Monday, April 09, 2007

3rd and 43rd Aldermanic Ward Races: Cable and Streaming

With the April 17, 2007 Chicago elections a week away, things are heating up in the 3rd and 43rd Ward aldermanic races.

The 3rd Ward twenty-three year incumbent, Dorothy Tillman, is in the political fight of her life. Tillman can run but she can’t hide, although she is trying.

Last week, Tillman did some ducking and dodging of the Chicago Urban League. Worse, isn’t Jackie Grimshaw supposed to be a “reformer.” And, yet Grimshaw seems to be giving cover to Tillman’s game of hide and seek from her community. [See here]. You have to wonder why Grimshaw is doing that. Of course, it is Chicago, so don’t wonder too long.

Tonight’s City of Chicago and this week’s suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” features Tillman’s opponent, Pat Dowell, discussing, among other things, the lack of economic development under Tillman’s reign in the 43rd Ward, Tillman’s Friends and Family patronage operation, rising crime rates and much more. Tillman is a former basketball player and has a graduate degree from the University of Chicago [Master’s from SSA].

Tonight's City of Chicago edition airs through-out the City at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV]

You may also [Go Here to watch tonight's City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs and this week's suburban show with 3rd Ward Aldermanic Candidate Pat Dowell and 43rd Ward Chicago Aldermanic Candidate Michele Smith as well as other shows with such notables as Obama, McCain, Giuliani, Barrett, Syverson and many others on your computer; you can drag the dial on the bottom of the screen to watch only portions of the thirty minute shows; trouble accessing our cinema page on your computer? Try I-Tunes: the same Public Affairs shows are also available there]

Tillman chose not to attend tonight’s discussion, which Public Affairs takes as a complement. Tillman doesn’t go to an event if she anticipates she cannot bully the host. [See here].

Featured in the second half of tonight’s “Public Affairs,” is the 43rd ward race, where challenger Michele Smith [a former federal prosecutor who holds a University of Chicago Law School degree] is taking on 8th year incumbent Vi Daley. Daley, like Tillman, is apparently also anxious to avoid debates, especially where she might be pinned down with hard questions-- so she chose not to appear on tonight’s “Public Affairs,” in the City. [See here].

It is rumored Vi will appear on tonight’s Chicago Tonight on WTTW, where Eddie Arruza is sitting in for the vacationing Carol Marin—so we won’t get to find out if Marin’s style has improved from her performance last week with Dowell and Tillman. But, we’re all hoping Arruza can improve on Marin’s opening question to Tillman and Dowell. Chicago Tonight airs tonight at 7:00 pm on Ch. 11 and repeats at midnight, 1:30 am and 4:30 am.
Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward Aldermanic Candidate [South Side], used to work for Mayors Washington, Sawyer and Daley. She is an urban planner and community developer. Pat Dowell discusses and debates with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz Ald. Tillman's nepotism, placement of friends in important positions, potential conflicts of interest and other problems related to Ald. Tillman's alleged mismanagement of the 13 million dollar publicly funded Harold Washington Cultural Center; insufficient economic development of the Ward under Tillman, the need for "Change," in the 3rd Ward, the apparent "insecurity," of Ald. Tillman; how to improve schools in the Ward; how to address rising crime rates in the Ward; the living wage and unions; reparations for slavery and repairing the community; and what Ald. Tillman's empty chair might say about the issues.

Michele Smith used to prosecute bad guys at the U. S. Attorney's office and helped protect retirees' health care benefits at Navistar. Smith discusses and debates with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz "unplanned economic development," of the 43rd Ward under incumbent Ald. Vi Daley, how to involve the community in decisions about the Ward's economic development, Vi Daley's failure to appear at candidate forums, "pay to play," in the ward, how the City Council should engage in "oversight; " caps on real estate tax assessments, the Olympics in Chicago and what Ald. Daley's empty chair might say about the issues and much, much more.

The suburban edition of Public Affairs this week also features Pat Dowell and Michele Smith. See the end of the post about the show with John Filan for the regular suburban airing schedule of Public Affairs.

A partial transcript of the Dowell-Smith show is included, below.
Pat Dowell [3rd Ward Aldermanic Candidate]: We could have a more varied range of… events there [at the Harold Washington Cultural Center “HWCC”]. We could market events to international and national people and venues. We just have not seen that building utilized to its best capacity. It is rarely open. I think, in December, we probably had maybe one or two events. You know, every day and every night that building should be humming with activity.

Jeff Berkowitz: What’s the problem … Who is the Executive Director there?

Pat Dowell: Jamalita Tillman.

Jeff Berkowitz: She would be related to Dorothy Tillman?

Pat Dowell: She would be her daughter.

Jeff Berkowitz: …and she [Jamalita] also has a restaurant?

Pat Dowell: She has a restaurant at the Spoken Word Cafe and there is a relationship that exists between the Harold Washington Cultural Center and the Cafe, where you have to use the Café as your catering choice [for events held at the HWCC ].

Jeff Berkowitz: So, that’s a conflict [of interest]?

Pat Dowell: I don’t know that it’s a conflict. There is just the tinge of impropriety, you know, that you would direct business [from the HWCC] to your daughter.

Jeff Berkowitz: And the board is…Tobacco Road?

Pat Dowell: The board is controlled by people who are former or current employees or friends or family of the Alderman.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, this is a Friends and Family Plan for Dorothy Tillman?

Pat Dowell: Friends and Family Plan for Dorothy Tillman, all at 47th and King Drive. It’s the Dorothy Tillman show.

Jeff Berkowitz: Monroe Anderson, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times said, “Maybe the voters are going to decide [it is] …time for Dorothy to get another family business. Sounds like Monroe is not a fan of Dorothy Tillman. [See here].

Pat Dowell: Well, I think Monroe knows what we in the community know—we need an alderman who can focus attention beyond her [Tillman’s] parochial interests and look at all of the needs of the Ward. You know that corner [47th and King] is very important to the 3rd Ward and if it [the HWCC] was active and operated properly at its highest level, we could begin to work on the economic problems we have both east and west of that site…
Jeff Berkowitz: Do you think she [Ald. Tillman] is insecure?

Pat Dowell: [3rd Ward Aldermanic Candidate]: You said that, I didn’t

Jeff Berkowitz: No, I asked you. I am not saying that.

Pat Dowell: Actually, the Mayor said it. Mayor Washington said it.

Jeff Berkowitz: Mayor Washington said she [Tillman] is insecure?

Pat Dowell: Yes.

Jeff Berkowitz: He would know-- he certainly understood people, right?

Pat Dowell: Right.
Jeff Berkowitz: We don’t endorse candidates but we do endorse what Michele Smith has done here-- and earlier in the show what Pat Dowell has done-- which is to come here, [with Pat] expressing her views and you expressing your views and presumably if the candidate is here, she can respond and if not, the viewers and voters are left to wonder [about her views], right?

Michele Smith [43rd Ward Aldermanic Candidate]: That’s absolutely right.

Jeff Berkowitz: Real estate taxes—people say they are skyrocketing. What would you do?

Michele Smith: I am a strong supporter of the 7% tax cap [Cap on real estate assessments in Cook County] and want to work with our state legislators to get that passed.

Jeff Berkowitz: Vi Daley, is she a supporter?

Michele Smith: Don’t know. Don’t know.

Jeff Berkowitz: She is not around.

Michele Smith: People say she is. [But], she is not here to answer as to her own views.
Michele Smith: …Those neighborhoods [in the 43rd Ward] were created by residents and by strong aldermen in their day who really responded to what the community wanted. But, Alderman Daley is a different kind of alderman. She is really much more of a representative of the developers who contribute to her campaign.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, are you saying she [Ald. Daley] is not listening to the people because she is focusing too much on those campaign contributions from developers?

Michele Smith: Absolutely. We have done a study of her campaign contributions…and in the months of January and February, just before the February 27, 2007 election, she got almost 80% of her campaign contributions from developers and bar owners and businesses who need her largesse to operate in the 43rd Ward.

Jeff Berkowitz: We should say we would like to know what Vi Daley has to say about that and if she were here, she would have an opportunity-- but she chose not to be here.
Michele Smith: We have seen over the past 10 to 15 years Wells Street turn into a lovely residential community…and it is thriving—Ald. Daley tried to push through a six story, 260,000 sq. ft. suburban size auto mall [in that area] and didn’t let the community know about it until the very last minute, and it took 500 people at a community meeting with signs and banners protesting to slow down that project.