Public Safety and Campaign Mailers

I received the alderman’s new campaign mailer today.

Masked as an invitation to a public safety meeting, nearly a third of the announcement  side is adorned by a glossy photo of Herself, with her name and title appearing in the same subhead-size type used to announce the meeting’s purpose. Heaven forbid we forget who she is.

There are no photos of Eddie Johnson, Chicago’s new Police Superintendent, even though the whole point of the event is to introduce him to the residents of West Ridge. There aren’t any photos of the two “Special Guests” either. They are the Police Commanders of the 24th and 17th police districts, Roberto.Nieves and Elias Voulgaris. As a courtesy to the Ward’s guests–and so they won’t be mistaken for visiting aldermen–links to photos of them appear below.

Supt. Eddie Johnson          Comdr. Roberto Nieves          Cmdr. Elias Voulgaris

The back of the mailer invites the community to subscribe to the alderman’s weekly newsletter, touted as “…all of the neighborhood news you need to know” and to attend the movie in the park and the backpack back-to-school giveaway. No point keeping the focus on safety in a neighborhood that is beginning to experience gang violence–including murders–and random shootings.

I suppose we should be grateful the alderman didn’t re-use the silly photo of herself saluting at a police roll call a week ago. Such meaningless stunts do nothing to make the neighborhood safer although they do provide visuals that give the impression that this alderman is a real crimebuster. More people will remember that dumb photo than her recent newsletter reference to “…some shootings…” that in actuality were two gang-related murders in three days, one on Rockwell and one on Devon. And that mention came only after she discussed city stickers and summer lawn care.

Now it’s true that West Ridge is sill one of the safest communities in the City, currently tied for 65th out of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods (meaning only 12 communities have a lower crime rate than ours), according to the Chicago Tribune. Community involvement is essential to keeping it that way. Maybe we can get some answers and insights from the superintendent and his commanders. I can already see the photo for next week’s aldermanic newsletter: A smiling alderman posed with police officials. Good for the end-of-year report and the campaign mailers to come.

While the community’s distracted by her before-the-camera images, it’s the things she does behind-the-scenes–like introducing an ordinance allocating $600,000 in TIF funds tor Park 526 while telling the LEARN coalition that there’s no money for a new library–that are so worrisome. She never mentioned the ordinance or the TIF allocation in her newsletter. That’s not the news the neighborhood needs to know.

The meeting’s at the Horwich JCC, 3003 West Touhy, on Tuesday, July 19, at 7 p.m. See you there.






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