Last night nearly 600 citizen activists, representing a stalwart and united coalition from across the city met in Rogers Park. In part they were gloating a bit over a recent victory in saving a local school, in part venting still burning outrage over the corporate rape of the State’s finances, which has meant austerity cuts and layoffs affecting poor and working families in Illinois. Among those in attendance, Lakeview Action Coalition, IIRON, Southside SOUL, northsidePOWER, 2 state reps, 13th District Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin and Loyola Organized in Action, among others. Suspiciously absent…Alderman Joe Moore, who represents the 49th ward, where the rally took place.
The media was there, so it would have been natural to an Alderman who pretends at being a man of the people to attend. Last week he snuck the Mayor in for a surreptitious show of support in a carefully concocted PR event, waiting to publicize the event only after the mayor had fled the ward. But Moore was nowhere to be found last night, despite the best efforts of the organizers. A spokesperson for the alderman claimed that he was out of town, but could offer no whereabouts.
That is a common excuse for Alderman Moore. This reporter has attempted to reach him in the past for the radio show, only to be told time and again that the Alderman “is out of town.” Hard to be a man of the people when you are never home, and last night the protesters and citizen activists tested that theory. Mid way through the rally, all 600 activists got up and marched the two and a half blocks to his home at 1431 West Fargo.
If he was home, not even the hundreds of constituents and students standing on his porch and in his yard drew him from his hiding place. This reporter also found it interesting that even though hundreds occupied for the better part of a half hour the yard and porch of an official of this city, not a single police officer could be seen.
The issue, and the reason that Moore’s absence is so glaring is that it comes at a time when his constituents are facing more and more the threats and austerity of a State and City claiming they are broke, but seem to have bottomless finances to support and play with large corporations, who not only do not pay taxes, but do not have disclose their lack of payment under current Illinois law. That has resulted in law-offs to state workers, reductions in critical benefits, and in the case of the city of Chicago, threatened closures to public schools in already struggling neighborhoods.
To placate their corporate patrons, Illinois state and city officials openly blame and impugn public sector employees, or they stand by as the media surrogates for corporations, and Republican party apparatchiks, promote the myth that retirees are to blame for the state’s financial woes. But how can that be? How can there be a proper accounting of the true financial state of, well, the state, when no one really knows the actual numbers? And what sort of hell does a politician have to sell his soul to by allowing the state to financially collapse on the backs of the poor, children, working families and elderly in favor of obscenely profitable corporations?
It is true that corporations in Illinois can take Off-shore drilling tax credits, despite Illinois being a land-locked state. The corporations have all but written the legislation. Recall The “American Legislative Exchange Council,” or ALEC was actually writing legislation, which was them put up as bills, often without any alteration. Moore has stated repeatedly that he opposes corporate personhood, and in 2012 supported overturning “Citizen’s United,” giving corporations personhood, but he has supported charter schools. Charter schools, like Tax Increment Financing, TIFs, which Moore supports, both rob local tax base from public schools.
TIFs in the city of Chicago, which collects an estimated $500 millions, skimmed from property taxes, are fully at the discretion of the mayor. Meant to support the start up of small businesses in blighted and strugglinmg neighborhoods, the money has instead gone to Hyatt hotels, the Mercantile exchange, United Airlines, Jewel and Target. The so-called blighted neighborhoods have seen little if any of this money. Instead, the city is now threatening some 120 school closings.
By his silence, in the all too obvious snubbing of his constituents, Moore has plainly sided with the corporations and those who have declared an all out assault on the individual citizen. The voters should remember that. They should make him a pariah in his own neighborhood. At every event, at his office at 7356 North Greenview, by phone at 773-338-5796, or downtown at 312-744-3067, at the market, gas station and anywhere else, voters should remind him that people not corporations come first, and that there will be consequences at the election booth for this sort of arrogance.
That, at least, should work until we can get legislation in place that says no public official can decline a request to speak with constituents, nor refuse to answer any direct questions. That one comes after the revolution. But for now, time to get Joe Moore out of office, and make sure he never attains the public trust again as we fight to make the citizen’s voice and vote stronger than the corporations…which is how it was supposed to be.
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