Monday, November 14, 2005

March Madness-UPDATED

Primary madness that is. I heard about this a few days ago and was actually surprised to see it in Sunday's Chicago Tribune when I got back in town since it was supposedly being kept well below the radar screen:
Former Chicago alderman and one-time city housing chairman Edwin Eisendrath said Saturday that he was giving "serious thought" to challenging Gov. Rod Blagojevich in next year's Democratic primary.

"I've been asked to consider it, and now I am talking to my family and friends," said Eisendrath, 47, who is vice president for academic affairs at Kendall College. "I'm very flattered that people have asked me."...

The wealthy Eisendrath, a former 43rd Ward alderman, was defeated in a 1990 primary challenge to a North Shore political icon, the late U.S. Rep. Sidney Yates. Under the Clinton White House, Eisendrath was named Midwest regional director of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and he became chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority when the federal government took over it in 1995.
Word is that he is pretty close to a decision and we should have an answer within a week. If he gets in, it will make for some very interesting politics over the next few months, and will impact races at both the state and local level by affecting Dem primary turnout. It's always something...
UPDATE - After a number of calls and conversations today, barring anything unforeseen, I'm saying that Eisendrath is IN THE RACE. While there is no official announcement, I think that it is safe to say that this train has left the station.
As I said before, this changes a LOT of calculations for a lot of people, not just the Governor. So roll up your sleeves, sit back and get ready to witness some fascinating politics.


At November 13, 2005 at 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It says he's wealthy? How wealthy? Does his position at Kendall mean Tullman is bankrolling this as well? That could make for a VERY different dynamic than a Lang or Franks underfunded effort. Think Hofeld weakening an entrenched politician while a charismatic female prevails.

BTW, does Bradley even bother calling you anymore to scream about quotes like this?

At November 14, 2005 at 8:19 AM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...

I think that he's relatively well off. My assumption is that any challenger would also be betting on a fair amount of earned media given everything that is going on these days.

And to his credit, other than one issue early on, Brad has never tried to confront me about any of my comments. Or conversely, I guess that they could say that they don't even bother.

For the record though, the full context of my comment was that I said that I did not believe that the letters in question broke any laws, but that "It raises questions as well as cynicism."

My point was, and is, that there is unquestionably heightened media and public scrutiny of these types of actions, and accordingly, everybody needs to think very carefully before treading in these types of waters.

When in doubt, use the average man common sense test.

At November 14, 2005 at 10:05 AM, Blogger Angry Jolietan said...

how close was his primary race against Sid Yates?

At November 14, 2005 at 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3 words - RUN EDWIN RUN!

At November 14, 2005 at 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could this be a Blago plot to keep Dem voters from taking a Repub ballot to vote for Judy? I wouldn't put it past them.

At November 14, 2005 at 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 11:19: I like your thinking. Is there a change Blago could lose an underfunded, relatively unknown primary challenge? Although I wish different, I don't think he could lose.

At November 14, 2005 at 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, what is your take on his candidacy?

Can he win? Will he cause much damage to Blago? Does he cause Blago to spend money, and at the same time dirty Blago up for the general? Or does he now give Blago a platform to talk about his message and also pull Dems back into the Dem primary so they don't pull ballots for Judy?

At November 14, 2005 at 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I told Lou Lang the same thing:

There have been two Jewish Gov's in Illinois:

Henry Horner
Sam Shapiro

Notice a pattern? The first and last name begin with the same letter. Lou Lang would have been assured victory... Jack Franks would have lost... Edwin Eisendrath is also guaranteed victory based on his name.

At November 14, 2005 at 6:28 PM, Blogger PrairieStateDem said...

Glad someone may be jumping in...Wish Lou Lang would have done it but Im an ABB Democrat

Anyone But Blago

Look for stong early support from Downstate...we are looking for some serious payback

At November 14, 2005 at 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe he is in and maybe he isn't but I would point out that you said that Edgar was running.

I would also point out that 100 out of 102 county chairmen have endorsed Blagojevich for re-election.

If he does run he will get no more than 20% of the primary vote.

At November 14, 2005 at 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think he will win, but I think he will get more than 20 percent of the vote -- at least 35 percent.

At November 14, 2005 at 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where do we get petitions for Eisendrath? I live in the deep southern part of Illinois and would like to encourage Eisendrath to run if you can post how to contact him. Also, what about your petitions Rep for Treasurer? Where can we get those?

At November 15, 2005 at 12:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rep Fritchey--you should jump in. Unlike Eisendrath, you would actually have chance of winning

At November 15, 2005 at 12:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eisendrath got slaughtered by Yates. I think he got less than 30% of the votes. He made some comments about Yates being too old and he got raked over the coals for being "ageist."

At November 15, 2005 at 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fritchey, you need to step down if you were really involved in that 6700 sq. ft. home deal mentioned in the Sun-Times. We can't have our State Reps so corrupt. Look at the Press Release I found from last June. It looks like the GOP is watching you guys.

Cook County GOP Blasts Machine Clout Zoning Variance For Independence Park Fortress
6/20/2005 11:11:00 AM
By Cook County Republican Party - Press Release

CHICAGO, IL, June 17, 2005

The Cook County Republican Party today strongly protested the use of nepotism and Democratic Machine clout of approval of a zoning variance in Independence Park despite the bitter opposition of neighborhood residents. “This is yet another instance of people with Machine connections getting what they want, while the common citizens take in the neck,” stated Republican Chairman Gary J. Skoien.

The zoning variance was granted to allow construction of a fortress-like residence at 3716 North Lawndale Avenue that would be twice to three times the size of any nearby home, and two stories taller, without the required setbacks from lot lines. The variance was passed despite vocal protests from residents that the variance was granted without proper notice to nearby residents. Republican sources noted that the original attorney of the applicant was Democratic State Representative John Fritchey, reputed to the nephew of Alderman William Banks, the Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals. The applicant’s current attorney in Samuel Banks, reputed to be yet another nephew of Alderman Banks.

“Notice requirements for zoning changes exist to protect our residents and neighborhoods,” stated Republican 39th Ward Committeeman Susan Kelsey. “We demand that they be followed.”

“The Democrats constantly say that they are defenders of neighborhood,” added County GOP Executive Director Thomas Swiss, “but these residents have complained to the Alderman, the Zoning Board, the

Mayor’s Office, and now the Zoning Board of Appeals, all of whom have refused to act. It is Democratic despotism and clout at its worst.”

At November 15, 2005 at 2:16 PM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...

Even though it's completely offpoint, I'm happy to address the zoning issue. I handled the initial rezoning almost 4 years ago. The owner sought a rezoning to build a single family home for his family which now includes five children. Everything about the case was done properly and in accordance with all legal requirements. Not only was notice sent out by my office but it was also published in the Chicago Sun-Times.

The allegations made with respect to my handling of the case are personally offensive, and in my opinion, the concerns of many of the neighbors have more to do with the owner's ethnicity and profession than with the size of his proposed house. If they wanted to put a red herring out there to obfuscate their real concerns, they sure picked the wrong one.

How confident am I about my position in this matter? I will be filing a defamation action in the near future to address the statements that I acted improperly/illegally in this matter. This is not an action that I take eagerly or with any sense of glee, but it is one that I believe is necessary to protect my integrity in this matter. Based upon the facts of the case and the law, I could not be more confident of the outcome of the suit.

As for the Cook County Republican Party release, somebody should tell them to fact check their press releases before sending them out. There are so many factual errors contained in their release, it's laughable. I'll reserve any further comments about them. For now.

At November 15, 2005 at 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in the far north suburbs at a time when it was very lonely being a Democrat. The only Dem governor I had seen in my lifetime was Dan Walker. So seeing the Dem disunity over Glenn Poshard and now Blago really ticks me off (I voted for Vallas in the primary, btw).

I'm withholding judgment on the zoning thing and would like to see Rep. Fritchey's full comments and not just what the papers said. I know there is an ethical duty for lawyers to keep files for a certain period of time, but I don't know if that duty falls to the lawyer or the law firm when the lawyer switches firms (and/or if it depends on who keeps the client and in this case whether the client moved too!)

That said, on one small point I think you were flip: you can rent offsite public storage spaces to keep files like that at a pretty modest cost -- you wouldn't need "another office." In fact, one hour of one partner's billing at a big downtown law firm would pay for my public storage unit for six months!

At November 15, 2005 at 4:51 PM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...

Okay, this will be the last comment on the zoning matter on this blog. All future comments will likely be removed; all of my future statements will take place in the legal action that I will be pursuing. The neighbors have recklessly played fast and loose with the facts. This summer, I told one or two of the neighbors that that called me that I no longer had the return receipts from almost four years ago, not that I 'threw them away'. I have no idea if my old law firm, which I left over two years ago, is in possession of them or not.

Facts: There is no duty owed to any third party to maintain such documents. The statute of limitations to challenge the rezoning has run. The letter sent to the surrounding property owners, the list of those owners, and the affidavit of mailing were and still are on file with the City.

That this has been blown so out of proportion based on the ignorance and incorrect statements of a couple of individuals would be comedic if it wasn't so offensive. I never envisioned being somebody that would take legal action based upon ignorant statements of others, but my hand has been forced. This is about principle and I am going to pursue this to the end. Subject closed.

At November 15, 2005 at 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Are you close to Banks?

At November 15, 2005 at 6:21 PM, Blogger Dan Johnson said...


Don't let some nasty political opponents tarnish this blog. It's a great tool. Just delete comments that are personally offensive. It's not a public forum -- it's yours. There's no room for defamation on your blog.


At November 15, 2005 at 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weinberger is advocating censorship. That's not very American.

At November 15, 2005 at 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I steer a middle ground on the deleted posts issue -- I delete (or in my case refuse to post in the first place) comments that are off topic, gratuitously ad hominem, profane, potentially libelous, etc. At best, these comments clutter a forum and distract from the topic at hand.
So John should delete the zoning issue posts from this thread. BUT I think that he ought to start a new thread on his blog and post his postion there, invite comments, respond if he wants but not grump that he's reserving comment for a later lawsuit.
Since I don't want to be bounced for being off point, let me just recall that when Eisendrath was my alderman back when, we called him Little Lord Eddie, but I can't really remember why. I dimly recall liking the cut of his jib and voting for him over Sid Yates.

At November 15, 2005 at 8:26 PM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...

Eric's point is well-reasoned and correct. The zoning issue is one that deals with my legal profession and professional integrity, and in my sole judgment, not germane to the nature of this blog.

But knowing that some people will accuse me of 'censorship' for deleting less than flattering posts that are already up here, I will leave them and simply close comments on this thread.


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