People with Passion: David Pavlik


Interview January 25, 2011


I've been around a lot of campaigns. I've worked in many capacities from stuffing envelopes on aldermanics and small council races in the suburbs to being a regional field director for John Kerry in Iowa during a presidential. And I've seen Chicago politics. I've seen Midwestern politics. I've helped folks out in Oakland with their media messaging.

I was born and raised in the ward. I have a very strong understanding of what it takes to make the 32nd Ward the best we can make it. I have a very strong understanding of what it takes to run the most effective alderman's office as possible. My mom's been involved in politics one way or another for almost forty years. She's worked with an alderman closely for that entire time. And so I spent a lot of days around a ward office. And there are good ward offices and aldermen, and there are bad ward offices and aldermen.

The job of alderman is front lines to the community. Any question a resident in the community has about government - if you have an effective alderman - they should know his name and they should know, "I should go to him." It might be about something that has nothing to do with the purview of the alderman's office, but a good alderman's gonna direct them to where they can find their answer. That works on the service side for residents. It works on the service side for businesses. Constituent services is the most important thing.

The job shouldn't be sexy; 99% of the time, you should be working with day-to-day, real-life issues that impact people's actual lives. It should be the guys or gals that get called when a street light's out, when the garbage didn't get picked up, when you want recycling, when you want potholes filled, when you want to get rid of rats in alleys. It should be the alderman's office. That's the first part of being alderman.

Second part of being alderman is your operations in city council. That's where it's important to build alliances, to build allegiances, to leverage relationships, so that you're able to actually pass and accomplish things for residents of your ward specifically, but residents of the city as a whole. That's where you need a strong understanding of the budget process, and what you can do as a city council member to work that budget process in the favor of your ward and the city residents at large.

That's why I'm running. I'm running because time after time, myself personally, I've tried to interact with the current alderman's office - and if you get out there and you meet with constituents, you'll hear this. I'm not giving you a slant - "Call 311." Or you get "Call the police department." You don't get, "Hey, I'll get to the bottom of this right now. Here's exactly who I'm going to call. I'm gonna follow up with you via email." If at the end of the day you're not able to accomplish something because of the bureaucratic mess in City Hall, or it's out of the purview of the alderman, you at the very least get a "I tried a litany of A, B, C, D, E, and F, and I'm sorry I can't do it right now. Here's what we plan to be able to do in the future." Or, "I'll put the front call in first, but you really need to call your congressman." Or, "You really need to put pressure on the mayor's office, because this is the mayor that's boondoggling this."

You don't get that with his office. You get "Call 311." And I think it's got to be more than that. Certainly my office will call 311 so that it's in the registered system of stuff to get done, but then I'm also gonna bend the ear of deputy commissioners, assistant deputy commissioners, the commissioner, and the mayor if it's important enough.

I want to ask you about term limits, but first let me read you this quote from Teddy Roosevelt, from a speech he gave in 1883. (Reads the quote.) Is that something you agree with?

I think term limits, number one, are in place for the folks that want to become career politicians, get in the system, ingrain themselves in the system, and use it for their own benefit. There are exceptions to that rule. There are people who have turned away offers for higher office because they wanted to stay in whatever their office was and really serve that niche of the community. They are few and far between. I think the term limits are for those folks that otherwise would not leave. I think that for alderman, it should be no more than three terms. Absolutely under no circumstances should you have 12 years. And for mayor, I really think it should be two terms. If we can hold the president to that, we can hold the mayor to that.

Inevitably, if you're doing a good job, there will be unfinished business, because every year you should be reinventing the alderman's office with new programs. It should be, "Here's my three-year plan on infrastructure, here's my three-year plan on schools, here's my," whatever it may be, you know, "my two-year plan for development, my five-year plan for this," and they should all be working in concert and parallel to each other. When something's waning down and you have a great accomplishment to speak to, something else is starting up, and there's also some stuff that's just hitting the top of the bell curve.

You need continuity in government, and at some point at that eleventh year, you should be handing it off to either a wide-open field, or if there's somebody you think would do a good job, that's your prerogative, and lend it to him. Either two things are happening - you've either done a fantastic job and your endorsement is going to go a long way, (and if you were doing a fantastic job, I tend to believe your judgment in who should follow you is going to be good as well), or you've done a bad job, and your endorsement on somebody is going to be a referendum against him. The continuity will be there one way or another.

I'm a younger candidate, with no wife, no children right now. I'm not necessarily saying that if I was able to win and I was re-elected that I would stay around for the full twelve years. I don't know. Four years from now, who knows? Who knows where I am personally in my life? Who knows where the city is? Who knows where we are as a society?

I will always put the job first. If I have a wife and I then have children and I can't dedicate the amount of energy, effort, consideration, and focus it takes to be an effective alderman, I'll walk away from the table. I'll do it. That will be my pledge. You'll never be hearing from me that my office didn't get the proper amount of service to constituents or that I wasn't there on the difficult votes because I was out doing something else. That will never be me.

Let's move ahead to February 23rd. You've just been elected alderman. What are you most excited to do?

I am most excited to wake up that morning, hit the El stops at seven in the morning to thank people for voting for me, get their ideas, begin phase two of my listening tour which we started with day one of this campaign, and get to work. Call to task folks in the budget office in the City of Chicago so that we can get a real idea of where the money's at in this budget. Because you can only pour over a budget and learn so much. You need access to budget managers, division managers, agency directors, to get a real idea of where the money's at. You can hide a lot in line items; I see it all the time. So I need access to that staff.

Start at day one, whether that's day one of Alderman-elect Dave Pavlik, or day one of actual alderman depending on how willing those folks are to work with me. Bam! Formalize my council that we're already building for business initiatives, for business that affect women, for initiatives that affect minorities, and for initiatives that affect the lower class, lower educated folks that live in the ward. I want all those committees to be formalized, to be certified by our office. Here's what they're charged with doing for the year. And let's start meeting once every two weeks and then once every month from here on out.

I can't wait to start my staff getting out there and saying, "Boom, here's our first business fair." We're gonna have a one-stop shop with the recorder of deeds, the city clerk, the chambers of commerce, and every relevant city department so that we cut out the red tape and no one can he-said-she-said. "Oh really, recorder of deeds said it's this? And city clerk said it's this? You're sitting right next to each other, what's the real answer? Here's your business owner. Let him get all the stuff hammered out so that they can go build their customer base and revenues." I'm excited to get that stuff going.

I wish there was a way to get it going today, right now, but I'm not the alderman yet. People are willing to lend their ear or lend their advice, but I don't have the leverage to say, "It's day one. Let's hit it." So yeah, just getting in there, rolling up my sleeves, changing the twenty hour days of telling people what I will do and showing them in a limited capacity what I can do, to full bore capacity, action-speaks-louder-than-words, here's what we're gonna do.

Other 32nd Ward Aldermanic candidates profiled in this series: Scott Waguespack ; Bryan Lynch ; Brian Gorman

More information: First look



Over the last couple of weeks

Over the last couple of weeks I have heard increasing whispers and jabs from people supporting the current Alderman about David’s family and political connections as if he will have to answer to someone if elected. To be absolutely sure, this cannot be further from the truth. I know David and with him you get what you see. His background has obviously and undeniably helped make him the man he is today, but it does not define him in the way his opponents are trying to let on. More often than not, your Alderman is the first person you turn to when you need something, right after your family and your friends. Their sole purpose should be to serve and represent you, and not indirectly promote their own interests. Essentially, they should be more than a 311 referral service - which is the response I've gotten every time I've called there. The only people to whom I can see David answering are the residents of the 32nd Ward.


Lets be perfectly clear- Mr. Pavlik is a puppet of Alderman Richard (tricky-dickey) Mell. Same old Machine in new packaging. A vote for this man is a wish to take the city backwards 30 years.

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