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Bill Brady's Boyz in the Hood

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Bill Brady's Boyz in the Hood
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Bill Brady is continuing his campaign to get tight with black people in Chicago.

He’s backing Wal-Mart’s efforts to build a new store in Pullman. And he’s invoking the name of State Sen. James Meeks (D-Calumet City) on his press releases.

Meeks, who is also a popular pastor at the South Side’s Salem Baptist Church, introduced a bill to allow parents of children in the lowest-performing public schools to receive a voucher for private school tuition. Meeks’ bill passed the Senate, and late last month, made it out of a House committee.

The teachers’ unions don’t like the bill. Neither does Gov. Pat Quinn.

“Well, I’m not in favor of vouchers,” Quinn told Chicago Public Radio. “I’m gonna watch the process -- it’s got to go to the House (of Representatives). I believe in public charter schools, and I’ve actually signed a bill this past year that expands the number of those across our state.”

So Brady issued a press release headlined “Brady Calls on Quinn to Support Meeks Voucher Plan.”

Let it be known that, although they disagree on vouchers, Meeks is a strong supporter of Gov. Quinn. In fact, he was one of several black leaders who endorsed Quinn in the primary against Dan Hynes.

So it’s a little odd to see his name atop a Bill Brady press release. But Brady’s attempt to forge a political alliance with inner-city blacks is odder still.

He linked the voucher issue to Ald. Anthony Beale’s attempt to build a Wal-Mart in the impoverished Pullman neighborhood, as examples of how Democrats’ alliances with unions are leading them to block African-Americans’ access to good schools and convenient grocery stores.

“Whose side is the governor on?” Brady asked. “He has two opportunities to be a voice for the people in hard hit communities this week. Governor Quinn should stand up for the people and not for the insiders.”

Brady has repeatedly asked Quinn to speak out in favor of a Wal-Mart for Pullman. The Chicago City Council’s Zoning Committee was scheduled to vote on the proposal today, but they postponed.

Zoning is a local issue, but Brady is trying to make it a state issue, at least where Wal-Mart is concerned. If Brady had his way, the City Council wouldn’t be voting on the store at all. Last year, he introduced a bill in the state senate to prevent municipalities from blocking “big-box” stores.

But that's because Bill Brady always wants to do what’s right for the hood.

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