Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The FUD Keeps on Coming

So here we are, a few days from the election and I am still struggling with whom I should vote for.  I happen to care about character, which never translates well into programs, promises or outcomes.  But it can translate into a public servant who is not obsessing over vote counts while in office.  Unfortunately, that is very hard to come by in any part of the country, including the 49th Ward.

Moore’s campaign has featured glossy mailers and phone calls from volunteers.  He also had supporters attempting a ‘stealth’ campaign about the RIF, which I talked about here and here.  Saturday I received yet another glossy mailer from Joe (yes this one is undeniably Joe’s doing) which accuses Brian of having an “anti-neighborhood plan.”  We know this is true because;

1 - Brian is in favor of realigning police resources to neighborhoods that have more crime, resulting in fewer beat officers.  This is Question 80 in the IVI-IPO questionnaire.  Brian says “Yes” and then follows up with a detailed recommendation for improving CAPS.

Moore says “No” and suggests that hiring extra police is the answer and criticizes the changes in CAPS.  He also says crime is down 50% since he became alderman, and I would like to know what statistic he is using for that.

I attended a CAPS meeting in 2424, shortly after a shooting had occurred.  I learned that index crimes are down in Rogers Park, and that is the statistic used to determine the relative safety of a neighborhood.  Ergo, Rogers Park is safer than it was.  I questioned that, but index crimes are the baseline.  If that is the same statistic Joe Moore is using to claim that crime is down 50%, and if it is the basis for moving police officers around, then Brian’s response makes sense.

Take away for me – so long as index crimes are the standard for measuring neighborhood safety, Brian’s approach may not be so outlandish even though it may fly in the face of what his constituents are concerned about.  He needs to pay more attention to those concerns.

2 – Brian is opposed to participatory budgeting based on his response to the IVI-IPO questionnaire, Question 27.  Brian checked the “No” box but also gave his reason for doing so:

27.  Will you institute participatory budgeting to allow ward residents to vote on discretionary spending in your ward?

Participatory budgeting already exists in the 49th ward.

The question is about INSTITUTING the process, not maintaining it.  Brian also put out a flyer that expressly states, among other things, that he supports participatory budgeting.

Folks may recall that in 2007 Don Gordon’s campaign had a proposal along the same lines as what Joe put in place.  Joe failed to see the light until he learned about the Brazilian experience.

Take away for me – this is the typical FUD approach.  In this case, ignore it.

3 – Brian supports the TIF/RIF, is a landlord, will bailout landlords and developers with TIF/RIF money, gets free office space from suburban developers, and will cut money from libraries, schools, and parks through the TIF.  I don’t know about the office space issue, but Joe seems to have no problem accepting donations from folks who live outside the ward but want to do, or are doing, business here.  Brian is a landlord, he has one tenant that I know of, based on his response to a post at The North Coast.  He is also the Executive Director of Lakeside Community Development Corporation, and has spent several years working housing issues.  I don’t think the fact that he is a landlord disqualifies him from making useful proposals.  The real issue here is the TIF.  I will address that in a separate post because I have a lot to say about it.

Take away for me – Joe Moore will grab anything he can to spread the FUD, and in this case he is going a masterful job.  Time for the grain of salt, and a separate post.

4 – Brian wants to eliminate the free parking at Loyola Park, which will harm seniors and women (a blatant appeal to Fear), but had the temerity to request and receive a permit to construct a personal parking space on his own property.

Where do I start?  I live a few blocks from Loyola Park, and if Joe Moore thinks for one minute I am going to use that lot when there is street parking in my neighborhood that is closer, then I want whatever he’s smoking.  The Loyola Park lot benefits the people in the immediate area, not those of us who are blocks away.  Brian made the Loyola Park parking the issue in a flyer that made the rounds.  I don’t know what other flyers Brian may have put out, but this is the only one I ever saw to date.  His point is that Joe supported this initiative without consulting his constituents via participatory budgeting.  Good point.

Brian is a property owner, so as long as he follows the city’s own process, he can do whatever he is legally permitted to do with his property, including putting a parking space on it.  Get over it!

Take away for me – Joe Moore and his supporters apparently think Brian is being hypocritical because he is supporting more public transportation and alternatives to cars, while modifying his property to park his car.  It’s Brian’s property, and he got the appropriate permits.  Joe Moore also expects seniors and women to nod approvingly about the Loyola Park free parking.  I am sure they do if they live in the neighborhood.

At the end of the day, I don’t see anything truly anti-neighborhood here, but it’s clear that Joe and his supporters are more than happy to spread more FUD.  Just in case because you never know if the tide might turn against him.

13 comments:

Al Iverson said...

Yeah, I'm thinking Joe's flyers have just convinced me to vote for Brian.

Hugh said...

Couldn't agree more. Joe seems to grasping at straws to criticize his opponent personally and paint him as some evil threat. And it doesn't even seem to embarrass him. Guess he really wants to keep that paycheck.

And a minor note: Is it safe to assume that the permit to build a driveway on Brian White's own property was issued by Joe?

Kheris said...

Regarding the permit, Brian's response to Westgard's critique addresses that very issue. He had a go with the Alderman's office because paperwork got lost, but he ultimately got the permit.

RogersParkFan said...

Because of its length, my comment is divided into two parts.

PART 1

As you know, I rarely comment on neighborhood blogs, not because I somehow believe I am above it all, but simply because I don’t have the time. I can barely keep up with my own e-mail blasts.

But the handwringing on this blog over the so-called negative (a/k/a “FUD”) mailing my campaign issued prompts me to comment. I must admit I'm somewhat confused by Kheris’ reaction to the mailing. Yes, I criticize Brian, and, yes, the cover of the mailing is provocative, but the substance of our piece is limited solely and exclusively to Brian's positions on important neighborhood issues. I certainly hope we are not at the point where a candidate cannot challenge his opponent's positions on the issues for fear of being accused of engaging in "negative campaigning" or, as Kheris puts it, “Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.”

There is not one mention in the mailer of Brian's character, honesty or integrity. Instead, the mailer highlights four distinct issue positions that Brian White has expressly adopted in his campaign. Each of Brian's issue positions is attributable to Brian's own words, either in a response to candidate questionnaires or on his own web site. And though Brian now alleges his words were distorted or taken out of context, I respectfully submit that is not the case.

Let’s take the statements one at a time. (1) My mailing states that Brian supports pulling police officers out of our area and sending them to "high crime areas" on the south and west sides. In fact, Brian expressly stated he supports police realignment in his responses to both the Tribune and the IVI-IPO questionnaires. And he publicly re-stated his support for police realignment at the RPBiz Arts candidate debate last week and on his web site.

As I indicated at the debate, I have no problem supporting the deployment of more police officers to high crime areas of the city, but not at the expense of the area of the city I represent. Brian believes we can afford to lose police officers. It's an honest difference of opinion, but it's a difference of opinion I should be entitled to raise without being accused of sowing fear and uncertainty.

RogersParkFan said...

PART 2 (This represents the second part of Joe Moore's three-part commentary commentary)

(2) My mailing states that Brian opposes "participatory budgeting.” When asked by IVI-IPO, "Will you institute participatory budgeting to allow ward residents to vote on discretionary spending in your ward?," Brian checked the "No" box on his questionnaire. Brian now argues he was responding to the question literally, and answered "no" because "participatory budgeting already exists in the 49th Ward." I respectfully submit it is Brian who is being disingenuous.

Obviously, participatory budgeting already exists in the 49th Ward, but it is entirely up to the next alderman's discretion as to whether it will CONTINUE to exist, and on that issue Brian was CONSPICUOUSLY SILENT in his response to the questionnaire. Rather than simply checking the "yes" box or asserting in writing he would continue participatory budgeting, which would have left no doubt as to his commitment to the process, he engaged in lawyer-like obfuscation and avoidance.

In case you have any doubt about Brian's intention to dismantle participatory budgeting, I INVITE YOU TO READ HIS OWN WORDS in both a flier he has distributed on the subject and his response to Network 2424's candidate questionnaire. I would be happy to forward those documents to anyone who has not yet read them. Simply e-mail me at my personal e-mail address, aldmoore@aol.com.

In those documents, Brian criticizes the alleged lack of funding for "basic infrastructure" under the participatory budgeting process and states that "special projects" such as the murals, dog parks and historic markers should be funded from private sources rather than aldermanic menu money.

More significantly, he calls for a committee planning process to set long term goals for the expenditure of menu money, rather than an annual direct community vote, and he vows to withdraw all aldermanic staff and financial support for the participatory budgeting process.

A direct vote of the people on the municipal budget is the sin qua non of participatory budgeting. Simply put, without a popular vote on the budget, it ain't participatory budgeting. And without aldermanic staff and budgetary support, participatory budgeting simply won't survive. In short, my claim that Brian is opposed to participatory budgeting is supported by Brian's very own words.

Again, the issue of whether to continue participatory budgeting in the 49th Ward can certainly be the subject of an honest difference of opinion, but it's an issue I should be entitled to raise in political discourse.

RogersParkFan said...

PART 3 (This represents the final portion of Joe Moore's three-part commentary)

(3) My mailing also notes that Brian wants to establish a TIF for nearly the entire ward, which would divert up to $44 million from other taxing bodies, and give that money as grants to landlords. He is the acknowledged architect of that proposal and its lead champion, and his web site devotes considerable space to his proposal.

Moreover, the TIF Brian proposes is a conservation TIF which will create little if any additional increment. So my claim that the TIF would divert up to $44million from the other taxing bodies is not political hyperbole, but hard fact. Again, it's an issue I should be entitled to raise.

(4) Finally, my mailing points out that Brian proposes eliminating the free overnight parking at Loyola and Leone Parks for neighborhood residents while at the same time securing a permit for off-street parking at his own home? Brian reiterates his opposition to the overnight parking in a flier he is now distributing and his driveway permit is a matter of public record.

I don't begrudge Brian's new driveway (I signed off on the permit), but the fact that he opposes the free overnight off-street parking arrangement at Loyola Park, while at the same time securing free off-street parking for himself, is a legitimate issue.

I have sent three mailings, and will be sending a fourth, in which I proudly highlight my accomplishments. I also have sent literally hundreds of e-mails over the last four years touting my accomplishments. But in addition to blowing my own horn, I think it is important for my campaign to point out Brian's positions on the issues, as well.

As Bill Clinton said, you can always count on voters to do the right thing, but you have to make sure they have all the facts at hand.

A large pool of new voters who will be coming out for the mayoral election, people who, by definition, are not close followers of the local political scene. That means they do not know of all of my good deeds and they certainly have no idea who Brian White is. It is important from a strategic point of view to make certain they know Brian's positions on the issues, especially those positions that depart from the views of the average 49th Ward voter.

As I indicated at the outset of this comment, campaigns should be about issues, and there is nothing in our mailings that is not about the issues. Candidates not only have a duty to set forth their positions on the issues, but they should also point out where they differ on the issues from their opponents.

The mailing you attack as "negative" or as “fear mongering” simply sets forth issues where Brian and I have differences. That is not “negative campaigning or FUD;” that is good old fashioned robust debate.

Thank you for allowing me to present my perspective.

Alderman Joe Moore

Al Iverson said...

"while at the same time securing free off-street parking for himself" is mud slinging, not a legitimate raising of anything. And it's weird and nonsensical mud slinging. ZOMG! PROPERTY OWNER PUT IN A DRIVEWAY! Did he build that driveway with tax dollars? I guess if the driveway was paid for out of Joe's discretionary funds, maybe that would be a reason to commingle the two points. Is that what Joe is saying?

RogersParkFan said...

Al, You must either have a pretty expansive definition of "mudslinging" or you're completely missing my point. All I was pointing out was the irony of Brian opposing off-street parking for those living near Loyola and Leone Parks because he believes people should be discouraged from owning automobiles and yet he takes care of his own off-street parking needs by getting himself a driveway permit. It's not a make-or-break issue in the campaign; it's simply noting a degree of hypocrisy in Brian's approach.

Joe Moore

Kheris said...

I am with Al on this. The Loyola parking is being subsidized by taxpayers @$60/month per space and is basically first come, first served. Latecomers do what latecomers do when it's late; pray for a space nearby or find one as close as possible. Been there, done that.

If I want off street parking I pay at least double that. Brian had sufficient property to build his own space. I don't begrudge him that, he used his own money to do it, not mine.

Would it be nice if he lived his politics fully? Yes and that would apply to all of us. Unfortunately, real life gets messy and we have a society built around personal vehicles. Brian wants to redirect it towards alternatives. It's a worthy goal. He is not being hypocritical when he points out that taxpayer subsidized parking continues the current paradigm.

RogersParkFan said...

Kheris, you call it "taxpayer subsidized off-street parking" but it really isn't. It's not as though the aldermanic menu money that pays for the cost of the parking is going to some private entity; it's going to the Park District, which is a public entity, and used to underwrite the costs of Park District programs and initiatives.

For years, the Park District parking lots at Leone and Loyola Parks were free. They served as an important safety valve in our parking-starved community. Then a few years ago, the cash-strapped Park District decided they wanted to make money off of the lots and take advantage of folks who had no choice but to park their cars in the lots overnight.

Though I understood the need for the Park District to raise revenue, it created a severe hardship for the residents of my ward who had come to depend on the parking lots for overnight parking in our congested community. Many of those residents are senior citizens who live on fixed incomes at the Lunt/Lake apartments adjacent to the Loyola Park lot. They simply could not afford to pay $1,200 a year to park overnight.

Keep in mind it's not just the users of the parking lots who would have been affected by the parking charges. The overnight charges would also create an enormous hardship for everyone else in our community, as people would have parked on the city streets rather than pay the overnight parking charges. As a result, there would be even less on-street parking in our parking-starved community.

The lack of available parking in the neighborhood is a huge issue. By coming up with a creative win-win solution, we were able to meet the needs of the Park Disrtict while at the same time preserving an important amenity in our community. It was also an extremely popular solution, which is why I thought it was important that the residents of my ward, especially those who live near Leone and Loyola Parks, understood the candidates' views on the overnight parking arrangement.

Joe Moore

Kheris said...

The Park District and its programs are paid for by public dollars as a public good. However, many programs carry user fees, and park facilities carry rental fees, because there are not enough dollars to pay for everything people may want to do. Raising money via overnight parking meters is understandable in that context.

Parking is a concern of course, but only because we are a car-centric society. I merely have to look out my window to see the spaces open up during the weekday when my neighbors are at work. When we insist on accommodating vehicles with off street parking, especially free parking, we avoid pursuing the alternatives. I am specifically speaking to off street parking in space other than personal residences.

Redirecting revenue towards maintaining free overnight parking results in revenue being redirected away from other value added purposes that are a part of the Park District's mission. Parking is not part of that mission.

Car owners, myself included, must take responsibility for the total cost of ownership, whether we are talking the cost of gasoline, maintenance, insurance, and even parking. Providing free overnight parking in the park's lot, by redirecting revenue, does two things; it subsidizes car owners (via tax revenues because taxes fund the Parks) who choose not to pay for parking and wish to avoid parking in the street, and it creates an expectation that the free parking will continue indefinitely because you have already been prevailed upon once to cut a deal.

If the issue is the cost of off street parking, then why not set up a monthly permit parking scheme, at a reduced rate (we are paying $60/month as it is for those spaces)? Use a lottery or first come first served application process. That would serve the purpose of adding to the Park's revenues, and reinforce the notion that car owners are responsible for the total cost of ownership.

I will be very curious as to what happens when this arrangement expires. I would not be at all surprised if we wind up like the Congress in December, but instead of haggling over sunsetting the tax cuts for the wealthy we'll be haggling over the continuation of free overnight parking at the parks.

Hugh said...

That money might be going to the park district, but the parking was purchased with tax payer money to benefit a select few along the lakefront. You made that decision, Joe.

And the residents of the ward that you are supposed to be representing fairly and wisely have the right to be critical of that, Joe.

Please stop trying to make excuses in hopes that we're just not bright enough to see the truth.

It was an attempt to buy votes.

Al Iverson said...

Can I get some of that free parking, then? Here I am, paying $138/mo to park in the Morgan @ Loyola ramp like a sucker.