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Airbags

After the great discussion here last week about what will probably be an interesting race in the 50th Ward, I figured, in my foresight, now would be a good time to go through the city, ward by ward, and based on the latest filings look at the real competitors for the February 27th municipals.

With Mayor Daley announcing his bid for a sixth term on Monday, we're looking at a mayoral contest with a more-or-less decided outcome: Daley by lots n' lots. Some are making hay out of the fact that the Mayor turned in fewer nominating petition signatures than even Doc Walls, his severely under-funded opponent. More likely than not this was a feint by the Mayor — imagine if he'd turned in his usual 100,000 or whatever signatures. Every reporter in the city would be poring over those sheets and looking into the guys who gathered the sigs. Without Jesse Jackson Jr. or Luis Gutierrez in the race, there is no reason to hand the press a plum just as he's kicking off his campaign, which he wants to focus on advances in education and crime-fighting.

So, off we go, with a general survey of the electoral scene — today we'll look at the first tier races.

2nd Ward - South Loop
Madeline L. Haithcock, the incumbent, faces likely tough challenges from David Askew, who works in the Attorney General's office, and Bob Fioretti, a civil rights attorney. Bobby Rush's sister Geraldine Laury is also a possible candidate — Bobby Rush and Haithcock do not get along and Rush is the ward's Democratic Committeeman. Haithcock is not especially popular in the 2nd and the ward is changing as rapidly as any in the city — the lakeshore area has gentrified and added thousands of new residents, the area just south of Roosevelt along State and Clark, once reliable, has changed very dramatically in terms of racial and income make-up and could be fertile ground for a challenger to establish a base.

3rd Ward - Bronzeville
Dorothy "the Hat" Tillman is likely going to be a Chicago Federation of Labor, Service Employees (SEIU) target, and she has two capable opponents — Pat Dowell, who got over 30 percent of the vote in 2003, and businessman Mell Monroe. Tillman is pretty polarizing in her ward — which Alderman Burt Natarus once referred to as an "empty lot" — and plenty of residents have serious problems with how she manages the ward's services budget (infamously spending a significant amount of it on statues, for example). On the other hand, Tillman has resisted some serious challenges and if labor is not careful they can spark a rally effect — one thing about folks in the 3rd is they don't like the idea of outsiders telling them who to vote for.

7th Ward - Chatham
Darcel Beavers, daughter of new Cook County Commissioner William Beavers, is the prohibitive favorite but will face Sandi Jackson, an attorney and wife of Jesse Jackson Jr. Beavers is a strong ally of the Mayor, so the run may have just been a power play between Jackson and Daley. To date, Sandi Jackson has not filed to run, and Beavers faces only token competition.

15th Ward - Englewood
At my senior prom, I went off and danced with a bunch of different girls, all of whom had asked me to promise them a dance. I lingered with one and ended up missing the garter-taking-off thing, and when I finally found my date, she threw it in my face. That's kinda the definition of "dance with the one that brung ya," and incumbent alderman Ted Thomas may be getting more than a garter thrown in his face. Ald. Thomas was a president of Chicago ACORN but has drifted closer and closer to the Mayor, which, if you know anything about Chicago ACORN, is not good. There has been talking of a current ACORN member taking on Thomas for at least a couple cycles, and that candidate has filed — Toni Foulkes, also a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers and a dynamic organizer who led the fight against Wal-Mart, is going to try to retire Thomas. And given ACORN's close relationship with SEIU and the CFL, there is a good chance Ald. Thomas is retired. Besides Foulkes and Thomas, there are four other candidates in the race, which will work to Thomas' detriment.

18th Ward - Auburn-Gresham, Ashburn, Scottsdale
When Ald. Thomas W. Murphy became a judge on Nov. 7, the City Council lost one of its great stories and a much-beloved alderman. The 18th, once predominately white, was remapped and rendered an 80 percent African-American ward; Murphy adapted, making a sincere effort to get to know his constituents, and began to regularly trounce African-American opposition. Now he's gone, and Paul Stewart, Joseph Ziegler, Jr. and Mazonne Jackson, all African-American, lead the pack in a crowded field that should make for a very wild race in a pretty wild district.

42nd Ward - Near North Side, Loop
Burton Natarus faces Brendan Reilly, a well-connected, young Democratic Party operative who was battle-hardened in the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary. Natarus is old and sometimes seemingly not all with it. Natarus is also a stalwart in his support of both the Mayor and business, which will make Reilly an attractive candidate both for good government reform-minded voters and labor. In an increasingly non-Democratic ward, Natarus has been squeaking past Republican challengers — this election, GOP Committeeman Rich Gordon will likely face him again, although he hasn't filed — and with a viable Democratic alternative in Reilly, even in a non-partisan primary, Natarus may find himself in the uncomfortable position of having to campaign through a run-off. The more Natarus has to campaign publicly, the worse off he is.

50th Ward – West Rogers Park (West Ridge)
See last week's column for a run-down on what promises to be a highly entertaining race, where threats, innuendos and good old-school Chicago "electioneering" are already taking place.

Comments

Dave Madlener / December 13, 2006 10:30 PM

Rich:

I've spent a few days at 69 W. Washington, 6th floor, recently. It is quite interesting what is happening up there. Doc Walls has a crew of close to 15 going over everyone of mayor Daley's signatures. They are there from open to cl0se. If they can find fault with 1/2 the signatures they will be within striking distance. Other techniques can be used from there. The real question in this potential challenge (and any other for that matter), did the Mayors people check their own signatures before they turned them in?

Mazzy Jackson (18th Ward) also had a decent sized crew going over petitions and was cozy with Alderman Burnett.

Its amazing what some candidates think they can get away with(none mentioned here). Just for the record, everybody in the 50th is looking solid.

Dave Madlener / December 13, 2006 10:37 PM

Just a follow-up concerning petitions.

With signature requirements being so low, it is very difficult to have candidates removed from the ballot. I wish the City used a "slot limit" , so to speak. meaning candidates seeking office would be required to obtain a minimum number of signatures, but not over a maximum number.

So no fewer than 1.5 % and no more than 5% of the total votes cast in the last election. This is the type of rule used for party committeemen (suburban ones anyhow).

What do others think of changing signature requirements to this "slot limit" idea ?

Richard F Carnahan / December 13, 2006 11:12 PM

Mad Dog-

I've heard that Daley's people deliberately went with a subtle number, so there's always the possibility that thrown-out signatures can be easily replaced (and only the most solid petitions were turned in); my question for you is, if enough signatures are thrown out to threaten the Mayor on the ballot, would he be able to submit other petitions sheets?

Dave Madlener / December 14, 2006 9:13 AM

Rich:

Simple answer is No. Once you file, that is it, no adding to your petitions (for the exception of the statement of economic intrest which may be filed seperately). There are things a candidate can do, even after they file, to make sure their signatures are rock solid. (or at least withstand a challenge)

I've been through many challenges, some successful, some not. I always advise my clients that it is better to be safe than sorry.

Signature requirements are only the surface of petition requirements. The legal issues, dealing with the circulators and notaries can lead to other problems for candidates. This is the phase, (if the candidate 1s smart enough), where double crosses and back stabbing can be exposed.

The real bottom line is that the law and the those that enforce it, tend to rule on behalf of ballot access. An the other part of that line is that most incumbants would rather leave their challengers on the ballot. That way they can slaughter them in public, make them spend their money and send a message to any other potential challenger 4 years down the road.

(By the way, very nice web site you have here)

MG / December 14, 2006 5:08 PM

What's interesting is that the CBOE cannot tell you how many signatures a candidate has actually submitted. Anything that's been reported is apparently an estimate based on the number of nominating petitions submitted (they can tell you that number).
Local political junkies can track aldermanic races of interest at www.aldertrack.typepad.com

MG / December 14, 2006 5:28 PM

Richard Carnahan refers to the 18th ward as "wild" and a day later the Southwest News-Herald breaks a story about the front runner's past gun possession charge. I'd call that prescient:
http://www.swnewsherald.com/news_frontpage/2006/12/121406c_alderman.php

Pineapple / December 14, 2006 6:03 PM

The Mayor's campaign office already exhaustivly reviewed the petitions over a weeklong period and submitted 24,000 vetted signatures, alongside others that may be disputed. With rescources at a premium this seems like a waste of time for Mr. Walls volunteers.

Andrew / December 14, 2006 10:25 PM

Am I the only one who initially thought MG was referring to the Chicago Board Options Exchange in his first comment?

MG / December 14, 2006 10:44 PM

Andrew:

As you guessed, I was refering to the Chicago Board of Elections, though speaking of options, I'm quite excited about rolling out "AlderOptions" at chicagopolitics.inklingmarkets.com

It's fairly self-explanatory, though before getting started you may want to read-up on "predictive markets" on Wikipedia.

Predictive Markets are not very effective (nor are they much fun) unless a lot of people participate in the market....So get too it!

Josh Kilroy / December 16, 2006 1:05 PM

Hey Rich, you left the 19th ward off your list of tier 1 races. Ginger Rugai is very vulnerable and John Somerville, who got 42% of the vote last time, is better organized and better-funded this time around. Keep an eye on this one.

Josh Kilroy
Campaign Manager
Friends of John Somerville

Dave Madlener / December 16, 2006 1:23 PM

Josh is right. The 19th ought to be an interesting battle. There is a fight over there (the 19th) concerning St Xaviers University and their desire to rezone and grab land.

Sommerville has been on the correct side of that issue, whereas Rugai has been phoney. The residents see it clear as day.

The Sun-Times ran a story about Daleys petitions and the majority comming from the 19th Ward. I'm wondering what Aldermanic candidate got him the most signatures.

Josh, I'm with you in spirit, and you got my moms vote for sure...yeah you can put a yard sign up.

william Crosby / December 18, 2006 3:30 AM

Walls Plan To End Corruption

As a Candidate for Mayor of Chicago, I am proposing sweeping structural changes and open processes, which will ensure accountability and end unfettered corruption in Chicago city government, once and for all.

Historically, Chicagoans have re-elected crooked city officials, like Paddy Bauler who, while Alderman for nearly thirty-six years, managed a graft and corruption machine. Alderman Bauler was famous for boasting, Chicago ain't ready for reform. For decades, Boss Daley's Patronage Machine, characterized by open and notorious vote fraud, proved Alderman Bauler was correct.

Apparently, Chicagoans have a high tolerance for politically rooted corruption. The same Chicagoans, who advocate for the prosecution and long-term incarceration of petty thieves, support crooked politicians. Clearly, Chicagoans have afforded politicians a Corruption Allowance.

The current Daley Administration is shamefully scandal ridden: Hired Truck Programs; Fraudulent Minority Contracts; Illegal Hiring Schemes, just to name a few. The Feds have indicted and convicted nearly 40 of Mayor Daley's operatives and close associates. Daley has accepted $108, 000 dollars in campaign contributions from truckers who were paid to sit and do nothing. Those contributions constitute bribes.

As corruption runs rampant in Chicago city government, as city government scandal after city government scandal has been revealed, time and time again, Mayor Daley appears before the media and insists he knows nothing. How could he not know about these elaborate corrupt schemes which cost citizens millions and millions of dollars. It is Daley's job to know when something major is amiss.

It is the responsibility of the Mayor of Chicago to know what is going on in city government. It is the Mayor responsibility to safeguard the public. It is the Mayor's responsibility to protect the citizens of Chicago from anyone who would engage in behavior that cost taxpayers millions.

Despite the fact that Daley has failed to do his job, he is still expected to seek re-election. Daley has no shame. Daley laughs about corruption and encourages fundraisers for his associates who have been convicted of breaches of the public trust. Daley is emboldened by Chicago's high tolerance for political corruption.

Traditionally, Chicago politicians are given a Corruption Allowance. A Corruption Allowance is a limited allotment of get out of trouble cards which excuse politicians who fail to meet the public's reasonable expectations of honesty and integrity. However, supporters of my Mayoral candidacy and me believe Daley has over spent his Corruption Allowance.

We believe the vast majority of Chicago voters are fed up with corruption and ready for change. This, coupled with the fact that my experience is great and my vision for Chicago is obviously superior, we are confident we will hand Daley an ignominious defeat.

As Mayor, among my highest priorities will be to end Chicago corruption, once and for all. My plan for Reform goes beyond the establishment of simple practices designed to provide discretionary oversight. I am recommending revolutionary structural changes to Chicago city government. These unprecedented reforms will guarantee public discourse, make government transparent, and ensure elected Chicago Municipal Officials and their appointees are held accountable for their decisions, actions, omissions, and transgressions.

Mayoral Term Limits We will use Chicago's Home Rule power, if possible, and appeal to the State Legislature, if necessary, to enact Chicago Mayoral Term Limits. As a consequence, no Chicago Mayor will be allowed to serve more than two consecutive four-year terms. The term limits I am suggesting will be similar to those in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco and other major cities.

My recommendation of term limits is based upon the proven belief that when a mayor knows that, by statute and mandate, someone else will succeed them in office, within a time prior to the running of any statute of limitation, a mayor is more likely to comport himself with excellence and ensure that all under his direction are honest and hardworking. A mayor who expects to be audited by a successor acts differently than one who expects to be mayor for life.

Subpoena Power The people of the city of Chicago have a right to know what city officials knew and when they knew it. Therefore, the City Council Ethics Committee will be granted Subpoena Power to issue subpoenas commanding the Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer, Aldermen, Shakman Exempt Employees, or any city Contractor to appear at Public Hearings to answer questions, under oath, relative to suspected or alleged corruption.

My goal is only to ensure that the Mayor and other individuals cooperate with corruption investigations. Therefore, this subpoena power would be limited to avoid nuisance proceedings. Yet, it must be sufficient to ensure access to the information wanted from those who may be reluctant to provide it. Subpoenas would be issued only upon the recommendation of a majority of the members of the Chicago City Council.

Censure of Elected Officials Upon the recommendation of three-fifths of the members of the full Chicago City Council, based upon a refusal to comply or upon a finding of negligence or wrongdoing the Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer or individual Aldermen may be publicly Censured.

Dismissal or Censure of City Employees Upon the recommendation of three-fifths of the members of the full Chicago City Council, based upon a refusal to comply or upon a finding of negligence or wrongdoing City employees and City Contractors may be Censured by the City Council or recommended for dismissal by the Mayor.

Faithful Performance Bond The city conducts a check into the background of many employees. To augment background checks, certain city personnell who serve in sensitive positions, specified by category of employment, may be required to have a Faithful Performance Bond, which would cover any loss the city or a member of the public suffers because the employee failed to faithfully perform his duty. This differs from a fidelity bond, which covers the risk of employee dishonesty.

Increased Sting Operations Each year, the city's Office of Inspector General will be required to conduct sting operations that guarantee the testing of one-percent of all city employees. This includes one-percent of the employees within the various city departments, and the offices of other elected officials. The city Inspector General will avoid entrapping employees, but will make offers that provide opportunity to breach the public trust. It is my belief that widespread knowledge of this practice will discourage wrongdoing.

Whistle Blower Rewards The City of Chicago will offer monetary rewards to anyone who provides information that leads to a finding of improper conduct by city employees or contractors. The nature of the activities that the city seeks information concerning will be specified and published.

My goal is to restore Integrity to Chicago city government. Integrity is an absolute commitment to truth, veracity and fair play. I will grant the city council the ability to scrutinize, review and examine the actions of city officials, employees and contractors to ascertain whether they adhere to, and are compliant with, applicable laws, rules, regulations, resolutions and ordinances; be they federal, state or local.

DGM / December 18, 2006 10:52 AM

The 19th Ward's Sommerville may benefit from a campaign manager that has connections to Claypool, but he has less support and will have less money this year.

The guy to watch is Tim Sheehan. He has quietly overtaken Sommerville in popularity.

PAUL DiGUIDA / December 18, 2006 1:49 PM

LET'S KEEP UP THE PRESSURE TO HOLD DALEY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE CITIZENS OF CHICAGO AND HAVE HIM DEBATE HIS CHALLENGERS!!! WE, THE PEOPLE, HAVE THE RIGHT TO HEAR AND TO KNOW WHERE ALL THE CANDADATES POSITIONS ARE AND WHERE THEY STAND ON THE MANY IMPORTANT ISSUES THAT ARE FACING CHICAGOANS. THESE ISSUES NEED TO BE OPENLY DISCUSSED AND DEBATED IN THE PUBLIC ARENA. DALEY CAN RUN, BUT HE CAN'T CONTINUE TO HIDE FROM THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE INFORMED!!! PAUL DiGUIDA ... POLITICAL ACTIVIST, 42ND. WARD

Dave Madlener / December 19, 2006 5:09 PM

Today the Sun-Times ran a story about why Sandi Jackson is running against Darcel Beavers.

Mrs Jackson claimes that after watching the maneuvering to make Todd Stroger County Board President and the maneuvering to make Darcel Beavers Alderman, she decided to run. She did not mention the Manuevering to make Bobbi Steele interum president or the maneuvering to have her son replace her on the board.

Jackson said she felt "compelled" to run...

Sandi Jackson is full of shit. (pass her the toilet paper) Her husband endorsed Todd Stroger. She could have campaigned for Tony Peraica. I never saw her name on one volunteer sheet. She did not give a dime to the campaign and no one ever dropped off any literature to her house so she could work her precinct.

...felt "compelled", yeah right, compelled to grab power for herself to pass down to her son or daughter.

Jackson said "Our (African-American) ancestors fought long and hard to get the right to vote....and to have people selected for you time and time again is discouraging".

Cry me a freakin river
So take a shot at Stroger and Beavers , but what about Bobbi Steele ? Talk about discouraging, look at Peraicas vote totals in those precincts and tell me Jackson is not and enabler of what she claimes is so discouraging.

Sandi, hello...You are the deputy political director of training for the Democratic National Committee.....You ought to know how the democrat party rules work.

If you are so "compelled" for the right reasons, work on changing the party rules.

With all due fairness, Sandi Jackson does have an impressive resume. With all fairness to Darcell Beavers, as her Dads Chief of Staff for so many years, I'd say she probabally has a real good handle on being an Alderman.

About the Author(s)

Richard F. Carnahan is a true South Side Sox fan who's played a bit part in Chicago politics more than once over the years. Contact him at rfc@gapersblock.com.

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