Grand community opening

To the Editor:

One of the most depressing aspects of engaging in local politics is a visit to the ward office. These offices are often designed to make sure that you know you are an outsider, that someone else is in control. They are also hopelessly boring. There are sometimes long counters that act as a Great Wall separating the insiders sitting at their taxpayer-purchased desks from those of us who footed the bill for those office appointments. Perhaps that’s why these employees sometimes seem chagrined at the prospect of serving the public: We have indirectly caused them to be confined to utterly dull and depressing conditions. If only a splash of color did not seem criminal to municipal legislators! If only they could be made to feel less detached from the people they are meant to serve.

I believe that the heart of the problem is that the purpose of the ward office, the most basic unit of governmental agency in Chicago, is completely misunderstood. Citizens should have full access to large areas of these offices. Instead, they are often huge, with loads of dead space, but include only a sliver of a waiting area. We are to be managed, and in small quantities – that is the message.

My campaign has a slightly different idea about the relationship between politician and public. To see what that looks like, come by our campaign office, 2136 E. 71st St., for our grand community opening this Saturday, May 5, from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. We invite you to bring something that will add to the color and life of our storefront – a plant, a print, whatever you think might add some encouragement and cheer to the (in the eyes of most) dull business of competing for elected office.

While you’re with us, let’s talk. We want the will of the people literally written on the walls, a physical manifestation of our collective vision. To see what we have in mind, visit and click on “campaign office.”

Gabriel Piemonte
Fifth Ward Alderman