Monday, March 26, 2007

Organization and Benchmarks

Yahoo News pointed to this article from the Washington Post. It looks at the influence of Saul Alinksky and community organizing in the Presidential ambitions of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The article itself is uninteresting. But it discusses something I had been thinking about since the beginning of this campaign. Will the community organizing model work in Chicago politics?

One of the reasons I became disenchanted with Naisy Dolar last summer was over this issue. Her emphasis, it seemed to me, was on organizing rather than beating Ald. Stone. I agree that our neighborhoods aren't organized. But voters could credit Dolar with organizing the neighborhoods and still vote to re-elect Berny Stone. Would they see the link that the organizers wanted them to see? Would it overcome the advantages that Stone has in name recognition, precinct organization and voter contact? These were questions I could not answer, and probably never can.

The Dolar strategy dovetails nicely with the new community organization. And there's no doubt that the 50th Ward is perhaps the worst organized in terms of community groups and neighborhood organizations with the ability to communicate their needs and concerns to city government. But the question is, can you win this way?

I wonder if this is the reason for the Runoff Predictions in the most recent post on Aldertrack. "AlderTrack: 'It's too early to call either the 49th or 50th. Both incumbents may be in trouble here, Ald. Stone more so than Ald. Moore. Check back the week before election day.'" Ten days ago it seemed to be predicting that Stone would lose.

One thing that has become obvious is that the run-offs will be closer than people imagine. Conventional Wisdom says that turnout is lower in run-off elections, and this is sometimes true. But turnout has also increased in run-offs. It depends on how much media attention the race draws.

Which comes back to the benchmarks. I've tried to pay attention to a couple of benchmarks to provide some insight into this race, notably whether the Mayor (and his supporters) would strongly support Ald. Stone and whether Asian-American money flowed into Dolar's coffers and she got the Union backing she expected. Greg Brewer points out that Stone is now following the Mayor's message for incumbents in the run-off (basically, 'I've heard your concerns and am now prepared to address them in full.' It's an open question whether Stone can be believed in terms of this message.). Dolar's disclosures demonstrate that she intends to be a player in this race. There is general agreement that the race has narrowed considerably.

One reason why I was interested in whether Stone was getting the Mayor's full support was because, if Dolar did not get the endorsements of SEIU or the CFL, then Stone would be the only one who had Union mail sent out on his behalf. Terry Peterson, the Mayor's campaign manager, has been facilitating a PAC of the Mayor's supporters, including several unions, who are supposed to be mailing into several wards. Without SEIU or the CFL mailing on behalf of Dolar, voters may reasonably conclude that the Unions are now supporting Stone. Some of them are.

Advantage: Ald. Stone.

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At March 26, 2007 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dolar endorsed by SEIU and AFSCME

At March 26, 2007 10:15 AM, Anonymous Dolar has labor support said...

Well AFSCME is behind Dolar this time around and if you read Sunday's Sun-Times it appears so is SEIU.

At March 26, 2007 10:34 AM, Anonymous Jim in Chicago said...

I'm glad to hear that about the service- and government-worker unions. It occurs to me that the case against Stone is really simple and should have a lot of resonance:

The man has been in office for OVER A THIRD OF A CENTURY. To deserve yet another term, he would have to be an EXCEPTIONALLY good Alderman. In fact, he is an exceptionally bad one. There really is no objective case to be made in his favor.

Meanwhile, Naisy clearly has deep roots in the Ward and a lot of enthusiastic local support (which explains how she got 1000 more votes than Brewer, who everyone -- including Jay, the CFL, and me -- expected to be Stone's closest challenger in the primary). Hers is truly a neighbor to neighbor campaign, and her advocacy on behalf of the Ward's residents (e.g., getting rid of Stone's 24 hour parking meters on Devon) has earned her the right to show what she can do as Alderman. I'm pleased the unions have realized this.

At March 26, 2007 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dolar has labor support said...
Well AFSCME is behind Dolar this time around and if you read Sunday's Sun-Times it appears so is SEIU.

March 26, 2007 10:15 AM

Oh yes AFSCME a union that had never seen a grievance they did not like. SEIU who members cant come to work. However Plumbers Local 130, IBEW 134, Sheetmetal Workers Local 73 ( the real unions) back Bernard Stone.

They realise what he has done to make a Chicago a safer city with the Building Code

At March 26, 2007 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those unions don't come thru with money or workers.

At March 26, 2007 12:04 PM, Blogger Hugh said...

>This blog is intended to foster discussion about politics and governance in the 50th Ward.

again with an opinion piece on the CAMPAIGN in lieu of the ISSUES and the CANDIDATES

I guess there are no issues

when does the governance part start?

At March 26, 2007 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Those unions don't come thru with money or workers.

AFSCME throws money and so does SEIU( down the drain) but the man power and in kind donations come from the trade unions

At March 26, 2007 12:47 PM, Blogger Hugh said...

> It's purpose is to organize the facts.

> I wonder ...

Who cares what you are wondering about?

What happened to organizing facts?

At March 26, 2007 12:52 PM, Anonymous P.T. Baer said...

Hugh said, "I guess there are no issues."

Unfortunately, Hugh, at this point in the campaign, there are no issues--at least none that matters. There's only politics. What will the unions do? Will Jan Schakowsky endorse? Does Naisy have enough of a chance to make it safe to endorse? She seems to be gaining, maybe leading, in the polls. And what about Brewer and Aftab? Where are they? Does it matter? Can any of this get Naisy to the tipping point? It's too late for issues. It's time to mobilize.

At March 26, 2007 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why no mention of Salman Aftab's endorsement of Stone?

I heard that he met with Stone and formally endorsed him. On my block, a family that had been displaying an Aftab lawn sign, now has a Stone sign in front. They have 4 voters and their kid told me that Aftab had called his father and told him to back Stone.

If only half of Aftab's 538 voters turnout, that's another 269 votes that Naisy has to catch up.

Also for Jim's info, Naisy's "truly neighbor to neighbor campaign" is again reduced to putting help wanted ads on Craigslist for paid workers. New ad went up today on ETC section of Jobs on Craigslist. She'll pay 10 bucks an hour for ward heeling, yellow cap optional.

At March 26, 2007 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hugh said...
> It's purpose is to organize the facts.

> I wonder ...

Who cares what you are wondering about?

What happened to organizing facts?

March 26, 2007 12:47 PM

Why dont you stay out of THIS CONVERSATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At March 26, 2007 1:34 PM, Anonymous P.T. Baer said...

Stone reported another $30,000 in campaign contributions today. To me, this is the most disturbing:

Bernard L Stone Campaign Comm 3/26/2007 2A $10,000.00 from
Citizens for Tunney
3248 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60657

At March 26, 2007 2:33 PM, Blogger Hugh said...

In the past you have written with some passion of the condition of the streets in our neighborhood:

"Our streets are dirtier than any other ward I visit in the city. We look more run-down than anywhere else in the city. We have an absolutely filthy appearance on our major roads. And what has Stone done?"

- Why Stone is Too Scared to Debate

Allow me to recommend you give a look at this video:

The Ald. Berny Stone Show

Granted, a half hour of Meyers and Stone is extremely painful to watch, but spare yourself and let it load up with the sound down and fast forward to the last 7 minutes, which are relevant to your earlier comments:

Stone offers a scientific explanation for the trash in the street at Devon & Western - and explains the solution: luxury condos!

Why not give it a look and write up your reaction? Keep it real, keep it personal. Thanks!

At March 26, 2007 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like other alderman are helping Stone, I bet he is getting foot soldiers for free too. Stone dont have to pay 10 bucks an hour.

At March 26, 2007 3:10 PM, Blogger Hugh said...


I wonder if all those Tunney supporters knew who they were writing checks to

At March 26, 2007 3:43 PM, Anonymous multicultie cutie said...

p.t. baer,

Also, Ald. Banks and State Senator DeLeo together have contributed almost as much as Ald. Tunney.

Looks like Stone is calling in the chits.

At March 26, 2007 3:46 PM, Blogger Jay said...

Ald. Stone already had support from other Ward organizations in February. But he still had to hire people (the one's I know of came from Skokie). I don't know if Stone has been given more help from additional Ward organizations, but he probably needs it.

At March 26, 2007 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stone dont hire any foot soldiers for your info Jay. I dont know where you hear that. Naisy is the one hiring from Craigs List. LOL.

At March 26, 2007 4:14 PM, Anonymous p.t. baer said...

Since when is there something wrong with paying people to work? Are candidates supposed to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for polls and mail and phones and then expect all the "human resources" be volunteers? Or is it the $10 an hour you object to? I know Stone voted against that a couple times.

At March 26, 2007 4:20 PM, Blogger Jay said...

Some of Stone's workers will take issue with that, Anonymous.

At March 26, 2007 4:21 PM, Anonymous multicultie cutie said...

anonymous @ 3:53 pm,

If Stone isn't hiring foot soldiers, then what the heck is all this $$$$ being used for? Debate coaching? Professional letter writers? Ilana's trust fund? Sign thieves?

Really, there's a whole lotta $$$ that's come into his corner and not a lot of results...

At March 26, 2007 4:22 PM, Blogger Hugh said...

> Stone dont (sic) hire any foot soldiers

Yeah, technically most are hired by the City or Park District.

At March 26, 2007 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Stone debate Dolar? Because he's too feeble. Let's get some younger blood in office. And I don't mean Stone's kin.

At March 26, 2007 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I voted at Warren Park today around 4:45PM. I was surprised that neither the Stone or Dolar camp had any election workers handing out leaflets by the field house. I was the only voter at that time but there seemed to be a stack of completed voter applications. At any rate Naisy Dolar got my vote. Even if Stone prevails, God forbid, we 50th Ward Progressives have sent an important message and built a foundation for victory in the future. At this point I'm hopeful we can defeat Bernard Stone and his 21st Century Curleyism.

At March 26, 2007 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Lou Lang likes to say, We're all progressives here.

At March 26, 2007 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any proof out there that Aftab has endorsed Stone?

At March 27, 2007 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you watch the news last night??


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