Jorge Zavala for Treasurer of Cook County, Illinois

Friends of Cook County, Friends for Zavala

The Vote

It has been nearly 2 weeks since March 20th, 2012. The elections have come and gone, but we’ve yet to hear anything about the 4th Congressional District in IL. After communicating with the IL Board of Elections, including my good friend David Orr, I’ve been told that a few of the districts have had “issues” with their votes due to “unknown difficulties”.

What does this mean for the voters, for those who are sincerely interested in fostering a change in their communities via their vote? I was informed that “real” results would not be available until April 10th, 3 weeks after the initial voting. Now, why should your vote take so long to be acknowledged? I am most concerned that the 4th Congressional District is not being taken seriously and that there is manipulation of votes and structure occurring as we speak.

While I am disappointed that the results are not finalized, I am content that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak to a variety of residents who believe it is time for a change. Running as a write-in candidate was definitely not an easy task, but I will do what is necessary to represent the people of the 4th Congressional District of IL.

I will keep everyone posted regarding results. Thank you for your continuous support and generosity.
JZ

Vote

Today, we vote.

Our primary elections in IL are important for the voters and aspiring political figures alike, so if you are registered to vote please do so.

If you have questions as to where you can cast your vote, click here.

As an officialwrite-in candidate, your vote is particularly important. While voting, remember to post JORGE ZAVALA for candidate for the 4th Congressional District against Luis Gutierrez.

It’s been a great few weeks and we are excited to see the turnout. 99%, let’s make our voices heard.

JZ

 

Connections

There was no better way to spend St. Patrick’s Day than with good company, my community, family, food, and friends.

Yesterday, I visited Alderman Joe Moreno at his final community get-together before the Tuesday voting. We both agreed that we were ready for a change and eager to make things work more efficiently for our constituents.

I talked to a few business owners on California and Elston and Kedzie and Diversey. While speaking to residents and walking the historic boulevard of Logan Square, I came across a few folks who were very interested in showcasing my signs. A life-long resident of the 4th Congressional District offered me his 2 cents.

“I’ve lived (in Logan Square) all of my life. Gutierrez, albeit, is a decent guy, but he hasn’t done very much for us. Empty promises, nice words, but no action. I support (Zavala) because we really need someone who believes in less talk, more action.”

A resident of Logan Square proudly shows his support for Zavala vs. Gutierrez. Vote JORGE ZAVALA on March 20th.

The constant support I’ve been receiving  thus far is very inspiring. Support is coming from residents, business owners, and visitors. The generous words I’ve received comes from a diverse group of people representing a variety of backgrounds and age groups.

I am in Logan Square today and will be visiting the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods again later today. Follow my Tweets to see if I’m in your area!

The connections I’ve made with residents is the motivation I need to strive to get out the vote on March 20th. Remember, I am running as a write-in candidate so vote JORGE ZAVALA for the 4th Congressional District against Luis Gutierrez.

Happy Sunday.

JZ

Strides

First, I’d like to start off by saying thank you and mil gracias to the wonderful families, business owners, and community leaders in the 4th legislative district that have allowed my campaign signs to hang from their homes, businesses, and places of community development.

Don't forget to vote on March 20th!

Next, I’d like to point out that come rain or shine, I will be in your community making the changes you’d like to see if elected Congressman. As we have seen, Mr. Gutierrez isn’t necessarily working on behalf of his constituents in the 4th district. He is in North Carolina advocating for those he does not represent. This is an insult to those in our district because it is our tax dollars at work supporting a cause outside our community. As one blogger on the Huffington post commented regarding the North Carolina deportation and immigration issue and Gutierrez’s recent visit to North Carolina, “Too bad everyone doesn’t get an Illinois Congressman to help…”

This is exactly what is wrong with our current political leader; Gutierrez just isn’t in touch with his community. As an Illinois Congressman, he should be working and advocating within the district he represents…in Illinois. Though quite commendable are his ideas regarding social justice, he is regularly failing to serve the community he was elected to represent.

Our Democratic government grants us a voice, an opinion. As US Citizens, we have the unalienable right to choose our elected officials that most represent our ideals, values as well as needs in our community. Though I am not one to make promises, if elected to Congress I will ensure that there will be a change benefiting the people: the 99%.

I am here for the people, my community. Together, we can make great strides towards further progress. Want to start a conversation? Keep up to the minute on where I will be in the next few days via Twitter, or send me an email: friendsforzavala@gmail.com

Your opinion matters to me, so let’s get out the vote!

JZ

Unity

Engaging and working with the community is an important aspect of being a good leader.

Last week, I spoke with students, local community activists, business owners, the press, and alderman from the Logan Square and Wicker Park neighborhoods regarding an incident that struck the nerves of many people. A few comments were made by a local business owner (the business and its affiliates shall remain nameless) regarding the safety of the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Many people were offended by the comments that were made via a video online, which went viral in a matter of days.

Local student expressing her love for her community.

On February 23rd, community members and leaders stood in front of the business’s former shop to hold a press conference denouncing such comments. Alderman Joe Moreno, Alderman Roberto Maldonado, members of CBS, ABC, and Univision News, along with yours truly were present to express our interest in making something positive out of the negativity.

Working with the community alongside Ald. Joe Moreno and Ald. Roberto Maldonado

Alderman Joe Moreno made a worthy comment, asking whether “(The business) was part of the problem or part of the solution?” This is something that we can apply not just to the situation from last week, but to the issues that face our communities. In the 4th legislative district, citizens are concerned about jobs, safety, green space, and access to affordable housing. The question I ask you, borrowing from good ol’ Joe, is if you are part of the solution or part of the problem? What can we do as a community to empower ourselves?

Speaking with a business owner about giving back to the local community.

Not only are we responsible for our backyards, but we are also accountable for ensuring that our businesses, our elected officials, and our government work for the people. Many people I spoke with commented that Humboldt Park, Logan Square, and Wicker Park are areas with very hard-working people who value community. A resident of Logan Square, I’ve seen this first-hand. A young woman by the name of Marie stated she’s always felt that residents “could do more” to contribute to “making the neighborhood prettier…and safer”. What do you think?

Speaking with Marie about beautifying the 4th district.

What took place on February 23rd challenged our communities to think about the notion of mobility and organization. In a matter of hours, people organized themselves to rally against comments they felt were unjust. If we took the same initiative to go out to clean our parks, to volunteer at the local food pantry, or to vote for the elected official you feel best represents your community’s interests, then we would truly have a democracy! The energy I felt that day and positive comments about running against Luis Gutierrez for Congressman keep me motivated.

I was interviewed by some amazing young journalists regarding the press conference in Humboldt Park and my race for Congressman against Luis Gutierrez

I ran into a plethora of experienced journalists from local and national press. Paola Gomez of Univision Chicago spotted me and wanted to know if the “rumors were true” about my candidacy for Congressman against Luis Gutierrez. I confirmed “the rumor” and told her I was running as a write-in candidate for Congressman of the 4th district.

Paola Gomez of Univision Chicago wanted a few words regarding my race as a write-in candidate against Gutierrez. She was pleasantly surprised to know someone else was running in the 4th district.

Many of the journalists, members of the press, and those coming from outside the community made note that Humboldt Park and Logan Square really have a strong sense of belonging and unity. I attribute this to a population committed to maintaining strong values and manifesting them through hard work and dedication. I am proud to say that Logan Square is my home and its joie de vivre is instilled as a driving force to fervidly commit myself to the 4th district.

Mi casa es su casa.Welcome to our community, our home.

Leadership

Leadership means more than being present at a dinner, a conference, or speaking on behalf of a community. It means actively engaging and collaborating with the very people that you strive to represent.

During the last few days, I attended the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute’s 2012 Student Leadership Series. I was present side by side with members of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), such as Blanca Vargas, as well as representatives of National Louis University and the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute. We talked, laughed, and engaged in dialogue relating to the progress of the Latino community in higher education as well as the progress of the nation as a whole. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, by 2050 Latinos will account for approximately 29% of the United States’ population, reaching nearly 438 million people. With these numbers in mind, it’s a safe bet to ensure that the Latino population in the United States, specifically in the 4th Congressional district in IL, are provided with the resources and opportunities to attend college and succeed in their chosen careers.

Speaking with Enrique Rodriguez of Univision Chicago about higher education across Chicago.

I had the pleasure of speaking with an old friend, Enrique Rodríguez, of Univision Chicago. We discussed the importance of higher education, specifically in the field of law, for Latinos and the greater community. By empowering communities that have traditionally been disadvantaged throughout the City of Chicago, we are better able to not only serve them but also serve our city, our families, and ourselves.

A few students from Loyola and Northwestern University in Chicago approached me and mentioned they recognized my name. One even pointed out that he keeps up with this blog and my tweets, which I was happy to hear. Mark, a native of the Pilsen neighborhood and student at Northwestern studying Business Administration, told me he felt “comfortable” that someone was “finally courageous enough” to run against Luis Gutierrez. “I’ve always lived in (the 4th district)…Gutierrez hasn’t brought what he promised to anyone.” It makes me feel good to know that our youth is as interested in seeing a difference as I am!

We could not conclude a Latino event without music and energy. Live bands representing diverse sounds and rhythms played for students, professionals, and the larger community who attended this weekend’s USHLI event. I’m glad to have been a part of such a dynamic event.

All in all, these last few days have served as a reminder of why I am running as a write-in candidate for the 4th legislative district against Luis Gutierrez in Illinois. We have the future ahead of us and empty promises aren’t going to help anyone. It is through diligence, active participation and engagement, along with the drive to empower one’s community that makes a great leader. March 20th is coming sooner than we think! ¡Adelante, amigos!

JZ

Harassment and Inspiration

Today, like everyday, is an opportunity to learn and grow.

I was coming back from speaking with a colleague on the northwest side of the city and driving towards DePaul University to attend the “Latino-izando American Politics: A Latina Pundit’s Perspective on Washington and how the Changing Demographics are Affecting the Nation’s Political System” around 5:30pm. I was to meet a few people I planned on collaborating with regarding arts programs, law school admissions and the presence of Latino students, and scholarship opportunities for youth and discussing these matters at the reception prior to the event. I wanted to discuss the importance of higher education and the imperative nature of having Latino students in law school.

As I was driving on the I-90, a vehicle drove towards my lane, no signal, and crashed unto the left side of my vehicle, damaging the bumper. The young man, not possessing his insurance card or car registration form, was unapologetic and upset about the incident and stated he “didn’t see me” on while he was attempting to merge lanes. He called a state police official and we waited off the Addison exit for a few minutes.

The state police officer arrived and seemed to be disgruntled about having to come. He automatically approached me, stating I was “wasting his time” by having him appear. I stated I wasn’t the one who’d called him and pointed towards the 30-something year old man who’d hit my car. While I was trying to explain my side of the story to the officer, he aggressively stated to “not try to place the blame on someone else” while avoiding the fact that the man did not have his insurance card in his vehicle. With accordance to Jesse White and the State of IL law, I believe the last time I checked it was a requirement to carry one’s vehicle registration form and insurance card at all times. However, it appeared that this police officer was more interested in harassing me.

The police officer, attempting to patronize me, asked if I “knew how to fill out a form” (a vehicle accident form). Dressed in a business suit, returning from a meeting with a colleague, the officer attempted to patronize me while avoiding the fact that filling out the forms was his job as an officer in this time of need. I told him that the form was pretty self-explanatory and that I could fill it out myself. Again, insisting in a more aggressive tone that if I “needed some help” with the form, he would do it. I, speaking to him in a polite and respectful manner, stated that I didn’t appreciate the negative attitude he was giving me and attempting to degrade me with his use aggressive attitude and lack of fair treatment and judgement. He looked at my driver’s license, and stated he recognized my name. “Hey, you’re that guy who’s running for office in the 4th ward. Won’t an accident like this hurt your campaign?” I told him that 1) the accident was clearly not my fault, 2) whether I was running for a political office or not it was irrelevant to what was happening at the moment, 3) I stated I was giving him respect and speaking to him courteously while he continuously acted in an unprofessional and disrespectful manner.

Furthermore, this state police officer didn’t inspect either vehicle for damage and was more concerned with the validity of my words and driver’s license than the actual matter at hand. By trying to intimidate me and provoke conflict by slamming my car door and knocking on my vehicle’s windows for no apparent reason, it seems that he wanted me to respond in a way that would allow him to retaliate freely and justifiably.

With regards to my running for Congressman of the 4th Legislative District, he stated it would be “not be a good idea” to run for politics in Chicago. He then proceeded to take away my driver’s license. The officer insisted that I was in violation of the speed limit. I’m sorry, but how possible is it to “violate the speed limit” during rush hour in one of the nation’s busiest highways? Through the best of my knowledge, I highly doubt 15 mph constitutes speeding.

The other driver, on the other hand, was not reprehended for not having his insurance card or his involvement in the accident. In fact, the state police officer didn’t afford him the equal harassment and patronizing behavior he felt so justly in offering me. City tow-truck drivers, arriving about half an hour before the state police man,  were witnessing the entire thing. They were actually the ones who instructed us to go to the accident site off the Addison ramp while waiting for the state police. These men witnessed that the young man did not have a vehicle registration form or insurance card on him. In fact, we all saw and waited for this young man, the driver of the other vehicle, to receive his insurance card over email via his iPhone. After 45 minutes, the tow-truck drivers left.

As a concerned citizen, community leader and activist, an educator, a socially-responsible member of society, a Latino, as an American of color, a feminist, and as a Chicagoan, I feel the burden and the ever-present attitudes and prejudices present in our society and brought forth by the media, law enforcement officials, and individuals. Not only does this negative experience remind me that there are a countless number people in this city, state, and country that are victims of discrimination on a daily basis, but it motivates me to stay strong and keep the people’s interests in mind as I continue to run as a write-in candidate for the 4th legislative district. It’s discriminatory attitudes and biases that prevent us from reaching further success and dialogue in society and this is truly disappointing.

This experience has challenged me to really consider cases of civil and human rights violations and harassment very seriously if elected Congressman. Civil and human rights are not exclusive to certain groups of people; they are everyone’s right and everyone is affected by the actions of others. As a person who does his best to be inclusive and act in socially-responsible ways, it’s a priority of mine to ensure that other citizens are not intimidated, harassed, or patronized by law enforcement officials for the color of their skin, for knowing their rights, for the language they speak, for their social class, or for their ability to recognize prejudice and call them out on it.

Everyday is truly an opportunity to learn and grow. Make the most of every experience and know your rights so as to protect yourself against injustices.

JZ

[UPDATE]

After receiving a call from my insurance agent earlier today, February 17th, 2012, it was confirmed that the driver who in fact hit my vehicle did not receive a citation or ticket for his negligent actions. I am looking forward to taking this case to court.

Media Communications

ABC 7 News has requested every candidate running in the March 2012 preliminary election to discuss their beliefs regarding certain issues in an online forum. It’s a great opportunity to get to know the other candidates running for senators, state reps, congressman, and commissioners so as to make the best decision when it comes time to vote. I’ve responded to their request and very excited to have the public make their decision, which is their constitutional right.

As it currently stands, I am running for Congressman of the 4th Congressional District as a Democrat here in Illinois. I will be running as a write-in candidate, so make sure that if you’re in the 4th legislative district and you feel I would represent you well to fill in my name, Jorge Zavala.

During the last two weeks, I’ve been getting many calls from residents of the 4th district asking me to do everything possible to stay on the ballot. I’m very happy to hear so much support and kind words and I will definitely run with your continuous help against Luis Gutierrez for Congressman. I will post further development as they come.

I’m a firm believer of keeping the environment clean and free of excess waste. Therefore, I am doing all that is possible to limit flyer distribution or excess campaign material in order to keep the 4th district green. However, if you are interested in receiving some Zavala for Congressman material, we’ll be more than happy to provide some promo gear.

If you feel the desire and fervid interest to actively engage with my campaign, feel free to shoot us an email at friendsforzavala@gmail.com with the subject line “Volunteer” or give us a call at 312.212.0796. It’s 2012 and it’s about time the push aside personal interests and actually begin making your tax dollars work for you: the 99%.

JZ

Have your voice heard

“A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

-Martin Luther King Jr.

On this MLK Day, I urge everyone to make their voices heard. I encourage each and every one of you to be vocal and unafraid of sharing your thoughts, ideas, goals, and dreams with the world. Only through visibility can we make the changes we want for our ourselves, our communities, our societies, and our world.

It’s been a challenging few days, but with the support of the community, my family, and friends I am strong.

Last week, I encountered Jesse Ruben Juarez at the Board of Elections Commissioners Office in downtown Chicago and confronted him regarding his request for my petitions and his audacity to question the legitimacy of my supporters’ signatures. He was shocked to see me continue the good fight to keep my name on the ballot, and insisted it “was nothing personal” (he claimed he didn’t know that “Jorge Zavala” was the Jorge Zavala). Give me a break, we’ve known each other for years and his actions aren’t just insulting on a 1-on-1 level: it is a direct insult to those who support the 99%, to those who believe in making a difference benefiting local communities, and an attack on the people’s constitutional right to choose their elected officials.

Seems like Luis Gutierrez, Jesse Juarez, and the kids he hired to contest my signatures choose money over values. Chicago politics are corrupt, but is there anyone else out there willing to step up and prepare a plan to clean this mess? With regards to the 20-something year-old kids Gutierrez hired to object Hector Concepcion and my petitions, when members of the Zavala team worked side by side to ensure signatures were legit, they stated they were “only (there) for the money, nothing personal”. In all honesty, I’m not so much offended that they were hired to challenge my petitions but that people sell their values and ethics for $100 a day. Money talks, and this was a prime example of how bad our system has become.

Though the experience was a challenge, it was a great learning experience. In speaking with Hector Concepcion, the Republican challenger to the 4th Legislative District, I’ve learned many things. He is a great guy with many great ideas. His philosophy is to create an environment directly for the people, similar to mine. Concepcion believes in education and changing people’s lives through good schools. In fact, he mentioned that if I was interested I should consider siding with the Republicans in order to change the face of the political party. At this point, no comment on the offer.

Currently, there is a possibility that I may have to appear on the ballot as a “write-in” candidate. Therefore, I will need to rely on your support, specifically my friends, family, and supporters of the 4th Legislative district in IL, to come out to the voting polls in March and have my name, Jorge Zavala, firmly placed in mind if you believe I am the best candidate in opposition to Luis Gutierrez.

If you are in the 4th Legislative district, I encourage you to get involved and stay informed of further developments. The challenging of my petitions and signatures is not just an attack on myself, but it is a direct attack on the people. If we allow politicians to purchase democracy, the 99% will slowly lose its voice more and more. By questioning whether the signatures are valid (the board of elections uses signatures from one’s voter’s registration card–some are as old as 10 years and the signatures often vary significantly from that point), the 1% question whether a member of the 99% can obtain political success. Luis Gutierrez is clearly intimidated by Concepcion and myself; both challenges to his cozy and comfortable 1% lifestyle.

Stay up to the minute informed. I will do my best to post any updates in the next few days to this blog, but also feel free to follow me on Twitter.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “a nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.” This is the fact of the matter in the race for Congressman of the 4th Legislative district in IL. Let’s keep MLK’s spirit alive and strong. Let’s stand united and bring the community’s issue to the forefront. We are the people, and the people must be represented.

JZ

Positivity through Adversity

This week, with the help and support of family, friends, and the larger community, I’ve been advocating on behalf of the good people of the 4th legislative ward in Chicago and myself to prevent Luis Gutierrez from eliminating Hector Concepcion and myself from the ballot. After all, don’t the people have a say in who they want to represent their interests and needs? Special interest groups and lobbyists should not be the only ones with a voice in our government.

I’m determined to keep a smile on my face and keep a positive attitude through this experience.

Smiling all the way down to City Hall

Tomorrow, I will be defending your signatures until the very end. I urge all of you across the 4th legislative ward to be very vocal about your right to choose your elected officials. The U.S. Constitution grants us the opportunity to choose who we want in office, and it’s also a basic human right to freedom of speech and political mobility.

There’s a long day ahead of us, tomorrow. Let’s keep the hope alive, Chicago. We are the 99%!

JZ

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