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.


* Toby Keith, Buddy Guy, Boat Drink Caucus will play Rauner inauguration concert
* Question of the day
* Congress finally does something
* Two brief insights on new Kirk poll
* Today's number: $12.7 billion
* C'mon, man
* Unintentionally hilarious editorials
* *** UPDATED x2 - Emanuel retorts - Garcia responds *** Emanuel lashes out at opponents after Tribune runs critical red light cam stories
* Today's quotable
* Rauner's gonna miss JBT more than he may know
* 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

          
        * Pre-holiday apps and games sales
        * Facebook Launches 'Messenger' Companion App 'Stickered' in iOS App Store
        * Flowy Beta game helps reduce anxiety and panic attacks
        * Super Nintendo Emulator 'Floppy Cloud' Sneaks Into App Store
        * Viewbox VR Headset is designed for smartphones
        * Businesses seek right to block smartphone WiFi hotspots
        * HP quietly rolls out Touchscreen HP Chromebook 14 G3

        * For Your Baubles and Bubbles: Shower Curtain With Pockets
        * OnePlus Promo Video Points To Dual SIM Card Support, MicroSD Slot (Rumor)
        * Pegatron Looks Into BBC’s Report On Mistreatment Of Workers
        * ZTE Zinger Budget Handset From T-Mobile
        * Sony Threatens Twitter Over Tweets Containing Stolen Emails
        * Samsung SM G430 Seen In Import Database
        * Yahoo Aviate Update Allows Search For Contacts, Apps

        * White Sox out of options 2015
        * Players rejuvenated by offseason maneuvers
        * AL Central looking like one powerhouse division
        * Digging into David Robertson's reverse splits
        * The year in injuries: White Sox have been better, could've been worse
        * Williams: Make protesting voices heard through vote
        * Williams: Make protesting voices heard through vote

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


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

        Archives
        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


        * The Quinn Stocking-Stuffers..
        * Toby Keith to headline Rauner’s inaugural concert..
        * Replacing Topinka: Here's my Christmas wish for.....
        * Toby Keith to headline Bruce Rauner inauguratio.....
        * Country musician Toby Keith to headline Rauner'.....


        * Excerpts of Robert Blagojevich's book
        * Book: Blagojevich refused to see brother at prison
        * Blagojevich brother: I was fed 'pawn' to get then-governor
        * Rain and snowstorms could greet holiday travelers
        * Illinois holiday travelers could see rain, snow
        * Nearly 100M expected to hit the road, head to airports
        * Toby Keith to headline Rauner's inaugural concert
        * O'Toole emerges to lead Illini in bowl season
        * Congressman urges completion of levee project
        * Report: Business linked to appointee saw CPS boost

        * Toby Keith to headline Rauner’s inaugural concert at PCCC
        * Blagojevich brother: I was used as ‘pawn’ to get then-governor
        * Raising juror pay gets mixed reviews
        * Gov. Quinn set to go to Maryland to visit soldiers
        * State treasurer employees get raises, stipends as Rutherford’s term comes to end
        * Springfield-based U.S. attorney’s investigations nab 13; race questions raised
        * 2nd Illinois prison with possible chickenpox
        * Quinn signs bill increasing juror pay
        * Quinn names longtime aide Jerry Stermer comptroller until Jan. 12
        * Quinn signs law to nix deadline for asbestos lawsuits

        * Former Chicago alderman Bernie Stone dies
        * Caterpillar looking at deals, has 'lots’ of capital
        * Can one person run long frieght trains alone? Railroad execs say yes
        * Can one person run long freight trains alone? Railroad execs say yes
        * Tribune sells land holding Baltimore Sun printing facility


        * Lakeview pot dispensary on hold; Tunney opposes Halsted location
        * Despite community pleas, CPS puts Dyett HS out for proposals
        * Quinn to appoint new Illinois Comptroller today
        * Gov. Quinn appoints longtime aide as Illinois comptroller
        * Watch: President Obama's year-end press conference
        * Rewriting the Sony cyberattack script
        * time for new course in Cuba
        * Are Rahm's numbers creeping up? New internals show him near 50
        * Obama guidance, press schedule, Dec. 19, 2014. Press conference
        * A whole lot of nothing from the City Council


        * Man, 18, killed, 2 others wounded in Monday shootings
        * Evanston woman hit by truck, seriously hurt
        * Man struck, killed by Red Line train
        * Bail denied for Dolton animal hospital employee nabbed in Kansas
        * After NYC officers shot, Chicago police union urges cops to be cautious
        * 2 pedestrians hit near Chicago-Evanston border
        * Endia Martin's killing latest focal point in debate over juvenile justice
        * Crash involving vehicle on Metra BNSF line snarls evening commute
        * Mayor during Dixon looting scandal won't seek re-election
        * 7-day-old dolphin calf dies, the second this month at Brookfield Zoo


        * Toby Keith, Buddy Guy To Play Governor's Inaugural Concert
        * StoryCorps: Bilingual pre-school teacher describes the state of education in Chicago
        * Long-serving Alderman Berny Stone dies at 87
        * Report Faults State For Closing Women's Prison
        * WUIS-SJR Business Report The End of Times For Bel-Aire Motel
        * Local Book Club Provides Camaraderie For Vets
        * Agencies To Ask For More, Rauner Says ... Without Giving An Opinion On If They Deserve It Or Not
        * Rauner Favors Merging Comptroller, Treasurer. Just Not Now.
        * Rauner Named Nation's Most Influential Pension Figure
        * Sangamon Auditorium: Beware Second Party Ticket Brokers


        * U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis: New year brings new opportunities for Congress
        * Quote of the Day: Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014
        * Toby Keith to headline Rauner’s inaugural concert at PCCC
        * Blagojevich brother: I was used as ‘pawn’ to get then-governor
        * Quote of the day: Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
        * Raising juror pay gets mixed reviews
        * Gov. Quinn set to go to Maryland to visit soldiers
        * Quote of the day: Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Rauner talks of dogs, housing and the work ahead as governor
        * State treasurer employees get raises, stipends as Rutherford’s term comes to end


        * Illinois holiday travelers could see rain, snow
        * Leader Classic: St. Joseph-Ogden vs PBL
        * St. Clair County Board approves $300,000 settlement, 3-year contract with deputies
        * LIVE! Murray State
        * Dreaming of a white Christmas? Dream on
        * Back-to-back 3s lift Murray State to 44-39 halftime lead
        * News-Gazette Sports Page 12-22-14
        * Murphysboro duo make their childhood dreams a reality
        * Upcoming Services
        * Danville credit union robbed


        * 13 primates die at South Texas research facility
        * Loose bear eludes capture in Phoenix suburb
        * AP top news in Iowa at 3:58 p.m. CST
        * AFCA Division III Coaches Poll
        * AFCA Division II Coaches Poll

        * Representatives Issue Bipartisan Letter Ur...
        * Roskam helps lead charge to protect Chicag...
        * Durbin 'overjoyed' Gross is home; Roskam q...
        * Roskam gives impassioned plea for better m...
        * Letter: Roskam prioritizes Wall Street ove...
        * Lee Zeldin Named Co-Chair of the House Rep...
        * Reps. Lipinski and Roskam Succeed in Prote...
        * Zeldin To Co-Chair House GOP Israel Caucus...
        * Bera and Holding to be co-chairs of Congre...
        * Ami Bera, George Holding are new co-chairs...

        * Last-minute holiday gift ideas for Illinoi......
        * Report: Steyer, Bloomberg Topped List of 2......
        * Education Dept. OKs Sale of Failing For-Pr......

        * Illinois lawmakers welcome new law to help......

        * Rev. Dean Nelson Interview [video]
        * Illinois Watchdog Radio - Live on IR
        * If You Want To Help save Time And Cash, Our College Suggestions Are For You
        * A Newspaper for Injured Civil War Vets
        * Bi-Partisan lawmakers tropical trio to rock at Rauner inauguration
        * 24 Hours To Vote For Either Uptown or Streeterville
        * Police Still Looking For Owners of Stolen Property
        * The [Wednesday] Papers
        * Fire-Damaged Vintage Home Rises From The Ashes
        * The [Monday] Papers


        * IDHR Reminder: Law Protecting the Rights of Pregnant Women in Illinois Takes Effect January 1st
        * Governor Quinn Departs for Annual Trip to Visit Wounded Servicemembers - Will Deliver Holiday Cards to Servicemembers on Monday; Encourages People to Donate Miles and Help Reunite Servicemembers with Families
        * Governor Quinn Appoints Jerry Stermer as Illinois Comptroller
        * Governor Quinn Recognizes First Program to Help Military Veterans Use their Training to Achieve a Nursing Degree - Bridge Program at Joliet Junior College Could Help Veterans Save Dozens of Credit Hours and Thousands in Tuition and Fees
        * Governor Quinn Calls Legislative Special Session - Governor Urges Legislature to Set Up 2016 Special Election for Comptroller




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