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.

Recap of August meeting: two upcoming social events

At our August monthly meeting, we heard from Wendy Katten from Raise Your Hand, speaking about the importance of parents’ voices in decisions about the CPS, and what RYH has accomplished so far. Next up, Ram Villivalam from Brad Schneider’s campaign spoke about the importance of the race in the 10th Congressional District, and took questions on Schneider’s policy positions. There will be a follow-up blog post on the Schneider campaign this week, so look for that on the NDFA website ( we’d like to start the discussion before next month’s meeting. The last speaker was Carl Wasco, who is running for state representative in the Rockford area, in the 68th district. Next month, we’ll discuss endorsing Schneider and Wasco.

NDFA meeting on August 14: Raise Your Hand, MALDEF, Morrison, Wasco and much more

It’s August, the Olympics are on, the national political scene is full of lies and distortions (mostly from the other side … ), and in the state we watch as the dysfunction that serves us as normal continues with no signs of abating. But there are people out there who are working to counter the negativity, and it’s time to check with a few them who are trying to make a difference.

At our next monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 14, we’ll hear from two working on issues critical to our community and two brave enough to run for the General Assembly:

Wendy Katten, from Raise Your Hand (, will speak about the ongoing contract negotiations between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union... and the possibility of a strike, as well as the CPS issues RYH has identified as critical.

Photos of Happy People

It looks like you can have alot of fun at a Progressive fundraiser, after all! For more pictures from "Small Change for BIG Change 2012" at Uncommon Ground, visit our Facebook page. And, it's still not to late to donate at Act Blue

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%.

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