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.

Meeting tonight! Marriage Equality! Candidates! Votes!

Our meeting is this evening, and it should be very exciting.

The agenda has changed slightly. We’ll be talking about the fight for marriage equality in Illinois with Rick Garcia, the Policy Director for the Civil Rights Agenda. We’ll also hear from three campaigns: Candidate Jesse Martinez will speak (running for mayor of Melrose Park), we’ll hear from Greg Hosé, running for village trustee from Downer’s Grove, and a representative from the campaign of Riley Rogers, candidate for mayor of Dolton.

We’ll also be voting on the race in the Illinois 2nd Congressional District. We have four candidates to chose from in the crowded field: Rev. Anthony Williams, Patrick Brutus, Robin Kelly, and Toi Hutchison.

2nd Congressional District Forum! Meeting February 12!

With the race in the 2nd Congressional District heating up – Mayor Bloomberg is running ads against Debbie Halvorson’s position on guns, for instance – it’s time for us to get actively engaged in this race. We’ll start by seeing candidates (or their surrogates – it’s a short and extremely busy campaign cycle for these candidates and they can’t be everywhere at once) – at a forum on Saturday, February 9th. As we discussed at our meetings, we will hold this forum in the district.

Northside DFA has invited candidates in the IL-02 special election to respond to written candidate questionnaires. A few have decided to do so, including Sen. Toi Hutchinson and former Rep. Robin Kelly. Former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, the other frontrunner, has so-far declined to respond to the written questions and her campaign has said neither Halvorson nor a representative will participate in the NDFA forum.

January meeting coming up:next Tuesday, January 8 - start the new year right

Happy New Year! Let’s hope this year sees everyone with much joy and peace – and sees a resurgence of peace around the world, as well as better times for all of us.

Meanwhile, here in Chicago, we meet again next Tuesday, January 8, at the Lincoln Restaurant (4008 N. Lincoln, parking in rear off of Irving Park, two blocks from the Irving Park Brown Line stop). As always, we meet at 7 pm, with a 6 pm dinner/social hour beforehand.

We’ll be talking about “Redistricting: one year out” with an emphasis on the redistricting in the city. To that end, we’ll hear from a speaker from MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund), as well as Alderman Bob Fioretti.

December meeting: CTU, the 2nd Congressional District, and the Holiday Party

Our monthly meeting is on Tuesday, December 11 at the Lincoln Restaurant at 4008 N. Lincoln (two blocks from the Irving Park Brown Line stop, parking in rear off of Irving Park). We’ll meet at 7 pm, with an option 6 pm dinner/social hour. Our main topic of conversation will be the public schools and teachers: Martin Ritter of the CTU will join us. We’ll also discuss the race in the 2nd Congressional District.

Our annual pot luck Holiday Party will be on Friday, December 14, at 7 pm. As we did last year, we’ll meet in the Party Room of the condominiums at 5855 N. Sheridan Road (thanks greatly to Lisa Ginsburg for arranging it for us). Bring bring something to share, and we’ll enjoy the festive season together. We do need an RSVP for this party – for the doorman – so please respond to this poll (or on Facebook, if you prefer) http://www.doodle.com/wt8gg6t7fxxi4g6v

NDFA meeting: WAR STORIES!

President Obama. Senator Baldwin. Senator Warren. Senator Hirono. Senator Heitkamp. Senator McCaskill. Senator Donnelly. Senator Sherrod Brown. Represenative Duckworth. Representative Foster. Representative Bustos. Representative Schneider. Representative Grayson. State Rep. Moylan. Commissioners Shore and Steele.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Winning is good. And all the work we did, all the money we donated, all our collective effort made a huge difference. It is all the little things you do that add up to the big things: talking to your friends and family, phone calling through lists, door knocking, donating money we could have used elsewhere … it all really does make a difference. Enthusiasm gap? Not this election.

One more week: you know what to do, so do it

One week until the last day to vote of this election cycle: Election Day on November 6. If we want our candidates to win, now is the time to get out the vote – it’s time to knock on doors, phone bank, harass our friends and family, and donate for the final push to win.

NDFA is going out both days next weekend. On Saturday, we’re going out to Wisconsin, leaving from the Walgreens parking lot at Sheridan and Irving Park to car pool up to Wisconsin’s first district, where we’ll go out knocking on doors for Rob Zerban, Tammy Baldwin, and President Obama. We’ll go up, do some door-knocking, have some pizza, and come back that evening.

On Sunday, we’ll leave at noon from the same location to go out to the 6th District to work for adopted candidate Leslie Coolidge.

Election week events: yes, it's that time and it really matters

OK, we’re in the final weeks of the campaign now – and now is the time to really get out the vote for our candidates! The time you volunteer now really counts. Here’s a list of the event we have coming up:

1) Trip to the 6th District to help Leslie Coolidge this Saturday, October 27 leaving at 11:00 am
2) Phone banking in the 43rd Ward on Monday, October 29 at 6:30 (last chance to do campaign work with NDFA in the city this cycle)
3) Road Trip to Wisconsin on Saturday, November 3 leaving at 9:30 am
4) Trip to the 6th District to help Leslie Coolidge on Sunday, November 4 leaving at noon

How do you sign up? Let us know what you can help out with on this handy form (and more details about when and where to meet are on the form):

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?fromEmail=true&formkey=dG9E...

early voting starts Monday, recommend "no" vote on amending Illinois Constitution

[In this blog entry, I speak for myself, not the official position of Northside DFA]

Illinois' early voting starts Monday, October 22. For Chicago voters there will be various questions on the ballot. The first will be whether to amend the Illinois Constitution to require pension improvements require a 3/5 vote of the Illinois General Assembly.

The Chicago Teachers Union has explained why its members should vote "no".

For me, the argument is simple. The source of Illinois' pension mess is that the Illinois General Assembly diverted money that should have gone to the pensions to other spending priorities so the politicians wouldn't have to cut services or raises taxes.

The amendment neither fixes the current mess nor does it prevent the politicians from creating the same mess again.

Judicial Retention Votes

Contrary to what I was told and reported at our October meeting, there are indeed Cook County Circuit Court Judges up for retention - 60 of them, in fact. Most have received all "Yes" ratings from the 12 bar associations. However, the following Judges received all, or mostly all, "No" ratings for retention:
Cynthia Brim - 100% No
Gloria Chevere - 11 of 12 No
James D. Egan - 100% No
Pamela E. Hill-Veal - 100% No

11 Bar Association Rating Spreadsheet      Chicago Council of Lawyers Ratings

Still lots of work to do to wing ... and lots of fun as well!

We’re doing a number of events – from phone banks here in the city, to road trips to Wisconsin and the suburbs (the Sixth District to be precise), to a fun get together at the Red Lion, 4749 N. Rockwell, to watch the third and final presidential debate (hopefully as much fun as the second was …).

How do you let us know that you’d like to participate in one of these events? Here is a handy link which has the sign-ups for all these events (except the Red Lion: just show up for that one):
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?fromEmail=true&formkey=dDJu...

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