Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Worthy 5th Ward Challenger: Anne Marie Miles

posted by chicago pop

Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston has been parked in the same political spot for a while now. Unfortunately, the meter has expired, but her car is still there. It's time to call the tow truck. Other people would like to park there.

As of this past Monday's filing deadline, 9 candidates have received the call from dispatch, and are currently on the ballot to take Leslie Hairston's parking spot at the job she has held, with very little to show for it, since 1999.

We think this crowded field is a good thing. The factors that have contributed to stasis on the City Council, and indirectly in the 5th Ward, have slackened considerably in 2010. Chicago city politics, like politics on the national level, are currently wide open and tumultuous.

This does not bode well for status-quo politicians who have preferred to coast on complacency. Hairston is an incumbent in a time of anti-incumbent sentiment. Her bread-and-circuses approach to discretionary spending reveals a lack of long-term vision for the ward. Employment opportunities in the ward, which would have benefited from 200 new jobs had she helped shepherd the Doctors Hospital project, remain scarce. The major city players who have supported her in the past are leaving the picture -- both Mayor Daley and 4th Ward Alderman Toni Preckwinkle.

There are thus good reasons for challengers to take on the 5th Ward Alderman. On the basis of her record, Leslie Hairston is vulnerable in ways that she was not in any of the previous three elections. Even if more than half the field drops out before the end of the year, the current Alderman will still face at least one qualified opponent worthy of the 5th Ward's historic tradition of independent, visionary politics: Anne Marie Miles.

We had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Anne Marie several weeks ago, and are very pleased that such a strong candidate has officially entered the ring for the February 2011 aldermanic elections. Before too long, we'll be interviewing Anne Marie Miles on HPP to give readers a better sense of who she is and where she comes from.

For now, though, we'll let her speak in her own words.


From an undated letter to the editor shared with HPP:

I am running for Alderman of the Fifth Ward of Chicago, because I believe that the Fifth Ward no longer represents the independent voice of reason that it once was for so many years. Over the last decade that voice has diminished and is now on the brink of extinction.

Bona fide leadership is sorely lacking, while there are many issues in the ward that are not being addressed; constituent services are at the top of that list, especially when voters cannot receive coherent responses to justifiable concerns. Constituents continue to wait for communication on education programs, crime prevention, broken pavements, potholes, gutters and tree limbs.

I became utterly committed to run for alderman, when I learned that in a summer with the highest youth unemployment rates in years, vital ward funds were being used to pay for parking spaces for people who live in the co-ops and condos along the lakefront. How many summer jobs could have been created for Fifth Ward residents with that money -- over $100,000.00 -- in Ward funds -- spent on free parking spaces, most of which were never used.

The priority of the Fifth Ward must be economic revitalization. Concern for community, children and senior citizens must be at the very top of that agenda. Common sense leadership is required in City Council; leaders who are willing to confront issues urgently affecting the city, and who can provide a productive plan for economic development, encouragement for children to graduate from high school, and facilitate increased community program development.

I bring a strong commitment to the Fifth Ward where I have resided and raised a family, since the 1990's. I bring renewed energy and resources, and will relentlessly call upon business leaders, parents, educators and youth program directors, to ensure the revitalization of the historic Fifth Ward community and its place in this great city of Chicago.

From a campaign press release of November 23, 2010:

Anne Marie Miles is an advocate, community activist and a loyal, passionate Fifth Ward supporter. She is involved with parent associations and local community groups focused on improving children's lives and reducing teen violence. Miles is the former Secretary and President of the University of Chicago Comer Hospital Service Committee, and has worked for Chicago Volunteer Legal Services providing free legal services to lower income residents. She is currently on the steering committee of Safe Youth Chicago of the Union League Club of Chicago.


Anonymous said...

I hope Miles has the money to launch a proper candidacy. We all know Hairston has already bought a bunch of votes with those ridiculous parking spaces subsidized out of her public budget.

chicago pop said...

Although interestingly, Miles was one of the people Hairston attempted to buy out, and it backfired. How many more may feel the same way?

Richard Gill said...

Under Leslie Hairston, the 5th Ward has had years of false starts and lack of follow-through. Anne Marie Miles has real proposals for getting things done in the ward, with beneficial development (and resultant employment opportunities). She wants the available money to be used properly, not for politically motivated giveaways.

Chason said...

Chicago Elections has her address as being the notorious 5490 Co-Op. Do we know how she feels on the Shoreland development?

chicago pop said...

Chason: we screened her on that. As far as we can tell, she did not support her building's aggressive and self-interested game of chicken vis-a-vis the Shoreland development.

Since the whole process was so opaque, we're taking her on her word. But she needs to get in front of that issue and let the public know -- especially this readership -- for the record that she did not support any strongarm tactics to extort parking concessions from Antheus on the Shoreland project.

Chason said...

I couldn't agree more, Chicago Pop!

Anonymous said...

How about a long winded comment?

A quick story: I had an email exchange with Hairston who then forwarded me to staff. I was simply asking for trash can lids for the ever over-flowing trash cans on 57th and Kimbark and 57th and Kenwood.

Hairston and team said this was impossible as there is no money. When I then suggested they remove the trashcans which are commonly used as raccoon and rat feeding bins, they did not answer. Too much trouble. 2 lids and 2 trash cans were too hard to take on. Sigh.

Time for change it seems! I'm glad there are some brave souls willing to give it a go. Good luck to Miles!

Chason said...

There was a small blurb about Miles in the Chicago Maroon this week. No new information, but it is great that her name is at least getting out among the student community.

rheal said...

As someone who lives on the south end of the ward. This is the first I've heard of this candidate. Not a placard, a sign, nothing. Where is she? She needs to make a stop at the 14 Jeffery Express bus stop on 67th and Jeffery, South Shore Metra stop, and the Starbucks on 71st street. Catch the other half her constituency going to work and living in South Shore, South Chicago and Grand Crossing

I know I would be inclined to vote for her should she take the time to introduce herself. It would be a mistake for her to ignore the majority of the 5th ward which happens to be located in South Shore, South Chicago and Grand Crossing.

Emil said...

Dear rheal

I'm sorry I haven't met you in my campaigning throughout the entire ward. Please come and have coffee at my campaign office at 2120 East 71st Street at 1 pm on Saturday the 19th. Or come to the forum at 5 pm at the Parkways on February 19, 2011 6720 S East End.

I will be the Alderman of the entire ward and that is why I opened my first campaign office on 71st Street. When chased out of that office by Leslie, (please see the post "Once upon a time in Chicago Politics" for more details) I spent time and money to relocate to another office on 71st Street. I intend to keep my Aldermanic office on or near 71st Street.

I have campaigned throughout the ward. I've been at holiday celecrations for Halloween and Christmas at the Gary Comer Youth Center. I personally collected petition signatures ion front of Revere School. On Halloween I went trick or treating in the Highlands asking for signatures. I've campaigned in front of Donimic's on 71st. I've been to after school programs, including the Ring of Hope on South Chicago.
And I's campaigned at the Starbucks on 71st and the Bryn Mawr Metra and at bus stops on Jeffrey.
I'll try to get to 67th and Jeffrey Tuesday morning during rush hour. Hope to see you there.