In answer to our friend Kim on 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore and participatory Voting

rogers

It should come as no surprise to readers to this blog that we have taken significant issue with Chicago 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore. He is a registered democrat, which for a Progressive means the highest sort of scrutiny. We all know the hypocrisy and pandering of the Republicans. We will not tolerate reactionary and exclusionary, or corporately influenced policy from democrats. That does create something of a conundrum for democrat voters. Demonization of democrats by democrats feels like something akin to Hari-kari. And all too often our elected officials throw us scraps, which we grasp desperately at. A recent post from a friend on Facebook illustrated that point. We thought it important to say a bit about Mr. Moore’s record.

Here is the key difference; republicans attack other republicans when they deviate from the lock-step ideology. As progressives, we reject the idea of party politics. We are not beholden to party politics, but to human rights, human dignity and community.

As far as Moore’s participatory voting is concerned, it is a slight of hand, and merely a token effort. He stands solidly with the administration on school closings, and wholeheartedly champions opening charter schools. His participatory voting place is IN a charter school, as a means of legitimizing them to the community. As for the voting, people are voting for park benches not policy, sidewalks not safety.

Though the constituency of the 49th ward is very diverse, the voting record so far has been 70% white, educated property owners. That could be a lack of interest in the community, or it could more likely be a failure of outreach by Moore’s office. The rallys and meetings I have been to around the ward are far more diverse than the current voting block would imply. The good alderman might engage that diversity by getting out into those communities and confirming their agency and investment.

Moore has not appeared nor have I seen public endorsement for peace initiatives in Rogers Park. He refused to address thousands of constituents back in March, hundreds of whom, including Revolution and Beer, ultimately marched on his home. The blight of East Howard Street is disgraceful. Storefronts remain empty. Current anchor businesses that remain there and which prevent a complete economic collapse of the neighborhood would be prime candidates for TIF funds. Invest in the community. Invest in small business, not in chain stores that draw business away from whole swaths of the community.

Chris Patterson of the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI), Rogers Park Violence Prevention Coalition and the PeaceAngels told Revolution and beer that “Rogers Park is slated to receive substantial funds in the near future and no community organizations nor business I’ve talked to know anything about it. I believe Joe owes it to the people to receive input from them as to how they would like funds to be spent in their communities.” Not on water fountains, I would add, but on a future.

The protests saturday made an impression. Friend and activist Kelly Hayes said that, “several people who met us at our morning action said that they were glad we made sure that our concerns were heard. A number of them said that they learned a lot about what they didn’t want to see happen to PB in their own communities. They recognized that this is not what a system that was intended to empower the marginalized looks like. Some of them had already had doubts upon noticing certain things about PB49 while visiting, including the fact that every sign about PB is labelled with the words, “Joe Moore’s Participatory Budgeting Initiative.” As one advocate told me, “If participatory budgeting doesn’t belong to the people, it isn’t real, and very few people are going to feel inspired by it.”

Instead, the emphasis currently is on the Loyola corridor, which includes the expulsion of low income, fixed income, elderly and disabled residents by private firms-under the alderman’s nose. And in the neighborhood around the 49th ward offices reside an oasis of small theaters and bars catering primarily to his participatory voting constituency.

Members of Occupy Rogers Park Chicago, who has taken a strong lead and stance on this issue, feel very strongly about participatory democracy, and any politicized manifestation of the concept that cheapens what should be a valuable tool of empowerment.

Local activist and organizer Babur Balos is adamant: “We love the idea of participatory democracy, but with PB49, we have an alderman shutting down the efforts of people who are willing to invest their time and money to make the process more inclusive. Moore controls the process, right down to the flyers that are distributed, with his name stamped on everything connected to the project. It’s hard for people to get excited about joining a committee where they won’t be allowed to make real change happen.”

He has dodged people and organizations within the community. Somehow he is always out of town or away on business. Hmm? Mr. Moore is a public official, his salary paid for with our tax dollars. And while face to face he is a nice enough bloke, who throws “great” costume parties, it is our responsibility to hold him accountable, and that we shall.

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

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