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Sandi Jackson's Disdainful Goodbye

"Sandi Jackson assured her faithful supporters that she was still large and in charge as she signed off as the 7th Ward alderman Tuesday night," Mary Mitchell writes for the Sun-Times.

"It was almost symbolic that Jackson, who commuted from Washington, D.C., to represent the South Side ward, said goodbye by telephone."

It wasn't almost symbolic, and it wasn't even symbolic; it was fitting. She said goodbye the way she governed: From a distance.

"Media were barred from the gathering, but the alderman's remarks were recorded by someone in the room with a cellphone who turned it over to the Chicago Sun-Times."

Jackson did not want the public to know her real thoughts. Fitting.

"Although Mayor Rahm Emanuel has promised that his first aldermanic appointment would be based on a transparent community process, Jackson all but declared her chief of staff, Keiana Barrett, as her successor.

"From an insider's point of view, Mayor Rahm may say he wants to have interviews. The people he will interview will be the people I am suggesting," Jackson told the gathering made up mostly of precinct workers. "They are interviewing people in the community, but they do that to calm people down. People want to have their input. But for the most part, they turn that matter over to the alderman."

Let's break that down.

1. From an insider's point of view, Mayor Rahm may say he wants to have interviews

True. He's even taking online applications. Somebody in his administration may even review them over lunch one day, if they're bored.

2. The people he will interview will be the people I am suggesting.

False. Except insofar as it is in Rahm's political interest to give courtesy interviews as he reportedly ramps up his re-election campaign and seeks to solidify support. Or to identify enemies. But not because he's interested in Jackson's suggestions.

3. They are interviewing people in the community, but they do that to calm people down.

True. (Sources close to my imagination say that Rahm's response to this assertion was "Why doesn't she shut the fuck up?") More interesting than the fact that she actually said what we already know - that politics is a form of public theater designed to calm people down using a facade of falsity - is that she did so approvingly.

4. People want to have their input.

True. And Jackson and the mayor will do whatever is necessary to create the illusion that public input has occurred.

5. But for the most part, they turn that matter over to the alderman.

False. Except insofar as the departing alderman has a preference among stooges equally amenable to being the mayor's tool.

*

"On Tuesday, Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported that Barrett was under consideration as Jackson's replacement until it was discovered that she doesn't live in the ward."

At least appointing her would provide continuity.

*

"Jackson told supporters that Barrett would be appointed after the residency issue is resolved."

Just like Rahm was.

*

"One mayoral source laughed when I shared Jackson's comments about selecting her successor.

"'As the mayor outlined yesterday, there will be a comprehensive process to identify a replacement to serve Chicago's 7th Ward,' said Tarrah Cooper, the mayor's press secretary, in an e-mail."

And then they'll do what they wanted to do all along. That's why Mitchell's source was laughing.

*

"Jackson also noted that all of the furnishings for her ward office at 71st and Exchange were bought with campaign dollars.

"That means the city does not own any of the furniture that you are currently sitting on, any of the furniture that is in the campaign office, any of the furniture that is in the aldermanic office. I bought every item personally, and if the mayor upholds my wishes, everything in that office will stay the same. Keiana will inherit everything," Jackson said.

When the only leverage you have left is the furniture . . .

*

"[I]n an interview Wednesday, Barrett said she could not recall exactly what Jackson said about the looming aldermanic appointment.

"I don't recall any of that," she said.

You are now ready to be an alderman.

*

"It is important that everything stays the same. We have to have the same continuity, the same flow. Should the mayor go against my wishes and decide to appoint somebody I do not agree with . . . " said Jackson, specifically naming past opponent Darcel Beavers, "I will not share those resources and I will find somebody to run against that person. I will disband that office before I let another Beavers supporter come back and take it over."

I will manage that campaign from Washington, D.C., and you will also not get my furniture!

*

Barrett is a former spokesperson for Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rainbow/PUSH and the Congressional Black Caucus. So she knows how to bullshit.

She was also the director of external affairs at the DuSable Museum. So she knows how to fundraise.

You are now ready to be an alderman.

*

She was also the community affairs director for Jesse Jackson Jr., so she's the closest thing to family Sandi has to bequeath her seat to; her real kids are still too young to assume the throne in grand Illinois tradition.

*

"If Barrett decides not to step up, Jackson told the group she also had recommended the Rev. Scott Onque, pastor of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church at 7262 S. Coles, as a replacement."

And you thought it was only Republicans who mix religion with politics.

*

The Stylish Rev.

*

But would he get to keep the furniture too?

-

Comments welcome.



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Posted on January 17, 2013


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