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Tough Talk in the Wards

By Kevin Robinson in News on Apr 10, 2007 1:50PM

Now that all the aldermanic candidates are rested and refreshed, and the runoffs are coming quickly upon us, there is a renewed sense of hatred and mudslinging in the wards that are still contested this year.

In the 49th Ward, Alderman Joe Moore is pointing to the $60,000 that his opponent Don Gordon took from money manager David Herro of Harris Associates, a major Wal-Mart stock-holder. While connecting those dots requires a bit of a two-step, it's no surprise that Joe Moore is trying to get some mileage out of this "Big Bette Noir", as the "Wal-Mart question" has been a hot topic in the generally liberal 49th Ward. If that weren't enough, though, he has also bought some ad time to hammer that point home. Considering that Moore just barely got pushed into a runoff with Gordon; Moore took 49.29% of the vote to Gordon's 29.18%, it seems probable that he has bigger fish to fry than Gordon; he's also been taking some heat in the neighborhood for his foie gras ban ordinance, and the appearance of being in bed with developers.

In the 32nd Ward, ol' "Steady Teddy" Matlak has been trying to paint challenger Scott Waguespack as a criminal, charging that he is under investigation for impersonating a lawyer, and that he has been campaigning on the City of Berwyn's time (something Matlak knows a little bit about). The most twisted logic being deployed by the Matlak campaign came from his spokesperson, Rebekah Brooks, on Channel 9 News: “Scott Waguespack has represented himself as a lawyer through not denying the fact that he is when the media and others have assumed so.” Wha!? You can see the news clip here (it's a WinMedia pop-up).

While Leroy Jones hammers Howard Brookins in the 21st Ward for trying to buy votes with hotcakes at McDonald's, Vi Daley (43) has been turning up the heat on her challenger, former federal prosecutor Michele Smith, claiming that she was trying to buy votes with beer. The Smith campaign circulated a flier for a party last Saturday at a bar advertising a $5 drink special with an early voting receipt. “This is illegal. You can't do this, 'cause what you're doing is going out there and buying votes,” Daley told CBS2. Smith admits that releasing the flier was a mistake committed by a staffer, but she also says that no one was asked to show voting receipts in order to buy drinks, and therefore nothing illegal happened. We're betting that if Smith wins the runoff, this will wind up in court. Word in the street is that the Brookins campaign is already being looked at.

In both the 35th Ward and the 15th Ward, letters have gone out to voters smearing one of the candidates. In the 35th Ward, Rey Colon is dealing with a flier that was mailed out detailing a history of trouble with the law, including drug charges and delinquent payments for utilities and child support. While it isn't clear that the drug charges belong to the same Rey Colon, he admits to having had some of those legal troubles in the past, and seems to have a reasonable explanation of the matter. More troubling, however, is the "anonymous" mailing that went out in the predominately black 15th Ward, charging that Chicago unions are supporting UCFW member Toni Foulkes because they want to "buy a slave." The mailer says it was paid for by a group called Concerned Citizens, but no such group seems to exist in the state's legal records. In both of the wards, the opposition is denying any involvement.

With a week left, you can be sure that more mudslinging is in the works. The only question now is how low the dirty tricks will get.