FEBRUARY 24, 2015 MUNICIPAL ELECTION
A quick note this week about upcoming events.
Tomorrow, Saturday, October 22, a few NDFA members are going to head downtown to Occupy Chicago for their gathering and march. Events start at 6:00 pm at Jackson and LaSalle. Steering Committee member Nate Lefebvre has been very involved with Occupy Chicago, but for our part in the gathering tomorrow Carl Nyberg will be the contact. Respond to this email if you’d like his contact information to help meet up in the crowd.
We’ll be talking more about Occupy Chicago at next month’s meeting on November 8, but I did want to let you know about this event tomorrow.
With Occupy Chicago occupying our minds, calling attention to the inequalities of the economic system and looking for transformative change, we need to remember that the other side of change is the slow change brought by the electoral process. No, one election doesn’t make a huge difference, one candidate isn’t going to save the world – but changing the pattern of the elections, putting up the fight over and over again, getting our message of the need for progressive change in front of the voters time and time again – yes, that does make a difference.
Once again, it’s time for our monthly meeting. During the summer, we conducted a survey of our members asking what our priorities should be for the upcoming campaign season. Using those results, at the August retreat for voting members we set a few goals: one, to help to flip the Congress back to Democratic control; two, to prioritize state legislature races (Springfield needs all the help it can get); and three, to run independent committeemen. Both at the Retreat and through the survey, members expressed strong opinions about the need to be active in these races if we want to see our government make positive change across all levels of government.
The meeting will be on Tuesday, October 11, at 7 pm (6 pm for optional social/dinner hour) at the Lincoln Restaurant, 4008 N. Lincoln Ave (just off the Irving Park Brown Line stop; parking available in the rear off of Irving Park). Speakers will include:
Several of us went out canvassing in the 10th Congressional District last Saturday, talking to voters and collecting petition signatures for Ilya Sheyman. The people we spoke to were all Democrats, and all regular voters. A common theme of concern from the voters we spoke to was a general angst at the way things are going – or not – in Washington: the dysfunctional Congress ranked high on the list of concerns these voters expressed, and some expressed a general despair at the disappointments of the last two years as Congress has stopped meaningful change over and over again – and a worry that President Obama hasn’t fought hard enough for the changes he spoke of on the campaign trail.
You all probably know that Children's Memorial Hospital will move from Lincoln Park to Streeterville in June 2012. Their old site is in the middle of the city's wealthiest neighborhood - the redevelopment will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in jobs, city fees and new property taxes. Alderman Smith is living up to her promise to the 43rd Ward that the entire planning process will be as transparent and open to public input as possible. This should be a model for all other development, large and small, throughout Chicago. See her website for a sample of what she is doing: http://www.ward43.org/index.php/news/childrens-memorial-hospital-develop...
The City just announced that it will buy 20.5 acres of unused land at Rosehill Cemetary (Alderman O'Connor's ward), along Western at Peterson, to turn into a nature center. The purchase price is $7.8 million, about $380,000 an acre - which seems like a bargain. The purchase and renovation of the land will be paid for with TIF funds. As much as I support new park land in the city, I'm still unsure this qualifies as something we should be spending TIF money on. But, because of the way our TIF's are set up, we taxpayers have no say in how the money gets spent.
Earlier this summer, we sent out a survey to ask people what our priorities should be for the coming election cycle. We discussed the results at the Voting Member Retreat, and out of that came a set of goals for NDFA: one, we as a group are very concerned about taking the House of Representatives back from the Republicans (and holding the Senate); two, we are interested in local races; and three, we are interested in committeeman elections. We have already begun our work in this election cycle, with the adoption of progressive Ilya Sheyman (candidate in the 10th Congressional District) and the endorsement of Debra Shore for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
It doesn’t seem like it could be September already, but here it is: Chicago Public Schools start next week, some schools are already back in session, and the fall petition season is about to begin. Candidates may start gathering petitions on September 6, the day after Labor Day, so we’re gearing up to help out (not the 3rd, as I mistakenly wrote in my last email). Labor Day parades are happening in several locations on September 5: these annual events mark the contribution of Labor to our society, and in a year where Labor has been under sustained attack, it is perhaps even more important to show up and show our elected officials just how important Labor is to our communities.
For a quiet month before the election season begins in earnest (and I listened to Lewis Black on the radio this morning yelling about why is everyone talking about elections in August? We’re supposed to be BBQing now!), a lot has been going on. Two recall elections in Wisconsin have left the Republicans with the slimmest of majorities in the state house: a changed landscape indeed. In Illinois, there have been parades, our first canvass for Ilya Sheyman, and battles heating up between the Governor and the Mayor, as well as the budget battle for the Chicago Public Schools.