Saturday, February 7, 2015

Demay Vs. Cardenas

Will Alderman Cardenas Show Up?
Brighton Park Elementary School
3825 S Washtenaw
Tuesday Feb 3rd 5:30
In a democracy voters are supposed to get a chance to hear visions for their area by opposing candidates. Ward 12 is a little different. On the one hand, incumbent George Cardenas, has bent every rule and made every effort to ensure that there will be no opposing candidate.  And on the other, many speculate that he won't even honor an invitation by respected community groups to defend his 12 year record and share his vision. The two initiating groups are the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and the Chicago Teacher's Union.
Peter John DeMay is the challenger who Cardenas' staff and lawyers tumbled from his ballot position by intimidating voters. Burly paid, on the clock staffers visited residents and got some to sign a notarized affidavit renouncing their original signatures. Further Cardenas' high priced lawyer took liberty with laughably flawed ballot procedures and mechanisms.

Mr DeMay has already filed for a write-in candidacy and is appealing to get back on the ballot in circuit court. That decision is expected on Wednesday.

Cardenas is extremely unpopular among ward residents for his arrogance and subservience to downtown financial interests -- particularly Mayor Rahm Emanuel. His votes for cuts to policing, traffic camera surveillance, education cuts, privatization, and gutting of the city's mental health safety net are indicative of a callous disregard for a ward teeming with social problems.

He is a pay to play practitioner, receiving barely-legal kick backs for votes to site charter schools in areas where public school communities fear Rahm Emanuel's axe.
 Analysis of his menu money spending reveals three startling facts about the 1.3 million at his discretion. He:
  • left $140,000 unused,
  • spent only $5,000 in the Brighton Park part of the ward, and
  • only $80,000 in the Little Village/Marshall Square area.
In the photo below he talks with Josh Levy, a venture capitalist with First American Properties LLC. The two are envisioning profitable ventures on the site of the former CTA bus barn at Archer and Rockwell. The plan is for an LA Fitness gym on formerly public property that was purchased for pennies on the dollar by the city ($1.6 million). Just another example of privatization -- in this case of recreation.

Levy, who has properties in foreclosure on the north side, has yet to secure financing.  But if he does, it is a virtual certainty the some of it will go as a contribution to the alderman. In the background is the Brighton Park Elementary School where the forum is scheduled for Tuesday night.

So we know for sure that George knows the location. Ironically just a stone's throw further south on Archer is the aging St Agatha Gym, a majestic memory of the days when our youth were nurtured and not treated as just another profit center.

Extending the irony, just to the south lies Kelly Park which has been unkempt for years in a community area which is close to dead last in acreage of recreational green space within the city limits. Cardenas has studiously avoided offering any help to a grass roots effort to retrofit that field for the uplift of youth.

Peter John DeMay will stand before an audience that has many legitimate questions. He can respond in English or Spanish due to his stint in the Peace Corps in Panama, to his time as a hotel union organizer in Pueto Rico, and his activities in support of Mexican autoworkers in Puebla, Mexico. He is currently an organizer for the United Auto Workers and a father of two small children.

Unlike Cardenas who is famous for ducking and muddying direct questions, Pete will show the crowd what they can expect -- a sincere, thoughtful, compassionate, tough, defender of everyday people.

Pete will elaborate on some of his key proposals -- eliminate the speed camera surveillance as a hidden and regressive tax, find robin hood sources of revenue like a tax on LaSalle St transactions, expand community and economic development with creative use of spaces like the McKinley Clock Tower Manufacturing Buildings, jobs and training for youth, neighborhood safety improvements, and participatory 
budgeting equally proportioned to all three neighborhoods.
If Cardenas does not show on Tuesday, maybe it was because he was getting ready to rub shoulders with the rich and the powerful on Thursday at his sophisticated fundraiser. He will be feted by a well connected venture capitalist firm, Delaney Law at 444 N. Wabash. Could things be any more clear?
If he does show, Pete comes out a winner as well because the alderman resorts to mumbling, obfuscating, calling the police, or making a hasty exit when he is presenting to a group what knows whats up.

Twelfth Ward Educators and Schools Activists Announce
Reception for Peter John DeMay
Thursday February 5th at Vista Hermosa 5:45 
4248 S. Ashland

It is no secret. If Emanuel and Cardenas are re-elected, education will be on the chopping block. Teachers and administrators express their passion for our children on a daily basis. They know it is time to support Pete DeMay.  The alternative is too bleak to bear. The kids are the future.

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