• ballots

    It’s Official: Maureen Sullivan Is On The Ballot!

     It’s Official

    It’s official: all the hard work — unpaid field volunteer work going back months — has been worthwhile. All the careful planning, all the management, all the communications and all the detail work — has paid off.  There are no petition challenges, all the I’s have been dotted and all the T’s have been crossed.

    We couldn’t be more proud to report the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has announced that Maureen Sullivan is on the ballot for the February 24th election.

    As a groundswell of support for real change increases across the 11th Ward and the campaign’s red window signs appear in ever-greater numbers from University Village to Canaryville, the message is clear: Maureen Sullivan is for real.

    It’s Time To Step It Up

    Now is the time to step it up. Here’s how you can help:

    Don’t let this chance pass — our first in decades — to elect a responsive, independent and experienced community leader.

    Show your support for the lady who you’ve seen out there actively improving our community for ten years, not just out there knocking on doors at election time.

    Show your support for the candidate who stood up to the old-boy leadership on 37th Street and Halsted and said “enough is enough”.

    Get behind a leader.  Get behind Maureen Sullivan for 11th Ward Alderman.

    Photo credit: CBS2Chicago

  • Flyer for 11th Ward Tax Tricks session 12/4/14

    11th Ward Tax Tricks Written Up In DNAChicago

    Casey Cora in today’s DNAChicago spotlights the 11th Ward Tax Tricks event we are sponsoring Thursday along with 11th Ward Neighbors.  Casey writes:

    “Hosted by The Civic Lab co-founder Tom Tresser, the ongoing, citywide seminars are for residents looking to learn how money is being collected and spent under the oft-misunderstood economic development tool of TIFs.

    “Here’s how it works: When an area is declared a TIF district — by law it’s supposed to be in a “blighted” area — the county sets a “base value” by totaling the property values within the district.”

    “Then, the amount of property tax money public agencies like schools and parks can take from that area is calculated using that base value for 23 years. Any additional property tax money generated from an increase in property values within the TIF district is instead sent to the TIF fund overseen by the city.”

    […]

    “The event is sponsored by Friends of Maureen Sullivan, the political group backing the candidacy of 11th Ward aldermanic candidate Maureen Sullivan.

    “In a statement, Sullivan criticized TIF misuse and what she’s labeled the 11th Ward’s “old-boy leadership,” citing her decade-long crusade to renovate the long-shuttered Ramova Theater, which is owned by the city.”

    “The city in 2012 spent $330,000 shoring up the building but hasn’t secured a developer to renovate it.”

    About That Shoring-Up Of The Ramova

    City ownership of the Ramova has been a major topic of Maureen’s community work since she created and led Save The Ramova in 2005. It was Maureen who called attention to the specific architectural damages to the building and it was her work that forced the appropriation of  remediation funds. Before her pressure, the city had let the property deteriorate.

    “It’s just one chapter in a ten-year long story of fighting for that theater,” Sullivan said. “But it’s an important one.”

  • Before-After Photo of Crawford coal plant in Chicago

    How I Helped Fight The Coal Plants — And Helped Us Win

    Like a lot of people in Bridgeport and Pilsen, my family has struggled with respiratory problems tied to the nearby Crawford coal plant. In 2010 I read a report detailing the plant’s terrible health costs to residents, including premature deaths, asthma episodes and heart attacks every year. Beyond that, I learned the dollar costs were more than $120 million to the people in the community.

    I knew this situation was wrong. I decided to get involved to change it.

    That was the year I and a core group of community leaders co-founded a group called the Bridgeport Alliance and steered it to join the city-wide and Pilsen-centered efforts to end the coal plants’ costs to the community.

    I had first gotten involved in the specific coal plant issue after attending Green party community meetings where I learned that Pilsen-based PERRO had been working on closing the plants for years. We first made contacts with Dorian Breuer from PERRO and then later Christine Nannicielli and her staff at Sierra Club in 2011.

    I own a business, so I’m always mindful of what works for commerce. But I learned these plants were open for one reason: to sell power outside of Illinois and to contribute to an Enron-style national market for electricity. We know how Enron ended up. There was no way it was right to pay for that kind of business with the health and lives of our people.

    That year, I became part of a big effort. My allies and I worked on volunteer organization, educating residents, raising awareness, collecting signatures on South Halsted, collecting photo petitions and enlisting the support of 11th Ward businesses. We were on the streets, engaging our neighbors. Our work, organized and presented as the Clean Power Coalition, culminated in a City Hall action Dec 2, 2011.

    Along with the Coalition’s city-wide pressure, which included the Bridgeport Alliance, I personally asked 11th Ward Alderman Jim Balcer to sign on as a co-sponsor of the City Council Clean Power Ordinance, which was introduced in April 2010.

    The Old-Boy Leadership: No-Go and No-Show

    Alderman Balcer never signed on, and in fact sold out the people of the 11th Ward by delaying the vote on the Council floor twice, putting it off until after the end of the Daley administration.

    Also, my election opponent Patrick Daley Thompson, at that time an executive of the South Loop Chamber of Commerce, was a no-show on the coal plants. Patrick made no appearance nor statement about the health hazards faced by the people of the 11th Ward during the entire fight. If he’s ever said anything about people in our community dropping dead thanks to coal plant pollution, I’ve never heard it.

    No thanks to Thompson’s absence or Balcer’s interference, it was ultimately the threat of the City Council vote — that threat created by community pressure city-wide through our Clean Power Coalition — that eventually ended the pollution in 2012 and improved the air quality in our community tooday.

    Today, as President of the Palmisano Park Advisory Council, it’s one of my greatest joys to climb the hill and look north to the now-smokeless smokestacks, take a deep breath, and remember what can happen when people get together to stop footing the bill for an operation that doesn’t even serve them.

    What can happen?

    We can win.

    (Photo credit: ELPC.org)

  • sign - THANK YOU

    Giving Thanks On Thanksgiving Week

    The first phase of our long campaign is over. Petitions will be filed today and we move on to the season where we stop worrying about getting on the ballot and focus exclusively on making it clear how I will improve the 11th Ward.

    The conversation will continue: we’ve knocked on thousands of 11th Ward doors and been honored by all those people giving their time to talk about our community. We’ve earned thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. There are hundreds of our signs on the streets.

    We have earned endorsements from National Nurses United, Reclaim Chicago, The People’s Lobby, Democracy For America — and more are on the way.

    We’ve picked up a lot of steam, and it’s only going to get bigger from here. Over and over, we leave people’s homes in agreement about many things. The number one point of agreement is this: we can do better.

    I want to give thanks to the team for all their hard work getting out that message thus far. You have inspired so many and I have been inspired by so many.

    Just to name a few: Rob Warmowski, Veronica Castillo, Sandy Earley, Rene Paquin, Jennie Biggs, Peter Xantheas, Roseanne Mostacchio, Dan and Lynn Pugh-Bennett, Kevin Robinson, Alison Eichhorn, Kathleen McKenna, Ana Castillo, Angela Rojas-Gonzalez, Alicia Ibarra, John Freyer, Kevin Morgan, Mandy Pence, Tom Stoddard, Mary Welter, Virginia Gibbons, Val Kahan, Jackie Maher, Cori Stankowicz, Peter McMahan, Colleen Duffy, Tom Bailey, Sam Mattone, Jon Ozik, Nate Lefebvre, Mark Lennon, Mary Ann Reid, Ian Tuggle, and my team of advisors in other camps whose priceless advice is always taken to heart.

    Salut, team! We are going to win this!

    And now, let’s have the great Alex Chilton and Big Star say thanks better than I can.

    Photo credit: Groomsadvice.com

  • picture of benton house ramova room

    Sullivan Fundraiser At Benton House’s Ramova Room, November 12

    picture of benton house ramova room

    (Above: The Ramova Room at Benton House)

    Join us Wednesday, November 12th for the latest fundraiser for Maureen Sullivan for 11th Ward Alderman.  This time the festivities kick off at the Ramova Room in Benton House’s north building at 3034 S. Gratten (aka Ma Benton Lane). As with all our campaign fundraisers, expect refreshments, fine beverages and great company.

    This time, we gather in the Ramova Room,  one of Maureen’s favorite personal projects from her past ten years of service to the community. Here’s some background on Maureen’s involvement in building the room.

    About The Ramova Room And How Maureen Preserved It

    In October 2012, when the famous, Dinos-family-owned 83-year-old neighborhood diner  Ramova Grill closed, Executive Director Ward Miller of Preservation Chicago called Maureen Sullivan. He had tried to save the furniture from the diner by placing it with a Greek history museum downtown, but the plan had fallen through.

    “Even though I was pretty busy with [releasing] our Bridgeport history book, I dropped everything when Ward called me for help,” said Sullivan.  “I knew how fond the people were of the Ramova Grill, so I wanted to make sure the seats and interior would be kept in the neighborhood. The grill opened in 1929, the same time as the theater, and our community has loved it for generations.”

    Added to the furnishings were tables from another shuttered South Halsted dining classic: Healthy Foods.

    Sullivan had an idea.  She contacted Benton House and spearheaded the preservation project by supervising, photographing and publicizing the removal and restoration of the Grill’s interior to its new home: the Pearse Hall gymnasium and activities building of Benton House on Gratten St.  Today it’s used as a community center and for Benton House’s many seniors meetings, as well as playing host to its food pantry.

    Come on down November 12 for a close look at the preserved history and have a chat with the lady who made it happen: the next Alderman of the 11th Ward, Maureen Sullivan.

     

    Photo Credit: We Farm America  

  • Comparison of 11th Ward Office cleanup and Maureen Sullivan cleanup

    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:

    Original DNAChicago Story

    (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.

    Comparison of 11th Ward Office cleanup and Maureen Sullivan cleanup

    comp-2

    comp-3

    The choice is clear. Community organization and leading volunteers is what works.

    Pretending to clean up the streets doesn’t.

  • Rob Warmowski, Maureen Sullivanand Dan Pugh-Barnett

    Palmisano Park Advisory Council Wins Award Under Sullivan Leadership

    Friends Of The Parks Logo

    The campaign is proud to announce the Palmisano Park Advisory Council (PAC) has been selected by Friends Of The Parks for the 2014 Volunteer In The Parks Award for Outstanding Park Advisory Council.

    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.

  • Congratulations To Bob Fioretti On His Announcement Today

    Today, I want to extend congratulations to my friend and fellow progressive traveler Bob Fioretti on the occasion of his throwing his hat into the ring for Mayor. It was a long time coming, and I’m glad to see it happen.

    I don’t know for sure, but it’s my guess that CTU President Karen Lewis will make a similar announcement soon.

    If she announces, it would mean that the Rahm Emanuel administration’s terrible treatment of public schools and working families will have created two credible opponents. Two serious challengers who have both put in years of hard work standing up against school closings and for hard-hit families. Two true friends to parents and students. Two hard-fighting South Siders who see the city as one.

    That’s a lot to like.

    Congratulations, Bob!

     

  • A Thought On Labor Day

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Rugs. Hardwick an...

    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.”

     August 8, 2012: Maureen Sullivan shares a copy of her book with Alderman Jim Balcer

    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

     

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