Thursday, March 24, 2011

Great Debate Is Tonight

Just a reminder that the Great Debate happens tonight at the beautiful Peoples Church, 941 West Lawrence, starting promptly at 7pm.  We've had a look at the questions, and it's going to cover a lot of ground.  Be there on time, and listen hard.  We are talking about the chance to elect a non-incument alderman for the first time since 1987.  You are the difference!  Make an informed choice.

Update:  Fox Chicago News covered the event:  Runoff Candidates Play Nice in 46th Ward Debate.


  1. How did it go??
    I have to admit, I was:

    •a bit too lazy to attend
    •a bit spooked by the recent shooting nearby (ChipDouglas, I totally agree that the area is not safe)
    •am convinced JC is the right choice for the future.

  2. Wow. Word on the street is that James dominated tonight. I could not go. Anybody? Hello?

  3. So for me it was enjoyable if only for the fact that the candidates were explicitly told to try and keep things positive and to emphasize their ideas rather than sink to personal attacks. In fact, there were really no Sun-Times-Interview-esque interruptions and eye rolling which was refreshing. The candidates were told ahead of time that they would be able to respond to anything they disagreed with at the end.

    The event was filmed and they said they are working really hard to get it up and posted prior to the next debates so that they can serve as a follow up to tonight, rather than a repeat.

    I think they both did well but I think James was great. He was calm and collected and had no trouble talking about all the things he's done for the past 10 years to support this ward.

    Phelan's latest complain towards his campaign is that his "non-elected" committees on business and ward development (or w/e the official titles were) would lend themselves to corruption since they would meet when most people were at work and would have no accountability. They would "have already made their profit" by the time James had an issue and dismissed a member. It was a BS argument which James called her out on, emphasizing how such comittees have worked for Tom Tunney and other Alderman.

    By the way, he also mentioned that Alderman Waguespack has officially endorsed him as of tonight.

  4. There was one line I found amusing though once the recording comes up I can validate it. The candidates were told to literally do a sales pitch to a perspective business that they wanted to come to the ward. Molly opened up with (kid you not): "Thank you for supporting my campaign..."

    Now I'm sure she meant campaign as in campaign to bring businesses to the ward, moreso than political campaign, but it still turned into an interesting choice of words in my head.

  5. Molly did well describing her business plan for the big gaffes on either side. I did find it curious that Bryn Mawr Ave was held up as something to aspire to by Cappleman. Sure its better then 10 years ago but not much actually. And a pedestrian plaza in front of the Riv?
    That is crazy.
    Nobody "dominated" Captain C, it was a good discussion, great questions and I am absolutely still voting for Molly Phelan, she can do a good job for us.

  6. Others can opine on whether Cappleman or Phelan did better at the "debate" tonight.

    I simply appreciated that the tone of the exchange at the forum was less negative than other forums since the Feb 22 election.

    Yes, Fear and Lothing..., you heard exactly what Molly said - she said the first thing she would do to recruit a business to Uptown would be to refer to a contribution to her campaign.

    Perhaps she meant something else, but that is what she said. We can all check the video when it is available.

  7. I also heard, and video will reveal, Phelan's allusion to some type of "profit" by members of a citizen advisory committee. Such a suggestion should have been better supported with specific examples, evidence or at least an explanation of how this might occur.

    I found that suggestion, and Phelan's general aversion to ward residents advising the alderman, very odd, rather undemocratic and inconsistent with the success of similar approaches in the 44th Ward, 48th Ward, 49th Ward, 32nd Ward, etc. I gather Phelan regards it as appearing "decisive" to make these decisions without citizen committee input. I don't think most would agree.

    Phelan's statements about people being too busy to advise her on zoning, etc. seemed illogical - especially at a forum which so many of us had taken time to attend to hear discussion of issues we obviously care about.

  8. The next alderman will in fact have to "campaign" for more business in the ward. Instead of trying to attach meanings to words just read the article.

    How is taxing business further as Rahm proposed attract business in a down economy?

    Mr. Cappleman is open to the idea....great. Is this "collaborating well", in this case Mayor Rahm?

    Molly is solidly against it.....much, much better! We don't need it. It just makes the suburbs a better option for some.

    A pedestrian plaza without an energetic addition of more small to medium sized business at that intersection will just add up to more loitering.....great. Also that intersection is extremely important to the busiest firehouse in the city on Wilson, any reconfiguration that slows them down even a little bit will be contested expensively.

    How will getting along with so nicely with Heather Steans and Schakowsky, as James repeatedly mentioned, actually produce a better business climate for the 46th ward? Business owners are incurable realists, I happen to be one.

  9. RR - If you have collaborative political pressure, things get done. Police will be more reponsive if they have the US Congresswoman, State Sen, and Alderman alllll calling them. Right now, the other reps stay out of it b/c they don't want to step on Helen's toes. James will gladly accept their input.

  10. @racineracer:

    As a business owner and incurable realist myself (and someone who early voted for James last week), a few thoughts:

    -- Taxes. No fan of tax increases myself and James said at the debate that he wouldn't support them at this point either (given that there is a lot of cost cutting/consolidation that can save loads of cash first). That said, like the Republicans at the national level, a person is not serious about deficit reduction or fiscal sanity if you take tax reform off the table completely.

    -- Pedestrian plaza. First I heard of this idea was last night: dunno how it would work and you may be correct that it is a bad idea. That said, the idea was in relation to the TIF district that encompasses both the 46th and 48th wards, which means that any kind of idea like this would be open to a great deal of public scrutiny in both wards. So, on the bright side, if James were alderman, you'd at least have a chance to have your voice heard on this issue rather than just have "the decider" push it through.

    -- Steans/Schakowsky endorsements. These only matter if you are trying to get state or federal funds into Uptown. The one huge area where this would be clearly helpful is in the effort to rebuild the Wilson El station; there just isn't any money at the CTA or in the local TIF funds to do this.


    As far as incurable realism, Molly has a couple proposals that don't meet this smell test either:

    -- World Music Capital of the Country. While I applaud the vision for this, you can't just wish a world music scene into existence. The tiny venues don't exist and the musicians themselves (if they exist) are not all hanging out in Uptown. Further, it is difficult to believe the public will support world music financially, since it it doesn't get supported now either city-wide or locally (outside of some Latino bands at the Aragon, all the money is going into mainstream rock (Aragon/Riv) or jazz (Green Mill)). Again, very glad that Molly has a big vision for this, even if it doesn't seem realistic to ever happen.

    -- Pop-up Art in Every Storefront. Again, this idea is a great vision, but unrealistic. So, landlords are going to be somehow forced to pay for electricity, security and insurance on their space so a local artist can have a gallery eight hours a day? Or, if the local artist is going to have to pay for this overhead, why would they bother shopping their wares in Uptown (instead of other more attractive locations), where potential art purchasers are few and far between? And, are you are going to find 40+ of these artists/landlord combos that are going to go along with this scheme? I think a more realistic method would just be to ask landlords to put some local artist's art in their windows and call it a day (the public gets the beautification, the artist gets some publicity, but no one needs to pay for the overhead costs, security issues, etc.).


    If Molly wins this election, I think she'll do a fine job. Truly, I couldn't be happier to have a second choice like her for our great ward. But, at the end of the day, I think James' experience in crime reduction, his ability to build coalitions (in an extrememly diverse community with a dearth of coalition building for the past 20 years) and clear passion for the community is the best thing for our Ward going forward. Others will disagree...

  11. What stood out most in the debate was the way that each candidate referred to the ward. Molly repeatedly made a point of calling it "her ward," while James referred to it as "our ward." My girlfriend, who hasn't been following much, if not anything, with this race pointed this out, and it seemed to make sense.

    Molly was very polished with her answers, and it made me slightly uncomfortable listening to her talking last night, especially with her political "non answer" dodges. Both candidates were surely guilty of it, but Molly's non answers were off-putting...arrogant even.

    James could have done better to not tout his endorsements, but I appreciate that, when given the tax question, that he didn't rule it out in the future

  12. El said:

    Taxes. No fan of tax increases myself and James said at the debate that he wouldn't support them at this point either (given that there is a lot of cost cutting/consolidation that can save loads of cash first). That said, like the Republicans at the national level, a person is not serious about deficit reduction or fiscal sanity if you take tax reform off the table completely

    Couldn't agree with you more.

  13. You need to elect someone different in order to achieve change. I'm only one vote and it is already cast. Look at what you complain about now. It won't be different with Mol.

  14. So during the debate when the candidates were providing rebuttals etc Molly criticized James on the menu money/green space idea by stating that "the sunnyside mall has green spaces won't stop bullets".

    I find this oversimplification of an issue (clearly the greenspaces lead to foot traffic Whig leads to etc etc) quite annoying and I feel it insults the intelligence of her potential supporters.

    She had brought up an afterschool program which has been featured in her flyers that gets young women running and trains them for a marathon. At the debate yesterday she mentioned how it's proven that such an activity leads to an increase in math/science scores. One could easily use the same reduction argument and ask how one leads to the other. Clearly in a 30 second per question forum. It can be difficult to outline an entire plan to stop crime.

    Again, not nitpicking. As others have said she would make a fine alderman, but my vote is on James. I hope the video is up soon so you can all hear/see for yourselves.

  15. clarify, by young women I meant students in the schools. Videos now posted (thanks UU) so go enjoy

  16. Again, I have already voted and am enjoying a nice bullet proof vacation. That being said, Mol is a woman with a chip on her shoulder. I would love to have taken that on.