Seo is running for the two-year term created by Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson leaving before the expiration of his six-year term. The other two candidate on the ballot are Tom Greenhaw (whom I support) and Marty Durkan.
Having worked in local media, I know bringing in sufficient revenue is tough. And there are people working in media who lack expertise in public policy matters. The questions Seo answers in the N'Digo interview allow Seo to get his campaign message out without getting challenged whether his ideas make sense.
Rather than campaign on what MWRD does (deal with storm water and wastewater), Seo is campaigning on a massive change to the status quo. MWRD would takeover City of Chicago (but not suburban Cook) Water Department.
It seems like a cynical way to campaign on something that's "in the media" (Flint Water Crisis) rather than campaign on what MWRD does.
What is Seo's plan? From his website:
The plan is as follows: The Metropolitan Water Reclamation of Greater Chicago will assume control of the City of Chicago's Department of Water Management, included is the City's two water treatments [sic] plants, 12 pumping stations, 4,300 miles of water mains, 4,400 miles of sewer mains and over 1,000 employee personnel (including pension obligations associated with employee personnel). The MWRD will take over maintenance and operations of the facilities and assume the role as the primary agency for the purification and transmission of potable water to the homes and businesses of Chicago and the Chicagoland area as assume the responsibility for the transport of wastewater and storm water through the City of Chicago. The City of Chicago DWM is projected to generate $1.11 billion in fees.
Why will the Seo plan be better than the status quo?
The benefits of the plan include the following:Seo's plan is based on getting something for nothing.
- Shift the burden of maintaining/modernizing Chicago/Cook County's aging water and sewer infrastructure from City of Chicago to MWRD.
- Generate at least $5 billion for the City of Chicago to re-allocate to funding police/fire/teacher pensions-as well as for other essential city services
- Streamline government and eliminate bureaucratic red tape for homeowners and businesses
- Reduce water and sewer fees for city and suburban taxpayers
He's a con man.
He's claiming that by transferring the City of Chicago Water Department to MWRD, MWRD could do everything that gets done now and produce an extra $5 billion per year.
There is one way to do this, but it's negated by the final bullet.
MWRD could increase water fees on the suburbs and transfer the money to City of Chicago.
Just because Seo has a resume with credentials, doesn't mean he's not crazy or a grifter.
There's no section of Seo's website for endorsements. Why not?
Seo didn't get endorsements because the media outlets, organizations and politicians who considered this race all preferred other candidates.
Greenhaw endorsements (organizations)
- Cook County Democratic Party
- [corrupt major Chicago daily newspaper #1]
- [corrupt major Chicago daily newspaper #2]
- Daily Herald
- United Hellenic Voters of America
- 1st Ward First Democratic Organization
- 45th Ward Independent Democrats
- Chicago NOW PAC
- Citizen Action/Illinois
- Democratic Party of Evanston
- Democratic Party of Leyden Township
- Equality Illinois PAC
- Hanover Township Democratic Organization
- Maine Township Democratic Organization
- Northside Democracy for America
- Personal PAC
- Proviso Township Democratic Organization
- Sheet Metal Workers Local 73
- Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter
- United Neighbors of the 35th Ward
Durkan endorsements (organizations)
- Chicago Federation of Labor
- Sierra Club
- Personal PAC
- Citizen Action Illinois
- Chicago Firefighters
- Fraternal Order of Police
- West Side Elected Officials
- 47th Ward Democrats
- 41st Ward Democrats
There are more individual endorsements listed on the websites of Greenhaw & Durkan.
If you're still reading, I will flag a couple pieces from Seo's N'Digo interview:
I've already addressed the core silliness of Seo's message.
Chicago and Cook County could be a repeat of Flint if our politicians are foolish enough to switch our water supply from Lake Michigan to the Chicago River. As an engineer and your future Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, I will make sure that day never comes to fruition.
No one is advocating City of Chicago Water Department get water from Chicago River instead of Lake Michigan. Seo's answer makes it sound like there are dimwit politicians advocating this. It's not true.
I’m not a politician, I didn’t study to be a politician and I never dreamed that being a politician would be my profession one day.
I hate hearing candidates for public office run on "not being a politician". It's trite.
But with Seo, he's engaged in the dishonesty people hate in politicians. Seo's running for office because he's ambitious and he's willing to lie.
But Seo was smart enough to find a media outlet that would let him peddle his lies without questioning them.
(1) In the interest of full disclosure I do intent to be a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against Seo for recorded phone calls made to a large number of mobile phone numbers as part of his campaign for MWRD. The law firm of Siprut PC, which specializes in lawsuits based on illegal phone calls, is assembling a list of plaintiffs.
Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, recorded phone calls to mobile phone numbers are illegal unless the caller has a pre-existing relationship with the person being called. The penalty is $500 per call with the potential to increase damages if the caller makes the calls after being told to desist.