Sun-Times: Schulter & Rosenfeld Will Withdraw from Committeeman Race

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.”

Read more at Chicago Sun-Times.

Interview with Paul Rosenfeld: Democratic candidate for Committeeman

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,

  1. “are collaboration in the slatemaking process based on a belief of openness and inclusiveness;
  2. fairness, to give a fair deal to everyone in the ward;
  3. looking out for our neediest neighbors.”
    1. “Help,” he says, for the neediest citizen “is what Democrats have always done.”
  4. 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?”

In the indictment of Former Gov. Blagojevich Lobbyist 2, Rosenfeld, is discussed in a recording by Blagojevich.

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

See Government Navigation Group, Inc. Expenditure Summary (Illinois Secretary of State)

See PAR Solutions, LLC registration and list of clients (Illinois Secretary of State)

See Cash America International, Inc. registration (Illinois Secretary of State)

See Government Navigation Group, Inc. Partial Client List (registered with Illinois Secretary of State)

  • Ameresco
  • Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
  • Cash America International, Inc.
  • Childress Duffy Goldblatt, Ltd.
  • Citizens Utility Board
  • Elmotech Inc.
  • Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
  • Fuhrman Engineering, Inc.
  • Global Solutions Group
  • Health Care Service Corporation
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Illinois Pavement Preservation & Maintenance Assoc.
  • Illinois Restaurant Assoc.
  • Knight E/A, Inc.
  • Leinenweber Baroni & Daffada Consulting LLC
  • Medimmune, Inc.
  • Parsons Transportation Group Inc.
  • Pickering & Assoc LLC
  • Professional Towing & Recovery Operators of Illinois
  • Public Sector Solutions
  • Springfield Consulting Group, LLC
  • The Buona Companies, LLC
  • Wheaton Park District

2nd Ward Map Proposal introduced

A second remapping proposal was submitted to the Chicago City Clerk Friday. The proposal is in opposition to a proposal submitted by about 16 aldermen on Thursday.

Signing on to this proposal are area Aldermen Ameya Pawar, Dick Mell, Pat O’Connor, Harry Osterman and James Cappleman. A total of 32 aldermen have sponsored the second map proposal.

Alderman Scott Waguespack has signed on to sponsor a map largely supported by the Latino aldermen that was submitted on Thursday.

Passage through City Council by December 31 by 41 votes would preclude a public ballot on the proposal. That seems very doubtful now.

A simple majority vote of the Council, 26 votes, will cause adoption of a map. However, if that happens, the map would still require approval of the voters.

 


View Map for a Better Chicago in a larger map

Map boundaries are approximate. Credit: Welles Bulldog Graphics

O’Connor: Another map expected tomorrow

Ald. Pat O’Connor, in an exclusive interview with The Bulldog, said he expects another map proposal to be put forward tomorrow with consideration by the City Council of the competing proposals at its January 18th meeting.

December 31st is not a drop-dead date, O’Connor noted. While 41 votes are required for a proposal with no public referendum, only 26 votes, a majority of the council, is required for a map to be adopted, he said.

[Editors note: The Bulldog had said in earlier stories that 41 votes are required to pass a map, with Dec. 31st as the deadline. Passage can happen with a majority even after Dec. 31st. However the voters would then get a chance to vote on the map.]

“We didn’t want to file a plan till we had an agreement,” O’Connor said. O’Connor said the 16 aldermen who proposed today’s map felt they had to get their side out. However, a proposal that he said will have 32 supporters will be filed tomorrow.

“We’ve been working on the boundaries for four weeks,” O’Connor said. These aldermen who filed the map today “didn’t think the talks were going quick enough.”

“This is a fluid process,” O’Connor said. “Everyone needs to see how it develops.”

O’Connor said none of the North Side aldermen had signed on to the map filed today. Cappleman, who co-sponsored the map ‘Taxpayer Protection Map’, will support the proposal being put forward tomorrow, O’Connor noted.

Calls were left for Ald. Fioretti, Cochran, Mell, and Waguespack. Ald. Cappleman’s office returned our calls before O’Connor’s statement about him supporting the map to be filed tomorrow.

 


View Taxpayer Protection Map- Northside in a larger map
Map based on filing with Chicago City Clerk. Boundaries may not be exact.

Remap proposal puts Roscoe Village in 20th Ward

A map proposal filed with the Chicago City Clerk today suggests that Roscoe Village would join the 20th Ward. The map was also Twittered by Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey and Ald. Bob Fioretti.

Proposals for the remapping must pass City Council by a 41 vote majority before year end or two proposals will be put to a vote before the voters in the primary election in spring 2012. No remap proposal has yet been put before City Council. The council could still meet before the end of the month. However, no meetings are currently scheduled.

The map is called the Taxpayer Protection Map. It was sponsored by Ald. Proco Joe Moreno, Bob Fioretti, John Pope, James Balcer, George Cardenas, Marty Quinn, Ricardo Munoz, Daniel Solis, Roberto Maldonado, Ariel Reboyras, Regner Ray Suarez, Scott Waguespack, Rey Colón, Michele Smith, John Arena and James Cappleman.

The picture of the ward is dubbed an Hispanic draft by Fritchey. 20th Ward is currently a South Side ward represented by Ald. Willie Cochran.

Population shifts have caused historically black wards to lose population, largely at the expense of a growing Hispanic population.

If the picture is close to what is proposed what amounts to a new ward would be created on the North Side. Its borders would generally be Addison Street on the north, Western Avenue on the west and what appears to be Ashland Avenue on the east. (Read the legal description of the new 20th Ward).

Two ‘panhandles’ would reach out from the ward to catch parts of Lakeview and Logan Square.

Fritchey told The Bulldog at least two proposals seem to call for a new ward to be created from the 32nd Ward. The picture shows a proposal calling for the 20th Ward to be inserted, but Fritchey noted that another proposal calls for the 2nd Ward, currently represented by Ald. Bob Fioretti, to be centered in Roscoe Village.

Fritchey, who noted he is not involved in the city process, said the area will need to rely on the new alderman to address its needs. “They’d have a new alderman,” Fritchey said, represented by an alderman and committeemen elected by another part of the city until the next election.

Fritchey said Cook County remapping would start next year. He told The Bulldog he does not expect the county process to be as contentious as the city process.

The 32nd Ward would migrate south, finding a more rectangular shape centered in the Bucktown neighborhood. (Read the legal description of the 32nd ward).

The 47th Ward would retain most of its current territory, with a northern boundary meeting the 40th Ward near Foster. (Read the legal description of the 47th Ward).

 

Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey twittered a picture of what he calls a draft Hispanic Caucus map.

On the right, a 'draft' Hispanic Caucus remap proposal for the Chicago City Council. Credit: John Fritchey

 

Waguespack fundraiser

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.

  • Fund raiser for Ald. Scott Waguespack
  • Citizens for Scott Waguespack
  • Schubas; 3159 N Southport Ave.
  • Wed., Nov. 16; 5.30-7.30P
  • For more information

Cassidy endorsement fumble

According to a report in A-Ville Daily, Illinois State Rep. Kelly Cassidy has withdrawn claims to be endorsed by Equality Illinois. “It would be strange, to say the least, if Equality Illinois failed to at least provide a co-endorsement to Paula Basta,” the news site says.

Basta, who is opposing Cassidy in the Democratic primary this winter, was the former president of Equality Illinois.

The story by A-Ville forced Cassidy to take down a page on her web site, though her palm cards noting the endorsement may still be out there.

Read more at A-Ville Daily.

Ravenswood to be split into two wards under Black Caucus remap proposal

Current ward boundaries (in red) and a proposal by the Black Caucus (in blue) would shift the 40th and the 47th Wards south.

A proposal unveiled yesterday by the Chicago City Council Black Caucus would split the Ravenswood community between the 40th and the 47th Wards. The two wards boundaries would move south by about one mile under the proposal.

The proposal is the first in what promises to be a contentious debate over redistricting in the city, a once a decade process of giving equal weight to each voter in legislative bodies.

The caucus proposed 19 majority black wards and 13 majority Hispanic wards in the 50 member chamber. Previously there had been 20 majority black wards and eleven Hispanic wards.

The city’s Hispanic population has grown by about 25,000 in the last decade while the city’s black population has fallen by about 181,000, according to census figures. Caucasian populations have also fallen.

The caucus, which was unanimous in its proposal, is seeking to maintain the number of black wards through a theory called non- retrogression. That legal idea is that once granted, a right may not be taken away. The caucus holds that non-retrogression requires every effort must be made to guarantee at least 20 black wards in the remap.

The 40th and the 47th Wards would move about one mile south under the proposal.  Parts of Horner Park East and all of Lincoln Square and Ravenswood north of Montrose would be placed in the 40th Ward if the map is adopted.

Ravenswood Manor, currently in the 33rd Ward, would be represented by the 39th Ward. The 39th Ward would also represent some areas in Budlong Woods. Ravenswood Manor is currently districted into the 33rd Ward.

Both the 40th and the 47th Wards would extend west of the Chicago River to represent areas in Irving Park.

Andersonville, currently represented by four wards, would find most of the business district north of Foster represented by the 48th Ward. The business district south of Foster by the 46th Ward.

The 47th Ward southern boundary would extend to about Wrightwood and would include most of Roscoe Village.

Lathrop Homes and parts of western Roscoe Village would be in the 38th Ward.

Some adjustments were also proposed in the boundaries on the eastern side of the 40th and the 47th Wards.

The caucus noted that it had not worked with Hispanic aldermen on the proposal. In answer to a question from The Bulldog, it also noted it has not presented or consulted with political power houses such as Joe Berrios, Michael Madigan, Dick Mell, Pat O’Connor or Ed Burke about their plan.

It also did not use a state Voting Rights Act doctrine called minority influence district. Finally, the caucus noted it did not take into account Asian communities as they are not a protected minority.

The minority influence district holds that if a minority has a sizable population, but not a majority, the population should not be divided into multiple districts. The theory allowed a sizable, but still minority, population of Asians to be considered in the drawing of districts north and west of Ravenswood.

A concern the caucus did apparently consider were the home address of current aldermen. They noted that no incumbent would be required to run against another incumbent under their plan.

The caucus also provided evidence they considered neighborhood communities in its proposal.

A neighborhood community is a city defined area. There is no city defined area called Ravenswood. The area we generally consider Ravenswood is comprised of two other communities, North Center and Lincoln Square.

State legislators heard considerable testimony about communities of interest, a term that drilled down deeper into our city, considering such things as churches, schools, ethnic groups and other geographic areas with a shared sense of identity.

 

Ward Alderman Democratic Committeeman Republican Committeeman Minority

1

Joe Moreno

Jesse Ruben Juarez

Kathleen Cordes

Hispanic

32

Scott Waguespack

John Fritchey

John Curry

33

Dick Mell

Dick Mell

Lisa Reed

Hispanic

38

Timothy Cullerton

Patricia J Cullerton

Kevin Edward White

39

Margaret Laurino

Randy Barnette

William Miceli

40

Pat O’Connor

Pat O’Connor

Steve Seiling

43

Michele Smith

Michele Smith

Doug Glick

44

Thomas Tunney

Thomas Tunney

Jim Fuchs

46

James Cappleman

Tom Sharpe

Diane Shapiro

47

Ameya Pawar

Eugene Schulter

David Ratowitz

48

Harry Osterman

Carol Ronen

Adam Robinson

50

Debra Silverstein

Ira Silverstein

Kenneth Hollander

 

Chicago Pride Parade 2011

This years Pride Parade got off to a slow start as some vandals slashed the tires of a number of the parade floats.  Reports were that as many as 50 tires had been slashed, leading to delays in getting the parade started and some gaps between floats during the parade.  In spite of the logistical nightmare of replacing so many tires, the parade went forward; an apt metaphor for the LGBT rights movement.  Sure there are those who try to sabotage all of it, but it just keeps moving forward.

The weather certainly wasn’t on board with the tire slashers, providing one of the better days for the Pride Parade in years with temperatures in the 70′s and nothing but blue skies.  It provided a great environment to celebrate the historic achievement in New York that happened mere days ago with the legislature approving gay marriage.

From Schulter to Pawar; a story of us

The Bulldog’s second story, March 15, 2010, was about an upstart grad student who planned to challenge Eugene Schulter. Nearly 1,100 posts later, and The Bulldog can report that the upstart is your new alderman. Was it as much of an upset as other media outlets say? Ameya Pawar himself reports that he was surprised by the outcome. Was it a surprise? Today, in celebration of Pawar’s win and his elevation to alderman on Monday The Bulldog looks back to consider the campaign.

The early campaign: Late February 2010 to September 7, 2010

Ald. Eugene Schulter

Ald. Eugene Schulter Credit: Jane Rickard

Early in the campaign Schulter looked like a shoo-in for another term. He was blessed with a ward organization that was large, organized and if not always effective, well financed. In addition Schulter had mastered the art of bringing home the pork. In meetings around the ward Schulter promised and delivered on millions of dollars of public projects. The largest, the $200 million bridge project for the Union Pacific, would tap into Federal stimulus money to create a new Ravenswood Station. The project would take years to complete and would require a specialized work force. However there were other projects too.

Looking back Schulter was playing old-time politics.

  • In late March 2010, Schulter cut short a vacation to oppose a plan to cutback on street sweepers. But the street sweeper plan, forecast to save the city millions of dollars, refused to die despite its withdrawal by Mayor Richard Daley.
  • In late July Schulter appeared with Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn when Quinn used a Ravenswood home as the backdrop to sign into law a seven percent property tax cap. At the signing Quinn noted Schulter’s work on behalf of property tax reform.

Aside from the new station for commuters, the bridge work would not provide significant benefits for a Ravenswood workforce not generally engaged in the specialized construction of the railroad bridges. However there were clear benefits for families with the new playgrounds and to businesses benefiting from the landscaping. Yet the financial crisis was creating questions about the administration of the TIF districts used to pay for much of the local projects while nationally the Tea Party and the Republican Party were addressing the proper role of government.
The strengths that Daley, Quinn and Schulter relied on for political support, identifying tax dollar projects, were eroding under financial and political pressure. It is still not clear how big a liability big spending will be both for the government and for some politicians. However what is clear is that the issue, at this point, mid-way through 2011, still has legs.

The middle campaign: September 7 to November 2

Ameya Pawar. Credit: Jane Rickard

The world turned upside down on September 7 with the unexpected withdrawal of Daley from the contest for mayor. Schulter accompanied Daley that evening to a German-American function at the Cultural Center. While Daley’s attitude was one at peace with his decision, Schulter’s face betrayed concern. The Bulldog talked to Pawar that day. He forecast that Daley’s decision wouldn’t change things in the 47th Ward. But in fact, the mayor’s decision had changed everything. Within days Schulter’s name was being listed as a possible contender as mayor. Schulter’s main asset was his large campaign fund. But this was a stronger asset than many candidates possessed. Schulter indicated soon enough that he was not interested in the post.

Schulter held an aldermanic campaign fundraiser shortly after he removed his name from consideration. Campaign financing reports indicate his aldermanic campaign raised a multiple of what Pawar had raised in the months previous. In fact, few voters were thinking of the municipal elections coming in February. The 2010 general election was still on the horizon. In the streets of Ravenswood The Bulldog would run into Pawar, walking a block in his quest. At this point it must have seemed a lonely and forgotten effort. Pawar, in an interview with The Bulldog last week said these days formed a foundation that served him well later in the campaign. People, he said, remembered him knocking on their door or knew he had met with neighbors. They were withholding their opinion, but watching developments. Two further developments may have been considered. The first, the city budget came up for consideration by the City Council prior to the General Election.

  • In October Schulter announced he would oppose plans to cut budgets to chambers of commerce. In Chicago chambers of commerce receive support from the city. Direct support may vary from a few thousand dollars annually to tens of thousands. In addition, the chambers administer Special Service Areas, each providing municipal type services valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars. As demonstrated by issues associated with the Logan Square farmers market recently, a local alderman can use the city support to reward or to punish chambers. Despite calls to cut the chambers, which would allow them to function as independent political entities, Schulter and the chambers rallied to oppose the cuts. Schulter went so far as to say he would not support any budget that cut chamber support.
  • The City Inspector General issued a report detailing $243 million in estimated savings on Oct. 25.
  • Fitch, a bond rating service, downgraded the city’s rating on Oct. 28.
  • The Civic Federation released a criticism of the budget. That was followed by a delay in an $800 million city bond sale.
  • Standard & Poor’s followed the lead of Fitch, also downgrading the city’s bonds. The downgrades have added to the cost of city borrowing and made borrowing more challenging.
  • In early November Schulter voted for a budget that borrowed heavily from ‘rainy day’ funds created by the sale of the parking meter system. The budget was widely criticized for failing to address the structural deficit of the city. The $1.5 billion parking meter fund was spent to avoid addressing the structural issues. Critics described the situation as kicking the can down the road for the next mayor.
  • Schulter would not comment to The Bulldog about the budget, but it appeared that he wouldn’t offer solutions to the fiscal crisis, and would defend his current aldermanic prerogatives against cost cutting.

The November General Election saw Illinois move against a Republican swing elsewhere. Here Democrats, with the exception of a US Senate candidate, generally won. The election left the Illinois Democratic Party in control of both chambers of the Statehouse and the governor’s office. In Cook County there was a push to elect independent Forrest Claypool, a Ravenswood resident, to the office of the Cook County Assessor. Schulter had thrown his hat in with Claypool, opposing the county party. Other Democratic Party organizations, notably Evanston, had also supported Claypool over Cook County Democratic boss Joe Berrios. Berrios’ victory was despite these objections and strong opposition by both the local daily newspapers.

November 3 through January 17

Matt Reichel. Credit: Steve Stearns

Schulter demonstrated the strength of the 47th Ward regular organization by filing 5,641 signatures. Even discounting the thousands of signatures collected by circulators living outside the Ward boundaries, Schulter gathered more signatures than collected by all other candidates running in the ward combined. Outside the ward however, it was clear there would be a change on City Council. Dissatisfaction with politics as usual and the promise of a new mayor combined to attract a large number of aldermanic candidates in many wards. Tom Jacks and Matt Reichel joined the hunt for the 47th Ward seat. On the final day of filing there was also a surprise filing: Tom O’Donnell. O’Donnell had been a circulator for Schulter. They were considered close. Schulter had supported O’Donnell to replace Larry McKeon. O’Donnell ran the Ravenswood Community Council for Schulter. In on-line discussions there were dark rumblings from persons claiming to be in the 47th Ward Democratic Party that ‘mean Gene’ would be receiving payback for slighting Berrios and Ed Kelly. The role of O’Donnell was a mystery. O’Donnell added to the mystery by turning aside all attempts to contact him. In late December it became clear that Schulter was seeking a position on the Cook County Board of Review. The position had come open when Berrios had taken the position of assessor. O’Donnell was covering the aldermanic opening if Schulter succeeded.

January 18 to the Coonley debate

Tom Jacks. Credit: Steve Stearns

Schulter’s announcement that he would withdraw from the aldermanic race was a move designed to convince Head Judge Tim Evans of how serious Schulter’s interest in the position was. O’Donnell’s administration of the RCC, the near financial collapse of the RCC, the fact that O’Donnell had only attended a single meeting of the SSA 31 in a two year period all came to the attention of the community January 25 when The Bulldog ran an article that examined O’Donnell’s community leadership claim. The Bulldog noted that O’Donnell lacked a door-to-door effort, lacked a phone, lacked a web site. “The heir apparent to Schulter is relying on the strength of the 47th Ward Democratic organization to get him elected,” we wrote. On January 26 the candidates appeared at Coonley School in a forum. It was the only forum or debate that featured all four candidates.

The Coonley debate

Tom O'Donnell. Credit: Jane Rickard

The Coonley debate is generally held to be the turning point in the campaign. Prior to the debate O’Donnell was raising money outside the ward. His supporters were confident of victory.

After the debate the momentum shifted to Pawar. The small gymnasium at Coonley was packed to standing room only. With each question, Jacks, Pawar and Reichel would ad-lib an answer. O’Donnell would leaf through a pad, placing it in front of his face and read the statement off the pad. In one case, regarding the Western Avenue South TIF it wasn’t clear O’Donnell understood the way TIFs work or what they could do. The ‘experienced community activist’ was turning out to be a dud who couldn’t explain what he’d do different after all his years of activism.

In many cases O’Donnell defended Schulter, despite the fact Schulter’s role wasn’t being questioned. Jacks answered one question, firing at O’Donnell about his qualifications. Jacks, without ever saying O’Donnell’s name, questioned the Chicago practice of political nepotism. On stage O’Donnell’s face grew red. Reichel tried to describe his plan to tax motorists, a toll based on congestion pricing. A similar system is used in Central London. Although he spoke eloquently, he described policies to address institutional racism and taxing upper class citizens to relieve the burden on poorer citizens. His largely white and upper middle class audience wasn’t interested.

Jacks thought’s about government were better received but still did not appear to have meat to them. It is fine to criticize political nepotism, but what policy does that point to at the Ward level? News likes conflict. Listen to the discussion of Donald Trump and you’ll understand that the colorful and quick quote provided on deadline is meat to the news media. In the months that The Bulldog had been writing about Pawar we’d learned that Pawar wasn’t a good quote. What we mean by that is Pawar is thoughtful. He listens to questions, considers them carefully and answers with care. At one point in the Coonley debate the candidates were asked about the Sweet Home Chicago ordinance. That proposal would use TIF funds for affordable housing. O’Donnell, Jacks and Reichel all supported the proposal. Pawar said he would study it. It could, he noted, create political support for TIFs and he felt the need for TIF reform was great. Other means could be found to fund affordable housing, he said.

It was a thoughtful answer to a complicated question. It may be at this point that our photographer took the picture which accompanies this post. It seems to capture a moment in time when the possibility of winning seemed real to Pawar.

The Coonley debate. Credit: Jane Rickard

The end of the campaign: January 27 to election day

Pawar notes that after the Coonley debate he saw a dramatic uptick in campaign financing. Three days after the debate The Bulldog laid out questions about O’Donnell’s bio. A day later The Bulldog laid out the case against the Ravenswood Community Council. And, like any historic Chicago election, this one had a blizzard. At The Bulldog, the efforts of the RCC to clear the sidewalks were chronicled. The snow removal in the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor were compared to similar areas on Rockwell and in the Addison Street Industrial Corridor. [The RCC, which O'Donnell led, was responsible for snow removal on sidewalks. The city, led by Schulter, was responsible for snow removal on ward streets.]

On-line there were complaints of streets that needed to be cleared and alleys piled high with snow. Pawar says that this was a period of intense social media communication. Stories from The Bulldog, but also from other media, were being exchanged by neighbors. And neighbors were meeting on the streets of Ravenswood, clearing our streets and freeing our cars and talking politics. Neighbors expressed anger that Schulter had selected O’Donnell without allowing neighbors input. More than once I heard “who does he think he is with this guy?” Well, Schulter thought he was the alderman.

On January 31 a small event seemed to sum up the hopelessness of the O’Donnell cause. That was the day Pete Leki endorsed Pawar. Leki is an environmental activist who maintains the Waters School Garden. A small community group is closely associated with Leki’s work, the Riverbank Neighbors. In addition Leki is close to another activist community, the Beyond Today Co-op. In the years I have known Leki he generally worked with Schulter. The Leki endorsement was considered key at The Bulldog. It showed a genuine interest in Pawar among Beyond Today, probably at Riverbank Neighbors and also among the education community. Undoubtedly, there was an element of the artistic community that closely followed-up on Leki’s endorsement too. And the endorsement broke with Leki’s tradition of working with Schulter. It was an endorsement that was a multiplier. It may have appeared small, but was in fact a much bigger event.

O’Donnell now made a new enemy. The Center Square Journal, a blog that also features events in the Ravenswood neighborhood announced O’Donnell was pulling out of its candidate forum. O’Donnell skipped a third forum at Lake View High School later that same week. On the last weekend of the campaign The Bulldog launched the last of its investigative posts on O’Donnell, noting he was under investigation for using Sheriffs department equipment for political purposes.

Election Day

Ald. Ameya Pawar. Credit: Jane Rickard

On the morning of the election Pawar asked me what I thought his chances were. I had told him that I believed there was a 40 percent chance he would win outright, but that there was a only a small chance of O’Donnell winning outright. The day proved to be a lesson in getting out the vote. Winning in politics is often dependent on the basic things. GOTV, raising money and getting ballot access separate the professionals from the amateurs.

The 47th Ward Regular Democratic Party had proven itself by superior fundraising and an excellent ballot drive. Election day saw the regular organization with a superior GOTV effort. At many polling places there appeared to be no sign of Pawar, Jacks and Reichel. Despite that Pawar won. The election of this thoughtful man was an affirmation of neighbors using new and old social media. Neighbors talking while clearing a street of snow, trading e-mails and the decision of a neighborhood activist all added up to a win, with Pawar receiving as many votes as that enjoyed by Schulter in previous contests.

Old-time politics, and in particular a strong Get Out the Vote effort, were unable to overcome frustration at politics as usual. The ward organization once again showed that it is unable to deliver votes for anyone but Schulter. Would the result have been different if Schulter had run? Yes. Schulter, for all his weaknesses, wasn’t O’Donnell.