Tuesday, October 18, 2016

EXTRA: Illinois Comptroller forum to be held in ‘Blues Brothers’ church

It’s a shame that Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger isn’t expected to show up Tuesday night at a candidate forum in which all three of her likely Election Day opponents will partake.

That forum will be held at the Pilgrim Baptist Church in the South Chicago neighborhood, which has a personal tie in that it is down the block from the church (Our Lady of Guadalupe) in which I was baptized as a baby.

BUT I’M SURE for the masses out there who are old enough to have seen “The Blues Brothers” when it was in the movie theaters or have since seen it rerun on television throughout the decades, the church will stand out as the one that became the "Triple Rock Church" that turned a Baptist church service into a rockin’ musical revival.

As in James Brown singing “The Old Landmark” while parishioners danced about and went soaring through the air. A little bit over the top, I’m sure!

But that scene was shot at the Pilgrim Baptist Church, just a few blocks from the 95th Street bridge that the Blues Brothers drove their hand-me-down police car over while it was fully erect (another scene over the top, I’m sure).

Tuesday night, it will be the place where Democratic comptroller candidate Susana Mendoza (currently the Chicago city clerk) will try to explain why she ought to get the state political post.

AND NOT JUST because we ought to want to dump someone who is a political appointee of Gov. Bruce Rauner. She has to offer up reasons why we should want her in the office instead.
MUNGER: A no-show?!?

Otherwise, we might as well contemplate Libertarian Claire Ball or Green Tim Curtin for the post. Both of them also are expected to attend the event, and both could definitely use the jolt of publicity.

Particularly in the case of Green, who when you do an Internet search for his name, the top result that comes up is a biography for the leader of the band “Pig Vomit.”

Perhaps her absence means that Munger thinks she also can’t use a publicity injection. I think she should, mainly because it could be a chance for the little-known Munger to set herself apart from the other candidates. Show that she’s really the best qualified.
MENDOZA: Can she beat incumbent?

SHE ALREADY HAS the endorsements of the two major metro daily newspapers (both the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times), although those seemed based on the idea that Mendoza is aligned with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and perhaps ought to be better off if she just stayed within Chicago city government.

There’s also the fact that Republican Party officials in Illinois are going all out to ensure Munger has adequate funding to operate a credible campaign. They want to be able to ensure they keep the state post that was filled by gubernatorial appointment when Judy Baar Topinka died just under two years ago.

After all, how lonely would Rauner be if he were the only Republican state constitutional officer in Illinois government, along with a General Assembly dominated by Democrats and a national Republican Party that has been devastated by the existence of Donald Trump.
BALL: Also in the running

Which is the exact kind of loneliness Democrats would like to create for him the next two years as he prepares for a re-election bid -- one in which they hope they can find a gubernatorial candidate who can take him down politically.

PARTICULARLY AT THIS forum, which claims to be bipartisan but is being sponsored by various groups with urban-interest, non-Anglo ethnic, Democratic Party leanings.

Which most likely is the reason why Munger isn’t likely to show up. Either that, or she thinks the South Chicago neighborhood is somewhere on the other side of the planet and that she’d be contaminated by the residue of the steel mills that used to exist throughout the area.
CURTIN: Not the guy from 'Pig Vomit'

Heck, there are long-time local residents who have that very same fear, breathing in the air that has the stink of decades of industrial waste built up.

Either that, or she's afraid the ghost of James Brown will drown her out with his powerful voice.


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