Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Less money, little power

An article from the Chicago Reporter.

Check out this table. Why does Burke have over $6.5 million in his campaign fund when he doesn't even have an opponent?

Anyway I want to look at this particular angle. Why don't blacks like to contribute to political candidates? I generally hate the fact that money plays a role in political campaigns and I believe there should be caps on how much can be donated and in certain case who can donate to political candidates.

Still what does giving money to an aldermanic candidate means...

Some experts say more power means getting money from people with money, like big businesses and developers. Having little power means getting little from those companies and relying mostly on the contributions from people who work in the ward.
So why aren't black alderman and ward organizations lagging behind their counterparts in white and Latino wards?

"Money brings power, and power brings money," said 6th Ward Alderman Freddrenna Lyle, who is black. "In the business community, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because [businesses] give so much to the white aldermen, they have the power."

Lyle said businesses might give to an alderman because they support the alderman's ideas for commercial or residential development. The contributions don't have strings attached, she explained. "It's not a quid pro quo."

But Lyle believes there is a perception among some business interests that campaign contributions can help move things through the city council. "If you have power on the council, it brings in more money from business," Lyle said. "And the South and West sides have been wastelands for business for many years."

In addition, she said black constituents traditionally give to their churches and not politicians.

Lower income and the perception that black aldermen lack power might also hinder the ability of black aldermen to raise money.

"[Black aldermen] come from [poorer] areas where big campaign giving is not traditional," said political consultant Don Rose
Here are some figures...

The Reporter analyzed more than 103,000 campaign contributions totaling $57.4 million given to Chicago aldermen and ward organizations between January 1999 and March 2006. During that time, 20 black aldermen collected $11.3 million, less than half of the $26 million collected by 24 white aldermen and just $2.5 million more than 11 Latino aldermen, according to the Reporter's analysis.
Interesting!!! You know I can always look at it this way perhaps black folks are smart not to donate to politicians. You invest in your politicians only to be disappointed. On the other hand it has often been said that blacks are basically a consumer culture. Blacks will spend money on cars, big houses, and even designer clothing. If we can donate money to a church and spend money for the luxuries surely we can donate money to a candidate we care about or to a cause.

That's not to say that anyone should get carried away with campaign contributions, however, looking at the various camapign funds of the various aldermanic candidates this year I would say you wouldn't be doing well if you're borrowing money. I could say you're not doing well if you can manage to raise anywhere over $1000. Then again trying to "buy" an election is bad too.

I leave you on this note from Don Rose...
Rose said that money usually flows to the most powerful aldermen, but having a lot of campaign money is not always a sign of power.

1 comment:

WhatTheHelen said...

EVERY Alderman should have less money and less power.

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