Monday, November 23, 2009

Machine Politics

A casual observer of my campaign could easily come to the conclusion that I oppose machine politics. My rants against “The Machine” are hardly hidden and much of my platform is based on either the introduction of laws that will weaken the status quo, i.e., term limits, or that are opposed by the status quo, i.e., a graduated income tax.

Closer to the truth is that I admire machines and wish that I had an organization as efficient and well-staffed as do the Daleys, the Madigans, and the Mells.

Few of the friends who volunteered had experience in collecting signatures on my petitions. I have no fund-raisers on my staff. As a grass-roots candidate of the progressive and reform-minded type, I have no endorsements from elected politicians. The PACs with whom I have spoke only want to back a shoo-in, not a newcomer.

The value of the machine is easily seen. My opponent, Deb Mell et al., handed in more than 2,000 signatures, 75 of which she collected herself. For our part, we handed in 1,600, 900 of which I collected and another 300 were collected by my friend Guy. Mell had many hands making the work light, while we few had to hustle and worry our way to our goal.
Machine-based efficiency is enviable; organization is essential; manpower necessary. Those statements are given realities.

The other reality is that over time machines wear down. They become sloppy as their “gears” become worn by use. Cracks appear as the stress of time fractures their structures and their innate rigidity becomes unresponsive to the changes that inevitably occur in their environment.

So there comes a time when it is necessary to reform and rebuild, to study the needs that the old machine cannot or will not meet and construct a new organization, yes a new political machine, that is responsive to will of its citizens. Though it is seen as such, that is not meant to be a challenge to a given political party or to a certain power base. It is an invitation to self-examination and reflection that will lead to innovation, renewal, and invigoration. It is taking the best of the old machine in order to build a better one, more suited to the present and better prepared for the future.

Such is the natural course of things. We all know it happens, since the older generation has no choice but to pass the torch of responsibility on to the next. It is not always done easily but its doing is inevitable. Let us transform by evolution rather than by revolution, as transform we will, whether we like it or not.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The week in review

It was week filled with media notice of yours truly. The political bloggers had a hay-day with my objection to Mell's petition.

Monday - first hearing before the Election Board re: my objection to Mell's petition, based on the fact that she was not registered to vote. It was continued until Tues, Nov 24.

Tuesday - meet with lllinois Federation of Teachers to present my credentials in search of their endorsement.

Wednesday - what no meetings?

Thursday - meet the candidate night at IVI-IPO. Got a phone call from WLS - talk radio and was on the air. Front page feature story of my campaign in the Chicago Reader.

Friday - my Columbia College intern has her "crew" film me for a school project.

Saturday and Sunday - great weather for campaigning so I went door-to-door introducing myself to Democrats who vote in primaries. Now that was a good experience. One voter had actually seen the Reader story and it convinced him to vote for me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This week

Yesterday's hearing at the Board of Election was quick and pro forma, with the result that Mell's lawyer has until Friday at 5 pm to submit his brief on the case and mine has to submit a response by Monday at 5 pm, to be followed by a hearing on Tuesday, Nov 24 at 1 pm.

This evening I meet with members of the Illinois Federation of Teachers to seek their endorsement and on Thursday evening I do the same with members of IVI-IPO. This is the heart of endorsement-seeking time. Doing well is essential to help me ovecome my lack of finances. The prognosis looks good. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The day after

For more than three months, I have been carrying the secret that Deb Mell wasn’t registered to vote. For an extrovert like myself that was a very difficult task. I did share it with a few close advisors, including my partner Patrick and my lawyer, Rich Means.

We knew that any day the facts could have changed but they didn’t.

For three months we worked to collect enough signatures to put us on the ballot, hoping that the 1,617 signatures (we needed 500) were enough insurance to ward off an objection.

So it’s no wonder that yesterday, the last day to file objections to my petitions, was one of pins and needles. Rich Means, wise man or is it “wise guy” that he is, didn’t file my objection against Mell until 4 pm and I didn’t know whether an objection had been filed against me until the election office closed at 5 pm. It made for a very long day.

Well, today it’s all history and for a wide variety of reasons, including both the hard work of my volunteers and the generosity of my campaign contributors, not only am I on the ballot but I have a good chance of being the only one in the February 2nd Democratic primary running for State Rep, Dist 40.

Time and time again, as I knocked on doors to ask voters to sign my petition, people laughed when I told them I was running against Deb Mell. To be fair, I have to say that they laughed and then signed. Patrick was supportive enough to remind me that “He who laughs last, laughs best.”

Mr. Means would remind me that it’s too early to laugh at all. It’s no trick to know that there’ll be more than one attack against my campaign in the coming months and after the primary no one knows what new opposition will come after me. It won’t be a done deal until the votes are counted in November 2010. Until then, though, I hope you don’t mind if I smile once or twice.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Today's Horoscope

OK... Here's what was in the Trib this morning. Yes, I am a Sagittarian. "Power falls into your lap. A group decides you're the right person to lead them. Remember to say 'Thank you.'"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NDFA Endorsement

Sometimes it seems like it's been a long time since I decided to run for State Rep. At other times it seems like yesterday. After the high activity level of the past few weeks, it all seems like a blur.

First was the rush to finish petitioning, then readying them for Springfield, followed by filing them -- official count 1,617. Then came the week of waiting to see who else filed and yes, on Monday , but one can't run a campaign on hope only...

Last night another wait ended when Northside Democracy for America endorsed my candidacy. Thank you NDFA!

Now there's another week's wait to see if anyone files any objections to my petitions. I do know that Speaker of the House Mike Madigan's office got a copy of them so there is suspense in the air. Happily, those 1,617 signatures are very clean and very vetted and will most likely survive any and all challenges. Paying to defend the challenges means that your support is more important than ever. Click here to contribute.

Thanks for your support.