Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Shiller, Tunney Grill Cappleman, Phelan In 46th Ward Forum"

Gay Chicago Magazine's Gary Barlow was at the debate on Monday night and wrote his take on it:

CHICAGO – Alds. Helen Shiller (46th) and Tom Tunney (44th) questioned 46th Ward aldermanic candidates James Cappleman and Molly Phelan March 28 at Truman College in a unique forum that, at times, saw both Shiller and Tunney press the candidates when they felt they weren't answering the questions.

The hour-and-a-half forum featured a series of quick questions and responses, followed by more in-depth questions that gave Tunney and Shiller, who is retiring after 24 years as alderman, opportunities to challenge Phelan and Cappleman. 
Read the entire article here.


  1. In light of all the questions regarding Wilson Yard and false accusations about James, I think you should all ready what Molly Phelan said about "warehousing of the poor" and "beacon for crime":

    October 27, 2008

    What is FIX WILSON YARD???
    Uptown's Wilson Yard will be the newest slum in Chicago if the current Wilson Yard Redevelopment Plan (the “Plan”) is constructed. The Plan includes 178 units of low, very low, and extremely low income apartments. Yes, there is a need for low income housing in Chicago – but here are some reasons why this development is detrimental to its potential residents, current Uptown residents and the surrounding neighborhoods:

    • Warehousing of the Poor: Throughout Chicago, high and mid-rise, low income housing have been torn down because those types of developments have proven to be detrimental to the health and safety of their residents. This failed housing model is no longer being developed anywhere else in Chicago – so why in Uptown?

    • Tipping Point: Both HUD and the Illinois Department of Housing recommend that a thriving neighborhood has no more than 20% low-income housing. The census tracts surrounding Wilson Yard already has 24% low-income units. Furthermore, over 39% of people live below the poverty line. An additional 178 units is well beyond ANY reasonable percentage of low-income housing may very well push Uptown past the point of no return.

    • Beacon for Crime: Uptown is a magnet for crime, gangs and drug sales due to its proximity to Lake Short Drive and the Red Line train. Currently, a majority of the crime in Uptown occurs due to people traveling in from other neighborhoods through these access points to engage in drug trafficking, gang initiation/violence, and general crimes such as theft & robbery, then leaving just as quickly. The location of Wilson Yard is one half mile from Lake Shore Drive at the northwest corner of Montrose and Broadway, right at the Wilson Red Line “L” stop. A low-income high density development, as proposed in the Plan, presents gangs and drug crews with an inviting target and puts residents of the project in harm's way.

    In response to this disregard for the best interest of the Uptown community, Fix Wilson Yard, a grass-roots effort by dedicated volunteers in the Uptown community, has taken on this battle. For years, many of us have been diligently tracking the direction of the Wilson Yard Plan. However, recent developments have made it clear that the only viable way to stop the current Wilson Yard Redevelopment Project is through legal action. We are currently asking for donations to our Legal Fund in order to proceed with a law suit to stop the Plan from being developed. As of September 1st, our organization has raised over $40,000, but we estimate the overall costs of the suit to be well over six figures.

    Please visit to find out more, donate, sign petitions and volunteer. (All donations are tax deductible) Your support of our organization is greatly appreciated.

  2. ...and James backed off because of the tone of the rhetoric! Good move, James.
    I admit I jumped on the reactionary FWY bandwagon, but I'm not running to lead a city ward! I always wondered why someone who tried to sue the city would be so eagerly welcomed by same establishment who she fought so publicly. Something's up behind the scenes.................

  3. Thanks for posting that, Cub Reporter.

    I had meant to cut & paste some of the cached items after I made the following comment in another thread on March 24th.

    This talking point hasn't been sitting well with me lately.

    “There’s a misconception among a portion of the people who live in the 46th Ward that affordable housing equals crime,” said Phelan, who said she wants to maintain the affordable housing stock in the ward, but not increase it.

    If there is any misconception about affordable housing and crime in the ward, Ms. Phelan already had a very visible way to address it. Its disingenuous to have been the leader of an organization that, while not explicitly equating the two, allowed the housing to be spoken about in terms of "towers" "warehousing" and "Cabrini-Green" while also providing the community with a police study that expressed the difficulties securing high rise buildings.

    Anyone with a cursory understanding of the history of Cabrini-Green/the CHA would have concluded back then that the comparison between the two projects was inappropriate and potentially hurtful to the members of our community who live in subsidized housing. All language drawing such parallels should have been taken out of their materials if they truly wanted to avoid fostering any misconceptions in the community.

    Personally, I can't reconcile the facile approach to these issues with what appears to be (today) a more nuanced appreciation. Its ok if someone grows in their understanding over time but if that is the case then I think there is a little public contrition in order---not directing attention to unnamed sectors of the community.

  4. I want to know, from Molly, "What Would You Do For A Klondike Bar"?

    It almost seems like she will do or say anything. 

    This is why:

    In response to Larrynow and Cub Reporter. You both raise very interesting and valid points as well as additional areas for speculation for ward residents to ponder, consider or otherwise hash out in their minds prior to showing up at their polling locations on April 5th. 

    Molly Phelan's first campaign in the Ward was essentially the Fix Wilson Yard lawsuit. She was the leader of the movement and the lawsuit. One can only assume that the  very strong verbiage used in Molly's first campaign was either written or approved by her, either way she sure did not run away from the style, or ideas that the verbage conveyed until her second campaign which is the campaign that is now in it's twilight hours. 

    My speculation here is that when the Fix Wilson Yard Campaign was in full swing and Molly was freely dispatching her tomes of fire and brimstone, Helen was still a contender in the race for 46th Ward Alderman. Molly knew she was going to run. What she did not know was how many other candidates also planned on running and she did not know about the two big monkey wrenches that sidetracked her campaign. Daley was still thought to be running for Mayor and Helen had still not declared that she would not seek re-election. Capitalizing on the class divide, and the line in the sand that Alderman Shiller drew over the course of her tenure would seem like the best way to differentiate herself and conquer the Ward. 

    Just like the weather, political landscapes change, and in the City of Chicago this year the politics was as stormy as the winter we just endured. 

    Fast forward from the first campaign Molly ran to the current one. Molly is now a champion for the same things she campaigned against, without any explanation as to when, where and why she had this Damascus Road conversion. 

    She went from campaigning against the powers that be (Daley,Shiller, Burke, et al) with her volatile rhetoric, to joining forces with Alderman "I need city body-guards paid for by taxpayers because of the last time we were in a situation with a new council and mayor" Burke. Alderman Reilly and who knows who else. 

    Is her desire for this position so strong that she is blind to how disingenuous she is being?

    After the debate at Truman College Monday night, another group of people gathered in the back of the debate area. This group led by Marc Kaplan and comprised of the members of the groups ONE, And Copwatch discussed how they were going to get the word out to support Molly in this  her most recent campaign. I listened in as Marc explained they were going to find out the next morning from Molly how much money her campaign was going to give their group. 

    Is Molly tough on crime? My guess is she does not like crime based on her first campaign documents about Wilson Yard being Beacons of Crime. The only active crime related endeavour other than pontificate on mailers, websites and debates is her now newfound relationship with the CopWatch Crew. 

    The gist of her campaign seems to me can summed up by a marketing campaign used a few years ago by one of my favorite summer time treats. Klondike Bars. 

    Molly "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?"