Evanston, Illinois’ use of weed taxes for reparations won’t solve deeper problems

By John Ruberry

If you want to immerse yourself with sanctimonious leftists then I suggest you drop everything you’re doing and head to Evanston, Illinois, which borders Chicago and is the home of Northwestern University. It’s located two towns from the suburb I live in.

I did so once at a meeting of the Evanston Democrats.

In 2016 Donald Trump gained just seven percent of the vote in Evanston.

Despite being run by liberals for decades, Evanston, the onetime home of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, will divert all of the sales tax revenue from soon-to-be-open legal marijuana shops for slavery and discrimination reparations.

Illinois of course was not a slave state. Ironically, one of my great grandfathers, Joseph Ruberry, a Civil War veteran who served on the Union side, is buried in Evanston. Also located six-feet under in Evanston is common sense.

In 2000, the African American population was 22 percent, now it’s about 17 percent. One goal of these reparation payments is to address this decline. About $500,000 to $750,000 is expected to be collected each year, which won’t be enough to pay for a stately home on Evanston’s lakefront.

In short, these reparation payments won’t make much of a difference.

As for the decline in Evanston’s black population, that’s in line with a similar fall off in Chicago. Other things are at work. While not as severe as its much larger neighbor, Evanston has a gang problem. Statewide, Illinois is becoming a difficult place to earn a living. Corruption, government incompetence, and unfunded public worker pension obligations are a millstone fighting prosperity.

While not as high as Chicago’s, suburban Cook County, where Evanston sits, has one of the steepest sales tax rates in the nation. Illinois just increased its income tax rate–many states have no state income tax. The Prairie State’s gasoline tax is the third-highest in America.

But liberal politicians love taxes–it gives them more power.

Here’s my prediction: In spite of these upcoming reparations payments, the black population of Evanston will continue to fall.

Of course leftists in Evanston a decade or so from now will argue they have another solution. And whatever that will be–it will involve more taxpayer money.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Chicago teachers demand smaller class size by striking, but enrollment is already declining

Chicago Teachers Union member at a 2012 Occupy Chicago rally–classes were in session that day

By John Ruberry

Chicago Teachers Union members are on strike again, 300,000 students and their parents have to reshuffle their weekday routines. 

In Chicago and many other big-cities, school is more than being an educational institution. Three quarters of Chicago Public Schools students qualify for government paid-for or subsidized lunches, many also qualify for breakfasts under similar circumstances. 

Or maybe schools in Chicago are less than being an educational institution as barely one-in-four students read at grade level, despite most schools having “College Predatory” and “Excellence” in their names. But CPS schools serve, even when there isn’t a strike, sadly as day center centers.

While meals are still being provided at CPS schools since the strike began last week, the walkout is hurting those that the Chicago Teachers Union purports to represent, the kids and their families. Parents are taking time off work to watch their children. Chicago’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, has offered teachers a 16 percent pay raise, but union leaders say that they are striking for, wait for it, the kids and their hard-pressed parents.

On the other hand, the CTU is advocating for a financial program for teachers and support staff so they can purchase a home in Chicago. Wait, aren’t Chicago taxpayers paying teachers and other CPS employees so they can buy a home? There is plenty of affordable housing in Chicago, just not so much in the fashionable neighborhoods on the lakefront.

The quick reaction to the strike is that Chicago has no more money, as the city is essentially bankrupt due to unfunded public worker pension obligations, including those for teachers. But somehow the cash to end the strike will be “found,” although it will likely involve borrowing from Judas so the city can rob Peter to pay Paul. If that last sentence doesn’t make sense then you are not from Chicago

One of the CTU’s key demands is a familiar one, smaller class size. But that issue should be taking care of itself as for three straight years CPS enrollment has dropped by 10,000. Twenty-six CPS high schools have fewer than 270 students and two of them fewer than 100. These schools were built to accommodate much larger enrollments. But that didn’t stop CPS from opening a new high school in Englewood, a neighborhood whose population has dropped by two-thirds since 1960.

And Chicago’s overall population is declining, leading the charge of the Illinois Exodus that has been going on for five years now

Incompetent and corrupt government reaps a poor harvest. And the money that Lightfoot will need to “find” to end the Chicago teachers strike will hasten the Exodus. And fewer taxpayers means less money.

John Ruberry blogs from the Chicago area at Marathon Pundit.

Feds setting up a massive corruption net in Chicago area

Blogger post-race in McCook, Illinois in June

By John Ruberry

One thing hasn’t changed since the outage here at Da Tech Guy. Corruption in Illinois is rampant.

As I noted in this space, on the third day of 2019, Chicago’s most powerful alderman, Ed Burke, who has been in office for 50 years, was named in a criminal complaint centered on an extortion complaint from a fast food restaurant in his ward. In May, Burke was indicted on 14 corruption charges. Burke’s wife, Anne, sits on the Illinois Supreme Court. More on that later.

Around the time of the Burke indictment, the FBI raided the homes of Michael Zalewski, a former Chicago alderman, Kevin Quinn, the brother of another Chicago alderman, and Mike McClain, a lobbyist. All of them are close allies of Michael Madigan, Illinois House speaker for 34 of the last 36 years and the chairman of the state Democratic Party. Quinn’s brother represents the 13th Ward in Chicago’s City Council, where Madigan serves as Democratic committeeman.

Last Tuesday federal agents raided the suburban Chicago and Springfield offices of state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero). Half of his district is covered by Madigan’s House district. But the feds weren’t done last week. On Thursday they raided the village halls of McCook and Lyons, which are in Sandoval’s district. An insurance agency owned by the family of the mayor of Lyons was also raided. The mayor of McCook, a Democrat, is also a Cook County commissioner.

Clearly the federal government is on to something in Madigan’s geographic base, the Southwest Side of Chicago and its southwestern suburbs. Of course Madigan’s fierce grip reaches all the way to the Ohio River. However, Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor, urges caution in jumping to conclusions in linking these raids to Boss Madigan’s activities.

In other Illinois corruption news, in June federal agents raided the ward office of Chicago alderman Carrie Austin. And last month state Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), a distant cousin of state Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), was indicted on embezzlement charges.

Let me get back to Burke, or rather, the alderman’s wife, Anne. Earlier this month Anne was elevated to chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Only in Illinois.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.