By Andrew Davis
Scott Waguespack, an aldermanic candidate for the 32nd Ward ( which includes sundry neighborhoods, including Lakeview, Goose Island, Wicker Park and Lincoln Park ) , proved what a go-getter he is by actually pursuing Windy City Times for an interview. He also proved that there are a lot of issues he wants to tackle by discussing everything from corruption to LGBT rights.
Windy City Times: How would you describe your ward?
Scott Waguespack: The 32nd Ward has really changed over the past few years. There are a lot more progressive-minded and independent-thinking people here now. Along with people who have lived here a while, you have a lot of people who are clamoring for change throughout the ward. You have young professionals who don't look at the delivery of services on occasion as a reason to vote for a person; they're looking for people who are progressive.
WCT: What about the issue of corruption?
SW: Corruption is at the top of the list because it directly affects their property taxes.
WCT: Do you think that your alderman [ Ted Matlak ] is part of that corruption?
SW: Yes. One of our recent press releases [ states that ] the contributions that his campaign committee has received are directly related to the Hired Truck scandal. Basically, the alderman is propped up by the machine.
WCT: So if you didn't think that Matlak was connected to corruption, would you still run against him? Why or why not?
SW: Yes, I would. I've sensed for quite a few years that he wasn't responding to the community as a whole, and that delivery of services throughout the ward has really gone down over the last few years—'delivery of services' meaning full-time operations that I thought the community needed. He also hasn't been returning phone calls or e-mails. I just felt that things are not getting done in the ward.
WCT: You've said that, if elected alderman, you would have an administration that's 'open and transparent.' What do you mean by that?
SW: I'm going to let people know what's going on, not only in the ward but throughout the city. Unless [ Matlak ] shows up at an occasional neighborhood meeting, we don't know what's going on; we don't know how our taxpayer money is being spent. I would hold neighborhood meetings every two to three meetings and let people know what's going on at City Hall.
WCT: And you'd be open to feedback from the public?
SW: Absolutely. And that's a problem with the alderman right now: When you criticize him, he not only gets defensive but throws it right back at you.
WCT: How do you feel about term limits for aldermen?
SW: I wouldn't want term limits. It goes back to our democratic principles; if voters want someone out, they'll vote him out. There are alderman who do very good jobs, and if they can provide for their residents across the board—there shouldn't be term limits.
WCT: What do you feel is your greatest strength and biggest weakness?
SW: My greatest weakness is that I'm not an elected official yet, so I don't understand all the intricacies of being an alderman. My strength is that I'm a fast learner and I've done these types of jobs in other capacities, including work in Kosovo, where I help rebuild democracy there ( including economic development ) . Now that I'm a city administrator in Berwyn, I have to do the day-to-day work there that the alderman does here.
WCT: Do you have specific plans for the LGBT community?
SW: I've talked about this with my brother, who's openly gay and the treasurer for the campaign. One of my biggest supporters is Hank Perritt, who was an openly gay candidate for Congress.
I do understand the issues of the community and some of the things they're concerned about. I don't have specific plans, but there are a lot of things that we could do that would help out the community a lot more.
I know that my alderman was part of a despicable smear campaign ( in 1999 ) when he ran against Lorna Brett; that's when I started losing faith in him. ( I think he collaborated on an attack on her. She wasn't lesbian, but he turned things into an attack on the community. ) I don't think he understands the community, and it shows a disregard for the community.
Equality Illinois [ recently hosted ] an event [ the 'Justice for All' gala ] . You saw a couple of alderman from my area—Ray Colon and Manny Flores—who were co-sponsors, but you didn't see my alderman supporting the community. I would make sure that the community is supported financially from the city, whether it's AIDS projects or community centers.
WCT: Where do you stand regarding same-sex marriage or civil unions?
SW: I believe in same-sex marriage and civil unions. LGBT couples should be allowed to have civil unions at a minimum, but I also support marriage. Living with my brother while growing up ( and seeing him with his partner ) and working with people like Hank [ have provided some insight ] .