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Why I Won't Get in Line for Alexi Giannoulias (And Neither Should You)

I've made no secret of my support for David Hoffman for US Senate in the upcoming Democratic primary here in Illinois. I've worked for his campaign, I've written for him, and I've been clear as to why I support him. Now, especially given the events of the last week, I think it's important to write about why I will not support his main opponent, Alexi Giannoulias.

So, it's not an controversial thing to say that Alexi Giannoulias has some issues with ethics. He gave loans to mobsters and refuses to come clean about all sorts of Broadway Bank baloney. He played footsie with the facts on the troubles with the Bright Start program in his Illinois Treasurer's office. He ran and hid from voters for the last 6 months, blowing off a debate in Rockford and skipping out on a joint press conference with other candidates. The Chicago Reader tried to watch him interact with voters but Mick Dumke came up empty:

"But I never did get a chance to see Giannoulias campaigning among voters. In the month after our rendezvous, his campaign repeatedly told me they didn't have anything like that going on."

These are not the actions of a stand-up guy.

But here's the topper-offer. In a crushing display of personal arrogance and enormous disdain for voters, this is what he had to say last week:

Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias refused to provide details Thursday about whether his decisions contributed to his family bank's financial problems, saying five days before the election that those questions can wait for another time.

"If I'm fortunate enough to make it out of the primary, we can have that conversation," the Chicago Democrat told reporters.

Wow.

So that's a main reason I am not voting for Alexi Giannoulias-- I don't think he's a very good person. And he has not shown very much respect for me as an Illinois voter. And I'm done with people like him.

I say this– "I'm done with people like him"– as a person with a lot of experience in supporting people who have no respect for me.

Hell, I voted for Rod Blagojevich. I don't think I need to link you anywhere to give you an idea of his disrespect for you and me.

I've voted for Richard M. Daley, Mayor. The guy who said that he ran the most transparent city ever. He maintains a straight face, daily.

I'm through with people like this. I'm not getting in line for anybody. Not the SEIU, not Jan Schakowsky, not the dozens of career politicians who threw their support for Alexi early, like nervous dice-throwers. When we ask them why these people deserve our support, they give out bleats and moans about "progressives" and "fight" and other treacly stuffing.

I will not get in line, and neither should you. Vote Hoffman– let's start earning our respect back.

Me Calling in to Jim Laski Show, WGN Radio, on January 22, 2010 re: David Hoffman for US Senate

Me Calling in to Jim Laski Show, WGN Radio, on January 22, 2010 re: David Hoffman for US Senate from Daniel X. O'Neil on Vimeo.

Starts getting good at about 2:40.

Jim Laski is the former City Clerk who was convicted of corruption in the Hired truck scandal here in Chicago a few years ago.

He now has an itinerant radio show, filling in late nights when regulars are out. I appreciate Jim Laski because he has the honesty of a guy who served his time. He might actually be a treasure.

Anyway he made a passing comment about David Hoffman, the best Democratic US Senate candidate here in Illinois, when a caller said he supported Hoffman. Laski said that Hoffman had a "fake fight" with Richard M. Daley, Mayor.

This is not true. David Hoffman is not in any way fake, and he did a great job as Inspector General. So I called up the show. I was in my car, and parked in front of my house in the middle of the call.

Program note: I did not mean to call Jim Laski "piece a shit". I was merely upset that he hung up on me.

Stop the Ticket Monopoly

Here's TicketDisaster.org, a site devoted to stopping the proposed Ticketmaster/ LiveNation merger:

Despite its “monopoly-like dominance” controlling 70 to 80 percent of all concert ticket sales, Ticketmaster is unabashedly seeking to grow its empire – all to the detriment of the average fan. Ticketmaster is now trying to dampen competition by merging with Live Nation, the nation’s largest concert promoter and second largest primary ticket seller. That merger is coming under heavy fire from consumer and industry groups and Members of Congress, particularly because of the clear anti-consumer and anti-competitive effects.

As the Department of Justice reaches the final round of reviewing this merger, only one question must be answered: will the merger lead to increased prices, poorer service, or less innovation? In this case, the answer is all of the above, which is why this merger needs to be blocked.

As far as I'm concerned, there is already an unhealthy consolidation in the ticket industry. Here's screenshots of a search for tickets to a Broadway show last Spring. Each and every Web site was selling the exact same ticket stock. Each of them had their own interface and bought their own Google ads and had their own dumb logos, but they were all selling the same tickets in the exact same quantities with the exact same notes at the exact same price.

Complete, obvious collusion.

Same Damn Tickets

Best viewed large in order to compare.

Continue reading "Stop the Ticket Monopoly" »

City Council Hearing Scheduled for Joaquin Rivera Incident at Aria Healthcare

A hearing is being scheduled on the following bills/resolutions by the Committees listed below, in Room 400, City Hall, An official notice will come from the Chief Clerk's office.  Thank you.

Committee on Public Health and Human Services, February, 2nd at 10:00am

Resolution Number 090915

Authorizing the Public Health and Human Services Committee to hold hearings on emergency room procedures, and to investigate whether emergency room protocols were followed at the Aria Health care facility (4900 Frankford Avenue) on November 28, 2009 in the incident involving Joaquin Rivera.

More info on Philly.com story: "Healthcare reform is too late for Joaquin Rivera"

Green Exchange is 30% Complete

Here's some recent news that I had missed last month:

For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Massel
Phone: (312) 744-0757

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 

TIF recommended for "Green Exchange" project
Funds would help complete city's largest sustainable industrial project

The Chicago Community Development Commission today recommended the designation of developer for the development of the Green Exchange, a commercial mixed-use redevelopment that will serve as an incubator for green businesses committed to environmental sustainability.

The commission voted to approve the designation of Gx Chicago, LLC as the developer of the project at 2543-45 W. Diversey Ave. and 2755-57 N. Maplewood Ave. Proposed TIF funds from the Addison South TIF would benefit the shovel-ready, 275,800 square foot project.

The site of the development, now 30% complete, is the four-story building that once housed the Frederick Cooper Lamp Company, which went out of business in 2004 resulting in the loss of 110 jobs. Once completed, the Green Exchange is estimated to create 300 temporary construction jobs and 300-500 permanent jobs for area residents including residents of the nearby Lathrop Homes.  The building will provide a significant retail presence, showroom galleries, office space, incubator work-live lofts and attractive common areas, creating an epicenter for green businesses and organizations in the Midwest.

The idea for the Green Exchange was born in 2004, early in the national green movement and included an industrial incubator that restricted tenants to companies with a focus on green technologies, and sustainable business practices. Although well known as the Cooper Lamp Building, it is historically and officially known as the Vassar Swiss Underwear Company Building and was designated a City of Chicago landmark and was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in September of 2008.

“We are thrilled to be able to support the completion of this project,” says Acting Department of Community Development (DCD) Commissioner Christine Raguso. “To date, twenty four businesses have signed leases to occupy 92,000 square feet of space. We believe this is the type of project that meets many of the City’s goals, in terms of development, attracting and retaining jobs, and continuing to develop businesses that are “green” for the benefit of the entire City.”

The Green Exchange will offer a unique collection of over 100 eco-friendly businesses focused on the environment and purveying only green products and services. Featured businesses include a paperless bank, organic café, and a sky garden available to host events focused on the promotion of the national green movement. Sustainable features include a 15,000 square foot green roof with 90 solar thermal panels that will supply the domestic hot water for the building, a 41,000 gallon storm water management system, and a state-of-the-art sustainable escalator that uses 30% less energy than standard models. Other features include excellent water conservation by using 37.5% less potable water than a comparable building using traditional energy systems and using LED lighting throughout the building.  The Green Exchange is pre-certified as a LEED Gold redevelopment by the U.S Green Building Council and the developer is committed to pursuing LEED Platinum certification. Under either standard, at 275,884 square feet, the Green Exchange would become the largest green business community in the country. Today, the largest green industrial building is located in Portland, Oregon and is 70,000 square feet.

In May of this year, the developers, Baum Development, LLC, learned that, due to current market conditions, their $35 million construction loan had been reduced to $20 million. At that time, they submitted TIF and HUD 108 applications to the City as a means to close the $15 million financial gap. In the proposed financing structure, the developer would receive a $15 million HUD 108 loan, which would provide the needed upfront funding for the project. In addition, a $10 million TIF note would be issued by the City to the Developer payable from 90% of the TIF revenues from project PINs for TIF-eligible reimbursable expenses.  The developer would in turn pledge the note back to the City and the proceeds from this note, along with $5,000,000 in operating revenue from the project over time, would be used to repay the 108 loan.

In other CDC business, the commission recommended approval for DCD to enter into a negotiated sale with TS Plum, LLC, for the sale and rehabilitation of Edgewater’s former Engine 70 Fire House at 1539 W. Rosemont Ave. The site will be the home of Plum Productions, one of Chicago’s premiere video and flash production companies, creating marketing materials for such companies and institutions as Adler Planetarium, Museum of Contemporary Art, WGN, etc.  The sale price for the property is $390,000. A new firehouse, located at located at 6030 N. Clark Street, was completed to serve residents in the neighborhoods of Edgewater, Rogers Park and Andersonville in the summer of 2008.

There's also a new commercial bank going up on the site. It will be housed in a modular trailer.

(1) STORY TEMPORARY MODULAR TRAILER TO BE USED FOR MAXIMUM (18) MONTHS PER APPROVED ADMINISTRATIVE RELIEF. NO ASSOCIATED PARKING. USED AS COMMERCIAL BANK.

What It Takes: New Ad from David Hoffman for US Senate

I Made a Thing

Make Hoffman Your Constant

Why I Support David Hoffman, Democrat for US Senate in Illinois

Chicago Inspector General In October 2005, Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed David Hoffman to be the new Inspector General of the City of Chicago. He breathed new life into a moribund, embarrassing department in city government. Shortly after the appointment, I helped create the first Web site for the department.

That's when I first met David Hoffman. He was exactly my age, and he was open to all of the ideas I brought to the table. To use a weblog for his news section. To use an inexpensive, non-City Web host for his web site and the City's first-ever Report Corruption form.

And everything that he wanted was all about being independent. He needed his email system to be independent of the city servers. He wanted to make sure that people understood, as they considered whether to fill out the report corruption form, that he would do what he could to protect them from retribution. Everything down to the new seal we made for the Department indicated independence and seriousness of purpose.

One of the things that impressed me about him was his choice of deputies. Mary Hodge, his First Deputy, was literally on the wire when it was discovered at Counselor's Row by busboys during an FBI investigation of the First Ward in the 1980s. David Grossman, his Director of Investigations, was a part served undercover for over three years in Operation Greylord, the investigation of the Cook County judicial system that led to the conviction of 93 persons, including over 40 attorneys, 10 law enforcement officers and 15 corrupt Cook County judges, among them the chief judge of the First Municipal Division (Chicago courts).

Legendary people to me. And just another sign that Hoffman was a solid, serious person who knew how to get shit done and surround himself with quality people. Everything about my experience with David Hoffman centered around competence and integrity.

We launched his Web site. Over time, we kept in touch. I joined EveryBlock, and began working with municipal governments all over the country to get them to release public data. Hoffman was appointed to the Illinois Reform Commission, and we spoke of open data issues during that time.

As he began planning his run for US Senate, in the seat formerly occupied by the current President of the United States, you can imagine I was pretty excited about this prospect. I listened more to his politics, and we talked about many of the major issues facing this country and the State of Illinois.

So that's basically why I support David Hoffman – I personally know him to be a competent, honest, earnest, Democrat. I would be proud to have him represent me as a citizen of the State of Illinois.

David Hoffman, Democrat for US SenateI helped him set up the campaign, including a stint as his part-time New Media Director, where I helped set up his Web site and other online media, write campaign communications, and other stuff.

My responsibilities at EveryBlock– a job that I really love– preclude me from continuing as a paid staff member at the Hoffman for Illinois campaign. But I am devoted to David and his candidacy, and I urge all Illinoisans to really take a good, hard look at this guy. Read his bio, and his well thought-out positions on the issues like Afghanistan & Pakistan (keep the mission focused on Al Qaeda), the economy (inject capital more deeply into the economy and encourage lending), and gay marriage (yes to equality and yes to the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act).

The election is February 2– very soon. Early voting starts on January 11. We have to change the dynamics of this important race, or I'm afraid that there will be serious consequences. Just imagine waking up on November 3, 2010 and seeing Obama's Senate seat in the red column.

There's time. Let's work. Let's vote. And let's not let the temporal apathy and cold of January blow six years of our state's representation in the US Senate.

On Patriotism

Us-flag I was one of the thousands of people who made it into the Grant Park celebration on Election Night. It was amazing, of course. One of the best days of my life, flat-out.

One of the most touching moments for me, a moment when I thought the top of my head might float away as butterflies flew out of my brain, was during one of the commercial breaks after Obama was named the winner and before he came out to talk to us.

There were music interludes ("(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" was a highlight), and mike checks ("check, check, final sound check for the next President of the United States"). There was the Benediction and the National Anthem. I felt so happy, and so did everyone else.

But then the announcer came on and said, "Ladies and gentleman, please join in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance." And we all just stood there, facing giant flags on the stage, hands over our hearts, and spoke in flat unison:

I pledge allegiance,
to the flag,
of the United States of America.
And to the republic,
for which it stands,
one nation,
under God,
indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.

And eight years of frustration were over. Of George Bush and his asshole friends owning patriotism. Of losing elections. Of listening to piece of shit commentators talk about tangential figures while trying to sink our man.

And this was our President, and we won this election, and now he was in charge of the executive branch of the nation's government. And we were patriotic Americans who loved our country.

This week that all came back to me. An Al-Qaida double-agenta blogger who wrote often for Web sites where people get really excited about killing Americans – killed seven CIA officers in Afghanistan. This was a forward operations base full of high-level people. It was a major tactical victory for enemies of this nation. Whatever you think about the CIA or the war in Afghanistan, it's pretty non-controversial to say that it's better if Americans aren't killed by terrorist assholes.

So at times like this I wonder if I should stop everything I'm doing and turn my time & efforts to activities that will directly lead to the death of people who want to kill us. It really makes me wonder about my priorities and appreciate the people who are paid to look out for us. They make mistakes, and have a pretty long history of dastardly, wacky shit, but I appreciate them today, right now, in this moment.

So while I ponder my future possible anti-terrorism activities, I want to give my fondest wishes to the workers of the Central Intelligence Agency and their boss, President Barack Obama. I hope that they recover from their mistakes, find everyone who helped plan this attack, and kill all of them. I think that would be awesome.

ABOUT ME

Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.

PROJECTS

EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.

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    Projects

    • Wesley Willis Art
      Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
    • CTA Alerts
      Wireless notifications about service on the Chicago Transit Authority.
    • Wide Right Turn

      An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.
    • Derivative Works Art Manifesto
      Humans own their experience of copyrighted content.
    • Y!Q Link Generator
      Simple form for creating Y!Q links to add relevance, annotate text, and provide more sophisticated layers of meaning to web content.