March 22, 2018

Leftovers, Results, and World Water Day Splash

Election Day

Tuesday was the first day of spring, perhaps the coldest vernal equinox (and primary election day) I can recall. I spent the day greeting voters, thanking volunteers, and delivering handwarmers to the hearty souls who exemplify our democracy as a participatory exercise: candidates for office. You see some of the leftovers from the eight months’ long primary campaign in the photo below. Scribbled Metra train schedules, petitions to get on the ballot, campaign flyers and literature, beat up name badges and gloves.


I am happy to report that due to the support of so many of you — and more than 424,000 voters in Chicago and Cook County — I came in first in the field of four candidates seeking a six-year term on the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

My colleague Commissioner Kari Steele came in second and Marcelino Garcia came in third. I regret that Commissioner Marty Durkan, who drew the fourth ballot position, did not prevail. He has been a valuable member of the Board since December 2016 and I know he will continue to be a voice for working men and women and a public servant in all his endeavors. I am proud to know you, Marty.

World Water Day

Today, March 22, is World Water Day. (I ask you to celebrate responsibly — and drink up!) The theme this year is Nature for Water, emphasizing that nature-based solutions to stormwater, water quality, and water quantity challenges can help to solve many of our problems. Using a variety of techniques to capture rain where it falls and keep it out of the sewers or slow the flow into sewers is part of the solution. Treating water as a precious resource rather than a pesky problem is part of the solution. Enhancing the land’s ability to absorb water and recharge our underground aquifers is part of the solution.

The April issue of Chicago Magazine features Ted Fishman’s article called “The Shape of Water” in which he notes that while abundant water has fueled Chicago’s growth, its flat topography leaves no place to send overflows. The Great Lakes, Fishman writes, “could be considered our greatest insurance against climate change….There’s just one problem,” he continues, “Water, which should be our salvation, could also do us in.”

I ran for a seat on the Board of the Water Reclamation District because I believe that water will be “the” issue in years to come. In many places, it already is. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District manages two of the three legs of our freshwater ecosystem — used water and stormwater— and thus has a vital role to play in helping the Chicago region to become more resilient in the face of climate change — or not.

The Chicago region’s future is bright, but it is also wet. How we manage the wet part is going to be key. 

The Rad Ad

Some of you may be wondering about the write-in vacancy that appeared on the Democratic primary ballot occasioned by the untimely death of Commissioner Tim Bradford on December 1 last year. The ballots have not yet been tabulated, but I supported an old friend and highly knowledgeable conservation leader, Cam Davis. A video ad — written and produced by Max Temkin — created some buzz last week.

On Facebook one person commented: “This ad is dope AF”

“Right? It might be the best ad I’ve seen all year”

“Also, that ad is just hilarious. A+ work”

“Best political ad I've seen all year. He's got my write in.”

If you were not among the first 140,000 viewers, you can watch it below.