Verbal Assault at the 25th Ward Aldermanic Forum

Last Friday at the 25th ward aldermanic forum at UIC I was verbally assaulted, but it wasn’t by the predictably empty rhetoric from some of the candidates. Immediately following the conclusion of the event I was speaking with a reporter from South Side Weekly when the executive director of Pilsen Alliance and the de facto Byron Sigcho campaign manager came over and started yelling all sorts of vulgarities at me. Nelson doesn’t like the sunlight I’ve been shining on the group’s shady dealings. My guess is that he was trying to intimidate me while putting on a display of machismo for Team Sigcho. But we both know the facts, so it was hard for me not to laugh at his manufactured outrage. My chuckles may have egged him on, but it was 8pm and I was late for dinner so I removed myself from the hostile situation and exited the building. Nelson then followed me out the door and continued to scream at me like a red-faced little league coach from hell.

Nelson eventually tuckered himself out around the same time Byron Sigcho, candidate for 25th ward alderman, exited the building and that’s when things really got weird. I took the opportunity to ask Byron some questions about his ‘organizing’ tactics against the proposed metal shredder in the neighborhood. (For those who are new to my blog and/or this issue, here is a little background.)

Byron has been taking credit for a lawsuit filed by the lawyer for SIMS Metal Management against their possible future competitor Pure Metals. This is the same lawyer that, according to Nelson Soza’s previous assistant, gave money to Pilsen Alliance on behalf of SIMS Metal. This lawyer allegedly tried to make a similar donation to PERRO as well, but PERRO declined. This lawyer also tried to get PERRO to sign on to this lawsuit too, but PERRO declined that as well.

The conversation went something like this (I’m recalling from memory):

“Why are you taking credit for a lawsuit filed by the lawyer from SIMS?”

“I didn’t take any money from SIMS.”

“What? I didn’t ask about the money. I asked about the lawsuit. Why are you taking credit for a lawsuit filed by the lawyer of SIMS Metal?”

“I didn’t take any money from SIMS.”

“You’re a smart guy Byron, you didn’t answer my question. Why are you taking credit for a lawsuit filed by the lawyer of SIMS Metal?”

“I didn’t take any money from SIMS.”

“So you’re not going to answer the question?”

At this point he started to walk away.

“Good job Byron. You’re a great politician. Don’t answer the question. Walk away.”

He then started to walk back towards me.

“How did you become an expert at city permits and filing lawsuits? Are you a lawyer?”

“No it’s easy. You just go down to…”

“But the lawsuit was filed jointly by Pilsen Alliance and SIMS, right?”

“We filed the lawsuit.”

“With SIMS.?”

Then he finally walked away.

So why is Byron taking credit for a lawsuit filed by SIMS’s lawyer? Is Byron using the bully pulpit of Pilsen Alliance and his campaign for the same old crony capitalism that he complains about? Is he that hypocritical? In my experience, yes.

The difference here is that instead of money going through the front door of Byron Sigcho’s campaign, it looks like it’s going in the back door to Pilsen Alliance and Nelson Soza. He’s the de facto campaign manager appearing at every event ordering people around. Is he doing this out of the kindness of his heart? No. He doesn’t even live in Pilsen. One year ago he offered to be my campaign manager in return for a $100k/yr salary as the executive director of a non-profit should I win the election. I thought it was a bad joke back then, but now I see that he was dead serious.

Wind patterns for the existing SIMS Metal shredder

If Byron is willing to be this blatantly hypocritical when it comes to lung cancer at our high school, you can’t expect him to follow through on the more mundane things like TIF districts, pensions, and school boards. Byron Sigcho is just a wannabe career politician. He doesn’t care about you.

The reporter for the South Side Weekly was there the whole time and I hope she kept her recorder running, because it was one of those hilarious moments when a politician gets caught and suddenly becomes a bumbling idiot. I hope she releases some of the audio and then maybe we’ll have a local version of this gem: