Sunday, November 15, 2009

The BGA/43rd Ward Candidate Forum

First off, The Toddler was a no-show at the candidate forum for the Cook County Board Prez. No show and no call to explain why, and he had committed to coming.

Andy Shaw, Exec Dir of the Better Government Association (BGA) and forum moderator, took an opportunity to invite the 3 candidates who were present (Toni Preckwinkle, Terry O'Brien, Dorothy Brown) to comment on the Toddler's failure to appear. All had something to say, mostly along the lines of: an insult to the voters.

WCPT will have a podcast available on Tuesday. Local news stations were present with cameras - check your evening news.

Brown was late due to a previous engagement, known to the organizers, and had a subsequent engagement, also known to the organizers, so she also left about 15 minutes early.

Preckwinkle also had a subsequent engagement, known to the organizers, and left shortly after Brown.

Both of the ladies' activities were known to the organizers and explained to the audience, who accepted the explanations.

Shaw took an opportunity to ask each candidate about ethics issues surrounding them.

O'Brien - Pres of Water Reclamation Board and also environmental consultant. Crain's ran an article suggesting that 4 of his clients were bad actors. He fired back that the Crain's article was irresponsible since each client was in compliance with the law and yes indeed, they are among the biggest users of water. He stood up for his clients but did say that if elected to Cook County Board Prez he'd divest himself of his business interests because it is a full time job as Board Prez.

Preckwinkle - known for being independent but appeared to roll over on 2016 Olympics after initially opposing them. She says it became clear that Daley saw the Olympics as part of his legacy to the city so she worked on getting the best deal she could for her ward, including commitments to provide 10% apprentice level jobs in construction trades and commitments on affordable housing after the Olympics and participation of local vendors.

Brown - claims she runs a clean operation but has been pounded by claims that employees are doing political work on county time and being forced to contribute to her campaign. She took (polite) umbrage, pointing out that she visited every location and met with all employees to tell them they are not required to contribute, sent out a letter to all employees same subject, and recently promoted a guy to a postion at her "left hand" because he deserved it, and he was from the previous administration and doesn't contribute money for her campaign. Invited Shaw to check it out.

All 3 support the independent oversight of the hospital system, although O'Brien would want a 3 year contract to be reviewed each 3 year cycle. Preckwinkle would leave things status quo on the oversight board.

Brown played up her qualifications, saving money and raising revenue without increasing taxes/fees.

Preckwinkle played up her independence and willingness to make tough decisions.

O'Brien played up long public service, Triple A rating from all 3 bond rating groups, taking on new work yet making cuts due to efficiencies.

Room capacity was 550, appeared about 2/3rds full. Sponsors were BGA, 43rd Ward Democrats, WCPT, DePaul Democrats and the Political Science Department of DePaul.

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