Sunday, August 22, 2010

Russ Stewart's Take On 46th Ward Aldermanic Race

Political analyst Russ Stewart, who's been hit and miss in his pontifications regarding Uptown in the past, has come out with his predictions for the upcoming 46th Ward election. 

His most eyebrow-raising statement:  "Nowotny is backed by Shiller and ward Democratic Committeeman Tom Sharpe."  Really?  Ald. Shiller is backing someone who famously said there would be no more low-income housing placed in the 46th Ward?  What's up with that?

There's also some funny lines in the piece.  Our favorite:  "In the City Council Shiller was renowned for her crackpot ideas, such as a resolution making her ward a "nuclear free zone." In other words, when the Soviet Union launched their nuclear weapons, they should avoid incinerating Uptown."

Read it here ... what do you think of Mr. Stewart's crystal ball?


  1. The run off will be between James and Molly, they are visible in the Ward and at local events. Most people I speak too do not even know who Don is, what's his agenda is or that he already works in the Ward (poorly I might add).

  2. I guess anyone is better than Helen. She knew she had no chance because people are reading "those blogs" and decided to take the easy way out.

    Russ is right though about splitting the vote. Whatever base she had left will be a unified vote. It would really behoove voters to back the other candidate (Phelan, Cappleman, Carrol)if there is a runoff against Notworthy.

  3. I think that Mr. Stewart is pretty spot on with his comments and predictions. I think that Nowatny, who doesn't seem to be working that hard to be visible, is guaranteed a spot in a runoff election, if only because as Mr. Stewart pointed out, "Nowotny is backed by Shiller and ward Democratic Committeeman Tom Sharpe." I hate to be cynical, but this is Chicago, one of the most corrupt cities in the nation. If Sharpe and Shiller are in good enough with Daley, then the chances of Nowatny winning are good. I don't even trust the way votes are generated or counted here. Still won't stop me from voting, but....

    Also, as Mr. Stewart pointed out, both Cappelman and Nowatny are openly gay. I really hope that this doesn't factor into how the vote is split. As far as I can see, that's about the only thing Nowatny and Cappelman have in common.

  4. ... what do you think of Mr. Stewart's crystal ball?

    I'm less concerned with his views of the future as I am his tender grasp on history.

    Shiller didn't support the parking meter sale/lease. Russ needs to check the roll on how Shiller voted (or how she didn't, if accuracy is important - which, based on the rest of his article, isn't).

    Then there's this horse apple:

    but they ["yuppies" *yawn*] don't want criminals, drug dealers, prostitutes, homeless people, flophouses, shelter residents, gang members panhandlers, storefront day labor agencies, taverns, resale shops, welfare recipients, ex-cons, halfway houses, recovering addicts or the certifiably dysfunctional in their neighborhoods. Nor do they want social workers. It's NIMBY -- not in my back yard.

    Is Russ saying that the "have nots" are cool with those sorts of elements in their backyards?

    Cuz, if he is, he's demostrated how out of touch he is with current reality, as well.

    Carroll is running as the "anti-crime" candidate, whatever that means.

    Maybe it's similar to Russ calling himself a journalist .. whatever that means .. in his world.

    I mean, a cop running for public office ... what else is he going to run as, Russ?

    Still - I'll vote for an "anti-crime" candidate long before I vote for a "crime-tolerant" candiate... and that's a reason why Shiller's support base is eroding (even within the ranks of the "have nots") - yet, no mention in this article I see.

    Phelan and her allies wanted market-value condos.

    I don't recall "condos" being mentioned in the FWY argument.

    I do recall "mixed income" being part of that.

    Nor did Russ mention anything about the desire of the "haves" to include a strategy to allow the "have nots" to become property owners.

    Guess Mr. Stewart only likes to keep factual and/or comprehensive when it's convenient to further his points.

    Then there's the nugget where Russ states that the "haves" don't want social workers.

    Not sure how he defends that point since he doesn't do it in the article; but, one could assume that he's inferring this based on Cappleman losing in '07.

    Or not.


    In short: inconsistent ideological claptrap guised on political analysis is not a reliable predictive tool.

    And, if Russ's insights were so valuable, he might not need to hawk cheap wills on his website.

    Shorter version: Next!

  5. YO,

    Loved your analysis, I had many of the same thoughts. I almost did a spit take with my morning coffee (don't judge, I sleep late on Sundays) when you said, "Maybe it's similar to Russ calling himself a journalist ". Thats some funny (and true) stuff there, good sir.

  6. I think I am going to run as the ultra left wing "free housing for all" candidate. That may help.

  7. Where do I begin.

    First, a drink.

    Second, a toast! Skol. Slainte.

    Russ is way off on many of his predictions and his "take" on the ward.

    Shiller would never have been elected if she only drew votes from the "have nots". She also did well in the lakefront precincts with highrise condos. The "have not" vote in the ward is likely 2000-3000 voters. Important to winning, but not enough by itself. His analysis on this ward is all over the place both in this piece and earlier pieces.

    This paragraph while not garbage does reek a wee bit:

    "Then the housing market collapsed in 2006. All of the yuppies who intended to sell their "starter" condo and transition into Lincoln Park or Wicker Park were marooned. Their units were unsellable, and suddenly "quality of life" issues such as crime, education, garbage pick-up, parking, and recreational availability became a priority. Instead of bailing from the neighborhood, they had to accept their fate, and at that moment all the liberal non-transients had an epiphany: As property owners, they had no "solidarity" with the underclass. They were combatants, not allies. "Poor people" undermined their property values and their "zone of safety."

  8. Unless you purchased a condo at the high point of the market in 2006 it's likely you could sell it for a profit and condos are still selling around here. Uptown, along with some other northside hoods, has NOT taken the severe hit that other neighborhoods have
    real estate wise.

    I'd also disagree with Russ that most of the people who bought here planned to sell quickly and move from their "starter" condos to Lincoln Park or Wicker Park. More likely those who hoped to sell quickly planned to move to the suburbs where they could experience the ennui of driving three miles for a gallon of milk.

    In any case housing values for similar units in Wicker Park and Uptown are about the same. People generally choose Uptown for different reasons than they might have chosen Wicker Park or Bucktown.

    As for the idea that Nowanty is guaranteed a runoff spot that is spot on wrong. If the election were held tomorrow, and it ain't, Cappleman would be in the runoff and I'm unsure who would be second. Might be Nowanty. Might not be.

    Right now Nowanty is not running an impressive campaign. He seems to think that machine support will win the day for him. He is likely to find very little support from the south side political operatives who prostate themselves at the cheesy smelling feet of "da mare".

    That part of the machine doesn't like to put money and effort into campaigns where the candidate seems so weak and is likely to ultimately lose.

    Now Shiller's support could gain Don enough votes to make the runoff. Or not. My guess is she finds him the least objectionable of the 4 candidates. Plus he may have agreed to hire some of her supporters for his campaign. Again, I dunno.

    He made the right tactical statement on low income housing. Whether he means it or not I dunno.

  9. Now what do I know?

    Not much really.

    I do know that if Don Nowatny keeps up the "rose garden" strategy he is seemingly using that he will likely not make the runoff.

    I think he'll find that the Mayoral part of "da machine" is not impressed with his pitiful effort so far and unless he steps up his game he will likely not be seeing gobs of cash from guys with the name Joyce or Degnan.

  10. MCG,

    better we back Denice Davis in the February election. That rumor brought joy to my heart.

    She'll pull that Shiller vote away from Nowatny and insure that Don continues to reign as the garbage king of Uptown. At least for awhile.

    Denice Davis for Alderman!

    "This ain't your college town, sweetie!"

  11. i couldn't get past the second graf before i started skimming. it's pretty poorly written, as well as having some bad analysis. i agree with YO and MagicalCity's comments, though.

    i also hate his haves vs. the have nots line of argument. and if a 'have' is against crime and gangs they're also against taverns and thrift stores? how ridiculous. because i care about my home and my and my neighbors' safety i'm a 'have'? for those of us who've barely gotten by the past couple years, this is infuriating.

    and the whole argument, made by him and others, that nowotny and cappelman would 'split the gay vote' is ridiculous and insulting to gays - or at least those of us with half a brain. sure, it'd be cool to have another (openly) gay alderman, but i won't vote for him if i didn't think he could make the ward better.

  12. Tom Sharp, Hellen's hand picked committeeman, lives with Don's biggest contributor. She "loaned" him $35k.

  13. Hey...I'm definitely not one of the "haves"...I survive on about $1000 a month and rent my apartment, so so much for evil, gentrifying condo owners. I am sick of the ghettoization of this neighborhood as much as anyone. You don't need to make big bucks or to have kids to be concerned about your environment.

    I have no problem with low-income people in our neighborhood, but whether we wish to acknowledge it or not, virtually all the troublemakers come from the Section 8 Housing (despite my low income, I pay my rent all by myself). I have only been the victim of crime once...when I had a car, someone smashed my window and stole my GPS system (I had run into my place for two minutes and it was gone when I came back).

    Low income is no excuse for bad behavior. I'm not really interested in why people have gotten into bad's still no excuse for loudmouthed, drug-dealing, littering, and generally trashy, ghetto behavior.

  14. I think that it is possible that there will not even be a runoff. If Molly remains the only woman in a four-way race, she could win without a runoff. I know that this message board is a bastion of Cappleman support, but objectively he is probably the third place candidate. There will be a lot fewer votes because Shiller is not on the ballot. Hence fewer pro-shiller votes and fewer anti-shiller votes. The turnout in this ward will be comparable to the surrounding wards this time around. That means that probably 7500 people vote. Molly being the only woman on the ballot will need just 3800 votes to avoid a runoff. I think that that is the most likely scenario.
    And, Russ Stewart has never gotten a prediction right. I think he predicted Shiller would lose every election.

  15. Samantha,

    Cappleman is the third place candidate?

    Is that a new talking point from the Phelan campaign?

    The chance that there won't be a runoff is slim if all four candidates stay in. The chance that Phelan would win without a runoff is slimmer.

    She does have a great ballot name and being the only woman in a four way race is a benefit to her, but it isn't enough to get her elected by itself. Particularly since the name "Michael Carroll" is also clearly identifiable as Irish. Irish names being very popular election wise in local elections.

    Perhaps James Cappleman should legally change his name to "Jimbo Paddy O'Shea Cappleman" to boost his chances.

    When Anita Alvarez squeaked out a win in a six person race for States Attorney she managed to beat 3 white guys and 2 black guys. She also had the advantage of being the only Hispanic and a big campaign loan from her wealthy husband. Even then she only received 25% of the primary vote. Enough to win as there is no runoff in primaries.

    City offices are "non partisan" and not primaries.

    Molly is clearly well positioned to make a runoff, but the idea of there being no runoff is unlikely.

    As for this board being loaded with Cappleman supporters that meme is wrong. There are plenty of Carroll and Phelan supporters posting here too. That comes off as a "whine". Now as for Nowotny he seems to have few supporters lurking in dese and dose here parts.

    Remember these paragraphs from the Lake Effect News "D-2" article?

    (Molly Phelan, who led Uptown residents in suing the city over the Wilson Yard TIF in 2008, has managed to raise $41,450 in donations. Most of Phelan’s campaign contributions came from her “personal contacts” outside the ward in ten days before her campaign announcement on July 14.

    “I didn’t get the benefit of being promoted on [neighborhood blog] Uptown Update,” Phelan said. “On the other hand, I wasn’t actively seeking donations from the community but it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to.”)

    Fairly or not that came off a bit as whining and that's not a way to win a campaign.

    Phelan has clearly shown the ability to work hard with "Fix Wilson Yard".

    In terms of her campaign I have yet to say she has worked "smart".

    Right now James "The Energizer Bunny" is outworking and outsmarting all three of his opponents. I suspect he is more "killer rabbit" than bunny.

  16. IP,
    I don't support Phelan. I just think she is going to win. I think it is clear that Cappleman is the third place candidate and will wage two strippers for you against four martinis for me that Cappleman ends up behind Phelan and Nowotny. Nowotny has the most money and will have the most money. It does not matter that it is all self-financed. And, whether he gets official support from Shiller or not, he will get most of Shiller's vote. Really, the politics are not that hard to figure. Looking at the election four years ago there were three types of voters. The largest bloc was pro-shiller. The second largest bloc was ant-Shiller and a very, very, very distant third was pro-cappleman. The pro-shiller vote (although it will not turn out in nearly as many numbers as in the past) will almost uniformly vote for Nowotny. Phelan will get the rest of the pro-shiller vote that consists of woman on the lake front. And, she will get the bulk of the anti-shiller vote. The energizer bunny will be running a very hard and energetic third. The only mystery is whether Nowotny can force a runoff. Again, two strippers against four martinis. Waage?

  17. Sammy,

    you support Phelan. I know you find Cappleman supporters "condescending", but some of us know how to utilize the google to look up earlier comments.

    Should I explain to you how to do that? Or would that be C O N D E S C E N D I N G?

    You're welcome to argue that she will be the best candidate or that being the only woman in the race, your main theme, insures her a runoff spot.

    Arguing that she is likely to win without a runoff is just silly.

    She may make the runoff. She may win the runoff, but if you bet martinis to hookers you're likely to end up on the losing end of those bets.

    People are capable of voting for candidates who aren't of their gender, race, or sexual preference; although, some people do vote on identity politics.

    As for Nowotny having the most money check the D-2's. Except for $11,000, much of which came from one couple, Nowotny's money is overwhelmingly loans from himself and someone close to the Ward Committeeman. That ain't impressing me.

    I was at a wedding on Saturday and had a conversation with a 19th Ward political type regarding the 46th Ward and other issues. First, da mare is running. Second, da machine or at part of the machine is not impressed with Nowatny so far.

    If Don thinks he is going to find a feast of cash raining down like manna from heaven he is likely in for an unpleasant surprise. In the past much campaign cash came from people directly or indirectly involved in real estate development. Those days are gone for awhile.

    As for Molly she will find many of the area organizations and more importantly the people behind those organizations supporting the Capplemaniac. Her support for Terry O'Brien is going to cost her dearly amongst the good government types.

    Now you can argue that her work with FWY will overcome that.

    Or like Molly you can declare her to be the frontrunner because Laura Washington said so in the Sun Times.

    Saying so doesn't make it true. Think of the "wish sandwich" from the "Blues Brothers".

    Trying to portray Cappleman as the "third" candidate is smart politics though. If as likely he ends up in the runoff against any of his opponents he is the likely winner. The other candidate best chance is to do their best to keep him out of the runoff and hope they make it.

  18. One more thang.

    If Daley gets a real challenger the vote totals in this ward are going to be way up.

    Like WAY.

    Alderman Waguspeck is clearly talking about running as is Assessor Houlihan.

    My bet is Waguspeck won't run, but Houlihan will. I may very well be wrong on that bet.

    Waguspeck can't run for both Mayor and aldercritter. If he runs he damn well needs to win or he'll be searching for a new gig. Houlihan is older and retiring. He can afford to lose.

  19. Hmmmmmm,

    the Dick Simpson column seems to suggest that one can both run for Alderman and Mayor simultaneously. Or at least could.

    Once again I may be wrong.

  20. IP,

    Reading is fundamental. I am not a phelan supporter. In fact, if there is a runoff between Phelan and Cappleman, and if I were to show up to vote, I would vote for Cappleman wihtout a thought. In my list of who I would vote for among the current candidates, Phelan would be last. Nowotny first, and Cappleman second. But the list of who I want to win is different than the list of who I think will win and what order they will come in. Hence, my proposed wager that I see you changed from strippers to whores. Unless they are crack whores, I think strippers would be cheaper. So my proposed wager is still there for the taking. smooches.

  21. Sammy,

    Nowotny? You lost me at the ponytail.

    Time will tell. It is going to be an interesting ride.

    I changed it from strippers to whores?

    I guess I did. Hmmmmmm, I guess I spend too much time ordering "delivery" from Craigslist "Adult Services". Don't tell Sheriff Dart. He will arrest me and then hold a press conference.

  22. Imagine Don as a reformer in Chicago politics. Imagine Don speaking eloquently before City Council on any issue.

    Is that hard to imagine? It is for me too.