Just when I thought that Joe Moore was going to keep to the high road, he confirms that he can't. I am on my second glossy campaign mailer already. Truly a work of art, and certainly a well done plug for Joe, regardless of what you think about the message. But he is not happy with glossy well done mailers. Nope, not at all.
January 26 I was on my way to the Jarvis EL stop and came across flyers that had been taped to residential fencing. They were printed on yellow paper and masking tape was used to affix them. I snagged one. It's title - Stop Brian White's $44 Million Landlord and Developer Bailout. It was sponsored by 49th Ward Residents to Stop the RIF/TIF. Now, I am no friend of the RIF/TIF, but this was the first I heard of this group, which has no website by that name. It does reference Tom Westgard's site for an archive of relevant documents. I passed that info on to Tom, along with a scan of the flyer. I read the flyer too, from beginning to end.
I am a grownup and I know that politicians prefer to sow F(ear) U(ncertainty) and D(oubt) (FUD) rather than actually engage in debates with their opponents. Let's be honest, it is much easier to paint your opponent as The Evil One, ready to pick voters' pockets or kill off some entitlement. You can dodge the issues with pithy sound bites and avoid exposing yourself to uncomfortable questions. This flyer is basically no different, except it makes one statement that really kicks the hypocrisy quotient pretty high:
Brian White says landlords and developers like himself are suffering in the current economy and need our tax money to keep their buildings livable. He actually believes we should pay landlords and developers to keep their buildings up to code. (emphasis in orginal)
I bring that clause up because this flyer is the work of Joe's campaign. Oh shush me if you like but the earmarks are all there. His office just put out another flyer, different subject and different color paper but done by his office. The anti-TIF flyer has Joe's fingerprints all over it, and I don't need a CSI tech to tell me that. So why does that matter?
Go back and read that reference about keeping buildings up to code. Clearly the writer of this flyer wants us to know that there is out of code property out there that our tax dollars will be used to fix up. Really? Well if we have enough out of code property to worry our writer, then I want to know what Joe is doing about it besides putting out anti-TIF flyers and waiting for service calls to his office. Anyone who can pay a ward heeler to flyer on this issue can pay a ward heeler to work with the city on out of code buildings and make life uncomfortable for those owners.
Somehow I just don't think Joe is up for that. He has been knocked on in the past for accepting donations from developers and landlords. Westgard recently did a post about the campaign finances and alludes to contributions from slumlords. On the one hand we have a flyer complaining that the TIF would be used to pay the landlords to get their buildings up to code, and on the other we have the sitting alderman accepting donations from landlords viewed as slumlords. What are the chances that these same donors have out of code property? What are the chances that Joe will seriously consider forcing them to clean up their respective acts?
The ward suffers when property is allowed to decay. Since the alderman clearly objects to having taxpayers fund the activities to bring the buildings up to code via the TIF/RIF, what is he going to do to ensure those properties get up to code without use of taxpayer funding? Or is sowing FUD the best he can do?
Joe should have stuck to the glossy mailers.