John Kass at our Logan Square meeting with Alderman Waguespack. Photos: Fred Klonsky
We are spending a week with family in Brooklyn. The weather reports forecast a windchill of minus 30 in Chicago on Thursday. In Brooklyn they talking 40 by the weekend.
It ain’t Miami. But we will take it.
Meanwhile Rico Gutstein, UIC Professor of Mathematics Education, has sent me a copy of a report by the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education on mayoral control. On Tuesday many voters in Chicago will be voting on an elected school board. The results of the Collaborative’s study are clear. Vote yes for an elected school board.
Last Saturday I was at a Logan Square neighborhood meeting for our neighboring 32nd ward alderman Scott Waguespack. As an outspoken member of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus, Scott has in some ways been alderman for all of us who live in wards represented by the toadies of the Mayor.
Like my alderman, Rey Colon.
I’m working to have a real alderman in my 35th ward by next week. His name is Carlos Rosa.
The Chicago Tribune’s John Kass was at the meeting with Scott Waguespack too. Kass is hardly a progressive. But there is no love lost between him and the mayor who he calls Rahmfather.
Today Kass’s column focuses on Scott and another Progressive Caucus member, Nick Sposato. Sposato was the 36th ward alderman but got redistricted for not bending over for the Mayor. Now Nick is running in the 38th.
John Kass writes about Scott Waguespack:
Rahm’s multimillion-dollar political action committee has already come out to pound Waguespack with negative ads, which proves to me Waguespack is seen as a threat.
“Why does he have to spend all that money? He wants no dissent,” Waguespack says of Rahm. “He wants no democracy. And that’s unacceptable to me.”
We were in an apartment in Logan Square where concerned neighbors gathered to hear Waguespack; professionals, working people, newcomers. Also there were organizers for United Working Families, the labor and community coalition that sprouted in response to Rahm’s elevation by the anti-union oligarchy that runs things.
People asked the alderman about everything from tree trimming, taxes, city finances and ethics, and Waguespack handled it all seamlessly.
That’s why for years I’ve thought, and still do, that Waguespack could — and should be — mayor of Chicago. He knows city finances. He’s thoughtful. He wouldn’t treat the city like so many toy Gumbys to bend to his will.
And he stood up to former Mayor Richard M. Daley back in the day when few would, leading the criticism on that ridiculous parking meter deal, the one that forced Daley to step down and pick Rahm as his caretaker.
“Sometimes the secrecy at City Hall can be overwhelming,” Waguespack tells them. “The secrecy of the red light cameras, and the $1.7 billion in TIF (tax increment financing) funds.”
Listening to him, I got the sense that Rahm guards it all as if he were a dragon in a cave.
“That’s unacceptable,” Waguespack says. “It wouldn’t be acceptable in any other city. I don’t know why it’s acceptable in Chicago.”
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Even though I am in Brooklyn this week it is hard to get away from the Tuesday election (I early-voted the first day). The Chicago Mayor’s race is on the front page of this morning’s New York Times.
Tracey Lasenby of South Shore has yet to decide. “Look, I believe that the city has become a great tourist destination under Mr. Emanuel,” she said. “But what’s the sense of building a park if my child can’t play in it because they’re going to get shot? What’s the use?”