Who Cleans Up The 11th Ward? Not The 11th Ward Office
While usually a quality source of fair-minded coverage about the 11th Ward, writer Casey Cora at DNAChicago made a small mistake with his photo yesterday.
It happens: doing local news well is a tough job, and sometimes a detail will slip.
But when a small mistake points to a big leadership problem in our community, it’s worth talking about the problem.
In Casey’s story “You Can Help Clean Up The 11th Ward,” as published Wednesday morning, he unwittingly spread confusion about who cleans up the 11th Ward’s streets — and who doesn’t.
It’s about the picture he used. Here’s how the story and original picture appeared at publication time:
(Above: Wednesday’s DNAChicago story mistakenly using photo of Maureen Sullivan and volunteer crew, 2012)
The problem is that the story talks about a cleanup event “co-hosted by the 11th Ward and the city’s Streets and Sanitation Department”. But the photo doesn’t show that event. It shows instead an entirely independent and effective, home-grown neighborhood operation. It shows the 2012 “Bridgeport Clean And Green” created, hosted and managed by Aldermanic candidate Maureen Sullivan and Rene Paquin of the Bridgeport Alliance. It shows the hundreds of pounds of garbage their team took off the streets and the crew of awesome volunteers they organized to do it.
This matters, because who you don’t see in this photo is anybody from the 11th Ward office. They were all no-shows. No Patrick Daley Thompson, no Alderman Balcer, no John Daley. Not even anybody from the South Loop Chamber of Commerce could be bothered to show up and lend a hand.
Which is par for the course, because they had nothing to do with it.
This photo reminds us that under Patrick Daley Thompson and Alderman Balcer, the 11th Ward office doesn’t actually get the streets cleaned up. It reminds us that real cleanup takes organization, community activism and hands-on work to accomplish, and that’s not what they do.
That’s what Maureen Sullivan does. And the picture Casey ran shows her just getting started, launching the first of a multi-year effort.
Again, this isn’t to bash Casey Cora. But it is time we all got clear about who actually works for the people of the 11th Ward, and who pretends to.
There’s A Right Way And A Wrong Way To Do It
On one hand, there’s activism — organizing, leading, following through. That’s what Maureen Sullivan does.
And on the other hand there’s what Patrick Daley Thompson and Alderman Jim Balcer prefer: inactivism.
At the 11th Ward office, “cleaning up” the neighborhood streets is a strictly hands-off process, and it shows. The 11th Ward office merely publishes a flyer, tells you to call 311 and then never follows up, never organizes volunteers, and most importantly, does not remove any trash.
This approach doesn’t clean garbage off the streets, and here’s the proof.
The last time they promoted a local cleanup was on August 23. We were paying attention, so we took pictures at the end of that day.
See the difference for yourself.
The choice is clear. Community organization and leading volunteers is what works.
Pretending to clean up the streets doesn’t.
Another Fundraiser Smash Success Sunday Night
Last night at Moxee Kitchen on Maxwell St: the second in a series of fundraisers for Maureen Sullivan for 11th Ward Alderman.
How’d it go?
Even better than last time, and last time was great.
Over delicious BBQ and craft beer from Mad Mouse Brewery, the in-house purveyor of suds at Moxee, dozens of supporters again came out to contribute to the campaign, get caught up on what’s happening and continue to plot, plan and prepare for the Maureen’s election as the next Alderman of the 11th Ward.
Supporters of this campaign know the dollar costs are high. There’s too much money in politics and funds just don’t raise themselves.
Progressives who support Maureen and want an 11th Ward that actually serves the voters: donate what you can online today and help her win on February 24th!
Always watch our site for the latest events and announcements. The next fundraiser will be at the venerable community center Benton House in November. Details to follow.
Sending Best Wishes To Karen Lewis
I’m saddened to hear the news that CTU President Karen Lewis has a “serious illness” according to a statement today by CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. Karen’s dedication to working families, students, and educators is a major source of inspiration for me personally, and I look forward to the day when she can return her voice to the debate and restore her progressive influence to the task of overcoming the many challenges Chicagoans face. She is in my thoughts and I wish her a speedy recovery!
Palmisano Park Advisory Council Wins Award Under Sullivan Leadership
The PAC is headed by its elected President and 11th Ward Aldermanic candidate Maureen Sullivan. The council was cited for “creating unique events such as the Bridgeport Air And Water Show, hosting clean up days, and helping to restart the McGuane PAC”.
In a message to Sullivan, Friends Of The Parks Director Maria Stone said “The work the PAC does truly shows the passion you have for this unique park. It is a pleasure to honor you with this award. Thank you for all that you do for Chicago’s parks and public open spaces!”
Sullivan, a declared candidate for 11th Ward Alderman and a longtime neighborhood volunteer and community organizer, has led the PAC for three years, winning election to President three times. Under her leadership and organization, the park has played host to the neighborhood’s most popular family events including music, nature, science and public health efforts.
“I’m grateful for the recognition of our team,” said Sullivan. “We filled a leadership void to bring our beautiful park and the community closer, and I’m very proud of our creative and hands-on approach.”
Since 1975, Friends Of The Parks have advocated for the parks and monitors the condition and safety of the Chicago Park District and forest preserves of Cook County.
The Palmisano PAC leadership includes Sullivan as President, Vice President Rob Warmowski and Secretary-Treasurer Dan Pugh-Barnett.
A celebration of the award is planned on Saturday, October 25th by Friends Of the Parks.
Sullivan Fundraiser A Big Hit
Dozens of Sullivan supporters came out last night at our fundraiser, and we can’t thank them enough. The party kicked off at 6 with cocktails by the inimitable Ian Tuggle of the storied Gold Star tavern, and a musical program of wall-to-wall surf rock courtesy of a shadowy lurking figure known only as DJ Harrumph. A terrific time was had by all.
“It was a great time. We had a big turnout and we needed it because running for office is expensive. Outreach and research costs really add up,” said candidate Maureen Sullivan. “We’re working every day to get the message out and it’s so incredible and welcome to see our supporters line up to help out a progressive campaign.”
The North Side-South Side event served sandwiches from Bridgeport’s Soluri Italian Deli and supporters from all over the city came out to show their love for the Sullivan campaign.
The fundraiser was the first in a series. The next bash has been scheduled for Sunday October 19th at Moxee Kitchen at 724 W. Maxwell. The ongoing fundraiser schedule will be published at our website.