Thursday, February 22, 2007


Election Time in Helengrad

Helengrad as in Helen Shiller's 46th ward in Chicago.

Things are getting interesting in the neighborhood. They have been for a while now as the election next Tuesday draws near. There is a blog (What the Helen?) dedicated to tracking the election and ousting the current 'alderbeast' in favor of challenger James Cappleman. Though I probably don't have much in common with the site operator (think Kos) in politics beyond the neighborhood I think most of the content at WTH is good and there are links to back things up. The guest blogger, 'IrishPirate' is funny and often posts video documenting the ward's troubles and most recently some shenanigans with the vote.

Shiller has been the alderman for almost 20 years now and has done nothing to make things better there. To me her plan seems to be to keep the property value down in the name of helping the poor out by giving them a place to live. A few people on various blogs have commented in favor of Shiller for just that reason. They don't want to have to move so a little dirt (gangs, drugs, violence, graffiti) serves a purpose. I am supporting Cappleman for just the opposite reason.

I don't like the fact that some people are only concerned about the cost of rent and not the safety issues but they are entitled to their opinions and their vote. What I am angry about are some of the election irregularities that are in some cases illegal and at best just immoral.

The Chicago Tribune endorsed Shiller and when listing their reasons included two that were false concerning business developments in the ward. That was lazy on their part. A few people have tried to find evidence that Target is really planning a store for the Wilson Yard project and have come up empty. Shiller refuses to prove that she has a deal in place. The other development concerned a movie theater that was cancelled a year ago.

In addition to this the Tribune does business with Shiller through a parking deal for the Cubs. That deal seems shady to me but I've not looked into it myself.

There is a photo of a Daley/Shiller campaign sign posted at a church which is both a tax exempt organization and a polling place.

Shiller has been accused of buying votes with cigarettes and with five dollar bills in the past but this year she posted this flyer in an assisted living building offering free pizza. Of course people were encouraged to bring their photo id since there would be a bus taking people to the polls to participate in the early voting process that is becoming more popular.

A city state vehicle is being used to give out picture id's (required for early voting) in front of Shiller's ward office. I'm not against helping the less fortunate and I don't want to deny anyone the right to vote but I don't trust what I'm seeing. All it takes is one bogus vote to cancel out my vote.


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?