Political Roundup: In the Wake of the Chicago Mayoral Election

Rahm Emanuel names his transition team; more theories on why voter turnout was so low; the ongoing problems of Meritorious Good Time; sobering stats on minority poverty and unemployment; and more.

* Fran Spielman reports that two Daley aides have been selected for Rahm Emanuel’s transition team. One, Sarah Pang, was a co-chair of Mayor Daley’s 2007 21st Century Commission, which issued a bunch of recommendations for the future of Chicago. You can read it here (PDF); a lot of it consists of vague recommendations to do things better, but there are encouraging ideas, such as a focus on putting foreclosed homes to use, integrated fare cards (which is not in and of itself going to save the city, but would be nice), citywide recycling (cf. Why Can’t Chicago Recycle? by Mick Dumke, which you’ll want to bookmark in the likely scenario that Emanuel takes on the dilemma), and suggestions to reduce train congestion (cf. Achy Obejas on Patricia Van-Pelt Watkins’s transit plan). For better or worse, it’s also emphatic about privatizing waste collection. And for worse, the undead O’Hare express train.

* The full transition team is here.

* The Pantagraph has a good two-part series on the state’s abandonment of Meritorious Good Time and prison overcrowding. It’s a problem that was predictable and predicted. And maybe one that never should have happened in the first place. Back in October, when Pat Quinn was running for re-election, Steve Bogira described how the MGT panic occurred and what the results would be:

This has already cost Illinois tens of millions of dollars, and could cost the state another $158 million between now and July 2012, according to projections by Malcolm Young, director of prison reentry strategies for Northwestern University law school’s Bluhm Legal Clinic. And that’s in operating costs alone; it doesn’t include the price of building another prison, which Young said could become necessary if MGT isn’t reinstated.

* The Chicago Reporter takes a look at minority poverty and unemployment in Chicago: “The stats on unemployment for minorities are blistering.”

* If you were worried about boredom setting in after the mayoral election, we still have reapportionment to look forward to!

* Steve Bogira finds some old letters from his dad to the 23rd ward office. It’s like Found magazine for public policy nerds.

* Rated Rookies of Chicago politics: Ameya Pawar and Jacob Meeks; Devon Reid, who pulled in 1,200 votes against the 26th ward’s powerful Roberto Maldonado with a $3k budget. Pawar had the best slogan of this election cycle. In 2009, he presented a report to FEMA, as part of its Higher Education Conference, on poverty and its relationship to disaster recovery, which you can find here.

* John V. Santore looks at why turnout was so low; the point about Rahm Emanuel running as an incumbent is salient.

* Rickey Hendon just quit.

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