Thursday, March 22, 2007

43rd Ward Election Run-off: The Calm Before the Storm

Before TPWWL heads out on spring break (totally, dudes), here is the latest in the 43rd aldermanic run-off that pits incumbent Vi Daley against Michele Smith. See you in April!

  • Ms. Smith rung the bell of my home while out canvasing the neighborhood. She was kind enough to share her opinions about her positions and fill me in on the latest news from the campaign front as she sees it.

Somewhere in the midst of the conversation, my two-year old daughter, who I was holding in my arms, stuck both fingers in her ears while Ms. Smith was talking. It was like a page out of Politician Training 101. Mom was mortified. The candidate was diplomatic. The daughter thought she was very, very funny.

  • Mark your calendards now for April 9. Vi Daley and Michelle Smith will appear on Channel 11's Chicago Tonight. This is great news as I think Vi Daley did herself a real disservice by avoiding the show during the first go-round. Good for her for stepping up to the plate. This opportunity will serve the community well, and I'm guessing it will be the only opportunity for voters to see the candidate's side-by-side.

  • My new favorite high school student in the ward, Jake CP, who is Chairman and Host of Jake's Chicago Politics, has endorsed Michele Smith for alderman. Jake formerly backed Tim Egan, but did not join him when Egan threw his support to Vi Daley. He's my new favorite high school student, not because of who he's endorsing (remember, I'm truly neutral in this race), but because it's just so exciting to see someone his age get knee-deep into his local politics.

Here's the YouTube link: Enjoy.

  • Inside Lincoln Park reports that Smith received the endorsement of the IVI-IPO organization and the Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago, Lodge #7

  • Meanwhile, an abbreviated version of Tim Egan's letter endorsing Vi Daley without the Bill Kurtis murder part (which I've previously posted here), arrived in the mail on Vi Daley letterhead with Egan's name on the envelope.

  • My in-box has been pretty quiet from Team Vi. Other than an invite to join her team for to march in the St. Patrick's Day, I don't have any other updates for you. Please post if you know of some.

Haiku You: University of Chicago Holds a Contest

Four-hundred and nine University of Chicago alumni submitted haiku poems for a contest sponsored by the University of Chicago Magazine. The poems had to be about the university somehow.

Giuliana Fargnoli Champman, AB '96, won with this charming little number:

Japanese tourists
standing around the Atom
photograph themselves

Friday, March 16, 2007

St. Patrick left these at the Field Museum

From the American Memory Collection of The Chicago Daily News.

The archive description reads: "Four Irish relics related to St. Patrick on a table in the Field Museum in the Loop community area in Chicago, Illinois. 1907."

He probably put them in the coat check while he was looking at the dinosaurs, and then, when he got back to Ireland, he found the stub in his wallet and went, "Oh, jeez."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Coming Soon: Ruffled Smoked Salmon & A Helluva Mortgage

Lucien Lagrange, the architect whom I've described previously (here) as a French man right out of Central Casting, will be hosting a preview of his newest project at 2520 N. Lakeview on Thursday, March 29 from 4 - 8 p.m.

Is it possible to measure the mortgage by the menu? You tell me:

Ruffled Smoked Salmon on Black Rye Bread

Minted Cucumber Creme Fraiche and Fresh Mint

Medium Rare Breast of Duck with Yellow Tomato Relish in Petite Cranberry Muffin

Grilled Zucchini Roulade

Tomato Scallion Compote and Chevre Cheese

Brie and Apricot in Phyllo Flower

Beef on Petite Rolls with Wasabi Sauce

Phyllo Spinach Triangles with Bearnaise Dip

Almond Tuilles, Fresh Fruit Tartlets, Petite Chocolate Eclairs, Lemon Squares, Chocolate Carmel Finger Brownies, and Petite Black Bottom Cakes with Ganache Rosette

So, hmmm, let's see, you take the petite beef rolls with wasabi sauce divide them by the number of phyllos add to it the number of fruit tartlets squared and, my friends, I think you're gonna see starting prices around $2 mil.

'Tis a shame I won't be in town to attend. But, you can. Go here to sign up.

[Note to 2520 Developers Ricker-Murphy, I don't think Mr. Lagrange capitalizes the first "g" in his last name per his company's website here. You may want to fix that on your website.]

Monday, March 12, 2007

Tim Egan: Bill Kurtis Tried to Get Me Killed, In My Heart I Know Vi is the Right Choice, and Other Tales from the 43rd Ward Aldermanic Front

Tim Egan e-mailed his statement about why he will be endorsing Vi Daley in the run-off. He entitled it, "A Vision for the Future."

He writes:

There is much to be said after experiencing the eye of the storm view in a campaign for Alderman in the City of Chicago.

Educational is the first word I would use to describe two years plus on the “Chicago Stump.” Secondly, but most important, is the great pride in the hard work and dedication of so many supporters, family and friends. There was some bitter disappointment in commitments promised and not delivered, but that was outweighed by the outright hilarity in some things that came our way.

One of my favorite memories is when the Chicago legend Bill Kurtis tried to get me killed. The famed news anchor and incredible voice and I were at the Center For Performing Arts fundraiser several months ago along with about 300 others waiting in the hallway for the arrival of Mayor Daley.

As usual the Mayor’s advance team arrived to secure the room and looked the full professional part with wired earphones and trench coats in place. It was the first time I had ever met Mr. Kurtis but was happy to have a conversation about the campaign, given he is a 43rd Ward constituent.

Then he tried to get me killed.

Mr. Kurtis suggested that the best way to get a picture with the Mayor and be on the front page of the newspapers was to “lunge” at him as he walked by. Because Mr. Kurtis’ voice is mesmerizing I didn’t catch his direction at first and then it hit me, he was trying to get me clipped by those real looking, gun carrying bodyguards.

I mentioned that a person my size lunging anywhere near the Mayor would not be around the next day to run for anything and seriously hoped Mr. Kurtis was kidding. That guy has the straightest face in TV history and I really couldn’t tell.


Our campaign team presented a Positive Acton platform that was drowned out by a forest pillaging negative tête-à-tête. Where are the environmentalist endorsements when you need them?

As much as I long for cheap shot politics to be abolished, it’s unfortunately here to stay. As the only Aldermanic candidate in the City of Chicago to attend the Campaign For Political Reform luncheon with former Illinois State Senator Peter Fitzgerald, I also keep my hopes up that massive campaign financing reforms will come to fruition sometime before then next turn of the century. Spending over $250,000 for an Aldermanic seat is ludicrous and massive reform city, state and countrywide is so necessary.

The spending frenzy, especially the bashing of opponents in my opinion is an insult to everyone’s intelligence and something our campaign stayed very far away from.

In the end, we did alright and I want to thank our troops who were the highlight of the entire campaign. We had help from 43rd Ward residents, Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce members, family, friends and as much silent support as you can garner in Chicago. We played it straight and stayed above the usual political idiocy and tried to pound home our Positive Action message. It did garner support with
almost 1,100 voters and I am thankful to each and every one of them.

The big question on the minds who are interested in the 43rd Ward about who I would support was answered by ABC TV on Friday, March 9th at 5 pm. My support for Alderman Vi Daley comes down to two simple truths. I polled some of our most ardent and dedicated supporters in the most democratic fashion possible and an overwhelming majority will be voting for Alderman Daley.

In my heart, I know that Vi is the right choice for the next four years in our

I have full faith Vi Daley will represent my supporters, my family and myself in the City Council. Vi has served two terms as 43rd Ward Alderman and two terms as Chief of Staff to a former 43rd Ward Alderman. She has been in the ward for over 30 solid years and I have confidence in her knowledge of the system.

While her administration has had the shock of not garnering more than 50% of the popular vote, I believe Vi will make the steps necessary to increase communication and improve her constituent service plan in the next four years.

After spending time with Michele Smith at community forums, TV & radio interviews and on the streets of the 43rd Ward campaigning, I can honestly say from my heart that she did not earn my vote. As I head to the polling place and cast my vote for Vi in April, it is because in my opinion her campaign did not lay positive ground work on behalf of the residents of the 43rd Ward.

Smith has offered critizicism of the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, but never joined as a member. She has guaranteed no future high rise development on the Children’s Memorial site as complete campaign rhetoric. She has promoted her support for the 7% tax cap, but so did all of the candidates and Vi has been championing that cause for years. Who wouldn’t?

Most importantly, parts of the 43rd Ward truly reflect a village within the city. And the negative campaigning and lack of positive ideas does not lend itself to a very village like atmosphere.

No deals where made and my hands were not washed by any other hands, which will be automatic assumptions. Hey, I just paid another round of parking tickets that we were tagged with during the last few weeks. So no free passes have been granted. Voting for Vi is my choice and the choice of my family.

As for my future, you’ll hear from me again as I have promised my supporters. My candidacy was for the purest reasons and those reasons have not changed. I am definitely looking forward."

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Egan Throws Support Behind Daley in Run-Off

ABC Channel 7 reports here that Tim Egan is backing Vi Daley in the run-off. Hmmmm.

Vi's reaction as quoted in the article:

"I met with him and I think he ran a good campaign and he has some ideas that I will be working with him on."

Opponent Michele Smith's reaction as quoted in the article:

"The overwhelming majority of the voters voted for change. They responded to our campaign because it was about the issues, about development, property taxes, waste."

No statement per Egan's site.

Egan backers, will you, too, be backing Daley in the run-off?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lynn Becker: "The Farwell is Toast"

Lynn Becker reports here that the Farwell will be gutted. He writes,

"In a a dazzling display of raw political power and overwhelming self-deception, The Society for the Protection of Wealthy Developers, formerly known as the ommission on Chicago Landmarks, voted this morning to demolish the landmark Farwell Building on North Michigan and remount the surviving elements of its facade on a new structure.Voting in favor the motion were Chairman David Mosena, John Baird, Lori Healey, Lisa Willis, Ernest C. Wong, Phyllis Ellin, Christopher R. Reed and Ben Weese. The sole commissioner not to drink the Kool-Aid and voting no was Edward I. Torrez. The other commissioners kept repeating the mantra of "This is not a precedent. This is not a precedent" as if trying to convince themselves that it could actually be true."

Press 1 if you Plan to Vote for Vi Daley. (So we can hit you up for some form of support and maybe ignore you.)

Press 2 if you plan to vote for Michele Smith. (So we can write you off.)
Press 3 if you are undecided. (So we can work on you.)
Press 4 if you are not planning to vote in the election. (So we can ignore you.)

When "the machine" quite literally called today, the robo voice identified herself as being with Vi's campaign. After I pressed 3, I was disconnected. No smoozy "Goodbye" or "Thank you." Just a genuine click.

This can't be that effective for them, can it? Really, what are they going to do with information if it's not what I've described above? There are two registered voters in our household. How do they know who they're talking to? How do they know six-year olds aren't responding?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

No Word from Tim Egan's Camp - FYI

Although Tim expected to make a statement on Monday about his intentions for the run-off, I'm guessing that life has intervened and he's taking the time he needs to be with his family right now. Or, perhaps he's mulling over how he'd like to proceed. Maybe both.

I'm sure he'll let us know what's up when he's good and ready.

UPDATE: Here's the March 5 statement from Tim's campaign site, but that does not overtly state his plans. Anonymous, who posted about Tim's plans, obviously believes s/he knows something I don't. That, of course, is entirely possible.

Dear 43rd Ward Supporters & Friends,

The experience of running for 43rd Ward Alderman over the last two years plus has been more than wonderful, it has brought me friendships that will last a lifetime.

We all have great memories that will also last a lifetime.

I was prompted to run for Alderman by neighbors, friends and family because they believed my hospital administration and community service background would be perfect for the office. My run had the purest intentions and although the outcome was less than perfect for our team, we are energized by the positives.

We put out an army throughout our campaign; an army made up of 43rd Ward residents, business associates, charitable organization friends and even those I played sports with and against. More importantly, our team was bolstered by my family. More cannot be said about the support of the dedication shown by my wife Marlena. I could not ask for a better partner, mother to my children and friend.

Then there are my brothers. We three Irish siblings have lived up to legend by being the best of friends and the toughest of opponents. But true heart was displayed at the 2626 N. Lakeview polling place throughout the day on Tuesday, Feb. 27th.

My 44 year old brother Terry played the roll of poll watcher for our team and did a great job keeping an eye on things. Three weeks ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and my family thought it best to keep it from me during the election. My brother, facing the abyss of a disease with no proven cure, worked like a champion.

Heart, as I've said, is the greatest of life's characteristics and with my brother in the lead our campaign showed plenty. There are many "thanks" to be passed around and they belong to those who stuffed envelopes, made phone calls, labeled, placed door hangers, hit the streets and so much more.

Our "team" and our "army" were unmatched, from friends who helped financially and to those who dedicated much of their free time; I owe them all a ton of gratitude.
And to the almost 1,100 voters who believed in our message and our vision for the future,


That said, we're not done. My heart is dedicated to community service and my hope is for great things to come in the 43rd Ward. Please keep in touch and keep visiting our website, we're keeping it going and we'll keep promoting safety and community involvement.

Thanks once again and I look forward to seeing all of you throughout the run-off election in April and at all the 43rd Ward neighborhood functions right around the corner. See you soon.


Ideas about Place (and Travel): Wendy McClure

I stumbled across I'm Not the New Me at the Brown Elephant thrift store recently. It's a memoir, and I adore it.

It's written by fellow Chicagoan Wendy McClure, who blogs at a site called Pound. The book, to her enormous credit, grew out of the blog. She writes about her struggle to lose weight in a snarky world that expects it of her. Chicago is her backdrop.

Here's an excerpt that reveals a bit of her thoughts about this place:

"We're taking the Chicago Skyway out. The road vaults up to the Skyway bridge that takes us over Calumet City, over barges and water treatment plants and electrical towers and big tanks of God knows what. We have to roll up the windows when we cross over into Indiana, through Hammond and Gary. The first hour of any trip east from Chicago takes you through panoramic swaths of industrial stuff, all of it ugly, all hell, and we love it. It makes Indiana into an epic."

I love that stretch in a weird way, too. It kind of reminds me of Pittsburgh. My grandfather worked in the steel mills there, and the ugliness of that industry had an inexplicable, captivating charm. Of course, that could be the nostalgia talking.

But, it did seem that any moment while driving around there, we might stumble across a mysterious passage. I imagined it would lead to the enormous pot of molten steel my grandfather used to talk about. One time, he said, a man fell in, and they had to bury the entire pot because his body would never be found and the steel would never be any good.

[Other fave memoirs of late: Eat, Pray, Love and The Glass Castle.]

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Lynn Becker: Bid Farewell to the Farwell After All?

Lynn Becker tracks the continuing saga of the stripping of the Farwell Building's landmark status in favor of a parking lot here.

It's not surprising that the win earlier this year by preservationists was tentative at best. It's back on the docket for this Thursday.

Interested citizens can attend or send an e-mail to the Deputy Commissioner as outlined below.

Unfortunately, Lynn's post was written the day before Alderman Burton Natarus was ousted by Brendan Reilly in the municipal election. Does anyone know how Reilly feels about the proposal on the Farwell?

One of TPWWL's readers forwarded the meeting scoop as such:

Please attend the meeting on Thursday or please send an email to Deputy
Commissioner, Brian Goeken at

Commission on Chicago Landmarks – Special Meeting Farwell Building

Thursday, March 8, 2007 9:00 a.m.

(Please be early to sign in to speak)

Cook County Commission Board Room
118 N. Clark Street, 5th Floor (East
Chicago, Illinois

Read TPWWL's coverage of the last Commission on Chicago Landmarks meeting here.

Photo borrowed from Lynn Becker's Blog, ArchitectureChicago Plus

Friday, March 02, 2007

Tim Egan: "Family News Has Put This Election in Clear Perspective"

Sad news from the Egan camp.

I received this earlier today in response to my inquiry for a post-election statement or comment. (I am in the process of e-mailing all the candidates for statements/responses should they care to share them.)

I was certainly sorry to hear this news and wish Tim and his family well. Expect to hear a statement from him on Monday.

Tim wrote,

"The aftermath has been extremely difficult for my family and not because we lost the race. We have had some devastating family news that was held back from me during the election. Strength and courage is what I respect most in life. And while the news is heartbreaking, what has happened and how my family is dealing with it is a Profile in Courage.

Understandably we are all several steps behind our usual clear communications and timely responses.

I have also stopped many of our supporters from posting blogs on your site that deal with the stupidity of Anonymous posters. Plant? Half Baked? It's astounding that people would make comments with no base and be coward enough to do so anonymously. These false accusations are a Profile in Cowardice. Trust me, I am the most easily accessible of all the candidates, I beg for the Anonymous to make themselves known and contact me directly. I would love to have one-on-one meetings that quell any ridiculous accusations. For the record I've had as many face-to-face meetings with Marty Oberman as I have with Peter O'Brien... all of which got me nowhere with the two "machines".

This very personal family news has put this election in clear perspective. At the appropriate time, I will release a statement on The Place Where We Live. It will explain who I am backing and why. Until then, tell your bloggers if they want to take cheap shots, I'm still answering 312.714.4409 and I will be glad to carve out some time to interface.



Note: DO NOT EVEN THINK of posting any comment that is not kind and considerate. I will delete you and turn the comments off.

I should add that I had his permission to share this.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Dawn Clark Netsch Bean Post

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to read the comments on this post on Peter Zelchenko's 43rd Ward blog before Tuesday's election, but the discussion by some of Vi Daley's campaign staff and the ward-oriented debate are still of note.

Michele Smith says "Thanks for your Support!"

Here is the statement from Michele Smith's campaign. I received it earlier today, but I've been out.

"Dear Friends,

Thank you for your support! We are very excited about the election results. Because of YOUR support, we forced the incumbent into a run-off election on April 17.

I would like to thank Tim Egan, Rachel Goodstein, and Peter Zelchenko for running strong campaigns. They showed up at the forums, knocked on doors, held coffees and shared their views with residents of the ward. Because of their efforts, the ward will be a better place to live.

In a multi-candidate race, a candidate must have a simple majority of 50% plus one vote in order to win outright, or the top two finishers participate in a run-off election. We made a very strong second-place showing, and the current incumbent received less than 50%. As a result, I'll be running as the only candidate against the incumbent on Tuesday, April 17, 2007.

Get involved! Contribute!

Our supporters are energized. There's clearly a mandate for change in this ward and I am eager to continue my campaign to give residents a true and decisive advocate in this community and in City Hall.

Get involved! Volunteer!

After more than 8 years in office, the incumbent has failed to win the confidence of the majority of residents in the 43rd Ward. I look forward to debating the issues with Mrs. Daley during the next phase of this campaign.

Thank you again for all that you do.


Michele Smith"

Very interesting. Smith is claiming a mandate for change while identifying Daley as an alderman who failed to win the confidence of the majority of voters.

The tone of Daley's letter vs. Smith's was pretty striking to me -- the old guard vs. the potential new one.

Let the games begin!

Vi Daley Says "More Work to Do"

The Vi Daley campaign e-mail newsletter just arrived. Here's her statement:

"Dear Friend,

I want to thank everyone for their hard work over the past 3 months. We did well in a crowded race but came up a few hundred votes short to avoid a runoff election on April 17th. I want to congratulate Tim Egan, Rachel Goodstein, and Peter Zelchenko on their valiant campaigns. They offered a number of worthy suggestions, and I look forward to working with each of them in the future on issues in the 43rd Ward.

While some of my supporters see this as a disappointment, I see this as an opportunity. This is an opportunity to continue engaging our neighbors in a discussion about our community.

On one side we have forces outside this ward that have waged a false, misleading campaign distorting and criticizing the work we have done together to make our community the best in the entire city. They have not run a campaign on real issues, they do not offer any real improvements for our lives, and they ignore the achievements we have made as a community. Their vision is not ours.

As our neighbors continue to hear this, I'm confident that they will ultimately reject it. I'm confident that they will agree with our vision which has been developed through experience and accomplishment in the 43rd Ward. This vision continues the progress we have made in our schools through innovative programs such as pre-kindergarten and healthy, organic lunches. It protects and improves the quality of life we so cherish while working to cap and stabilize our property taxes with real tax reform. And this vision is for sensible planning in our ward on which we have a long record to speak.

Our vision is something that I'm not only proud of but proud to run on. I look forward to comparing it to that of these outside interests and their candidate who has no record of any participation in this community.

The next few weeks will be tough, and I can't do this without your help. As knowledgeable members of this community, you have an important job in telling the story about this neighborhood and defending the progress we have made together. So keep the signs in your windows, keep talking to your neighbors, and let's keep working together on behalf of our community.

It's your voice that will matter six weeks from now on April 17th.

Thank you again for all your work and participation in this community. We have much more to do today, tomorrow and after this election."

So, it looks like Vi's tactic is to run on her lengthy record and pigeon-hole Smith as an "outsider" supported by outside forces. It will be interesting to read Smith's initial statement and how she chooses to posture going forward. (Please e-mail it to me if I've overlooked it at Theplacewherewelive (at) gmail (dot) com.)

I was surprised that Vi did not include any bit of concession to the sizable number of disgruntled constituents in her ward who voted against her. You've got to think that from a strategy point of view alone, if she voiced a little bit of willingness to change her approach, rather than offering a "business as usual" tone, it might have gone a long way toward sedating those who voted against her.

That being said, she's going to be a formidable force in this race given her long record in the ward and the oodles of good will she has built in many pockets of the ward. Not to mention, Mayor Daley has a war chest he barely touched.

Stay tuned.