Monday, September 5, 2016

Chicago gang killings skyrocket while Democrat pols play footsy with gangs

A backyard memorial gathering for Mark Lindsey, 25
killed May 27, 2016 in a "safe" neighborhood of Chicago
The conventional wisdom is that the city fathers of big cities and gangs are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  That may be true in many cities but it isn’t true in Chicago.  The incestuous relationship between aldermen and gangs blurs the line between good and evil. The windy city currently has the highest homicide rate, most of it gang related, of any city in the US.  In August there were more killings, 90, than in New York and Los Angeles combined.  And it is getting worse.  Through August the body count was 472, almost equaling the full year 2015. 

85 years of Democratic rule has left Chicago with a reputation as the most corrupt city in the US.  It is well earned.  Aldermen are kings (or queens) of their wards.  They wield immense power.  They control patronage jobs, zoning, city contracts, property tax reduction and permits in their wards.  It is a graft friendly system.  Naturally they are loath to give up their power and financial opportunities the position offers.  And likewise challengers aspire to become aldermen for all the same reasons.  Political allies are important to politicians such as newspapers, TV stations, the chamber of commerce, religious organizations and, you guessed it, gangs.  It’s the Chicago way.

Chicago Magazine in the January 2012 issue documents how bad it is.  The story is overwhelming. Here is a sample:

Baskin, [a former gang leader and for several decades a community activist who now operates a neighborhood center that aims to keep kids off the streets was asked for help by local politicians and] … was happy to oblige. In all, he says, he helped broker meetings between roughly 30 politicians (ten sitting aldermen and 20 candidates for City Council) and at least six gang representatives. That claim is backed up by two other community activists, Harold Davis Jr. and Kublai K. M. Toure, who worked with Baskin to arrange the meetings, and a third participant, also a community activist, who requested anonymity. The gang representatives were former chiefs who had walked away from day-to-day thug life, but they were still respected on the streets and wielded enough influence to mobilize active gang members.

The first meeting, according to Baskin, occurred in early November 2010, right before the statewide general election; more gatherings followed in the run-up to the February 2011 municipal elections.

At some of the meetings, the politicians arrived with campaign materials and occasionally with aides. The sessions were organized much like corporate-style job fairs. The gang representatives conducted hour-long interviews, one after the other, talking to as many as five candidates in a single evening. Like supplicants, the politicians came into the room alone and sat before the gang representatives, who sat behind a long table. “One candidate said, ‘I feel like I’m in the hot seat,’” recalls Baskin. “And they were.”

The former chieftains, several of them ex-convicts, represented some of the most notorious gangs on the South and West Sides, including the Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Cobras, Black P Stones, and Black Gangsters. Before the election, the gangs agreed to set aside decades-old rivalries and bloody vendettas to operate as a unified political force, which they called Black United Voters of Chicago. “They realized that if they came together, they could get the politicians to come to them,” explains Baskin.

There is a lot more in the article, read it.

Donald Trump has repeated the theme that Democrats have done little or nothing to improve the lot of African Americans in center cities. That is true. He promises to do better.  But his speeches suggest Democratic politicians are practicing benign neglect.  That is not the case in Chicago.  They are destroying the city.  They are selling out to the gangs to protect their own selfish interests. 

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