• Seal_of_Chicago,_Illinois

    When A Good Idea Is Against The Law

    Here’s a question you might hear in law school: is it worth breaking the law to do a good thing?

    Law student John Kozlar has promised, if elected, to “give his entire $73,280 Aldermanic Allowance to support our seniors and veterans instead of using it for himself.”

    I haven’t promised to do that with the Aldermanic Allowance.

    The reason is I can’t. Because it’s illegal.

    John’s idea is great. There is no doubt that seniors and veterans deserve support. We all know that. It’s a very good idea that comes from someone whose heart is in the right place.

    But if you do it with that particular money, you have to break the law to do it.

    What we have is a law student simply misreading the law.

    The Aldermanic Allowance John talks about has very specific laws that govern the money. The rules say it’s to be used for the various expenses of running an Alderman’s office.

    It gets expensive to run an office, as I learned in my many years of managing custom furniture showrooms.

    In Chicago’s Municipal Code, ordinance 2-8-050 states that the Aldermanic Allowance is “to be used for ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with the performance of an alderman’s official duties”.

    (The law also states this money is never to be used for “personal, political or campaign expenses”, so it’s a misreading to say you could “use it for yourself” in the first place.)

    But you also couldn’t legally give it away to seniors and veterans or to anybody because the ordinance specifically forbids it in 2-8-050 (c) (8), which reads “In no event shall any aldermanic expense allowance funds be used for any of the following purposes: […] trophies, awards, gifts or donations of any kind”

    You can click here to see the Municipal Code section in question. It’s been on the books since 1991.

    Again: John Kozlar’s heart is in the right place. Seniors and veterans need to live in dignity and be protected. And there are many ways to do that — legal ways — that I’m committed to.

    But someone with a law education should know we need to do that legally.

    That’s why we need someone with experience and attention to detail to make sure that happens. That’s why I will make the best Alderman for the 11th Ward.

    If we make things up as we go along, if we say anything just to get elected, that makes us no better than the machine.

  • sullivan-at-u-of-c-forum-jan-8-2015

    Maureen Sullivan Endorsed By Chicago Teachers Union

    In a Wednesday session of the Chicago Teacher’s Union endorsement committee, progressive 11th Ward Aldermanic candidate Maureen Sullivan was selected in an overwhelming vote by the union membership over her Aldermanic challenger Patrick Daley Thompson. Thompson had been originally proposed by union leadership.

    “I couldn’t be more honored by the Chicago Teachers Union’s decision to endorse my candidacy,” said Sullivan, a school council member at McClellan Elementary in Bridgeport. “I owe this outcome to the CTU rank and file who I worked with closely fighting the recent wave of public school closings that threatened Armour, McClellan and Graham elementary schools,” she said.

    The reversal decision for Sullivan and against Daley Thompson came in two steps. CTU leadership originally proposed endorsing Thompson, a move that sparked contention over the last three days following the proposal’s appearance.

    At the meeting, 11th Ward resident teachers and numerous supporters of Sullivan, keenly aware of Thompson’s pro-charter, pro-voucher and anti-elected-school-board stances, led the membership in a move to strike Thompson’s name from the endorsement resolution.

    After winning the vote to strike Thompson’s endorsement, an energized union rank and file introduced a second amendment, this time to endorse Sullivan. After debate, the membership took a voice vote which was overwhelmingly in favor.

    CTU’s nod comes as welcome news for the Bridgeport native’s staunchly progressive, grassroots campaign against the legendary 11th Ward political machine.

    “This endorsement is a victory for working families and everyone who understands that a neighborhood’s economic health drives education outcomes,” said Sullivan “Our public education system is under attack by pay-to-play privatizers. In this election, I am proud to stand with public school teachers, families and students to say enough is enough.”

    [Above: Maureen Sullivan leads a class on machine politics at University of Chicago last week.  Photo: Brian Cerullo]

     

    We saved McClellan!

    [Above: Maureen Sullivan campaigns in Fuller Park against public school closures in 2012.  Photo: Derek Johnson]

  • bridgeport-alliance-flyers

    Announcing January’s 11th Ward Aldermanic Forums

    In a town that could use some heating up in January, a pair of political forums* are guaranteed to raise the temperature on the insider leadership responsible for mismanaging the 11th Ward for decades. Two debates in the 11th Ward Aldermanic race are announced:

    At least one additional forum is planned for Feburary.  Watch our website for details.

    * [CORRECTION: The original version of this post characterized these events as debates, but in fact their formats are not debate-style. The formats are instead panels with Q&A directed to the candidates individually. We regret the error.]

    (Photo credit: Bridgeport Alliance)

  • maureen-sullivan-bad-for-bridgeport

    Sullivan Denounces Hate Attacks, Calls For Unity

    Responding to an anonymous sticker campaign in the Bridgeport neighborhood, Aldermanic candidate Maureen Sullivan called for unity in the face of a hate attack, the first of the political season in the 11th Ward.

    Stickers reading “Maureen Sullivan Bad For Bridgeport Bankrupt Financially And Morally” went up on area light poles at some point in the last few days.

    “There is no place for hatred in this or in any election,” said Sullivan.  “There are significant differences between the candidates, but I don’t believe that any of us endorses this kind of deeply disrespectful personal attack. I call upon my electoral opponents Patrick Daley Thompson and John Kozlar to join me in denouncing these hate stickers and resolve to focus on the issues that are important to voters.”

    Since launching in August, Sullivan’s campaign website has detailed the personal bankruptcy in her history, triggered by the 2008 housing crisis.

    An online attack came with the stickers, when in a web comment, Ed Marszewski, owner of Maria’s on 31st St. and a Thompson supporter, called Maureen “a crazy cat lady” (photo).

    Sullivan’s campaign has collected dozens of volunteers, thousands of dollars of donations and has snagged key endorsements including Democracy For America, the People’s Lobby, Reclaim Chicago and National Nurses United.

    “We’re seeing again how women are singled out for terrible abuse in electoral politics,” said Sullivan campaign spokesman Rob Warmowski.  “But our neighbors know that Maureen has always been up front, and has always stood up to bullies. This neighborhood loves a fighter.”

    Debates among all three candidates are scheduled to take place January 21st in Canaryville and January 25th in Bridgeport.

     

  • polo-cafe

    Sullivan, Candidates Address Bridgeport Village Homeowners Association

    Last night at Polo Cafe, during the first event of the campaign season attended by all three candidates for 11th Ward Alderman, the questions flowed like beer from Polo’s cash bar.

    Addressing a gathering of the Bridgeport Village Homeowners Association was Maureen Sullivan and her election opponents John Kozlar and Patrick Daley Thompson. The event planned 20 minutes for each candidate to deliver remarks followed by questions from association members.

    After drawing straws, Maureen led off, letting the homeowners know why she’s running for office:

    “There are many reasons why I’m running for Alderman, but the number one reason I’m running is because my neighbors demanded it. For the past ten years, I’ve been a highly visible community volunteer stepping up to improve our neighborhoods by providing leadership, creativity, experience and successful community organizing. Time and time again over that ten years, I have been asked ‘why don’t you run for Alderman? We need you. You already do what the Alderman is supposed to do.’ This year was the year I finally gave in and stepped forward.”

    Questions for Maureen included how she would shape the business development in the neighborhood. “At Archer and Halsted,” she said,  “there should be commuter-related businesses such as a day care, and we should consider a drive-through coffee place.  I envision Halsted Street and Archer Avenue as walkable small business districts, that look inviting.”

    After remarks by Kozlar including a round of applause for his work with the Canaryville Little League, Patrick Daley Thompson took the stage to present a very different vision for Halsted’s business district and its shuttered storefronts. He said retail wasn’t the right focus.

    “You don’t need as much retail on Halsted.  You shop on the internet now,” said Thompson.

    On Alleys And Designation

    The Q&A for Daley Thompson got a little fractious. Feeling neglected by Jim Balcer, current Alderman, Daley machine appointee and office-mate of Thompson’s, association members pressed Thompson on issues including the arrangements in the development for garbage pickup.  One homeowner said he had been asking the Alderman for eight years to have city garbage pickup arranged in Bridgeport Village’s alleys.

    “That’s easy to do,” said Daley Thompson. “We have to create a designation for the alleys.”

    The crowd, familiar with the process but having gotten no response on it for years from Alderman Balcer, did not like that answer.

    “If it’s so easy to do, why hasn’t it been done?” shot back another homeowner.

    “You’d have to talk to Jim Balcer,” responded Daley Thompson.

    11thward-office

    (Above: The office on 37th St. where Patrick Daley Thompson and Alderman Jim Balcer have desks.)

     

    (Photo credits: Planet99.com, HGJones.org)

  • 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.”

  • 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

  • moxee-frontcomp

    Maureen Sullivan Fundraiser: Moxee Kitchen Sunday Oct 19th

    moxee-frontcomp

    University Village’s finest barbecue and brewery plus the next Alderman of the 11th Ward Maureen Sullivan. What’s not to love?  Come on by for the Maureen Sullivan For 11th Ward Alderman Fundraiser at Moxee Kitchen at 724 W. Maxwell St. on Sunday night October 19th from 6 to 8:30.  $25 suggested at the door.  Free appetizers and tastings of their excellent menu along with a cash bar.

  • townhallturnout

    Big Turnout At Maureen Sullivan’s Town Hall Meeting In University Village

    townhallturnout

    At Wednesday night’s town hall meeting, Maureen Sullivan addressed a crowded house at Powell’s Books, touching on the special issues of University Village including development, the homeless, architectural and historic preservation, transportation, dog parks and others. She took a wide range of questions from a lively group interested in the political future of their ward in the era after redistricting.

    The University Village area along with University Commons and UIC now lie in the boundaries of the 11th Ward, after the 2012 redistricting. These areas extend the 11th Ward to the north along Halsted St. to Harrison. Questions about redevelopment along the entirety of South Halsted (from Harrison to 47th) were answered and issues such as abuse of TIFs and SSAs and the right way to create sustainable economic development were touched on.

     

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