A second group of aldermen, calling themselves the Paul Douglas Alliance (after the liberal Illinois U.S. Senator and former member of the Chicago City Council), announced they are forming a new so-called progressive caucus. The move comes one day after the council's original progressive caucus, the Progressive Reform Coalition, announced their legislative priorities. Progress Illinois breaks down what the formation of the second progressive caucus could really mean.
The three female freshmen to join the new City Council all have one
thing in common: they won their seats from some of the most heated races
in the April run-offs. Progress Illinois first noted aldermen Mary O’Connor
(41st), Michele Smith (43rd) and Debra Silverstein (50th) were all gains
for women, despite the number of female aldermen dropping from
19 to 15. On Wednesday, just moments before the new City
Council’s historic first meeting at City Hall under Mayor Rahm Emanuel,
Progress Illinois caught up with the three women to hear what their
immediate plans were for their wards, including possible committee assignments. See more in the video after the
jump: Read more »
In the sleek lobby of a highrise in the heart of Lincoln Park, only three people in the first hour of voting came to cast their ballots, according to a volunteer for Tim Egan, a candidate running against Michele Smith for the open seat in Chicago's 43rd Ward. It was here at polling Precinct 14 that Smith got 62.39 percent of the votes in the February election, her best showing in the ward.
In Chicago's 43rd Ward, which covers Lincoln Park, Old Town, and other fairly prosperous areas near Chicago's north lakefront, attorney Michele Smith and hospital executive Tim Egan are facing off for the third time in four years. They previously ran against each other in the 2007 aldermanic primary, in which Smith made it to a run-off with the retiring 43rd Ald. Vi Daley, and in the ward's 2008 Democratic Party committeeman's race (won by Smith). Last month Smith won nearly 38 percent of the vote, with Egan earning close to 29 percent; 14,235 voters cast ballots in the 43rd Ward on the February 22 Election Day.
At an aldermanic debate last night in Old Town, the candidates were asked to detail their positions on matters citywide and issues specific to the 43rd. But much of the discussion focused on neighborhood-level concerns -- from the redevelopment of Lincoln Park Hospital and historic preservation issues in Old Town, to empty storefronts on Clark Street and even valet parking for a bar in neighborhood. That all politics are local is a truism that has played out in City Council races across Chicago this year.
The candidates touched on broader issues a few times during the debate. Smith said the city's tax increment financing districts must be considered in the city's regular budgeting process, made transparent, and tailored carefully to specific projects. Egan said he'd oppose moving police officers from the 43rd to higher-crime areas. Both mentioned city finances a few times, including during their closing remarks. This video shows portions of both Smith and Egan's wrap-up pitches to the audience:
In terms of political rhetoric, Smith describes herself as part of the 43rd Ward's "proud tradition of independence and reform" while Egan says his bid for the seat has earned the title of "consensus candidacy" based on his endorsements (lists of who is backing the candidates can be seen here).