SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Late to the party

Monday, Jul 31, 2006

Four Tribune reporters labored for who knows how long to produce this 1500-word story yesterday.

Mayor Richard Daley’s administration has for years steered city services–new garbage carts, tree trimming, graffiti removal–to key neighborhoods to help allies win tight elections, a Tribune investigation has found.

Really? Say it isn’t so.

I’m glad the Trib is finally noticing this stuff, since it’s been right under their noses forever.

Between 1999 and 2003, allies of Rep. Cynthia Soto collected material for a book called “It Happened Four Years Ago.” The book was about Soto’s 1999 1st Ward aldermanic race against pretty much the entire Chicago Machine. The book was horribly written, filled with some pretty wild and silly conjecture and is mostly a missed opportunity (considering the source material they had to work with), but it had a few great instances of how services were traded for votes.

More interestingly, though, was a passage buried deep in the book about how sidewalk repairs were allegedly timed to hold down turnout.

According to the book, the sidewalks directly in front of several polling places in both the 1st and 5th Wards were torn up by the city the week of the runoff election. It’s one of my favorite stories about how the Machine really operates.

You can read the book for free here (pdf file). It’s a low-resolution copy, so the photos and graphics aren’t visible. For more on how the Machine used absentee ballots to their advantage in the same race, check out this very informative Chicago Reporter article from December, 2000.

Back to the Tribune article.

Using city data, the Tribune detected a particularly dramatic increase in service requests from one ward in the weeks before a heated election for alderman there.

Captains typically walk precincts with a stack of service request forms. It’s one way that the House Democrats took back several southern Cook County districts in 1996. They literally flooded the districts with services.

The city has regular ward cleanup days, and often those just happen to be right before a particularly important election day.

Again, the Trib article.

But records and interviews indicate that dispensing services in the 12th Ward was part of a political strategy that included dispatching hundreds of HDO-affiliated city workers to campaign for Cardenas. “They were using taxpayer money to beat us,” Frias said. “There was nothing that I could do.”

I wrote about this race a little back then and I knew what was going on before the election was over. It’s standard stuff and I’ve written about it time and time again, particularly with Latino legislative districts. The Tribune, all these years later, is only now catching on.

Let’s hope the paper is a bit more proactive in next year’s contests.

UPDATE: A high resolution version of the book can be downloaded here. [pdf file]

- Posted by Rich Miller        


21 Comments
  1. - Disgusted - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 6:43 am:

    Rich, I don’t know how old you are, but we lived in Chicago when we were first married, for about 8 years. My husband was born and raised there. This “services for votes” thing has been going on since that time (38 years ago!) and even before that. It’s chronic and incurable. It’s the way of the world in Chicago.


  2. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 6:43 am:

    “They were using taxpayer money to beat us,”…..

    The Chicago Democrat machine has installed this system in state government, too. Rod brought the system to state government.


  3. - Marta Elena - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 7:06 am:

    I liked their reference to the whole ‘Freedom of Information Act requests’ in the Chicago Tribune article yesterday.

    My only query is whether they tried to obtain this information before and was denied or whether the City of Chicago provided this information within the alloted seven day response period of the FOIA?

    From what I can see from the state level, they are rather hesitant to comply with FOIA.


  4. - Truthful James - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 8:39 am:

    The Trib is filling in the blank spaces between the ads — investigative journalism at its mewliest.

    Name me one local resident who didn’t know about services for votes.


  5. - Anon - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 9:16 am:

    Rich - I don’t understand you’re comment that “Captains typically walk precincts with a stack of service request forms. It’s one way that the House Democrats took back several southern Cook County districts in 1996. They literally flooded the districts with services.”

    In that region, services are provided by municipal governments, most of which are non-partisan or were in Republican hands when the south Cook region state rep seats went Democratic. There were certainly a lot of City patronage workers working the area doing usual election stuff - polling, door hangers, rides to the polls - but they were in no position to offer municipal services for votes.


  6. - fedup dem - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 9:18 am:

    Other shocking headlines in the Chicago Tribune (or at least as shocking as this one was):

    “Chicagoans say it gets hot in the summertime.”

    “Cub fans say ‘Wait ‘Till Next Year.’”

    I could go on, but you get the message.


  7. - Peter Zelchenko - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 10:01 am:

    Thank you, Rich, for the mention of my book. I am not sure what you mean about your comments - I’ve never heard that before. In fact, the book has been cited and mentioned by many professional writers and experts. You can see praise from Steve Neal, Jack Mabley, Leon Despres and Dick Simpson at the following Web site:

    http://zelchenko.com/book/

    Your readers may also download a high-resolution (40 MB) copy of the book from the Web site. Better yet, buy the book at New World Resource Center, 1300 N. Ashland Ave., and other fine bookstores.

    Incidentally, the Reporter article you refer to also relies heavily on the research I did and mentions my study. Alysia Tate cites my work confidently, and the Reporter embodies Arny Dornfeld’s great journalistic injunction: “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.”

    If there are any flaws in the book, it might be explained by the fact that I wrote it in a three-week period, during an election cycle where I brought in 73% of the vote - the top precincts in the city - for Manny Flores. I still don’t know how I managed to do all that without falling apart.

    Incidentally, I am running for 43rd Ward alderman against Vi Daley. You can see my blog at ward43.blogspot.com and also my resume at zelchenko.com.


  8. - Garp - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 11:33 am:

    If anyone ever wanted to write a book about how the machine gets people elected, they should study how Walter Burnett was first elected alderman. That would truly be an eye opener even for the most hardened and cynical of pundits.


  9. - Anthony - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 12:30 pm:

    I first met Pete Zelchenko on the 1st ward campaign against Jesse Granado, He is a good person who cares about the community. I know some other candidates are running against Mayor Daley’s sock puppet Vi Daley but I think Pete has earned his stripes in the independent community. Rachel Goodstein who has been a vocal critic of Daleys corruption is also thinking about running. I know the son in law of Mary Miglan the cosmetics queen is running too but I think Pete has a good chance unless this becomes a money race. BTW Rich you commets “The book was horribly written, filled with some pretty wild and silly conjecture and is mostly a missed opportunity” is off base, I read the book when it came out and I think it was a good window into the world of Chicago Politics.


  10. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 1:00 pm:

    Thanks for the nuts and bolts on corruption. If 60% of vote fraud is absentee, what’s the other 40 percent?

    With such apathy about corruption, it’s no wonder the polls still show the Governor in a comfortable lead.

    If journalists don’t educate the public and make a huge stink about corruption, our government won’t get better. The evidence is as clear as the almost non-existant reform promises from all three parties.


  11. - babs - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 2:01 pm:

    Any ONE person who says he/she personally brought in more than half the vote in any district - other than the actual candidate - is someone without a grip on reality.


  12. - i know - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 5:28 pm:

    I read the book, but other places are much wilder and more corrupt during the election cycle! The accounts of the book make machine politics in the city to be tame just likedisney world, in comparsion to Cicero or Berwyn poltics, or Melrose Park elections or Proviso Township elections.


  13. - Silas - the assassin opus dei monk - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 5:49 pm:

    Cardenas beware! better not get used to your comfy raise b/c HDO troops are reneging on you. BEWARE!! Don’t worry you can move back to the Northwest side where you came from right after the election.


  14. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 8:13 pm:

    Sock Puppet? Ald. Daley is one of the minority of council members who doesn’t owe her job to the Mayor. Goodstein has no support whatsoever, Egan has more baggage than a luggage store, and Zelchenko less support than the two of them. The last challenger is already bought and paid for. Say what you will about Lincoln Parkers, they are smart enough to know when they’ve been getting good representation.


  15. - yet another anonymous - Monday, Jul 31, 06 @ 10:33 pm:

    Zelchenko is a sincere and honest man, who has spent most of his life in Lincoln Park, and who only has a genuine commitment to improve the lives of its residents and try to judiciously balance the needs of different elements of the community. By contrast, Vi Daley is literally married to the real estate interests.


  16. - Tom - Tuesday, Aug 1, 06 @ 9:39 am:

    Unless I’m missing something there hasn’t been one instance where Vi Daley openly disagreed with Rich Daley. Not a single mention of corruption in the Daley administration. I’d agree she’s a sock puppet. Her first campaign signs in ‘99 featured a miniscule “Vi” and a huge “Daley”.

    On another note I wonder how many ‘07 campaign signs will feature Rich Daley’s name prominently above the aldermen’s names.


  17. - Peter Zelchenko - Wednesday, Aug 2, 06 @ 8:14 am:

    I brought 73% of the vote in the southeast corner of the 1st Ward, while the ward average was close to 50%. This happened in four or five election cycles. But you can verify that with CBEC; don’t take it from me. Check the 36th Precinct of the 1st Ward. Nobody did better citywide. This means I know how to motivate precincts. That is something my competitors will have to pay for.

    My career has been in high technology. I didn’t “invent the Internet,” but for years I was cubicle-mates with a lot of people who did. Think Adobe, Akamai, Apple, BSDI, Lotus, Microsoft, TiVO, and others. Top executives and founders of those companies have known me for 30 years. My “big money” funding will come from there, from a place where there is no political axe to grind. The rest will come from thousands of friends in the city and suburbs. I’ve been cultivating my network all my life, have never asked anyone for anything, and I don’t forget a name (after it’s been pounded into my head two or three times).

    In contrast, the money from two candidates is coming chiefly from big Chicago developers, and the third has been a diesel-fuel lobbyist for years. That’s easy to get, but hard to justify.

    But I also need volunteers and other resources to help in the campaign. Please contact me as soon as possible at pete@zelchenko.com if you are interested in helping.


  18. - Silas - Opus Dei Monk - Wednesday, Aug 2, 06 @ 6:23 pm:

    Peter..

    A little too cocky there. I know several captains across the city that can probably match your numbers. Your attitude/cockiness may be your downfall.


  19. - Patrick McDonough - Wednesday, Aug 2, 06 @ 8:13 pm:

    Many people are greatly underestimating what the Chicago Tribune knows. Many City of Chicago workers contact the Chicago Newspapers as we wish to make a better Government. We are met with militant resistance from the City of Chicago Mob Management Mentality. Many people in Chicago City government are brain washed into thinking “it is the way it is”. Slowly it will settle in we must change to a form of government which will serve, we just get away with lousy government because we can afford it and we are afraid of change. The FEDS must continue to help Chicagoans know that some day it will be better. Let us televise the Corruption Trials (Sorich, ect.) that might get the point across quicker. Also we need a complete and open online contract revelation the Daley people refuse to provide. Patrick McDonough.


  20. - Peter Zelchenko - Thursday, Aug 3, 06 @ 1:25 am:

    Maybe in one of your status-quo precinct-captained wards. Not in a contested race, my friend. I already looked at some of the numbers. Why don’t you tell me what precincts you’re talking about, then I’ll go downtown and do a little research and we’ll compare numbers. I’m pretty confident.

    And to the comment that Mrs. Daley doesn’t owe her job to the mayor, I’d have to say she must, else why does she act as though she does? She and her ward organization appear to have “sent” quite a number of people to the mayor for jobs, judging from the Clout list. Any organization that is sending people to the mayor is complicit in not speaking up.

    She has voted consistently with the mayor, except for once or twice in her career.

    It seems people on this blog are long on rhetoric, short on facts.


  21. - Bullet - Saturday, Aug 5, 06 @ 1:35 am:

    To: Anthony - Get the MIL’s name right and then you can say whatever you want.

    To: Anonymous - What’s the bagage? Besides your being Anonymous.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Unions file suit in St. Clair County
* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* AG Madigan files TRO
* In re James Dimas
* Question of the day
* Weirdest. Oppo Dump. Ever.
* Big bucks reported by Zopp, Raja
* LIVE Comptroller Munger press conference coverage
* Yet another clock starts ticking down
* Hey, Cardinal fans...
* Rauner makes cheery visit to Illinois State Museum
* The Tier 2 difference
* *** UPDATED x4 *** Attorney General goes to court
* Credit Unions – Protecting Financial Futures
* GOP legislator wants "temporary, balanced budget"
* Food for thought
* The blame game
* Meanwhile, in the real world...
* When Indiana invaded Illinois
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Watch YouTube videos on your Android Wear with new app
        * Google Chrome hits 1 billion downloads on the Play Store
        * The LG Nexus 5 (2015) will not be based on the G4
        * LG G2 to reportedly receive an update to Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
        * Dropbox to offer more free storage if users improve their account security
        * Upcoming Samsung Galaxy A8 appears in South Korean brochure
        * Infographic: How to use Samsung’s S Health app to achieve your fitness goals

        * Happy Independence Day From Re/code: Here Are Some Patriotic GIFs!
        * Pinterest Buyable Pins: This Week in Social Media
        * Check Out The Latest High-End Gaming PC From iiyama
        * Take Stunning Full HD Video With JVC’s Latest Quad Proof Full HD Camcorder
        * Volvo Want To Make Cars Safer For Kids
        * Japanese Court Orders Google To Scrub Records On Man’s Arrest
        * Online Streaming Doubles In 2015, Digital Downloads Sees 10% Drop

        * Danks backs up comments with strong outing
        * Abreu's HR all Danks needs against Orioles
        * White Sox 1, Orioles 0: John Danks, out of nowhere
        * Samardzija takes on Orioles in holiday matinee
        * Abreu's HR all Danks needs against Orioles
        * White Sox sign first-round pick Fulmer
        * Sale given extra day of rest, will face Buehrle

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        July 2015
        June 2015
        May 2015
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Illinois mired in uncertainty over budget - Voc.....
        * Bill would allow cameras in Illinois nursing ho.....


        * Illinois city condemns childhood home of actor Dick Van Dyke
        * Bill would allow cameras in Illinois nursing homes
        * Sandbagging effort keeps floodwater at bay in Meredosia
        * Woman known for trying to sneak on planes released from jail
        * Danville condemns childhood home of actor Dick Van Dyke
        * Thousands truckin' to Chicago for final Grateful Dead shows
        * 8 shot even as Chicago officers work long hours over holiday
        * Could insulin pills prevent diabetes? Big study seeks answer
        * Without a budget, providers prepare, officials go to court
        * Union lawsuit seek full pay despite no Illinois budget

        * Bill would allow cameras in Illinois nursing homes
        * State employee lawsuit seeks assurance of full pay despite no budget
        * U of I freezes administration hiring over budget
        * Attorney General Lisa Madigan seeks court ruling on state payments during budget impasse
        * Illinois EPA: State has landfill capacity for 21 more years
        * State lawmakers point fingers over budget impasse; temporary budget in limbo
        * Former Illinois treasurer employees under Dan Rutherford sue over firings
        * Lawmakers point fingers over budget impasse; temporary budget in limbo
        * Illinois medical marijuana patients now number 2,600
        * Budget impasse shuts down Lincoln's Challenge program for troubled youths

        * Leo Burnett loses Special K
        * Aetna to buy Humana in $37 billion deal
        * Illinois weathers second day without state budget
        * Yelp calls off sale talks—for now
        * How a Reddit rally generated huge turnout for Sanders in Madison


          * Chicago police officers sue over tattoo cover-up rule
          * 1 killed, 2 wounded in shootings
          * City pays $1.2 million in penalties to paramedics
          * Madigan is face of Democrats in battle with Rauner
          * Pilot killed after crashing small plane in DuPage Forest Preserve in Bartlett
          * Mayor Emanuel faces tough trek toward 'grand bargain' for shoring up CPS
          * Follow our live coverage of the Fourth
          * Man who exposed himself to girl sought


          * Coping while black: A season of traumatic news takes a psychological toll
          * Rauner proposal would advance $450M to help Chicago schools
          * For same-sex marriage opponents, the fight is far from over
          * Emails show Emanuel, top officials aware of Clinton's private address
          * After pension payment, Chicago Public Schools to make $200M in cuts
          * CPS, Emanuel warn of deep cuts, layoffs to school district
          * After marriage equality, what's next for the LGBT movement?
          * The night Chicago politicians spent punching each other in the face
          * The legacy of Willie Dixon on his 100th birthday
          * Preckwinkle may reevaluate sales tax plan if Springfield acts on pensions


          * Kenny Hartman: EPA stifling input on renewable fuel changes
          * Bill would allow cameras in Illinois nursing homes
          * Charles Krauthammer: The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history
          * State employee lawsuit seeks assurance of full pay despite no budget
          * Our Opinion: Springfield's toilet paper caper exposes the worst and best in people
          * Esther Cepeda: Adding a woman to $10 bill an empty gesture
          * U of I freezes administration hiring over budget
          * Attorney General Lisa Madigan seeks court ruling on state payments during budget impasse
          * Illinois EPA: State has landfill capacity for 21 more years
          * Our Opinion: Winslow looks to heal divisions


          * Top of the morning, July 4, 2015
          * Washington brothers achieve Eagle Scout rank in Morton ceremony
          * Anderson advances, Ram bows out
          * Langley still atop tourney
          * Decision day for five-star guard
          * Rice, Egwu dream big
          * Area soccer aficionados predict Cup final
          * Fireworks: Champaign Country Club
          * Fireworks at the Champaign Country Club
          * Sports Talk 07-03-15


          * Mosque bombing kills 15 al-Qaida fighters in Syria
          * Egypt's president visits troops in embattled north Sinai
          * Murder complaints filed over capsized Philippine ferry
          * Africa's soccer strongman a candidate for FIFA president?
          * Illinois State Police add July 4 patrols, roadside checks

          * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
          * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
          * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
          * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
          * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
          * CBD Oil, and politics
          * Simon considering state Senate bid
          * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
          * Shutdown? State may not notice
          * Rep. Bob Dold

          * Durbin, Kirk working together on U.S. atto......

          * Durbin, Kirk working together on U.S. atto......

          * Rahm has gone from the F word to the B word.
          * The NEA RA rolls into its first day with a focus on race and racism.
          * Geek Gets Up Early Saturday Morning for WGN Radio 720 AM
          * Parking Patrons Risk Boot At Wilmette Dairy Queen
          * Will we have a state government ‘shutdown’ where nothing shuts down?
          * Bang for the Bucks
          * EXTRA: What would Paul Reuschel hot dog be? Biittner or Jose Cardenal?
          * Kirk disappointed Ex-Im Bank will expire at midnight
          * Where's Weyermuller? With Donald Trump in Chicago
          * NRA and Illinois State Rife Association endorse LaHood


          * State, Teamsters Reach Tentative Agreement - Workers at IDOT, DHS, IDES, and CMS in Cook County to Vote on New Contract
          * Governor Rauner Extends Tax Filing and Payment Deadlines for Businesses and Individuals Impacted by Recent Tornado - Deadlines Pushed to December 31, 2015
          * Illinois EPA Releases Annual Report on Landfill Capacity
          * IDNR Urges Public to Leave Fireworks Displays to Those Who Are Licensed and Trained - Fireworks Show Sponsors Reminded to Check Credentials of Fireworks Vendors
          * Governor Receives Initial Criminal Justice Commission Report




              Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller