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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Sunday, April 03, 2011


    April 5th is an important local election in Illinois. This will be a low voter turnout election, so your vote REALLY counts. Here are endorsements and information from Democracy for America:

    John Arena
    Alderman 45th Ward

    The 45th Ward has been represented by a machine politician for almost 25 years. Now is the time for DFA members to elect a progressive alderman who will fight for transparency and accountability in city government.

    John Arena is that progressive. In his first campaign for office, John has put forth an aggressive campaign platform that would open up the political culture, develop local small businesses and reduce crime.

    John's running a campaign fueled by people power, with volunteers going door-to-door, making phone calls and more. Join the people-powered campaign and help put it over the top today.

    Here is Jjohn Arena's statement to DFA:


    As a child, I moved with my family to Chicago’s suburbs from New Jersey. Since graduating from Northern Illinois University in 1990. I have lived on Chicago’s north and northwest side. My wife, Jill, and I run a small marketing and graphic design company. We are raising our two children in the Portage Park neighborhood. They are 15 and 10 years old.

    Over the last decade, I have been active in numerous community organizations. I served three terms as communications director and two terms as Vice-President of the Portage Park Neighborhood Association. I have served on the Economic Restructuring and the Promotions Committee of the Six Corners Association. On a more personal note, I have coached my son’s Little League for seven years (winning the league championship this year) and been deeply involved in the parent-teacher organization for my daughter’s elementary school.

    I have been volunteering on political campaigns for progressive political candidates for years and over the last several years I have worked for candidates endorsed by Northside DFA, including Joe Laiacona, Daniel Biss, Forrest Claypool and, of course, President Obama.


    My top goal is to bring responsive government to the 45th Ward. This ward has been run by a machine politician, Alderman Pat Levar, for the last 24 years. He has been unengaged with the community and it was difficult, if not impossible, to get him to move quickly on ward priorities. I originally entered the race to challenge him, but he recently announced that he was retiring.

    I want to establish Neighborhood Advisory Boards to give residents a voice on crucial issues facing the ward, such as zoning and education. Chicago needs to be much more transparent regarding how it collects and spends tax monies and I will be a leader in that fight.

    Chicago has been at the forefront of the movement to privatize city services. I am skeptical of privatization and flat out oppose any sort of privatizing of key resources like the city’s water supply.

    In terms of the environment, the biggest challenge is shutting down two ancient coal power plants that operate on the near South Side of Chicago. I also support banning Styrofoam (No Foam Chicago) and implementing a city-wide recycling program.

    I have watched aldermen like Joe Moore, Scott Waguspack and Bob Fioretti set a new tone on the city council and look forward to adding my voice to the call for transparency and acountability.


    My top three issues are opening up the local political culture, developing local small businesses, and reducing crime.

    James Cappleman

    When Gov. Howard Dean ran for president, he said that voting wasn't enough. He said people need to get more involved in the process -- they needed to contribute, volunteer and run for office themselves.

    James Cappleman heard that message. He's a longtime DFA member. For years, he's worked with local DFA leaders to create change in Chicago as an activist and volunteer and now he's running for office himself.

    James has been a citizen activist and he'll be a citizen legislator, working with his constituents to grow jobs, increase public safety and restore fiscal responsibility.

    Here is James Cappleman's statement to DFA:


    I've been a community activist my entire life, much of it focused on LGBTQ issues and health care. The University of Chicago Medical Center awarded me the Dr. Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award for my life's work as an advocate for others. I'm have worked as a clinical social worker in not-for-profit health care for over 2 decades, with much of my work focused on promoting family-centered care.

    When I moved to the 46th Ward over a decade ago, I joined the Uptown Chicago Commission, a not-for-profit organization focused on improving the quality of life for area residents. I served 2 terms as board president, which allowed me to work with residents, social services, businesses, and elected officials on a number of quality of life issues. I am the only candidate who has ever been asked by the state senator and state representative to assist them with working on public safety issues.

    In November 2010, Northside Democracy for America endorsed me because of my stance on reform, transparency, fiscal responsibility, and my commitment to involve residents in decisions that directly affect them.


    I'm running for 46th Ward Alderman because I want to continue my long history of community activism, but on a full-time basis. The 46th Ward is a very diverse community with a wide variety of values and beliefs. I have the skill to lead the community to focus on its shared values to help it move forward, especially in the areas of economic development, public safety, education, and political reform.


    Economic Development in the 46th Ward
    Will create a Ward Master Plan and overlay it with a retail market survey. I'll use this information to work with the area's 2 chambers of commerce to attract needed businesses into the ward.

    Public Safety
    We have had an upsurge of gang violence in the 46th Ward, and have found that in a ward of 60,000 residents, there are around twenty residents who commit most of the acts of violence in the neighborhood. I will work with the county to strengthen the coordination of a drug court program that utilizes evidence-based, best practices to reduce recidivism. I will also work with the city's CAPS Program, which involves residents working with the police to address crime.

    Fiscal Responsibility
    Chicago is over $20 billion behind in the funding of its pensions, while the city's budget has doubled in the past 15 years. Tax Incremental Financing Districts (TIF) have been overused and are in real need of reform. I will work with other like-minded aldermen to call for a forensic audit to address duplication of services in the various city departments, and with other county and state programs. I'll also work to better coordinate the delivery of city services. I want to create a process so that before a TIF goes before City Council for a vote, City Council and the public are aware of the amount of campaign contributions given to the perspective alderman, along with the amount of funds going to large corporations that are directly benefiting from the TIF. To address pensions, I want to call for an actuarial analysis so that elected officials and the public can gain a better sense of the magnitude of the problem in order to create motivation to come up with real solutions to repair the City's pensions.




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