Saturday, April 4, 2015

Cliff Notes About Last Night's Debate

In its daily mailing, Aldertrack summarized last night's debate between the 46th Ward aldermanic candidates.  One of its members, Mike Fourcher, was a moderator.  Here's their take:

46th Ward: Opponents Far Apart On Crime And Social Service Issues.  In their fifth face-off since the runoff campaign started, 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman and challenger Amy Crawford re-hashed well-practiced talking points in a CLTV/Aldertrack debate aired Friday evening, lobbing familiar attacks against each other on crime and affordable housing.

Near the start of the debate, Crawford accused Cappleman of asking the Salvation Army to stop feeding the homeless along the lakefront, and of attempting to reduce market-rate affordable housing in the ward. As he has in other debates, Cappleman denied the Salvation Army accusation, that he is in favor of harm reduction shelters and the city’s 2.0 Plan to move homeless into full time housing with wraparound services. “We have 4,470 units of government affordable housing. No other ward in the city has as much as we do,” he said.

Crawford said crime was a persistent and increasing problem in the 46th and touted her Fraternal Order of Police endorsement. “The past four years have been a failure. The murder rate is up 400%.” Cappleman “stood by” during a 2013 merger of 19th and 23rd Police District forces, Crawford said, “we need to call for the reallocation of some police resources,” including more beat police.

Cappleman retorted that crime has actually gone down in the ward, accusing Crawford of never attending a CAPS meeting, then pivoted to tout economic development, saying an average of one business a month is setting up shop in the 46th Ward, which has drawn businesses to support him, “70% of my campaign contributions have come from ward businesses and the residents themselves.”

Cappleman also claimed credit for the $200 million Wilson L stop renovation project, but when pressed on one of his biggest campaign promises of the last cycle, renovation of the Uptown Theater, the alderman said despite appearances, “a lot has happened.” He said businesses are moving in, and a $6 million dollar streetscape with an outdoor plaza is in the works.

“That’s just another case of overpromising and under-delivering,” Crawford shot back, saying Cappleman promised to have theater renovations completed in 2015. She compared Cappleman to former Ald. Helen Schiller more than once, and said voters “know they won’t get any more independence now that the alderman has taken about $60,000 of help from the mayor’s [Chicago Forward] PAC.” If elected, Crawford says she would join the City Council Progressive Caucus.

On speed cameras, while Cappleman said he opposes and voted against creating speed cameras, Crawford said they need to be modified to increase transparency and accountability, “I don’t want to wipe them out and create a $40 million hole in our budget.”

Cappleman said he’d be open to a hybrid school board but Crawford said she stands with majority of 46th Ward voters who supported an elected school board in the general election referendum. Both would retain Barbara Byrd Bennett as Chicago Public Schools superintendent.

Crawford said she would be open to a single casino in Chicago. When Crawford answered, Cappleman accused her of changing positions on affordable housing, pensions, and casinos and says he wants casino revenue to go toward paying pensions.

There was no mention of pigeons during the entire 30-minute debate. – by A.D. Quig -
UU Note:  Aldertrack has been providing free daily updates during the election season, and will begin a pay format beginning Wednesday, April 8th.  If you're interested in Chicago politics, you can read more about Aldertrack here.


  1. Crawford is amazing. She can take three positions depending on the forum on a yes/no question. Yes. No. A Qualified Yes.

    In fairness though she is now pro ONE casino. She got hit so hard on her back and forth she's apparently evolved into a YES. Is there a word that would describe "nuance" and "evolving" on an issue? I may have to make one up.

    Oh well early voting is almost over so now it's going to be Turnout Tuesday for both campaigns. Tuesday looks dreary weather wise.

  2. I don't understand why Amy keeps coming back the Government affordable housing angle? The same issue was cover during the WTTW debate and James touted the fact that the 46th ward has more government housing tha any other wars in the city. When the follow up question was "Do you need more?" He answered with a resounding "Absolutely!".
    Does she think he's going to have a change of heart?

  3. I got a particularly aggravating flyer from the Capp camp. Something about Crawford representing BP regarding the oil spill. So F ing what? Good for her. Still voting for Cappleman but it was the dumbest flyer yet.

    1. The one thing that brought me closest to not voting for Cappleman was the daily postcard I received for a week and a half bashing the hell out of Crawford. Still voting for Cappleman...but come on.

  4. Both sides have been pretty bad with the negative campaigning. I saw that same BP one and thought it was a load of crap. We need to get all this money out of politics.

  5. Regarding Crawford not attending CAPS meetings, although I've never seen her, I haven't seen Cappleman either, although I have seen various members of his office staff. I'm sure if she gets elected she'll do likewise. Also, I take issue with Cappleman assertion that 1 business per month has opened. I've lived in this ward for approx. 3 years and can honestly refute that number, it seems just as many close as open. Remember Rokito's, the computer store and that chicken place? Just saying.

    1. I've lived in the ward for 22 years, in two different locations. The 46th Ward consists of more than just Uptown and Wilson Avenue. Print a copy of the Ward map and go walk it--you won't be able to honestly refute the number then. As far as CAPS meetings go, I know which beat Cappleman lives in, both in the current 19th District configuration and the old 23rd Police District--he was a regular at that beat meeting, he came to the beat meetings for ours, the ones for the beat north of us, and beats in Buena Park. If something happened in other beats, Cappleman was there. You haven't been here long enough to know the history. On the other hand, if Amy is going to be all rah-rah about adding police to this district and also about addressing crime, AND if she claims that she's been active in the neighborhood for 12 years, then why didn't she bother to go to even her own beat's CAPS meetings until she started running for office? Those meetings are run by CPD, not the alderman's office, and they are for the community of that particular beat...not attending for 12 years tells me that she wasn't interested in her community to begin with, and that she isn't aware of the particulars of that beat's crimes, let alone what CPD does to address it, otherwise she would have had her happy butt there to network with people in her beat. She's ignorant and uninterested, and she's not active in her own community. You can make sure that you're informed about things as alderman by sending your staff to learn and share information at the beat meetings when you have many other public obligations, but if you haven't been at the meetings to begin with, it's kinda hard to understand what's going on and how the CPD is working (or not working) to address particular crimes. Amy could have been credible if she'd gotten her butt out there to be seen actually participating in her immediate community, but showing up for her first CAPS beat meeting in the midst of a campaign (and working on her phone instead of paying attention to the meeting), and having no one in the community who can vouch for anything that she's done in the Ward for the Ward makes her look like a carpetbagging joke trying to buy an election.

    2. By the way, Rokito's and "the computer store" were in CTA property torn down to replace the sewer of an EL station at Wilson that Amy's buddy Helen Shiller never could bring herself to fix...and Cappleman worked with other elected officials to find the money, so the Wilson station is *FINALLY* getting re-built under his watch into something we can all be proud of and feel safe about. And "that chicken place" shut down all its locations in this region of the country--it's called "business". The explanation for why nothing has gone in there again is connected to the parcel owner's lease agreement, and it has been discussed here in UU. See if you can figure out the name of "that chicken place" if it matters that much, then you can use the "Search UU" box to find the posts about it. You've only been here 3 years, so you have no idea how bad things were 4 years ago before Cappleman was elected to office.

    3. FYI, although I've only lived in the 46th Ward for 3 years, however, I've lived in Chicago all my life, I know what goes on here. I didn't move here from the suburbs, or some other state, like a lot of people have, the same ones that are now proclaiming themselves to be experts on the city of Chicago. I know what the boundaries are too! Everyday I walk the neighborhoods of Uptown and see all the empty businesses and decaying structures. Great, I'm glad Cappleman finally got the ball rolling on renovating the Wilson Ave. "L". Woohoo! You forgot to mention he also brought in Sonic, which is just what we didn't need. Another stupid fast food restaurant. Have you ever noticed how obese people are in this neighborhood, that's assuming you walk around here as much as I do? Did we really need a McD's and a Sonic? What about the rest of Uptown, specifically, from Wilson to Lawrence? What's Cappleman done about that old Border's Building? Still holding meetings, still talking about it. Last I checked it was still empty, as it was 3 years ago when I moved in. I don't care what the excuse is or how many meetings he's attended. Put something in there, just not another fast food chain! Personally I think he's done an okay job, not great, and maybe if he actually did more, instead of just talking about the problems I would more on board with him. For now I'm just lukewarm about James Cappleman.

    4. WAW,

      is clearly trolling. Deliberately doesn't acknowledge new business going into Borders/Goldbaltts building. Sonic, blah blah blah.

      Ignore it and move on

    5. IP is being his usual charming self, an opinion about everyone and everything going on in the 46th Ward.

      Yes, let's ignore YOU and move on....

    6. WAW WAW,

      as we tick down the hours to the Capplemaniac Sonic Shake Victory Dance I can only think to give you two quotes penned by the late Roger Ebert for "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls":

      1. This is my happening and it freaks me out!

      Partygoer 1: You're a moonchild.
      Partygoer 2: And you're a bitch!

      Ok I lied, here's a third.

      3. Up yours, Ratso!

      Truly one of the funniest movies ever made and certainly the best penned by a U of I graduate named Ebert. If you ever get a chance to see it then see it.

  6. MMMMM.. Cappleman is everywhere, all you have to do is walk out the door. Doesn't matter if it's a campaign or not. The only place I see Amy's camp is either on the corner of Sheridan and Lawrence or on the El platform. That's about it. Amy cannot possibly know the dynamics of uptown when you do not attend crucial community meetings and participate, how will she be in office? I am James all the way, afraid of what might happen if we get the other in office.

  7. I particularly liked this tweet from the Capp campaign. Former business owner who lives just outside the ward and has no reason to pucker up to the Alderman. It shows what a hard working energizer bunny of an alderman can do compared to someone with no real ward experience looking at being alderman as a stepping stone to higher office.

    As for businesses closing and opening that's life in the real world. I do think it's fair to say that the number of active businesses has gone up a bit and the quality too in the last four years. Smaller grocers are a bit better, more restaurant choices and whether you like Sonic or not it's providing jobs for people and a long vacant lot has disappeared. The climbing gym will be a good thing at the Goldblatt's building. Then again to some people if they don't utilize a business it doesn't matter.

  8. Agreed, IP. It hasn't been only but 5 years ago that we saw lots of posts grumbling about people getting accosted by homeless drunks on Broadway or Montrose, new businesses being hair-weave and nail shops, stores that sold gang t-shirts and micro-ziplock bags in bulk for crack sellers, and businesses going belly-up because gangbangers were selling crack their front doors. Over the past four years, we've been getting a diversity of new stores and restaurants that fit a variety of tastes and budgets, the CPD are responsive to problems instead of showing up and saying they can't do much because Shiller's camp would bail out the offenders, and when you couldn't get an audience with Saint Helen de Shiller (let alone find her anywhere besides out of state on vacations when there were murders, or running from meetings because she didn't want to talk with the public), you can actually speak directly with Cappleman and he will hear you--even if he doesn't always agree with you. Cappleman has been accessible and inclusive, and he takes the time to try to do things *right* instead of the way that Shiller used to intentionally ignore broad swathes of the community in order to do things her own way without listening--creating lots of concrete warts that are difficult if not impossible to fix responsibly within our lifetimes.

    Cappleman was handed a couple of bushels of lemons when he was elected, and for the most part, he's turned them into some pretty decent lemonade for us. He's got more to make, but I don't think anyone can expect someone else to take those leftover lemons and turn them into sustainably-grown soy lattes in a new womyn's coffee house that lets everyone in one day then suddenly decides that it will only admit lesbians of color the next...until someone points out the change of mind, then they'll announce they'll do a political fundraiser open only to wealthy gay men because their policy is "nuanced".

    1. Bear,

      Don't forget FOUR whole businesses on Broadway support Amy and at least one of them likely has no Shillerite and/or upzoning agenda.

      Cappleman is having his election night gathering at Uptown Underground, good choice I need to check that place out, and it's close to Sonic. I fully expect to show up with about 50 Sonic Shakes so someone better clear that with the management or we'll be devouring them outside much the same way many of Amy's supporters want to devour the good work Cappleman has done over the last four years.

      So folks get out there and vote Cappleman tomorrow if you haven't already. Vote's what Yoda would want. If you don't vote then I may be laying in my clawfoot tub surrounded by bottles of wine and Mozart music contemplating the unjustness of life while I should be standing at Sonic ordering fifty shakes to go.

      Vote then show up and do the Sonic Shake Victory Dance at the Underground. It might even involve some twerking of some kind directed slightly SE at our friends over at JPUSA HQ and slightly NE to Crawford campaign HQ.

      Added benefit even though I don't show up in mirrors or photos as I have no reflection I will allow people to take pics with me. It will appear you're standing next to a Sonic Shake suspended in the air. It's a vampire thing.

      125 years in Uptown and I finally get to see a decent candidate reelected. It's bring joy to my undead heart.

  9. I think Cappleman has been such an improvement over our past alderman - the ward has a far more open discourse and Cappleman actually listens to constituents, which Shiller stopped doing years ago.

    I think Cappleman should have won the election initially, but I guess the run-off has allowed voters to see the lack of any involvement in our community Ms. Crawford has had. Most people I know who were fooled by Crawford in the initial election have seen her real side and are no longer going to vote for her. She reminds me so much of Molly Phelan in her willingness to take any position that seems convenient at the moment and her lack of any involvement in the daily life and issues of our ward.