It's traditional for a ward organization to publish a palm card with our picks in the municipal election. Here goes:
|Ballot initiative #1||NO|
|Ballot initiative #2||NO|
|Ballot initiative #3||NO|
Feel free to print this card out and bring it with you to the voting booth.
Nine Democrats and three cockamamie ballot initiatives. Yes, tomorrow will be a delightful day at the polling place.
* * *
But those of you who are fair minded, sophisticated Republicans may want a more nuanced view. Here are some thoughts for your consideration.
Rahm Emanuel is Barack Obama's former chief of staff, and everything he is, does, and thinks reflects that fact. He is fully a product of a deeply liberal, deeply corrupt Chicago political culture. It's hard to imagine a worse choice. Chuy Garcia and Bob Fioretti each have vivid imaginations, however, and have managed it. They both imagine a world even more detached from fiscal reality. The only candidate in the race who has expressed remotely conservative views is Willie Wilson. If you are able to vote for a Democrat (I can't), then vote for Willie and force Rahm into a runoff.
If there is a mayoral runoff, it may force Rahm to appeal to the 20% of the city that votes Republican. Maybe he'll get better on some of our issues.
In the 43rd Ward, we have similarly inadequate choices. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, reprinted here:
Michele Smith, incumbent. Alderman Smith would not have drawn such opposition had she been doing a good job. She has botched the Children's development, voted in lock step with the Mayor, and irritated just about everyone. To her credit, in her Tribune questionnaire she talks about controlling spending, and in city council she voted against the minimum wage increase. But on TIFs, pensions, and vacant storefronts, she hasn't the remotest clue. No.
Jen Kramer is an affable person, but her career has been straight machine Democrat. The Daley administration moved her from job to job over the years, and she shows no inclination to buck the system. Her Tribune questionnaire answers are devoid of substance. She would sink into the group of 40-odd rubber-stamp Alderman and never surface again. No.
Jerry Quandt is similarly affable. But when I asked him how we would tackle the city's financial problems, he said "The corporations that want to locate here should pay their fair share." In a DNAinfo article, he said "It's going to take solutions that probably will entail increasing taxes in some form or fashion." He describes himself as center-right, but not with positions like that. No.
Caroline Vickrey is a community organizer. But unlike Barack Obama, her positions have had actual responsibilities. Her policy positions are a mixed bag. She gets it on cutting spending and the need for defined-contribution pensions. She's good on corruption. Her position on TIFs is, ah, evolving. She doesn't get it on charter schools. Her position on taxes is murky: "I do not think that Chicagoans can tolerate any increases to property taxes," but "...new sources of revenue should be explored." Caroline is not a Republican and isn't with us on some important issues. Her willingness to take steps to get spending under control and oppose the machine, though, speaks well of her. Maybe.
So, if you're able to vote for a Democrat (I can't), vote for Caroline and force Michele into a runoff.
Our best option on this sad day is force runoffs, which will push the frontrunners to make concessions to Republicans if they want their votes. We may not be able to get the candidates we want, but we may be able to get some of the policies we want.
Like not having a 60% property tax increase to pay for the pension mess.