Three longtime 49th Ward residents filed petitions to challenge Ald. Joe Moore in the upcoming aldermanic race.
According to the Chicago Board of Elections, Brian White, executive director for the Lakeside Community Development Corporation; Ben Myers, a local developer and longtime Rogers Park resident; and Blane Roberts, who worked on 2007 aldermanic challenger Don Gordon’s campaign, all filed by the Nov. 22 deadline.
Moore said in light of the last aldermanic election — when Gordon forced a run-off vote, then filed a lawsuit against Moore alleging fraudulent voting practices — he has made considerable efforts to return the 10,000 calls and e-mails from constituents he receives annually.
“Elections have a funny way of making politicians sit up and take notice, and my close call in the last go-around told me I had some work to do and some fences to mend,” Moore said at a recent rally.
Myers says that, as an experienced developer, lawyer, and lifelong Rogers Park resident, he was most frustrated with Moore’s vote on the city’s controversial parking privatization measure.
“They blew a billion dollars,” Myers said. “Joe gave it to the parking meter people. Joe has hurt this city terribly.”
Moore was one of 45 aldermen to vote for the parking meter deal, which leased the city’s meters to a private company in exchange for more than $1 billion.
Moore has since said he regrets voting for the deal. Along with four other aldermen, Moore sponsored an ordinance calling for public hearings on the deal’s implementation.
More recently, Moore said he wanted to make clear his actual achievements for Rogers Park. Doing so would serve to increase communication between government and constituents, he said.
“I have learned that communicating what you do in government is almost as important as actually doing it,” Moore said at a campaign rally. “And in the age of the Internet, there is no excuse for any elected official not to provide free and open communication with his or her constituents.”
“Building a community is about much more than bricks and mortar,” Moore said.
Regarding community building, White says he likes the idea of the Howard Streetscape project, which aims to re-invigorate the area east on Howard from the El station to Sheridan Road by updating the street’s infrastructure. White said he was troubled by the amount of time it’s taken to implement.
“The Dept. of Transportation’s website says that 25 streetscapes have been done, but it doesn’t say how quickly it would be done,” White said. “There’s two questions: One, ‘How long does it take to get done?’ And the other question is, ‘Who are you building for, and who is going to be attracted to this area?”
Janet Attarian, project director for Chicago Dept. of Transportation said the plans for improving Howard Street’s infrastructure have been in development for 10 years, but that funding was only secured recently.
The Chicago Transit Authority requested funds from the Howard Paulina Tax Increment Financing district in 2008. The City of Chicago Dept. of Planning allowed the funds to be used after Moore secured an agreement from the organization.
Cook County aldermanic elections will be held in Feb. 2011.