down your mailboxes. Stockpile trash bags. It's
"Marina time" in the 45th Ward, and
we're not referring to a boat dock.
a new political machine in Chicago: the unions,
particularly those that represent government
employees. That includes the Service Employees
International Union, the American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Employees and others
under the umbrella of the Chicago Federation of
Labor. They've decided to spend $250,000 to
$500,000 of their workers' union dues to elect
their candidate as the 45th Ward's next alderman.
the 5 weeks preceding the Feb. 22 primary, union
money will pay for three wardwide mailings per
week, a total of 15, singing the praises of Marina
Faz-Huppert, the 33-year-old political director of
the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, at a
cost of $13,000 a pop for postage and printing.
a no-brainer multiple-choice question. If somebody
or something (like organized labor) spends a
quarter-million to a half-million dollars to elect
you as alderman, how do you vote in the City
Like you are told. b. Like you are told. c. All of
the above. Answer: c.
will support working families," insisted Faz-Huppert.
"I will represent the interests of the 45th
Ward." She met Pat Levar, the ward's 24-year
alderman, when she was lobbying against Walmart
stores in Chicago if they didn't pay a
$13-per-hour minimum wage. "He was impressed
by her," said one ward insider.
Levar retired last October, he muscled his ward
organization into endorsing Faz-Huppert. Even
though she had been a resident of the ward for
barely a year, she had, said the insider,
"good credentials and education, was a woman,
and could deliver plenty of money." In short,
a candidate with access to others' deep pockets.
surprisingly, Faz-Huppert's six opponents are
livid. "She's a carpetbagger, a walking
conflict of interest," fumed Michael
Fitzgerald Ward. "She'll vote for the best
interests of the unions." A joint statement
by candidates John Arena, John Garrido and Anna
Klocek "denounced" her for "trading
campaign cash for political influence" and
asserted that her "pay-to-play campaign"
is a typical Chicago "backroom deal."
"She's not a Northwest Sider," Garrido
added. "She's barely a Chicagoan."
"The voters are intelligent," Klocek
said. "They won't allow themselves to be
manipulated or deceived."
was born in Mexico, and she grew up in Berwyn. At
a Jan. 26 forum, she twice stated that she has
lived in the ward since 2008. Records from the
Cook County Clerk's Office indicate that she voted
in the April 2009 election in suburban River
Forest under the name Marina Yolanda Martinez,
having first registered there in 1996. Records
from the Chicago Board of Elections indicate that
she re-registered in Chicago at her fiance's
condominium on July 2, 2009, and married in August
of that year, but that she is not an owner. She
changed her surname to Faz-Huppert in November of
Winston Churchill once said, she's guilty of 'an
economy of truth,'" said Don Blair, fudging
on his pledge to avoid nasty comments about his
opponents. The remaining candidate is Bruno
operative question: Will a $195,000 blizzard of
mailed propaganda transform the union's
"sweetheart" into the 45th Ward's
"sweetheart"? If so, it will be the
equivalent of making a silk purse from a sow's
45th Ward encompasses Portage Park, Jefferson
Park, Gladstone Park and Forest Glen. Levar, who
was first elected in 1987, was the choice of his
fellow precinct captains. He's been a Daley
loyalist in the City Council, rarely deviating
from the mayor's edicts, although he did vote
against the foie gras ban. In 2007, facing former
aide Terry Boyke, Levar won an unimpressive
7,380-4,004 victory, getting 56.2 percent of the
like "shabby" and "decrepit"
have been used to describe the ward's commercial
districts in the last decade, particularly the
Milwaukee Avenue corridor. Gateway Chevrolet and
Gladstone Bakery are shuttered. Development on
Lawrence Avenue east of Milwaukee is stalled.
"The storefront vacancy rate is 40
percent," Blair claimed. "There's no
effort being made to market our ward to
businesses," Ward complained. Levar is the
health problems and facing a grueling re-election
campaign, Levar pulled the plug. He was elected
the ward's Democratic committeeman in 2008,
succeeding Tom Lyons, who died in 2007. Barely
half of the ward's 53 precincts have Levar
workers. Had he run for re-election, the vote
would have been a referendum on his performance.
By embracing Faz-Huppert instead of a precinct
captain, Levar climbs onto a $250,000
deep-pocketed lifeboat. If Faz-Huppert wins, Levar
retains a residue of power as the committeeman; if
she loses, the ward's Democratic organization is
is a "scouting report":
Appears stony and arrogant at forums, but handlers
claim she is just introverted . . . works
precincts every day . . . heralded as
"champion of social change" in Citizen
Action endorsement, and the SEIU swoons over her
"progressive work" . . . distances
herself from Levar, who she said "served the
community to best of his ability" and
"gave what he gave," but that it's
"time to move forward" . . . does that
mean ward has stagnated or moved backward? . . .
claims to be sparking "enthusiasm" among
women, Hispanics and immigrants . . . Hispanics
are 15 percent of ward's population . . . says she
is "next generation of leadership" . . .
as to charge of lack of ward roots, avers that she
"has always been helpful to the needs of our
neighborhoods" . . . 15 mailings in 5 weeks
will make her either a household name or a
household irritation, and a good filler for the
recyclable trash bin . . . is pro-choice on
abortion, backs gun control . . . if she can't
exceed 40 percent of the vote on Feb. 22, is toast
in April 5 runoff. Message to Marina: The 45th
Ward isn't Oak Park.
From Gladstone Park . . . has best signs . . .
running since 2009 . . . used his 2010 Republican
primary bid for Cook County Board president
(getting 31.3 percent of the vote) as a launching
pad for this campaign . . . got 836 votes in ward
. . . 18-year city cop who advanced to lieutenant
. . . also a lawyer . . . ward has roughly 1,500
police officers and firefighters and their
families, who will back him, plus the Republican
base, which is 1,800 registered voters . . .
hapless 2010 Republican assessor's candidate got
2,276 votes in three-way race . . . has raised
$48,392, but has exhausted his funds . . . viewed
as tough but likable . . . supports abortion ban
with exceptions, gun ownership and death penalty.
From Forest Glen . . . wealthy former commodities
trader and onetime chef . . . says he is
"fiscally conservative" . . . deep
pockets enables him to spend $200,000 . . .
bellicose and belligerent at forums . . . opposes
property tax increase to fund city pensions . . .
claims ward is a "drive-through," not a
"destination" . . . says voters who are
fed up with politics as usual will back him . . .
supports gun ownership, abortion rights and the
death penalty . . . has raised $109,730, all from
From Portage Park . . . low-key campaign is
effectively networking the ward's liberal base,
which is 20 to 25 percent . . . has decade-long
connections among community activists . . . Obama
got 6,086 votes in the ward in the 2008 primary
(to 6,240 for Hillary Clinton), Dorothy Brown got
1,461 votes in 2007 for mayor,
"reformer" Pete Conway got 4,475 votes
for alderman in 2003 . . . "independent"
Forrest Claypool got 7,104 votes (46.4 percent of
the total) for assessor in 2010 . . . has raised
$35,264 . . . terms self "moderate," but
is pro-choice, pro-gun control, anti-death penalty
. . . endorsed by Sun-Times . . . charismatic . .
. could surprise.
From Portage Park . . . portrays self as
"trained economist" with acumen for
"business strategies" . . . the
brainiest candidate, but also the geekiest,
blandest and least charismatic . . . campaign is
vastly under-performing . . . has raised $83,558,
including $67,000 in loans from self and
father-in-law, but had only one mailing . . . blew
the rest on high-priced consultants and paid
precinct workers . . . promises four more mailings
and $200,000 input . . . general consensus: fading
fast . . . claims "not out of the game"
. . . Arena cuts into Portage Park base . . . is
pro-choice, backs gun ownership and death penalty.
From Forest Glen . . . real estate agent and
"soccer mom" who ran in 2007, getting
1,086 votes (8 percent of the total) . . . has
raised $5,525 . . . opposes property taxes hike to
pay for pensions . . . pro-life, backs right to
guns in home, opposes death penalty . . . is
"independent conservative" . . .
"no new TIFs."
From Gladstone Park . . . accountant by training .
. . supports abortion rights, death penalty, gun
ownership . . . has ideas to cut spending . . .
has raised $4,000 . . . is sincere but plodding.
Rahm Emanuel been booted off the ballot, ward
turnout would have ballooned to stymie Carol
Moseley Braun. But now that Emanuel is a shoo-in,
turnout will be normal. It was 13,125 in 2007, and
in 1991, with a highly contested mayoral race, it
prediction: Turnout on Feb. 22 will be 17,500.
Given her money and manpower, Faz-Huppert will
finish first, getting in the realm of 30 to 35
percent of the vote, or 5,500 to 6,000 votes.
Democrat Joe Berrios, the 2010 assessor nominee,
got 5,294 votes, which is the
"Machine's" controlled vote.
will top out at 3,300 to 3,600 votes. Ward will
get 2,500 to 4,000 votes, depending on whether he
becomes the "Stop Marina" candidate.
Arena will pull 3,000 to 3,500 votes. Each could
finish second, making the runoff.
will get 1,200 votes, Klocek 600 and Bellissimo
300. Overall, the anti-Marina vote will exceed 65
percent. In a Faz-Huppert vs. Garrido or Faz-Huppert
vs. Arena runoff, the unions' next $250,000 cash
infusion will keep her competitive. If it's Faz-Huppert
vs. Ward, he will match her dollar-for-dollar.
Despite her big bucks, Faz-Huppert's prospects of
being alderman range from bleak to nil. The ward's
voters are too astute to elect a candidate who is
in debt to the unions as alderman.
Note: Stewart, an attorney, represented Garrido in
a ballot challenge filed by Levar's and Ward's
attorneys. He is not involved in any campaign.)