Wags And Fritchey: Like Oil And Fire

By Mike Fourcher | Thursday, December 1, 2011

Incumbent 32nd Ward Democratic Committeeman John Fritchey. Official Photo.

Scott Waguespack, Alderman of the 32nd Ward, lean and light skinned, is a careful man. With the demeanor of an actuary, Waguespack measures his speech, taking time to determine the right thing to say. He radiates intelligence.

John Fritchey, a Cook County Commissioner and the current 32nd Ward Democratic Committeeman, is a quick-spoken politico blessed with George Hamilton’s perpetual tan. He engages and is always engaging. Sometimes words come out of his mouth so fast that he tumbles over them. Charm is his deadliest weapon.

Both are self-styled reformers. But rather than combine to work like Batman and Robin, they hurl insults and fight like cats and dogs. Then on Monday, they both filed to run against each other for 32nd Ward Democratic Committeeman.

It is funny to remember that four years ago, this odd couple was hailed as an exciting progressive political duo. But after at least two years of occasional snipes and sneers, Waguespack decided it was time to run against Fritchey next March 20 for the 32nd Ward Democratic Committeeman spot, a position that has little actual power but plenty of bragging rights.

Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd). Official photo.

Back in 2007, when Waguespack, called “Wags” by his supporters, first ran for Alderman, he got a big boost of financial and political support from then-State Rep. John Fritchey. At the time, Fritchey was a relatively high-profile progressive state legislator who sponsored legislation to curb payday loans and reform campaign finance law.

Today Fritchey and Waguespack dispute over how much support Fritchey actually provided to Waguespack’s successful 2007 campaign. But there is no dispute over the fact that Waguespack, whose biggest political job until 2007 had been working for the Berwyn mayor, needed all the support he could get and Fritchey was the biggest elected officeholder on his team.

Waguespack cut the heart out of the once mighty 32nd Ward political machine when he won the 2007 aldermanic contest. So it was no surprise when Fritchey ran unopposed for the 32nd Ward Democratic Committeeman slot in 2008.

But then things began to get ugly. Their supporters (remember both sides come from the progressive world) began to toss mud at one another. Then, the two began to personally toss mud at each other. Then rumors began to float that Fritchey was going to support an Waguespack opponent in his 2011 reelection campaign. Fritchey says it never went that far.

For his part, Waguespack says his decision to run for Committeeman is just business. Fritchey says it’s personal. What is clear from listening to their individual takes is that they both feel disrespected by the other.

“I’m not running around being bitter about John and how things went,” said Waguespack. “Some of the demands that were being made,” by Fritchey were inappropriate, Waguespack says.

For instance, Waguespack said Fritchey, who is also a part-time zoning attorney, asked him to make some zoning changes in the 32nd Ward soon after he was first elected alderman. Exactly what changes, Waguespack declined to say.

“I’ve handled one zoning change [in the 32nd Ward] since Scott was elected,” responded a heated Fritchey. “That was a tear down of a single family home that was smaller–that project had the support of all the surrounding neighbors as well as Scott, otherwise it wouldn’t have gone through.”

Waguespack also says Fritchey came to his office and chewed out his aldermanic staff when he didn’t get something he wanted. A charge Fritchey also denies.

“Scott has constantly been trying to come up with answers for why he decided to stop speaking to me,” says Fritchey. “He knows that his decision to terminate our relationship was one based on his political relationships, not anything I did.”

Cool cucumber Waguespack says he isn’t having any part of Fritchey’s feud.

“I never really got into his banter about me being disrespectful to him. It was all stuff that was being created in his own wheelhouse. I didn’t have time to sit there and say I’m going to war with John. I never really had time for it.”

For his part, Fritchey isn’t having any part of Waguespack’s detached manner.

“Scott has chosen to define himself by having a protagonist. He did that well with [former mayor Richard M.] Daley. Now that he’s got a mayor with a 78% approval rating, he’s got to find a new way to define himself.” Fritchey thinks he’s supposed to be the new foil for Waguespack.

There’s still three and a half months until Election Day. Plenty of time for everyone to work it out.

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  • Anonymous

    For a history of the 2011 32nd Ward Aldermanic Race, see: A Chicago Code – Case Study: The 32nd [2011] Ward Aldermanic Race, Kelly Tarrant, Chicago Democrat Examiner, Feb. 7, 2011.  http:/shar.es/oCsKg   Joe Lake, Chicago

  • Anonymous

    For a history of the 2007 32nd Ward Aldermanic Race and ‘The Power of 121 Votes,’ see:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/32ndNLA   Joe Lake, Chicago

    • Anonymous

      Cook County Commisioner John Fritchey, then IL State Representative, and now 32nd Ward Democratic Committeeman, never endorsed Ald. Scott Waguespack in the 32nd Ward 2007 aldermanic race.  Joe Lake, Chicago

  • Anonymous

    An ally in 2007, but No Longer, Chicago News Cooperative, Feb. 19, 2010.  Cook County Democratic Committeeman John Fritchey tried to recruit former Ald. Bernard Stone’s daughter to run against Ald. Scott Waguespack in the 2011 aldermanic race according to the CNC.  http://bit.ly/tSY9ai   Joe Lake, Chicago

    • http://Www.fritchey.com Commissioner John Fritchey

      Joe, I’ve told you the last 20 times that you’ve posted it that those claims are patently false and were likely started by you and yours. Guess what? The claims are still false. But I’m sure that won’t stop you from trotting out your falsehoods at every opportunity.

      • Anonymous

        Joe Lake-EveryBlock Profile  http://chicago.everyblock.com/users/1090

        • http://Www.fritchey.com Commissioner John Fritchey

          Not sure what posting your profile has to do with the fact that you’re repeatedly making false statements at every opportunity but okay.

  • Anonymous

    Ald. Scott Waguespack, Showing All Article Archives, Chicago Reader, including The Chicago Reader’s article ‘Best Alderman,’ Scott Waguespack.  http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ArticleArchives?tag=Scott%20Waguespack   Joe Lake, Chicago

  • http://twitter.com/joshkilroy Joshua Kilroy

    If I understand correctly, John Fritchey’s mother is from Morroco. Talking about his “perpetual tan” seems like a strange way of alluding to his family’s ethnic heritage.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E4UG6WYX6UTY4K27ETC4NIWUSI Coconuts

      Josh….smoke another joint….which by the way …Fritchey stood up and is going to protect u for your choice.

      • http://twitter.com/madeleineswibe1 madeleine swibel

        Yes his mother is french, At the time Morocco was under the french. The color of the skin does not indicate that he is morrocain.

    • Anonymous

      Josh, you are correct about my mom and while I appreciate the point you raise, I’ve known Mike Fourcher for some time and am confident that he had no intention of injecting ethnic issues into the discussion. But given your relationship with the Alderman, it’s interesting that you just found a way to do so.

    • Anonymous

      John Fritchey has a skin tone that lots of people pay money to obtain. Scott Waguespack is light skinned. It is about looks, as much as blond hair and black hair are. Period.

    • http://twitter.com/madeleineswibe1 madeleine swibel

      john Fritchey mother is french, used to lived in Morocco when it was under the french.. His mother is french ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E4UG6WYX6UTY4K27ETC4NIWUSI Coconuts

    Joe Lake,  U forgot the Article on Waguespack selling out to DA MAN!  Voting to close mental health facilities, which I believe U should be concerned with, raising Water /Sewer rates, closing Police Stations, Raising Parking Garage fees….but never asking why Park Grill pays NO taxes. I was at the meeting with Pat Botterman when the agreement was made to support Waguesdoodle. F-R-I-T-C-H-E-Y was at the meeting and gave us a list of names to put up signs for  Watchamacallit! To have Waguespack DOUBLE cross another friend is par for the course. Waguespack waited for Botterman to die to make his move on Fritchey and Botterman is turning in his grave to see Waguespack suck hole the new Mayor. So take your BS to the HIDE OUT with Craig Norris!

    • Steve Jensen


    • threeOnetwo MustBeCleansed

      and you forgot you’re a “solid waste coordinator” with Cook County who has a penchant for political rants on County computers….

      Don’t ruin the holidays by getting fired from yet ANOTHER job man. Please!

    • Anonymous

      Mr. Frank Coconate, Ald. Scott Waguespack was the guest of the most powerful elected official in Chicago at the East Bank Club last Tuesday. Mark Brown and Lynn Sweet came up to Ald. Scott Waguespack and his ‘friend’ and greeted them. The ‘friend’ had a salad with Russian dressing. It’s not nice to mess with Father Nature. Joe Lake, Chicago

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E4UG6WYX6UTY4K27ETC4NIWUSI Coconuts

    Joe Lake,  Bernie Stones Daughter? Were did u get your info? From a 100 year old burnt out Alderman thats been a career BS all his life? Grow up Joe….Waguespack is pulling a double cross on a friend…..again!

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