Ed Gardner to meet with Evergreen Park mayor and developers
Spoke to Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday via phone
By Chinta Strausberg
Despite the rumor mill, community leader and business icon Ed Gardner is not holding a march Thursday rather he is meeting with Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton and representatives from anchors of that massive 95th and Western construction site, Meijer’s and Menards.
Concerned about the misinformation that continues to fill the airwaves, Mayor Rahm Emanuel dispatched one of his top female aides to Mr. Gardner’s home slightly before 8 a.m. so that she would be there when he called Gardner. Keeping his word, the mayor did called Mr. Gardner at 8 a.m. and reportedly assured him he will improve the numbers of blacks on construction sites.
Asked about the Mayor Rahm calling him, Gardner said, “The mayor had to go to a City Council meeting. He had a lot of things to do, but I told him that I did not think a phone call was the same as a meeting and that I want him to come to my home and meet me face-to-face.” “We talked for some time.” Yesterday, Gardner told this reporter he wants Mayor Emanuel to walk with him on several construction sites. “I want to see what progress has been made,” said Gardner.
He said the mayor promised to do a lot of things to improve the lot of blacks on these numerous work sites, but Gardner made it clear that he did not consider a phone call a meeting. “I told him I did not consider a telephone conversation a meeting,” Gardner told this reporter. “I asked him to come to my home for a face-to-face meeting.” His top aide said that would happen.
In the interim, Mr. Gardner has asked his supporters to be patient and to honor his request to follow his lead. Gardner, using his business finesse, is quietly working to try and rectify the absence of African American workers on these construction sites including meeting with Mayor Sexton who said he is working closely with Mr. Gardner.
Referring to Sexton, Gardner said, “He has been very cooperative and wants to see things change.” Gardner said Sexton understands the importance of the black dollar and the business they bring to Evergreen Park, and he wants to be fair about the inclusion of blacks on construction sites while sustaining the black buying power that has helped businesses flourish in Evergreen Park.
Gardner is meeting with Mayor Sexton Thursday afternoon.
On the overall contract process, Mr. Gardner said some of the reasons why there are so many whites and Hispanics on these sites is that white men allegedly have their wives secure contracts. By federal law, white women are considered to be minorities.
The increase in Hispanic construction workers, Mr. Gardner said, is because they are reportedly hired at lower salaries. Gardner said this is an opportunity for them to support their families even though they may be paid at much lower rtes.
Saturday, Mr. Gardner is meeting with a prominent group from all sectors who will dissect the Chicago contract process to see where and why it has gone so wrong when it comes to slicing up the contractual pie for African Americans.
When this fact-finding team has completed its report, Mr. Gardner will have a major statement to make on the status of Chicago’s contract process and he and his team will offer a projected solution.