Black and Hispanic Caucuses merge muscle on O’Hare expansion demands

The Chicago City Council’s Black and Hispanic caucuses are prepared to merge their political muscle to demand that minorities get their fair share of the bonanza of jobs and contracts triggered by a proposed $8.5 billion O’Hare Airport expansion project, an influential alderman said Friday.

Two years ago, the City Council came within one vote of blocking a $3.5 billion O’Hare Airport bond issue, delivering a powerful message about the lack of minority participation on the airport gravy train.

At the time, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), chairman of the Black Caucus, warned that future alliances between the Black and Hispanic caucuses could someday create a political roadblock that would force Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand.

On Friday, Sawyer issued a similar warning about the $4 billion borrowing Emanuel wants aldermen to authorize to start the ball rolling on the O’Hare expansion plan that American Airlines stands alone in opposing because of a dispute about five additional gates being awarded to hometown United.

“We almost stopped one once before. So that is one way” to leverage job and contracting demands, Sawyer said.

“We want to make sure this process is truly fair, and we’re not getting shafted or inundated with promises and nothing fulfilled . . . We want more than just promises. We want something that’s enforceable.”

Together, Blacks and Hispanics comprise roughly 66 percent of Chicago residents. Sawyer acknowledged that demanding 66 percent of the jobs and contracts at an expanded O’Hare would be a “tough ask.”

But he said, “Our goal individually and collectively is to make sure that we’re not ignored in this process . . . We want contracting to look more like the city. We want it to be reflective of what the city’s demographics are.”

The Black Caucus has 18 members; the Hispanic Caucus is 11 aldermen strong. Together, they have the 29 votes needed to block the O’Hare expansion plan and the $4 billion bond issue needed to get it started.

Sawyer acknowledged the last thing either caucus wants is to stop the gravy train from leaving the station.

“That would be cutting my nose off to spite my face,” he said.

Where then is his leverage?

“They need the bonding authority to get started on the work. These are things we have to look at to make sure we’re doing what’s right for our constituents,” he said.

Earlier this week, the Hispanic Caucus demanded five years worth of hiring and contracting information from both United and American Airlines that will be used to determine whose side to take in the high-stakes battle over new gates at an expanded O’Hare Airport.

Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), chairman of the Hispanic Caucus, made the demand during closed-door, back-to-back briefings with both carriers searching for City Council allies in their high-stakes dispute over gates at an expanded O’Hare.

The Black Caucus is scheduled to meet Monday with American and United. The airlines want to talk about gates, while the aldermen want to talk turkey about jobs and contracts.

“I don’t want us to be deflected by the gate issue. I don’t want that to be the end-all, be-all. The real important issue is the teams they’re going to be picking, the complexity of those teams, and how it’s going to benefit the black community and the Latino community,” Sawyer said.

“We want to make sure the numbers they’re talking about are floors — not ceilings. If they’re talking about 30 percent, we want the numbers to bust out of that . . . We want to make new millionaires. This is an opportunity to get more people in the craft trades, construction business, professional services, engineering, lawyers, bond underwriting. Everybody can do well when you’re spending this kind of money.”



Melania Trump entered US with 'Einstein' visa designated for people with 'extraordinary ability' Published on 01 March 2018

Image result for melania trump + donald

Melania Trump entered the United States in 2001 after receiving a green card visa designated for people with "extraordinary ability," according to a new Washington Post report.

The wife to President Trump was one of only five people from Slovenia who entered the United States in March of 2001 under the EB-1 program, which has been described as the "Einstein visa." This detail surrounding the first lady's immigration journey comes after Melania's own parents recently faced criticism for potentially relying on an immigration process referred to by some as "chain migration" that their son in law wants to end.

In the late '90s and earlier 2000's, a then Melania Knauss could be seen gracing runway shows in Europe, billboard cigarette ads and the pages of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition. The EB-1 program, which was written into U.S. immigration policy via the Immigration Act of 1990, was built to let in researchers, business executives and others who demonstrated "sustained national and international acclaim."

According to the Post, over one million green cards were granted in 2001 alone, and only 3,376 were issued to immigration with "extraordinary ability."

"Mrs. Trump was more than amply qualified and solidly eligible," Michael Wildes, an attorney for Melania Trump and her family said to the Post. "There is no reason to adjudicate her petition publicly when her privacy is so important to her."

After ordering the end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy -- which will effectively cease to exist as policy on March 5 -- President Trump has tweeted many times about immigration as he and Capitol Hill lawmakers attempt to find middle ground on issues surrounding national security, border wall protection and the status of an estimated 3.6 million "DREAMers" who brought to the U.S. undocumented as children.




House Speaker Paul Ryan deletes tweet about woman's $1.50 weekly paycheck increase after fierce backlash

House Speaker Paul Ryan is facing criticism Saturday after tweeting a report referencing a woman from Pennsylvania who saw an increase of $1.50 on her weekly paycheck stemming from the recently passed GOP tax-reform bill. 

In the tweet, Ryan included a link to an AP report describing how some people in the workforce have seen more take-home pay coming from the new withholding guidelines as the result of the bill's passage.

“A Secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week...she said she [that] will cover her Costco membership for the year.”


Some on social media were pretty upset about the tweet, including a Democratic senator and former Obama speechwriter.


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