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12th Ward Election Forum Set for Tuesday is a One-Man Show

By Casey Cora | February 2, 2015 5:47am
 Pete DeMay is continuing to take on incumbent Ald. George Cardenas (12th). 
Pete DeMay is continuing to take on incumbent Ald. George Cardenas (12th). 
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DNAinfo/Casey Cora

BRIGHTON PARK — As it stands, the ballot presented to voters in the 12th Ward race for alderman will have one name, George Cardenas. 

The longtime alderman is technically running unopposed, but challenger Pete DeMay has pledged to continue campaigning as a write-in candidate even if his appeal of the city's election board decision bouncing him from the ballot fails. 

Both have been invited to an upcoming 12th Ward aldermanic forum hosted by the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council. It's scheduled for 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday at Brighton Park Elementary School, 3825 S. Washtenaw Ave. 

DeMay plans to attend, but Cardenas isn't going. 

Citing a scheduling conflict, a campaign staffer said the alderman's office made "numerous" attempts to have the forum's date changed but the grassroots group was "unwilling to do so" — an allegation that the council's executive director Patrick Brosnan called "absolutely false." 

Brosnan said the group's phone calls, emails, faxes and even a certified letter inviting Cardenas to the event were ignored. 

"They never mentioned that there was a scheduling conflict, nor did they respond to numerous attempts to negotiate a date for this forum three weeks ago ... basically he doesn't want to debate Pete," Brosnan said. 

Brosnan said it wasn't until Wednesday that a Cardenas staffer said the alderman wouldn't show up because DeMay's not an official candidate, something the incumbent alderman has said since DeMay launched his campaign last fall. 

In January, the city's election board removed DeMay, a progressive, bilingual career union organizer, from the ballot after ruling his petition signatures were invalid. A ruling on his appeal with the state Circuit Court is expected next week. 

Either way, DeMay has continued to campaign, hitting the streets alongside mayoral hopeful Jesus "Chuy" Garcia in an effort to drum up support.

A political stunt in which DeMay and supporters plastered 10,000 cars with fake parking tickets aimed to connect Cardenas with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's controversial revenue programs, seems to have galvanized voters in the 12th Ward, which includes McKinley Park, Brighton Park and Little Village. 

For months, DeMay been demanding that Cardenas face him one-on-one.

But it looks like that might not happen, so he's offering up this special message to the veteran alderman. 

"Stop hiding under a rock and debate the issues of the people in the 12th Ward in an open forum," he said. 

Cardenas did not return messages seeking comment.

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