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What a Frantic Politician Looks Like?

As adults, we’ve all witnessed what I can only call abhorrent, unusual and irrational behavior among our fellow human beings. Some of it may be the result of a mental defect, emotional upheaval or simply some undefined human frailty that we assign as the cause. Other times it is a matter of poor judgment and decision making.
But in this particular instance over a period of a month, the only behavior I can honestly attribute to Alderman Harris is the word “frantic.” Frantic in her behavior, her decisions, and her words.

Why? Because she has apparently given leave of her senses based on the decisions that she has made politically.

Let me explain:
As we can recall she has been called out for being unable to credibly explain her use of what some may see as discretionary funds (campaign fund donations) and related questions about their real use. While the 8th Ward has been on a downward spiral, save the occasional cosmetic improvements, a whole lot of propaganda and fake news releases, it has become apparent that she is either unwilling or unable to credibly explain to her constituents just how she spent those many thousands of taxpayer dollars (TIF funds and menu money) and other monies at her disposal. It certainly doesn’t appear that she spent it in the service of the 8th Ward.

And then there is the matter of the originally hidden disclosure of a contribution of several thousand dollars from the developers of the much-ballyhooed 7 story low-income senior citizens building known as Montclair Place which she championed and tried to have pushed through surreptitiously without the knowledge, input or consideration of either the nearby residents or the voters of the Ward.

Then we can reasonably add the recent disclosure that Alderman Harris, in her arrogance and thirst for acceptance by Rahm, chose to be something less than respectful and transparent in accepting Rahm’s financial backing in exchange for keeping the Laquan McDonald police shooting tape secret while blindly pushing through a settlement to McDonald’s surviving family. This was done for Emmanuel’s benefit to all but ensure he was re-elected. It worked, and we are all much poorer – in many ways – for it.

We have in evidence the announcement that the venerable WVON radio station, an anchor and iconic mainstay for Black Chicagoans across generations are moving out of the community to swankier digs in the South Loop. No one has reasonably determined exactly why the move is necessary outside of the confines of that company operated by Melody Spann, the daughter of the famous Pervis Spann, and now a close friend of Alderman Harris. But it seems odd that the Alderman would bestow one million dollars on this private company – and her friend - without the benefit of guarantees or some kind of agreement to remain in the community after those monies were spent to help defray the cost of retrofitting the building or maintaining operations. Instead, we get an announcement that WVON is getting in the wind, without the benefit of an explanation, or how those funds were repaid or spent. We only know the station is moving on and leaving another vacant structure in the 8th Ward. What’s more, I don’t recall any pushback whatsoever from the Alderman.

And finally, in desperation to keep her long-held position as Committeeman and Alderman of the 8th Ward while trying to curry favor with dissatisfied voters, she has decided to lie about her relationship with a young entrepreneur, Jerald Gary, who she initially and shamefully kicked to the curb about his efforts to refurbish the Avalon Regal theater. The truth of this sad and shameful episode in our community politics clearly illustrates that she had no interest whatsoever in Mr. Gary’s efforts or vision, and she committed acts of furtherance in trying to shut him down. She was even responsible for having him arrested for violations related to the Regal. But now, she expects all the voters in the Ward to have amnesia or be blinded by her lies and misrepresentation - as well as our desire to improve our community – by latching on to Kanye West once he announced his intentions to help Mr. Gary in his quest.

The thing is, this should not be a political issue beyond her initial refusal to help this young man. She only got involved once Kanye announced his intentions. And, it is really unbecoming for a grown Black woman to try to appear to be an open-minded visionary, coming in like the “White knight” to help Mr. Gary realize his dream, especially when it is obvious this is simply a show to boost her ratings with the community. That is not the way this works. Alderman Harris’ obvious grandstanding by bringing Kanye and Mr. Gary together for a photo-op in Chicago City Council Chambers and then in front of City Hall smacks of traditional and cynical political theater. Kanye and Mr. Gary are certainly capable of working out a deal on their own.

But no one paid attention to the fact that she really has no part in this because, at this juncture, no public money is involved. That prospect has long passed since Alderman Harris decided to ensure the survival of similar projects in another predominately White Ward on the Northside. She even voted to approve the use of diverted TIF funds for private ventures that could have been applied in our beleaguered community. The fact that this was done at Rahm’s behest is no excuse.

Mr. Gary, after being rejected outright and even precluded from earning or raising money to finance repairs for the Regal by Alderman Harris, has made it clear he does not want money from the City or Alderman Harris. And, admittedly, once he made that clear there was a strong suggestion that was conveyed from members of Alderman Harris staff that she, utilizing the power of her office, could continue to hamstring his efforts in all matters in which the city was involved. In this instance, it could involve infrastructure and other material, logistical or legal aspects in order to get the Avalon Regal up and running again.

That would mean no matter how much Kanye or other willing contributors would donate to the cause of refurbishing and renovating this iconic venue, the City of Chicago, based on that veiled threat, could most assuredly prevent the Avalon Regal from ever opening. That, too, is a shameful and immoral use of political power.

But now Alderman Harris has apparently bit off more than she can chew because her efforts to grandstand and push an unanticipated and unwanted photo-op with Kanye, is going to cost her.

Because it has become evident that Kanye West’s politics do not align with those of the clear majority of the Black community. His recent public statements, performances and the most recent “coonery” regarding his support of the president to the detriment of the Black community are inexcusable. He acted out this shameful performance in the Oval Office of the White House before the entire nation and at the behest of Donald Trump. It has made him unreliable, untrustworthy, politically radioactive, and an embarrassment to us all.

But, to be clear, our position has always been in support of obtaining whatever legal funding was available for Mr. Gary to use toward refurbishing and opening the Avalon Regal. Our initial concern was the relative lack of vision on improving our deteriorating neighborhoods and infrastructure. But after an involved conversation with Mr. Gary, it became clear that he is a visionary and dedicated to a dream that would certainly benefit us all. So, I made it clear that I supported his efforts, and not just to be opposed to what Alderman Harris had said or done.

I also made it clear that our position should be that the whole matter is apolitical, without any political interference or brinksmanship that would certainly make Mr. Gary’s efforts much more difficult.

Instead, Alderman Harris decided to use that opportunity following Kanye’s announcement to make political hay by publicizing her alleged involvement from the start (which is a damnable lie), and then manufacture the appearance that she was somehow deeply involved in “negotiations” between Kanye and Mr. Gary, when all she really did was set up a photo-op with her in the middle.

And, truth be told, Kanye West and Jerald Gary were at City Hall for the purpose of meeting with the Landmark Commission, not engage in cheap and petty political photo-ops and glad-handing.

So, in making this political, especially by embracing Kanye in such a brazen and public manner, she is now inextricably tied to him. She has, in fact, gone above and beyond the normal political grandstanding and trying to manufacture a narrative of involvement. She has praised Kanye West to the point of excess and obvious cheap political effect. And, I’m certain that the voters of the 8th Ward will see her duplicity and willingness to lie and cheat simply to make herself look like a responsible and careful leader.

Only, Kanye has put her on “front street” and she is going to have to explain herself as the fallout about his politics and her true loyalties come into question.

To me, that kind of behavior smacks of someone being frantic. Wouldn’t you agree?

Paid for by Friends of Linda Hudson.  A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s Official website ( or for purchase from the

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