Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chi-Town Daily News Examines 46th Ward Limited-Precinct Referenda

Uptown Referenda Aimed at Changing Affordable Housing Policies
BY PETER SACHS / Education reporter, October 27, 2008 3:00PM

An Uptown social justice group has two advisory referenda on next week’s ballot related to affordable housing and how tax increment financing money could be used.

But just 11 voting precincts in predominantly low-income areas of the 46th Ward in Uptown will get to vote on the non-binding referenda. Aside from canvassing within those precincts, Northside Action for Justice, the sponsors of the proposals, is keeping a low profile on the issue. And several members of a very active group of property owners in the area did not know who put the referenda on the ballot.

Read the entire article here.

We've heard of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing, but this is ridiculous. Is it just us, or within a couple paragraphs of each other, do our "social justice" buddies contradict themselves about why only their hand-picked precincts get to vote on the referenda?

"The location of the referendum has nothing to do with the location of housing," [Francis] Tobin says. It’s a coincidence, he says, that the Wilson Yard TIF district very closely overlaps with the 11 precincts that get to vote on the referenda.


"We’re trying to get the voice of the people who are part of the low-income community, that’s the voice we’re trying to get heard from on the referendum, that’s why those 11 precincts were chosen," [Brynn] Byrne says.


  1. That's the problem with lying. It's hard to keep the stories straight. They should have rehearsed their lines first before talking with reporters. Helen could have told them that.

  2. How come you cannot vote on the referenda with early voting? I was disappointed that by choosing to vote early I will not get a chance to vote on these issues.

  3. Francis Tobin, yet another social justice advocate seeking to keep poor people poor by shielding them from competitive markets.

    RPCAN(Rogers Park Community Action Network) is an independent, dynamic multi-racial, multi-issue
    membership-based organization with a long track record of
    accomplishment in affordable housing, economic justice, community
    development and school reform issues. RPCAN has a very involved
    Board and strong active member base. Current priorities include
    establishing affordable cooperative housing, tenant organizing,
    affordable housing set-asides, anti-gentrification, worker rights
    and union organizing support, sustainable development. RPCAN has
    been involved in anti-war organizing, voter registration,
    lakefront protection and other community issues.

    It's too bad these groups are so good at picking up new recruits like the recently graduated Brynn Burke. She walks the beat, signing people up, to perpetuate the very problem that is the lifeblood of professional social justice corporations; the concentration of subsidized housing, employment, healthcare, and education in urban areas that are desperately in need of economic diversity.

  4. "How come you cannot vote on the referenda with early voting?"


    Get out the vote efforts cost money. Early voting may help more people vote, but to run a GOTV drive for 30 days would cost a fortune. Have you seen the price of donuts and coffee these days?

    I can't tell you the precise reasons that you can only vote for these nonbinding referendum surveys on election day. I just don't know.

    However, it is obvious when you consider the actual methods by which minority stakeholders seek to dominate the majority.

    Mo days, mo problems. I gotta have my buses limited to one day only. I only have so many soldiers to ferry the folks to the polls.

  5. Molly----the ballot for early voting and election day are the same. If the referenda were not on your ballot, it was because you do not live in one of the hand-picked precincts.

    You can check your voter status on the Chicago Board of Elections website. Type in your name and address and it will display your precinct and other voter related info.

  6. "How come you cannot vote on the referenda with early voting?"

    You can if you are in one of the precincts.

    Several early voters were able to vote on the issue.

  7. Molly - I'm in one of the affected precincts, and I got the ballot during early voting. My neighbors one block away weren't in one of the "select" precincts. Check the map on the post a little down the page and see if you're in the bright yellow area.

  8. Not to melodramatically over-state the painfully obvious; but, this is scandalous, and an affront to democracy.

    Cherry-picking the electorate to better the chances of the referenda is tantamount to taxation without proper representation.

    If anything, this makes my decision for or against a Constitutional Convention much easier (despite what Greg Harris would like).

  9. I early voted and it was on my ballot.

  10. I've read from several readers that they were not able to vote on the referenda when "voting early".

    I voted early in the Loop last week, and I was able to vote on these issues.

    Just an FYI ...I'm not sure why others had this problem.

  11. Well...I am in precinct 35 (which is in the yellow area of the map) and I live on Magnolia between Wilson and Montrose. I definitely did not have the option to vote for the referenda (I voted at Truman) and my husband did not either (he voted early downtown). I wonder why I did not get to vote on the issues when I am in one of the cherry picked precincts.

  12. Molly, click on the link. You'll see the precincts that are selected to vote on these "advisory" referenda. Precinct 35 isn't among them.

    The crazy thing is, your neighbors right across the street have been cherry-picked to weigh in on the issues. But you don't have that option.

    "Democracy At Work," Shiller-style. It's insulting, infuriating, and unethical. In other words, business as usual in Helen Shiller's Uptown.

  13. I voted early today, and live in the affected area, and these were on my ballot. However, people across the street from me will not be able to vote on them. That is how cherry-picked it is, and why everyone needs to vote. I also previously looked online with my address and got a copy of the ballot I would see; it had the referenda on it.


  14. I would ask everyone to take a deep breath and reconsider their apparent opposition to these two referendums. In short, they are about two things all of should care about having more of: good affordable housing and more localized jobs. The complete text of the referendums is straightforward, and the area they cover (roughly the TIF district) makes sense, since both referendums concern TIF districts.

    I wish you all the best, and hope these referendums -- which, by the way, have NOTHING to do with Helen Shiller -- can be considered by you in a sober, thoughtful way. We all want an Uptown for everyone -- safe, with good housing and good jobs. These referendums would be one way to provide both of the latter, which lends a hand creating more safety for all.

    Thanks, and regardless of how you vote on the referendums, please do get out and vote for Barack Obama.

    If you would like to talk with -- hopefully not yell at -- some of the folks who created these two Referendums, one (Mark Kaplan) has offered me his phone number to post here:

    773 407 2001

    Mark can explain more to you about the who, why, what, and where regarding these referendums. Any serious questioners welcomed.

    Blessings, and see you at the polls!
    Jon Trott

  15. Like moths to the flame...

    At every opportunity, Jon Trott gets in front of crowds and flogs Uptown Update as a hateful blog, and calls those who read and contribute to it "haters."

    Yet he and his family just keep coming back...

    Thanks, Jon! Love to boost those readership numbers!

    (BTW, love the short shorts.)