1st Ward: Your opponents’s ideas.

Conversations with the aldermanic candidates of the 1st Ward

Topic: Your opponents’s ideas.

Part of working in government is working with other people and taking ideas where they come. Is there any idea you’ve heard from your opponents during this campaign that made you say, “You know, I didn’t think of that, but that’s a good idea!”

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Alderman Moreno

I haven’t met the gentleman ever in my life. I’ve not heard anything from the woman, any specific idea, even when she’s been asked point blank. I don’t, quite frankly, know if she knows what the ward boundaries are. I’m just being honest with you, and I told her that when we were at the Tribune.

But I’ll tell you this. When I was appointed alderman, all of the names were made public that were wanting the position. I reached out to – because there were like forty people – the ten people I thought, “These guys have a really good resume,” and I met with every single one of them, and asked the question you asked: “Why do you want to be alderman? What ideas do you have?” And every one of them – Jesse Ruiz, Miguel Zuno, Joe Betancourt, Mona Noriega – gave me ideas, and are supporting me.

I met with Deb Lopez too. I didn’t get any ideas from her except that she was gonna run. She was interested in running and what not, so I didn’t get one idea. I met with all of those for that specific reason, and they all gave me ideas, some that we’ve been able to implement, some that we haven’t, but they’re all very supportive of me. In fact, Jesse Ruiz was just at my fundraiser last Tuesday, who really wanted the position. A sharp, bright attorney; he’s the chair of the Illinois State Board of Education.

So I think that’s very important. But in terms of this campaign, I just haven’t. I’d be dishonest if I said I had.

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Ronald J. Baltierra

No. Everything I heard from them so far is basic political talk. I don’t see anything outstanding. Number one: How are they going to create jobs? Everybody talks about jobs, number one, right? How are they creating jobs? How are they telling you and I how they are creating jobs? All you hear is, “We’re going to create jobs. We have a TIF.” There’s a lot more to this TIF thing than what this gentleman’s brought to the news media. How is he going to create jobs? How is she going to create jobs? I’m in infrastructure. I build from the ground up. There’s a lot of empty shells around here which I know I could do something with. I can create jobs.

How?

That’s something I keep within myself, because it seems like if I were to go and let everybody know how I would go about creating jobs, Moreno has a staff that would jump on it and say, “You’re right. We can do the same thing.” This is something I’m keeping within myself, because this is something I know I can do, and which I’ve been doing. If I can take a historical building and convert it, and it was destined for demolition and I can bring it back to the tax level where now the City of Chicago is receiving taxes on the building, that’s what I can do.

Let’s say you tell me exactly what your plan is, and it goes into my article, and then Alderman Moreno’s people read it and say, “Oh, that’s a great idea!” They go and use that. What do you see as the downside of that happening, assuming you see that they follow what you’ve said?

Well, I’ve seen a lot of stuff that I’ve already put out there that I see they have on their webpage now.

But if the end result is that your idea goes into play, what do you see as the downside of that?

[Baltierra’s campaign assistant Nicole Erickson, who is present, interjects.] “The execution isn’t the same.”

Yeah, that’s basically it right there.

“If it’s creating jobs, and it’s an idea that he uses, that’s a good thing from a public standpoint. Mission accomplished, right? But if there were something different, or if it were a different approach, yes they did it this way and they accomplished the same thing, but this plan has longevity and solid groundwork. This plan is more shaky and not built quite as strong. Execution is not just –

Experience. It all boils down to experience.

“Yes. And execution. I’m sorry to keep jumping in.”

No, that’s right. That’s okay. She helps me out quite a bit.

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Deborah Lopez

No I have not, and that’s one of the reasons I decided to run. The approaches of the other people on the ballot are too traditional, and this is a time when we need to be more creative. What I’m hearing is a lot of band-aid approaches, a lot of reacting to a problem. I’m very solution-oriented – yeah, let’s resolve problems, but it’s not a band-aid approach, and I don’t believe the others are doing that.

Jack M Silverstein is the author of “Our President” and editor of 2007 49th Ward alderman runner-up Don Gordon’s “Piss ‘Em All Off.” Trade alderman talk on Twitter @readjack

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