Northside Candidates Present Ideas in 33rd Ward Forum
By Jim Vail
|Roosevelt teacher Tim Meegan for 33rd alderman.|
The aldermen and mayor elections are next week, and endorsements, brochures, and campaigning are flying around like confetti.
Several wards have been hosting forums in which the candidates express their ideas and answer questions either from a moderator or the audience.
On the Northside, the Chicago Teacher's Union favorite teacher/activist Tim Meegan joined the current alderman and daughter of the city's infamous political machine Deb Mell, along with community organizer Annisa Wanat, at the 33rd ward forum two weeks ago.
The forum was surprisingly polite and orderly, considering one of the most odious patronage politicos was sitting in the middle of two challengers looking to end the corrupt political machine that has ruled the ward for almost 40 years.
"I can assure you if my son wants to enter politics, I will not help him," Meegan said in response to a question about encouraging family members to continue in their political shoes.
In all fairness, Mell held her own with the two formidable challengers. Contrary to the buzz mixed with rumors of dynasty incompetence, Mell is a sharp cookie who knows how to speak.
Reminds me of the Bush years when those who hated him subscribed to the theory he was stupid (certainly an image his PR people wanted to promote since this Yale educated son of a political dynasty needed to relate to the rednecks). Bush scored well on the SATs and got himself re-elected, not bad for a dummy.
While Meegan said we need to stop these political dynasties - that's not all! - Mell didn't skip a beat by stating her father told her not to go into politics.
|33rd ward alderman Deb Mell|
She also said, unlike her father Dick, she will speak to community organizations, and stated she is against charter schools.
Perhaps Wanat said it best, by stating, "I don't have any children, so I'll stop it that way."
Wanat, who earned a Sun Times endorsement based on the belief she presents a more credible financial plan that includes raising taxes, said she supports Bob Fioretti for mayor, while Meegan supports the CTU endorsed Chuy Garcia, and Mell, her one low point in the forum, first tried to avoid the question, then stated she likes Rahm Emanuel (honesty is a virtue, especially in politics!).
Meegan was in fine form, stating the city should abolish the TIF system that freezes taxes that should be going to the schools, parks and other city services to spur development. He said TIFs today are so corrupt, that instead of the money going to blighted areas in the city, it is used to finance hotels for billionaire Penny Pritzker.
Meegan said there is no responsible privatization.
"You've sold the city up, that's not our property, politicians should not be selling off our city to those who kick back campaign contributions," Meegan said.
The moderator, the son of Chicago Tonight host Phil Ponce, did not allow the audience to applaud after the candidates answered questions. In fact, he was quite adamant about it, repeating constantly to "hold your applause!"
|Annisa Wanat 33rd alderman challenger|
One questionable solution to budget woes was when Wanat said she thinks the number of aldermen should be cut in half to save $10 million. Sure, let's eliminate more democracy and elections because it "costs" money.
Meegan did mention briefly about the need for an investigation against Mell which he has posted on his website and we post below. He did not elaborate.
The challengers didn't hit hard enough, Mell was still standing, so we'll see what happens Feb. 24th.