A Call From President Jones | Bleader

A Call From President Jones

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It took a little while for the message to get to him, but former state senate president Emil Jones Jr. finally got back to me about Mayor Daley's Olympics bid and the response to it by the black members of the City Council.

If you recall, this all started when Jones told the Defender that the 2016 community benefits agreement--which, among other things, was supposed to guarantee that blacks get a good share of Olympic construction jobs--was a "sham." Several black aldermen, led by Ed Smith, responded by ripping Jones for daring to rip them.

During our phone conversation this morning, Jones spoke in measured tones, but I got the feeling that inside he was steaming. "My response to the aldermen's comments is that I do not want to dignify their comments with a reply," he said.

Then he said that's all he was going to say on the subject.

But you still support the games?

"Oh, yes--definitely."

How can you support the games if you think the community benefits agreement is a sham?

"The Olympics has nothing to do with this private agreement. The Olympics will create approximately 9,000 to 10,000 construction jobs. But precisely those folks are not going to get hired because they're not in the building trades unions. So how can they say it's going to happen? That's where the sham is. I'm just stating facts. For people to say they're going to hire from the community, you have to ask: Hire them to do what--watch the other people work?"

I said the aldermen got huffy because he was shining a light on a relationship they don't want exposed. Basically, he was calling them out for talking tough and then rolling over when the mayor snapped his fingers, even if it goes against the best interests of their constituents.

"I'm not going to get into that," Jones said. "But I stand by what I have said."

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