Tuesday, February 26, 2019

NY Times: Chicago, Seeking a New Mayor, Sees Many Black Residents Voting With Their Feet

I wish I had found this article before today's voting:
The glitz of downtown, the influx of tech jobs, the tourist dollars pouring into city coffers: None of those things are keeping many in Chicago’s black neighborhoods from loading their belongings into car trunks and moving vans and seeking better lives someplace else.

As Chicagoans go to the polls on Tuesday to choose a new mayor in one of the most wide-open elections the nation’s third-largest city has experienced in generations, many African-Americans have cast their votes another way. They have moved out.

Downtown Chicago is booming, its skyline dotted with construction cranes. Yet residents only a few miles to the south and west still wrestle with entrenched gang violence, miserable job prospects and shuttered schools — some of the still-being-identified forces, experts say, that are pushing black Chicagoans to pack up and get out.

Of the nation’s largest five cities, only Chicago saw its population decline in 2017, the third year in a row. Over all, the drops in this city of 2.7 million residents are only slight. But the trend is alarming to city leaders, and demographers say it reveals a larger truth: Black residents are leaving by the thousands each year even as new white residents flow in.
Chicago stands at a pivotal crossroads, and with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision not to seek a third term, its next leader must contend with a longstanding sense of division between a prosperous economic core and forgotten neighborhoods.

“People are frustrated and they’re saying, ‘We’ve just had enough. No more mayors for the 1 percent. This city belongs to all of us, not just the people who live in the Gold Coast,’” Sharon Fairley, a former federal prosecutor who also led an agency that oversees Chicago police, said of the hurdles facing the next mayor. “The biggest challenge that anyone coming into this position now is facing is generating a feeling of inclusiveness.”

At the same time, other challenges loom large. Residents say they are weary from years of tax hikes and fee increases, but the new mayor will need to come up with another $1 billion in the next four years to continue pulling the city out of a pension crisis, a process for which Mr. Emanuel has been credited with shepherding.
An important election for sure that hopefully will conclude if not today, in April as well!

h/t Newsalert 

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