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.
It's the new Mayor's anniversary, so let's all throw a party! It's kind of early to judge whether he's made any differences so far, but what do you think of his style? I don't like his ties very much, but he does look fit and trim, which is something you probably can't say about anyone else at City Hall. I'm dismayed that he seems to be continuing Chicago's traditional Mayor-as-Emperor role, which I think lends itself to corruption and scandal. What do you think?
Next Tuesday, August 9 we will have our monthly meeting at the Lincoln Restaurant (4008 N. Lincoln Ave.). We have a full evening planned: we’ll have a panel of union leaders (Genie Kastrup from SEIU and Kristine Mayle from the CTU are confirmed) speaking on “Union Priorities for the 2012 Elections,” and we’re hoping that Tammy Duckworth, who is running for Congress in the new 8th Congressional District, will also be able to join us. She’s running in the primary against Raja Krishnamoorthi, who we heard speak at our June meeting. We will also be accepting nominations for Steering Committee – our by-laws require that you must nominate yourself if you wish to run (elections in September). The meeting will start at 7 pm, with dinner /social hour starting at 6 pm.
Feeling discouraged? Like nothing is ever going to change? Like Republicans have taken over everything and everyone else is rolling over?
You can help show Washington that in fact the Tea Party and the Koch Brothers are not in charge everywhere: go to Wisconsin to canvass for State Senate candidate Sandy Pasch, who is working to unseat Republican State Senator Alberta Darling in District 8. This is in the Milwaukee area, and we will take a bus there and back. This is a special voting member event, so if you are looking for activities to become a voting member, this will help.
Because this is a road trip, you need to either RSVP at the Democracy for America website:
Or send me an email indicating you are committing to this trip. We need a firm RSVP list as soon as possible: we don’t want to get a bus that’s too big or too small.