Saturday, January 29, 2011

The 46th Ward Great Debate Recap

click to enlarge
So those of you who attended The 46th Ward Great Debate, what did you think?

To the left is an outline of what went on.

We hear that Greg Harris was the emcee, in lieu of Robert Jordan; and that some of the candidates stuck around talking to constituents for hours.  (Nice change of pace from standard operating procedures in the ward.)

So, what were your impressions?


  1. It was a very good turn-out. An awkward space for this event but it went well nonetheless.

    It is just my opinion but these forums with just short of a dozen candidates are a bit lacking in substance. Its not to slight any of the candidates, they did well, 90 seconds is just too short to answer the questions asked.

    As stated in the post the candidates hung around for a while so I guess that makes up for some of that drawback.

    We have 2 forums next week, with one candidate each, more the following week, and the next....

    Next Tuesday...Mr. Andy Lam

    Next Thursday Mr. Michael Carroll

    Our forums have been very informative and engaging, highly regarded by attendees so far....we encourage every concerned resident of Uptown to participate in this opportunity.

    The forums are held at the Lakeview Church 4716 Malden St.


    Jeffrey Littleton

  2. From the sound of things on the police scanner, this whole thing was intense. #2313 had to be detailed there the entire time, and the female officer on that car at one point said that there was an argument on the floor.

  3. Was a tough format with 11 candidates and 5 questions many of them three part questions that the candidates only had a minute to answer. My honest opinion is that all who attended have already made up there mind and came for the spectacle.

    There was a crazy woman who could not help herself from talking out loud and throwing books on the floor from the shelves. But hey that's Uptown we have most of the city's stock on crazy and without her the debate would not have been an authentic Uptown Political Theatre.

  4. P,

    Alderwoman Shiller was throwing books on the floor?

  5. great turnout (100-150 people??) - completely overwhelmed the space. the format was a bit awkward with 11 candidates, but they all did a great job under the constraints (as did Rep. Harris filling in as moderator - thanks for showing up!).

    I came in undecided - and left with a narrowed down field to choose from. What I did realize is that any of them is better than the Shiller - they were all engaged on the issues, and recognize the value of community input. Lots of similar answers on the questions, but that is to be expected with 11 candidates. Overall a great event - glad to see so many people there.

  6. Would have been great in a theatre setting.

    Marc Kaplan and Emily Stewart's plans to increase low-income housing in our neighborhood went over like a lead balloon.

    And I think it was Andy Lam who said that we should all get used to the fact that police officers are going to be cut. Not a good answer.

    In a forum with this many candidates, its impossible for any candidate to really stand out for what they do right...its only the mistakes that are memorable.

  7. @Avondale -

    Why police officers were wasting their time providing security at that event, I don't know.

    It was Borders, after all.

    One woman took issue with some responses.

    To be honest, I believe it was Mr. Baskin who referred to minority enclaves in Uptown as a "jungle", and it was a poor choice of words to say the least.

    Can't say for sure it was Baskin, because he was hidden behind the book case from where I stood...could have also been Cappleman or Carroll, who were seated by him.

    Maybe someone who had a better view can say?

  8. It was DIANE SHAPIRO who referred to Uptown as an "Urban Jungle."

    Not Baskin.

    Not Cappleman.

    Not Carroll.

    This is how rumors get started.


  9. YDD,

    on which candidates payroll are you?

    Inquiring pirates wanna know.

  10. Yellow Dog Democrat said...
    @Avondale -

    Why police officers were wasting their time providing security at that event, I don't know.


    It's called politics! You can bet an officer was assigned there by the Watch Commander. After all, one of these people WILL BE our next Alderman.

    Also, knowing what political creatures police Commanders and Watch Commanders are, I'm sure none of them would want to be the guy that DIDN'T have an officer present if the slightest incident DID occur. It's something they can do to try to impress the next Alderman, and it doesn't cost them a thing.

    Conversely, if an incident DOES occur with no officer there, it would have brought out the opposite reaction. Then it would have been, "Why wasn't an officer at this event? Don't they realize our next Alderman is here?"

    All in all, it's better to be safe than sorry.

  11. Yes it was Diane Shapiro, but I believe it was "concrete jungle" was what she said...I could be wrong.

    As far as the event lighting up police scanners it sure didn't seem that way, one disruptive woman for a few minutes was about it.

    With all of the churches and halls in Uptown I think Borders was a singularly bad choice as a venue. I was lucky a friend of mine saved me a seat up front or I would of been stuck behind a bookcase with historical memoirs or who knows what.

    However with that said a "BIG Thank You" is in order to Borders for hosting this for the community.

    I once again invite and encourage un-decided voters to attend our remaining forums. If the "mass forums" have left you feeling short on details, our forums are your best remaining chance.

    Clean sight-lines, great acoustics, and comfortable seating. No Cafe downstairs serving Latte....sorry.

    Free parking! The forums are one-at-a-time, the way nature intended it. And despite the name yesterdays "debate" was not a debate at all but a "forum" as well. Albeit a watered-down version with eleven participants kind-O-wahoolie.

    All we ask is that you don't throw books around. You are invited to submit questions of course. You will absolutely leave with a better grasp of what that evenings candidate stands for.....guaranteed.

    Don't be shy Uptown, see you there!

    Jeffrey Littleton (moderator)

  12. I've enjoyed all the spirited discussions over the last few months. Happy to say that I have made up my mind and wiu be early voting first thing tomorrow!,0,4167971.story

  13. Diane Shapiro, Thanks. I'm surprised I didn't remember that -- honestly, if it were a question of just pure presentation points, I think she was probably the best public speaker.

    I guess with so many of the candidates agreed on so many different things, its easy to meld them all together.

    For example, on the Maryville Uptown TIF, other than Nowotny pointing out the sewer system is 100 years old, Phelan objecting to the use of TIF money to build condos at the expense of neighbors, and Cappleman saying he would base his decision on the vote of residents ward-wide, I think all of the candidates pretty much agreed on everything.

    BTW, that answer by Cappleman troubled me. Yes, its true that the future of Maryville impacts everyone in the neighborhood. But it barely impacts me and GREATLY impacts the folks who live adjacent to the site.

    I wouldn't want our next alderman hiding behind the "The People have Spoken" excuse to slap some hideous highrise or low-income housing project on my block.

    But Cappleman seems to be building a wall of committees around himself so that he can deny any responsibility for the decisions that go on in his office.

    If there's a problem in my neighborhood, I shouldn't have to lobby my Block Club President -- that's the system we have now -- my Alderman should take my call.

    And in response to your question IrishPirate, I'm not on any of the candidates' payrolls, nor their D-2's.

    I've lived in Uptown for six years. I remember the good old days when you only had to worry about getting shot at night.

    Since you're so suspicious, I'm assuming you do have a horse in this race?

  14. Of course Emily Stewart wants to increase affordable housing. Peeps, I hope you know affordable housing is really just a scam. Corporate attorneys create companies with fancy nice-sounding names (like Voice of the People, etc.) then use corporate structures to make outside investors rich while the community get stuck with these dumps.

    There are only two choices for the when it comes to Stewart (and Kaplan). Either a) They don't understand the corporate structures and affordable housing scam or 2) they know full well and don't care that affordable housing really sucks money out of the community and are basically in on it. Either way, as a result they are unfit to serve as alderman.

    Affordable housing is the biggest scam going.

  15. Jeffrey, I'm happy to see that you kinda-sorta went from calling the Borders setting "awkward" to thanking them for hosting--because they DID go the extra mile by offering up the space. Awkward as it was, it has to be better than doing a community meeting over a multi-million $$ development (complete with TIF) in a laundry room.

    And thank you for doing the individual candidate fora.

  16. Hi everyone:

    I would just like to clarify on one statement that one reader misunderstood:

    "And I think it was Andy Lam who said that we should all get used to the fact that police officers are going to be cut."

    I did not made such statement.

    What I do mean is when the CPD is dealing with a chronic shortage of officers and a shortage of dollars, a responsible Alderman needs to evaluate all other options. I believe that Requiring CPD officers to WALK 30 minutes each shift physically in our Ward and talk to residents like you or me, will do more good than harm.

    Do you recall when was your last time seeing a beat officer getting out of their cars and engaging people?

    As a smart voter, we need to separate facts from campaign slogans.

    Have a good one.

    Andy Lam

  17. This was the first forum I attended and my first exposure to many of the candidates. I came undecided and it helped me narrow down my choice to a few - Cappelman, Phelan, and Stewart to me were the most impressive. The awkward space and the crowded field were frustrating. But overall the great turnout and community spirit among the candidates and attendees was heartening.

  18. Yellow Dog,

    my favorite horse is hyperlinked.

    As for candidates I plan to vote for Cappleman. No secret there.

    There are some very good people in the race and some pantomime candidates.

  19. @Andy Lam -

    "when the CPD is dealing with a chronic shortage of officers and a shortage of dollars, a responsible Alderman needs to evaluate all other options."

    Andy, you seem to be confirming what I heard you say, not dispelled it.

    The status quo of chronic underfunding and under-staffing of CPD should not be an option. Yet you think we should live with it?

    If that's not what you meant, I hope you'll clarify what these "all other options" are that you think we should be considering.

  20. Baskin - Nice enough person. On the board of WBEZ Radio (that's got to count for something) Businessman. Claims he knows retail and what it takes to fill the 44 empty storefronts on Broadway. My 3rd favorite in the debates
    Carroll - Came across as nervous and inarticulate. Nice man, but short on specifics.
    Cappleman - My number one favorite of the debates. The one with the most substance, community involvement and specific plans. Articulate and smart.
    Kaplan - Came across as rough and uneducated. Bragged about all kinds of affordable housing successes in Uptown. Had to leave the debate early to go to his job. Sheeeeesh. He wants to get elected? Ha.
    Lam - Nice enough man. Traditional ideas. But not well spoken enough to represent the 46th Ward.
    McIntyre - Cheery, young, up and comer with unbridled optimism. Too inexperienced for the tough fights that lie ahead for our new Alderman.
    Nowotny - His entire pitch relies on the fact that he's walked every nook and cranny of our "filthy" streets and is a uniter of all the diverse people in our ward. Khumbaya. Why didn't we have more trash cans, garbage and litter pickups and fines for dog-poop leavers over these past 16 years, Mr. Alderman wanna-be?
    Phelan - My 2nd favorite of the debates. Community involvement and the right stand on affordable housing, crime and development, in my book. But a little short on specifics and experience.
    Retta - I'm a nice guy who immigrated here 20 years ago. Give me a chance to help you. Enough said.
    Shapiro - Touted and demonstrated her GOP credentials one time too many. Being endorsed by Judy Baar Topinka is highly unlikely to win you any friends or voters in Uptown, Ms. Shapiro. Enough with the parking meters.
    Stewart - Articulate and smart. But how the hell does participatory budget reform solve all the ills that plague Uptown? Most importantly, she's on the WRONG side of affordable housing, crime and development. I would go so far as to say she's a Shiller apologist and would not govern any differently. She says she's for Sweet Home Chicago, which I think is a terrible idea. Mandating 20% of TIF funds to be used for affordable housing does nothing but build more affordable (read badly managed) housing in areas in which there is already blight, for crying out loud.

  21. @YYD

    I am hearing a different Andy or something.

    If anyone told you an Alderman has the power to bring more alderman to their particular ward was wrong. They don't.

    The CPD is a 50 Ward police force and the city is in a binder financially. It doesn't take a corporate finance attorney to figure that out.

    Anyone can tell you what you wanna hear....its called "political fodder".

    Why not comment on his idea to have the police walk the beat 30 minutes a shift?

    Or better yet attend the forum he will be participating in on tuesday. The format is an hour dedicated to a single candidate, far more appropriate for a complex issue like this....and there are more issues.

    So think about it everybody...your invited!

    All da Best!

    Jeffrey Littleton

  22. Andy if you bothered to toto any CAPS Meetings in the 23rd district portion of the 46th ward you would know that the officers do get out of there cars everyday and engage the residents. Further you would know there are 5 officers that never even see the inside of a car in the 10 sector of Uptown. They are on foot patrol there entire shift. Additionally you would also know that in the summer the 23rd district has 15 additional officers on bike patrol in the 10 sector and the lakefront.

    Just saying. These are things you would know if you were at all engaged in the community you desire to represent.

  23. As the organizer of the 46th Ward Great Debate, I was extremely pleased with the turn out yesterday. I and the debate committee want to thank all that came out and attended the event. Your attendance shows that you care about your community and Uptown at large.

    I also cannot thank the General Manager, Rick Sawdon and Borders enough for hosting the debate. If the GM had not said yes, this debate would never have happened. Finding a venue for such an event is extremely hard since the community centers and local colleges are very costly and charge $120 or more by the hour on weekends. Some venues even charge a fee for liability insurance. The other institutions that I contacted (one included a local elementary school) did not return my phone calls.

    Despite having only 90 seconds to answer questions I think the candidates did a great job. We unfortunately had time constraints since the event was planned for two hours and one of the candidates had to leave before the final statements.

    In addition, I want to thank all those who submitted questions to both the CPNA email address and the address. Since we could not use all the questions we had received, will be asking the candidates if they can answer the questions before February 22nd and I will ask Uptown Update if they can post the Q&A as part of the debate recap.

    I want to also thank the journalism students from Northwestern University who filmed, interviewed and took pictures yesterday. Because of their efforts you will be able to view the entire debate on YouTube in the very near future. I will ask Uptown Update to see if they can add that to the debate recap page as well.

    Finally I want to thank all those who have and will place comments on the Recap blog. It is really great that we are having conversations about the candidates, debates and forums. It shows that positive change is in the works. If anyone wants to know more about the candidates and their positions on topics, please attend debates and forums like Jeffrey Littleton has planned so that you will be an informed voter on February 22nd (check Uptown Update for the schedule of events). You can also check out the Tribune to see candidate Q&A. Finally, you can Google the candidates’ websites to see where they stand on issues and you can also drop by their campaign offices to talk to them and their staff. I have to say that you will find the candidates to be nice and approachable people.


    Marlise Fein

  24. @Marlise -

    Thank YOU!

    The only complaint folks seem to have is that you were a victim of your own success and turn-out was much higher than expected.

    I'm glad Rep. Harris reminded everyone to buy a book while they were there.

    Seriously, business involvement in the community is too rare a thing, and even rarer among big chains.

    Kudos to Borders for being a good neighbor.

  25. @Jeffrey -

    Anyone who tells you that Aldermen DON'T have the power to bring more police to the neighborhood is an apologist for weak leadership.

    It takes 26 votes to pass a budget, and he who controls the purse strings calls the tune.

    Not to mention the fact that every candidate for mayor has made increasing police a top priority, so it not only CAN happen, it SHOULD happen.

    I wish I could make the forum Tuesday, but I'll be out-of-town.

    I'll try to make the next ones, but you'd be doing a great public service if you'd videotape all 11 and post them online.

  26. A big thank you to Marlise as well, the forum was successful indeed despite the awkward space. Borders definately went above and beyond, let's remember them for this and patronize their store and cafe!

    In regards to Yello Dogs comments about filming the forums I agree. However in trying to set-up an arrangement with some Columbia College students it just didn't happen. I have no problem with it as long as it is done fairly.

    A couple months back there were forums at Nick's and someone filmed it but added all of these snarky remarks as captions. I love comedy as much as the next guy but that is not what we are doing here. All I ask is that it be respectful and fair.

    So I am making an appeal to the UU readership....any ideas or know anyone interested in taping these remaining 5 forums? The set-up at Lakeview Church is excellent for this, clean sound and sight-lines.

    If the good students at Northwestern would like to do a follow-up I say....absolutely!


    Jeffrey Littleton

  27. Yellow Dog Democrat -

    How many people live in the 46th ward? I don't think the alderman has the responsibility to personally take everybody's call.

  28. p,

    Please wake up. the 46th Ward need more than 5 beat officers on foot patrol. I am not sure what angle you are looking from, but there is a huge disconnect between the Police and the citizens/ businesses. And this is a fact.

    Have a good one.

    Andy Lam

  29. Marlise, thank you for putting this together, and whatever you have -- videos, links, questionnaires -- just send 'em to us and we'll be glad to post.

    All this transparency, information, and free exchange of ideas... why, it just makes me fan myself and clutch my pearls.

  30. Slightly off topic here, but kind of relevant to the discussion at hand.

    We live really close to the Watercolor building at Kenmore and Buena. We noticed there were some Don Notwanty signs hung from unsold units.

    Who exactly is supporting Don? The developer or the HOA? (Also, are signs allowed per HOA rules, ours does not allow it)

  31. cta,

    The developer of that bldg is named Sgouras. Also donated money to Nowotny.

    Also has Nowotny sign in the bldg he owns on Kenmore just S of Montrose

  32. Anyone who tells you that Aldermen DON'T have the power to bring more police to the neighborhood is an apologist for weak leadership. - YDD

    Sorry to burst your bubble here, but aldermen have no authority to demand that more police come to their particular ward, nor do they have the authority to prevent them from going to areas of higher crime. If they had such powers, they would be using them now. The only person with that authority is the Police Superintendent. Period. Not even the police commanders have this authority.

    The only way aldermen can bring in more police is to pass a budget that allows more police across the city, but the Police Superintendent still decides where they go. Any candidate who suggests something different is simply pandering for your vote and should know better.

  33. @ Yellow Dog Democrat:

    It was actually Emily Stewart who commented that we should face up to the fact that as things are, we are not going to be able to get more police officers in Uptown, so we need to think of different options.

    Despite the awkward space (which actually was quite nice aesthetically, with Broadway stretching out behind the candidates), it was indeed a "great debate"--I narrowed my list down to a couple of candidates.