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Speculating over Process

Posted by Mike G on December 10, 2011

For the most part, I enjoy serving on a few boards. Not only does it offer me satisfaction knowing that I might have a role in helping a worthwhile organization fulfill its goals, but I enjoy the networking and camaraderie I build with fellow board members and other people involved in the organization.

But there is one aspect of being part of a board that I dislike: daylong workshops!

Last week I felt compelled to attend such a workshop for one organization on whose board I sit.

The organization hired an out of town “specialist” to lead the session.

Midway through the morning session, after I had downed my fourth cup of coffee and began tearing away at a stale oat muffin, the specialist started talking about visioning.

“Cast away all pre-judgments” he said, clearly uttering words straight from the visioning chapter of the Day Long Workshop playbook. “Think creatively. Think outside of the box. Embrace each others ideas. There are no bad ideas.”

If I had a toothpick, I would have used it to prop my eyes open.

“There are no bad ideas?

Yeah. Right.”

Yet, such advice might soon be relevant for those of us here in Rogers Park. If that which pundits are now speculating about proves to be true, our community might soon find itself in search for a new Alderman to fill the seat now occupied by Joe Moore. 

For those of you who don’t follow this stuff, there is a strong chance that Governor Quinn will appoint Alderman Moore to a cabinet level position, thus opening up his slot. There is speculation, grounded in a Tribune article printed earlier this week, that the Mayor will give major consideration to any recommendation offered by the Alderman, who, in turn, suggests that he will have his 49th Ward Democratic Organization, headed by Committeeman David Fagus, engage in a community process to recommend a successor to fill his slot until we can conduct a special election.

Which begs the question: how does a community select a temporary Aldermanic candidate who the sitting Alderman can then recommend to the Mayor?

Allow the 49th Ward Democratic Organization to interview and select prospective candidates?

That’s one way, I guess, though questions will arise as to who is actually part of the Democratic Organization, how this process would work, and whether the organization’s members might already have allegiance.

Can we do better?

Under the leadership of Alderman Moore, we are the community that introduced Participatory Budgeting into North America. In this, the third year of engaging in this process, we, the residents of Rogers Park (at least those of us over 16 years of age) have participated in a unique and inclusive process wherein we decide how our ward’s share of Aldermanic menu money is spent.

Some of us love the process. Others find it a useless exercise. Others simply don’t care.

But it certainly is innovative, and, we have learned through the Alderman’s email updates, people throughout the world have learned how residents of the 49th Ward embrace a fair and open processes. 

If we in the 49th Ward are faced with selecting a successor for Alderman Moore, perhaps we can engage in as innovative and inclusive a process as the one we engage in for spending menu money.

Let’s again remember that we are simply speculating. There is no assurance that Alderman Moore will receive the appointment to the state wide cabinet post, and, if he does, congratulations are in order.

Yet, its not to soon to consider the appointment process if indeed, the Mayor does seek a recommendation from our Ward for a successor.

I invite anyone possessing creative ideas to respond in the comment field below.

Remember: no idea is a bad one.

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Reader Comments

The all too clear first step is to ban any form of nepotism.  The very notion that a departing elected official can even suggest a family member to take up his/her position is beyond ridiculous.

Next step is to address the inherent bias of the democratic committee, which clearly supports the outgoing alderman’s position above and beyond unbiased process and the best interests of ward residents.

I know that many consider the cost of a special election to be prohibitive, but it is also as close to transparent as we can get in this city.

Perhaps the Illinois EPA should pay for it…

Posted by Scott Phillips on December 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Echoing Scott’s recommendation, I’ll continue on that theme. The process has to be as objective as possible, which means anyone who is a card carrying member of the 49th ward democratic organization is immediately suspect. That doesn’t mean those individuals should be banned from recommending but that any search and nominate committee must be balanced with those who are not committed to the perpetuation and promotion of that organization.

And definitely, a relative should not be considered, regardless of how competent. We lost a considerable amount of blood over 200 years ago to shed the manacles of aristocracy when we told King George where to stuff it. It appears that in Chicago, in particular, we have yet to appreciate that freedom. The House of Daley. The House of Burke. The House of Cullerton. The House of Stroger. And so on. So now we want to establish the House of Moore? Ideologies don’t matter. Whatever side of the political spectrum, aristocracy is simply wrong. Barb appears to be a good person. Let her run for Water Commissioner or whatever, just not alderman.

Posted by Don on December 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Our corner of Rogers Park is no longer even in the ward, but we identify with Rogers Park nevertheless. I like the way Joe Moore has kept in touch with people all over the neighborhood. I like to see the vary parts of the area improving. Let those interested speak in public and let the buzz get back to a Dem.selecting committee. This does not have to be scientific. If anyone doesn’t like the results, encourage them to run in the next primary to the fill post.

Posted by Peter Fugiel on December 17, 2011 at 6:12 am

I would like to suggest that the ‘runner-up’ in the last primary be the ‘recommended’ nominee for the appointment.  While (in this case, Brian White. 
  It’s true that the incumbent, Joe Moore, won 72 percent of the vote in the last primary, but Brian and his family have resided here a long time, and did a commendable job garnering more than a quarter of the votes in his very first campaign.  If he’s open to serving, he might have enough time to establish a record to run on in the next primary.  I’m aware that some people would be less than pleased, but I think that a ‘runner-up’ precedent is both fair and logical.

Posted by RPFARGO on December 18, 2011 at 12:12 pm

The “Runner Up” concept is certainly an interesting one.  I agree that residents who didn’t vote for the runner up might not be open to this, but you can certainly make an argument that it was an open process and that the candidate who came in second should be highly considered.

Posted by Scott Phillips on December 20, 2011 at 11:12 am

I agree, it is “interesting” and I never thought of it…

I’d rather see a special election in May or June regardless of what it costs.

Posted by Charlie on December 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm

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About the Author

Mike G's photoMike Glasser

Mike has a long term relationship with Rogers Park, having lived here at various times in his life, most recently returning to the neighborhood in August, 2009. While living here as a third year law student, he remembers drunken nights at Biddy Mulligan’s and hosting a couple of memorable parties that he, hypocritically, now forbids his own tenants from having. Years later, after completing his stint as a lawyer, Mike started investing in apartment buildings in Rogers Park (and elsewhere), and soon after, did what many newly divorced real estate investors do: he moved into one of his buildings. In 1992 Mike was one of the founding members of the Rogers Park Builders Group, an organization that he eventually headed for six years, until yielding those reigns three years ago. Around a decade ago, on a whim, he reserved the web site “,” which he has been developing ever since, and which co-hosts RP BizArts networking events. Mike is the proud father of three wonderful children, Amy, Mitch and Ella.

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