Anyone who read my recent blog posts knows that I was critical of 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore for various actions he did and didn't take during the race. I thought Joe went negative against Brian White when he didn't need to be, in the process misstating issues, knowingly misleading voters about his opponent. I also thought it was disingenuous how Joe made no effort to help get the word out about two forums that groups in the community organized. The evening event in particular was woefully under promoted and, thus, under attended – and I wonder why the Democratic 49th Ward Organization – which worked so hard to promote their slating sessions held the previous Saturday – couldn't at least have made reference to the fact that their candidate was going to engage in a couple of forums that following week. (Of course, good politics dictate that a leading candidate should do little to engage in one on one public communication – a candidate might slip up. But I question that approach in the 49th ward, a location where people want transparency and openness – trademarks that Joe continually maintains is the cornerstone behind his policies.)
I also can't pin this one directly on Joe, but I found it unfortunate that a local blogger, Tom Westgard, who seems to be a big supporter of Joe chose to use the two weeks prior to the election to criticize and direct substantial allegations against a local food kitchen – one that is serving dozens of meals to homeless and indigent. The post alleges that the kitchen engages in irregularities - both in their financial operation and for inappropriately taking political positions - in violation of the code that confers tax exempt status.
I have no direct evidence that the Alderman supported these blog posts – the blogger is well known for his independence – but the blogger's allegations - quite serious ones – could have been a lot more credible, less politically inspired, and simply smell a whole lot less pungent, had he aired them after the election. Perhaps Joe – someone who only two weeks earlier specifically used a prior entry submitted by this blogger to support his position on another campaign issue – could have urged this blogger to postpone making such substantial attacks until after the election, when one could question the motivations behind the allegations.
Oh well, again.
As critical as I am of his conduct (or misconduct) during the campaign, I now want to commend Joe's office for a couple of positive steps his office has made post election.
For starters, while driving home along Morse Avenue on Wednesday night – the day following the election, I noticed that all campaign signs were gone. This was confirmed the next day, while driving in another part of the neighborhood. Signs – representing many candidates for the aldermanic, mayoral and clerk's races that had been set in countless locations – were gone. I have not verified this, but I suspect that the Streets and Sanitation superintendent, who, I believe is accountable to Joe, made this sweep. It was refreshing to me to see these signs all gone. We, the residents, have had our full of signs and politics in the two past elections. How nice to see the signs removed so promptly.
I will offer Joe one final compliment. On Thursday evening, at the invitation of a community activist, I attended a meeting of Network 2424, a group that achieves impressive results in their attempt to unite their neighbors and reduce crime. I missed the portion of the meeting when the police representatives spoke, but I did hear a CAPS representative describe efforts that people can make to organize block clubs, and I heard additional common sense steps that neighborhood residents can take to improve quality of life. (We invite Network 2424 and CAPS representatives to use this website to spread their important message about creating block clubs, and how such clubs can help build community and also be a deterrent to crime.)
Attending the meeting was a long time member of the Alderman's staff - Wayne Frazier. To me, Wayne looked a bit worn – understandably so, given that it was only two days following the campaign. Yet, here he was, in attendance, offering valuable advice and suggestions – being sure that residents knew how the Alderman's office is available to assist.
To me, quality of life in our city would improve dramatically if our elected officials could run their offices and represent their constituencies as efficiently and as enthusiastically as they run campaigns geared towards attaining or retaining their political office.
In the past couple of months, Joe was extraordinarily aggressive and zealous in pursuing his large victory. I am critical of some of his tactics. Yet, hopefully, he will use the same level of intensity in his attempt to serve his constituents.
I congratulate his good start.