• A Fresh Start for the 45th Ward

    The 45th Ward has spoken and we are victorious over “Machine” politics!
    This is a win, win situation for voters and I could not be more excited for our community. I want to thank all of our supporters; this victory is yours!  I also want to congratulate the other candidates for working so hard to help bring about change.

    There is still a lot of work to be done over the next 6 weeks, so please join our team.

    Thank you,

    John Garrido
  • A Backstage Look at Team Garrido

    A Look at Team Garrido
    By Michelle M. Stein
    FEB 16, 2011

    John Garrido is running to replace Ald. Pat Levar when he retires next week. This open aldermanic seat brought out seven candidates eager to take a place on the floor of the City Council.

    The 45th Ward, which includes the Portage Park neighborhood, has been ruled by Ald. Levar for six terms.

  • Mark your Calendars!

    Please mark your calendars for Feb 19th & 20th for two candidates forums I have organized.

    The forums will take place and will be hosted by;

    • Saturday Feb 19th from 2 – 5 pm at the Irish American Heritage Center,
    4626 N Knox Ave, Chicago, IL, in the Erin Room, their Grand Ballroom.

    • Sunday Feb 20th from 5 – 10 pm at the Veranda Restaurant,
    5700 W Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL in their main dining area.

    Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be available at both forums, cash bars.

    The forums will be an Open Meet & Greet style, whereby average citizens may walk directly up to the candidate and meet the candidates, one-on-one, in an open, no pressure environment. A unique experience.

    The candidates and their current attending status at time of this print are as follows…

    Mayoral candidates Miguel Del Valle and William “Dock” Walls have committed to appear at both venues for at least the minimum of one hour, more if schedule allows.

    Mayoral candidates Rahm Emanuel, Gery Chico and Carol Moseley Braun have responded however have not committed to appear, awaiting further confirmation within the next day.

    Mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins has declined participation.

    38th Ward candidates Tim Cullerton, Carmen Hernandez, John Videckis, Mahmoud Bambouyani, Bart Goldberg and Sheryl Morabito have all committed at least a minimum of one hour at each venue, with specific times forthcoming.

    38th Ward candidates Tom Caravette and Ed Quartullo have not responded to e-mail invitation nor phone call follow-up.

    45th Ward candidates Don Blair, John Garrido, John Arena, Bruno Bellissimo and Michael Fitzgerald Ward have all committed to at least one hour at both locations, specific times forthcoming.

    45th Ward candidates Anna Klocek and Marina Yolanda Faz-Huppert have not responded to the e-mail invitation nor the phone call follow-up.

    As with all the candidates, a staff member has also been invited to assist and answer for the candidate in their absence.

    Please pass this information on to everyone on your e-mail address book and tell your friends and relatives.
    Post it on your Facebook, etc. Please get the word out about this unique opportunity for the average citizen!

    Thank you,

    Chuck Grant
  • Vote for John Garrido!

    John Garrido appeared on the Beat Cop’s Guide radio show. He’s got a lot
    of great ideas, and his service to this city already is unparalleled in the 45th Ward. You can hear the interview below:

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Crowded field battles in 45th Ward

    By Abdon M. Pallasch Political Reporter/apallasch@suntimes.com Feb 11, 2011

    Just about everybody sitting at the dais at the 45th Ward candidate forum at the Copernicus Center on the Northwest Side brings a longer resume to the job than outgoing Ald. Patrick Levar.

    Levar is old-school, a former employee of the Clerk of the Court’s office who worked his way up through the ranks.

    Most of his seven would-be replacements went to college, some to grad school, then out into the business world. Many of them are focused on bringing business back to the ward.

    Don Blair, an economist for Sears Roebuck with a University of Chicago MBA, says he would not wait for the mayor’s administration but would personally recruit businesses to the struggling Milwaukee & Lawrence and “Six Corners” business hubs.

    “You benchmark against other successful communities: Edison Park, Andersonville, Logan Square,” he said. “We will attract businesses aggressively. You have to lead. This is what I do.”

    Police Lt. John Garrido, a practicing lawyer who ran as a Republican for Cook County Board president, jokes that as soon as he announced his intention to run for alderman, he was transferred to a South Side district.

    “That’s Chicago politics for ya,” he said. Garrido said he would fight moving police from the Northwest Side. He said recruiting a Starbucks or a Panera to Milwaukee & Lawrence would be a good start to reviving Jefferson Park.

    Marina Faz-Huppert, a lobbyist for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union running with the blessing of Levar and financial backing from Chicago’s unions, worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., while she completed her master’s degree in political management at George Washington University.

    “How does that make you qualified for the ward? You’ve only lived in the ward for a year,” one resident shouted to Faz-Huppert at a forum Monday night.

    “I walk the ward every single day, and I have been talking to people for a long time about the needs of the community,” she said.

    “I live in the ward and I never even hear of you until you were endorsed by Ald. Pat Levar. I’d like to know how you got endorsed by the alderman,” another resident shouted to her.

    Faz-Huppert, a Mexican immigrant, explained she got to know the alderman testifying in the City Council against allowing Wal-Mart to open in Chicago without paying workers a living wage

    “I represent the people that work at Jewel and Dominicks,” Faz-Huppert said. She also has represented them in Springfield, where she worked for former Senate President Emil Jones.

    On the opposite side of the Wal-Mart issue is Michael Fitzgerald Ward, a former commodities trader and chef who spent the last weekend using his campaign fund to hire private snow plows to dig snow out of the ward’s alleys.

    Ward said he’s tired of aldermen telling business owners what to pay or restaurant owners that they can’t serve goose liver. Ward would take recycling into his own hands, just as he did with the snow plows.

    “I am not going to wait for downtown to do it. I will do it with volunteers if need be. Private companies might be interested in doing this. Let’s take the lead,” he said.

    Real estate agent Anna Klocek, a Polish immigrant, is a familiar sight around the ward, driving her trademark white PT Cruiser with her name and real estate business number emblazoned on it.

    She is a regular presence at community government meetings and Local School Council meetings, where she challenges officials the same way she promises she will challenge city officials as an alderman.

    “You want an example of recycling? I recycled my ‘Anna Klocek for alderman’ signs from the last time I ran four years ago,’ ” Klocek said.

    John Arena owns a graphic design company and has been active with the Portage Park Neighborhood Association. He shares Blair’s focus on business recruitment.

    “I don’t believe it’s any harder to bring businesses here than anywhere else in the city,” he said. “We need to reduce taxes and fees for first-year businesses, then reduce them for future years.”

    Accountant Bruno Bellissimo, working on his master’s degree in public administration at UIC, was an auditor for the city and an official with the City Colleges of Chicago. He also coaches soccer part-time. He agrees with Arena on the need for property tax relief for new businesses.

    All seven candidates display a command of the city’s Tax Increment Financing program and all say it needs to be reformed and made more transparent. For an example of what’s wrong with the program, they need look no further than across the street from Copernicus where Levar used TIF money to clear out businesses in hopes of a development that never materialized.

    “We don’t want something to happen like what happened across the street here,” said Garrido, who advocates abolishing all TIFs.

    “A TIF is a hefty tax hike,” Klocek said.

    “I audited every single TIF in the city last year and none of the TIF balances matched. They were off by an average of 28 percent,” said Blair.

    TIF districts divert money from the city, Chicago’s public schools, libraries and other taxing districts to be used improving the “blighted area” they are supposed to be fixing, all of the candidates except Bellissimo said.

    Arena said the $250 million diverted from the schools every year must be made up for by other taxpayers and he would exempt the schools budget from TIF diversion.

  • Endorsed: Chicago Police Sergeants’ Ass’n.

    CHICAGO – John Garrido issued the following statement regarding the Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association Endorsement:

    I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association for Alderman of the 45th Ward.  This endorsement validates what I have said all along, “when it comes to public safety, we cannot afford to do more with less.”  Unfortunately, current city leaders have allowed police staffing levels to fall to dangerously low levels.  This has seriously jeopardized both the safety of our communities, and the officers who serve to protect them.  As alderman, I will work to ensure that 1,000 new officers are immediately hired to assist in making our neighborhoods safe for our families.

    I look forward to working with the Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association, and thank them for their support.