Maureen Sullivan: Progressive Activist Poised To Beat The Daley Machine
Curtis Black‘s profile piece published today in the Chicago Reporter says it all: Maureen Sullivan is the popular progressive activist poised to beat the downtown Daley machine on its own turf.
In the first major piece on her Aldermanic race, Sullivan’s clear alternative to the 11th Ward leadership and its tendency to do nothing but claim credit is illustrated by Black:
“Bridgeport native Maureen Sullivan, who has founded civic, business and park groups, and organized against school closings in Bridgeport, describes a local political elite that has become too comfortable with the status quo and neglected the neighborhood.
Sullivan may represent an approach we’ll see from more aldermanic candidates this year: emphasizing the local impact of citywide policy issues like education and TIFs along with ward service concerns — and tapping into the growing sentiment against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s policies.
She calls the mayor “a Wall Street banker from Wilmette who wants to help his friends become even wealthier at our expense” and attacks the “rubber stamp City Council” including retiring Ald. James Balcer, who’s backed Emanuel in 100 percent of contested council votes.”
“Balcer announced his retirement shortly after Sullivan entered the race, throwing his support to Patrick Daley Thompson, grandson of the original Mayor Daley and a commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District since 2012. Thompson’s name is featured prominently, along with Balcer’s and that of his uncle’s, ward committeeman John Daley, in the windows of the 11th Ward Democratic Party building at 36th and Halsted.
A downtown corporate attorney who handles property tax appeals and represents developers seeking TIF money, Thompson said his real estate and development experience would be an asset to the ward. But it didn’t seem to help a few years ago, when the Better Government Association identified Thompson as one of several politically-connected individuals who’d been granted homeowner exemptions for investment properties. Thompson pled ignorance and paid the back taxes.”
A Thought On Labor Day
Even if you’re lucky enough to have one or two part-time jobs in this “recovery” economy, chances are you’re still struggling to make ends meet. We live in a time where working people are in the fight for their lives, only one slip-up away from disaster.
That’s a reality that has consequences — and casualties. Didn’t your heart break when you read the story from New Jersey about Maria Fernandes? The 32 year old worked four part time jobs and lost her life when she tried to get a few hours of sleep in her car between shifts.
Maria died in her Dunkin’ Donuts uniform.
Shocking stories like this and so many others from our own neighborhoods are reminders that in these times, hard working people are undervalued and taken advantage of more than I can ever remember.
Without working people, nothing happens. No wealth is created for anybody.
That seems so obvious, doesn’t it?
Why, then, do so many of our leaders act only in the service of big business and not the workers that create the revenues that big business earns?
Today on Labor Day, we celebrate the people who make our country’s economy possible.
But I want our workers celebrated every day. I want our political leadership to stop selling out to the people who cut working people’s wages, who play games with their working schedules, who threaten them and who move better jobs overseas so workers’ choices dwindle.
My opponent in this race, Patrick Daley Thompson, worked for years for a law firm that actively helps companies send jobs overseas. They brag about it today.
Today is Labor Day. The election in February is months away, but during that time, I want you to think about who is a friend to hard working people in this election for 11th Ward Alderman.
And to think about who isn’t.
Maureen Sullivan is running for Alderman of Chicago’s 11th Ward.
Alderman Balcer Steps Aside
Jay Levine at CBS2Chicago.com reports that 11th Ward Alderman Jim Balcer will not run for re-election, owing to health issues stemming from his service in Vietnam.
Balcer tells CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine that he’s stepping down to pursue treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from his military service in Vietnam.
Balcer, a former Marine, was awarded a Bronze Star for heroic acts during combat.
Upon hearing the news, Maureen Sullivan, candidate for 11th Ward Alderman, issued a statement:
“Along with so many in our Ward, I salute Jim Balcer for his distinguished service to our country and for his sacrifice of his health. I am saddened that he faces this personal challenge today and it is my sincere hope that he recovers as soon as possible. Get well, Jim.”
Above: In happier times: Maureen Sullivan and Alderman Jim Balcer share a copy of Maureen’s new book at a 2012 CTA Board meeting. Both addressed the board that day on the topic of the 31st St. bus.
Photo: Josip Trutin
Gathering Volunteers, Petitions And Momentum
The popular progressive challenger receives a sharp expansion of support, gathers volunteers
After kicking off her bid for 11th Ward Alderman one week ago, Maureen Sullivan‘s campaign is already reaching thousands of voters.
Gathering dozens of cheering supporters in front of the ailing Ramova Theater last Monday, Sullivan started things off by calling for a major change in the local political leadership, unveiling her campaign platform and promising to bring accountability to the Alderman’s office.
The message is very well-received. Online engagements are off the charts for the campaign, says campaign Communications and Policy Director Rob Warmowski.
“We’ve reached nearly ten thousand people in only the first week,” said Warmowski. “Social media, web and community channels are buzzing about her candidacy, and the conversation is in her favor. People in the 11th Ward are already excited about her thanks to her many years of community service, and people who are just learning about her are impressed by her record and platform. She’s inspiring volunteers to stand up and ask to help.”
Gathering Volunteers On The Eve Of Petition Circulation
Snagging over 600 likes on Facebook right out of the gate is great, but the campaign runs on real-world support — and that means showing up and helping out.
The campaign’s volunteer force will be hitting the streets starting this week to gather signatures for Sullivan’s position on the February 24th election ballot. Readers wishing to join up and help Sullivan get on the ballot can sign up at the campaign volunteer page.
How many volunteers does the Sullivan campaign have currently?
“Dozens and growing every day” says Warmowski. “But there’s always room for more.”
Maureen Sullivan Declares Candidacy For 11th Ward Alderman
Longtime community activist, author, and businesswoman Maureen F. Sullivan will today announce her candidacy for Alderman of Chicago’s 11th Ward. The declaration will take place at 6PM, Monday August 18th in a special location: the front of the embattled Ramova Theater near the corner of 35th and Halsted.
The campaign theme is “Fight For A New 11th Ward”.
Since 2005, Sullivan, a near-lifelong resident of the Bridgeport neighborhood, has been a firebrand standing up to challenge the political status quo in the very neighborhood that is the home of the Daley “machine”.
“I have never been associated with the machine nor with politics as usual in Chicago,” said Sullivan. “My father was a gas man for 48 years. Nobody in my family benefited from political clout or favors.”
Sullivan, an activist, author and small businesswoman with an art degree, represents a new wave of Chicago progressive challenges to the policies enacted by the City Council that favor school closings, privatization, TIF abuse, and sneaking legislation past residents.
“We’ve seen it all. Their record speaks for itself. The neglect by the leadership of the past seventeen years has led to blight, to poverty, heightened crime and a tremendous waste of some of the city’s best-located neighborhoods. We have had enough. It’s time for a change.” she said.
The announcement coincides with the launch of Sullivan’s campaign website at http://sullivan11thward.com .
In 2005, Sullivan and her chief policy and communications consultant Rob Warmowski founded the nonprofit Save The Ramova, agitating the city owner of the theater to act to restore it, successfully preventing its demolition and winning $330,000 in funding to hold the line on damage to the structure.
“When I got the theater petitions around in 2005, back at the beginning, the overwhelming question from the people in this community was ‘why don’t the powers that be do something?’, said Sullivan.
“Almost ten years later, with the same do-nothing Alderman in the chair, that question applies more than ever to the whole 11th Ward,” she said. “Why don’t they do something about the garbage and empty storefronts on Halsted? Why don’t they do something to protect parents and kids from school closings? Why don’t they stop pretending there’s no money when there’s always millions of tax dollars for sports stadiums, crooked charter schools and privatization?”
Sullivan’s first elected position in 2010 was as President and founder of the Palmisano Park Advisory Council. Her most recent elected position was to School Council at McClellan Elementary on Wallace and 35th.
“If you want a job done, you had better be ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work. That’s why I’m running.”