Sunday, January 11, 2009

Flashback: Joe Moore's Burning Pants

Like a psychopathic liar with no conscience, 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore just can't help telling falsehoods. He bends the truth, he rewrites history. This is Revolutionary Truth, it is, and badly practiced at that. After lying through 17 years as a member of the Chicago City Council, you'd think that a man like Democrat Joe Moore could apply his law degree to a perfected level of non-truthfulness. Nope, not our Joe. He's a serial liar. Thank goodness he's a clumsy serial liar. Let's dissect Moore's lie-packed email blast of August 5, 2008: Gale Community Center Now Open; Boys and Girls Club Still Looking for a Rogers Park Home Dear Neighbor, The Gale Community Center at Howard and Marshfield is now open. The 18,000-sqaure-foot Chicago Park District facility comes complete with a full-size gym, a fitness center and a large club room, which can be subdivided into two smaller rooms. "Now open," Moore writes. It opened last Sunday, August 3. It is weird for Moore to write this two days after the fact, given his fetish for ribbon cutting ceremonies. Why no ribbon cutting for this one? And why did this email suddenly appear within hours of The Broken Heart and then The Bench criticizing Moore's silence on the official opening of the embattled community center. The center will be open Monday through Friday from 12 Noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center will be closed on Sundays. The Community Center will be staffed and operated exclusively by the Park District. Moore writes that the center "will be open…" Unconscious slip? "Will be" is future tense. The correct phrasing should be "is open." Moore writes that the center "will be staffed…" but it should really say that the "Community Center is staffed…" Present tense should be used here, not future tense. The opening is the culmination of a twelve-year effort to bring to our neighborhood a community center that began when I secured a $500,000 commitment from the original developer of the Gateway Centre. Initially, many in the neighborhood envisioned the future Community Center as a Boys and Girls Club. When it became apparent that sufficient funds were not available to build and operate the center as a Boys and Girls Club, we turned our attention to the Park District, which agreed to underwrite a portion of the construction cost and operate the building as a Park District field house. Let's concentrate only on Moore's big lies here; there are too many in this bizarre Moore email to deal with in less than 20 pages, single spaced. A well-informed and trusted friend emailed this to The Bench today: "It seems Joe thinks he can write history to come out however he wants….Eva McAnn was part of a group that has been working for this Center for years and much of that work was started without the support of the Alderman’s office. In fact, it wasn’t until the group actually started to make things happen that Moore’s office got on board." Part of the above is such a fantastic falsehood that it bears repeating: "When it became apparent that sufficient funds were not available to build and operate the center as a Boys and Girls Club, we turned our attention to the Park District, which agreed to underwrite a portion of the construction cost and operate the building as a Park District field house." Wow! According to Moore's hastily written email, there was not enough money "to build and operate" the Gale center "as a Boys and Girls Club" (even though the concept, the designs and the construction contracts were already locked up before the Boys and Girls Club entered the picture). Consider this: Ben Jarovsky wrote that The Boys and Girls Club would have been paid $100,000 to operate the Gale Community Center. How would that have helped the budget problems that Moore alleges? (Moore and the Park District, by the way, were seemingly ready to allow that even though Park District contracts over $10,000 are requred to be open for bidding. There was no bidding process in this case.) The clincher, from my friend: "If Joe had [really] secured $500,000 for a Boys and Girls Club...why didn’t he mention that during the last campaign?" Excellent question, and in fact Joe Moore himself has said that this is not so. He has written and said publicly that it was not until former aldermanic challenger Jim Ginderske lost last year's election in February that Moore considered the Boys and Girls Club. Ginderske mentioned it a number of times during his campaign, and Moore has said that Ginderske came to him - after February 2007 - and proposed the Boys and Girls Club. As my friend wrote, "With Ginderske waving the Boys and Girls banner at nearly every debate there was plenty of opportunity for Joe to accuse him of stealing ideas and tell [Rogers Park voters] that efforts were already in place to bring a Boys and Girls Club here. Had he done that, he probably could have avoided a runoff." Moore never did so, of course, because he couldn't. So, once again is trying to rewrite history like an old school Soviet propagandist. Moore's email continues: There were times when it appeared the City and Park District were about to back away from their pledge to build the community center. But thanks to the efforts of my office and a coalition of community groups, we were able to hold the City and the Park District to their commitment. Is Moore accusing the City and Park District of backing out of a commitment made long before the Boys and Girls Club entered the picture? Moore repeats the lie about the origin of his involvement: The idea of the Gale Community Center as home to a Boys and Girls Club came full circle when the Cotter Boys and Girls Club mentioned to me last April that they were looking for a new home. Given that the Community Center had yet to be fully staffed and occupied, and given earlier public support for a Boys and Girls Club in Rogers Park, I believed it was an idea worth exploring. I raised the idea with Park District Superintendent Tim Mitchell, who expressed strong interest. Moore claims that "the Cotter Boys and Girls Club mentioned to me last April" that "they were looking for a new home." That may be so, but it would have happened only after Ginderske put the idea into Moore's head. As for the phrase "last April," I believe Moore's hastily written email should have said "two Aprils ago" or "April of 2007." To say "last April" in August means four months ago. I also shared the proposal with numerous residents and the leading community organizations in the area, nearly all of whom expressed strong support for the idea, including Neighbors for a Healthy Rogers Park, Dev Corp North, Gale Academy Principal Richard Glass, Family Matters Director Kim Delong, State Senator Heather Steans, and my former aldermanic opponent Jim Ginderske. They all agreed the Boys and Girls Club would bring to our local youth expanded programming and other enrichment activities, which the Park District currently does not provide. Gale Principal Glass, a Boys and Girls Club alumnus, was so excited about the proposal he offered Gale Academy as a satellite location to the Community Center. True to form, Moore keeps lying. "I also shared the proposal with….my former aldermanic opponent Jim Ginderske." It is well established that it was the other way around. Ginderske put the idea of a Boys and Girls Club into Moore's head after February, 2007. Under the shared-use proposal, the Park District and the Boys and Girls Club would have jointly operated the Community Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Center would have also been open on both Saturdays and Sundays. Programming for adults, as well as children, would have been offered. "Jointly operated," perhaps, but as noted above, it would have cost tax payers $100,000 a year for the contract with the Boys and Girls Club. (It's interesting to note, by the way, that the "non-profit" Boys and Girls Club's top executive is paid nearly a million dollars a year. Roxanne Spillett's compensation for doing "charity work" is listed at $972,908. Source: Does that sound like a "non-profit" to you?) In addition to expanding the Gale Center hours and staffing, the Boys and Girls Club would have brought to Rogers Park some of their renowned character building and leadership programs, such as the Keystone Teen Leadership Club, which takes teens on trips to cities as varied as Atlanta, Orlando, and Washington, D.C. The Boys and Girls Club also would have brought to Rogers Park mentoring and tutoring programs, such as their partnership with WGN-TV in which school age children and teens are paired with responsible caring adults who commit time each week to meet and work with the young people on school projects and homework assignments. As a result of these and other programs, nearly 90% of Cotter Boys and Girls Club members graduate from high school, a remarkable fete in a school system with a 50% graduation rate. Pants on fire. Ginderske, Moore's former opponent turned loyal lap dog, has been trotting out old and misleading information about the Boys and Girls Club, which Moore has been casually recycling. Ginderske has been pumping out trash information filtered through his tiny Neighbors for a Healthy Rogers Park (NHRP). NHRP presents itself as a legitimate non-profit, but it is neither. It has no official standing whatsoever, unless you consider that it was officially dissolved by the Illinois Secretary of State in May, 2008 for failure to file an annual report. NHRP, and Moore, are fond of repeating "an alumni survey conducted by Louis Harris and Associates for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America," which claims that "52 percent of respondents" said the clubs saved their lives, and several other minor miracles were cited as well. But it's fluff. Neither Ginderske nor Moore bothers to tell that the Harris survey was done in 1999, nearly a decade ago. NHRP and Moore will tell us that "an alumni survey by Lou Harris & Associates they determined that there are about 3.5 million Boys and Girls Club or Boys and Girls Club alumni in the United States" according to the Boys and Girls Club of Mount Vernon, NY. (See: "Ginderske: Sit Down, Shut Up") Okay, but of those 3.5 million alumni, Louis Harris and Associates polled only 1,592 Boys and Girls Club alumni." [Source] In other words, a miniscule 0.0455 percent (less than one half of one percent) of the 3.5 million BGCA alumni were polled! Ridiculous, especially when you consider that we are not told by Ginderske or anybody else where those alumni were living when they were polled a decade ago. Despite the benefits a Boys and Girls Club would bring to the neighborhood, a few vocal people began organizing against the Boys and Girls Club idea even before a formal proposal was presented to the neighborhood. A few of the skeptics had thoughtful concerns about the proposal, including concerns about the precedent of turning over the Community Center to a private entity. The supporters of the proposal and I attempted to address those concerns by amending the proposal to ensure the building would continue to be owned by the Park District and staffed by Park District employees. Blah blah blah. Moore is deliberately giving the false impression that the brand new Gale Community Center was the only option offered to the Boys and Girls Club. In fact, use of the Gale School was offered. They turned it down. However, as Chicago Reader reporter Ben Joravsky noted in his article, "Endless War," most of the opposition to the Boys and Girls Club appeared to be politically motivated. The opponents said they were not against a Boys and Girls Club in Rogers Park. Yet, they opposed the only plan with a funding source that made it possible for a Boys and Girls Club to locate here. In fairness to Joravsky, he also pointed out in his excellent Chicago Reader article that a lot of Moore's obfuscation and delays were politically motivated as well. As for Moore's statement that the community center was the "only plan with a funding source that made it possible for a Boys and Girls Club to locate here," well, those keeping score should now add another tally mark in the "Lies by Joe Moore" column. In the end, Park District officials simply did not have the stomach for a fight and decided instead to pursue a significantly scaled down version of the original Boys and Girls Club proposal. Rather than subsidize a permanent year-round Boys and Girls Club presence in Rogers Park, the Park District now says it may be willing to subsidize a summer program in 2009. In the end, actually, the SEIU and union types sympathetic to them pressured Moore and the Park District to back down. SEIU and other labor organizations have given Moore enormous campaign donations over the years, and the idea of Moore and the Park District bringin in non-union staff at the community center must have infuriated them. Furthermore, it would not be at all surprising if Moore got a late night phone call from Howard Dean at the DNC, during which Moore was told to back off and stop making an ass of himself if he still wants a job in Washington under the hoped-for administration of fellow Chicago Machine Democrat Barack Obama. I certainly support any kind of Boys and Girls Club presence in Rogers Park, even a limited summer program. But I'm extremely disappointed that our children will miss out on all the many benefits and opportunities that a year-round club would bring. Boo frikkin' hoo. There are several free libraries within walking distance of Rogers Park residents. The wonderful beaches nearby are free. Board games and hopscotch and television are accessible to all. To be bored in Chicago is to be totally lacking in imagination. To tell us that The Children Will Now Suffer because there will be no Boys and Girls Club in the Gale Community Center is to insult all of us with a cynical, exaggerated, callous, politically motivated lie. It's a miracle that Moore hasn't resorted yet to calling opponents to installing the Boys and Girls Club in the community center racists (as Mayor Daley has called opponents to the ongoing effort to ram the Children's Museum into Grant Park). In the coming months, I will redouble my efforts to bring a full-time Boys and Girls Club to the 49th Ward, and I invite everyone, including those who opposed the Boys and Girls Club at the Community Center, to work with me to identify a funding source and location for such a club. So, as with all the man hours Joe Moore has wasted on (a) drafting the foie gras ordinance and then (b) defending the foie gras ordinance, Moore now pledges to waste more man hours in order to "redouble" his efforts to bring in the Boys and Girls Club. He's been in office for 17 years. He was in office for 15-16 years, apparently, before he ever gave serious consideration to a Boys and Girls Club. We pay this schmuck over a hundred grand a year for this crap. Why the belated interest? Why the "redoubling" of effort? What's really in it for Joe Moore? Moore signed off with "sincerely." You think he's sincere? SEIU no longer does, nor do other attentive brothers and sisters in the labor community. Many Rogers Park residents have had their eyes opened by this experience and now regret voting Moore into another term last year. The DNC is sincerely looking at Moore with growing skepticism, wondering whether it's worth all the effort and expense to keep picking up after his messes.