...And That's My Opinion©
By Sandy Goldman
The Rogers Park Community Curmudgeon
Ten years ago as editor-in-chief of the fledgling RP 2000 I wrote the first “…And That’s My Opinion” column. That first column was about the feeble attempt by the Chicago Historical Society to present their sociological concepts/studies of five segments of Chicago including Rogers Park. (In some circles after that it was called the Hysterical Society). Since then, and this year in particular, the CHS recognizing their ineptitude has reinvented their concept, changing their name to the Chicago History Museum and become truly a museum chronicling Chicago history.
One of the columns, which I wrote for RP2000 “The Couple At The Bar” was/is probably my favorite, although it did bring the political ire of many upon my head. My next two favorites, written as an independent, were the “Morse Avenue Card Players” and “Howard Street—A Helluva Street”. Accolades and critiques about these two stories have come from all over the county and even a few from overseas. It never ceases to amaze me where Rogers Parkers seem to end up.
Carol is one of the members of the Rogers Park Builders Group, and so, I was her guest to hear 3 of the 4 Aldermanic candidates appear together. To the best of my knowledge this was the first time they had been together. In alphabetical order they were Chris Adams, Jim Ginderske and Don Gordon. The incumbent, Joe Moore, declined to attend. It was rumored that he indicated that this group knew his positions from previous appearances. His representative was in the audience.
The three who did appear did very well. Each presented themselves as involved and with an understanding of the problems of the community particularly in relation to CAPS and DevCorp North. There were however certain nuances between them. Chris Adams’ focus was on retail development and planning; Don Gordon concentrated on protection of the lakefront; Jim Ginderske concentrated on the lack of adequate health care in our community. I hasten to add, once again, that in the main all three shared many of the same important points, but it is still early in the campaign. I hope that there will more candidates meetings so that we can flesh out the differences. Maybe even one where the incumbent will deign to appear so that we might hear Moore of what we already know. You can run but you can’t hide.
Learning from History
Speaking of four candidates, many people have expressed the opinion that there should be only one opponent challenging the incumbent if there is to be a change. Many think that multiple challengers will “water down the vote” That is not true!! Chicago municipal election law states that the winner must get 50 % of the votes cast plus one. If no one does then there will be a run-off between the top two vote getters at a later date. The common belief among political pundits is that in a run-off the incumbent is at a disadvantage (precisely because he did not achieve a majority in the first place).
Some citizens confuse the municipal concept of majority with the federal concept of plurality. In the latter case a winner is determined by whoever gets the most votes but not necessarily a majority of the votes cast—only the largest number, a plurality. In the case of the 49th Ward Aldermanic election, the presence of four candidates could very well prevent anyone from achieving a majority.
One on one, Joe Moore is probably unbeatable because of his money, slick mailings, DNC cooperation, help from Senator Schakowsky and his and her politically trained workers and bell ringers. It will take a huge groundswell of previous non-voters new voters. In the last election there were only 6,666 votes cast (is that the devil’s number to the fourth power?). The opposing candidates while maintaining their individuality will have to work together (make that must) to get out the vote. Their opponent will and should use every means at his disposal and they are many including the tactics, which we are witnessing on the federal level. The opponents must do the same. If they do, then I predict a run-off in April 17th and then let’s watch what hits the fan.
Thursday Carol and I were invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremonies in Evanston Alderman Ann Rainey’s 8th Ward. What a great testimony to a municipal government that works—witness all of Evanston—and to an Alderman who walks the walk and talks the talk. Carol and I must take her for dinner one day at an Evanston restaurant with foie gras for an appetizer
The following is an account of the project from:
City Manager Julia Carroll and Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, were among the city officials who joined executives from Bristol Chicago Development for the groundbreaking ceremonies at the site of Bristol's planned 17-story apartment building Thursday afternoon.
The site, at 413-421 Howard St., is just west of the Howard CTA station, which is in the midst of a major renovation project.
The new high-rise building was approved by the City Council on March 8, 2004, but the start of construction was delayed by financing issues and the need to work out agreements with the CTA, whose yards are just north of the site.
Plans call for 221 apartments on the upper 13 floors with 245 parking spaces on the lower four floors.
Bill Patrun of Bristol told neighbors at a community meeting earlier this year that the developers will be seeking monthly rents of $1.80 to $2 per square foot, so an 800 square foot one-bedroom apartment might rent for $1,450 per month.
“We're going to be competitive with downtown Evanston, where rents are a little higher,” Mr. Patrun said, adding that the tax increment financing district the project is part of makes the lower rents possible.
“Our market will be single professionals, empty nesters and 'double income, no kids' couples,” he said.
Maybe some of this can float over Howard Street into Gateway Center and beyond! Can a Wal-Mart be far behind? Is this the beginning of the end for Howard Street as we have known it for the last few years? Just asking..?
...And that's my opinion.
And I'm Sandy Goldman
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