Alderman Sandi Jackson, who won office last year promising to be a leading voice of reform, independence, and just economic development in the City Council, has kept a fairly low profile recently. So Chicagoans will surely be inspired to hear that she’s speaking out on a pressing civil rights issue: airline baggage handling fees.
Naturally, Jackson herself best describes her bold stand. “This week I’ve begun challenging Gerard Arpey, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Airlines, to ‘suspend’ American Airlines’ plan to charge $15 for the first checked bag of luggage and $25 for the second bag on the basis that the proposed plan discriminates against those who can least afford the fee,” she said in a press release issued in nearly identical forms by her office, her husband, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., her ally Kenny Johnson, and Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed.
In his e-mail about the effort, Congressman Jackson admits that the fight against these fees won’t be easy, so he invites citizens to go to his wife’s Web site, where they can donate some money to her campaign. “This will inaugurate a national effort to stop the Airline industry from gouging vacationing families this summer,” he wrote. “Sandi is going to need our financial help as well. Forward this email to your list serve and let’s fight back! Help Sandi now!”
Few people have been clamoring to add to their already-soaring transportation expenses, so Jackson is probably wise to take on this issue, as opposed to getting involved in other undoubtedly tempting matters (decrying a violation of City Council protocol, examining mayoral initiatives and appointments before they’re rubber-stamped into law, wondering whether it’s proper for taxpayers to pay for aldermen’s cars and gas, challenging the arms-race reasoning behind the push to arm cops with assault rifles, or challenging discrimination, in, say, police stops and arrests). If there were only some way–any way!–for her to look into the burden on the poor created by the city’s parking ticket and towing policies, or to make sure all that parking ticket money is being invested in better roads and public transit . . .
“I know times are tough for many families right now,” Alderman Jackson says in a statement on her Web site. “We’re all feeling the pinch from these difficult economic times. That’s why I promise to continue standing up for you and your families as we all work together to bring a brighter tomorrow to the 7th Ward.”