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DSA crows about city council gains

Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019

* Chicago DSA…

Three aldermanic candidates endorsed and supported by Chicago Democratic Socialists of America won seats on city council last night in the Chicago municipal runoff elections. In the 20th Ward, Jeanette Taylor won with 59.64% of the vote and will be taking the seat formerly held by indicted Willie Cochran. Similarly in the 25th ward, Byron Sigcho-Lopez, who won with 54.31% of the vote, will be succeeding Danny Solis, formerly the powerful chair of the Zoning committee. In the 40th ward, Andre Vasquez defeated the nine-term incumbent Pat O’Connor with 53.93% of the vote.

A fourth CDSA endorsed candidate, Rossana Rodríguez-Sanchez, is in a tight race with Deb Mell in the 33rd Ward. After bringing Mell to the first runoff in the ward since the 1930s, Rodríguez-Sanchez was up by 64 votes with all precincts reporting. The winner of that race will be determined after absentee ballots are accounted for and a recount is completed.

The new aldermen will join Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, a democratic socialist incumbent in the 35th Ward, and newcomer 1st Ward alderman Daniel La Spata, another CDSA member. Both Ramirez-Rosa and La Spata won their races outright during the first round of voting on February 26. That means that, in a 50 seat city council, at least 10% will be members of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America.

“As democratic socialists, we’re ready to build a Chicago for all of us, not just a wealthy few,” said Lucie Macías, one of two Chicago DSA co-chairs. “Our Chicago for All platform is based on three main planks: Housing for all, Sanctuary for all and Education for all. We’re excited to build a socialist caucus in city hall to carry out this agenda and fight for Chicago’s working class.”

Over the last six months, CDSA endorsed the four aforementioned candidates and supported them with canvasses and other volunteer work. CDSA’s Chicago For All platform represented issues the chapter organized around before the elections, like lifting the ban on rent control in Illinois, stopping the construction of a new $95 million cop academy, and creating a democratically elected school board for Chicago.

These victories are part of a nationwide wave of electoral wins by Democratic Socialists of America members over the last year, the most prominent being current Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York. DSA recently endorsed Bernie Sanders for President, who carried the 1st, 25th, 33rd, 35th, and 40th wards back in the 2016 Democratic Primary in Chicago.

They scored some impressive wins. Now they have to govern.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

42 Comments
  1. - A Jack - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 9:24 am:

    Awesome, but it would be wrong for me to support them with any of my Democratic Capitalist money.

    Socialism has come and gone many times over the last hundred and twenty years. I suppose every generation must try again.


  2. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 9:26 am:

    Yup. Now down to getting people garbage cans and making sure the streets are plowed and there are enough cops on the street.


  3. - Practical Politics - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 9:29 am:

    “After bringing Mell to the first runoff in the ward since the 1930s…”

    Given the amount of redistricting that has occurred that is something of a meaningless comment. Decades ago, ward boundaries seldom varied too much. The present day 33rd Ward bears no resemblance to the election district that elected Richard Mell. The former ward had a southern boundary near Division Street. Now it is north of Belmont Avenue for the most part. Yes, it is a historic fact that Ward 33 has not had a run-off in almost ninety years, but it is an apples and pumpkins comparison given that the election district has been so wildly reconstituted.


  4. - lp - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 9:41 am:

    Now they have to govern. Yes. That goes for Wags and the other “reformers” who have have made a career blaming the “machine” for failures.

    Repeat after me: the all powerful “machine” is long gone and really has been for over 25 years. This election proved it Yes remnants exist in some areas but by and large its an anachronism.


  5. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 9:44 am:

    Fahner and the DSA. This is easily going to be the most fascinating era in Chicago governance since the 80s.


  6. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 9:59 am:

    –Socialism has come and gone many times over the last hundred and twenty years. I suppose every generation must try again.–

    I admire your principled refusal to take Social Security and Medicare when your time comes.


  7. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 10:06 am:

    Being an incumbent is definitely not what it used to be. With the exception of Madigan (and apparently Burke), the well-oiled ward organizations appear to have lost a lot of their power.


  8. - Bill Baar - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 10:07 am:

    Milwaukee’s Frank Zeidler was Mayor of Milwaukee from 1948 to 1960 and governed well. I’m not so sure these DSA folks in his mold though.


  9. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 10:11 am:

    If they are anything like Ramirez Rosa don’t expect much.


  10. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 10:16 am:

    It will be interesting to see if any faction can cobble together a governing majority in the City Council. Aldermen are not required to cede dictatorial power to the mayor.

    Just as interesting and directly related will be if Lightfoot follows through on her campaign pledge to end the practice of “aldermanic prerogative,” the wellspring of aldermanic corruption over the decades.


  11. - Just another Anon - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 10:28 am:

    @Word
    “I admire your principled refusal to take Social Security and Medicare when your time comes.”

    I rather expect that neither will be around when I get that chance.


  12. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 10:28 am:

    I live in 40 - the “new” part of 40 - and I’m a little disappointed with my neighbors. There’s a lot of hatred for O’Conner. I fully expect ward constituent services to rapidly spiral downward.


  13. - Original Rambler - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 10:37 am:

    My only concern about the DSA is that they end up mirroring the Freedom Caucus.


  14. - VerySmallRocks - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    They are not “socialists”, even if they think they are. They are social democrats, New Deal Democrats. There were/are such socialist parties in US history, like Eugene V Deb/Norman Thomas’ Socialist Party or the US Communist Party, notably led by Gus Hall, plus other fringe groups. I realize that reactionaries will call anything or anyone to the left of Barry Goldwater “socialist”.


  15. - 40th Warder - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    O’Conner was a three decade rubber stamp on every decision that caused Chicago to become a financial wasteland. Furthermore he opposed affordable housing in our neighborhood and provided rezoning services for his realtor Wife who has made dozens of millions of dollars on deals in the ward.

    His campaign ran very dirty and ruined his reputation among many in the ward.


  16. - lp - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    “Ending aldermanic prerogative”.

    So its better to leave descisions up to the bureaucrats at city hall, right? I’ll take the judgement of the alderman over that.


  17. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    LP, with aldermanic prerogative, “the judgement of the alderman” has often meant and worked a couple of very different ways:

    It can start as a “judgement” of “where’s mine?” and then end with a “judgement” of “three to five at Oxford.”


  18. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 11:00 am:

    ==“I admire your principled refusal to take Social Security and Medicare when your time comes.”

    I rather expect that neither will be around when I get that chance.–

    So said every dorm-room debate clubber of the last 30 years.


  19. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 11:01 am:

    you have the DSA and in the NW corner of Chicago you have the Trumpers. the city is becoming reflective of the divide nationwide. oh for the middle.


  20. - Natty_B - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    ==”you have the DSA and in the NW corner of Chicago you have the Trumpers. the city is becoming reflective of the divide nationwide. oh for the middle.”

    Exactly. Not too far from these Wards Arena (a Bernie delegate) was crushed due to white anger of affordable housing.


  21. - City Zen - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 11:22 am:

    A chicken in every pot and Nissan dealership in every ward.


  22. - lp - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    “It can start as a “judgement” of “where’s mine?” and then end with a “judgement” of “three to five at Oxford”

    Right. I’ll still take the judgement of the closest elected representative- the Alderman - over decision of an unelected bureaucrat at the Planning Department.


  23. - A Jack - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 11:37 am:

    On the DSA website they say they are anti-capitalist.

    And there is quite a difference between having social programs under a capitalist system and going full socialism like Venezuela.


  24. - lp - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    Might add: all those who have been calling for reform and a return to “strong council, weak mayor” system are not helping their cause when they want to take this away from Aldermen.

    It will be interrsting to see what the socialists do. Im certain they will gladly give development issues up to the Mayer-Brown sponsored Mayor right?


  25. - Bobby Beagle - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 11:58 am:

    I can affirm that the workings of “The Machine” are still very alive and well on the Southwest Side of Chicago, specifically in the 11th, 12th, and 14th Wards.

    I’m talking campaign events called “luncheons”, complete with with palm cards, at early voting sites, turkey and Christmas giveaways, blatant deceptive campaign practices, inappropriate use of city resources (tree trimming on private property) to secure loyalty and votes, and selective enforcement of laws by the city based on favoritism and political loyalty.

    And elected officials change, but you know who doesn’t? Career employees at Streets and San, Department of Buildings, the Park District, Procurement Division, and Department of Planning and Development.

    Until these specific city entities are audited and modernized, I can assure everyone (as someone witnessing all of this, trying to document and report it to authorities with neighbors, and getting absolutely 0 response) that aspects of the Machine are way more alive and well than many people care to realize.


  26. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    –…and going full socialism like Venezuela.–

    Ah, the new “like Greece.” Or is it the new “like Detroit.”


  27. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 12:12 pm:

    Again, these folks work their butts off. Talk about sweat equity. They put boots on the ground, people knocking on doors and more meetings than a Presbyterian synod.
    They want it.
    They do everything
    to get it.


  28. - City Zen - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 12:13 pm:

    ==On the DSA website they say they are anti-capitalist.==

    Do they have a preferred currency? How much does Carlos tip all his UberEats drivers?


  29. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    In his his time as Aldermen, Ramirez Rosa has helped gentrification along at a faster clip. I noticed he lost 9% of the vote since the last election. He’ll be gone in the next election.


  30. - A Jack - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    @Word, if you want to give me an example of a socialist country that is doing well, that is okay with me. The DSA even admits on their site that no country has succeeded in socialism. You can introduce social programs into a capitalist society as we have done over the 87 years and it works. Perhaps some want more and that will always be the case.

    However the DSA is advocating the end of capitalism. Its on their website and in their interviews.


  31. - Bobby Beagle - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 1:48 pm:


    - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    In his his time as Aldermen, Ramirez Rosa has helped gentrification along at a faster clip. I noticed he lost 9% of the vote since the last election. He’ll be gone in the next election.”

    If you’d care to use an actual handle that we can identify you with, I’d be more than happy to put you on the record for that statement.

    Lots of people on here hate on Carlos. I wonder how many of them are A) residents of Chicago and B) under the age of 40.

    He’s made some definite errors. He’s not perfect by any means. He plays dirty sometimes. But policies such as supporting BDS, bringing affordable housing to his ward, opposing the police academy, opposing Lincoln Yards, etc, are way more in line of where the politics in Chicago are headed.

    That’s basically what this election cycle was all about. Not sure what else to say.


  32. - Back to the Future - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 1:56 pm:

    Liked Honeybear’s comment. Great to see hard work pay off.
    More meetings than a Presbyterian synod made me laugh out loud— so true.


  33. - A Non E. Moose - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    If folks want to knock DSA-endorsed candidates like Carlos out of their seats next cycle they will have to prove that they can out-organize the DSA. CDSA won 100% of its endorsed races this cycle. Did your organization?


  34. - Bobby Beagle - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    Still “Anonymous”?

    https://blockclubchicago.org/2018/10/12/100-percent-affordable-housing-development-breaks-ground-in-albany-park/

    https://blockclubchicago.org/2018/12/13/you-can-now-sign-up-for-affordable-senior-housing-at-the-new-independence-library/

    (in his ward)

    https://blockclubchicago.org/2019/04/03/heres-a-first-look-at-the-100-percent-affordable-housing-complex-coming-next-to-logan-squares-blue-line-station/

    I’ll point out that last story is dated 4/3/19 (today).

    Weird how the guy who, according to you, has done nothing to help with affordable housing has several promient affording housing projects being developed in his ward.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 2:57 pm:

    The thing about Carlos Ramirez-Rosa,

    He choked being on a big stage, and when it mattered to be an LG Candidate, looked foolish to the politics and embarrassed himself, but embarrassed the opportunity given.

    The rehabilitation now with the new city council and new mayor should be a welcomed thing for Ramirez-Rosa, and hopefully lessons learned will be applied.


  36. - A Non E. Moose - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 3:43 pm:

    @Oswego Willy–– if you ask Rosa’s constituents, the embarassment falls on Biss. Biss picked a running mate who had been committed to a platform the Chicago DSA voted for at their convention, and then abandoned him for sticking to the platform. Biss, in an effort to run in the left lane, either did not do his research, or got cold feet when he realized what the left lane in modern politics entails.


  37. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    - A Non E. Moose -

    With respect…

    The confusion as to “who misunderstood who” and how the breakup went down, while Ramirez-Rosa and allies would like to think “Biss blew it”, that’s not how you gain support or move on to build more of a coalition.

    It’s embarrassing for Ramirez-Rosa insofar as instead of a “we should break up”, turned into an ideology discussion that made the acceptor of the nod look more like a climber than a thoughtful running mate.


  38. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 3:58 pm:

    - A Non E. Moose -

    Keep this in mind too…

    The role of the #2 on any ticket;

    If you’re not helping, you’re hurting.

    If you’re not hurting, you’re helping.

    Ramirez-Rosa went out of the way to hurt during and after the breakup. A lacking of understanding of the role, then the policy issues… then a less than gracious breakup.

    Again, this new mayor and city council could be the reset Ramirez-Rosa needs, but this thing that Ramirez-Rosa is “all that”… no… the last time the bright lights were on, not great.


  39. - Shytown - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    I’ll put money on DSA-ers being incapable of forging partnerships to get things done. Council is more than a soap box. You need to produce.


  40. - Illinois Resident - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 5:57 pm:

    A Jack - Do you think medicare for all is full blown socialism? How about a $15 minimum wage, green new deal, and college for all. Let’s talk policy and not labels.


  41. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 3, 19 @ 6:52 pm:

    –Council is more than a soap box. You need to produce.–

    Not so you’d notice. With a few exceptions, it’s been a rubber-stamp for mayors.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether it will become a true legislative body remains to be seen.


  42. - Robert M Roman - Thursday, Apr 4, 19 @ 5:36 am:

    At this point, Chicago DSA is more of a brand than it is a political organization. However, this can change rather rapidly.

    At the same time, public officials here in the States tend to be independent entrepreneurs, not accountable to organizations. (The fabled Democratic Machine is an exception that pretty much illustrates the rule.) Generally, politicians have access to resources greater than any “grassroots” organization, making any sort of coordination or discipline rather difficult.

    It will be interesting to see how much of a relationship DSA will have with its elected members. And in a capitalist society, it always pays to follow the money. At this point, organizations like Reclaim Chicago and Working Families United have more political resources than DSA, but these are interesting times.

    I am so pleased.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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