Hail, Hail, The Gang’s All Here! 46th Ward aldermanic candidate Amy Crawford has said she represents "Uptown's Future", but a recently released email to her new "team" looks a lot like a return to Uptown's Past. Some of Helen Shiller’s most fervent supporters have joined forces with Amy Crawford's campaign in her runoff challenge to James Cappleman.
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Who’s involved in the Crawford “team”?
- There’s Marc Kaplan, formerly of COURAJ, CopWatch, North Side Action for Justice, and various other acronym organizations. He says you’re destroying families, lives and community when you buy a condo in Uptown. After running for alderman himself four years ago with Brendan Shiller as his campaign manager, he then backed Molly Phelan in her unsuccessful bid against Cappleman in the 2011 runoff. He supported Denice Davis until February 24th, but now is part of Team Crawford.
- There’s D’Angelo Boyland, a tenant organizer for Voice of the People, affordable housing providers who’ve received multiple millions of dollars from the Wilson Yard TIF, put in place by Helen Shiller during her term as alderman of the 46th Ward. (That’s one of five Uptown TIFs she's responsible for creating.) Voice of the People, a non-profit tax-exempt organization that can’t be involved in politics, received millions of dollars to restore its dilapidated properties in the Sheridan Park and Clarendon Park areas, money that was and is still being funneled away from police, schools and other city services by the TIF. TIFs have been very, very good to VotP. Remember that when you see campaign literature urging TIF reform. You'll also see D'Angelo's name on the newly created "POP46" organization that endorsed both Crawford and Davis.
- There’s Karen Zaccor, whose friendship with the Shillers goes back 25 years. She’s the former president of Justice Graphics, HQ’d in Shiller’s former aldermanic office on Montrose, and one of three teachers hand-picked by Ms. Shiller to create Uplift High School.
- There’s Cory Muldoon, formerly with the tax-exempt, non-profit, supposedly apolitical organization, O.N.E. They like to hold marches. Muldoon and O.N.E. protested the abysmal living conditions at Lawrence House, then acted appalled when the court-appointed receiver sold the building. Somehow they blame Ald. Cappleman for not standing in the way of a private party selling its property to another private party. Speaking of O.N.E., you'll notice Jennifer Ritter, the current O.N.E. Executive Director. She was formerly the head of the Lakeview Action Coalition that actively protested the closing of Hotel Chateau. Apparently they were fine with people living in squalor. And now she's running a not-for-profit and organizing debates for the candidates because she's going to remain neutral. Cat's out of the bag now! Hopefully they will just be publicly endorsing Crawford and turning in their not-for-profit status now so we can all just clear the air.
- There are former Shiller office workers on the list, as well as members of CopWatch.
- Most prominently, there's Denice Davis, who endorsed Crawford in the run-off earlier this week. Denice, of course, was Ms. Shiller's chief of staff for many years ("This isn't your college campus, sweetie!") She had a lot of criticism for Amy Crawford just a month ago, calling her out for not being involved in the community despite living in Uptown for ten years ("Who are you?") In turn, Crawford dismissed Davis as "Uptown's Past." But now Davis has enthusiastically endorsed Crawford's candidacy. We wonder what happened to change her mind?
As this email reveals, "Uptown's Future" may just end up looking a lot like Uptown's Past. "We’re excited about having you on the team!”