LAKEVIEW — As the Chicago Cubs and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) struggle to get a Wrigley Field renovation deal done before Monday's first home game, a little-known local Republican is asking Tunney to step aside.
Scott Davis, the 44th ward's unusually active Chicago Republican Party committeeman, slammed Tunney's approach to the Wrigley renovation negotiations Tuesday, saying the alderman needs to get a deal done.
"He's holding up serious redevelopment dollars that the Cubs are bringing to the table," said Davis, who has been part of Chicago's GOP party since last year. "If you don't have the Cubs and Wrigley Field, why would anyone bring investment dollars to the area?"
The government needs to step aside and let the privately owned Cubs go through with their plans, which include more night games, concerts, gameday closing of Sheffield Ave. to create a street festival, increased signage for advertisers and a new 6,000-square-foot Jumbotron in left field.
"I’m just trying to stand up for free market principals and private property rights, and the greater interest of the community," he said. "The Wrigleyville market will take care of itself if we just let it work."
Tunney did not respond to Davis' remarks, but his staff pointed to the alderman's most recent comments that said quality of life issues like traffic and night games needed to be addressed before negotiations could finish.
Cubs spokesman Julian Green said the team has never interacted with Davis.
The Chicago GOP has a committeeman in all 50 wards, but Davis is one of the most active committeemen, said Chris Cleveland, vice chairman of the party.
"Scott has been very, very good," he said.
Davis is more vocal for a reason: He's an active Libertarian who wants to see the party focus more on free enterprise. He even acted as the Illinois state chairman for Ron Paul's 2012 campaign for president.
He ran for ward committeemen to make free enterprise ideas more visible to north siders. Now he said he's part of "a small liberty movement in Chicago." Davis is in the 44th, David Ratowitz is in the 47th and Marty Phelan is in the 2nd.
"My larger mission is to help rebrand the Republican party into a more Libertarian view that can appeal to a broader voter demographic on freedom issues and free market issues," Davis said.
The hope: Being vocal will attract people in the ward with similar views. He knows it's "an uphill battle" to promote Republican values in a Democrat-heavy ward like the 44th, he said.
But more than 2,100 people in the ward cast votes in the Republican primaries for the 2012 presidential election, according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. Nearly 13 percent of them voted for Paul.
That's compared to more than 3,600 registered Democrats in the ward that voted in the 2012 presidential primaries.
Davis admits that he's not far yet with just 200 people on his email list, but the ward has a lot of Republican potential, he said. Davis has just heard of Wrigleyville Neighbors, the group that supports Cubs renovations, and plans to reach out to them for mutual support, he said.
He said he agreed with all of their points: Residents knew traffic would be an issue when they moved in, and this is a great opportunity for government-free development, he said.
"Activism around issues important to me is an important part of creating a community of Republicans," Davis said. "We need to discover each other, network with each other."
The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the team's day-to-day operations.