Candidates for 1st Ward Democratic Committeeman fighting it out


What is a Committeemen?  See below.


Jesse Ruben Juarez and Proco "Joe" Moreno shown in previous campagin

Filled with a lot of old-fashioned campaign rhetoric and ire, the 1st Ward Democratic Committeeman race is a three-way race with incumbent Committeeman Jesse Rueben Juarez, 1st Ward Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno and Anne I. Shaw, a community leader, who has been protesting the closing of the 13th Police District.

Juarez is a life-long resident in the area who worked in the Chicago's Streets and Sanitation department for 15 years. A Latino, he followed his sanitation job with two years as a government liaison for then 1st Ward Alderman Manny Flores. Since then he has worked as a political consultant under JRJ Consultants. When asked for whom, he cites Toni Berrios and unions.


Jesse Jurarez speaks out

Though Juarez and Moreno were one-time allies, Juarez put his own hat in the ring when Flores' seat became available. Daley, however picked Moreno.

In an interview about the committeeman's position, Juarez talked about how he has worked very hard on behalf of the Democratic Party for such victories as that of Toni Preckwinkle's race to become Cook County Board President; Edwin Reyes for County Commissioner; and Derrick Smith for the vacated Annazette Collins 10th District State Representative seat. When asked about how that served the 1st Ward constituents, he replied that it served the entire organization and that he also had other local duties.

Juarez states that the alderman and the ward committeeman positions should not be held by the same person, "Flores believed that and that is why he stepped down." In fact, Flores held both the aldermanic and the committeeman positions until 2009, a year before he left his aldermanic position to accept a State appointment by Gov. Quinn. Flores could not be reached for comment. Juarez was voted in by the precinct captains as the replacement committeeman. Thus, this is his first public election for the spot.

Known as an "old-time" Chicago machine Democrat, Juarez has, according to several Democratic workers, helped a lot of Democratic candidates in addition to his paid gigs. The change of demographics in the 1st Ward has, however, moved Juarez's Latino base further west.

Juarez believes that Moreno should focus on running the ward. That he should not be politicking, a point that he made in Jay Levine's story about the 20 Free Green trash/recycle bins on the commercial streets in the 1st Ward.


Moreno on the campagin trail

Moreno, who has lived in Wicker Park for 15 years, has an Hispanic father and white mother and grew up in the country. As a Chicago resident he was active in various Latino organizations such as United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) and was on the Local School Council for Jose de Diego, which his daughter attended.

He is part of the Latino Caucus and brands himself as a hipster. Though Moreno was first appointed Alderman, he won the election with over 70% of the vote in the last election. Despite his hipster persona, Moreno has organized and mobilized a substantial group of precinct workers. And, he is pulling out all the stops to beat his opponents with billboards, brochures, meetings, parties and you name it. Chris Kennedy, former President of MMPI (Merchandise Mart), Chairman of Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois and member of the famous Democratic Kennedy family, was tapped to speak at a morning gathering of Moreno campaign workers.

Though Moreno's committeeman campaign started by unsuccessfully challenging the eligibility of both his opponents, he has continued to reach out to his constituents by being proactive on several issues that are their hot buttons, including sustainability, green and development.

"I sometimes put in more than 60-70 hours a week as alderman," he says. "Yes, I still do some consulting work for the printing company where I was Vice President (Buhl Press). But, I spend very little time in that work.

"Since I do much of the work of a Committeeman now, this added volunteer position will give me a way to involve residents even more into the process of government."

About Juarez, Moreno says that, "He should be accountable to the people and he should do more work in the ward." In the situation of supporting Reyes and Smith, Juarez did not hold public meetings to give the public an opportunity to weigh-in. Moreno believes that he should have. In addition Moreno believes that he does not fulfill ward tasks.

Anne Shaw protesting the merging of the13th Police District and closure of the Wood Street Station

Anne I. Shaw has been an area resident since 2003, though she said that she started voting here in the last three or four years. According to the Cook County voter rolls, she voted in Glenview, IL, through the Nov. 2008 election and in the city twice in 2010 and once in 2011.

A lawyer, she owns the firm, Shaw Legal Services, LTD. Her practice includes Civil Rights, bankruptcies and debit issues as well as foreclosure defense. Active in the Asian community as well as locally, Shaw reports that she is "...being honored by the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services on April 18 with a Distinguished Volunteer Award for my Outstanding service to the CASL (Chinese American Service League) and Asian American Bar Association's Pro Bono Legal Clinic. In 2008, I was recognized by the Chicago Lawyer and Chicago Law Bulletin as one of 40 attorneys under 40 to watch and in 2009 I was awarded one of the best 18 attorneys under 40 in the country by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association."

In our conversations, she pointed out that her family is a close knit one that supports each other in their individual endeavors. Aside from her law practice, Shaw indicated that she helped out in her fathers' optical business and participates in a family apartment rental business. That business is Shaw Real Estate Group, Inc. which is a Delaware corporation established June 25, 2009. Anne I. Shaw is the sponsor for the real estate brokerage license of Jack C. Shaw, who is listed on the Better Business Bureau page as the President.

Believing that Moreno is not a full-time alderman, she says that he should not have a third job. About what she brings to the voter, she says, "As an organizer, I can get people out and engaged. We aren't told the truth. We need to know what is going on." Shaw led several rallies and protests about the merging of the 13th Police District with the 12th and the Wood Street station building closing.

Have questions or comments on these candidates? Put them here and we'll try to get the candidates to respond.

Our Urban Times does not endorse candidates but encourage everyone to be an informed community member WHO VOTES! The next election is March 20.

*What is a Committeemen? 

Each political party has a ward structure headed by a committeeman. In Cook County, the political structure is a combination of ward and township committeemen. That body, fifty from the city and thirty from the townships, forms the County Central Committee.

Each committeeman is elected into the unpaid position and serves for four years. They handle such tasks as slating and appointing replacements for vacated positions, recommending polling places, managing elections and making endorsements for positions such as judges.

In Chicago, thirty-two of the fifty aldermen currently serve as the committeeman in their ward. Petitions for the Mar. 20, 2012 elections were required to be submitted between Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, to be on the ballot.

"Who sent you?" was the normal question posed to people who asked a Ward Committeeman for a particular service or assistance.

An example of those days of power known as the "Chicago Machine" is Richard J. Daley. He became Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee in 1953 and held that position as well as that of Mayor of Chicago, starting in 1955, until his death in 1976. Those were the days when there was strong control of the rank and file from the mayor down to the grassroots. Today, that practice is generally not as prevalent.



How do we know what direction

How do we know what direction Flores was going in? As soon as it became clear that he wasn't going be able to use the aldermanic position as a springboard into state government, he ditched the City Council for a better offer. If Flores had stayed in office long enough, I have no doubt he would have suffered from the same political maneuvering that every other Alderman has. To tell you the truth, as a resident of the 1st Ward, I've seen a lot more services from Moreno than I ever did from Flores. That alone will get Moreno my vote - up until this point, I've never heard of Juarez. He hasn't filled my potholes, replaced my trash cans, blasted my neighbors' graffiti, or done anything else for my neighborhood. "All politics is local," as Tip O'Neill said, and this race makes is pretty clear that local politics are just as vicious as the national version.


The one argument I have is why can't the alderman hold both position? What are the draw backs for having one person hold both positions? Also, why can't the committeemen let people know who they appoint for a vacant position?

I'm sorry I don't buy the

I'm sorry I don't buy the comment about Edwin Reyes our Cook County Commissioner. Fact is that the current 1st Ward president Johnny Ellias interviewed for that job on the same day that Reyes interviewed and when the 1st Ward voted to support Reyes, Johnny turned his support to Xavier Norgueras in that race. As for Jesse putting in for Moreno's job, that job was open to anyone who applied and Moreno's chief of staff Raymond also applied for the job and Moreno didn't replace him. What this race is all about is Joe Berrios and anyone Joe Berrios supports. I consider Joe Moreno, Jesse Juarez, Johnny Ellias, Xavier Norfueras, Ed Reyes & Joe Berrios all as friends but it saddens me that this has gotten ulgy. This is a big shift from the direction that Manny Flores was going in.

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