Good morning. It’s ninth week.
Democratic gubernatorial candidates face off: J.B. Pritzker, Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy, and three other candidates for the Democratic nomination for Illinois governor participated in a forum co-hosted by the IOP yesterday at the Logan Center. Some highlights:
— Kennedy said Pritzker used “the language of racists” when discussing African-American candidates to fill Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat in leaked conversations with disgraced then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2008. After the debate, Kennedy did not directly answer when asked whether Pritzker was a racist, according to the Tribune.
— Pritzker attacks Biss’s sponsorship of a 2013 law that reduced public employee pensions to curb Springfield’s debt. Biss said that he struggled with the issue and did what he could given the circumstances at the time. “Nobody on this stage will be a perfect governor in January of 2019,” he said.
— Candidates were asked to estimate the prices of several goods to demonstrate that they understood the economic situation of average households. Pritzker correctly estimated the cost of a week of child care. Biss, who said he would be a “middle-class governor,” incorrectly estimated that a monthly CTA pass costs $35 (the correct answer is ~$105).
— Latest polling: Publicly published polls for the state race have been few and far between. The most recent poll, released on Wednesday, showed Pritzker ahead of Biss by 10 percentage points. The poll also showed that both Pritzker and Biss would beat incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner by double digits.
— Jeanne Ives, Republican candidate for Illinois governor, will speak at the IOP on Monday. Ives, who is running to the right of Bruce Rauner, ran a controversial TV ad that appears to mock transgender individuals, among other groups.
#DreamActNow: University students organized downtown in Federal Plaza Wednesday to advocate for protecting undocumented immigrant youth with DREAM Act provisions.
— First-year Emilio Balderas: “The goal is to get lawmakers to understand that we need immediate legislative protection for immigrant youth, but that this legislation cannot throw immigrant groups under the bus by increasing funding to the ICE, constructing a border wall, or sponsoring detention centers that are harming the immigrant community.”
Obama says he’s OK with rent rising near Center: At a public meeting for the presidential center Tuesday, Obama defended the Foundation’s refusal to sign a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) and argued that the Center will bring economic activity to the area, becoming the “jewel” of both the South Side and the City of Chicago. “The parks on the South Side should look like the parks on the North Side,” he said. He also said that increases in rent are justified by the Center's benefit to local businesses.
— Obama: “If you go into some neighborhoods in Chicago where there are no jobs, no businesses, and nothing's going on–in some cases the rent's pretty cheap, but our kids are also getting shot on that block.”
— But many South Side residents who live near the site of the Center are already struggling to pay rent. “It would be harder for a lot of families over here,” a man who lives at 62nd and Dorchester, just a few blocks from the site, told The Maroon, responding to Obama’s comments.
— Before the meeting, a prayer vigil was held during which participants argued for the Foundation to sign the CBA, in order to safeguard community concerns. A community member at the vigil said, “He’s moving forward with the University of Chicago and the mayor of Chicago. All those people are the ones calling the shots.”
More presidential center news…
The Harris School, collaborating with the Obama Foundation, announced a new one-year master’s program. Starting next fall quarter, the program will focus on international development and service. Twenty-five students in the inaugural class will receive full scholarships and stipends for living expenses. Application deadlines are April 10.
The Obama Foundation will donate up to $3.5 million to the Chicago Park District for a new turf field in Jackson Park to replace an existing field that’s in the way of construction.
Curbed reports that the Chicago Plan Commission has received a proposal from the University for a dormitory building, previously announced as the Woodlawn Residential Commons, “containing 386,479 gross square feet of floor area to serve as a 1,309 bed undergraduate residence hall, which will include accessory and related uses. The building consists of four residential towers set atop a single-story podium. Three seven-story towers and one 16-story tower are proposed with an overall building height of 184 feet,” the commission agenda reads. (Address: 1150 East 61st Street).
Communist protester arrested: According to a press release, a member of the Revolution Club Chicago was arrested by campus police yesterday in Reynolds Club. Four protesters were there for a silent protest for undocumented immigrants. The press release said the protester was charged with “felony aggravated battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.” CPD had no information on an arrest at that location; UCPD has yet to release incident reports for Thursday.
The University is launching a “First-generation, Low-income, Immigrant Network” within the Center for Identity + Inclusion through a joint program from the Center for College Student Success and Student Support Services. The organization will present discussions and networking opportunities for members. “Campus members who would like to support the initiative but do not identify with any of the FLI identities are encouraged to sign up as allies,” the announcement said.