The Alderman Awakens

Yesterday was an interesting day. First, the alderman actually responded to a constituent. Then she asked for volunteers for her reelection campaign.

She seems to have suddenly realized that she represents the community.

In the first instance, she responded to a direct question from a constituent about the construction project on Kedzie between Touhy and Pratt. It turns out to be improvements to Thillens Park (officially Park 538) by the Chicago Park District. It speaks volumes about Debra’s approach to transparency that it never occurred to her to advise Ward residents about the project beforehand. Maybe she didn’t know.

But then she still has not advised the wider community about the luxury townhouse and condo development to be built a block from the new library. She did hold a meeting with about a dozen property owners in the immediate vicinity of the new development, but apparently doesn’t think it’s anyone else’s business.

And her request for volunteers to help her get her nominating petitions signed? Since petitions can be signed anytime on Tuesday, it’s hard to believe her political machine won’t be out at the crack of dawn– if not promptly at midnight– getting the necessary 473 signatures she needs to get on the ballot. Frankly, all she has to do is visit Winston Towers to get twice that number.

It looks like her appeal for volunteers is a self-serving response to years of complaints that she’s out of touch with her constituents. Such complaints have also been strongly voiced by both of her announced challengers.

But I have to give the alderman credit. After 8 years in office, she has begun to recognize that she needs the community.

It’s also been long enough for us to recognize that we don’t need her.



Wednesday’s City Council to Vote on Taxpayer Giveaway–How You Can Help Stop It

This Wednesday, November 16, the Chicago City Council will vote on yet another of Mayor Emmanuel’s taxpayer-funded programs designed to benefit financiers and wealthy neighborhoods at the expense of hardworking taxpayers and poorer areas desperate for investment.

The Chicago Community Catalyst Fund is billed as a vehicle for reinvigorating Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods and helping small businesses. A closer look reveals that the first funding example mentioned is for Lakeview. The Fund’s board would be controlled by the Mayor, and there’s virtually no oversight when it comes to the fees that financiers may charge, or which consulting entities can be hired. The only sure thing is that those without political ties need not apply.

Call your alderman and urge him or her to vote against this sham.

Deborah Silverstein        50th        773-262-1050
Joe Moore                      49th        773-338-5796
Harry Osterman              48th        773-784-5277
Amaya Pawar                 47th        773-868-4747
James Cappleman         46th        773-868-4646
Many thanks to the West Rogers Park Community Organization (WRPCO) for tracking this legislation and providing both the above information and the article (from In These Times, the online magazine) by Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa of the Council’s Progressive Reform Caucus.