Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chicagoist: "Burke PAC Targets Runoff Elections"

"Mayor-elect Emanuel isn't the only City Hall player trying to influence next month's aldermanic runoff elections. 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke is making good on a promise to dip into the $8 million he has in three campaign funds to donate to runoff elections. According to Chicago News Co-Op, Burke is funneling donations to aldermen he's backing through a political action committee he controls called The Burnham Committee. Candidates receiving donations so far through the Burnham Committee include 17th Ward Ald. Latasha Thomas and 46th Ward candidate Molly Phelan."  Read the entire article here.


  1. So Fast Eddie is putting his money on the mare. I kinda knew Molly, or so I thought, but the more I see, the more concerned I become. Whereas I was merely uncomfortable with her lawyerness before, I'm genuinely reviled by the obvious machine support she's garnered.

  2. If you're interested in a view of the "money race" in the ward take a look at this analysis I did last night. Phelan supporter "Jim" inspired me to look closer with his valid criticisms of my earlier comments. Be careful of what you ask for lil doggie.

    As for Burke in the late 90's I was seated at an adjoining table to him at a large Irish social event/fundraiser. On finding out where I lived he had some amusing things to say about Shiller. Actually it was more a grimace than what he said that was funny. Sorta a look of constipation and arrogance rolled into one.

    Thankfully, he DID not play the piano and sing at the event I was at with him. He is notorious for that. Maybe someone had the sense to remove the piano from the ballroom.

  3. Here is some audio I found of the late Mayor Washington talking about our good friend and public servant Slick Eddy Burke:

    The Mayor takes a shot at Alderman Ed Burke and all the city business he has gotten in response to Burke wanting to subpoena records on O'Hare contracts and city business going to black-owned firms based in Atlanta. The Mayor also mentions Burke's wife getting legal business. (0:25) 18 March 1985 Listen.

    I found it here at the archives of retired WBBM radio reporter Bob Crawford.

  4. It is going to interesting to see what the next few week of this run-off season bring.

    @IP Thanks for all of your energy.

    @ Bradley I agree 100%

  5. IP... Was Fast Eddie Vrdolyak and not Burke? I wasn't around for council Wars.

  6. "a conversation Burke had with Phelan revealed that Phelan's great-grandfather was mentioned in End of Watch, a book Burke co-wrote about Chicago policemen killed in the line of duty." Well, that's more than enough reason to back her!

    Again, Molly can rest on the laurels of her family. I've heard about enough of her stating her mom was a social worker in Uptown and her dad's a lawyer, and now her great-grandfather... She must come from a family of saints.

    I guess we voters need to decide if that sainthood actually flows at least 4 generations down to Molly.

  7. I guess we voters need to decide if that sainthood actually flows at least 4 generations down to Molly.

    I went to a foo-foo fancy private girls high school (on scholarship). My classmates had a lot of terribly impressive last names. One day a family friend, hearing me recite them, said something that stopped me in my tracks and was the beginning of a whole attitude shift: "Have any of the girls accomplished anything on their own or do they just brag about who their families are?"

    The more I hear Molly talk about her family, the less impressed I am with her, herself. Talk about your own accomplishments, Molly, not those of dusty and not-so-dusty ancestors.

  8. I'm related to the Father Flanagan of "Boys Town" Nebraska fame. Made famous by Spencer Tracy in some movies. My drunken dad was very proud of that connection. He also claimed John Wayne was a cousin. That I doubt.

    My mom's uncle was a Catholic Bishop in China who fled the goddamn commies to South Korea and then ministered to Allied troops during the Korean War.

    Mom also had an aunt who was a Catholic nun.

    I haven't been inside a Church in years, but I guess I can claim that when I run for office.

    What strike me as strange is the Phelan flunkie saying that her candidate and Burke "met in December to discuss constituent services". Really? What constituent services? What constituents? Now in one of the video interviews Phelan has done the interviewer said Terry O'Brien told him about her campaign. Could O'Brien or someone similarly slimy have introduced her to Burke?

    Since I like to be alliterative: "Phelan Phony Flunkie Flunks Ferociously". Oh man, I am naughty. Bad pirate.......bad.

    Or not. It could all be true. Just like her claim that many of her outside the ward donors own properties in Uptown and are concerned about the safety of their tenants. Obviously, owners who have such concerns would go with proven crime fighter and daughter of a former prosecutor and social worker Molly Phelan.

    Before I was supporting Cappleman because I thought based on personality, training, and ambition he was the best fit to help ameliorate some of this wards problems and divisions.

    I still believe that, but now I also see the need to let the political hacks and big money boyos have a defeat. They game the system so much that a defeat shocks them. They just forget that winning is not preordained no matter how much manpower and money they throw into a race.

    Ask Non Alderman Elect O'Donnell in the 47th Ward about that.

  9. Bradley,

    it was Fast Eddie V and Slick Eddie B.

    Harold Washington is purported to have said that to the Fast one it was about money and power and to the slick one it was about racism.

    Ed Burke is unworthy of a hyperlink, but search for the word "rose" for part of the applicable quote.

    If I had been running the Phelan campaign I would have not taken a dime from Burke because of his reputation. The smart move would have been to take it from those affiliated with him, but not him. She did get a few such donations. That way you get the cash, but not the bad publicity.

  10. Positive spin: an alderman who is on Ed's good side may be able to steer some good things to the ward.

    Negative spin: Selling one's soul to the devil rarely turns out well.

    The article did state that the donation was unsolicited.

    Hopefully Molly will be able to explain how she will be able to work towards reform while accepting money from the likes of Ed Burke.

    To keep criticism equal: the massively and annoyingly screechy robo-call from Schakowsky yesterday wasn't appreciated.

  11. Hum. Interesting that TSN is female and went to an all girls high school.

  12. One last thing before I knock the dust off my bike and hit the lakefront path.

    The comments on this board are largely divided between two groups.

    Those who criticize and whine about Molly, to include me, and those who support Molly and whine about those whining about her.

    Well fellow Cappleman supporters it's time to step away from your keyboard and do something a bit more concrete. Volunteer, donate money if you can and at least talk to your neighbors about the importance of voting.

    Cappleman is getting pummeled in the out of ward money race and elements of the Irish Political Potato Headed Spud machine are orchestrating it. They have their gold potato masher out and like King Kong in a liquor store they are destroying all the goodness that surrounds them and taking what they please. WTF(I'm sorry, I need to take my medication)

    The Shamrock political society is out in force for my ethnic kin Molly and if we don't support Cappleman you are going to wake up in less than three weeks and find an Alderman who owes her election to the likes of Ed Burke and Terry O'Brien. If that doesn't motivate you to vote then nothing will.

    They are two of the WORST people in local politics. Think about that. Now to use an Irish phrase there aren't many saints or scholars in politics, but the sinners around Molly are in a class by themselves. For those of you of a certain age who were raised in Holy Mother the Catholic Church it's the political difference between venial sins and mortal sins.

  13. I think Molly will be good for the ward, we need some professionalism, Molly Phelan has been explaining herself well, all off this microscopic money sleuthing hasn't turned up much. Both candidates have other politicians money.
    Alderman Burke isn't that bad...Irish jokes or no jokes!

    More important to me is the Chamber of Commerce endorsement....we need commerce don't we?
    What is the IrishPirates anylisis of why the Chamber threw their endorse ment to Molly and not James I wonder.
    They must have a reason?

  14. They must have a reason?

    Good point. I didn't know so I checked for the actual endorsement, but didn't find it after a few lazy Googles, so I picked up Molly's website verbiage (with the assumption that the Chamber's endorsement is closely worded with, or based on the following):

    Phelan’s short term plan includes hiring a business liaison for her aldermanic office and encouraging the owners of vacant storefronts to provide free space to local artists. Both plans have spurred local business development in other Chicago communities and across the country.

    “I’ve spoken to many local building owners about this plan, and they’re excited by it,” Phelan said. “The artists get free space to exhibit their work, and the landlords get increased foot-traffic while they market the property. That foot traffic makes the space more valuable and brings vitality to our streets.”

    Long term, Phelan will work with residents to create a community master plan. Phelan also intends promote Uptown as a regional arts and entertainment center, leveraging the community’s diversity and rich entertainment history and infrastructure.

    “Uptown has a huge potential to become an entertainment center like Nashville or Austin,” Phelan said. “There is no reason why Uptown shouldn’t be home to numerous theaters, recording studios and independent record labels, along with the diverse jobs those businesses bring.”

    The one thing I would give to Molly, at the very least, is a slight advantage in getting businesses interested in the ward.

    No offense to James; but, she's lining up a sizable development alliance and some City Hall pull.

    If done responsibly (to include financing) and with healthy community input, development need not be frightening.

    The Berrios/Burke bits are still wild cards.

  15. Yes we need commerce, however what will the long term price be if we make a deal with the devil and his friends. Support always has a cost.

  16. Several things -

    Just because Ed Burke has lots of political contribution cash to throw around, does not mean that he will steer any business development to Uptown (Burke has enough problems keeping business in his own SW Side ward, despite his political war chest).

    Molly's political donations more likely mean that downtown slumlord building owners/managers and their lawyers would rather donate to Molly now than to pay to fix up their buildings later when Molly is defeated.

    Someone posted earlier that Molly could have better explained her huge contributions from outside Ward 46 (the majority of her political stash) by saying that anyone's money is welcome to help Molly spread her Molly-message dust around, etc.

    Yes, a smarter politician would have given a more believable/plausible/coherent answer to questions about the unsavory donations to/associations with her campaign of Burke, Berrios, O'Brien, Brendan Reilly (the 4 B's I'd call them) and their lawyer/realty/city and county contract puppet masters.

    Yes a smarter politician would have answered these questions better, but that politician would not be Molly - from whom such a coherent answer would sound fake - because that is not how she feels.

    Phelan had a tough enough time giving the halting and obfuscating and rehearsed answers she did.

    Molly's sincere answer would be more like:

    "My daddy's real estate law and tax practice depends on the kindness of many of my donors, and many of my donors depend on the kindness of Burke and Berrios, et al - and I am hoping some day soon to be one of their puppets too!"

    [... "and, by the way, my mother was once a social worker in Uptown (and that's the only real connection to the 46th Ward my family ever had").]

  17. Racine Racer,

    you're right. Alderman Burke isn't that bad. He's worse. I won't try to convince you of that since we apparently have a different definition for the word "bad".

    Now the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce would be more aptly named the Chicagoland Chamber of Clouted Big Business Interests.

    Now who are the two leading real estate tax attorneys in Illinois? Ed Burke and Mike Madigan. How much of their business comes from big time businesses like the airlines and downtown corporate HQ's?

    Here's a partial list of some of Burke's clients. These are just the ones who directly have business with the city. It was even covered in some little read unimportant blog last year.

    "Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) lost a pair of major airlines and seven other law clients last year, but picked up a dozen new ones and still has 34 clients that did business with the city or other local government agencies, according to his annual ethics statement," Fran Spielman reports.

    "But, like so many other Americans, the City Council's Finance Committee chairman had a tough year for investments in 2009."

    "Burke tried to make up for the loss by hustling 12 new clients that do business with the city: Community Housing Partners XI L.P.; Fifth Third Bank; The Habitat Co.; Humana Inc.; International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399; JP Morgan Chase Bank; K-Five Construction; Kenny Construction; MCL Construction; Prairie Material Sales; Walgreens and Wentworth Tire Co."

  18. As I was saying Burke and Madigan have a great number of large corporate law clients. There good buddy Assessor Berrios also used to do a very lucrative side business as a Springfield lobbyist for many large corporate interests.

    Do you really think there was any question whom the Chamber would support? Please. If you believe that you believe I'm an actual pirate and that Scarlett Johannson is yelling at me right now because I'm on the internet and not massaging her feet.

    As for Molly being marginally better for bringing business into the ward I don't believe that.

    This ward needs an alderman with no future ambitions besides being alderman. Someone who will focus on the day to day minutia that is necessary to improve the lives of the people of this ward. You know the boring stuff like forcing property managers to evict tenants who either are criminals or allow criminals to stay with them.

    It also needs someone who will focus on some of the larger city issues and doesn't have family members running a law firm that depends on favorable decisions from Assessor Berrios' office or the Board of Appeals. That's called "leverage" folks and if you think it isn't used to enforce behavior among elected officials you're both wrong and naive.

    One way Mayor Daley has enforced his will on certain alderman is by putting their family members into exempt positions. If the alderman steps outta line the family member walks the plank to the unemployment office. Not surprisingly the alderman who had such family members stayed in line.

    Having a family run law firm that specializes in tax appeals is a very similar form of "leverage".

    Also my guess is that Molly sees herself moving up in the political world. Maybe Congressman Molly. Or Mayor Molly. Or perhaps even Sheriff Molly since her law enforcement experience goes all the way back to Attorney General Kennedy.

    I want an alderman who hopes to be alderman until they retire.

    Can you say Alderman Cappleman? I knew you could. Now get off your lazy asses and get to work. Molly took in another $8000 according to the state website today.

  19. I already cast my ballot for James. Molly stinks of politics as usual. In other news, I saw the Cappleman SUV driving in my hood yesterday evening and skitched a ride down the street. The gentleman driving took issue with this (understandably since it is illegal) and yelled "Hey man let go of this car before you get killed!" I responded by telling him "I early voted for James yesterday!". He smiled, honked and drove off with a look of accomplishment on his face.

  20. The suv belongs to John Smith, a long time security guard at McDonald's. He's been a big supporter of James. Dude, hitching a ride on somebody's car isn't something I would recommend, especially considering the pot holes that appear each spring.