Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.’s wife Sandi, a Chicago alderman, was called a traitor to the community by local grassroots activist Mack Glover. Glover’s accusation came during a December meeting about the housing and foreclosure problems in the black communities of Chicago’s south and west sides. His comments were directed at Jackson’s facilitation of the largest “planned urban development” (PUD) in the country.
Glover accused Sandi Jackson of being a sellout for helping the project move forward and thereby giving a “white developer $100 million” to build a project in the black community, where Glover and other grassroots activists at the meeting say “black people will not be getting any jobs.” Glover’s comments blasting Sandi Jackson received applause from the entire room of nearly 200 black Chicagoans.
Glover expounded on his comments in an interview with Breitbart News following the meeting, taking aim not only at Sandi Jackson, but also the “entire Jackson family,” including the infamous civil rights leader himself, Jesse Jackson.
“Sandi Jackson is a traitor to our community, and her family is [sic] traitors to the community; Jesse is a traitor to the community, because anytime they would allow that woman to give up $100 million to a white developer in the black community and there ain’t no black people workin’, then that means she’s a traitor” said Glover. “…She belongs in prison next to her husband.”
Glover was referring to the Chicago Lakeside Development, touted by its advocates as the largest PUD in the world. The project is set to be built on Chicago’s south lakeshore on roughly 600 acres of undeveloped land, previously the home of a U.S. Steel plant. The location is about 10 miles from downtown. Black Americans make up 80% of the local community in this area.
The ambitious plan promises nearly 13,575 new residences, a new high school, 17.5 million square feet of retail space, 125 acres of new parks, a 1,500 boat slip marina, as well as a potential site for the Barack H. Obama Presidential Library.
Construction on the project is expected to last between 25-40 years and cost $4 billion. McCaffery Interests is the “white developer” to which Glover referred. The company originally pitched the plan to Chicago’s former Mayor Richard Daley. The $100 million Glover referred to is a $98 million TIF (Tax Increment Financing) for public infrastructure to help get the project off the ground.
In other words, the Chicago taxpayers from the local community are disproportionately footing the bill to the get the infrastructure in place for McCaffery Interests’ project, providing a glimpse of Chicago cronyism at its best.
While the size and scope of the project are on a scale like no other, few Chicagoans are even aware of it.
Which takes us back to Mack Glover’s beef with Sandi Jackson and the Jackson family. A critical ingredient to get a project like this off the ground is a zoning permit. A zoning permit that the local alderman has the extraordinary authority–and in Chicago the sole discretion–to issue.
Paul McKinley, another grassroots activist and potential Republican candidate to replace Jesse Jackson Jr., in congress, agreed. According to McKinley, the project is an example of how “the liberal agenda and machine politics in Chicago” are not working for the black community.
McKinley stressed that black unemployment rates are the result of blacks being shut out by the labor unions. The unions have a virtual monopoly over the vast majority of contracts in the black community. These labor unions, according to McKinley, have historically discriminated against black people, refusing to hire them for jobs in their own communities. McKinley claims this unholy alliance, besides preserving the control of unions and cash flow into politicians’ coffers, also intentionally keeps black communities from getting ahead as it displaces them from their communities. As the unions and power brokers continue to block jobs from going to the local black residents, the local crime rates continue to escalate.
Breitbart News attempted to contact Alderman Sandi Jackson on several occasions with questions regarding Glover and McKinley’s accusations that the massive project does nothing to benefit the black community. After reaching Jackson’s chief of staff Keiana Barrett and explaining Glover’s comments about the Alderman and the Jackson family, Barrett requested the questions for Jackson in writing via email:
Are there any mechanisms in place to ensure black residents of the community will receive a majority of the contracts and jobs at the Chicago Lakeside project?
How will the Alderman address the fears of the community members that they will be displaced because of this project?
Did the Alderman or her husband receive any financial benefit or campaign contributions that encouraged the Alderman to assist in the project moving forward?
Neither Alderman Jackson nor her staffer responded to the email or a follow-up phone call regarding the inquiry.
While the questions regarding the community members’ concerns remain unanswered, OpenSecrets.org sheds some light as to whether Jackson or her husband might have received anything in return for Alderman Sandi Jackson’s assistance.
Daniel McCaffery, Chairman of McCaffery Interests, is listed as a generous donor to Alderman Jackson’s husband Jesse Jackson Jr. McCaffery has contributed to Jesse Jr. in the past five years as well as a $15,200 contribution to the DNC in 2010. McCaffery also gave $1,000 to the Cheryle Jackson, a senate candidate in 2009. She served as director on the boards of the Metropolitan Planning Council and Chicago Chamber of Commerce.
A promotional video was released by the Chicago Lakeside team narrated by the iconic Chicago media personality Bill Kurtis. The video presents the project in an Orwellian vision of utopian urban living.