violence stays with you. People like Mr. Emanuel, who grew up in wealthy North Shore, probably never experience that. It makes it harder to come to grips to come up with a plan to combat this,” Chico said.
When asked his position on putting extra police officers in areas with the highest crime rates, Emanuel replied he has proposed to add 1,000 extra cops to the streets.
Carol Moseley Braun referred to Emanuel’s congressional record when asked a question about disparities in health for minorities.
“When in Congress, Mr. Emanuel voted against funding for a national center on minority health and health disparities,” Braun said.
While Emanuel did not respond to Braun’s remarks directly, in his closing statement he said his focus was to tackle the issues and not criticize opponents.
City Clerk Miguel Del Valle answered the first question posed to the candidates that inquired if any of them had ever been unemployed. Del Valle said he did not have a job after college and understands firsthand the plight of not having a job.
Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins and William “Dock” Walls both support a public school superintendent that has education experience and an elected school board instead of the current system of a chief executive officer with a business background.