Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Shiller Fans Key To Picking Successor"

Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington is not happy that (1) not everyone living in the 46th Ward holds her good friend Helen Shiller in the same high regard that she does and (2) her hand-picked aldermanic front-runner isn't in the April run-off. 

She's also a little peeved at Uptown Update, which she describes as "ascerbic and dyspeptic."  Read her latest column here, in which she paints the picture of an Uptown full of disappointed, disenfranchised voters, and where Helen Shiller's fans are the real stars of the upcoming run-off.


  1. Wow, bitter much Laura? That piece may have even been worth my 3-minute skim if it were not so full of venom. P.S. The "Lakeview Laura" nickname was about as "recent" as the last aldermanic election.

  2. Since IP isn't available to provide a well-reasoned response, I'll try --

    Let's go back to the 2007 election with Ms. Washington. 54% of the vote (which Shiller received) is not exactly a mandate.

    Talk about disenfranchisement -- imagine, Ms. Washington, living in a place where the bullets hit your windows. Imagine with me reaching out to your alderman to get no response or better yet an awful response from her staff.

    In 2007, 5287 people did NOT vote for Shiller.

    In 2011, 8477 people did NOT vote for Cappleman or Phelan.

    However, many of the candidates who received support from the 8477 people who did not vote for C or P have now thrown their support behind one of the candidates.

    You following me? That leaves us with 4255 voters who have no guidance from their "favorite" candidate regarding who they should support.

    That is less than the 5287 disenfranchised voters in 2007. Sounds like we're making some progress - albeit slow progress - in the 46th Ward.

    P.S. Glad you're venturing over to Uptown Ms. Washington. Let us know how you enjoy the 'hood and - especially - how you enjoy the Wilson "L" stop.

  3. Lake view Laura got herself a thesaurus.

  4. "After years of bitter blame-gaming and infighting, Shiller says she just wants some honest answers from her aspiring successors"

    Please.....we could barely get a response, regarding mounting gang violence, or proposed meth clinics, or the utter lack of promising business up here. ME, I wanted honest answers I could never get.

    This Sun-Times article seems more like a Tweet....

  5. I'm sorry, but who reads the Sun Times?

  6. So 60 percent of the voters chose neither of them.

    Parrot much?


    In what may be a first in Chicago politics, the incumbent will be the inquisitor.

    The reason this isn't done is because it's highly unseemly - and painfully arrogant.

    “I am not looking for an answer. I am looking for answers that are more truthful,” she said.

    Amen to that.

    More truthful than .. ?

    Around here, finding something more truthful, by contrast, ain't a monumental task.

    Heck, all anyone would need to really do in order to gain truthful cred is show up, or stick around long enough to answer a tough question, or ... face the audience.


    In the past, both have been vocal — and in one case, vicious — critics of Shiller’s advocacy for low-income and working-class families in the ward.

    It ain't the "what", sweet cheeks - it's the "how" that has garnered the crticism.

    It's an important distinction that a dutiful columnist, regardless of perspective, would at least nod at.


    But hey, nothing puts a better smokescreen around a intellectually lazy argument than a quick stoke of the class warfare coals, eh?


    And, for fun:

    Shiller’s voters will be pivotal if anyone can get(ting) Shiller supporters out to vote since that apparently will be the trickiest task.

    ... sigh.

  7. Somehow I picture Shiller sitting down in Blood Alley and muttering
    "The horror... the horror..." as she contemplates either Cappleman or Phelan as the new alderman.

    Upocalypse Now coming to a theater in another neighborhood in April.

    I was walking the neighborhood earlier, lovely warmish night, and a thought occurred to me as I thought about Daley leaving office.

    The greatest tormentor of the English language ever, James Joyce, was famously quoted as saying "My mouth is full of decayed teeth and my soul of decayed ambitions."

    As we look at the various crisis's that face this city, that strikes me as a purdy good metaphor of where we are at.

    It should be an interesting two weeks before the election. Who will Shiller support? Will she support anyone? Will she cry out to the heavens and ask the creator why she has been forsaken?

    More later. I need to cleanse my brain by watching a DVD.

  8. Jesus god, lakeview laura... angry and bitter much?

  9. Wow, what sour grapes! It was delightful to read! Thank you Ms. Washington. You made my first day of spring. My dream that the two most anti-Shiller candidates would be running came true. Kudos to both of them to work hard to get the voters who share Shiller's world view. If Shiller decides that she prefers one candidate over the other, she should publicly support the one she hopes to lose. That should ensure the other's victory.

  10. Reading this makes me so happy! Although I am supporting James wholeheartedly...if Molly were to win, it will still be 100% better than any idiot Laura Washington wants in the office...

  11. Interesting use of statistics. Seems Helen and Lakeview Laura talked about the same statistics over coffee. But here is one that I like..

    100% of people voted for someone other than Helen Shiller in the Election and the two most critical canidates of her, both make the run off.

    But hey Laura thanks for telling me how wrong I am not to support the women who never returns a phone call or letter.

  12. Laura - seriously?

    You should change your weekly dining venue from your reserved seat each Tuesday at Yoshi's in Lakeview to Magnolia in Uptown. After a few meals with entertaining gang street fighting - you might change your mind about what Shiller has done for the 46th ward.

  13. Poor bitter, hypocritical Laura...

    If Shiller wanted "her folks" to back a candidate that hadn't won the runoff maybe she should have got off her duff before the first election and rounded her troops? Glad she didn't.

    Karma's a b-tch Helen - and Laura.

  14. To MY recollection, the last time Shiller appeared at Truman College for a public event, she acted like a rat and tried to sneak out the side door while the PRESS and her CONSTITUENTS were waiting for her out front so she could address crime in the ward.. something she STILL has not done... I hope someone brings that up.. and asks that toad Tunney why he continues to support the troll named Shiller ...

  15. Does anyone else think that Lakeview Laura should be banished forever from the Sun-Times and replaced by the eloquent and learned Irish Pirate?

    Can you get your copy in on deadline from the secret lair under the Pullman tomb, IP?

  16. Bottom line is most people can't stand Shiller, I mean really can't stand her. Those of us that have actually had interaction with her for anything other than a handout of a freebie. Those of us that wanted safe streets.

    btw- The last Pride Parade Shiller was in she got booed pretty bad. That says a lot when you get booed at the Pride Parade.

    See the LGBT community was only good to her when they weren't as main stream on the Northside and she could exploit them. Once they were LGBT and evil condo owners the heck with us.

    Shiller is a master at exploiting groups of people for her own gain.

    If she had any class she would issues a statement saying either JC or MP would be great Alderman and that she decided not to run so won't be endorsing anyone and won't be further commenting on it.

    Instead she has Lakeview Laura try to divide the community more and is holding this joke of a debate.

    I challenge Molly and James to cancel this debate as long as Shiller is involved.

    You both look like fools for agreeing to it with Shiller and Tunney for that matter.

    Shiller is having the last laugh.

  17. I can't wait to see Lakeview Laura in her Stilettos at Truman College...Contrary to her belief she'll be the only one wearing them (unless Helen has bought herself a pair with her amazing pension)!

    Regardless of who wins, I'll be thrilled with the outcome and that an individual Shiller hates will be alderman.

  18. A note to those commenting on the Sun-Times site:
    Super-troll "FGFM" is commenting under the name "Lakeview Laura." Please do not engage him. Simply report his comments as "abuse" and let the moderators at the Sun-Times deal with him. He is trying to get a rise out of everyone and not replying is the best thing you can do.

  19. Laura Washington is more "advocate" than journalist at least when it comes to anything regarding Shiller.

    Laura Washington worked for Mayor Washington and her relationship with Shiller goes back at least to that time.

    Her writing about Shiller is the moral equivalent of some Cable business analyst touting a stock he owns.

    Washington is too close to the subject to be objective.

    Here's what Steve Rhodes at "The Beachwood Reporter" said last April 10th:

    Hyperbole Alert
    "Helen Shiller is the most controversial, intriguing and enigmatic figure in Chicago politics," Laura Washington writes today.

    Really? She's not even close to being the most controversial, intriguing and enigmatic figure on the city council, much less the city."

    Washington's writing on Shiller reminds me of a high school reunion where people remember the past and try to hide the truth about the present.

    This is not 1985. Harold Washington is dead. Ronald Reagan is dead. The Berlin Wall came down and as hard as it might be to believe a White Sox fan is in the White House and we just elected a nine fingered former ballet dancer to be "Mare" of what used to be the "smokestack city". The old days are gone.

    It's best to accept that reality, instead of living in some partially mythic past.

    "The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past." William Faulkner.

    Well I'm not a famous Southern writer, but I'm from Chicago and Faulkner is at least partially wrong. The past may not be dead, but it's on life support and when Shiller announced she wasn't running last year even she realized that. Well at least at that moment she did. Now she and her scribe Laura Washington seem to be grasping for relevance in a different age.

    Right now Washington and Shiller strike me as the type of person who attends a concert for a overaged band and hold up lighters as they try to regain a moment from the past.

    Kinda pathetic, really. Then again most of us have those moments just not as publicly.

  20. Can't wait for this debate! I already voted for James, again, so now I can direct all my unanswered questions to the devil herself!

  21. I think Laura Washington and other Helen Shiller supporters feel that Helen's legacy in Chicago politics have been hijacked by the "yuppies" that have moved into the 46th ward in the last ten years. I do think Helen has been a strong advocate for the disadvantaged - whether that was those with AIDS in the 1980's or low-income residents today. In the last ten years, she has become ineffective due to her disregard for the middle and upper income residents of her ward, and her lack of communication and transparency.

    On April 6th, we have an alderman-elect who plans to represent the entire ward, and not just the fringe groups. This change excites me. It is also becoming more clear to me who will do the best job of building these bridges. I think it is a powerful statement that six of the nine 46th ward candidates that did not make the run-off have endorsed James Cappleman. None have endorsed Molly Phelan. One of the first things that our next alderman must do is bring our neighborhood together to remove the divisions of the last ten plus years. Throughout his campaign, James has shown ability to bring people of different ages, race and economic classes together. I hope we can call him Alderman-elect Cappleman on April 6th.

  22. When was the last time anyone actually was referred to as a yuppie or used the term yuppie? We are unhappy because she is a terrible alderman PERIOD! Honesty? Perhaps there is a new definition of honesty or consult a Sun Times dictionary.

  23. Just piling on here; likely nothing to say that hasn't been said, but....

    In a crowded field of candidates, the top two in the primary were likely Ald. Shillers biggest detractors. Assuming that is just a coincidence....

    60% didn't vote for Shiller,; they opted instead to vote for the others. Do all the Michael Carroll supporters know that they are Shiller fans? It must have been his police experience that struck a chord with them; he reminded them of the "Crime is not my issue" incumbent. How about the Scott Baskin base? A well-heeled CEO vs. a community activist turned politician! That's practically the same background; I bet that Baskin voters were anticipating a Mark Shale between the WY nail salon and the Subway.

    Laura Washington isn't the only one anticipating this debate. I can't wait to attend. I will take the Alderman at her word; she is barraged by calls, undecided voters seeking her opinion, so she is providing a public service. She does bring insight into running this ward that Ms. Phelan and Mr. Cappleman lack. Neither of them has yet done the job, but I think they both bring vision that the incumbent lacks.

    This might be the only debate able to affect my vote - it's likely that both candidates will be asked about a wide variety of issues, from affordable housing to Uptown's largest industry - social services - to umm, errr, affordable housing. I'll be pleasantly surprised if it extends beyond that.

    But it will be nice to see how the candidates deal with a moderator with an agenda, not a journalist: this particular moderator is likely to stick around, and resume the role better suited to her - voice of the underprivileged, activist, 'hippie' vs 'yuppie' classist, etc. And due in large part to Ald. Shiller's efforts, James or Molly will inherit her legacy: the largest concentration of poverty on the north side, but with developers knocking at the door. Charity isn't bad, but neither is profit. Who strikes the best balance? Who best deals with opposition?

    I have my suspicions, I gather that many other commenters do also, but this event has the biggest chance to sway my opinion of any I will view.

    I hope that the others in the audience let this spectacle unfold, without interrupting the moderators: it might be narcissistic, it might be a travashamockery, but it might actually be informative. Let's concede Ms. Shiller the spotlight, vain is it may be, and overlook that she has routinley ducked the tough questions when they were pointed at her, this isn't about her, as much as she might wish that it was.