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Andrew / September 16, 2008 10:39 AM

In other words, are you active in your neighborhood or ward? Do you campaign for a local or national politician? Do you have a pol's phone number?

charlie d / September 16, 2008 12:41 PM

As someone who grew up the son of a Pol the only answer is yes. Since I (and others with more skills) run a community website, yes on that front also. Been a while since I actively campaigned for anyone but yes there as well. The lack of responses here is a little embarrassing for me.

Allan / September 16, 2008 12:41 PM

I two years ago I got on a plane in Minneapolis bound for Chicago and Barack Obama got on with me. No security, no bodyguards. or anything. He sat next to me in coach. Also Gov. Rod Blago once gave me some kind of a doughnut while campaigning in Albany park. I threw the fucking doughnut on the ground if front of him and stepped on it. So, yeah, I am pretty connected.

Dude / September 16, 2008 12:47 PM

Not very. I mean I vote every election. But passing out flyers and going door to door and all of that?... Nah, not really good at that sort of thing. Although I do frequently write my alderman(woman, actually) with problems that occur in the neighborhood. I recently got them to look into and address the problem with guys loitering in a frequently-used alley, urinating and drinking and occasionally sleeping.

But someday I hope to know a guy who knows a guy...

Joe Lieberman / September 16, 2008 1:15 PM

Not very.

Barack Obama / September 16, 2008 2:03 PM

Hell, I owe everything I am to the Chicago Machine.

...but don't ask me about corruption in IL politics. That is a racist smear.

Prefer to remain anonymous . . . / September 16, 2008 4:29 PM

I am very active, but wonder how "connected" I really am. I have voted every year I've been eligible (since 1990), and been campaigning just as long.

Here are various groups and campaigns I have closely affiliated with (as in, personally met the candidate, did close-up work for him or her on issues, volunteered and coordinated other volunteers in the field, including voter registration, organizing, canvassing, phone banking, letter writing, sign delivery, GOTV, etc.):

Northside Democracy for America (formerly DFA - Edgewater/Rogers Park)

North/Northwest Neighbors for Obama

Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century

Barack Obama (2004 US Senate Race)

Dan Kotowski (IL Senate, 33)

Daniel Biss (IL House, 17)

Marty Castro (US House, IL-4)

Forrest Claypool (Cook County Board President)

Glenn Poshard (US House, IL-19)

Melissa Bean (US House, IL-8)

Dan Seals (US House, IL-10)

Tony Fabri (Champaign County Board President)

I have given a little money and a lot of time to many other candidates (Lisa Madigan, Mike Quigley, etc.). I even helped out a Republican once (no, not Poshard) . . . but that is a long story, and backing that GOP member turned out to be a mistake. He lead me down the primrose path of "bipartisan" commitment to good government and turned out to be a right-winger extraordinaire once he got into office.

kate / September 16, 2008 5:06 PM

Not connected whatsoever.

I write the occasional letter to my elected representatives to let them know about crap that annoys me and they can somehow try to fix it. Since we're super tight homeys, they always end their letters with an invitation to join them for a constituent breakfast next time I'm in DC. Heh. As IF!

Prefer to remain anonymous . . . / September 16, 2008 5:34 PM

@Charlie D -- Is Lolita D. your parent?

Forgive me this one -- is running a community website kind of like running a website, only with less responsibility?

(The-poor-excuse-for-an-obligatory-Sarah-Palin-joke drill is now over).

@Kate -- please don't take this the wrong way, I'm actually curious -- do you write actual letters, or do you fill out those online/handout postcards? In my experience, lawmakers don't spend much time looking at mass-reproduced mailings, but often do take a look at legitimate handrwritten letters.

Also, I think you might be making a mistake focusing all of your energy at DC. Springfield and Chicago make a lot more decisions that affect the quality of life of most Illinois citizens. Not to mention, the people who go to DC from Illinois usually get their start in Springfield or Chicago. Maybe you'd get a more satisfactory response if you did more local politicking.

In rereading that last paragraph, it might seem kind of snarky--I mean it in an encouraging way. People should spend more time thinking about local and state politics.

charlie d / September 16, 2008 8:46 PM

Prefer to remain Anon said: @Charlie D -- Is Lolita D. your parent?

Loleta yes

Forgive me this one -- is running a community website kind of like running a website, only with less responsibility?

Way less responsibility!

annie / September 16, 2008 8:57 PM

I'd say I'm pretty connected..I work for the City, I've done a bunch of campaign work, I know most of the Alderman, a few Senator's..the great RMD knows me, at least he knows my name.

And, I am this/close (Sneed is like the Bible in city hall) to Hillary, even though I voted for Obama..oh, and I know she would never remember me, but I interned in the Mayor's office when Michelle worked there, that was 13 years ago.

@ Dude, Alderman (man or woman) are Alderman, the women Alderman don't like to be called Alderwoman or Alderperson..fyi.

Pat / September 17, 2008 8:20 AM

Not connected at all. Unless seeing Blago jogging down the middle of Bowmanville road counts for anything.

Dude / September 17, 2008 10:14 AM

@ Dude, Alderman (man or woman) are Alderman, the women Alderman don't like to be called Alderwoman or Alderperson..fyi.

I wasn't calling her an "alderwoman", I was just trying to clarify that my alderman is a woman and not a man.

Hal / September 17, 2008 10:24 AM

Not connected, but somewhat active. I worked heavily on a challenger's aldermanic campaign in the last round. I heard that the incumbant and current Alderwoman, Shiller, knows who I am and dislikes me for speaking out against a plan she was pushing in a city meeting and working on the challenger's campaign, so I guess that's a connection of some kind.

And now that I know that they actively dislike it, I will consistently and deliberately use "Alderwoman" in regards to Shiller, to signify my lack of respect for her without using profanity. Alderman Mary Ann Smith, Alderwoman Helen Shiller.

Yeah, I like that.

Dude / September 17, 2008 12:22 PM

And now that I know that they actively dislike it, I will consistently and deliberately use "Alderwoman" in regards to Shiller, to signify my lack of respect for her without using profanity. Alderman Mary Ann Smith, Alderwoman Helen Shiller.

And now you're going to get it for equating a "lack of respect" with calling someone a "woman"...

Hal / September 17, 2008 3:26 PM

Oh, crap. You're right.

I hate that broad brush of calling everything sexist, but yeah, that is.

Okay, I'll just stick with "incompetant."

mike / September 17, 2008 4:59 PM

Cappleman in 2011! And Smith's better than Shiller, but she's still a lockstep-Daley-backing career alderman. This town needs term limits for these buffoons.

I'm not politically connected, but I do know a supervisor in San Francisco (the equivalent of alderman). They have a lot fewer there per capita, and they have term limits.

kate / September 18, 2008 12:04 PM

@Prefer to remain anonymous . . . : Letters, yes. Paper and stamps and whatnot. Most of the letters I write involve federal issues and while writing to State representatives could eventually get to the big boy level, I've always just gone straight to the middle-aged white men someone's dad voted for in order to get myself heard (sigh).

I suppose I could start writing to state reps, but I don't have much wiggle room in my stamp budget. Snark.

Dude / September 18, 2008 12:11 PM

Oh, and Hal... Looked at your website. Very nice. Going to try the quinoa salad thing. I think even i could pull that one off...

Anon / September 18, 2008 4:20 PM

Rod's a neighbor and while he might not know my name, he knows my face. And I met Obama once, at a funeral.

Julianna / September 18, 2008 6:08 PM

I'm one of those annoying people who is only involved in politics when it actually impacts their own life, at least on the local level. The only time I've ever communicated with my Alderman was to try to get them to fix a massive sinkhole that lingered on our street for a year. I'm sure the politicos would like me to be more well connected, and I would be, if I didn't feel like the part of me they are most interested in is my checking account.

anon / September 19, 2008 8:47 AM

I am connected outside of Chicago: Berwyn and Cicero, but it's the same "brand" of politics. The main reason for being so involved is to not be the status quo. I'm tired of all the bullshit, so I try to do what can to make it better.

anon / September 19, 2008 8:49 AM

What I meant is that even though it's the same brand of politics, my interests are in to change it.

Sorry, the first post sounded weird to me.

craig / September 19, 2008 10:48 AM

I get e-mails on a regular basis from both Michelle and Barack Obama. I give them money, and in return they ask for more. What we have is special!

Also, Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl once ate some of my popcorn at a parade.

not leaving a name / September 23, 2008 1:14 AM

I am totally connected, but not because I've ever done anything worth mentioning, but because I grew up with some people who now have power and through them have met others with power.

It's amazing how a phone call from a government official opens doors when you are looking for a job.

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