Controversial Robocall Targets Emanuel

A new robocall is circulating that calls on Chicagoans to register to vote. The controversial call uses salty language to blame Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council for ”squeezing every nickel out of voters” from red light cameras to the bag tax.

Former State Senator Rickey Hendon, who is advising mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, forwarded the call. Here’s the transcript:

“Hello this is retired State Senator Rickey Hendon, and I have an urgent message. It is time for us to get up and get busy and register people to vote. If you are progressive, Black, White, Latino or otherwise — I know you feel like I feel; you’re tired of this bullshit, the Rahm Emanuel and this sorry-ass City Council is doing to our people and to our city. If you feel like I feel, it’s time to register people to vote. It’s time to stand up and fight the power. The time is now. We’ve just proven in this last election, get rid of the Chairman of the Democratic Party Joe Berrios that we can do it if we just try, if we just make up our minds. It’s time to get rid of Rahm Emanuel and those puppets in City Council that are holding him in power. We have a good candidate, his name is Willie Wilson. Willie Wilson that’s who we need as the mayor of the city of Chicago and let me say to Black people, share this message with everybody. Everybody share this message, Black, White or otherwise. But specifically to you Black people. Listen, I know you’re tired about children dying in the streets, I know you’re tired of them closing our schools, I know you’re tired of moving us out, running us down to Mississippi and Alabama, and out of the city of Chicago. Now if you want to live down south, fine, but if you want to stay in the city of Chicago, join with me, help stop Rahm Emanuel from selling us out of the city of Chicago like Egyptians did to Jews, like we’re running away, forced from our land. We should fight against this! I need your help. You can go to, that is, and help fight these people. Share this message. Black, White, Latino, if you’re progressive, share this message. Send it out to everybody. We have to stop this mess, that they got us in, can’t you hear our children crying from the grave, being shot down by their own people, being shot down by the police, our babies can’t even go to a party and have a good time anymore. I am tired of these red light cameras. Aren’t you tired of them just squeezing every nickel they can get out of us, bag tax, sugar tax, every damn tax they can think of? This is Rickey Hendon, join me, fight these people, fight these people, share the message, all summer long register your friends, register your enemies, register everybody, let’s fight the power!"

In an interview, Hendon says “people are ready, millennials are definitely ready, they’re just tired, no more of these excuses.”

When Wilson ran for mayor in 2015, Emanuel initially challenged Wilson’s petitions and Wilson said “he kept me tied up for four or five weeks, before I could really try to make my case.” Candidate petitions need signatures from registered voters with accurate addresses. In 1983, Harold Washington benefited from a surge in registered voters. Then there were 1.6 million registered Chicago voters. There’s been a population loss since then; today, there are 1.5 million registered.

Jim Allen, the spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections notes it is much easier today to register since “if you have a driver’s license or state ID you can go online.” Also, “unlike the olden days when you had to register 30 days before Election Day, you can register all the way up to and including Election Day.”

Hendon says the Wilson campaign is starting early, “we got yard signs early, we got buttons early, we’re going to fight all summer long.”

With some six or seven candidates interested in running for mayor, Allen says the chances for a run off in April 2019 “are simple, if somebody doesn’t get 50 percent plus one, we’re going to have a runoff.”

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