ROGERS PARK — After narrowly losing to Ald. Joe Moore five years ago, Don Gordon said he will employ a new strategy when he challenges the 22-year veteran in the 2015 election: "No Money, No Party, No Poop."
Gordon, an adjunct lecturer of political science at Northwestern University, said the slogan means he won't take any campaign contributions, won't affiliate himself with a political party and won't dole out any personal attacks against his competition.
"It [was] long and painful," Gordon said of the 49th Ward aldermanic race in 2007. "Until you actually run for office and you actually get inside the belly of the beast, you just don't realize how stinky it is."
But that didn't stop Gordon, in an interview Monday, from taking political shots at Moore in an interview about his plans for the election, which is still more than a year away.
"I think we can do a hell of a lot better in this ward," said Gordon. "We can do a hell of a lot better than what we've had in the last 20 or so years."
Moore declined to comment on Gordon's plans.
Before the 2007 election, which Moore won by 300 votes in a runoff election, Gordon said the incumbent was inattentive to the needs of his constituents.
"We basically had an alderman that was MIA, [and] looking at other career opportunities," said Gordon. "He basically created the issue himself. He was spending more time [worrying] about whether he was going to get an article written about him in the New York Times than he was caring for his community."
After the tight election, Gordon said Moore has changed some of his ways, but nothing really stuck. Now he's "at his old tricks again," referencing rumors that Moore was being considered to head the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
"We all know Joe does not want to be alderman. He doesn't like to be alderman," Gordon charged. "He wants to move on to the next thing, and I'm running to help him do that. Anything I can do to help him out to move him on to his next career, I'll be happy."
Gordon said he's running to not only change 49th Ward politics, but also the politics of Chicago and the country, which he said are too influenced by money.
He wants the money stripped from the political process. He spent $200,000 during the 2007 election on mailers, signage and a campaign office, while Moore says he spent about $600,000. Gordon said he won't take contributions during the campaign or while in office if he wins.
Moore has $84,000 in his political fund, Citizens for Joe Moore, as of Sept. 30, according to state election records.
"We need to get candidates who step up to the plate ... and do this without taking campaign contributions," said Gordon.
In the coming months, Gordon said he plans to walk the streets and talk to neighbors face-to-face.
In 2007, Gordon said personal attacks were commonplace, with some of his opponents — although not Moore — even targeting members of his family.
Gordon plans to sign a pledge to not wage personal attacks against his opponents and encourages other candidates to do the same, he said.
As for improvements to the ward, Gordon said he'll come down harder than Moore on bad property managers that contribute to the neighborhood's crime problem, especially north of Howard Street.
Every month, he said, he'll work with the Rogers Park Police District to put together a public list — called the "Dirty Dozen" — of the neighborhood's worst property managers.
Gordon said Moore's controversial support of the Pritzker Parking Garage on Sheridan Road would be a decisive issue in the February 2015 election.
"We have an opportunity in Rogers Park of being a model community in Chicago for going down a path of sustainability," Gordon said, and the support of a 250-car parking garage was antithetical to the concept of sustainable transportation.
Gordon said he also wants to make the neighborhood more friendly for bicyclists by creating a safe way for people to travel around and through Rogers Park to the lakefront bike path.
Gordon also said Moore was to blame for the delay in bringing a farmers market to a neighborhood that had wanted one for decades.
"We didn't have a farmers market until a few years ago," he said, calling it a "poster-child issue ... as trivial as it may seem."
"That's why I think we need new leadership," said Gordon, who has lived on Lunt Avenue with his wife since the 1970s.
This time around, Gordon said support for his candidacy is "strong or stronger" than six years ago.
"The residents of the community need to demand better — and need to expect better," he said. "Even if I lose, I'm going to at least lose with my principles intact."