Northside DFA (Democracy for America) is a grassroots political organization dedicated to electing socially progressive, fiscally responsible, ethically committed Democrats to all levels of government.

NDFA's Judicial Ratings sheet: dissent

For a number of years, NDFA has produced a Judicial Ratings Voting Guide. We combine the rankings of the various Bar Associations, highlight the ones with negatives from 80% or more of the Bar Associations, and encourage voters to make up their own minds on who to vote for. We put our sources for the rankings on the sheet, so if voters wish to follow up they may -- often the Bar Associations will give the reasons for their rankings on their websites.

After an early attempt, NDFA has long had a policy of not endorsing judges: we don't attempt to evaluate the candidates ourselves, nor do we hear from judicial candidates at our meetings. Judicial candidates are welcome to come and talk to members informally during our social hour.

This time, the Judicial Guide has stirred up some controversy. At least two members have emailed me with their surprise over the rankings of one of the candidates. One stated:

Things to do

Because we are in the countdown to Election Day, there are more and more events every week for all our candidates – it’s hard to keep up. There is no time more critical for our candidates: we need to help get out the vote and make change. It’s when people don’t vote that things stay the same: the status quo likes low voter turnout. When voters turn out at the polls, change happens. And what we need is to make sure our voters are getting out and voting – because it’s not just any change we want to see happen, it’s progressive change with candidates who will move the conversation, the state, and the country forward – not backward into the 19th Century (and listening to some of the Republican candidates and elected officials in the last week, the 19th Century might be a generous estimate of how far back they want to set us: anybody longing for the feudal system?).

NDFA: Results, expections, more work to do !

Countdown to Election Day – early voting started today! This is when everything we do becomes absolutely critical in getting out the vote and making a difference for our candidates. Our members voted to adopt two more candidates, with the vote being final last week: John Arena is now adopted in his race for committeeman (Sandra Verthein is the liaison for his campaign) and Rudy Lozano Jr. is adopted in his race for state representative (Theresa Mah is the liaison for his campaign). We also voted to endorse Anne Shaw in her race for committeeman of the 1st Ward. Congratulations to all these candidates!

Meanwhile, there are events, events, events to attend and work on. Here are a few upcoming in the next week:

Countdown to Election Day!

We’re a month away from Election Day – and early voting start on February 27, so we’re running out of time quickly now before the votes will start rolling in and counted. It’s more important than ever to get out and work if we want to see our candidates elected.

Meeting next Tuesday: Three great candidates! More votes! Campaign updates!

Exactly one week from today is our monthly meeting. We’ll have the following guest speakers:
1) Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan, running for state representative in the 65th district. Why is this race interesting, you ask? Because the incumbent, Republican Rosemary Mulligan, failed to collect enough valid signatures to get on the ballot … so it’s an unexpectedly open seat. You can learn more about the mayor here:
2) Kevin Allen, running for state senate in the 23rd district. Kevin is a long-time supporter of NDFA, and the district is largely in the 8th congressional district (where we are supporting Raja Krishnamoorthi). You can read Kevin’s answers to the IVI-IPO questionnaire here:,%20K%2023SD-D.pdf
3) Anne Shaw, running for committeeman in the 1st Ward, against Alderman Proco Joe Moreno, continuing our goal of getting involved in committeeman races wherever possible.

Programmers and nerds have begun taking the flood of public data availalbe online from the city and the county and putting it in easy-to-digest forms. The city is encouraging this, but the programmers are not paid by or under contract to the government. There are only 4 apps so far, but more are coming. One tracks the progress of snow plows through the city. Another shows all of the lobbyists registered with the city, how much they were paid, who their clients are, what parts of government they lobbied, etc. For example, the top-paid lobbyist made almost $1 million in 2010. Ald. Dick Mell made $10,000 lobbying the city. Do you think it's proper for an elected official to be paid to lobby the city?

Anyway, check out

Sunday afternoon: campaigns and candidates

I just got home from an afternoon spent working on Ilya Sheyman’s campaign in Highland Park. A group of us car pooled up: half did phone banking, while the other half worked on a mailing and put together yard signs. People in the 10th District are starting to want yard signs to show their support, and it was fun to be part of making that happen.

Events this week

Just a quick reminder about three events this week, all of which are campaign events and count toward voting membership:
1) NDFA Candidate Meet and Greet
Wednesday, January 25 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Fizz Bar – upstairs
No charge; free appetizers; cash bar
Come and chat with our adopted and endorsed candidates; also, Christine Cegelis will speak

2) Howl with Alonso FUNdraiser - We Are Having our first FUNdraiser event At Howl at the Moon , Please Join Us: (Must be 21 and over to enter Howl At The Moon)
When: Friday, January 27, 2012. 5PM to 7PM (though your welcome to stay at HOWL as late as you want).
Where: Howl at the Moon-- 26 West Hubbard Street, Chicago IL
$25 Suggested Donation
Complimentary appetizer buffet from 5 - 7PM
First 2 drinks are covered by Alonso.
Validated parking from 5:00pm until 4:00am available for $5.

Election Fun

As entertaining as the Republican primary season has been so far, it has also been horrifying to realize that for all their antics, lack of historical knowledge, and basic misunderstanding of the economy and the lives of ordinary people, they are actually running for the highest office in the land. It has served as a reminder of why these people should not be in positions of power in our government. The frightening thing is that this field of Republican presidential candidates is who those who finance Republicans feel are the best and the brightest of their party. Is Michelle Bachman truly the best the House Republicans have to offer? Is a vulture capitalist really the great hope of the party? A disgraced former Speaker? Another governor of Texas? A guy who is openly flirting with running as an independent if he doesn’t win the nomination?

January meeting on Tuesday: Waguespack and Fritchey and Voting, oh my

Just a quick reminder: tomorrow, Tuesday, January 10, 2012, is our first monthly meeting of the New Year. We’ll meet at 7 pm (6 pm for dinner/social hour) at the Lincoln Restaurant, 4008 N. Lincoln Ave (parking around the back off of Irving Park; Irving Park Brown Line stop for those on public transportation). We have three featured speakers: Alderman Scott Waguespack and Commissioner John Fritchey who are both running for Democratic committeeman of the 32nd Ward, as well as steering committee member Pete Kalenik, who will talk about running for Local School Council.

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