Asean Johnson is just one person we should be thankful for this year.
  • Alex Wroblewski/Sun-Times
  • Asean Johnson is just one person we should be thankful for this year.

Generally we’re moaning and groaning about the corrupt and otherwise boneheaded stuff that goes on in this town.

So we thought we’d try something a little different—expressing our thanks to a few of the people who are fighting the good fight. You know, since it’s Thanksgiving and all.

So without further ado, thanks to:

Aldermen Robert Fioretti, Scott Waguespack, John Arena, Nick Sposato, Leslie Hairston, Toni Foulkes, Rod Sawyer, and Rick Munoz—aka the City Council’s progressive caucus. They’ve at least raised questions about the way things are done around here by forcing discussions on police staffing, TIF spending, and privatization deals.

While we’re at it: a special shout-out to Hairston, Foulkes, and Sawyer, who, sad to say, are the only black aldermen who have consistently stood up for the struggling people in their communities who are most affected by Mayor Emanuel’s school cuts, clinic closings, job outsourcing, water rate hikes, etc and so forth.

State rep. Greg Harris for persevering in the long fight for a same-sex marriage bill. And state rep. Lou Lang, who warded off years of reefer madness to finally help usher in a law allowing seriously ill people access to marijuana to ease their suffering.

Here’s hoping that Harris and Lang will use those same talents to fight for more money for the public schools.

Asean Johnson, the remarkably gifted ten-year-old south-side grammar school student who gives voice to the many powerless people vainly fighting Mayor Emanuel’s school cuts and closings when he says things like, “You should be investing in these schools, not closing them.”

Is it too early to run this kid for mayor?

The Grassroots Collaborative, a coalition of community groups working hard to remind us that Chicago’s not just about the 1 percent.

Speaking of the 1 percent: Kari Lydersen, who put that phrase on the cover of a book that connects a lot of dots to show the bigger picture of who’s winning under Mayor Emanuel. Hint: it’s not the 99 percent.

Mayor Daley for emerging from retirement long enough to give us some great material to write about (“I don’t recall what I don’t recall”) and reminding us that we don’t want to go back to the old days of wealthy, connected insiders getting the big deals at our expense. Good thing that’s all behind us now!

Speaking of which: Tim Novak, ace investigative reporter for the Sun-Times, for continuing to dig up the dirt on the power players around here to show that the new days are, unfortunately, not that different from the old ones.

While we’re on the subject of our colleagues in the media . . .

Dan Mihalopoulos—aka Dapper Dan, ’cause he’s the best-dressed newsman in Chicago—who broke the news about the UNO contract scandal. Thanks to Dan, it’s harder for politicians to pretend that it’s a good idea not to regulate charter schools.

The dynamic duo of Catalyst reporter Sarah Karp and WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton, for coming up with scoop after scoop on the education beat. We’re not going to say which one’s Batman and which one’s Robin.

And to all our readers. Enjoy your turkeys—the ones you’re eating, that is, not the ones you elected.