Robert Merriam - a reform Alderman from the Hyde Park 5th Ward - was an Army Captain at the Battle of the Bulge and earned a Bronze Star. He switched parties in '55 to run against Daley the Elder; got crunched. Paul H. Douglas. U of C econ prof. Reform Alderman from the 5th Ward, joined the Marines at age 50 (2 Purple Hearts in the Pacific).
Goo-Goos, reformers, Independents, Lefties. Lakefront liberals, limousine liberals, labor liberals. Budget watchdogs, school watchdogs, consumer watchdogs. Progressives and populists who mock each other. BGA types, League of Women Voter types, IVI-IPO types, Common Cause types. Campus activists, religious activists, community activists. Hyde Parkers, Lincoln Parkers, the Peoples’ Republic of Rogers Park. Tree-huggers, Wobblies, YIPs, Shilleristas…and these are just a few 20th Century vintage do-gooders.
Goo-Goos are NOT all alike (shown in the way the Machine handles them). In his “Don’t Make No Waves, Don’t Back no Losers”, Milton Rakove observed that Daley the Elder brought some into the organization: Paul Douglas, Adlai II & Adlai III, Paul Simon. Some were ostracized (Dan Walker) or rejected (Dick Simpson). Some were “tolerated but never embraced”: Abner Mikva, Tony Scariano, Bob Mann, Leon Despres, Bill Singer. (Years later Mikva was probably “embraced”; Despres? Ha!) FULL DISCLOSURE: This author was a Goo-Goo.
Following Ed Hanrahan’s deadly raid on a Black Panther “headquarters”, ex-G-Man Bernie Carey captured the State’s Attorney office in '72. A Republican, he had the support of African-Americans and white liberals, a foreshadowing of Jane Byrne’s and Harold Washington’s later upsets.
Mike Holewinski - who died way too young in 2017 - was the Bungalow Belt Progressive. As a State Rep, he led the charge for many reforms, putting a huge target on his back. He lost his seat, tried for Alderman, then turned his energies to small manufacturing enterprises. He served in Harold Washington’s City Hall and on Pat Quinn’s Gaming Board. Holewinski was briefly in the national spotlight on Palm Sunday 1983, as he escorted Harold Washington and Walter Mondale into St. Pascal’s Catholic Church in Chicago’s Northwest Side. FULL DISCLOSURE: He was among this author’s favorite people in politics.
Dick Simpson served two terms in the Chicago City Council (where he often got under the regal skin of Daley the Elder), then ran for Congress against Rostenkowski in ‘92. He literally wrote the book about beating the Machine. This author’s 1972 copy of Simpson’s “Winning Elections: A Handbook in Participatory Politics” is dog-eared and well-traveled. And “Corrupt Illinois” - which Simpson co-authored with Tom Gradel - should be on your Bicentennial reading list.
A strong voice for consumers, Bob Downs was elected State Rep thanks to his Oak Park base, but then lost to the NW Side Machine.
The “Independent Voters of Illinois” (the Elder States-group of Illinois Goo-Goos dating to the '40s) merged with the newer North Side “Independent Precinct Organization” in '79 to form the tongue-twisting “IVI-IPO”. (These buttons show the evolution.) IVI-IPO’s candidate questionnaire has driven many a campaign manager to madness. Speaking of madness (FULL DISCLOSURE), this author served two stints on the IVI-IPO Board, during the “Keith Lesnick Era”, then the “Bob Bartell Era”. I learned more about parliamentary tricks as an IVI-IPO Board Member than as a General Assembly lobbyist.
Charlotte Newfeld has been on the front-lines to protect parks and beaches, LGBT rights, bilingual ed, baseball in sunshine, migratory birds. Her 1983 Aldermanic campaign team featured such stars as Dawn Clark Netsch, John Chester, Kit Bender, Dick Simpson, Ellis Levin and this author’s pal Rick Kohnen (who died way too young).
43rd ward politics...whew. In 1969, Daniel O'Brien became the youngest person ever elected to the State Senate (age 24!) but lost to Dawn Clark Netsch 3 years later. A trailblazing advocate for gay rights and legalizing pot, he was also Ward Dem Committeeman and Cook County Board member, and died too young in a Florida car crash. (His brother Pete is a pal of this author.) Bill Singer has the distinction of having succeeded legendary Paddy Bauler in the Chicago City Council and engineering Daley the Elder’s exit from the 1972 Dem National Convention. He served two terms as Alderman and lost a mayoral bid in 1975. Singer's successor - Marty Oberman - served 3 terms on the Council. He was named to the Metra Board in 2013 and became Chair in 2014.
Jim Houlihan was elected to several terms as State Rep and Cook County Assessor, and served in Harold Washington’s City Hall. In the late ‘70s/early '80s, he and this author worked together on Common Cause issues.
Called “Mr. Clean”, Hyde Park’s Larry Bloom served four terms in the Chicago City Council and earned six months in the slammer for tax fraud. He ran for Illinois Attorney General, Chicago Mayor and Chicago Treasurer.
Goo-Goos are not all elected.
- Claude Walker. Bicentennial-by-Buttons: 200 Years of Trailblazers, Rascals and Felons