Could the natives be restless?

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Nancy Wade and campaign workers Sam Holloway and Walter Pituc
  • Courtesy of Walter Pituc
  • Green Party congressional candidate Nancy Wade with campaign workers Sam Holloway and Walter Pituc
On election night I was in one of presumably few places in Chicago where the name "Rahm Emanuel" drew boos. The campaign for Green Party congressional candidate Nancy Wade was hosting a viewing party at the Globe Pub, and the message to Chicago Democrats was "stop drinking the Kool-Aid."

"In Chicago we live in something more like a dictatorship than a democracy," said Wade, who served on her local school council before becoming involved with the Occupy movement and MoveOn. "We have no votes for the school board, no votes for the park board . . . "

On the issue of representation Wade wasn't alone: an advisory measure in favor of an elected as opposed to a mayorally appointed school board drew 86 percent of the vote in the 327 precincts where it ran on last week's ballot. Now some Chicago aldermen are pushing for a citywide referendum on the issue, a move that was earlier blocked by a parliamentary maneuver that had certain people crying foul.

The Chicago Teachers Union, fresh off one victory over the mayor, also supports school board elections, and currently is organizing protests of school closings CPS is in the process of planning. One of the protesters' contentions is that TIF funds—a subject that's pretty familiar around here—are going into the hands of rich developers for projects in rich wards, leaving underserved neighborhoods and their schools to languish.

As it happens, TIFs are also an animal known to Mike Quigley, who back in 2009 won the Fifth District congressional seat after Rahm Emanuel left for bigger and better things. Quigley's been one of the more independent as well as more progressive Chicago pols around. So why was Wade setting her sights on him?

Reminding her audience that the Fifth District was the seat of the late Dan Rostenkowski (convicted of fraud) and former governor Rod Blagojevich (convicted of corruption) in addition to Emanuel (succeeded Daley), Wade characterized her campaign as challenging "business as usual" by, among other things, adhering to the Green Party's stance against corporate donations and lobbying.

Quigley raised $672,000 over this election cycle. Wade raised $6,000. Yet she made a more than respectable showing by Green Party standards, collecting 9,000 signatures on her ballot petitions and capturing 6 percent of the vote (Quigley, who's popular, got 70).

A 2010 Reader feature by Kari Lydersen characterized the Greens as the "silver-lining party," and there was some of that at the Globe. "The next election is only two years away. I want to see the Green Party build, and I want to be a big part of it," said Wade.

"The machine will not know what hit them," said (joked?) campaign manager Walter Pituc.

"You know you're joining the losing team," a gray-haired man sitting at a high-top told his buddy, a Green.

"Well, why are you a Cub fan then?" the guy shot back.

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