Academy Award- and Grammy-winning songwriter and rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith is not surprised by the latest turn of events in the 20th Ward, where Ald. Willie Cochran was indicted last week on federal criminal charges.
But that doesn’t mean Smith, who pushed Cochran to a runoff election in 2011, is contemplating taking another shot at the City Council seat representing parts of Englewood, Back of the Yards, Washington Park and Woodlawn.
“Hell, no. That loss — would I have been able to win an Oscar if I was an alderman?” asked Smith, who won in 2015 for co-writing the song “Glory” from the film “Selma.”
“No, all I would have is a sore throat from yelling in council meetings and no city money to repave the streets in the ward because they wouldn’t give me any because I was constantly voting against the mayor,” Smith said.
“The loss freed me to pursue other projects in the community, and I’ve actually had an easier time making an impact through those efforts than I would have had sitting in City Council being frustrated,” he said. (John Byrne)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s schedule was not available.
*Gov. Bruce Rauner has no public events.
*The state’s Electoral College meets at the Capitol at 10 a.m. You can watch here.
*Former Cubs closer says manager Joe Maddon misused him during World Series.
From the notebook
*Electoral College meets at Capitol: Electors from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will gather in their respective state capitals today to cast their formal ballots for president and vice president amid refocused attention on our system for choosing the nation’s leader.
The electors will meet to ultimately decide a contest fueled by controversy over the unconventional candidacy of Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton’s lead of 2.8 million in the popular vote and outgoing President Barack Obama and the nation’s intelligence agencies contending Russia interfered in the country’s political system.
Based on the popular results of the Nov. 8 election in each state, Trump won 306 electoral votes, ahead of the 270 needed to gain the White House. Clinton received 232 electoral votes. The 538 electoral votes reflect, for each state, the number of House members they are entitled to plus two senators.
For Illinois, which went overwhelmingly for the Chicago-born and Park Ridge-raised Clinton in the popular vote — 55.8 percent for her compared with 38.8 percent for Trump — she is entitled to the state’s 20 electoral votes.
The state’s Democratic electors will gather in Springfield in House Hearing Room 118 at the Statehouse at 10 a.m. Among the electors are Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Commissioners Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and John Daley, and state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie of Chicago, a top deputy to House Speaker Michael Madigan, who also is state Democratic chairman.
Another elector is Chicago Ald. Carrie Austin, 34th, who also is among several electors who are members of the Democratic State Central Committee. That group includes former state Sen. William Marovitz and former state Rep. Lauren Beth Gash.
Little drama is expected at the Illinois gathering, since much of the controversy is focused on Trump electors and calls by political opponents to have his electors vote their conscience instead of for the Republican. One coalition of progressive groups is attempting to organize protests at all state capitals, including Springfield.
But even with some electors elsewhere expressing a desire to become what are known as “faithless electors,” it’s viewed as highly unlikely that Trump will not emerge nationally with the electoral votes needed to assume the presidency on Jan. 20. (Rick Pearson)
*Sunday Spin: On the Sunday Spin, Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson’s guests included Tribune colleague Ray Long and Cory Jobe, the director of the state office of tourism. The "Sunday Spin" airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on WGN-AM 720. Listen to the full show here.
Follow the money
*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.