In July I posted about Democratic candidate Alderman Ameya Pawar’s decision to be the one Democratic candidate not attending our North Lake Shore Illinois Retired Teachers Associatiion luncheon.
I am a five-year member of a north suburban chapter of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association. For years, and way before I joined, the chapter held candidate forums at our luncheon during our frequent election cycles. We invite all candidates, Republicans and Democrats.
Our chapter holds luncheons four or five times a year with speakers on various topics of concern to retired teachers. Retirees are very active and politically aware. The candidates forum usually has the largest attendance.
With the Illinois Governor’s race coming up, we scheduled a luncheon for September and invited all the candidates. They accepted our invite, including Alderman Ameya Pawar. He posted his appearance on Eventbrite.
In fact, the Eventbrite post is a little confusing. It only mentions the Alderman. It doesn’t mention that it is a luncheon in which those attending pay for the food they eat. It seemed to some as if our chapter of IRTA had endorsed the Alderman. Which is not even remotely true.
Shortly after the notice on Eventbrite the Alderman contacted the retirees who have been working hard to organize the event and told them that he was not going to appear.
Although I am an officer in the chapter, I don’t speak for the chapter. But I was asked to contact the Alderman’s people to see what was up. We had Alderman Pawar on our Hitting Left radio show and podcast. I thought he said some good things. I have no other personal history with Alderman Pawar. But I offered to contact his people.
I contacted his schedule guy, Will Pierce.
This is Fred Klonsky. Ald. Pawar apppeared on our radio show, Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers and I blog at Fredklonsky.com. I’m also vp of the North Lakeshore Illinois Retired Teachers Association. I understand there is a problem with scheduling the Alderman for our gubernatorial candidates forum and wonder if you can give me a call?
Will wrote back.
Thanks Fred, the Alderman would love to attend but due to the conflicting scheduling request along with a number of outstanding concerns which I have asked and still have not addressed:
-Not receiving a formal invite outlining the format and rules which was promised a while ago.
Receiving confirmation regarding all other campaigns receiving notice they can not invite guests as it is a closed door event
Information regarding media credentialing and if media will be invited
Should you have any further questions or concerns, please let me know.
We organize our luncheons to promote civic engagement. We charge for lunch to cover our costs. It is held in the basement of the Elks Club in Des Plaines.
Many of us take half of our lunch home for dinner.
It is by no means a profitable enterprise.
I am not aware of any other candidate sending us a list of concerns like this for this event or ever before. But, I’m sure we could have worked it out. We don’t have a policy regarding “media credentialing.” If candidates bring friends, we ask them to pay for their food. We cover the cost of the candidate’s meal. The format changes each time depending on the feedback we get from our members. But it is not complicated. Usually the candidate speaks for a few minutes and then we take questions.
I mean its a retiree luncheon, not a nationally televised debate.
I just don’t get it.
Aderman Pawar is not exactly surging in the polls.
I would have thought that having a chance to speak to a room full of retired teachers would be seen by the Alderman as an opportunity.
But I wish him good luck.
Today I saw this:
I imagine that the Small Business Advocacy Council must have met all of the Alderman’s demands.
Although I checked with our folks and so did we.
In a telephone conversation with one of Pawar’s people in July, she said it was their policy not speak to a group charging money for a membership luncheon.
Except, it seems, the Small Business Advocacy Council.