The four challengers for the 43rd Ward Aldermanic seat appeared on WTTW's Chicago Tonight tonight.
Just to set the stage: Tim Egan looked like he may be growing a mustache. Rachel Goodstein wore a necklace with a giant, vertical "VOTE" on it. Michele Smith wore lipstick that matched her hair color. Peter Zelchenko held a roll of masking tape.
The show featured the candidates in the order that their names will appear on the ballot, so I am, too. You'll find some representative quotes from their appearance below.
Vi Daley did not appear due to a "scheduling conflict." (Yeah, right.) What really ticked me off was that the moderator, Eddie Arruza, asked the candidates what Vi Daley had done well and what she hadn't done well. He pressed the candidates to answer the first part of the question and then he blew off the second part of the question! Then, he defended Vi Daley's position to them later when they mentioned the problems in the ward!
What is wrong with our media these days? They absolutely coddle people in power. I just don't get it. A democracy needs a press that presses its leaders, not helps them when they fail to show up and take responsibility for their office and their actions. I think that was completely disrespectful to the four candidates and a failure of journalistic responsibility.
Here are some notable quotes:
"As a former federal prosecuter, a corporate executive for 15 years, the social action chair of the Chicago Sinai Congregation, and a ward resident for well over 20 years as well as a parent, I think I bring the kind of sophisticated expertise that's expected in the ward."
"What I really intend to do and what this ward needs is a comprehensive plan for the future. I intend to convene a ward-wide strategic plan so that we can have the input of the best in urban planning and make Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast a model of urban planning instead of what we have now, which is the neighbors have to ban together and sometimes and fight lawsuits in order to fight in appropriate development."
On Children's Memorial Hospital site: "That's the spot where we can hope to have a devleopment that we can be as proud of in Lincoln Park as our city is of Millennium Park. That should be a crossroads for our community."
"I have a very broad background in terms of education, business experience, and volunteer experience. It gives me a great depth about how the city works."
"One of the things that I have proposed in terms of how to deal with the communications is I've made a commitment. There are 59 precincts in the 43rd ward and to meet with each precinct on an ongoing basis --59, a day off. So that you get more involvement of people, but you also get them to know each other. . . There's litigation, but before you get to litigation. It' s a lack of not knowing your neighbors and lack of civility."
"I think the board of the CTA needs to be people who ride the bus and take the el, and they are not."
"As a hospital administrator I maintain the practical, professional experience that's needed in our aldermanic office."
"We need new and aggressive forms of communication when it comes to development. There is a hysteria that happens in the 43rd ward that is unnecessary. We need to go out and reach the ward through every means possible. "
"Creating a ward-wide community committee for development is a great idea and it's very necessary, but at the end of every result, you need a strong leader to come in and make that final decision. . . Litigation is a huge part of the communication process in the 43rd ward. We have neighbors suing neighbors, neighbors suing businesses. We have a group of neighbors that sued a homeless shelter in the middle of our ward. We need a mediator to step in and take the heat and the middle ground."
"Children's Memorial has been a wonderful corporate neighbor in the 43rd ward. . . (Children's) is going to have a hand in who buys that property and what goes in there. So, I have full faith in their cooperation in the future."
"I grew up in the ward, and I know it better than any other of the candidates."
"The problems we're having are the result of the ward being run by a very small and exclusive cabal of people, some connected with community groups and others. Right now, what we're really seeing in the race is a kind of tug-of-war between Marty Oberman, who is Ms. Smith's Chinaman, and Vi Daley's people in terms of who is going to control the ward. I, and other candidates, want to develop a true community council forum where these interests are diffused a little bit better."
"Children's (Memorial Hospital) is an institution. It's a corporation, and we mustn't get too sentimental about it's relationship to the community. It's upping and leaving. There's a lot of rich opportunity for that as a real, walkable community-centered structure where we can maybe put the library and other things. We're going to squeeze every possible community benefit out of that space with the help of the community.
UPDATE: And, I meant to add, I think Vi's not showing up was a failure of her duty to her constituents. This was PBS for gosh sakes. Perhaps she doesn't want the job as much as she implies she does.