WBEZ | John Arena http://www.wbez.org/tags/john-arena Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en ‘Trust issues’ with Springfield have aldermen looking for property tax relief plan B http://www.wbez.org/news/%E2%80%98trust-issues%E2%80%99-springfield-have-aldermen-looking-property-tax-relief-plan-b-113491 <p><div>Citing &ldquo;trust issues&rdquo; with Springfield lawmakers, many Chicago aldermen are looking for another way to help homeowners stomach higher property taxes.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>More than 30 aldermen have signed their names on proposals that would give rebates to struggling taxpayers. Two members say that without the assurance of that plan B, they&rsquo;ll vote no on the budget.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Mayor Rahm Emanuel has long said his proposed $543 million property tax hike would come with a break for homes valued at $250,000 or less and a doubling of the homeowner&rsquo;s exemption. But the mayor&rsquo;s plan requires approval from state lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner, and so far it has only passed through one committee. State lawmakers won&rsquo;t meet again until November, and aldermen are scheduled to cast their budget vote on October 28th.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_821590849688.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 200px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, speaks to lawmakers while on the House floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Springfield, Ill. Democrats in the General Assembly continue attempts at flanking the Republican governor on the budget impasse, advancing legislation that would distribute money that's already been collected to local governments, lottery winners and more. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)" /></p><div>Alderman John Arena (45) said he and his colleagues have &ldquo;trust issues&rdquo; with deadlocked Springfield, and that makes it tough to believe lawmakers will come through on the exemption plan.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re gonna hope that they do their job, we hope they&rsquo;ll do the right thing, so that Chicago can deal with this very important issue, if not, let&rsquo;s do what we can within our purview,&rdquo; Arena said.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Providing property tax relief through rebates is not a new idea at City Hall: Mayor Richard M. Daley started a <a href="https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/press_room/press_releases/2009/october_2009/mayor_daley_announces.html" target="_blank">rebate program</a> as part of his 2010 budget. But Ald. Michele Smith (43) said as the budget vote gets closer, there is &ldquo;rising sentiment in the council for a rebate program.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Smith introduced an ordinance this week that would assist homeowners age 60 or older who have owned their homes for 18 years or more and are facing triennial assessments higher than 30 percent. <a href="https://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2501244&amp;GUID=A8909CD3-6249-4D5D-82CD-CFCAC6B167F5&amp;Options=Advanced&amp;Search=" target="_blank">Her plan</a> is an attempt to widen another rebate plan from <a href="http://www.ward1.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/RELIEF.pdf" target="_blank">Ald. Proco &ldquo;Joe&rdquo; Moreno (1) who proposed a relief program</a> for households earning $100,000 or less a year -- an announcement he made weeks before the mayor&rsquo;s official budget announcement.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="https://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2469616&amp;GUID=E60FA614-1C64-40BC-AE85-9214DC5F6760&amp;Options=Advanced&amp;Search=" target="_blank">A third proposal from members of the Progressive Caucus</a> would distribute funds that members say are still left over from Daley&rsquo;s rebate program in 2010. &nbsp;One of the sponsors, Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35) said without a rebate program or final approval in Springfield on the homeowner&#39;s exemption, he&rsquo;d cast a no-vote next Wednesday. Arena is with him, calling a budget without either of those items a &ldquo;deal breaker.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Emanuel&rsquo;s staff didn&rsquo;t say whether the mayor would be open to including one of these rebate programs in the budget. Instead, they repeated what Emanuel and his staff have constantly said about the homeowner&rsquo;s exemption: That the plan has never been contentious or controversial in Springfield before, so there is no reason it will be now.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 23 Oct 2015 16:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/%E2%80%98trust-issues%E2%80%99-springfield-have-aldermen-looking-property-tax-relief-plan-b-113491 Progressive alderman blasts Emanuel property tax increase http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2015-09-03/progressive-alderman-blasts-emanuel-property-tax-increase <p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving an early peek at his 2016 budget and it includes a hefty property tax hike - and other measures to raise revenue - mostly in the name of paying down the city&rsquo;s mounting pension debts. The City Council&rsquo;s Progressive Caucus put out a statement today blasting the mayor&#39;s 2016 budget plan, for squeezing Chicago&rsquo;s working class families. Alderman John Arena, a long-standing member of the Progressive Caucus joins Melba Lara to talk about this budget.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>(TRANSCRIPT)</p><div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alderman Arena, a property tax increase is not really a surprise for anyone who was paying attention during the race for mayor, but the scope of this seems unprecedented.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It absolutely is and it&rsquo;s startling because the mayor was critical of his opposition about past property tax increases, so to take this step without looking at a broader picture on how we solve the budget crisis, and using the tax increase as a last and least effect on closing the gap seems just too quick.</div><div id="fb-root"><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/JohnArenaChicago/posts/990222041041471" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/caucus%20fb%20post.PNG" style="height: 560px; width: 540px;" title="A screenshot of 45th Ward Alderman, John Arena's official Facebook page is captured. The picture shows a post from the Arena, calling the public to action. (WBEZ)" /></a></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Progressive Caucus has been saying today that the tax increase will disproportionately hurt working class families. What do you propose then to ease the burden on them?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well,&nbsp;we introduced some ideas to the mayor - a pretty wide-ranging mix of ideas. Some of them were as simple as imposing higher billboard fees. The billboard companies make huge profits on the advertising, and some of their fees are as low as $50-$200 and&nbsp;they&#39;re popping up all over the place. Those are the folks we should be going to first, instead of a pensioner who&rsquo;s going to see a reduction in benefits...as these challenges to the pension system go on; who have seen higher healthcare costs be imposed on them by the city and by the state; and then are going to be doubly hit because they&rsquo;re going to see a massive property tax increase. We&rsquo;re going to be forcing these folks into very difficult positions. Folks making less than $50,000 a year are going to be struggling to make ends meet.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And Alderman Arena we&rsquo;re hearing a lot about of course the big property tax increase proposed, we&rsquo;ve heard about some fees going up...what about cuts?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well, that&rsquo;s&nbsp;a difficult&hellip;&nbsp;we&rsquo;ve been going through the budget and I know the mayor has done this and I will give him credit for finding ways to do that. But, what we see is it&rsquo;s becoming harder and harder to provide services in a timely manner. We look at things and keep saying &lsquo;oh we just have to keep cutting personnel&rsquo;, but at some point we get to the point where we&rsquo;re hitting bone - and I think we&rsquo;re pretty much there. This again has to be... a more nuanced approach than just a heavy hand of a straight property tax increase.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alderman Arena, I did want to play this piece of tape from Mayor Rahm Emanuel who has said that these increases will be painful, but it will finally give the city a permanent fix for the nagging financial problems.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><blockquote><div><em>MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (TAPE)</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>&ldquo;And by the time we&rsquo;re done, in the four years the structural deficit we inherited in 2011 will be eliminated. All the gimmicks and shenanigans that were built up in the system to mask what the real cost of our government was from&nbsp;&lsquo;scoop-and-toss&rsquo;,&nbsp;to raiding the rainy day fund, to borrowing from the future to pay for the present, to using one-time revenue sources - all those gimmicks will be out of the system, and we will have finally righted our financial ship.&rdquo;</em></div></blockquote><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That&rsquo;s Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Alderman Arena, will this be a permanent fix?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well, whether it&rsquo;s a permanent fix still has to be determined. The idea of moving away from &lsquo;scoop-and-toss&rsquo; and policies that he continued from the previous administration without really having a plan for how&nbsp;we&#39;re&nbsp;going to recover those lost dollars except for going to a property tax increase, I call that bad planning.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I know that some groups have suggested the city tap TIF [Tax Increment Financing] money. Is that an option that can be explored?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well,&nbsp;the mayor is codifying that we surplus 25%. I have...and my colleagues have called for a higher percent of TIF &#39;surplusing&#39;&nbsp;each year from the very beginning when I came into office; same time as the mayor. You know, I think 25% is meagerly, I think there&rsquo;s more money sitting there unused, we can move that up to 50% or 75% relatively quickly and help bring more money into the system. And again, we have to do this in an additive way. Find every single place that we can go to take money that&rsquo;s sitting idle and move it into our operating budget so that we make sure we have a property tax increase that&rsquo;s manageable and doesn&rsquo;t shut down our local neighborhood economies, because that&rsquo;s the biggest challenge I see here in the 45th Ward where we&rsquo;re starting to see some gains and new businesses opening, but if the seniors, if the local families here don&rsquo;t have discretionary money to get an ice cream cone, to get a meal out in the new businesses, we&rsquo;re going to start seeing closures again.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>upset Do you think you&rsquo;re going to be triggering an exodus from the City of Chicago?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well, I think Chicago is resilient and I think people have&nbsp;commitment&nbsp;to the city. We hear that a lot whenever we impose any kind of tax. I think Chicago is very diverse, I think it has a great economy. We have to be careful how we move that economy. Yeah, it&rsquo;s going to force some people to make hard choices. I think we&rsquo;re going to weather through this, and I think with the work the caucus is doing in bringing ideas to the table that are more equitable than just this sort of straight line tax, I think we can figure out a way by the time we get to a budget that we see as a final budget that gets voted on that it&lsquo;s not just this straight line tax.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alderman Arena, you have proposed in the past a city income tax. Do you think that&rsquo;s workable?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Yeah, we got some numbers back from the budget office when we presented this to them, and by their numbers, if you exempted the first 50,000 of income of all employees, a half a percent on income would bring in $190 million. And what&rsquo;s key about that is one, it protects the lower income brackets from exposure to this, and secondly, it&rsquo;s going to impose a tax on those&nbsp;commuters&nbsp;that come into the city, earn their salaries here, use our infrastructure and go back home. So it&rsquo;s a more diverse tax, it loops in a wider net if you will, and it protects that lower income bracket which is very important to the Progressive Caucus.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>Alderman John Arena of the Chicago City Council, thanks for talking with us today.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&mdash; <em><a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/progressive-alderman-blasts-emanuel-property-tax-increase" target="_blank">All Things Considered</a></em></p></p> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 17:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2015-09-03/progressive-alderman-blasts-emanuel-property-tax-increase Former candidate for Chicago alderman stands to lose far more than an election http://www.wbez.org/story/former-candidate-chicago-alderman-stands-lose-far-more-election-95561 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-13/photo.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>This much you already know: Political campaigns can be costly. And that's especially true for one candidate who ran for Chicago alderman last year.</p><p>John Garrido lost after getting knocked around by negative ads. He sued for defamation, and the outcome could end up costing him - personally - more than $150,000.</p><p>Garrido is a Chicago police lieutenant, a part-time attorney and - in recent years - an aspiring politician. Last year, he ran for alderman in the 45th Ward on the city's far Northwest Side.</p><p>"I don't want to say that I thought it was mine," Garrido said in an interview last week at his law office. "But we definitely were doing very well and I thought we were going to be victorious."</p><p>Garrido's confidence wasn't misplaced. He was well known and ran a high-energy - though relatively-low cost - campaign.</p><p>But in the end, "Well, it was a nail-biter. Came right down to the wire," he said.</p><p>Thirty votes separated Garrido from his opponent.</p><p>"Absolutely crazy," he said. "I believe one paper wrote that it was the second-closest race in the history of Chicago."</p><p>If that's so (and a spokesman from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners doubts it), Garrido was on the losing side of history.</p><p>"Trust me, the second guessing. You know, when I stopped for dinner on a certain day, I could have walked an extra two blocks," Garrido said. "I mean, yeah, of course you definitely second guess yourself all the way 'til the end there."</p><p>The winner was John Arena, who owns a graphic design business. Arena had won the bulk of labor union support in the race. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) of Illinois, alone spent several hundred thousand dollars on this single ward race.</p><p>Garrido was hit over and over again with negative ads - many tying him to the unpopular deal to lease Chicago's parking meters to a private company, a deal that's led to increasingly higher parking rates.</p><p>"When Chicago privatized parking meters, our neighborhoods and working families got hurt," boomed the voice-over on a SEIU TV ad. "Garrido even took cash from a corporation making millions from the parking meter deal."</p><p>A sentence flashed on the screen: "Garrido took cash from parking meter company."</p><p>"Absolutely false. Absolutely false," Garrido said of the charge.</p><p>Well, maybe not "absolutely" false, but not quite as advertised. It turns out Garrido took money from the owner of a security firm working with the parking meter company. The claim was repeated in mailings to 45th Ward residents, along with other negative charges.</p><p>Just 10 days after he lost the election, Garrido filed a defamation lawsuit.</p><p>"My reputation was damaged," he said. "My career's been based on honesty and integrity. And they spent a lot of money to damage that. And unfortunately, there are very few ways that you can get recourse."</p><p>He sued SEIU Illinois and other unions that sent out negative ads: Chicago Federation of Labor and UNITE HERE Local 1, as well as Comcast, which aired the TV ad, and the winning candidate, John Arena, whose campaign also made the parking meter claim.</p><p>Arena said in an interview last week that Garrido should've known better than to accept a donation at all connected to the parking meter deal.</p><p>"You don't want to be 10 feet from that. You don't want to be 100 miles from that deal if you're in a campaign running," Arena said. "If that were me, I would have returned the money. I wouldn't want to have anything to do with that deal in the context of that race."</p><p>Besides, Arena said, hits happen in the course of an election; if you can't take them, don't play the game.</p><p>"It comes off...as sour grapes that you ran a campaign," Arena said. "You win or you lose, and you have to decide whether you're going to come back and run again the next time or file a lawsuit that wastes a lot of people's time."</p><p>Representatives for SEIU Illinois, Chicago Federation of Labor, UNITE HERE Local 1 and Comcast all declined to comment for this story, each noting the pending lawsuit.</p><p>So far, it hasn't mattered if the parking meter claim was true, somewhat true or not at all true. The defamation suit was dismissed before its merits were ever discussed, because of an Illinois law passed in 2007: the Citizen Participation Act.</p><p>Supporters of the legislation wanted to discourage lawsuits that could have a "chill[ing]" effect on people wanting to speak out in public forums. Basically, the law said you can't be sued for what you say, if you're legitimately trying to influence "government action."</p><p>"So that people can't use the courts as a means of litigating their political fights," explains Shari Albrecht, an attorney at the Chicago law firm Mandell Menkes. She's represented a handful of defendants in lawsuits where the Citizen Participation Act is invoked.</p><p>"The defendant doesn't have to go to the effort of trying to prove, for instance, that their statements were true, or that for whatever other reason it wasn't defamation. All the defendant has to do is show that the Citizen Participation Act applies," Albrecht said.</p><p>And then the lawsuit is dismissed. Plus, the plaintiff - the person claiming to be defamed - has to pay a chunk of the other side's legal bills.</p><p>And that's what John Garrido is looking at, according to court documents: $13,164 for lawyers hired by the Chicago Federation of Labor, $34,149 for SEIU Illinois, $34,222 for UNITE HERE Local 1, $62,407 for Comcast and $17,097 for John Arena. All told, those defendants say Garrido owes them roughly $161,000.</p><p>In his order last week re-affirming his dismissal of the case, Cook County Judge Michael Panter wrote that courts shouldn't "police the veracity of our political candidates' campaign allegations."</p><p>Garrido plans to appeal.</p><p>"The statute that they're using to try to dismiss the case, in my opinion, wasn't created to protect speech that's untrue. You don't just get, you know, free pass to lie just because it's during a campaign," Garrido said.</p><p>"Everybody's got the opinion that, well - you know - politics, you've got to have a thick skin. It's rough and tumble. This is Chicago politics. And that's fine and I'm good with that," Garrido said. "Nobody's got a thicker skin than a Chicago police officer. But there has to be a line somewhere that you cannot cross."</p><p>And Judge Panter at least appears somewhat sympathetic to Garrido's argument, calling attention in his ruling a "fundamental irony" with the Citizen Protection Act.</p><p>The law, he wrote, "closes the door on one very important right to participate in government, applying to the courts for relief from injury...in the name of protecting another right to participate in government, like here, running for political office."</p><p>Panter pleaded for "clarification," and he could get it soon. In September, the Illinois Supreme Court heard a case questioning whether such a broad protection of public statements in constitutional. The justices have not yet ruled.</p></p> Tue, 17 Jan 2012 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/former-candidate-chicago-alderman-stands-lose-far-more-election-95561 Chicago City Hall layoffs starting January 1 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-city-hall-layoffs-starting-january-1-95127 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-23/city hall.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The new year brings more than 500 layoffs for City of Chicago employees, including some over the next few weeks. Three-hundred-eighty-five&nbsp;of the layoffs - including more than 300 union jobs - are expected to take effect on or around the first of the year.</p><p>According to a document provided by the city, some departments are likely to experience just a few: Office of Budget and Management is slated for 1, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is projected to have 2.&nbsp;Others are hit hard: like the library with 182 layoffs, and the Department of Public Health, with 50.</p><p>Because of labor rules, some of the workers receiving layoff notices will still have jobs after filling other vacancies in city government.</p><p>These cuts were included in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's budget plan, which sought to close a $636 million deficit. It passed unanimously by the city council after the mayor agreed to some small changes, including fewer job losses than originally planned.</p><p style="margin: 5px 0px 10px; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.4em;">"I see a trend that leaves me uneasy," Ald. John Arena of the 45th Ward said during the debate. "The majority of the cuts in our workforce are to our frontline workers."</p><p style="margin: 5px 0px 10px; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.4em;">In the end, Arena voted yes on the budget, vowing to check up on how the cuts affect services.</p><p>The pain for city workers doesn't stop with the layoffs slated for this winter.&nbsp;The administration said an additional 150 employees will be let go after a "consolidation" of community health clinics scheduled for mid-2012.</p></p> Tue, 27 Dec 2011 16:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-city-hall-layoffs-starting-january-1-95127 Arena claims victory, while Garrido holds out in Chicago's 45th Ward runoff http://www.wbez.org/story/45th-ward/arena-claims-victory-while-garrido-holds-out-chicagos-45th-ward-runoff-84799 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/arena garrido 3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Margins of victory were very small in a handful of Chicago city council runoffs, and the results could change slightly as late-arriving absentee ballots trickle in.<br> <br> Chicago's 45th Ward is on the Northwest Side, where just 29 votes separate the candidates. Graphic artist John Arena leads, and last night talked like he was already in the council.<br> <br> "We need to move forward now," Arena said. "I'm going to build, you know, a coalition - whether it's folks who ran or residents that want to get involved and have a voice in how their ward is run and how the city is run."<br> <br> But Arena's opponent, police office and lawyer John Garrido, is not conceding.<br> <br> "Disappointed right now, but encouraged that everybody worked so hard, and it's close," Garrido said in a phone interview Tuesday night. "You know, we're going to wait for the final count."<br> <br> This contest saw a recent infusion of cash, with the Service Employees International Union spending more than $200,000 dollars for Arena.<br> <br> His 29-vote margin of victory is still unofficial. According to board of elections, as many as 73 absentee ballots for the race may still arrive.</p><p>The 45th Ward is an open seat this year. Incumbent Ald. Pat Levar announced last fall that he was retiring at the end of the term.</p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 05:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/45th-ward/arena-claims-victory-while-garrido-holds-out-chicagos-45th-ward-runoff-84799 Chicago unlikely to have any proud Republicans in next City Council http://www.wbez.org/story/brian-doherty/chicago-unlikely-have-any-proud-republicans-next-city-council-84057 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-21/arena garrido 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Republican in the Chicago City Council is a rare breed. For the past twenty years, there's been exactly one. <br /><br />Ald. Brian Doherty is retiring, but in at least two runoff races taking place in April, Republicans are in contention. Technically, the office of alderman is non-partisan. But that doesn't mean the campaigning is.</p><p>In Chicago's far northwest corner, there are a cluster of neighborhoods - quiet ones - if you can ignore the jet noise from nearby O'Hare. This is the 41st Ward, and since 1991, Brian Doherty has represented it on the city council. As he is now, Dougherty then was the only Republican alderman, and that led to some &quot;freshman hazing.&quot;<br /><br />DOHERTY: They were trashing the president - the first George Bush. It was like my second or third meeting. <br /><br />Doherty says then-Ald. Luis Gutierrez turned to him and said, 'You know, Doherty, they're calling you out.'<br /><br />DOHERTY: And so I stood up and...I said, 'As the minority leader of the Republican Party on this floor,' which brought them all to laughter, you know. I said, 'We should stick to what's in front of us and, you know, do our city business and quit worrying about the national business.'<br /><br />But Doherty says party label doesn't mean a thing in this job.<br /><br />DOHERTY: Being an alderman is nonpartisan, because there's really not a Republican or Democrat way to pick up the garbage.<br /><br />That said, Doherty's conservative ideology does at times enter the equation - on issues like domestic partners, abortion, reparations.<br /><br />Now he is leaving the city council, having lost a bid for the state Senate last fall, and he's backing a longtime staff member to replace him.<br /><br />DOUGHERTY: I've known Maurita Gavin since grade school, okay. I actually went to her senior prom with her.<br /><br />Dougherty says he is a &quot;card-carrying Republican,&quot; but Maurita Gavin is more of an independent, though for the past decade or so she's only voted in Republican primaries.<br /><br />Not that that's unusual in the 41st, the most Republican ward in the city. Though even there, the GOP is in the minority. In the primary election last year, only about a quarter of all ballots cast were Republican.<br /><br />Gavin obviousy recognizes that math. Here she is at a forum in the Edgebrook neighborhood.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="263" width="350" title="Maurita Gavin (left) and Mary O'Connor are running against each other in the 41st Ward." class="caption" align="middle" alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-21/gavin%20o%27connor.jpg" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">GAVIN: I vote for the best candidate regardless of political affiliation, just like I will support the best policies for this ward without regard to political issues.<br /><br />Gavin says that differentiates her from her opponent, caterer Mary O'Connor, who is also Democratic ward committeeman, which Gavin claims makes O'Connor beholden to Democratic leaders. Mary O'Connor shrugs that off.<br /><br />O'CONNOR: Because I'm the Democratic ward committeeman, to feel that I have all these connections is not true. I have not even asked for money from the Democratic organization. I've been running independently.<br /><br />So in that ward - the 41st - it's the Republican going after the Democrat for her party roots.</p><p style="text-align: left;">It's exactly the opposite in the neighboring 45th. One of the candidates there is police officer John Garrido, who has cast ballots at different times in Republican and Democratic primaries. Though last year he ran for Cook County Board President as a Republican.<br /><br />His opponent in the aldermanic race this year, small-business owner John Arena, has labeled Garrido an opportunist.<br /><br />ARENA: When you run as a Republican for Cook County Board president, it's convenient to be a Republican. When you're running for a nonpartisan race, it's convenient to be an independent.<br /><br />Arena is a Democrat, but is not getting any support from the ward's Democratic establishment. He is getting help from a union that most often sides with Democrats.<br /><br />The Service Employees International Union, SEIU, paid for a mailing that shows photos of Republicans like John McCain, George Bush and Sarah Palin. And right in the middle: John Garrido. It says, &quot;The last thing we need is a partisan Republican Alderman.&quot; SEIU declined to be interviewed on tape for this story.<br /><br />Here is Garrido's response to the ad:<br /><br />GARRIDO: It's very divisive. And I know he always talks about this whole consistency thing. You know what? When you vote, is there supposed some kind of indoctrinated consistency in how you vote? For me, it's about the candidate.<br /><br />Garrido is getting support from some GOP organizations. He says the chair of the Cook County Republican Party donated $500. And the Chicago Young Republicans are volunteering for Garrido because they say he's a &quot;great fit for the ward.&quot; The group - no doubt respecting Garrido's own claims of independence - insists its support has nothing do with him being a Republican.<br /><br />And so, next month Chicago may very well elect two aldermen with GOP bona-fides. Neither though are acting like they'd embrace the party like retiring Ald. Brian Doherty does. Which means the new Chicago city council likely will be without a &quot;card carrying Republican&quot; alderman.</p><p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Most Republican Wards in Chicago*</strong></p><p><style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;} </style></p><table class="tableizer-table"> <tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>Ward</th><th>Percentage Democratic voters</th><th>Percentage Republican voters</th></tr> <tr><td>41</td><td>74.3%</td><td>25.7%</td></tr> <tr><td>42</td><td>76.3%</td><td>23.7%</td></tr> <tr><td>43</td><td>78.8%</td><td>21.2%</td></tr> <tr><td>38</td><td>81.1%</td><td>18.9%</td></tr> <tr><td>45</td><td>81.4%</td><td>18.6%</td></tr></tbody></table> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Most Democratic Wards in Chicago*</strong></p><p><style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;} </style></p><table class="tableizer-table"> <tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>Ward</th><th>Percentage Democratic voters</th><th>Percentage Republican voters</th></tr> <tr><td>34</td><td>99.3%</td><td>0.7%</td></tr> <tr><td>8</td><td>99.2%</td><td>0.8%</td></tr> <tr><td>6</td><td>99.2%</td><td>0.8%</td></tr> <tr><td>17</td><td>99.2%</td><td>0.8%</td></tr> <tr><td>21</td><td>99.1%</td><td>0.9%</td></tr></tbody></table> <p style="text-align: left;">* based off ballots pulled during February 2010 primary election</p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>Music Button: The Tiki Tones, &quot;Rusty Nail&quot;, from the CD Mai Tai Records Music Sampler, (Mai Tai)</em></p></p> Tue, 22 Mar 2011 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/brian-doherty/chicago-unlikely-have-any-proud-republicans-next-city-council-84057 Some aldermanic candidates say they'd happily take Emanuel's leftover cash http://www.wbez.org/story/eugene-sawyer/some-aldermanic-candidates-say-theyd-happily-take-emanuels-leftover-cash <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Rahm on campaign night - Getty John Gress.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some candidates for Chicago alderman headed to runoff races said Thursday they will seek help from the mayor-elect. Rahm Emanuel said he plans to provide political resources and ideas to candidates who will be partners in &quot;reform and change.&quot;</p><p>Emanuel had more than $13 million at his disposal during the campaign. There are &quot;resources&quot; left over, he said, but claimed he does not know the dollar amount.<br /><br />He is likely to get lots of requests for help.<br /><br />Ald. Sharon Dixon of the 24th Ward faces a runoff after getting just 19-percent in a crowded field on Tuesday. She said she will talk to Emanuel &quot;as soon as [she] possibly can.&quot;</p><p>They will talk about issues, Dixon said, as well as money.</p><p>&quot;We will definitely talk about campaign resources. Yes,&quot; she said. &quot;That will be part of the conversation. I am in a runoff.&quot;<br /><br />An endorsement may also help; Emanuel won 60-percent of the vote in Dixon's ward. She faces former Ald. Michael Chandler in the runoff.<br /><br />On the Northwest Side in the 45th Ward, small business owner John Arena is one of the candidates headed to a runoff. The seat is currently held by retiring Ald. Pat Levar.</p><p>Arena said he wants to talk to Emanuel, who got more than half the vote in the ward. But Arena noted he will not accept help if there are strings attached.<br /><br />&quot;If it's expected that...I can't maintain my independence, then no, I wouldn't accept it,&quot; Arena said.</p><p>Arena's opponent, police officer John Garrido, said he's hopeful Emanuel stays out of the race. But Garrido said if Emanuel chooses to endorse a candidate in the ward, he hopes it's him.</p><p>In the South Side's 6th Ward, Emanuel won 59-percent of the vote. The challenger there, Roderick Sawyer,said his campaign could use Emanuel's money if the mayor-elect chooses to work with him.</p><p>&quot;But we don't want to put all of our eggs in one basket and say that's the end-all and be-all of this campaign,&quot; said Sawyer, who is a lawyer and the son of a former mayor, Eugene Sawyer. &quot;That's just one step. You know, there's other money out there.&quot;</p><p>Sawyer is up against incumbent Ald. Freddrenna Lyle. Lyle endorsed former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun in the mayor's race, but said she's talked to Emanuel a few times about issues.<br /><br />Asked if she'd accept campaign money from the mayor-elect, Lyle said she is &quot;not ruling out any support unless the devil comes in with a check.&quot;<br /><br />And Lyle said she does not think Emanuel is the devil.</p><p>Fourteen city council runoff elections will be held on April 5th.</p></p> Thu, 24 Feb 2011 23:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/eugene-sawyer/some-aldermanic-candidates-say-theyd-happily-take-emanuels-leftover-cash