If you want to run for office, you need a website.
The Chicago mayoral campaign has already made it to TV -- did you see Miguel del Valle’s ad during the Bears-Packers game? -- but it’s barely happening on the Internet.
Del Valle doesn’t have a website yet. Correction! Del Valle's communication director called to let us know that Del Valle was "the very first to have a web site!" Here it is!
Carol Moseley Braun doesn't have a web site. Neither do Gery Chico, Rahm Emanuel, Tom Dart or any of the other big names. So far, the only mayoral hopefuls using the Internet are a handful of perennial candidates -- and one state senator.
Jay Stone, the hypnotherapist son of Ald. Berny Stone, was the first candidate to announce his campaign for mayor. Stone also has the most impressive website, with TV interviews, speeches and essays in which he denounces TIFs, pay-to-play politics, patronage and big campaign contributions -- basically everything his ward boss father stands for. Stone:
“During Jay’s March 5, 2009 Illinois Reform Commission testimony, Jay proposed two campaign contribution laws that passed the Illinois General Assembly and were signed by Governor Pat Quinn. Starting January 1, 2011, Chicago will have its first campaign contribution limits of $5,000.00 for individuals and $10,000.00 for companies thanks in part to Jay.”
Elsewhere on the website, Stone asks for campaign contributions. If you send him more than $5,000 before Jan. 1, he’ll probably take it.
Stone’s website is a thorough, professional affair. Not so Fredrick K. White. There’s no bio, and no campaign events listed. White’s platform begins with a proposal to cut the salaries of the mayor and the alderman by 30 percent. Then, it gets eccentric, as White proposes funding the city with an instant lottery-type game:
“I would also issue a ‘Chicago Knowledge’ scratch off type game ticket. This ticket would ask various questions about the City of Chicago. Each ward would submit 10 questions with answers pertaining to their area. Such as: The Marx Brothers lived at; then give their Drexel address along with 2 incorrect addresses or Wrigley Field is the home of the: Bears, Cubs, Bulls. Businesses would be asked to donate prizes for the winning answers …This could also raise over 100 MILLION DOLLARS per year.”
White also wants to build four 1,000,000-square foot indoor farms, devoting one to the cultivation of the Jatrpoha Curcas plant, whose seeds are used for heating oil and diesel fuels. White also wants to buy the old Royal Crown plant at 47th and California, and use it to bottle Chicago water: “There is a HUGE PROFIT IN bottled water, use our resources, put people to work and the PROFITS WOULD GO TO HELP THE SCHOOL SYSTEM!”
William “Dock” Walls changed his website as soon as he changed his campaign. Walls was running for governor until Mayor Daley announced he was quitting. So if you type in wallsforgov.com, it’ll take you to wallsformayor.com. There, you can read that Walls learned about consensus-building as an aide to the “late, great Mayor Harold Washington.”
“Thus, It is my goal to become the consensus candidate of the entire city of Chicago. As the only true Independent in the race, I am uniquely positioned. Therefore, I have no need or desire to go into the “Smoke Filled Rooms” seeking the support of Black leaders, in order to become the “Consensus Black Candidate.” Instead, my goal is to become the “Concensus Citywide Candidate.” Thus, I will travel the breadth and depth of this city seeking the support of the people.”
Walls has a link to a New York Times story about black mayoral candidates, for which he was interviewed, and a link to a campaign commercial, although that link leads nowhere.
So far, State Sen. Rickey Hendon is the only professional politician with a website. It’s actually his blog, Rickey Hendon’s West Side Heroes, which boasts that “Illinois State Senator Rickey Hendon fights to opens doors for people in Chicago’s toughest hood.” It’s been updated with news from the mayoral campaign trail. This was Sunday’s entry:
“Sen. Rickey Hendon reportedly wowed folks at a meeting held by Jesse Jackson at PUSH with some leading black ministers and politicians who are trying to use the open mayor's race as a way to advance the community … Hendon’s Heroes believe in the trickle-up theory: the economic and spiritual betterment of the poorest folks is like yeast that makes the whole loaf of bread rise! Like Rickey often tells his neighbors in meetings Monday evenings: ‘If the government gives poor people money, y’all won’t sit on it like the banks. You'll spend it, and that will stimulate the economy!’”
Onward and upward with the race!