The pro-Rahm Emanuel super PAC Chicago Forward is set to put out mailers this week in two ward races in which members of the council's Progressive Reform Caucus are running.
One mailer from Chicago Forward, which also supports Emanuel-allied council members, takes aim at progressive Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) for voting 'no' on the mayor's 2015 budget, which includes a higher parking tax expected to bring in $10 million this year, with the funds used to ramp up the city's pothole-filling efforts.
The other mailer is in support of Ald. JoAnn Thompson (16th), who is facing a challenge from Progressive Reform Caucus member Toni Foulkes (15th). Foulkes decided to run in the neighboring 16th Ward after her original 15th Ward, which was predominately black, was redrawn into a Hispanic-majority ward in the 2012 remap. Chicago Forward's 16th Ward mailer touts Thompson in part for her efforts to put a new Whole Foods in the ward as well as her work to boost the city's minimum wage.
Waguespack and other members of the Progressive Reform Caucus have refused to accept support from Chicago Forward, if offered. The alderman said the pro-Emanuel super PAC is attempting to stifle independent voices on the council.
"He wants a perfect rubber stamp," the alderman told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday. "That's why he's attacking us. He doesn't want any dissent at all to what he's doing."
In response to the mailer critical of his vote against the budget, Waguespack told the newspaper, "He [Emanuel] misses the point. People are more concerned about the fact they've got all of this police overtime and not enough police manpower on the streets, especially in the Lake View area where we've had the police station closings in the 13th and 19th Districts and we've lost hundreds of officers off the streets."
"I put out why I voted against the budget, which the mayor didn't read," added Waguespack, who also noted that he's put a strong focus on getting potholes filled. "It was about the police manpower and overtime and also about the scoop-and-toss re-financing that kicks the can down the road to my kids and future generations by making them pay more for his borrowing."
When asked about the anti-Waguespack mailer, Chicago Forward's CEO Becky Carroll offered this explanation to the newspaper: "You can't, on the one hand, refuse to support a budget that doubles funding to fix unfilled potholes and then, a month later, berate the city for failing to do so -- especially when your ward has one of the highest rates of unfilled potholes in the city."
"That's putting politics before what's in the best interest of your community ... What we don't need is gridlock and political grandstanding. We need leaders who will get things done and move their neighborhoods forward."
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