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.

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):

Worried about the election? Get active

As we gear up for the final weeks of the campaign, it’s time to really get out there and do the work we need to do to turn this country around. To that, NDFA has a series of events scheduled through the end of the month, designed to make it fun and easy to volunteer for our campaigns.

We have five phone banks scheduled, conveniently located at several locations here in the city. We’ll be calling for our candidates, and will serve a little food and beverages to keep our spirits up.

Meeting - October 9! Plus a road trip to Wisconsin

Next Tuesday is our meeting – the last one before the election. We’ll be hearing from representatives from two great campaigns: Christopher Kennedy’s campaign for State’s Attorney in Lake County, and Tammy Baldwin’s Wisconsin senate campaign. We’ll also have updates on all our endorsed and adopted campaigns, and information about how to get out and help.

As usual, on Tuesday, October 9, we’ll meet at the Lincoln Restaurant, 4008 N. Lincoln Avenue (2 blocks from the Brown Line Irving Park stop, parking in rear off of Irving Park). 6:00 pm is the dinner/social hour, and at 7:00 pm the meeting itself will start. Keep in mind for planning purposes we always meet on the second Tuesday of the month.

We’re hosting regular phone banks in the City so we can make calls for our candidates. You can see the list up on our website to the right of this post.

Countdown to the election

It’s that season – the election is a month away! – where the events and emails will pile up and leave you overwhelmed.

But that’s no reason to disengage. Now we need you. And besides helping democracy function and the good guys win, it’s also fun.

We have several events coming up this week – and I’m focusing just on this week. Next week, there will be more … because it’s that time of year.

First, we’ll be phone banking on Tuesday, October 2, at the law office of member Anne Shaw, 540 W. Briar Place. We do have cell phones available for use, so if you sign up there will be a phone. Here is the Doodle poll that will let us know you’re coming:

welcome to people who signed the petition about Rahm's TV commercial

At the recommendation of Nate, a member of the NDFA steering committee, I created a petition calling for Mayor Emanuel to stop his annoying TV commercials trying to spin the teachers strike. I wrote the petition Sunday and by Tuesday morning it had 6,000+ signatures.

In my first email to people who signed the petition I asked them to visit the Northside DFA website to get a more detailed explanation of how NDFA fits into my vision for activism around Mayor Emanuel's bad behavior during and after contract negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union. Remember, Mayor Emanuel was behaving badly throughout the negotiation process.

To resist the attempts by Mayor Emanuel and his financial backers--mostly banks who want to turn government into something the capital class can invest in--we need to be organized.

Pavement, phoning, and pain -- help needed

Last Tuesday, we voted to endorse in a few races – one of which has an important event, tomorrow, Saturday, September 15.

NDFA voted to support the CTU’s strike. We hope the strike ends soon with a fair contract, but while the teachers are on strike we stand with them. One of the benefits of the strike has been an active public discussion on the Board of Education’s plans for our city schools – and on the teachers’ true concerns over their working conditions and their struggles to educate our children city-wide.

We’ve decided that voting member credit will be given to those who walk a picket line with the teachers, or who attend one of their rallies. One activity credit can earned this way (the other two must come from campaign-related activities).

NDFA stands with the teachers: CTU Strike supported

On Tuesday, NDFA members voted to support the CTU teachers in their strike. Voting members not present were given 24 hours to vote via email, and as that deadline has now passed, the measure passed overwhelmingly.

We voted to give "voting member credit" to members who either stand on a picket line with teachers, or attend a rally. One action is eligible for credit (we still want you to work on elections!).

We hope the strike ends soon with a fair contract, but we applaud the teachers who have managed to shed light on the Mayor's plans for education, and on the issues facing teachers in CPS as they struggle to educate our children.

presentation on behalf of Brad Schneider to NDFA members at August meeting

On August 14, Ram Villivalam, the political director of Brad Schneider's congressional campaign spoke to a crowded room (about 60 people) at the Lincoln Restaurant.

In an email after the presentation Ram said he wanted to make the following points.

1. There are three huge policy differences between Brad and Congressman Dold
-Brad is 100% for marriage equality while Dold is only in support of civil unions
-Brad will protect our Great Lake, fight Republican attempts to defund the EPA, and stress the urgency to use renewable sources of energy. Brad has been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters. Congressman Dold has an F from the Sierra Club.
-Brad is the only 100% pro-choice candidate and has been endorsed by NARAL Pro Choice America. Congressman Dold voted to defund Planned Parenthood 6 times.

2. The district is completely different from 2010.

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