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Alderman Joe Moore
  • Alderman Joe Moore
The first lesson I learned about Chicago politics after moving here in 2000: a prerequisite for running for office is to be able to go gloveless while shaking hands at an el stop in the bitter cold of winter. Never having lived in a place with aldermen before and curious about the whole thing, I'd volunteered for Joe Moore up in the 49th Ward and was freezing my ass off at the Morse Red Line stop, handing out leaflets in ridiculous fishnet stockings and a faux leather coat. Afterward Joe and his campaign manager took me out to breakfast at the Heartland Cafe, where over oatmeal with bananas I finally warmed up. We talked baseball, and he subsequently invited me to a Sox game.

My then boyfriend, whom I'll call Dick Move, threw a fit, accusing Joe of putting the moves on me. "Don't be ridiculous," I told him. "He's my alderman!" But Dick Move was adamant that I cancel. Embarrassed, I called Joe and explained the situation. He ended up inviting the dick. Good guy. Nondick.

Citywide, Joe's probably best known for introducing the infamous ordinance that banned foie gras and was subsequently overturned as Daley sandbagged Moore. But in the ward he's known for participatory budgeting, which allows residents to weigh in on how he should use his discretionary funds. The results have been something of a mixed bag. On one hand, we have bike paths now. On the other, we have hideous street art:


I began editing politics a couple years after starting here, so I haven't been able to volunteer again. And to tell you the truth, though I like him personally, I'm a little dismayed by Joe's machine politics. The scuttlebutt is that he's eyeing a state EPA post, with his wife, Barbara, a possible replacement as alderman. And he's endorsed Kelly Cassidy, who's backed by the shameless Joe Berrios, for state rep. This is Chicago, after all, the city that doesn't work.

Read more from Alderman Week:

"My mixed luck with aldermen," by Steve Bogira

"Alderman Ed Burke acknowledges the existence of a mere mortal," by Mick Dumke

"Chicago's 50 wards—the jigsaw version," by Ben Joravsky

"Oh, to have those fighting independents back," by Steve Bogira

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