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Mayoral Election Resource Guide

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Compiled by Lynda Lopez, News and Public Affairs Intern

After 21 years of Mayor Daley, the city of Chicago is getting ready to elect a new leader. The election, which is set for February 22nd, has become one of the most contested in the city's recent history. There are currently 6 candidates running for office, including former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel and former chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago Gery Chico.

There has been no lack of coverage on the election, as every major media outlet is putting the candidates under public scrutiny. With an endless amount of coverage on the mayoral candidates, it can be quite difficult to filter through the media cloud to find the actual important content.It is important to make the right decision on election day, as the future of the city is going to be shaped by our new mayor. In order to facilitate your voting in February, here is a handy resource guide containing everything from how to register to vote to the best websites for candidate information.

Eligibility to vote:
-- be a U.S. citizen;
-- be at least 18 years of age by election day;
-- live in your precinct at least 30 days before the election;
-- not be in prison/jail serving time for a conviction; and,
-- not claim the right to vote elsewhere

How to register to vote:
-- by submitting this mail-in form. This form can be used: to register for the first time; to file a change of address; or, to file a change of name.
-- in person at 69 W. Washington St., Sixth Floor.
-- at any Secretary of State's office where driver's licenses and state IDs are issued.
-- through an active deputy registrar affiliated with a local organization, such as a political party, ward organization or other state-certified body.

Last day to register to vote is on January 25, 2011!
If you miss the deadline, you can still register until February 15th if you...
Pass by the Chicago Board of Elections in person at 69 W. Washington 6th Floor
To find your polling place, go to

Voting Early
You can vote early starting January 31st until February 17th. Go to to find out which locations have "Early Voting."

On Election Day:
Election Day is Tuesday, February 22nd. Polling places are open from 6am-7pm.
If a candidate does not receive the majority of votes (50%+1 vote), there might be a "Run-Off Election" on Tuesday, April 5th.

Mayoral Candidate websites
William Walls:
Rahm Emmanuel:
Carol Moseley Braun:
Miguel Del Valle:
Gery Chico:
Patricia Van Pelt Watkins:

Election News Sites

Volunteer for the election
Rahm Emmanuel:
Gery Chico:
Carol Moseley Braun:
Patricia Van Pelt Watkins:
Miguel Del Valle:
William Walls:

UCSC accepts story submissions from contributing writers that take a timely national issue and examine it in the local perspective. To join the pool, or learn more, visit

Woodlawn neighborhood gets a little more robust

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Woodlawn has a new coffee shop, writes David Sisco Casey in the Chicago Weekly:

"The technometropolis that is South Campus Residence Hall may have just opened its doors last year, but its effects on the neighboring Woodlawn community are already palpable. As the university's population moves south of the Midway and outside the safe confines of the main quad and the student ghetto immediately to the north, businesses in Woodlawn will have to decide whether and how to change to meet its new residents' needs. Robust Coffee Lounge is a months-old café that embodies one direction Woodlawn could be heading: a continuation of Hyde Park. The walk to the place will give you a good idea of the issues facing expansion south of campus--the lounge rests in a half-vacant building across the street from two deserted and unkempt lots.

It's clear that the owners of Robust were taking a risk in opening this coffee shop"... (read more)

Robust Coffee Lounge, 6300 S. Woodlawn (773) 891-4240

Haiti Earthquake Response

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Below is the University's initial response to the earthquake in Haiti. For more information on the University's response, how to donate funds, items, volunteer or other information, please click the links to the right.

To: Members of the University Community
From: Kimberly Goff-Crews, Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students in the University
Re: Haiti earthquake response
January 15, 2010

Each day the scope of the disaster in Haiti and the enormity of suffering become more apparent. Our hearts go out to all those touched by this calamity and those who await word on loved ones.

In a special way, our thoughts are with members of the University community who may have family, friends or colleagues in Haiti. Since news of the earthquake first broke, staff members in my office have been working with colleagues across the University, as well as government officials and private citizens, to locate members of our community who may have been in Haiti at the time of the earthquake and to ascertain their well-being. So far the news has been good, but because communications are so limited, we do not know when we will be able to answer that question definitively. In addition, we are offering support to students, staff or faculty who have family members in Haiti affected by the disaster.

Many of you want to help the people of Haiti. The University Community Service Center has assembled a web page with guidance and links to international relief organizations: That page, as well as the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at, have information on a student-led fundraising, clothing and toiletries drive, with drop-off sites at the Reynolds Club and at OMSA's office at 5710 S. Woodlawn. As other new efforts arise, we will make note of them on the University's website.

A special space has been set aside in Rockefeller Chapel for those who want to pray or grieve or leave remembrances of those affected by the earthquake. Members of the University's many faith communities will remember the people of Haiti at their regular gatherings, and special prayers will be included in Sunday morning worship at Rockefeller at 11 a.m. An interfaith act of remembrance will take place at the Chapel on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 5 p.m., a week after the time of the earthquake.

If you have questions or suggestions about the University's response to the disaster in Haiti, please e-mail Please write to that address with any new relief efforts or observances at the University, as well, so that we can share them with the broader community.

Chicago's Daily Scoop

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It's hard to keep an ear to the ground when it's so darn cold out, so I'm trying out a new feature: a regular re-cap of interesting news items of city-wide, local and campus importance.

City news
Is it warm out here? Chicago weather will hit above-freezing this week for the first time since Christmas Day's unseasonable 43 degrees. Not exactly reason to break out a tank top, but maybe now my hands won't turn into icicles every time I fumble to retrieve my CTA card from inside my wallet.

South Side news3 months after Chicago lost the Olympic bid, and still no word from the city on what will take the place of the Olympic Village in its massive reconstruction project at Michael Reese Hospital. I wrote this story for the Chicago News Coop last week, and my fingers really did turn into icicles when I attempted some man-on-the-street reporting up in Bronzeville.

Campus news52nd Street has a new bakery, the Chicago Weekly reports. Sounds like a yummy way to keep warm (Note to self: don't write a blog post right after running across the snow-capped quadrangle to get to work.)

The Sustainability Council is sponsoring a free Winter Gardening Workshop on Tuesday in Swift Hall:

Julia Govis (Master Gardener/International Organic Farm Inspector) will demonstrate and explain ways in which you can grow your own organic meals indoors this winter. There will be a Q & A session after the demonstration and materials will be available to take away to try the techniques presented during the workshop at home.

When I visited the headquarters of the Chicago News Cooperative in early November, the news room was barren, save a large reproduction of the company logo and a table covered in electronics. The sign has a simple sans serif typeface in black and red, and is as understated as the two rows of fresh-from-the-box IBMs and unused desk phones. The room also had a brand-new desktop printer in it when I arrived, but no paper, to the editor's dismay.

Though it comes from quiet beginnings and an only moderately-publicized deal between former editors of the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune, respectively, Jim O'Shea and James Warren, and the New York Times, the CNC is out in print. Expect to see more and more alternative coverage of Chicago politics and culture in the paper's Friday and Sunday print editions.

The CNC, as the website says, "produces public-interest journalism focused on Chicago, its politics and policy, culture and the arts, and the diverse communities of the metropolitan area." Look out for a more dynamic web presence in the new year, when the CNC "expects to launch a Web site that will be the hub of its operation, and introduce novel ways to connect the community with our news room in a two-way exchange of information."

More local journalism by some Chicago Tribune legends--your guess is as good as mine how this idealistic attempt to re-invent the 24-hour news cycle will pan out.

TIME'S UP: Chicago bid loses in first round

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tBtW offers some UChicago-based links as well as some general links:

Your turn to weigh in:
The Olympic Bid has been controversial, especially here on the South Side. What do you think? What else should folks check out to learn more?

Swine flu mucking about in Chicago

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Click here for information from the University of Chicago on Swine Flu.

Concern about the H1N1 influenza strain known as swine flu has been steadily mounting over the last week. Confirmed cases had been mostly limited to California, Texas, and New York, but on Tuesday afternoon a Chicago student at Kilmer Elementary in Rogers Park was diagnosed with the infection. Kimberly Goff-Crews, Dean of Students in the University, reports that two hospital staff may be infected but are recovering at home. Several probable cases have been reported elsewhere in the city, in the suburbs, and in collar counties. What does this mean and what should Chicagoans be doing about it? According to the Center for Disease Control, normal hygiene practices should provide protection against infection, and individuals who believe they may be infected should seek medical treatment if symptoms become severe. In short, thinking of the outbreak like a particularly nasty strain of seasonal flu might well be better than the simmering panic beginning to erupt from various quarters.

Overblown or not, the situation has opened up some interesting discussions about public health.  The Big Money asks some interesting questions about the economic and business side effects of the outbreak, and Amanda Marcotte explores the links between factory farms and human health.

South Side students say to IOC: "No Games!"

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The International Olympics Committee is in town, conducting what news media are calling the most thorough tour of the city since the Blues Brothers blew through. City officials led the IOC through proposed venues for the 2016 Olympics from the Loop to Washington Park, while the committee judged the city's viability as a potential host to the games.

No Games Chicago, a city-wide group organizing against the Olympic bid, has other plans for what the IOC will see, however; this includes the anti-games protest they hosted in Federal Plaza last Thursday. University of Chicago students and other members of the South Side community turned out at the protest to voice their worries over how the 2016 Olympics would effect Chicago's neighborhoods. 

Workers paint a billboard advertising the Chicago Olympics bid in Lincoln Park. (Photo by Rachel Cromidas)

University of Chicago College Alumnus Matt Ginsberg-Jaekle said gentrification will be his main concern if Chicago gets the Olympics. 

"Chicago is a city that's already notorious for displacing its low-income people," he said.

Ginsberg-Jaekle is a member of Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP), a community organization comprised of residents of Woodlawn, Washington Park, and other nearby neighborhoods that is heavily involved in anti-Olympics campaigning. 

"Our concern is that the Olympic Committee and [the non-profit Chicago] 2016 will say, 'oh, it's going to bring jobs and economic development, etc.' But we don't need the Olympics to launch major infrastructure projects. We can spend 500 million dollars on constructing affordable housing, and a number of other things."

Jake Werner, a graduate student in the History department and a member of the community group South Side Solidarity Network (SSN), led a group of 10 students to the Federal Plaza protest.

 Werner, a resident of Hyde Park, echoes Ginsberg-Jaeckle's worries about the displacement of South Side tenants in the wake of the Olympic games. 

"[My concern is] that the city will end up evicting homeless people just to make the city look good while our international visitors are here," he said. "The Olympics will accelerate gentrification from the South Side to around 55th street, and do what has already happened to the North Side: make it a nice place for professionals to live. That won't address the issue of poverty, it just pushes it away."

"I would support the Olympics if I trusted Mayor Daley to not use this as an opportunity to push poor people out of their homes," Werner added.

The NO Games Coalition wasn't the only organization to take to the streets in response to the IOC's visit.  The Chicago Police Union picketed City Hall on Thursday, taking advantage of the committee's arrival to draw the city's attention to a contract dispute. Here are some related stories about how the IOC is stirring up community members' enthusiasm, and ire, around Chicago:

*Hyde Park Progress Blog: Grooming for the IOC at MSI

*ABClocal: Mayor Daley says games would be good for city

Vice Patrol

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cigarette_butt.jpgRecent legislation has pushed cigarette taxes higher nationally as well as in Cook County. Two weeks ago, a pack of Camel Filters might have cost anywhere between $7 and $8. Now a pack is pushing $9. With some of the income being used to pay down Medicaid debt, it's hard to argue against this tax increase on what is essentially a luxury item.

What effects will this price increase have on smokers? Certainly some (hopefully myself included) will use this as an opportunity to quit or cut back, immediately benefiting both wallet and lung capacity. Others will look elsewhere for their fix-- in the collar counties and Indiana in particular.  These factors combined may well decrease revenue for the state.

In other public health related news, apparently KFC (as in the fried chicken joint) is offering to repair Chicago's potholed roads in exchange for some advertising space -- spray painted onto the repair. Mayor Daley is entertaining the offer but holding out for some cash incentives.

There's a lot to think about here-- personal and public health, state revenue, freedom of bodily autonomy, the relationship between corporations and civic space... Do you think the cigarette price jump will significantly affect anything? Will people just buck up and pay the extra money for convenience? What about a private corporation doing the job of a city or state bureau? Can we stand any more advertisements invading our space? 

The times they are a-changin'

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Sears_Tower_ss.jpgAre you upset that the Sears Tower is changing its name to the Willis Tower? If so, you're not alone. Thousands of Chicagoans have been so moved by this turmoil that they've turned to Facebook protest groups to voice their concern. Members of Chicagoans against Willis Tower, presently the largest group at 5,344 members, express their feelings through wall postings criticizing the "HORRIBLE!!!!!!" "absolutely oppressive" and "gay as hell" nomenclature. Some members favor positive action, suggesting that "if they adamant about keeping the name willis, we will have to do something like get everyone to call it BIG WILLY. : )."

Will these Facebook rumblings turn into the next Grant Park protest or police riot? Only time will tell. As one Chicagoan against Willis Tower puts it, "SEARS TOWER! THIS NAME CHANGE SHOULD BE ILEGAL PPL SHOULD GO TO JAIL FOR THIS! lol."

(Image source: Life Magazine)