Ald. Sawyer defends J.B. Pritzker, rejects Emil Jones’ jab about ‘safe’ blacks

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Ald. Roderick Sawyer’s vote tally has dropped below the half-plus-one level he needs to avoid a runoff election in April. | Rich Hein / Sun-Times

Time for a time out!

A mild-mannered Ald.Roderick Sawyer(6th), whose father was Chicago’s second black mayor—Eugene Sawyer— has some advice for the bombastic former Senate PresidentEmil Jones,who blasted black polsTuesdaysupporting Dem gubernatorial hopefulJ.B. Pritzker as being “meek” and “safe” blacks.

Sawyer, one of Pritzker’s earliest black supporters, tells Sneed: “Look, my father gave me a few simple lessons during his long City Council career and his appointment in 1987 as mayor.


“He taught me to make friends; enemies come on their own.

“Being disagreeable doesn’t always bring everything to the table and get the most benefit for your community.

“And I disagree with Emil’s use of the word ‘safe’ black. It’s important to be an electable black.”

The diatribe by Jones erupted shortly after receiving Pritzker’s apology for calling him too “crass” to fillBarack Obama’sSenate seat in a secretly recorded conversation withRod Blagojevichyears ago.

“Look, there has not been a better time than right now for the African-American community to make demands on all the Dem gubernatorial candidates,” Sawyer added. “It’s time for actions . . . not promises.”

“But my father also taught me to learn to count. If you are going to bring something to the table, make sure you have the votes to sustain them. And I try to make sure not to be disagreeable with any candidate, not go negative.”

Sawyer said he told Pritzkerhe “was disappointed with that taped statement made 10 years ago. But I’m not switching horses. J.B. was contrite and remorseful and is mindful of the needs of the black community, and how we need a seat at the table.”

Then Sawyer laughed at the ringtone on Jones’ cellphone: the theme from the “The Godfather.”

“It’s really loud, so you always know if Emil is in the room,” he chuckled.

“No surprise.”

Kim’s whim . . .

Kim Yo-jong, the only sister of North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un, is not only going to attend the Winter Olympics in South Korea — but she is being called her brother’s “Ivanka” by the Korean press.


Melania musings . . .

First lady Melania Trump, whose deafening silence is netting her headlines for her lack of monkeyshines, is now having every movement scrutinized.

Did she swat her husband’s hand?

Is she angry?

It’s gone to the point that some newsies are headlining her tactics “Swatgate.”

Ka-ching . . .

Get out the abacus!

Airbnb, the home-sharing megalopolis, just coughed up some big cash for the city.

• Translation: Sneed is told Airbnb — on behalf of Chicago homeowners who rent rooms tovisitors — will announce it remitted $6.1 million in tax revenue to the city in 2017.

Benjamin Breit,an Airbnb spokesman, said this remittance includes $3.2 million to Chicago via a new 4 percent home-sharing tax — as well as $2.9 million in revenue to fund Chicago’s homeless programs in Chicago via the vacation rental surcharge tax.

• Backshot: The Chicago City Council passed the Shared Housing Ordinance in June 2016.

“The 4 percent home-sharing tax targets revenue for housing homeless families and a program Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched in April 2017 to connect 100 homeless families in high-crime communities with permanent housing.

“It’s help for really vulnerable people who need it most,” Breit said.


. . . and I’m already feeling the freeze: Sneed hears rumbles all the actors from “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Med” plan to participate in the Special Olympics Polar Plunge March 4in Chicago. NoLady Gagathis time with actorTaylor Kinney. . .but who knows?

Sneedlings . . .

Congrats toMary Kate Manionon being selected Queen of the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade. “It was my third try,” said Manion, who works for Ald.Edward Burke(14th). . . . Ditto congrats to Ald.Pat O’Connor(40th), who is the parade’s grand marshal. . . .Today’s birthdays:Klay Thompson,28;Julio Jones,29; andJoe Maddon,64.

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