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The [Wednesday] Papers

It was a real cliffhanger in the Democratic primary for the sixth district seat of the Illinois House of Representatives.

With 79 percent of the vote counted last week, for example, unofficial results put challenger Darryl Smith ahead of incumbent Esther Golar by five votes, in a four-way race.

The Chicago Defender reported on Monday that Golar had inched ahead of Smith with 111 of 114 precincts reporting; Golar had 4,201 votes (40 percent) to Smith's 3,892 (37 percent). A third candidate, Samuel T. Bunville, had 16 percent of the vote, while the fourth candidate, Keith Kysel, notched 7 percent of the vote.

Today the Defender reports that Golar's margin has held; with all precincts reporting, Golar claimed 4,343 votes (40 percent) to Smith 's 3,971 (37 percent).

With no one running on the Republican side, this was the election. And what a barn-burner it was.

But in searches of LexisNexis, Google, and the paper's own Websites, not a single story about this race turned up in the Chicago Tribune or the Chicago Sun-Times.

Why should the papers have been been interested in this particular race, besides the standard fact--which ought to be enough--that the contest is for a Chicago seat in the state legislature?

Because the sixth district (among others) represents Englewood.

With all the media's pathos and moralizing over the recent shooting deaths of two young girls in Englewood, you'd think maybe the papers would be interested in the public officeholders of the community.

You'd think wrong.

And it's not as if the campaign was a stiff. The incumbent, Golar, was appointed to the post by party committeemen after Patrica Bailey resigned amidst her conviction for fraud and perjury after it was discovered that she used a fake address on election documents and didn't actually live in the district she represented, which is required by state law.

Golar--whom I'm pretty sure isn't 23 years old as the Sun-Times once unquestioningly reported in a news brief--was not an outrageous choice, having been a community organizer for 16 years, a civilian employee of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy Program for eight years, and board secretary of the Neighborhood Housing Services for nine years.

Her current House committee assignments include Appropriations-General Service, Child Support Enforcement, Mental Illness, Veterans Affairs, Judiciary II-Criminal Law, and Tourism & Conventions.

So she has a record to evaluate.

Smith is the head of The Englewood Political Task Force, which, among other things, claims to have won 375 construction jobs for neighborhood residents. He might have been worth listening to. Bunville is a former social worker and former police officer who serves in the Navy Reserves. Kysel is a bus driver, substitute teacher, and real estate agent.

And, according to this story in the Near West Gazette, the race started with three other candidates, including a truck driver who died after qualifying for the ballot and a former state representative.

Not enough to interest the dailies, though.

The Tribune sees fit to write a story about how clout determines the divvying up of CeaseFire funds--a story that says Bailey's lobbying for Englewood's share was adequate despite a less-than-adequate result--but isn't interested in how the next representative plans to go about the job.

Other standard campaign elements were present as well. Golar, for example, received some interesting contributions down the stretch, according to state election records, including:

* $10,000 from the controversial Hispanic Democratic Organization.
* $2,000 from Michael Noonan of The Roosevelt Group, the lobbying firm of former HDO maven Victor Reyes
* $2,000 from the Illinois Road Builders Association
* $1,000 from Exelon
* $2,707.24 from Speaker Michael Madigan in the form of postage
* $2,500 from Assisant Majority Leader Edward Acevedo
* $1,000 from the 23rd Ward Regular Democratic Organization

So Golar was clearly the Establishment's choice.

Smith's contribution data was not on-file electronically with the State Board of Elections as of this morning, though the state did have a record of the existence of his campaign. I say that because Bunville's name didn't turn up anywhere on the election board's Website and the only information on Kysel showed that he ran for alderman in 1999.

Experienced political hands in Chicago might suspect Bunville and Kysel of being plants put in the race by Golar's people, but I'm not about to start throwing accusations around.

This campaign also had election day hijinks, though it's not clear who was zooming who. According to the Defender, two Smith supporters were reportedly arrested outside a polling station and charged with electioneering.

It wasn't the Smith campaign's first tangle with police. In January, the Defender said, Smith filed a complaint with the Chicago Police Department Office of Professional Standards alleging an illegal raid of his campaign offices.

Perhaps more curious, the Defender says that Golar has not returned its calls over the last two months.

Maybe she's simply not used to getting calls from the media and hasn't yet learned how to call them back.

So we don't know how Golar plans to represent Englewood and the other neighborhoods under her watch as a state representative. Reporters from the Tribune and the Sun-Times couldn't be bothered to ask. Perhaps the next time the papers editorialize about how somebody ought to do something in Englewood, they ought to redirect their editorial into an internal memo.

Pols-in-Residence: So, aside from the lying, Patricia Bailey was convicted of doing just what Tammy Duckworth will be doing should Duckworth win her congressional race--living outside the district she would represent?

Gag Me
Still no explanation of the gag order issue about the Tribune I raised yesterday. Perhaps we're all under a gag order now and I didn't get the memo.

Judging TV
Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, presiding over the Ryan trial, again warned jurors Tuesday not to read the newspapers or watch the TV news. The same restriction does not appear to apply to her, as she has referenced in recent days media reports about why background checks weren't done on the jurors. But isn't she susceptible to being influenced by news reports as well? (Or perhaps she is responding to reporters's questions and not news reports . . . but is she bound by the same restrictions as jurors?)

Sun-Times Gagging
While the Sun-Times is still not naming the two jurors dismissed from the George Ryan trial this week, the Daily Herald on Tuesday commendably profiled one of them, Robert Pavlick, and in so doing presented a fuller human picture of a seemingly well-liked man who works at Home Depot in Palatine but certainly has had a troubled past.

None of Our Business
"While awaiting an appointment at the Capitol, [Illinois Department of Transportation] Secretary Tim Martin declined to answer any questions about Holland's audit without a spokesman present, saying there was no one there to protect his 'interests,'" Dave McKinney reported in the Sun-Times today.

Which is understandable, because we pay a lot in taxes so these guys can hire mouthpieces to lie for them instead of doing it themselves.

In Today's Reporter
What treats we have for you!

Why the suburbs are fundamentally dishonest.

Confessions of a Mix Tape.

I, Store Detective, Chapter 1: Five-Finger Discount.

Two network comedies that are actually comedic.

Our Tip Line is pretty funny, too: Try it and see what happens.



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Posted on March 29, 2006


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
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POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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