Thursday, May 21, 2015

ideas for improving the integrity of elections in Chicago

Last night, a group of people met to discuss the how to make Chicago elections more "free & fair". This blog entry contains some ideas I have. I have ranked the ideas (roughly) by how many votes they seem like they would affect (based on my intuition).

Outline:
  1. Everyone in polling place has to be clearly identified.
  2. FBI hotline for situations where someone has already voted for a voter.
  3. Precincts with large numbers of provisional ballots should be audited.
  4. Require Chicago Board of Elections to report on the adequacy of the resources provided.
  5. Or get federal courts to assign a monitor, like Shakman did for City of Chicago hiring.
  6. Rules for ballot pick-up.
  7. Independent election judges: create a process for people to become judges at specific precincts without going through either the Democratic or Republican committeeman.
  8. Pass law that allows judges to penalize campaigns that violate the law.
  9. There should be a conference held in Chicago on how to best protect seniors & the disabled from being controlled or abused in elections.
  10. To make a nominating petition challenge, the plaintiff has to be a candidate in the race to have standing. 
  11. There should be a penalty for failed nominating petition challenges.
See details below.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

empower next-of-kin to appoint special prosecutors when police kill

Yesterday Cook County Judge Dennis Porter issued a directed verdict that the Cook County States Attorney failed to present enough evidence to justify the charges against Chicago Police Department detective Dante Servin for killing Rekia Boyd. See Chicago Reporter (Adeshina Emmanuel).

As has been noted by numerous people, it's difficult for a county prosecutor to work with the police on many cases and then to prosecute a police officer in other cases. This is especially true in cases where cops kill a person from a marginalized group, eg African-American, mentally ill, etc.

To make things easier for county prosecutors, there should be a system of appointing special prosecutors in cases where police kill (or rape or torture) people. This would include (but not be limited to): shootings, police chases, vehicular homicides, etc.

How would these special prosecutors be chosen?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Let's add the right to unionize to the Illinois Constitution

Proposed text:
Workers shall have the right to form effective labor unions.

The General Assembly shall define "effective" and put that definition to the voters in a referendum. This shall happen in every November election until a definition gets 50% of the vote.

If three versions of the General Assembly version of "effective" fail to achieve 50% of the vote or the General Assembly fails to pass a definition, the definition provided by the labor unions (one member, one vote) shall be put on the ballot.

If the voters reject ten versions of the definition of "effective", the courts shall interpret it.

The General Assembly shall be able to modify the definition of "effective" by putting new text on the ballot, if 50% of the voters prefer the new definition.
Worker rights are human rights.

Let's get the people involved in the debate of what rules should govern the right of workers to organize.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Requiring police to carry insurance

Under current law & policy when a police officer perpetrates violence he (she) rarely experiences negative consequences even when municipal government pays to settle a civil suit.

If there are no negative consequences, why wouldn't police use excessive & illegal violence? The rules practically encourage police misconduct.

Solution: require police to carry personal insurance that pays the first $20-100,000 of settlement cost in each case.

Police that commit misconduct will see their premiums rise. They will be forced out of police work by insurance companies.

This will also reduce the public's responsibility for paying to settle police misconduct cases & presumably reduce the legal bills over time.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tim Meegan's campaign retains strong loyalty, but what next?

On Saturday afternoon, April 11, 2015, Tim Meegan's campaign gathered 40+ people to discuss creation of an independent precinct organization & ways to organize Chicago's Ward 33 communities going forward.

After an hour I had to leave to visit a friend at Marianjoy Hospital in Wheaton.

[Below the jump is my reaction to the meeting.]

Monday, April 6, 2015

creating an elected commission to deal with airport noise

One thing I've learned from knocking doors: for the people who have airport noise as their #1 issue, it's their #1 issue. And not everyone is equally sensitive.

I live in Albany Park. With the new approach pattern, we get airport noise. But it doesn't bother me that much. But I met a woman in Albany Park equally far from the airport, and for her it's a huge issue.

I've also learned: airport noise is not just an issue for Chicago's northwest side. In addition to O'Hare generating noise, Midway generates noise complaints. And that new helicopter business going into Bridgeport is going to generate a bunch of noise complaints.

Proposal: create an elected commission to make suggestions about airport/aircraft noise that is elected from all precincts where airport/aircraft noise is a problem.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Questions for WTTW about Phil Ponce's conduct in the March 31, 2015 candidate debate

Last night Phil Ponce moderated a candidate forum that has been widely panned.

Some of the media outlets that covered it: