So the Mayor Was Here…

I stand corrected. I’ve learned through the friend of a friend that the mayor was here to meet with members of the Jewish community,  and that no pictures were taken because she was here on the Sabbath. 

I am happy that the Jewish community had an opportunity to discuss its concerns with the mayor. I am dismayed that they felt that the wider community could not be included. When I have scheduled meetings in the past, such as to discuss participatory budgeting, I have been roundly criticized by members of the Jewish community for arranging those meetings on Saturday mornings. I was told that the Jewish community felt deliberately excluded. How do they think others feel upon learning that the Jewish communiy arranged a meeting with the new mayor and deliberately excluded everyone else? Don’t the concerns of others matter as well?

Positive change is impossible in a neighborhood where every religious and ethnic group exists in a silo, requiring exclusive attention to its needs without regard to the needs of the broader community.  The powers-that-be are the only ones who benefit from this lack of inclusiveness.

I guess Christians, Muslims, and non-believers will have to invite the mayor to meet with us, too. We have concerns as well, and she should hear from us.



2 thoughts on “So the Mayor Was Here…

  1. OK- I’m an Orthodox Jewish resident of the ward. I voted for Shajan Kuriakose in 2015 and Andrew Rowlas this time around. I share your feelings regarding Debra. I pray we could vote her out but I’m troubled by your anger at the Jewish community. I had no idea Mayor Lightfoot was stopping by until my rabbi announced it in synagogue that Saturday morning. So why am I grouped in as somehow working against my non-Jewish neighbors? This wasn’t my doing.


    • Thank you for raising this issue. I am not angry at the Jewish community but I am disgusted by its support of this lazy, lying alderman. That support is based on religious affiliation and the absolute belief that this is still a Jewish neighborhood, even though the Jewish population is only one-third of the total population. It is, however, 50 to 60% of registered voters. When rabbis urge their congregations to support a candidate on religious grounds, it violates the integrity of the voting process.

      That support is repaid by the way city services are apportioned and citizen concerns are addressed. For example, a couple of years ago there were two murders on Devon, one a gangland execution. The alderman described these two incidents in her newsletter as “some shootings” she did not call any community meetings to address the fears of nearby residents, and did not summon police brass. Contrast that with her behavior when Eli Moscowitz was shot in Rogers Park. She responded with a community meeting with top police officials, attendance at two memorial services and the funeral, and several emails updating the entire community on the police investigation. She also demanded increased police protection.

      She worked with some Jewish leaders to create an atmosphere of hysteria over crime to boost the impending sale of the old multiplex at Devon and McCormick to a storage facility. The suggestion that the site be turned into a cultural and performing arts center was never given a fair hearing. The Orthodox group that owned the theater had never properly maintained or secured it, and wanted its money back in the form of a sale. In support of the sale, the alderman claimed that there would be no parking for a cultural center and that she could not secure any from neighboring businesses. After the sale went through, the alderman announced that users of Stone Park, a tidbit thrown to the rest of the community, would be allowed 2 hours parking in the Home Depot lot. Her advocacy was solely directed at the sale of the property. She and Rabbi Wolf orchestrated the entire process. This kind of access and support are not extended to the rest of the community.

      Her former staff member has just become the head of the Jewish Neighborhood Development Council, and he lives in Skokie. It’s an insult to the rest of the community that he will continue to have more influence on community development than residents will have. He also served on the Alderman’s secret library committee. He may well be a member of the Alderman’s secret economic development committee. (I recently filed an ethics complaint with the city over Silverstein’s use of secret committees to drive Ward policy.) Ward residents simply have no idea whether decisions are being made in our best interests or in the best interests of the members of the secret committees. The lack of transparency strongly suggests that special interests are being served.

      The fact that your rabbi did not announce the mayor’s coming until that morning is characteristic of the secrecy that I complain about. This meeting was not arranged at the last minute. Why not invite the entire community? Why only the Orthodox community? Why did only the Orthodox get to express their concerns directly to the mayor?

      The recent JNDC report gave the JNDC full credit for the move of the Northtown Library to the North end of the ward. Ever since the new library’s location was announced, there have been rumors that the old library will become either a Jewish school, a synagogue, or a Jewish social service agency.

      I am angry about the uses of political power that derive from religious affiliation, especially when that political power disenfranchises, disregards, and disrespects the majority of the community.


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