Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Even though many of the candidates had the backing of local political leaders, organizations and the dominant political parties, most of the Arab and Muslim candidates who ran for office were defeated.
The only victors were those who were running in uncontested races. Only a few, non-Arab Muslims, were elected in areas where Muslims have held public office. In those cases, only one received among the highest votes of the winning candidates, while in almost every other uncontested race, the Arab and Muslim candidates received the lowest vote victories.
Click to view an overview of the elections that took place in Suburban Cook County on April 5, 2011: Click Here to view PDF.
Arab/Muslim candidates who won -- there were no Christian Arab candidates slated or backed for public office -- include:
Ahmed M. Aduib who ran and won uncontested in the race for a 6 year term on the Bridgeview Library District. Aduib had the support of incumbent Bridgeview Mayor and State Senator Steven Landek. Most offices in Bridgeview were uncontested reflecting a rare community harmony compared to other suburban communities where elections were contentious.
Nuha Hasan won a 4 year seat on the Justice Park District Board where she was also uncontested.
Those are the only success stories.
Other races showed the disconnect between mainstream American voters and American candidates of Arab and Muslim heritage. Ironically, all of the communities have large Arab and Muslim populations. But, although they do not get the support that they give non-Arab and non-Muslim candidates, Arab and Muslim voters were much like other voters and did not vote their true power. The conclusion is that in order for American Arab and Muslims to win office, Arab and Muslim voters must come out in force, more than 90 percent.
In the contested races:
Maha Hasan ran in last place for a 6 year seat on the Justice Library Board. She received nearly one-third fewer votes than the highest vote-getter in the election.
Bassam Abdallah ran in last place for a six year seat on the Orland Park Library District Board, a community where there is a large American Arab and Muslim population. Most Arabs and Muslims there, though, did not vote.
Lina Zayed lost in a bid for a four year seat on the Burbank District 111 school board. Again, Burbank has a very large Arab and Muslim population. She received less than half of the average vote cast in the election, but in her case, she was extremely active and she did not run in last place. She came in 5th place out of 7 candidates running. The top three winners received over 800 votes each.
Itedal Shalabi running for a four year seat on the North Palos School District 117 seat, lost by a large margin. The district includes Bridgeview and Palos.
Rola Othman also ran in last place in a contest for a four year seat on the Reavis High school district 220 board, also in Burbank where Arab and Muslim populations are large.
All of the candidates ran very professional and high profile races. They were organized and supported by a new political organization called Project Mobilize which helped all of the candidates combine their resources and develop excellent campaign literature and public presence. www.ProjectMobilize.org.
The key clearly is not the high quality of American Arab or Muslim candidates but rather the challenges they faced running in an atmosphere of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias that has only increased in the 10 years since the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorism attacks. All of the candidates were immensely qualified for the posts they were running for and are active in their local mainstream communities.
But the biggest problem is that most Arab and Muslim voters did not participate. Suburban off-year elections are already the lowest voter turnouts, which would give minority ethnic groups and advantage if they did turn out in force to vote. But when the minority ethnic voters act like the majority voters and do not vote, the results are predictable.
-- Ray Hanania
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Chicago Heights Trustee Joe Faso thought he had a victory when a Cook County judge rejected a bid by mayoral contender David Gonzalez to issue a restraining order against Faso for a series of slanderous, slimy campaign commercials that he ran against Gonzalez.
But Gonzalez, despite the lies from Faso and the slander, easily won election as Chicago's Heights next mayor.
Gonzalez defeated Faso by a whopping 57 percent landslide.
Here are the results:
Chicago Heights Mayor
24 of 24 Precincts Reported, Vote For 1 % Votes
David A. Gonzalez
Joseph A. Faso
It's not only a mandate for Gonzalez but it is also a slap in the face of Faso's below-the-belt campaigning against Gonzalez who focused on the issues while Faso threw mud after mud after mud. It is also a defeat for the SouthtownStar which appeared to take sides in Faso's favor in their coverage.
Voters have proven over and over again that the print media has no real impact on the election results.
Congratulations to Gonzalez for a job well done!
-- Ray Hanania
This could be one of the lowest voter turnouts in recent history, although the suburban elections in the so-called "off-year" elections is always low.
Maybe it is how we describe the elections that turns voters off. After all, voters are like sheep for the most part. They can't spell well enough to elect a write-in candidate, complain so much about the judicial system yet barely vote for judges, and they constantly whine about local suburban policies but don't waste their time to change it.
Although many people sacrificed their lives to protect their right to vote over the more than 235 years since this nation's founding, very few of the descendants of those who sacrificed bother to get up off their coaches to go to the polling place and cast a ballot.
So why do they complain about local government policies?
Part of the big problem is the Chicago news media that trivializes the suburban governments. The Downtown mainstream media rarely waste their time "covering" suburban communities. They offer hap-hazard coverage that only picks up steam when the media can find a controversy to milk.
It's a part of the media's fault and the public, like Pavlov's Dogs, just goes along and laps it all up. The media only covers suburban communities when they can rip apart a suburb over some scandal that usually is based on rumors or special interest lobbying.
The front page of the Chicago Tribune this morning featured a "story" about how the suburb of Bellwood took a bath when its $40 million plan for a new METRA station fell apart. What? Was that a breaking story yesterday? Duh! Hasn't anyone at the Tribune figured out that the country is in a major recession? It was a great idea, but it didn't work. And do you think the Chicago Tribune did anything to help the suburb make the station improvement happen? Of course not.
Bellwood barely gets any coverage in any major newspaper, unless some mobster is killed or some plan to make a community better doesn't live up to the expectations.
Yes, the big downtown news media doesn't waste its time covering communities like Bellwood on a day-to-day basis. They only cover it when they can write a story ripping it apart. It's one reason why I don't waste my time ready the daily newspapers any more. They just don't cover where I live enough to make subscribing to them worthwhile. (Which reminds me, the last five Sundays, my Chicago Tribune Sunday Paper remained covered in plastic, never opened and never read. I have to remind myself to cancel that drain on my budget!)
If the news media covered suburban communities more, and did a better job of doing so, maybe the people who live in the suburbs would have more self-esteem and get their lazy butts up to go out and vote. But people in the suburbs don't vote because 1) the media makes their suburban communities look worthless and 2) bashes their communities so much that it might make one question why they would even waste their time voting in a suburban election.
The reality is that the downtown media is missing the boat because, well, the downtown media lives (for the most part) in downtown Chicago. They have small bureaus in the suburbs but very little of the suburban news makes it in to the newspapers. Certainly very little of the good news get covered, except of course in suburban communities where the rich big shot newspaper moguls call home.
Here's how bad suburban voting has been over the years from the Cook County Clerk's web site going back to 1999 for the suburbs:
Turnout in Consolidated Elections 1999-2011
Year Reg Voters Ballots Cast % Turnout
1999 1,334,905 263,452 19.7%
2001 1,302,197 377,595 29.0%
2003 1,321,089 300,484 22.7%
2005 1,418,280 382,587 27.0%
2007 1,371,803 236,050 17.2%
2009 1,463,070 304,766 20.8%
They are saying today's voter turnout will be under 20 percent. We'll see later tonight.
-- Ray Hanania
Monday, April 4, 2011
Orland Township’s Free Cybercafe Open to Residents
Orland Park, April 4, 2011- The Orland Township Cybercafe is open every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Located in the Technology Center at 14807 S. Ravinia Avenue, residents can take advantage of free internet access, Microsoft Office 2010 and more. A computer "guru" is on hand to assist participants with computer challenges and as an added bonus, complimentary coffee and snacks are served.
"Orland Township, in 2010, created several new programs to teach residents and the community's seniors computer skills," Supervisor Paul O'Grady said. "The Orland Township Cybercafe is a natural extension of that. Residents will be able to put the skills they're learning to use at the Cybercafe and, if questions arise, consult the computer guru and get immediate answers.”
In 2011, household computers have become commonplace but the peace and quiet some may need to accomplish technology-related tasks is not always available. The Cybercafe is a quiet and comfortable computer lab that residents can visit when in need of a peaceful environment. Those who reside in Orland Township may tackle homework assignments, research, work-related projects or even escape the house and surf the net at Orland Township.
Proof of residency is required. For additional information, please call (708) 403-4222.
About Orland Township
Orland Township (www.orlandtwp.org), established in 1850, is the level of government closest to residents. Its purpose is to educate and coordinate programs and services that will enhance community life and promote activity and overall wellness for residents.