Saturday, February 28, 2015

Davis Campaign Manager Throws Shade At Crawford Campaign Tactics, Endorses Cappleman in Run-Off

In the 46th Ward's aldermanic election last week, candidate (and former chief of staff to Helen Shiller)Denice Davis finished third, while James Cappleman and Amy Crawford will meet in a runoff on April 7th. The day after the election, Ms. Davis' campaign manager, Cortez Duquette, took to Everyblock (and posted on UU's Facebook page) to make several surprising statements, including allegations that:
  • Ms. Crawford was recruited to run for office by Helen Shiller supporters, including O.N.E. Northside, the successor organization to Organization of the NorthEast
  • A company owned by Helen Shiller's son and former staffer provided paid campaign consultation to the Crawford campaign
  • The Crawford campaign paid friends of Ms. Davis $500 a week to work for Crawford
  • Amy Crawford changed her positions on issues, depending on what group she was addressing
  • Based on Amy Crawford's lack of community involvement, he endorses James Cappleman in the runoff as "the lesser of two evils."
Could these be the sour grapes of someone who campaigned hard for a year and a half, only to see his candidate lose badly?  Could be.  Denice Davis herself has distanced herself from his comments, has said she does not share his sentiments, and is not backing James Cappleman in the runoff.

But there are several things that make Duquette's claims intriguing. Regarding the claims about payoffs, the Davis campaign tweeted in mid-January:  "To those in the community that are tempted to take the money. The late Harold Washington said it best.  'Take the Chickens but, VOTE for Denice Davis February 24, 2015.'"  Additionally, Ms. Davis herself refers to "being sold down the river for 30 pieces of silver."

As far as ONE Northside trolling for a third candidate in the race, it could be.  When asked to list her endorsements in her IVI-IPO questionnaire, Amy Crawford said, "I have the support of Ward leaders, such as Randall Doubet-King, a retired pastor and board member of Planned Parenthood." While it's debatable whether Randall Doubet-King is a "Ward leader," to the extent he is known, he is known as a board member for ONE Northside.  He also accompanied Ms. Crawford when she submitted her nominating petitions.  (Regarding the implied Planned Parenthood endorsement, that went to Cappleman, not Crawford.)

So, are Cortez Duquette's allegations true?  We don't know, we weren't there.  But he was.

The original post is here:

"It was an interesting 18 months but things got colorful the last four months of the campaign when Amy Crawford decided to jump in the race. [Now] let me inform you that none of Ms. Davis friends got behind her in support of her announcement. Not even Marc Kaplan. In the process of Amy meeting with local blogs (Uptown Uprising) and neighborhood organizations, we learned that some of Denice Davis dear friends of 25+ years were trying to recruit candidates to run against her and James Cappleman. They recruited Amy Crawford. I later learned that ONE Northside was instrumental in the recruitment of Amy Crawford. Well some members of the recruiting team finds out that Amy Crawford is not as progressive as she claims and jump ship (I won't name names).

Moving forward, we then learn that Amy Crawford has retained Brendan Shiller and Michilla Blaise as political consultants. Brendan Shiller is Helen Shiller's son for those who do not know. Helen Shiller in some form is also a part of this consulting company.

This was strategic on Amy's behalf. I only frowned on it when she started saying "Denice Davis represents the old and the ward doesn't want to go back the road of Helen Shiller" all the while she is paying the Shiller's top dollar.

Amy Crawford has been inconsistent to put it nicely. Depending on what part of the ward she is engaging her positions change. Amy Crawford paid Denice Davis close friends $500 dollars a week to work for her. Considering the fact that Amy Crawford have not been involved in the community at all, I am pretty sure Helen and Brendan provided Amy Crawford their contact information. My opinion Amy is WOLF in Sheep clothing. Corporate interest.

I respect the fact that before James Cappleman decided to run he at least was hands on in the community in regards to his issues. I do not agree with him but in choosing the lesser of two evils, I endorse James Cappleman."

Later in the comments on Everyblock, he adds:

"Ms. Davis chose not to say anything during the election and I was under her direction. Denice Davis is a lady with class and although she was backstabbed repeatedly throughout the election she upheld who she was. I on the other hand cringed with distaste. I know it's all politics, but it is fair for me to voice my opinion and the facts,

Amy Crawford was recruited to run for alderman. Out of all the polarizing issues Uptown has faced in the decade she has lived in the 46th Ward her resume only list a seat on the board at Christopher House and work at a Credit Union. We can not account for one or two Uptown families she has helped. We can't say the same about James Cappleman. James Cappleman was involved in the community before he ran for office.

Amy Crawford is a sham and will do worse damage than James Cappleman can ever do. Frankly, I agree with Cappleman on some issues but make no mistakes about it I am an avid Denice Davis supporter/loyalist.

I have already spoke to James Cappleman's camp and assured them I will do whatever it takes to get him re-elected."


  1. Apparently I should read Everyblock more often. This is some unexpected stuff. I knew Amy was put up by the non profit left to run and I had/have my suspicions about others being involved, but this answers at least a few questions. Shiller was just one of the names mentioned to me regarding consultant types sniffing around the Crawford campaign. He is a jack of all trades. He does lobbying for strip clubs and medical weed outfits. I have no problem with that. Both should be legal and he's trying to earn a living. He does criminal defense. He does political consulting. He specializes in civil suits involving police misconduct.

    Here's one of the more or less amusing stories involving him and political consulting recently. Charges of guns, intimidation and the theft of cereal. Ok I just made up the cereal theft bit. I woke up earlier looking forward to a bowl of wholesome Count Chocula cereal and find my nephew and niece who are spending the weekend with me ate it. They thought they were going to the Music Box later to see a movie. HA! Revenge shall be mine!

    I'm going to have to take a long walk on this sunny Saturday and digest this. I have no friggin idea of where Amy stands on almost any non directly social issue. By that I mean I know her stand on abortion, gay rights, etc etc which are national in scope. Where she stands on development, low income housing, legalized gambling etc I have little idea. One thing Cortez is right about is that she changes her message a bit depending on who she's talking to. In one endorsement questionaire she filled out she was against gambling. In another she was for gambling. I can thank the commenters at Everyblock for bringing that to my attention. Conveniently the answers were probably exactly what the questionaire endorsers wanted to hear.

    Here's my tagline everytime we catch Amy in some BS: "That's Our Amy!"

  2. Why did Denice's "friends" recruit someone to run against her?

  3. Chicago History Minute.

    In 1955 Mayor Martin H. Kennelly was not slated by the Democratic Party to run for reelection. Richard J. Daley, chairman of the Democratic Party, outmaneuvered him and got the endorsement and won the primary. Now most of Kennelly's 'loyalists" in the party abandoned him in favor of Daley. One prominent Kennelly supporter didn't even though it was apparent Kennelly would lose.

    What do you think Richard J Daley did to that man after he became mayor? Flogging? Banishment? Nope. Daley gave that loyal gentleman a high position in the party. Daley appreciated and recognized someone he could trust. He appreciated that man's loyalty to Kennelly and implicitly understood that in an area of life where your friends will abandon you in a heartbeat, politics, that kind of loyalty was rare.

    Take any lesson you want from that.

  4. Hmm... I see. Thank you for that.

  5. Well, you know damned well that Amy is simply triangulating, like the Clintons did during the '90s--I recall seeing somewhere that Amy is pro- "balanced development"...which is code for the O.N.E.'ers that she supports subsidized housing with no Yuppie-friendly condos or commercialism...and which the rest of us view as "build market-rate housing and stores and restaurants so we can shop and eat near home." She's saying precisely nothing, yet leaves enough wiggle room for the polar opposites of the Ward to think she's "one of us". Pretty cynical, and it's only purpose is to gain office.

    The stuff that concerns me more is all of her assertions that she's attack crime and hire lots of new police officers--she hasn't spoken at all of ANY experience she has on understanding how to reduce crime, and she sure hasn't been out on the streets with us or in the courts for our neighborhood's criminal trials. It's really *nice* to blow hot air about hiring more police, but we all know that property taxes would have to go through the roof to pay for them--and for their pensions (more than it's going to already to pay the arrears in the pension funds already). She hasn't talked about how she would pay for the new police hires, or what she would cut from existing city programs to pay for them. Property taxes are due in a few days, and they are nearing the point where average Joes like me can't afford any more--watch us leave Chicago in droves if Amy piles on more taxes.

    But really, she's a big unknown--no record, no neighborhood familiarity, and not worth taking the chance on.

  6. Bear,

    the comparison to the Clintons is apt. Not spot on as Bill Clinton is a triangulating BS artist of biblical proportion. Amy can only aspire to that level of twistiness. Now I've never forgiven Bill C for defeating Paul Tsongas in 1992. Broke my heart. Tsongas was a bit of a geek and technocrat, but had a lot more discipline than Clinton. "Zipper failure" was not part of his personal makeup.

    Come on Amy
    Let's do the twist
    Come on Amy
    Let's do the twist
    Take me by my voting hand
    And go like this
    She can twist though.

    Look to question 25 on the IVI/IPO questionnaire she filled out.

    Do you support Casino gambling in Chicago?

    I am against Casino gambling in Chicago.

    Then on the Sun Times questionnaire she said the opposite. It's question 9.

    Do you support, in general concept, establishing a gambling casino in Chicago?



    Saying exactly what each endorsement board likely wanted to hear!

    Come on Amy
    Let's do the twist
    Come on Amy
    Let's do the twist
    Take me by my voting hand
    And go like this

  7. This is not news. Amy has already responded to these and similar complaints, and they are all beside the point anyway. I really couldn't care less about allegiances and alliances or who was here first or who betrayed whom. The 46th Ward has major issues, and it is going to take hard work, creative thinking, and a lot more to even start to solve them. The important question right now is who is the best qualified of the remaining candidates to lead the ward forward, and the answer to that question is Amy Crawford. From the beginning, Amy said she thought everyone deserved a place at the table, and I'm sure that includes Denice, who is an inspiration to many in the community and who has lived and breathed our problems for years and years. Denice and her people are not dumb. Most of them will support Amy in the end, if they don't already, because James has demonstrated for years that he doesn't care what they think.

    1. If Amy Crawford has responded to these complaints I haven't seen it. Then again in my three decades in Uptown I've only seen her twice that I'm aware of or perhaps I missed it.

  8. Damn you IrishPirate. Always search before you post. Amy has responded via twitter earlier today. Here we go.

    Amy Crawford @amyfor46 ·
    3. I'm running to accomplish the same thing more than 50% us voted for on E Day: a new direction for the ward. No one needed to recruit me.

    Amy Crawford @amyfor46 ·
    2. We've never paid anyone to switch sides; we've always respected the campaign Denice and Cortez assembled and wouldn't sully that with $

    Amy Crawford @amyfor46 ·
    On some rumors going around: 1. As our expenditure reports show, we have no business relationship with Shiller Blaise Consulting.

    Nothing on her Facebook page at least yet.

    Now those seem like lawyerly parsing of words and phrases to me, but since Amy has assured us in those tweets that all is well I will accept that. Like hell I will!

    Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war! I do love election season. Why would I doubt what Amy tweeted? Just because she's for and against gambling depending on the questionnaire doesn't mean she's parsing language here. Does it?

    1. "No one needed to recruit me."

    Doesn't deny being recruited.

    2. "Never paid anyone to switch sides."

    But did you pay some folks who Denice expected support from. Did some folks switch sides and then you paid them?

    3. "No business relationship with Shiller Blaise Consulting"

    This is the good one. I'm going to draw blood and I wouldn't likely ask the question if I didn't have at least some of the answers already.

    Questions to ask.

    1. Did you or anyone directly or indirectly involved in your campaign have any contact with Shiller Blaise or anyone affilated with Shiller Blaise or any of there other business or legal entities?

    2. By contact I mean phone(landline and cellular and fax) social media, email, smoke signals, morse code over telegraph etc. ,through intermediaries, friends,acquaintances,business associates,waitstaff,bus drivers etc etc. Etc Etc could include board members at various non profits or social organizations in or around Uptown. It would also include people shown on your campaign disclosure to have donated money to your campaign. Those last two categories are not meant to be mutually exclusive. There could be some overlap.

    3 You rightly state that your expenditure reports show no money going to Shiller Blaise. If there were any contacts between Shiller Blaise and you or your campaign were any non business agreements informally discussed? Such as did Shiller Blaise provide you with any contact information for folks you paid for your campaign? By "Shiller Blaise" I mean it in the broadest sense of anyone affiliated with that fine upstanding lobbying firm.

    If elected did you agree or hint at your possible willingness to support Helen Shiller for the City Council Finance Expert position? Was it discussed or hinted at? Were any discussions made of payments to Shiller Blaise or affilated businesses or people after the election?

    Do you see where I'm going with this?

    Once a campaign gets a reputation for saying one thing in one forum or questionnaire and the opposite thing somewhere else people, I'm assured by leading medical experts that I am in fact a person, start questioning things. Those for and against legalized gambling questionnaires are going to cost you. SNAKE EYES!

    It's a gambling term which I just looked up.

    Because this is the lowest possible roll, and will often be a loser in many dice games, such as Craps, the term has been employed in a more general usage as a reference to bad luck.

  9. Chicago Mumma,

    what's Amy's explanation for the two different responses on legalized gambling?

    It's a rhetorical question. I expect you and the rest of Amy's supporters to ignore it and continue attacking the messengers who post things not favorable to your candidate.

  10. Irish Pirate: I understand why some people think Amy's survey responses re casinos were inconsistent. But I also think many people didn't want to listen to her answer when they asked her to explain. The position she has outlined is nuanced and makes sense. As on many other issues, she is trying to strike the right balance. The right answer isn't necessarily a black or white yes/no.

    And what do you mean I attacked the messenger? Re-read my original message. I didn't attack any messenger. I just said I think this is a lot of drama for nothing, and I'm not interested in the drama.

    I just want the smarter and harder working of the two candidates to get the job of 46th ward alderman. I think that person is Amy Crawford, and I think people who are open to considering both of the remaining candidates will come to the same conclusion.

    1. If her position is nuanced, why did she not explain it instead of going with an unequivocal "YES" on one reply and an unequivocal "NO" on the other? If she can't explain herself on something like this, how in the world can we expect her to explain herself on other issues that crop up? And what's her record to justify that she's "smarter" and "harder working"? She hasn't been seen working hard on anything inside the Ward...and a couple of decades of experience working with (or around) attorneys tells me that attorneys like to inflate their experience AND take credit for work that other people do if it gets them ahead in their career trajectories. Unless you've been in her settlement negotiations or seen her in-action in a courtroom, you don't really know how good of an attorney she really is, let alone how "hard" she works. Her whole record could be papier mache...which means that it just might be turning into a piñata.

  11. Just woke up from my weekend stupor and found this in my inbox from Aldertrack:

    46th Ward candidate Amy Crawford’s says there’s an “ongoing conversation” with Denice Davis about an endorsement. Davis came in third last Tuesday, with just over 15 percent of the vote, Ald. James Cappleman finished with about 46%, and Crawford had about 38. Crawford tells Aldertrack her campaign is talking to voters who supported Davis, and plan to build on their 60-strong volunteer election day force ahead of April 7th. She says the campaign hasn’t had calls from the Garcia or Emanuel campaigns, and they don’t plan to endorse in the mayoral runoff.

    Ald. James Cappleman did not return calls for comment, but in an email to Aldertrack, said, “I do believe my opponent has the best intentions, however talking points alone aren’t real solutions. The 46th Ward needs a leader and with a vision and I have shown our community what I can do with real solutions and real results. I believe that they will re-elect me for another four years.” He did not respond to questions about endorsements from challenger Denice Davis, or whether he would announce an endorsement in the mayoral race.

  12. You know looking over her answers on various questionnaires is a veritable treasure trove of bullshit. That's our Amy!

    Here's the question and answer on her IVI/IPO questionnaire.

    What measures will you vote for to reform the city pension plan and ensure its solvency?

    A pension is a promise. The courts have been clear that pension benefits offered to existing workers cannot be diminished. All options need to be on the table to ensure we dedicate proper funding to the mismanaged City pension funds and protect vulnerable retirees on a fixed income. I have discussed potential revenue-raising options above. I also believe we need help from the State to fund teacher pensions.

    Then this is the Crawfordian bullshit on the Sun Times questionnaire:

    Do you support restructuring the pension systems, inevitably reducing benefits, to put the funds on sound financial footing?

    Yes or No: A qualified yes.

    Here are the links again so you can see and read all her "nuance". It's amazing that each endorsement questionnaire provides the type of "nuance" likely to garner her the endorsement of the particular group.

    Look to question 30 on the IVI/IPO questionnaire she filled out.

    Then on the Sun Times questionnaire she said the opposite. It's question number ONE. Which probably gives you an idea of what answer the Sun Times was looking for. They got the answer they wanted.


  13. I wonder when the two candidates will agree on a debate.

    1. Which Amy Crawford would show up? "Yes Amy" or "No Amy" since she answers various questions both ways.

      When Jane Byrne was mayor a reporter named Richard Ciccone had a series of columns featuring "Good Jane/Bad Jane" since Byrne had a rather interesting personality. Not as crazy as Rudy Giuliani though!

      Perhaps we could put together a series of political hits on Amy Crawford. Bear, are you up for it? "The Two Faces of Amy". "I'm for it and against it."

      She would be in good company though. Douglas accused Lincoln of being two faced and the response was for the ages:

      “Honestly, if I were two-faced, would I be showing you this one?” We need more pols like Lincoln and fewer like Byrne or Giuliani.

    2. IP, count me in. It doesn't look like it should be a lot of work....she's leaving lots of crumbs to follow (it's messy when she's putting out half-eaten questionnaires).

      But, mixing metaphors, let's whack the piñata!