Challenges issued in municipal election

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners announced sixty objections have been filed in the 2011 February municipal election for the office of mayor and 368 objections for other offices.

Five aldermanic candidates in the 46th Ward and two candidates in the 47th Ward were challenged. Hearings to determine final ballot status will be announced by the Board of Election Commissioners by Friday, a spokesman for the board indicated.

In the 47th Ward challenger Tom Jacks has challenged Democratic operative and aide to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, Tom O’Donnell. O’Donnell’s last moment filing was also challenged by Alice Coffey.

Coffey has also challenged Jacks petition.

In the 46th Ward, Rachel Roberson Agustin challenged Janice V Thomas and Caitlin McIntyre.

Bernard Noven issued challenges to 46th Ward candidates Caitlin McIntyre, Scott Baskin, Michael Carroll and Janice V Thomas.

Mary Anne “Molly” Phelan was challenged by Terrence Patrick Fowler in the 46th Ward.

************ UPDATED Dec. 1, 2010 01:30P *****************

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has updated the list of challenges.

The update notes John Tuttle has challenged Matt Reichel and Tom Jacks in the 47th Ward.

************ UPDATED Dec. 1, 2010 06:00P *****************

Our Facebook page has more dirt on the ballot access challenges: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Welles-Park-Bulldog/126012097432868

TIFs drain 59¢ of every commercial property tax dollar in Ravenswood

Taxpayers in Ravenswood’s six TIFs paid $40.3 million into total property taxes in 2009, excluding SSAs, but 59 cents of every dollar were siphoned away to TIF accounts, records released last week by Cook County Clerk David Orr indicate.

Orr called Tax Increment Financing districts a “broken system.” Orr said TIFs are being used for purposes they were not meant for.

“The city is plugging its budget hole with TIF money but TIFs were not created to be a safety net when the economy went sour,” Orr said in an executive summary released Nov. 23.

Orr called for

  • a moratorium to slow the proliferation of TIFs,
  • an examination of the TIF funds to distribute surpluses,
  • a requirement future TIFs itemize project goals,
  • a reform of the budget process to include TIF revenues and expenditures and
  • a continuation of TIF transparency efforts.

Orr’s moratorium would last for six months, after the 2011 municipal elections for mayor and alderman. He backed SB 3151, a proposal that would index revenues available in TIF districts to other taxing bodies.

Six Ravenswood TIFs were among the hundreds of Cook County TIFs included in the report. More than $23,818,494 in TIF revenues were collected in the six TIFs, a year over year increase of 12.15 percent and a 16.82 percent annualized increase since 2005.

Orr told Crain’s Greg Hinz Chicago was reassessed last year and that the state multiplier grew, leading to larger tax bills.

The Ravenswood TIFs include nearly all the commercial property in Ravenswood, including the Ravenswood industrial corridor and most of the business districts of North Center and Lincoln Square. That leaves Ravenswood homes to bear the ever increasing burden of city government, schools, public health and public justice systems provided by local governments.

There are 6 TIFs in the Ravenswood neighborhood

As discussed in earlier articles, three of the Ravenswood TIFs are having revenues ported or declared surplus from their districts, meaning those funds are not available to those TIF districts. Yet, the districts are at risk of urban decay, according to the law which establishes TIFs.

For example, the 1999 study that created the Western Avenue North TIF notes five factors were present “to a major extent” in the area that encompasses much of the Lincoln Square business district:

  • Depreciation of physical maintenance
  • Deterioration
  • Structures below minimum code
  • Obsolescence and
  • Deleterious land use or lay-out

The 1999 study also says the area lacked community planning and had excess vacancy.

The Western Avenue TIF, which spreads along Lawrence from Virginia Avenue to Ashland, Western from Montrose to Foster, Damen from Foster to Leland and Lincoln from Foster to Montrose, has only one TIF project, according to a 2009 report prepared by the city: the 4800 Damen LLC project. The TIF has committed $15,385,283 to the one project of mixed commercial and residential use. The TIF has also committed $2,000,000 to a small business development project.

Key Lincoln Square properties, for example the Davis, were not included in the TIF, records indicate. As the Bulldog noted in an earlier TIF story, the city plans to drain $3.2 million from Western Avenue North in the coming budget.

Original map of the Western Avenue North TIF with land use

Original map of the Western Avenue North TIF with land use. Credit: City of Chicago

It is the third year in a row that the TIF has been raided, records indicate. A total of more than $7.6 million has been moved from that TIF in the past three years according to the reports filed by the city.

In total a net of $2.9 million in TIF funds will be removed from the six Ravenswood TIF districts next fiscal year, according to reports filed by the city.

O’Connor, Mell unopposed. Halpin will challenge Rahm

Ald. Pat O’Connor (D-Budlong Woods) and Richard Mell (D-Irving Park) are running unopposed as no candidate filed to run against the two veteran aldermen by the deadline today. However 12 persons filed for the open seat in the 46th Ward, promising an exciting race there.

O’Connor and Mell are among just three aldermen running unopposed in the 2011 election, the other alderman running unopposed is Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward).

Rob Halpin, the man who is renting Rahm Emanuel’s Old Ravenswood house, is opposing Emanuel for the seat of mayor. Halpin filed his petitions to run this afternoon. Twenty persons are currently running for mayor.

32ndWard:

  • Brian Gorman
  • David M Pavlik
  • Scott Waguespack (Incumbent)
  • Peter V Diaz
  • Bryan P Lynch

44th Ward:

  • Thomas M Tunney (Incumbent)
  • David Winner

46thWard:

  • James Cappleman
  • Michael Carroll
  • Don Nowotny
  • Mary Anne “Molly” Phelan
  • Befekadu T Retta
  • Diane Shapiro
  • Andy W Lam
  • Emily Stewart
  • Marc Kaplan
  • Caitlin McIntyre
  • Janice V Thomas
  • Scott Baskin

47th Ward:

  • Eugene Schulter (Incumbent)
  • Matt Reichel
  • Ameya Pawar
  • Tom O’Donnell
  • Tom Jacks

48th Ward:

  • Patrick McDonough
  • Harry Osterman
  • Steven Chereska
  • Jose E Arteaga
  • Philip R Bernstein

Surprise filing: O’Donnell in 47th

The 47th Ward had a surprise as Democratic operative Tom O’Donnell filed to run for alderman Monday afternoon. O’Donnell joins four others who filed for the office.

Tom O'Donnell, a Democratic operative considered close to 47th Ward Ald. Gene Schulter and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, has filed to run as alderman in the 47th Ward today.

Tom O'Donnell, a Democratic operative considered close to 47th Ward Ald. Gene Schulter and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, has filed to run as alderman in the 47th Ward today. Credit: Facebook

O’Donnell is listed on LinkedIn as a Special Assistant to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and is considered politically close to 47th Ward Alderman Eugene Schulter. Schulter too filed to run for the position of alderman.

O’Donnell’s Facebook page shows he attended St. Joseph’s College, graduating in 1974. It says he attended Spalding Institute for high school, graduating in 1970.

O’Donnell (Ravenswood) and Schulter (D-North Center) join Matt Reichel (G-Ravenswood), Ameya Pawar (I-North Center) and Tom Jacks (Ravenswood) in seeking the office. O’Donnell, 57, last ran for public office in the Democratic 1996 primary for the 34th IL House. O’Donnell came in third in a four-way race between Larry McKeon, Luke J Howe and Terrence M Sullivan with 18.6 percent of the vote, according to ChicagoDemocracy.org.

Friends of O’Donnell, which filed its last D2 contributions report more than ten years ago, notes O’Donnell raised $15,000 in the bottom half of 1995. He raised another $29,900 in the first six months of 1996 and $4,545 in the second half of 1997 or $49,445.

The campaign fund has since been spent or contributed to other campaigns.

Source: ChicagoDemocracy.org

Schulter has one of the largest war chests in the city with $889,709 reported on his most recent campaign filing with the State on June 30. Since then Schulter has held a fundraiser at Excaliber.

Pawar has noted $5,983 in his filing for the same period. Jacks and Reichel do not have filings with the state and the Federal Election Commission does not show any report for Reichel’s bid for Congress.

Schulter is among 22 aldermen who could convert political contributions into personal income, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report in Oct. “The amount of campaign money that the alderman could keep is largely a matter of whether they took office before June 30, 1998,” the Sun-Times report says.

The report says Schulter could keep $221,564.65.He was first elected to office in 1975. He celebrated his 63rd birthday last week.

Leftover campaign cash can be used for certain expenses related to politics, used to run for another political office or donated to other political campaigns or to charity. No time limit is placed on the decision.

This all leads to the question of whether Schulter is serious about running for office again.

The Bulldog left a message with O’Donnell late Monday, but it has not yet been returned.