John Arena Antics In The 45th Ward Race

If you found this Post on my blog please feel free to read on but I would like to inform you there are new antics afoot and given the amount of traffic this original “Antics” blog garnered I thought it best to start a Part II at…45th-ward-race/

First a little background on the situation. I am one of about 1,900 people that have signed a petition and fully back Don Blair in the upcoming Aldermanic Race in the 45th Ward of Chicago. The incumbent Pat Levar has done a horrible job in this Ward and basically has changed once bright areas such as Six Corners the once popular shopping district rivaled by none in to an area of blight. There is another contributing factor to that blight and that is an organization called the Portage Park Neighborhood Association which for some time was led by an Aldermanic candidate by the name of John Arena. For roughly the past 5 years the PPNA’s (read: John Arena) agenda became one of objecting to anything that resembled progress at Six Corners and specifically with the developers of a major rehab project at a proud old 5 story building called Klee Plaza mainly because his preferred developer didn’t win the bid I am talking about curb cuts for one way parking object to under the guise of the area being pedestrian friendly (which it isn’t), a Chipolte Grill because “they put too much rice in their burrito’s and the biggest one was objecting to a phenomenal restaurant called Nick’s Pizza which would have added a 150 seat or so theme type restaurant because John and his wife Jill didn’t like the fact that that would have their own parking and didn’t quite like the layout of the landscaping and seating around the parking lot. It was a mockery and basically they were allowed to lobby and hold up projects because the PPNA (read: John Arena didn’t like certain things. Why in the world did local government allow a neighborhood association the power to get away with this. Was Levar weak or were we all not paying attention. I think it is a little of both. So you have just a mere taste of the sort of antics that John Arena is capable of.

So just a little more background. There is another person running for Alderman named Don Blair who is the perfect candidate to take over the 45th Ward lead position after a 24 year blight at the “Aldermanic Helm”. Don is an extremely intelligent strategist with a massive background in tax law and economics who is truly concerned about the 45th Ward and quite capable in 2 terms of turning it around. If Levar gets voted in it will be more of the same and if Arena gets voted in it will be alot of the same objecting to everything, committing to nothing, taking credit for everything all the while trying to clean up a Ward that needs cleaning up. Funny side note and that is of the requisite petition signatures required to get on the ballot. The magic number is 263 or something like that and John proudly displayed on his website that they had received 2 more than they needed and at the time of the announcement Don already had well over double that. I digress.

So now on to the meat of this blog. Recently some neighbors in the area that both John and Don live in decided that it would be nice to have a September 11th ceremony in the neighborhood while a neighborhood event was going on and thus arranged for a memorial ceremony with 2 Chicago Fire Department trucks, one with a giant ladder for a ladder raising, 2 bagpipe players, 300 luminaries down Berteau Avenue and a singer belting out a heartfelt National Anthem and God Bless America. Yes, I did say God and that would be the next thing Arena would object to. Oh and all of the kids that came to the event lined up around a flagpole in someones front yard to recite the Declaration of Independence. It was a very emotional event for the 100-150 people that showed up for the memorial which was going quite well right up until about the end at which time one of Pat Levar’s precinct captains who isn’t even the captain for the neighborhood this was held in showed up to try and make a mockery of the event by jumping in front of news cameras shouting out obscenities and saying that the event was political because Don Blair had read the eulogy even though the gentleman who arranged the event made sure the event wasn’t political by asking if anyone on Berteau Avenue where the event was held would please remove any political signage and to ensure that it wasn’t even mentioned that Don was running for Alderman. Everyone obliged except the knucklehead precinct captain who tried to shame the event. Even the news media opted to talk about the event only and never aired a second of this guys antics which is the respectable and morally correct thing to do. I personally focused on the bright side of the event. Not the blight side.

So, you would think we could have just buried that incident in the cold archives but not so fast . . . Read on . . .

John Arena (go figure) decides to memorialize the ugly side of the event on his political website to try and make Don Blair look bad which is a complete joke especially to the ones that were involved in setting up the event of which I would love to mention their names but will sustain for now. So basically, John gets most of the facts wrong, tries to spin doctor to paint himself in a positive light all the while memorializing something that shouldn’t have been. Why even mention that Levar’s guy was there? Why not just remember the disruption as a passing fart in the wind. And, Don was asked to read the eulogy as the memorials founder said he would get all choked up and would prefer someone who is an excellent public speaker.

So, I hope this all gives you some background and prompts you to share similar stories or to back the positive nature of the 9-11 Memorial Service and urge John Arena to take down his blog post disgracing the event at where you can post a comment at. And since this isn’t a memorial service but rather a blog I urge you to check out the best candidate for Alderman in the 45th Ward, Don Blair, at

And lastly, visit the news link at which tells the story quite well.



September 17, 2010 · 9:34 PM