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The Mechanics

Election 2015 Wed Feb 25 2015

16th Ward Goes to a Runoff

By Manny Ramos

16thward.jpgCurrent 15th Ward Ald. Toni Foulkes was able to secure about 44 percent of the votes in the 16th Ward municipal election, while Stephanie Coleman seized about 36 percent of the vote, sending the 16th Ward into a runoff.

"You always want to win the first time," Ald. Foulkes said, "However, I got my troops behind me, and we're excited." Foulkes thinks she has a good chance in winning the municipal runoffs. "If you look at my last race we had 46 percent of the votes in the general, but we walked away winning with 69 percent."

Ald. Foulkes chose not to run in the 15th Ward because the new ward map moves 40 percent of her constituents into the 16th Ward. She was expected to possibly fall behind to Ald. JoAnn Thompson, but Thompson passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 10.

Stephanie Coleman, daughter of former 16th Ward Ald. Shirley Coleman, is in a position to make a push. Coleman, 27, is one of at least seven Millennial candidates running for City Council. She is attempting to follow the footsteps of her mother, but looks to appeal to the youth and young adults.

Sadly, this runoff is not due to new ideas of a younger generation facing an experienced veteran. No, it is due to the poor voter turnout that was the 2015 municipal general elections. There are roughly 1.4 million registered voters in the city of Chicago. The voter turnout on Tuesday night floated at about 33 percent, significantly lower than the 2011 elections.

Some believe the frigid temperature had an effect on voters coming out; others say it is because of higher early voting numbers.

Ald. Foulkes disagrees with that latter. "People really need to come out and vote," she said. "It is very important, people always tell me they are going to vote, but never do."

Mechanics / Comments (0)

Stump Connolly Fri Feb 20 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: Chuy's Valentine

Chuy Garcia's Valentine's Day began and ended with a kiss, and included 10 campaign stops in between. The object of his affection: his wife of 38 years, Evelyn.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Thu Feb 19 2015

Why is Willie Wilson Polling So Well?

A recent poll for the mayor's race shows Mayor Rahm Emanuel polling at 49.2 percent, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia at 23 percent, Willie Wilson at 14.4 percent, Ald. Bob Fioretti at 8.6 percent and William "Dock" Walls at 4.9 percent. The only really surprising part of this poll is Emanuel polling above 40 percent since quite a few polls showed him polling below that.

The big question people have is, why is Willie Wilson polling higher than Bob Fioretti?

Continue reading this entry »

Monica Reida / Comments (1)

Stump Connolly Mon Feb 16 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: Get Out & Vote

Early voting has begun, and Election Day is only eight days away. To celebrate, we accompanied the mayoral candidates on one of the great rituals of Chicago politics — el stop campaigning — set to the tune "Get Out and Vote" by Milwaukee's own Johnny Standley.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Aldermen Tue Feb 10 2015

What Happens in the 16th Ward Election After Thompson's Passing?

JoAnn Thompson, Chicago 16th Ward AldermanAld. JoAnn Thompson (16th) died Tuesday morning from complications from a heart-related ailment and attendant surgery. The Sun-Times article speaks to Thompson's background, overcoming homelessness and alcoholism to become one of Chicago's most surprising aldermen.

Thompson had been locked in a difficult reelection campaign, most notably with Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th). Foulkes was drawn out of her district by the last redistricting, leading to a rare situation where two incumbents were challenging one another.

Continue reading this entry »

Phil Huckelberry / Comments (0)

Stump Connolly Mon Feb 09 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: William "Dock" Walls, the Wild Card

William 'Dock' Walls is the wild card in the mayor's race. A single-digit finisher in his first two attempts to win the mayor's office in 2007 and 2011, he forcefully inserted himself into the Chicago Tribune debate and speaks to the issue of "Two Chicagos" in the others. So we accompanied him last week to the South Side to see the neighborhood where he grew up and talk with some of its residents.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Feature Fri Feb 06 2015

Goethe, Floyd, Rahm & Me

This is a story of life, love, and property damage. It is a story involving crystallized water, piled some 19 inches deep. The story forces us to confront greed, manipulation, logistics, and physics. The characters include the legendary and the ordinary, from Rahm Emanuel to a bus driver whose name we'll likely never know.

On Tuesday nights, the Chicago Media Bowling League takes to the lanes at the legendary Fireside Bowl. Gapers Block fields a team in the league, and I happen to be on the team. The main reason I am on the team is because I have my own ball. His name is Floyd.

Yes, this is a story about a bowling ball, and yes, this is also a story about a mayoral election. First, though, this is a story about a city and a snowstorm.

Continue reading this entry »

Phil Huckelberry / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Fri Jan 30 2015

Aldermanic Candidate Gets Industrial-Strength Endorsement

Martin Atkins in Maureen Sullivan campaign ad

Industrial music pioneer Martin Atkins has lived in Chicago for 15 years. A drummer for everyone from Public Image Ltd. to Nine Inch Nails to his own Murder Inc. and Pigface, the Bridgeport resident is now drumming up support for Maureen Sullivan, a candidate for 11th Ward alderman to replace retiring Ald. James Balcer.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Stump Connolly Mon Jan 26 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting: Willie Wilson at the House of Hope

Last Monday, Jan. 19, Willie Wilson held a Martin Luther King Day rally at the House of Hope on 114th Street in Pullman. Wilson had predicted that over 12,000 people would turn out; the crowd was more like 500. A procession of ministers took the stage to support Wilson's bid for mayor, and the candidate once again offered up his Sermon on The Stump about Moses warning his people not to return to the land of Egypt. But the highlight, as always, was the gospel choir from Wilson's syndicated TV show "Singsation!"

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Stump Connolly Fri Jan 23 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: A Long Day in the Life of Bob Fioretti

His day begins with phone calls at 5am and often doesn't end until midnight. From el stops to "Fridays with Fioretti," we followed mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti last week to see what a typical day on the campaign trail is like for the 2nd Ward alderman.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Wed Jan 21 2015

Don't Like Your Choices? Even Write-In Might Not Be an Option

write-in ballotIf having a lot of choices is your thing, you may be jealous of me. The 38th Ward, where I live, will have seven candidates on the ballot for alderman. We have nothing on the 24th Ward, where 10 candidates will appear.

But you might live in one of the wards where there is only one candidate on the ballot -- and you do not like the candidate. So you might be thinking you will just write somebody in.

Guess what? You might not even be able to do that.

Continue reading this entry »

Phil Huckelberry / Comments (2)

Stump Connolly Mon Jan 19 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: Door to Door for Chuy

With deep roots in the Harold Washington campaign, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia is relying on a robust field organization to build a new progressive coalition. Volunteers are signing up at a rate of 25 to 50 a day, and the campaign had 250 people on the street going door to door last weekend. We went to the field office at 63rd and Woodlawn to watch the operation in action on Jan. 14.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Stump Connolly Fri Jan 16 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: Coffee with Mary Naset

The Chicago mayor's race is playing out like no other on Facebook, Twitter and the websites of the major candidates. Mary Naset is the digital director for Rahm Emanuel's re-election campaign and presides over a social network that includes 83,000 Facebook fans and more than 103,000 Twitter followers. For comparison, his opponent Bob Fioretti has around 8,100 Facebook fans and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia has around 6,700. We sat down with her to find out what 's all the fuss about.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (1)

Stump Connolly Mon Jan 12 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: Willie Wilson's Excellent Sunday

On Sunday, Jan. 4, Willie Wilson went to church - four times. Only a day before giving his mayoral campaign $1 million from his personal bank account, Wilson made the rounds of the black churches that are the backbone of his campaign, giving each a generous donation, as is his custom, and talking about his reasons for running. By his own reckoning, he has given some $18 million to Chicago churches over the last 20 years and, as host of the Gospel Music showcase "Singsation!" featured many of their choirs on his TV show.

Stump Connolly caught up with him at one of his favorites, the Rev. Robert Patterson's Spirit of Truth Missionary Baptist Church, 3443 W. Harrison.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Stump Connolly Fri Jan 09 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: 63,000 Signatures

Clem Balanoff files 63,000 nominating signatures for Jesus "Chuy" Garcia on Nov. 24, 2014, the last day of filing for the 2015 Chicago mayoral elections. Ten candidates are now in the race.

Next week, we catch up to present day!

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Thu Jan 08 2015

Willie Wilson's Game Plan

And then there were five: Rahm Emanuel, Bob Fioretti, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, William "Dock" Walls, and Willie Wilson. Those are the candidates who will be on the ballot for mayor in February.

Emanuel, Fioretti, Garcia, and Walls have all been around politics, some in loftier positions, some for longer than others. Wilson, though, has no political experience. He is a 66-year-old South Side businessman.

He also just given his campaign $1,000,000 -- with more likely on the way.

A month ago, nobody was talking about Willie Wilson. Today, he is being seen as the man who could blow the whole election up.

Continue reading this entry »

Phil Huckelberry / Comments (6)

Stump Connolly Mon Jan 05 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: Filing Day

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and various aldermanic candidates vie for the top position on the ballot on Nov. 17, 2014, the first day of filing petitions for the Chicago municipal elections next February.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Stump Connolly Fri Dec 26 2014

Stump Connolly Reporting In: A Chewy Launch Party

The kick-off rally for Jesus "Chuy" Garcia took place at the Alhambra Palace in the West Loop on Nov. 23, to the tune of "Everyday People."

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Stump Connolly Tue Dec 23 2014

Stump Connolly Reporting In: Fioretti's Mid-Court Launch

Back in September, 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti launched the first serious challenge to Mayor Emanuel in a South Side gymnasium -- with a boatload of consultants on board.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Mon Dec 22 2014

Fioretti Talks TIF Reform

Ald. Bob Fioretti of the Second Ward has the platform of "True TIF Reform" for his mayoral campaign. I spoke with him over the phone on Friday to discuss TIFs and how to reform them.

One of your platforms is "True TIF Reform." What projects under Mayor Emanuel have led to you developing this platform?

A meeting -- I think it was the Finance Committee meeting, I do not serve on the Finance Committee -- and I watched what happened with a TIF on the Far West Side where the aldermen had not done anything to improve the infrastructure. And many African-American aldermen complained about the lack of use in terms of the infrastructure and at that point I had come to the realization as I watched what happened our TIF program is broken. I mean, it's there to help blighted areas and instead we see most of the money being directed to the South Loop, West Loop, Downtown area. And, accordingly, short-changing our neighborhoods like Pullman, Riverdale, Roseland, West Pullman, South Side communities where blight is, as I said before, prevalent and economic development is scarce.

Continue reading this entry »

Monica Reida / Comments (1)

Stump Connolly Fri Dec 19 2014

Stump Connolly Reporting: Rahm's Virtual Reality Rally

Rahm Emanuel opens his re-election campaign with a rally at the Cinespace Studios in Lawndale Dec. 6, 2014. The event is not on the mayor's public schedule, admission is by ticket only, and lines from every speakers are posted on Twitter moments after they are spoken.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (1)

Election 2015 Fri Dec 12 2014

Amara Enyia's Withdrawal Reflects the Ongoing Reality of Chicago Politics

amara for mayorAmara Enyia was the first candidate to declare for the mayoral race. By declaring so early -- in February -- she picked up a lot of press that she might not have otherwise received, from heavy hitters like Kari Lydersen and Ben Joravsky. Her bio is Obamaesque, but to hardcore progressives, her platform is even better.

Alas, on Tuesday, Enyia officially withdrew from the race. Her paperwork was challenged, and reading between the lines of her withdrawal statement, it seems unlikely that she would have survived the challenge with sufficient signatures.

The demise of her campaign reflects a sad reality in Chicago. The economic conditions on the South and West Sides, combined with a hostile electoral landscape, continue to stunt efforts to improve the city. But in Enyia's failure to get on the ballot, there may also be indications of how people who are fed up need to evolve their tactics to bring change to the city.

Continue reading this entry »

Phil Huckelberry / Comments (4)

Election 2015 Mon Dec 01 2014

That Magical Time of Year in Chicago: It's Challenge Season

Petitions for municipal office were due at 5pm on Monday, Nov. 24. Aldermanic candidates had to submit 473 valid signatures.

But... if someone filed a petition with just a single signature -- their own -- they might officially be on the ballot anyway.

And someone else, who might have filed 10 times the number of valid signatures, might get challenged, and it might be weeks before they can officially be on the ballot -- or they might get thrown off altogether.

Welcome to Chicago!

Continue reading this entry »

Phil Huckelberry / Comments (6)

Election 2015 Tue Oct 28 2014

Chuy Garcia Jumps In, Realignment Begins

With the entry of Jesus "Chuy" Garcia into the mayoral race, the calculus has changed again. Garcia, a sitting Cook County commissioner, former alderman, and former state senator, is seasoned and well-connected. Those connections date back as far as Harold Washington, who was mayor when Garcia was elected to the City Council.

Continue reading this entry »

Phil Huckelberry / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Thu Oct 16 2014

How Aldermanic Candidates Might Adjust With Karen Lewis Out of the Mayoral Race

As widely reported, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis will not be running for mayor. Previously, I wrote about how a Karen Lewis run for mayor could also have a major impact on several aldermanic races. Now that she's not running, it is worth reconsidering how the aldermanic races might be impacted.

Continue reading this entry »

Phil Huckelberry / Comments (0)

Op-Ed Wed Oct 15 2014

What a Karen Lewis Campaign for Mayor Meant to Chicago

By Tim Meegan

For the past several months, Chicago has been electrified by the prospect of a clash between two of the strongest personalities in city politics: the brash, business-first mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the outspoken, social justice-oriented union president Karen Lewis. For spectators in the media, and in the city's neighborhoods, the clash between these two contenders, both bold in presentation and opposing in ideology, promised to be the electoral matchup of a generation.

But Monday's announcement by Lewis's team showed that this contest is not to be. Lewis, who has flirted with a formal announcement and has been recently beset by serious health concerns, declared what many of late had feared: that the fiery labor leader won't be throwing her red CTU cap into the race.

Continue reading this entry »

Mechanics / Comments (2)

Election 2015 Mon Aug 18 2014

Six Months in Chicago


Image via NBC5-WMAQ

For six months in Chicago, there may be a rare, once-a-decade opportunity to get some answers. If that sentence seems magniloquent, that's because I had to start big since the subsequent sentence is, "That opportunity is the 2015 Chicago municipal elections."

That opportunity is the 2015 Chicago municipal elections. Chicago is defined by confluence; in the first instance, literally, as sitting at the confluence of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, and the Chicago Portage, the connection between the Great Lakes and Mississippi watersheds. Soon after, the nation's railroad flowed together there; now, it's the confluence of the nation's air travel and trucking. Today, it is also a confluence of some of the country's biggest challenges.

Income inequality, gentrification, rising housing costs, under-resourced schools and creeping privatization, under-served mental health services, police brutality, street crime, segregation, environmental justice, exploitation of undocumented workers, police militarization, un- and under-compensated care work, wage theft, unemployment, over-crowded jails, hyper-criminalization, lack of government transparency, and crumbling infrastructure. These issues intersect on the orange-lit streets of the Great American City. Chicago is a beautiful city and livable city. It is also suffering.

Continue reading this entry »

Ramsin Canon / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Thu Jul 31 2014

How Karen Lewis Might Also Help Change Chicago City Council

Karen LewisFirst, the news you already know: Karen Lewis is likely running for mayor. Toni Preckwinkle isn't.

Since the news broke on July 15 that Preckwinkle is out of the race, some dominant themes seem to have emerged. The first, probably best epitomized in Ben Joravsky's "five stages of grief" article, has been lament over the person who was seen as most capable of beating Rahm Emanuel stepping out of the race.

Following closely behind is a reassessment of Lewis. It was easier to imagine what a theoretical Preckwinkle campaign might look like. It's harder to imagine that with Lewis. Preckwinkle was a multi-term alderman and is now Cook County Board President, who has expressed many views on many issues over time. Lewis, as President of the Chicago Teachers Union and having never held public office, has had little occasion to talk about things like potholes, tourism, and appropriate police deployment. There's also the question over what form Lewis's campaign might take, given that it would likely take form outside of existing entrenched political structures.

Continue reading this entry »

Phil Huckelberry / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Wed Jun 25 2014

Community Organizer Amara Enyia is Taking on Rahm Emanuel to Make a Point

Board_photo.jpg

I took the Green Line out to Garfield Park to meet Amara Enyia at one of her favorite spots, Inspiration Kitchens. The restaurant, located right by the Garfield Park Conservatory, provides jobs and training to homeless individuals. Enyia explained to me that the menu (which looked delicious) is kept affordable so that residents of the neighborhood can actually afford to eat there. As we chatted in this sunny space over lemonade and iced tea, Enyia explained her vision for the city to me.

Enyia is sick of status quo in Chicago politics -- in which resources are focused on the wealthy and many communities are left in poverty--and she has decided to do something about it. Earlier this month, she held a rally to launch her candidacy as a progressive alternative to Chicago's current mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

The business model for Inspiration Kitchens is right in line with Enyia's view of how the city should function -- a local business that lifts up community members, uses local and sustainable ingredients, and provides a positive space for the neighborhood.

Continue reading this entry »

Rachel Anspach / Comments (3)

Op-Ed Tue Jun 03 2014

Where is Chicago's Progressive Mayor?

rahm emanuel nose handChicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plunging popularity was reflected in a recent Sun-Times poll, in which just 29 percent of respondents reported that they would support Emanuel if the election were held today. The results confirmed what was already obvious to most Chicagoans--a vast majority of the city dislikes our mayor.

What still remains to be seen is whether a candidate will emerge who has the ability to successfully rally that energy and unseat him.

Continue reading this entry »

Rachel Anspach / Comments (3)

Election 2015 Wed May 14 2014

Sun-Times Poll Looks at Emanuel's Chances of Winning Election

The Chicago Sun-Times released a poll on Saturday showing 29 percent of Chicagoans surveyed would vote for Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the upcoming 2015 election.

Other results from the poll showed 27 percent of those surveyed didn't know which potential candidate they would vote for, while 26 percent said they would vote for Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle, 10 percent for Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis, 5 percent for Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd Ward) and 3 percent for former 9th Ward Ald. Robert Shaw.

Shaw is the only person who has declared themselves as a challenger for Emanuel in the 2015 election.

Emanuel responded to the poll by saying on Wednesday, "There's ups and downs....You stay true to your principles. You stay true to who you are and you don't change. You stay committed to making sure there's results and you stay true to what you believe in."

The Tribune released a story the same day saying an Emanuel campaign aide had emailed the Tribune with story ideas that could paint Preckwinkle in a negative light. She has maintained she is focused on running for reelection for her seat and continuing to improve Cook County.

Preckwinkle recently appeared on WTTW's "My Chicago" and was asked by host Mark Bazer if her and Emanuel get along. She responded with a long pause before saying, "We work together."

Monica Reida / Comments (1)

Feature

Goethe, Floyd, Rahm & Me

By Phil Huckelberry / 0 Comments

This is a story of life, love, and property damage. It is a story involving crystallized water, piled some 19 inches deep. The story forces us to confront greed, manipulation, logistics, and physics. The characters include the legendary and the ordinary, from Rahm Emanuel to a bus driver whose name we'll likely never know. More...

Civics

When the Room Is Small and You Stink

By Ramsin Canon / 0 Comments

When he aped his mentor Bill Clinton in his inauguration speech, one could guess that Rahm Emanuel would be going to an old playbook that may not work for him in the long run. Rahm Emanuel may have unwittingly learned... More...

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About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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Editor: Monica Reida, mr@gapersblock.com
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