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.

This week! Events! plus a thank you

It was great to see so many of you at the fundraiser Monday: a little bit of money goes a long way with us, and we’re grateful for all that you give. To those who donated, gave silent auction items, and spent their valuable time making the event a success: thanks!

At our last meeting we heard from Reps. Greg Harris and Ann Williams, who spoke eloquently about the Legislative session and the state’s budget woes (and the woes of those trying to come up with solutions to the budgetary problems). We also heard from Will Guzzardi, who spoke about the effort to put a referendum for an elected school board on the ballot: Chicago is the only municipality in the state with a school board appointed by the Mayor. Do the millionaires appointed to the school board really understand and serve the needs of Chicago public school students?

Meanwhile, upcoming events to put on your calendar:

Northside DFA meeting on July 10: State Reps Ann Williams and Greg Harris and much much more

I hope everyone is surviving the heat – I’m beginning to feel that the hot temperatures have just gotten to the absurdist levels, where you just can’t believe they’re going on and on …. And yet they do. I can’t go on. I must go on. But politics goes on , as usual, even when it’s nearly too hot to pay attention, and so we’ll meet this month to discuss life in the General Assembly, and talk a little congressional politics as well. Next Tuesday, July 10, is our monthly meeting – we’ll be hearing from State Reps. Ann Williams and Greg Harris, who will discuss the ups and downs of the past legislative year. We’re also hoping that Dr. David Gill will be able to join us: he’s running for Congress in the 13th Congressional District downstate – he’s the first candidate our members were excited to see after the primary.

Get mad and get to work

Well, any sense that we can let the failure of the Wisconsin Recall to wallow in dismay over the seeming-futility of our efforts was really kicked to dust this week by the latest instance of Republican bad behavior: banning female legislators in the Michigan legislature from speaking for two days after they’d dared to use the word “vagina” in speeches defending women’s reproductive health care. Apparently, the word was so offensive to their delicate sensibilities that they had no other recourse, even as they passed an extremely restrictive anti-choice bill, banning all abortions after 20 weeks even if the health of the mother was at risk or was the victim of rape, or if the fetus was extremely impaired (no brain or spine). Why would female representatives have an opinion about such a matter and dare to speak it on the floor?

Mayoral TIF Propaganda

Check out this short film from Mayor Emanuel. It explains nothing about TIFs and later the Mayor takes credit for reforming TIFs, which he hasn't done. Not mentioned is how property tax payers get gouged to make up for the general revenue lost to the Mayor's TIF slush fund. At least only about 900 people have watched it. Mayor's TIF Fantasy

Wisconsin, NDFA June meeting: Aldermen Scott Waguespack and Bob Fioretti join us

We lost a hard one win Wisconsin last Tuesday: amazingly close, actually, given the money differential in the race. Walker should have won easily, given how much money he had and how much money was poured into the state on his behalf. By contrast, Barrett’s campaign had less cash, less major party support, less PAC money … and a ton of boots on the ground. Did Labor make a difference? Yes it did: it shouldn’t have been close at all, given the distaste of many Wisconsinites for the concept of the recall at all (thanks to a major advertising campaign questioning the legitimacy of the recall entirely), and the huge Citizens United expenditures on Walker’s behalf.

How should NDFA deal with Green Party candidates?

Last night I attended Democracy Burlesque. Dave Ehrlich one of the Green Party candidates for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District spoke. Afterwards Ehrlich and I walked to the Red Line together and rode it into Downtown.

Ehrlich expressed an interest in making his pitch to Northside DFA.

I propose sending a formal message to the Illinois Green Party. The theme would be: if you want NDFA to take Green Party candidates seriously, the Illinois Green Party has to take organizing seriously.

While the particulars of what constitutes serious organizing can be debated and honed as part of the text of the formal letter, here's some minimums I would like to see.

State party
1. Full-time staff

NDFA, congressional races, and a survey

As we move into the General Election cycle, it is time to focus our attention on one of the goals identified by voting members last summer as a high priority: taking back the House of Representatives from the Tea Party Republicans. If we want Congress to get to work and pass productive legislation, then we have to elect members of Congress who will actually work on reasonable legislation and get good bills passed. We don’t need more destructive, extremist fluff passed that only serves to rally the base of the most extreme right-wing and evangelically conservative parts of the Republican party: we need legislation that addresses the very real needs of the majority of Americans. It’s not too much to hope for a Congress that actually takes on the issues of the 99% rather than fighting for reducing taxes on the 1%.

NDFA May Monthly meeting: Leslie Coolidge and Wisconsin Recalls

Once again, we’re sliding into the next election, starting to hear from candidates who are gearing up to run in the General Election in November. We’ll be looking at a variety of candidates for this election: if you know of any you think we should consider, please contact either Carl Nyberg (who is the chair of our Candidates Committee) or another Steering Committee member – or bring it up to us at a meeting. One of the prime ways to see change happen is through the election process: electing good people to office is part of the equation in creating change.

Congratulations, Theresa Mah!

Congratulations to NDFA Steering Committee member Theresa Mah for getting elected to the Kelly High School LSC with the most votes of any candidate!

Local School Council Elections! Vote!

You don’t really think that elections ever end in Illinois, do you? No, they really don’t. In the city of Chicago, we have Local School Council elections this week, and though NDFA did not endorse in the LSC races this year, there are several candidates who would appreciate your help if you live in their areas:

Theresa Mah (Steering Committee member) is running for LSC at Thomas Kelly High School (4136 S. California) and was endorsed by Progressive Alliance PAC.

Alonso Zaragosa, who ran for committeeman in the 31st Ward, is running for LSC at Lloyd Elementary School, near Armitage and Cicero, and also for LSC at Kelvyn Park High School (4343 West Wrightwood Avenue).

Long time member Joe Laiacona is running for LSC at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Albany Park (Wilson and Kimball).

NDFA member and Raise Your Hand Board Member Jill Wohl sent the following recommendations for some north side LSC’s:

Amundsen High School (corner of Damen and Foster):

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