Friday, April 6, 2007

32nd Ward Runoff Election Rhetoric Heats Up - West Lakeview & Bucktown

For anyone who doesn't know, the 32nd ward Alderman, Ted Matlak, did not receive over 50% of the votes during the last City elections. This means Alderman Matlak must run again against his closest runner-up - Scott Waguespack.

We've been receiving quite an impressive bunch of campaign mail and today's stack was most remarkable: four direct mailers from Alderman Matlak and two from Scott Waguespack for a total of SIX direct mail flyers just today.

What's most perplexing to me is that only one piece of the mail today listed any qualifications for the job. All other campaign pieces focused on smear tactics or fear mongering. I think this is just so wrong.

Alderman Matlak says:
• Scott Waguespack is an imposter.
• Scott Waguespack implies that he’s an attorney but he failed the Bar exam and is not legally allowed to practice law.
• Scott Waguespack is a patronage hack from Berwyn.
• Scott Waguespack is not a property owner in the 32nd ward.
• Scott Waguespack is a deadbeat for not paying his taxes.
• Scott Waguespack is not to be trusted.

Scott Waguespack says:
• There’s runaway development in the ward.
• Ted Matlak is responsible for it.
• Ted Matlak took $350,000 in campaign cash from developers.
• Ted Matlak ignores the runaway threats that development poses.
• Ted Matlak awarded a company millions of dollars in tax giveaways that cost homeowners of the 32nd ward.
• Ted Matlak took $7,000 in campaign contributions from a company tied to the “Hired Truck” scandal.

Geez, guys, how about a little bit of info on what you will DO for the residents of the 32nd ward. I don’t think I have ONE SINGLE piece of info on a plan that these candidates have for improving the quality of life in my neighborhood.

The problem with this situation is that I am leaning towards going with “The Devil I Know” instead of the unknown. I know that I can call Alderman Matlak’s office and get a dead tree replaced. I know that I can call the office and get a stop-sign installed on a busy corner.

A particular weakness in Scott Waguespack’s campaign rhetoric is that I am involved in Real Estate. I make money off Real Estate Developers. I was raised in a Real Estate Appraiser’s home and I think that property should be put to its “Highest and Best Use.” Look, we live in Lakeview or Bucktown. The next 12 unit building is not going to affect traffic one bit as we’re already saddled with gridlock. The run-up in property values and the shot in the arm of the economy have everything to do with new development.

At least with Alderman Matlak I can point to:
• Pretty good schools in my neighborhood.
• New playground equipment on West Nelson.
• New 2-acre park on North Hermitage.
• New baseball field renovations at Hamlin Park.
• New stop sign in front of my new townhouse development.
• New trees to replace ones that died in my neighborhood.

This is not an endorsement – by me – and especially by anyone at YoChicago. And just to be fair, here are the websites for the candidates.

Neither one of these websites contains anything of substance.


Anonymous said...

You could not be more mistaken in regard to the qualities you attribute to "the devil you know." The very reason that the two "reform" candidates, Scott Waguespack and Catherine Zaryczny, beat Ted Matlak in the February election (combined 54% to 46%) is because Matlak is so UNRESPONSIVE to those he was elected to serve. Matlak's arrogance and condescension are legendary. As political commentator Russ Stewart recently wrote, "Matlak's modus operandi is to do nothing for the first 45 months of his four year term and then campaign frantically for the last 90 days."

You will find few aldermen/alderwomen who have been less-engaged in the management of their ward then Ted Matlak. As those involved with the public schools every day can tell you, Matlak's support stops at the taxpayer-provided barricades he festoons with his name and that the schools use for their crosswalks.

Moreover, Matlak has voted for EVERY tax increase submitted to the City Council during the last nine years. He has done nothing to eliminate waste and corruption in the ward or elsewhere in City government.

What does it say to you when Don Tomczak testified at his Federal corruption trial that Ted Matlak was the beneficiary of Tomczak's illegal army of Water Department employees who were dispatched ON TAXPAYER'S TIME to help Ted Matlak pass petitions, to help Ted Matlak distribute literature, and to help Ted Matlak turn out voters on Election Day? It says to me that Ted Matlak is corrupt.

What does it say to you when the Chicago Tribune writes about how Ted Matlak's precinct captains entered polling places during the November elections to solicit voters to sign Matlak's petitions? It says to me that Ted Matlak is corrupt.

What does it say to you when one of Matlak's key precinct captains is indicted by the State's Attorney for vote fraud? It says to me that Matlak is corrupt.

What does it say to you when Ted Matlak's campaign finance reports reflect that he has taken more than $400,000 in campaign contributions from developers who do not live in the 32nd Ward and to whom he has given pay-for-play zoning favors OVER the objections of residents? It says to me that Matlak is corrupt.

Get a tree trimmed? Get a stop sign installed? This is your yardstick to measure an alderman's effectiveness? Gentlemen, you really ought to set your standards much higher. Any imbecile in the City Council can get THAT done.

But run an efficient, open, honest, transparent ward operation? To have your private actions match your public words? To advocate on behalf of those you were elected to serve rather than those to whom you and the Democratic ward committeeman, Terry Gabinski, have financial ties?

For that, you need character and personal integrity.

Scott Waguespack's biography and record of accomplishments show he has both in spades.

-- Brian Daley