Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post
As a lifelong Southwest Sider, I've seen my share of dirty political campaigns over the years--but that doesn't mean I'm numb to it. It's just as offensive to me, as a voter, in 2014 as it was years ago.
On Wednesday evening, I saw a small sample of what probably are things to come in the 23rd Ward aldermanic race.
Two men in white shirts were stuffing leaflets under car windshield wipers at and around the Mayfield banquet hall, near Archer and Mayfield.
The leaflet showed an unflattering photo of 23rd Ward Alderman Michael R. Zalewski and made some accusations about him that I will not repeat here.
Why will I not repeat them? Primarily because the leaflet gave no indication, really, of who was behind it. Just an annoyingly vague little line at the bottom that read, "PAID FOR BY CITIZENS FOR THE TRUTH" or "DOPES WHO TYPE IN CAPS LOCK" or something like that.
Same reason I won't show photos of tagger or gang graffiti on this website. I don't give free publicity to cowards.
My husband saw these two guys, waved and hollered, "Hey, who you with?" but they scurried away with nothing more than a giggle from the younger of the two. Really. Cowards.
And why was the leaflet delivered to cars parked at the Mayfield? Well, clearly it was no coincidence that the cars belonged to mostly middle-aged and elderly men and women from the neighborhood, who were at the banquet hall to attend a public-service event hosted by Congressman Dan Lipinski. The people leaving the hall, generally speaking, form the core of Zalewski's political base--and the leaflet was designed as an attack--a sneak attack, granted--against the alderman on his home turf.
I don't know which of the aldermanic challengers was behind the leaflet, but the anonymity of the attack casts a cloud over all of them, unfortunately. And I know that all three challengers, as well as the alderman (via his staff), read what I publish on swchicagopost.com.
Hopefully, whoever was behind it will step forward out of the shadows, claim ownership and explain himself or herself.
But here's one thing I want all 23rd Ward aldermanic challengers to keep in mind.
I'm pretty much the average voter in the 23rd Ward, politically speaking. A registered Democrat, but basically an independent at heart. No firm allegiances to any elected official or challenger. In fact, if the aldermanic election were held tomorrow morning, I'm not sure if I'd vote for anyone in the race. Truly.
But like most voters, my eyes, ears and mind are certainly open. And if you can convince me, you can convince a wide swath of voters in the political center, and that will swing the election in your direction.
So between now and February, I challenge you to earn my vote. Do your best to convince me, and voters like me, that you are a candidate with brains and backbone. Appeal to my intellect. Tell me why you are the right candidate, not why the other guy is the wrong candidate.
And please, no more anonymous leaflets. Don't be a weasel. We already have too many weasels in elected office at local, county, state and federal levels.
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