First the news: Aldermanic candidate Tom O’Donnell will not be attending the 47th Ward candidates’ forum on Tuesday evening. His opponents, Tom Jacks, Ameya Pawar and Matt Reichel, have confirmed their attendance.
We strongly encourage you to come out to the DANK Haus, 4740 N. Western Ave., at 7 p.m. Tuesday, to learn what Mr. O’Donnell’s opponents have to offer. The forum will be moderated by the Chicago News Cooperative’s Mick Dumke.
Until today Center Square Journal has made it a practice to not choose political sides but we feel that Tom O’Donnell’s behavior is worth noting.
In his defense, Mr. O’Donnell’s campaign manager, Dan McDonald, cites an unnamed, unmovable conflict. Mr. O’Donnell has also responded to our questionnaire, as well as those from the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, but it is a well-known maxim among campaign managers that candidates should never write questionnaire responses. Mr. O’Donnell’s personal appearance could confirm his authorship.
Mr. O’Donnell’s unmovable conflict – despite over a month’s notice to reschedule – does not hold water with us. The last forum Mr. O’Donnell attended attracted well over 200 people and the 32nd Ward Forum we conducted two weeks ago attracted over 80 people. What event could Mr. O’Donnell have scheduled that would attract so many voters?
This is not the first time O’Donnell has demonstrated blatant disregard for the voters of the 47th Ward. The one forum he did attend, on January 26, he was literally reading his answers off a sheet of paper. You’d think a 30-year resident of Lincoln Square, as well as someone purportedly involved with the community would have developed some thoughts of his own. Or perhaps he could have prepared by memorizing some answers.
But Mr. O’Donnell’s most egregious insult to you, the voter, was that he filed to run for 47th Ward Alderman while also passing petitions for his political patron, retiring Alderman Eugene Schulter. Then, Mr. O’Donnell sat on his hands and waited for his political boss’ go ahead on January 17 on to begin his campaign.
Eugene Schulter has made it very plain that he is supporting Mr. O’Donnell. He and his 47th Ward political organization have contributed tens of thousands of dollars, knocked on doors and sent email on Mr. O’Donnell’s behalf.
Eugene Schulter has tried to clout O’Donnell into office before: For state representative in 2006 and 1995 and for Cook County Board in 1990.
This time the cash is rolling in for O’Donnell from all kinds interests from outside of the 47th Ward. Contributions include:
Since January 24, Tom O’Donnell has raised over $56,000 from donors giving $1,000 or more. All of it has come from either the 47th Ward organization or donors outside of the 47th Ward.
47th Ward voters have been seeing the product of these donations in their mailboxes. We’ve received a steady flow of mail pieces with Ald. Schulter and Mr. O’Donnell on the cover and flimsy slogans on the back. They are an ideal method for Mr. O’Donnell to raise his name ID but political mail does little to answer questions about what he would do once in office.
Mr. O’Donnell’s message is loud and clear: You don’t need to know me because you know my political sponsor, Eugene Schulter. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Don’t forget to vote.