A report in the Chicago Sun-Times today says former Ald. Eugene Schulter and Paul Rosenfeld will withdraw from the race for 47th Ward Committeeman today. The Sun-Times says the two withdrew in preference to Peter Coffey, the choice of mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The story quotes Tom Bowen, an Emanuel operative, as saying “the mayor felt the best thing for the 47th Ward was to avoid a divisive fight.”
Emails go back and forth for about ten days between The Bulldog and Paul Rosenfeld. We are seeking an interview and it isn’t that Rosenfeld is reluctant to meet as it appears he is so busy.
Finally, we nail down a date, late night at Fountain Head on Montrose and Damen.
When Rosenfeld arrives, he explains that he likes to spend his evenings with his children. His politics, he explains, take place after they are in bed.
“I don’t believe you get unless you give,” he says. “By nature you are perpetually giving to your community.” But, his life is centered around his children he says.
With a week to go before the actual nominating petitions are submitted, Rosenfeld predicts the community will see broad support for his candidacy, especially among the parents at Bell School. “More than 50 circulators were active from the ward,” Rosenfeld says.
An active member of Grow 47, Rosenfeld says he thinks his work on developing education initiatives in the ward are more important than becoming Democratice Ward Committeeman.
“My core values,” he says,
“are collaboration in the slatemaking process based on a belief of openness and inclusiveness;
fairness, to give a fair deal to everyone in the ward;
looking out for our neediest neighbors.”
“Help,” he says, for the neediest citizen “is what Democrats have always done.”
Finally, he says, he will support progressive, reform candidates for office.
Rosenfeld says he plans an evaluation committee to assist him in the slate making process. It is this process that largely determines judicial candidates in Cook County. It is the committeeman’s responsibility to select the party slate and build support for it in the community.
When former US House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. said “all politics is local” Rosenfeld heard that call. It is, he says, the reason you give people to affiliate with your party. “Determine their core values and give back to the community,” he says.
But what about Rod Blagojevich, we ask, how do you explain your role as “Lobbyist 2?”
On November 13, 2008, at approximately 10:05 a.m., ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with Fundraiser A. The discussion concerned the status of fundraising efforts. During this call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH asked about Highway Contractor 1. Fundraiser A stated that Lobbyist 1 is still working with Highway Contractor 1. Fundraiser A also advised ROD BLAGOJEVICH that he will be meeting Lobbyist 2 to meet with an individual at Weiss Memorial Hospital. ROD BLAGOJEVICH states: “Yeah, now be real careful there. I mean, the FBI went to see [Lobbyist 2]. You understand?”
Piecing together what happened, the FBI visited Rosenfeld’s home, but he was not there. Rosenfeld called Blagojevich associate Lon Monk about the visit. That alerted Blagojevich to the net that was about to snare him.
“This is old news,” Rosenfeld says. “There have been two trials. I’ve never been a witness, a defendant or even mentioned in the trial.”
“I worked hard to get him elected,” Rosenfeld admits. “It was a huge disappointment.” Rosenfeld points to a public break with Ald. Dick Mell as a key point in his disenchantment with Blagojevich.
“It was the first time in 30 years to elect a Democrat governor,” he says. “We all worked for him.”
Review list of clients for Paul Rosenfeld from City of Chicago, Board of Ethics (screengrab) (original).
See a list of political contributions made by Paul Rosenfeld and recorded by the Illinois State Board of Elections * (Page 1) (Page 2) (* Contains any person named Paul Rosenfeld)
See the lobbyist registrations with the Illinois Secretary of State by Paul Rosenfeld
By all appearances Ald. Scott Waguespack is running for the 32nd Ward Democratic Committee Chair.
The chair holds a political purse and also has power to vote on appointments to fill openings in certain offices, such as happened when John Fritchey resigned from the Illinois Statehouse to take office at the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
At that time a retired kindergarten teacher, Kathleen Moore, was appointed. She was the 60th vote needed to pass the 67 percent increase in state income taxes and the bill that ended the death penalty in Illinois.
Waguespack is expected to be opposed by Fritchey. Fritchey currently holds the post.
Waguespack will be holding a fund raiser at Schubas Nov. 16.
This weekend marks the end of an era, not just for Chicago, but for Ravenswood. Today, for the first time since 1975, the 47th Ward will not be represented by Eugene Schulter.
Schulter’s impact on the Ward will last well into the future, even as the laminated signs disappear from our alleys and his name from projects completed.
Schulter joined the council at the age of 26 in 1975. At the time he was the youngest alderman to ever serve.
Schulter will be remembered in the Ward for his leadership in the movement of the Old Town School of Folk Music main campus to Lincoln Square, the establishment of the Sulzer Regional Library and the economic revitalization of Lincoln Square.
In this first part The Bulldog examines the political legacy of Schulter. In part two, we look at the civic projects and legacy of his time in office.
Russ Stewart, an attorney who often editorializes on Chicago politics for the Nadig Newspaper chain, describes Schulter as “the caricature of the meek, mild, loyal, do-what-you’re-told” Chicago alderman.
Back in 1975, when Schulter was just 271, powerhouse 47th Ward Democratic Committeeman Ed Kelly plucked him from obscurity and ran him for alderman. In a major upset, Schulter beat 28-year Republican incumbent John Hoellen by 2,300 votes, getting 57 percent of the votes cast.
In a 2009 history of 47th Ward politics by Ben Joravsky in the Chicago Reader, Schulter was called “one of the most cautious cats in the City Council.”
In 1968 (Richard J) Daley anointed Ed Kelly, soon to be named general superintendent of the Park District, as the (47th) ward’s Democratic committeeman, the party’s ward boss. In those days the job consisted of building and marshaling a patronage army that could deliver the vote on Election Day—and the better the results, the more jobs and power were granted from the mayor. Kelly was just what Daley was looking for. He handed out Park District jobs and chipped away at Hoellen’s base, and by 1975 he had enough campaign workers to oust this gadfly once and for all. All he needed was a candidate.
Kelly drafted Schulter, then a 27-year-old aide in the county assessor’s office, to run against Hoellen for alderman. “We needed a German name to run against Hoellen and Schulter is a German name,” says Kelly. “I bought up all the billboards in the area. Put Schulter’s name all over the ward. People didn’t know Schulter’s name when the election started. They did at the end.”
Schulter remembers things a little differently. As he recalls it, he wasn’t exactly a creation of Kelly’s organization. “Yes, I had the Democratic Party’s support, but I had a lot of support in the area,” he says. “I was a community activist.”
The 26 or 28 year old “community activist” played get-along and go-along politics at first. In the council wars he first sided with his political mentor, Kelly, working to block Mayor Harold Washington from appointing replacement Park District Board members. Schulter’s biography in CloutWiki notes:
The parks stalemate broke following the 1986 special Council elections, when the council tied between Washington supporters and Vrdolyak supporters, giving Washington the tie-breaking vote. One of the new council’s first actions was to appoint a new Park District Board and oust Kelly. In response, Schulter startled his long-time mentor, Kelly, by moving out of Kelly’s 47th Ward office and switching his support to Mayor Washington. Schulter supported Washington in 1987 and began a long-running enmity with Kelly.
With Kelly in control of the Ward organization and Schulter in City Council, the next 16 years were tense. Members of the 47th Ward Democratic organization wanted to replace Schulter, but were held back by Illinois Senator Bruce Farley and also by Kelly’s lack of interest.
Farley’s conviction on mail fraud in 1999 changed the equation.
In 2000 Schulter took on Kelly directly, running for 47th Ward Committeeman. Schulter lost that election by 153 votes. When Schulter ran again four years later the 80 year-old Kelly did not oppose him.
Schulter’s independent streak manifested itself again in 2010.
In that campaign, Cook County Democratic Party boss Joe Berrios ran for Cook County Assessor.
Berrios had won an early primary in 2010, gaining the party’s nomination with just 40.58 percent of the vote. His election was challenged by the editorial pages of the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.
However, it was only after Forrest Claypool’s entry as an independent that there was a chance of success of defeating Berrios, according to political watchers.
Schulter joined other Democrats opposing Berrios and supporting Claypool. Berrios gathered more than twice as many votes in the city as all other candidates combined, and 48.03 percent of votes in the county overall.
The 1987 split with Kelly reappeared as Schulter’s end was forecast by anonymous commenters on sites such as CapitalFax.com. Older precinct captains indicated they hadn’t forgotten what “Mean Gene” had done to mentor Kelly. Berrios didn’t need to wait long to deal with Schulter.
That left Schulter supporting Tom O’Donnell’s failed bid for alderman in the 2011 municipal election.
Schulter’s ability to support candidates had been in question for several years.
For example, in the 2010 primary Schulter had backed Dan Farley against two candidates for the 11th Legislative seat. Ann Williams, who was supported by Lisa Madigan won the election with 46.23 percent. Farley, the son of Bruce Farley, garnered just 32.06 percent of the vote.
A further example is Schulter’s attempt to fill the seat of Larry McKeon in 2006. In a four hour executive session of four Democratic committeemen, Schulter’s candidate, Tom O’Donnell was abandoned as Schulter, with 32.85 percent, joined committeemen Patrick O’Connor, (D-40) 21 percent, and Tom Sharpe, (D-46) 35.75 percent, in appointing Greg Harris.
1Stewart has the age for Schulter at the beginning of his term as 27. The website of the City has it listed as 26, which is the age used by The Bulldog. However, further clouding this small detail, Schulter’s birthdate is listed as November 14, 1947. If he took office in 1975, how could he be 26 and born in 1947? Perhaps we should demand the birth certificate?
Two weeks and a holiday exist between now and the end of the regular session of the Illinois General Assembly. The Statehouse is abuzz as it passes a controversial education reform bill and grapples with the legacy of financial mismanagement from two convicted former governors. But the elephant in the room is redistricting. And so far it is going unnoted. Using redistricting the politicians will be selecting the voters they want to vote for them. Oh! You thought you selected the politicians to represent you? That is a nice thought and worthy of a third grade essay. No. As the Bulldog has been discussing, the process for determining how our neighborhood will be represented is well underway. It is being purposely hidden from your view. And, it will all be over in two weeks. During May a redistricting plan only requires 60 votes in the House and 30 votes in the Senate to pass. In June, the same plan will need a 3/5ths majority of each chamber for passage. In other words, if the plan, which is not yet public, is not passed in the next two weeks, it will require Republican votes for passage. To suggest there isn’t a map shows arrogance and conceit. Yet, that is the claim of certain insiders and the Democratic Party leadership. Activists have been demanding for months the legislature reveal maps that insiders now say they have seen. The activists are demanding at least a week to respond to the proposed boundary lines. So far that call has gone unanswered. The insiders laugh at the naivety of activists and the press and our readers and thousands of other citizens in this state. We demand transparency. Who the hell do we think we are? THE STORY SO FAR As The Bulldog noted, a coalition of Asian, Hispanic and African American groups called the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations have developed a comprehensive map that would increase representation of Hispanics and potentially of Asians without costing the African American community any representation. In Ravenswood the maps offer two versions. In each map plan Deb Mell will be forced to run in a district that is new to her. That is of concern to the LGBT community. Only three members of the General Assembly are openly gay. Mell is one of those reps. The LGBT community is not a protected minority. As Jacob Meister notes in an editorial in NowInGayChicago.com “the Census Bureau did not bother to collect data on LGBT individuals and families.” And, as The Bulldog has noted, gay activists believe that although certain retail areas, particularly in Uptown and in Boys Town, are associated with the gay community, gays are spread throughout the community and drawing a line to describe an area as being gay is not going to happen.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPAL: OUR MISSION STATEMENT
That said, we also look at our Mission Statement. We interpret those words to mean we should give voice to persons without voice. We believe that the LGBT community, although it has not received legal status as a protected minority, deserves protection by persons of good will. Therefore, The Bulldog supports map proposals that offer minorities and the LGBT community districts in which the minorities can run candidates with a good chance of winning. But that doesn’t guarantee a win. And, we find gerrymandering the map to get rid of an opponent offensive. We believe that has happened to Mell with the proposals by the United Congress. So, although we support the goals of the United Congress, and in general support the proposed map of the UC, we urge change.
WHAT THE BULLDOG HOLDS IS NECESSARY IN RAVENSWOOD
The Bulldog is calling on the Statehouse to move the line for the 40th legislative district proposed by the United Congress in such a way that Mell’s home continues to be within the 40th district boundaries. We urge persons to oppose Mell in an open and fair primary and election if they don’t like her politics. And, we note that we have taken Mell to task in the past for working to keep opponents off the ballot using election law. We pledge to watch Mell carefully, but also watch her opponents. Everyone should play nice. End the Gerrymandering.
The Democratic map should be revealed NOW. We do not buy that the map doesn’t exist. Government should be about transparency, not secrecy.
A Hispanic majority district in the area of Albany Park/ Avondale and Irving Park should be established as outlined by the United Congress.
That district should NOT carve out the home of Rep. Deborah Mell.
If a house and/or senate district with Asian influence can be created, as outlined by the United Congress, it should be created.
We believe there are several strong reasons to tie the following neighborhoods together in the same district due to existance of several separate groups that coexist:
The portion of Ravenswood between the Chicago River, Foster, Lawrence and Lincoln Ave.
We believe the tandem of a corridor along Lincoln Ave and the Brown Line should form the backbone of a district of common interest.
We believe the eight retail/residential areas below should each be kept in a single house and single senate district
The six corners of Lincoln/Belmont/Ashland
The six corners of Lincoln/Damen/Irving Park
We believe that the natural boundaries created by the Chicago River, industrial areas and cemeteries should be used to draw lines and that any legislative district representing this area not include any part of the suburbs.
The entirety of the campus, offices, parking facilities and future development of Swedish Covenant Hospital should be intact within a single district.
The Bulldog editorializes that legislative districts be drawn to create majority Hispanic districts, an Asian influence district and protect the boundaries of nine communities of interest.
COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST AND OUR EXPERTISE
The Bulldog is a for-profit enterprise. It is also a hyper-local news effort that had to define what were its communities of interest. The concept of communities of interest should be taken into consideration by the legislature. It is a concept that received a lot of attention during the legislative hearings that have led us up to this moment. Ravenswood is represented by two State Senators holding powerful leadership positions: Senate President John Cullerton and Sen. Heather Steans. We believe that the leadership will act to protect the districts of these two leaders despite any protest made by anyone. That said, The Bulldog claims expertise in defining what the communities of interest in Ravenswood are. We believe that the purpose of the Democratic Party to protect Cullerton and Steans can be met and the needs of the community protected too. We are using our editorial voice, an expression of the community of writers and photographers, because someone must stand and state these principles to the legislature before it is to late. We urge Cullerton and Steans to consider that our community will be better represented if certain the following are considered prior to finalizing the map.
A Hispanic majority district in the area of Albany Park/ Avondale and Irving Park should be established as outlined by the United Congress.
That district should NOT carve out the home of Rep. Deborah Mell.
If a house district with Asian influence can be created, as outlined by the United Congress, it should be created.
In general there are a number of significant boundaries present in the area that prevent easy community building. They provide opportunities to create boundaries.
St. Boniface Cemetery.
The small cemeteries north of Wrigley Field.
The Metra/ UP North Line is also an appropriate boundary, except as noted.
The combination of the Addison Industrial Corridor, Lane Tech High School and the former property of Riverview.
The Chicago River should form a boundary.
The map should recognize that there are communities of interest in Ravenswood that are centered on retail districts and transportation nodes. When possible, the retail districts and the transportation nodes should be intact within a district.
One of the most important distinctions for Ravenswood residents is the proximity to the Brown Line. This transportation feature is common to several neighborhoods. It ties together Ravenswood Manor and SouthEast Ravenswood and gives reason for the strange “L” shape of Ravenswood.
A second key feature in this neighborhood is the Metra Line.
A third key to the area is Lincoln Ave. It appears that the district drawn in 2000 which is now represented by Cullerton centered on Lincoln Ave. That district is relatively cohesive and shares many interests.
In the case of both senate districts, we believe that they should remain entirely within the boundaries of the City of Chicago.
The Ravenswood neighborhood is, in general, a neighborhood that has a small number of protected minorities. However, that does not mean it doesn’t have distinct ethnic differences.
A German community of interest, the rump of what was once a much larger German community, still exists, centered on Lincoln Ave., and in particularly we find anecdotal evidence this community continues to exist near Lincoln Square.
A Greek community of interest exists. As is the case with the German population, this is an ethnic group that is losing its population as new generations move out and new groups move in. We find anecdotal evidence this group continues to exist along Lawrence Ave from the area near California Ave to Western Ave. This area includes the church of St. Demetrios.
Former Yugoslavia community. We find anecdotal evidence, based primarily on the existance of bars serving the community, that this recent group exists in the area of Lincoln Square.
Key retail areas should not be divided into separate legislative districts. We point to Chinatown as an example of how poorly served a business district can be if it has more than one legislator. We point, in our own area, to Andersonville, which is divided among several wards, as an example of terrible planning during redistricting.
The Lincoln Square retail area is a two block radius area centered at Lawrence, Lincoln and Western.
Bowmanville, which has no significant retail area, nevertheless should be kept together.
Budlong Woods is a distinct area and should be kept together. In the not to distant past, this neighborhood would have formed a boundary due to its being a farm. Current maps call for this area to be included in the proposed Asian influence district.
Andersonville should not be divided again. It is generally defined by Clark Street from near the corner of Ridge to south of Foster.
Ravenswood Manor has more in common with the Ravenswood Garden community across the Chicago River than many other contiguous communities. They should be in the same district. In some areas these two communities are considered to overlap Greater Rockwell which itself overlaps Lincoln Square. It shouldn’t be an issue to keep these small neighborhoods together.
St. Ben’s is a distinct area and should remain together. We define it as the area within two blocks of the church/ school complex at Leavitt and Irving Park Rd.
Roscoe Village is a distinct area and should not be divided. We define it as an area within two blocks of Roscoe running from Western Ave to the Metra railroad.
In addition, we see retail areas forming communities of interest around Wrigley Field, Lincoln/ Irving and Damen and Belmont/ Lincoln and Ashland. The city has definitions of the two retail areas that the six corners define. Wrigley, in our opinion, is the area that receives a significant economic impact due to the proximity of the ballfield, or about two blocks from the intersection of Clark and Addison.
In general, public elementary school attendance boundaries should be kept intact.
In general, larger communities, such as Ravenswood, Uptown, Lake View and Rogers Park should be kept in one legislative district.
Now, joining the chorus, The Bulldog has shown its map. We want the leadership to show its map.
WHAT IS THE LAW? The basic requirements for a legislative district, according to the Federal government are:
Federal Voting Rights Act. Provides protected minorities that could create districts of 50 percent or greater population proportion with protection from practices of cracking and packing to dilute their strength.
States and municipalities cannot do “too much” to compensate for race. However, they may not use redistricting to dillute the voting strength of minority populations. The fine line between whether a plan leans on dilluting minorities or makes the election accessible often sends plans to court for adjudication.
Gingles Factor. A court test based on the Federal VRA provides that to prove a section 2 VRA violation
The minority group is sufficiently large and geographically concentrated to make up a majority district
That the minority group is politically cohesive
That the white majority votes together to defeat the minority candidate
One person, one vote
Baker v Carr, 1962 court decision held that districts have to have roughly equal population
An alternative majority Hispanic district proposed by the Illinois Hispanic Agenda also excludes Rep. Deb Mell’s home. Credit: Illinois Hispanic Agenda
Districts cannot include “islands” that are not geographically connected in some manner to the district (for example on real islands, there needs to be a transportation link such as a bridge or a ferry to the rest of the district).
The boundaries of the district can be measured by a number of measures. Let’s summarize this limitation as calling for the districts to be able to withstand tests that their boundaries are logical.
Illinois uses a system in which two Illinois House Districts are associated with each Illinois Senate District.
The state law created three categories of districts for the legislature to consider:
Crossover districts- Districts where a minority is large enough to elect the candidate of its choice provided the candidate receives support from voters outside the minority.
Coalition districts- Districts in which more than one minority can form a coalition to elect a candidate of their choice.
Influence districts- A district where a minority can influence the election even if its preferred candidate cannot be elected.
Encourages ‘communities’ of common concern
May be ethnic, religious, based on transportation, sexual, etc.
Legislature will act not to break up (crack) such communities
In addition, let’s layout a few other specifics.
Majority Hispanic districts are generally higher in the proportion of Hispanics than majority white or black districts due to a skew in the average age of the population: more of the population is too young to vote and there appears to be lower participation in the election process among Hispanics. 65 percent is considered necessary to create a majority Hispanic district.
While there is some information available about single-sex households, in general information about LGBT communities is not based on census data.
In Illinois the location of incumbents homes are taken into consideration. This is not true for all redistricting efforts. Iowa, for example, uses a computer that does not consider incumbent addresses in its plan.
Illinois has a history of using redistricting to punish potential opponents of incumbents. Famously, in the redistricting of the South Side following the 2000 census, a young Illinois Senator, Barack Obama, was redistricted out of Congressman Bobby Rush’s district.
Illinois also factors in political loyalty of a district. Specifically, Illinois legislators look at voting along party lines in previous presidential, US Senate and state executive offices.
The final consideration is that the legislature is asked to take communities of interest into consideration. A community of interest can be any self-defined group. For example:
Groups based on employment (e.g., farming, auto parts, colleges, etc)
Communities of LGBT and similar sexual orientation and identity
A town or neighborhood
Communities that are defined by infrastructure (such as use of the Brown Line)
Gerrymandering is the act of remapping to give an unfair advantage to one political group. The Federal Voting Rights Act protects minorities against racial Gerrymandering.
Cracking. Diluting a group. A violation of the VRA for protected minorities if it harms the ability of minorities to elect representation
Packing. Concentrating a group. A violation of the VRA for protected minorities if it harms the ability of minorities to elect representation
SIGNIFICANT DATES IN THE PROCESS:
Tues., May 31 Last day to pass reapportionment by 50% +1 of membership
Fri., June 3 Gov. Pat Quinn must receive reapportionment legislation
Thurs., June 30 Last day to pass reapportionment by 3/5ths of membership vote
Wed., Aug. 10 Last day for eight member commission to submit a reapportionment plan
Wed., Oct 5 Deadline for nine member commission to submit a reapportionment plan
Early November Candidates begin passing petitions for office under the reapportionment
47th Ward candidate Tom O'Donnell is under investigation for use of county assets in an effort to throw opponents off the ballot. Credit: Jane Rickard
Tom O’Donnell, a candidate for 47th Ward alderman, is under investigation by the Cook County Office of Professional Review for using county time and resources to assist a challenge against opponent Tom Jacks The Bulldog has learned.
According to Cook County Sheriff spokesman Steve Patterson the Office of Professional Review is investigating documents submitted to the Chicago Electoral Board by attorney James Nally. Included in those documents as an attachment was a spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet, basically a tabular presentation of protests by Nally was annexed to a Rule 8 motion by Nally to knock names off a nominating petition for Tom Jacks. Jacks is opposing O’Donnell in the race for alderman.
The Bulldog obtained the document from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. The Chicago Electoral Board reports to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. It was the Electoral Board operations that many people saw mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel testify before earlier in the campaign.
The document is presented in .xls software format, or more commonly Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format.
That spreadsheet has properties that indicate it was authored by O’Donnell while employed in the office of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and while using county computers.
The properties of documents and photos can be generated automatically by most programs. Many programs, such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel can have their properties determined through a simple examination of their contents.
In the case of the spreadsheet, the properties indicate it was authored by todonnell of the Cook County Sheriff. It further notes it was last saved by James. It was created on December 20 at 2:15P according to the properties.
O’Donnell is employed by Sheriff Tom Dart as a legislative researcher. He is currently on a leave of absence. His leave started January 29.
It is unclear who James was. However it can be assumed that this is James Nally, the attorney who presented the Rule 8 motion against Jacks.
The properties can be changed easily by a person understanding where they are located in a software file. However there is a strong chain of custody that points to O’Donnell.
Use of the county computer or offices for political purposes could violate Illinois and county ethics codes. Violations may be punishable by a misdemeanor conviction and a fine.
SHERIFF RESPONDS; NO RESPONSE FROM O’DONNELL
Steve Patterson, a spokesman for Sheriff Tom Dart responded to an inquiry from The Bulldog in full:
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office has no way of confirming, within your deadline time frames, the verification you requested seeking to authenticate the documents you provided. We have, however, asked our independent Office of Professional Review to review the matter.
At this time, I am not aware if, as you say, these are any signs of “the apparent use of a county computer, county software and county time for political purposes.”
O’Donnell did not reply to Bulldog e-mails about the issue.
University of Illinois professor, and former alderman, Dick Simpson explained “if you were a state employee it would be strictly forbidden” to use the state computer and its programs.
“You have to take an ethics course” on a regular basis, he said.
It was among the documents obtained by The Bulldog that indicated public resources were at work against opponents to boss Eugene Schulter.
THE REICHEL TICKET
In a related case, a red light camera ticket issued to Green Party Candidate Matt Reichel was reprinted by Ann Jackson apparently using a city terminal.
The ticket found its way to the law office of James P. Nally from a fax machine used by “Ald Gene Schulter.” The identification of the sending machine as Schulter’s is part of a code entered into the fax machine by its owner and then transmitted to the receiving machine. Called the TSID or the transmitting subscriber identification, the receiving fax prints the information on the top of the fax.
The time and date stamp indicate the fax was sent on November 30, 2010 at 12:33P.
However, the telephone number given for that fax is not in service. And because fax machines hold the original TSID until it is changed, the fax is not clear evidence Schulter, who was at the time running against Jacks and Reichel, used city property for political purposes.
Use of the ward or city offices for political purposes could violate Illinois and municipal ethics codes.
A copy of the fax was obtained by The Bulldog from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
Nally issued a complaint in the name of a ward resident alleging 25 violations of the election code. A visual change in the complaint on item 23 may indicate the complaint was a boiler plate up to that point, issuing standard complaints of violations of the code.
Item 24 of the complaint against Jacks says the candidate is in debt to the city. Item 25 notes that a person who owes the city a debt may not appear on the ballot.
However, the attachment for the Jacks complaint notes the ticket issued to Reichel’s car. Jacks told The Bulldog he doesn’t even own a car.
Apparently Nally used the objection against Reichel against Jacks in error. Nally did not return an e-mail asking for comment.
Speaking of the objectors Jacks said “they asked me to swear under oath that I didn’t own a car.”
Jacks said. “They couldn’t believe it.”
The ticket was pursued against Reichel. However Reichel noted that the city had sent notice of the ticket to an incorrect address. He paid the ticket, allowing the objection to be overturned by the hearing officer.
“They wasted weeks of my life,” Reichel said of his experience.
SCHULTER HIDES BEHIND TECHNICALITY
The Bulldog served a FOIA request on the alderman’s office on December 20 requesting phone records that would confirm information on the fax machine. The alderman’s office did not reply to that e-mail nor to a follow-up e-mail on January 3.
The Bulldog was seeking the fax log, an electronic record of all the faxes sent and received by a fax. Having the fax log could help prove whether or not Schulter’s office was complicit in using city property and possibly city time to object to candidate who at the time were running against Schulter.
Under Illinois law, a response is required within five business days.
An attorney used by The Bulldog to assist it with FOIA requests contacted Schulter’s office and talked to Chief of Staff Dan Luna. Luna told our attorney the office hadn’t received The Bulldog’s e-mails.
By January 11 the Illinois Attorney General had been contacted by The Bulldog to intervene.
The city responded for Schulter saying that The Bulldog’s FOIA request was not proper because the alderman was not a public body as defined by FOIA. The city cited a case called Quinn v Stone. The Attorney General noted that the response left open further action by The Bulldog issuing a FOIA to the Chicago City Council or the mayor.
“Dodging like this does not improve the public’s view of their politicians,” former Better Government Association executive director Terry Norton said. Norton, the executive director of the Kent Law School Center for Open Government had acted as counsel to The Bulldog on the FOIA.
“Quinn was a case I handled. We argued that it was a dodge for the alderman not to comply,” Norton said.
“The records requested are presumed to be public records. The alderman can, if he wants, hide behind a technical argument that he is not a public body. But the reality is he could have and should have provided the requested records as any other public servant would do,” Norton said.
The Bulldog noted to Schulter it intended to write a story on the fax. Among the unanswered questons because the alderman did not respond:
why the alderman’s office had an interest in Reichel’s ticket,
who the alderman sent the fax to
Schulter withdrew from the race January 17 in hope of being named to the Cook County Board of Review opening created by Joe Berrios becoming County Assessor. Schulter has since backed Tom O’Donnell for the opening.
THE SPAM FROM SCHULTER
“Our email marketing is permission based. If you received a mailing from us, our records indicate that (a) you have expressly shared this address for the purpose of receiving information in the future (“opt-in”), or (b) you have registered or purchased or otherwise have an existing relationship with us. We respect your time and attention by controlling the frequency of our mailings.”
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The Bulldog replied to each reader asking if they were certain they had never signed up for the e-mail list of the ward. Most people replied they don’t remember ever signing up for the Democratic Party e-mails, but that they couldn’t be certain.
One person replied that they were an independent voter and were certain they had never signed up for the political e-mail list. Leading to a belief that the e-mail list of the Ward Service Office is being used by the Democratic party to spam you.
“The last page of the objection has Alderman Schulter listed,” Jacks told The Bulldog. “At the very least the ticket against me was faxed from his office. And the ticket was from outside the ward.”
“I think it is clear. One document mentions the ward office and the ofher mentions the Cook County Sheriff’s office,” Jacks said. “They were included in documents objecting to my candidacy.”
Simpson said the incident demonstrates the need for greater ethics enforcement. “The inspector general does not have the authority over the aldermen or their staff,” he said.
Pete Leki, a community activist, has endorsed Ameya Pawar for 47th Ward office. Credit: Jane Rickard
Writing in Beyond Today, Pete Leki, an environmental activist, has come out in support of Ameya Pawar. “The energy and hope represented by Ameya have their own power. It resides in the long deferred longing of residents to actually participate in policy and decision making in the Ward and City,” Leki writes.
Leki was writing for himself.
Leki leads a group called Riverbank Neighbors which is active at Waters School Garden and along the River. He is also considered close to the Waterside Coop’s political wing, Beyond Today. Waterside Coop is a housing cooperative which is often associated with Beyond Today.
The Riverbank Neighbors e-blasts have been giving more notice of political meetings supporting Pawar, indicating an informal shift in the group to back Pawar.
Beyond Today, which is also politically close to Riverside Neighbors, is hosting a coffee for Pawar on Wed., Feb. 9, 6:30-7:15P. The coffee will be in the area of Waters School. RSVP encouraged (Or how will you learn the location?) firstname.lastname@example.org 931-3987
Pawar has also been endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Opponent Matt Reichel has been endorsed by the Green Party.
Opponent Tom O’Donnell has been endorsed by Gene Schulter and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. Schulter’s endorsement has been called an annointment of his successor. O’Donnell also received a number of labor union endorsements and the nod from Gay Chicago Magazine.
Eileen Palmer who worked on the Welles Park Advisory Council and Tom Fencl, a real estate owner, have come out for O’Donnell.
*** Updated. Waterside Coop asked for a technical correction of their relationship with Beyond Today. ***
An analysis of last weeks general election result shows that most of Ravenswood voted more than the city average of 52.52 percent. Overall, 61.03 percent of the 43,188 voters in the Ravenswood neighborhood voted in the general election.
Just three of the 73 precincts the Bulldog defined as Ravenswood voted less than the city average. Just two voted less than half of the voters. Both those precincts were in the 40th Ward with a large number of residents living in Budlong Woods.
On the other end of the spectrum, the 47th Ward 52nd precinct had a turnout of 79.2 percent. That precinct is composed entirely of the old Martha Washington hospital, now a retirement community.
Democrat Alexander “Alexi” Giannoulias received 70.12 percent of the votes in the neighborhood in the election for a full term. Republican Mark Stephen Kirk received just 24.58 percent of the vote. The race for US Senate was bitterly contested. Kirk won the statewide vote count by 48.2 percent according to the AP.
Giannoulias received 85.71 percent of the vote in the 46th Ward, 14th Precinct. The precinct lies in Andersonville, on the edge of Ravenswood, running east from Clark. It was the highest proportion of vote for the Democrat in the neighborhood.
A proposal to amend the Illinois constitution won a 65.9 percent approval, according the AP. In Ravenswood, the measure passed by 64.65 percent. The Ravenswood Manor only approved the measure by 56.55 percent. Those two precincts include the home of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The Martha Washington precinct came out overwhelmingly for the amendment, giving it 74.64 percent of the vote. A similar precinct, composed entirely of senior citizens, the 48th, also voted overwhelmingly for the amendment, by 78.57 percent. That precinct is located at Belmont and the Chicago River.
The 44th Ward, 43rd precinct, located in Lakeview south and east of Ashland and Addison, gave Republican Bill Brady the highest proportion of votes in the neighborhood: 35.15 percent. It also racked up the lowest proportion of votes in the neighborhood for Lisa Madigan, 72.89 percent, and gave Republican David Ratowitz the highest portion of votes of any precinct: 25.97 percent.
Matt Reichel, the Green Party candidate for US Congress, lives in the 47th Ward, 30th Precinct. He received just 5.5 percent of the votes there. Overall, Green candidates scored better in the neighborhood than in the state as a whole. The Green party had major party status going into this election. That was due to Rich Whitney garnering more than five percent of the vote in 2006 running against Blagojevich.
Another third party candidate Ed Rutledge lives in Ravenswood. He ran for Lt. Governor on the Libertarian ticket. He did statistically better in his precinct than the neighborhood, but only pulled 322 votes out of Ravenswood.
A summary of the week’s political story affecting Ravenswood with some editorial observations thrown in.
The Chicago Tribune’s Clout Street Blog mentioned 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack (D-) and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (D-Ravenswood) among a long list of people who might run for mayor. The entry was tied to a poll, released by the Tribune last week, that indicated weak support for another term for Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley (D-). Earlier in the year Emanuel took himself out of the running if Daley seeks another term.
Daley has been mayor of Chicago since 1989. If he ran again it would be a seventh term. His father, Richard J Daley (D-Bridgeport), served 21 years, from 1955 till his death in office at age 74 in 1976. Daley would pass his father’s longevity record in office if he serves past December 25, 2010.
Other nearby residents mentioned in the entry were Cook County Assessor James Houlihan (D-Lakeview East) and 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney (D-Lakeview East). Houlihan did not seek another term as assessor this year. However the blog points out he would probably find a strong challenger backed by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago: Westlawn) and also by Daley if he chooses to run for mayor.
Waguespack indicated to the Chicago Sun-Times he’s considering a run for mayor whether or not Daley is running. According to the Sun-Times, “he’s fed up with the corruption, waste and mismanagement” of the Daley administration.
Waguespack was among just five aldermen who opposed the Chicago parking meter sale. The Sun-Times reports Waguespack needs $2 million in his campaign chest to realistically make a run for the seat. Daley currently has a campaign chest of $1.9 million, the article said. The entry said that was not enough to guarantee Daley wouldn’t be forced into a difficult campaign and even a runoff. According to the most recent D-2 filing by Waguespack to the Illinois Board of Elections, he maintains just $16,518.55 in his campaign chest.
That’s not even enough to make a serious run for alderman. But there is still time.
In the WTF department, in a Chicago Tribune editorial titled “Todd’s Pals, Joe’s Pals” the newspaper promises you’ll find a full six-page link to a list of politicians, from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D-St. Bens), to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (D-Ravenswood), from ousted Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-Ravenswood Manor) to Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hynes (D-North Center) and also 40th Ward Alderman Dick Mell (D-Irving Park), all of whom, the editorial assures us, backed Todd Stroger (D- Chicago: Marynook Park) for Cook County BoardPresident in 2006.
Mell is singled out for also supporting Berrios in this election round.
“What’s especially galling is that many of those who endorsed Stroger now have endorsed his crony Joe Berrios,” the editorial says. Berrios (D-Cragin), a current Commissioner, Cook County Board of Review, is running on the Democratic ticket for Cook County Assessor. He is opposed by Sharon Strobeck-Eckersall (R-Evanston), Robert C Grota (G-Logan Square) and Forrest Claypool (I-Graceland West).
The editorial describes Berrios as having a “grotesque” conflict of interest representing Speaker Michael Madigan’s and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton’s (D-Ravenswood Manor) clients before the Cook County Board of Review, and also lobbying Madigan and Cullerton in Springfield on behalf of his clients.
The WTF comes in when you attempt to follow the link to the “six page” list of office holders who supported Stroger or those who have endorsed Berrios. Those links are dead. It would be interesting to compare and contrast those two lists… But if the Tribune can’t get that right…
Comptroller Daniel Hynesissued a report stating “Illinois ended the year in the worst financial position in its history.” The report, which was widely covered in the media, went on to conclude “it will be extremely challenging to close out fiscal year 2010 and maintain key functions of state government.”
Although $1.3 billion in spending was cut from the state budget at the beginning of the month by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D-Chicago: Galewood), the state revenues are an estimated $11-13 billion below expenditures. The total state budget is about $22 billion.
Moody’s downgraded the ratings on state bonds, meaning there will be higher interest costs for borrowing ahead. “The state has not demonstrated the political willingness to take action during the fiscal crisis to restructure its budget to achieve balance,” according to Fitch Ratings which also downgraded Illinois debt obligations late in June.
Swing State Project predicts Democratic US Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Lakeview) is safe in his run against GOP challenger David Ratowitz (R-Avondale). Not mentioned in the Swing State Project is Green Party challenger Matt Reichel (G-Andersonville South Neighborhood).
Just in time for the election, Congressman Mike Quigley has opened a satellite office in the district at 1057 W Belmont Ave.
Congressman Mike Quigley has also pushed through legislation that renames the post office at 1343 W Irving Park Road in honor of singer/songwriter Steve Goodman. Goodman, who died at 36 of leukemia, wrote such songs as “Go, Cubs, Go” and “City of New Orleans.”
Quigley is the co-chair of the “Congressional Hockey Caucus,” which the AP reports is a group of “14 lawmakers who share a passion” for hockey. The group gained attention this week in Canada when it honored a veteran who lost a limb to amputation, but still wanted to play hockey. You may remember a WGN-TV spot aired in June about the hockey playing priest, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, who was assigned to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria. Quietly working the puck in the video was our congressman. Quigley even lists hockey as a passion on his twitter page.
Depite the predictions of Swing State, Quigley’s Republican opponent, David Ratowitz, has not given up hope. He appeared at a Thompson Center rally to address Second Amendment rights. The embedded video has his two minute speech.
The Swing State Project also predicts a win for Attorney General Lisa Madigan in her run reelection. “Madigan is the most popular politician in Illinois who will have no trouble against Kim. Had she ran for Governor or Senate, she would have been the overwhelming favorite,” the report says.
Madigan is running against Steve Kim (R- Northbrook) and David F Black (G-Belvidere). Three other candidates for Attorney General have not yet passed objections to their filings: Bill Malan (Libertarian- Chicago: Tri-Taylor), Louis Cotton (Constitution- Sorento) and Christopher Pedersen (Independent Conservative- Joliet).
The name of Attorney General LisaMadigan has been floated around Washington, DC as first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. However, she issued a statement saying that she appreciates being mentioned in light of her work fighting “predatory and often discriminatory mortgage lending.” But Madigan threw her support behind the perceived front-runner for consumer czar, Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warrenaccording to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Alton Daily News notes Senate President John Cullerton is “not ruling out the idea of calling lawmakers back sometime this summer.” The Daily News noted that the summer session would reconsider a plan to borrow nearly $4 billion to pay the state’s pension obligations. However the President’s office does not believe the plan has enough support to pass. So, why is the Daily News mentioning this if it won’t happen? Why is Cullerton discussing it?
Monday the Illinois Radio Network reported Cullerton told Governor Pat Quinn that there won’t be a vote on borrowing to balance the state budget until after the November election. Quinn responded, “the General Assembly doesn’t have a lot of fortitude when it comes to raising revenue or making cuts.”
Rich Miller, of theCapitolFaxBlog noted that the Illinois Radio Network story incorrectly equates borrowing with balancing the budget. That will be something to watch when listening to the rhetoric this campaign season.
Expect to hear more about November 4. That’s the date Quinn has mentioned for the next legislative meeting. It is after the November elections, meaning decisions by the legislature will be from a lame-duck session. A key question to those running is why the public has to wait till after the election to learn how the state plans to deal with the mess it is in.
Senate President John Cullerton wrote an opinion piece in the Springfield State Register-Journaldefending the Emergency Budget Act. He says $3 billion are available to Governor Pat Quinn to use to pay bills, although he notes the money will need to be paid back. Quinn, he explains, can use the act to tap the $1.2 billion tobacco settlement and to order state agencies, departments and universities to reserve parts of their budgets.
“Armed with an assortment of newfound budgetary authority, it is time for the governor to act,” Cullerton writes. “The governor has been given a lot of responsibility. But the Illinois Senate has acted, too. The same Emergency Budget Act forces lawmakers to take a dozen furlough days, eliminates salary adjustments and lowers travel and housing reimbursements.” Cullerton claims the Senate has reduced spending by $2.5 billion over the last two years.
Cullerton appeared on Fox Chicago Sunday to discuss the Illinois budget mess. You can watch his appearance below.
Thursday Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan issued a press release that raised hopes of advocates of public financing of state elections. The two leaders named committee members to a study, expected to report in 2011, on the affects of capping financial contributions. That bill took affect last year following the removal of former Governor Rod Blagojevich. The full committee is still waiting a final Republican pick and on Governor Pat Quinn to take action.
47th Ward Alderman Eugene Schulter (D-North Center) joined a number of aldermen at Dvorak Park to propose an ordinance to limit the emissions of two South Side coal-fired power plants. The plan would limit emissions of particulate matter and carbon dioxide.
Opponents of the plants say coal-fired plants produce 180,000 pounds of soot each year which has contributed to a growing number of asthma diagnoses. Watch for this issue to gain interest. Schulter joins a group of 13 aldermen working for the ordinance.
It’s Bleepin’ Golden, the ring tone, was offered FREE! Yes, no campaign contributions required. The Springfield State Journal Register put together such Rod Blagojevich (D-Ravenswood Manor) favorites as:
The newspaper is offering nine ring tones to the public, with instructions on how to load the Ravenswood Manor defendant’s voice on to a phone.
Former Blagojevich office-mate, 11th Illinois Legislative Representative John Fritchey (D-DePaul West. John Fritchey is also currently running for the 12th Cook County Board of Commissioners District), summarized the attitude of some members of the public with a tweet: “funniest line so far today, Rod has no ‘testifycular virility’. Courtesy of my friend Noel.”
My nominee for best line (not funniest), “I talk too much.” Let’s see that as a ring tone.
However the most thought provoking discussion of the dog that will not bark was offered by James Warren, a former editor of the Chicago Tribune and now a columnist for the Chicago News Cooperative. “Since the indictment of former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, little has intrigued me as much as what’s on wiretapped conversations between the profane coosome twosome of Blago and Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief of staff and Blago’s successor as a North Side congressman,” Warren starts writing in his Saturday column, “Oh, the Loss as the Taped Rod-Rahm Calls Go Unplayed.”
More ring tones! That’s what’s on there. Oh! They would have been golden!
Patti Blagojevich (Ravenswood Manor) has taken to reading Sherlock Holmes mysteries on her phone during the prosecution of her husband, according to a report by the AP. Her favorite seems to be Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” “Patti Blagojevich has been seen reading during several less-riveting stretches of the case. She says she’s also fond of Jane Austen,” according to the report.
Chicago Sun-Times gossip columnist Michael Sneed seems to indicate the former first lady could be the next indicted in the Blagojevich scandal. “Is former first lady Patti Blagojevich still in the line of fire? Is there fear her real estate dealings with Tony Rezko fall within the realm of indictability? Stay tuned.”
If you haven’t had enough of the Blagojevich family, Second City is presenting “Rod Blagojevich, Superstar” at the Metropolis in Arlington Heights, The spoof originally ran in the Lincoln Park location of the theater group. The play has a limited engagement August 6 – September 18.
You may have missed State Representative John Fritchey’s appearance on WLS’ Connected to Chicago with Bill Cameron. Cameron and Fritchey discussed the Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment and safety in Chicago. The broadcast is archived on WLS.
State Representative John Fritchey was reported by NBC5 to be trying to entice 50th Ward Alderman Bernard Stone‘s (D-West Rogers Park) daughter to run against Alderman Scott Waguespack for 32nd Ward Alderman. Waguespack defeated a Fritchey foe, former 32nd Ward Alderman Ted Matlak (D-Bucktown), to seize the ward in 2007, but the report says Fritchey “thinks he’s done a poor job.”
As noted earlier, Waguespack announced he is interested in running for mayor of the city in 2011.
Democratic Commissioner Forrest Claypool files as an independent candidate for Cook County Assessor. Credit: Patrick Boylan
Democratic Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool and Libertarian candidate for Lt. Governor Ed Rutledge filed petitions to be listed on the November general election ballot earlier this week.
Claypool, a resident of Graceland West, filed 90,000 signatures, a number a spokeswoman for Cook County Clerk David Orr indicated may be a record for an independent candidate. Claypool’s campaign said it used 912 volunteer circulators, none of whom were associated with the efforts of primary candidates, in its effort to join the ballot.
Rutledge, a resident of Ravenswood, filed more than 48,000 signatures with a complete slate of candidates for the Libertarian Party in Springfield on Monday. A spokeswoman for the Libertarian Party indicated that independent candidates, such as Rutledge and Claypool, are required to file a minimum of 25,000 signatures to appear on the general election ballot.
Major party candidates, which this year includes candidates for the Green Party, were required to file up to 8,400 valid signatures to obtain ballot access.
Joe Berrios, a Cook County Commissioner on the Board of Review and Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, immediately announced plans to challenge the petitions. “We will be reviewing Mr. Claypool’s signatures to make sure they are valid and filed in accordance with the law,” Berrios said in a press release circulated at the Clerk’s office by his supporters immediately following Claypool’s filing.
“If Mr. Claypool wanted to become Assessor, he could have run in the Democratic Primary where he needed less than 8,500 signatures,” Berrios said in his statement.
The effort of Claypool to join the ballot is expected to be very contentious. Claypool criticized Berrios and his “thugs” in advance of the Berrios announcement saying they were trying to disenfranchise voters, to “prevent them from having a choice.”
The Cook County Clerk’s Office said it had more than 50 terminals available for reviewing each petition and they were booked already. In a tour of the terminal room, a spokeswoman for David Orr said typical complaints about signatures include
The signatures don’t match
The petitioner is not registered to vote
The voter’s registration is inactive
The voter’s registration is cancelled
The voter lists an address on the petition that is different from their registered address
Republican opponent Sharon Strobeck-Eckersall told Hal Daldrick of the Chicago Tribune she welcomes Claypool’s entry into the race. “I was telling people to sign his petitions at the train station last week,” she is quoted as saying.
The Clout Street column says Strobeck-Eckersall, an Evanston resident, is a 66-year-old real estate broker. She lost a re-election effort last year to a Democrat who has since said Strobeck-Eckersall is partly to blame for not ensuring more than 1,500 building permits got to the county assessor’s office.
That means some property owners might not have paid their full fair share of taxes.
Strobeck-Eckersall said she takes responsibility for the problem, but added that her efforts were hampered by inadequate funding for computers and incomplete reporting to her by Evanston city building department officials.
“I’m totally qualified, and they are not,” Strobeck-Eckersall said, adding that she is a certified Illinois assessor.
Green Party candidate Robert C Grota will also oppose Claypool and Berrios. Grota is a junior analyst in the assessor’s office.
Rutledge and running mate Lex Green will be running against a number of candidates according to filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections: