Today marks one of the most important mayoral elections for the city of Chicago in over 40 years, and lots of Chicagoans — including SAIC students — have an opinion. To see what the locals are actually thinking, a group of SAIC students hit the streets, questioning people about who they might be voting for, and which are the most important issues in this election. Here’s what they had to say.
By Kristine Avila
The evening before the Chicago mayoral race was a frigid 20 degrees, with ice-cold winds; therefore, it was no surprise that most citizens walking the streets were not eager to stop for questions. However, there is a segment of the populace often overlooked, but in the midst of a major crisis the next mayor will have to deal with: the homeless.
Tywouend Webster, a 37-year-old man who is “pretty much” a lifelong Chicagoan, represents this demographic. He was sitting in front of a café, change cup in hand, and responded immediately when asked about his choice of candidate: Rahm Emanuel.
Emanuel is the leading candidate in the polls by a long shot, and Webster believes that his work as Obama’s Chief of Staff will help the city out. But, moreover, he lauds the candidate’s straightforward tactics and efficiency.
He cites the snowstorm earlier this month, which dumped more than 16 inches of snow over some parts of the city. The current mayor, Richard M. Daley, was out of town. Emanuel, however, was present, and pushed for faster cleanup of the streets.
Not to put Emanuel on a pedestal, Webster adds, “I don’t like the way he raises taxes.”
This has all been covered before, however. What is somewhat unexpected is that Webster, an African American, decries Carol Moseley Braun as quickly as he offers Emanuel’s name. “I do not like her,” he says emphatically, shaking his head. “I do not like her.” It’s interesting, given that Moseley Braun has been oft-described as “the” African-American candidate. For Webster, however, her platform is nonsensical: as an example, he explains, her position on child support.
Moseley Braun, according to Webster, is hard on those who neglect to pay their child support. However, instead of taking into account those accused who cannot pay because of unemployment, she simply “locks ‘em up,” using taxpayer money to keep them in jail instead of finding a viable solution. Meanwhile, Webster explains, that child support still goes unpaid, while taxpayer money is wasted.
“[Carol Moseley Braun] will never get the African-American vote…in a million years because of what she’s doing,” Webster said. In Webster’s opinion, she will continue the trajectory of the Daley years.
Webster finishes close to home: he figures Chicago must have had money to house the homeless, clean the downtown up. He asks, “Where did that money go?”