Joe Moore (politician)

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Joseph A. Moore
Member of the Chicago City Council from the 49th ward
Assumed office
April 2, 1991
Preceded by David Orr
Personal details
Born (1958-07-22) July 22, 1958 (age 59)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Barbara Moore (m. 1986)
Children 2
Residence Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois
Alma mater Knox College (B.A.)
DePaul University (J.D.)

Joseph A. "Joe" Moore (born July 22, 1958) is an American politician. Moore is currently the alderman representing the 49th Ward of the City of Chicago. Moore is a member of the Democratic Party. Moore was first elected to the City Council in April 1991 and has been re-elected six times. Moore led the movement towards participatory budgeting.


Education/Early Career[edit]

Born in Chicago, Moore graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1976; and later Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois with a B.A in 1980 and earned a J.D. in 1984 from DePaul University College of Law law school. Upon graduation, he went to work for the City of Chicago Department of Law, and has been a City employee ever since.[1] Moore's first political work was for independent presidential candidate John Anderson, and he was a Bill Clinton delegate to the 1996 Democratic National Convention.[citation needed] The 49th Ward, encompassing the eastern part of Rogers Park neighborhood, is at the far north of the city, bordered by Lake Michigan on the east, and by city of Evanston, Illinois to the north. Moore was President of Network 49, an alternative to the 49th Ward Regular Democratic Organization that supported David Orr for Alderman of the 49th Ward and Harold Washington for Mayor of Chicago.[2][3]

On November 6, 1990, 49th ward Alderman David Orr was elected Clerk of Cook County, creating a vacancy in the Chicago City Council until the February, 1991 municipal elections. Chicago's Mayor appoints replacements to fill short-term vacancies in the City Council. Orr supported Moore as his replacement.[4] Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Robert Clarke, a law associate of Illinois State Representative Lee Preston, the 49th ward Democratic committeeman.[3][5] Moore was among the challengers to Clarke in the February, 1991 municipal elections. Orr endorsed Danny K. Davis, Cook County Commissioner and former Chicago alderman, in his challenge to Daley for Mayor.[6] No candidate received a majority of the votes in the multi-way race for alderman of the 49th ward, requiring a run-off between the top two, Moore and Clarke, in April, 1991.[7][8] Orr was Moore's campaign chairman.[9] On April 2, 1991, Moore was elected alderman. Of eight incumbent alderman, who were originally appointed by Daley to fill vacancies, Clarke was the only one to fail to win re-election that year.[10] In 2000 Moore ran for Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County but lost in the primary election to eventual winner Dorothy Brown.

Aldermanic career[edit]

Moore was the chief sponsor of the 2006 Chicago Big Box Ordinance which required companies such as Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot to pay workers a living wage, raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour.[11] The ordinance was passed by the City Council but was vetoed by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and failed to garner enough Council votes to override the Mayor's veto.[12] In the 2007 election, Moore received 49.3% in the four-way race and so was forced into a runoff against banking executive Don Gordon, who received 29%. Moore won the runoff with approximately 51.6%.[13]

In 2008, John Nichols, Washington, D.C. correspondent for The Nation, blogging on The Nation website, named Moore "Most Valuable Local Official."[14] On December 4, 2008, Moore voted in favor of the controversial privatization of Chicago's parking meter system for 75 years for a one-time payment of $1.2 billion.[15][16] In City Council, Moore voted with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley 51 percent of the time from 2007-2011 and with Daley's successor Mayor Rahm Emanuel 97 percent of the time.[17][18][19] After two decades as Chicago alderman, Moore became a City Council committee chairman for the first time in the committee leadership reorganization following the 2011 municipal election which elected Emanuel Mayor. Chicago's Mayor appoints members of the Chicago Board of Education. Moore, chairman of the City Council's Human Relations Committee, did not allow committee debate on a proposal for an advisory ballot referendum for an elected school board, a proposal which was not supported by the Emanuel administration, on the grounds that Moore's aldermanic colleagues had submitted the proposal three minutes late.[20][21][22]

In 2010, Moore carried out the first participatory budgeting process in the United States to allocate the a $1.3 million capital improvement fund, the so-called "aldermanic menu" funds.[23] On February 27, 2013 Moore sent an e-mail to constituents noting that between January 1, 2013 and February 26, 2013, the 24th Police District, which includes Rogers Park and the adjacent Chicago neighborhood of West Ridge, was the only of Chicago's 22 police districts in which no one was shot.[24] Moore is a former chair of the Board of Directors of the Democratic Municipal Organization, a national association of elected municipal officials, with offices in his home in Rogers Park.[25] Moore's wife, Barbara, is Executive Director.[26]

Foie gras ban[edit]

Moore was the chief sponsor of an ordinance banning the sale of foie gras in Chicago.[27] After much publicity, the ordinance passed overwhelmingly but was repealed overwhelmingly.[28][29] Moore was honored in February, 2007 by the Humane Society of the United States for his leadership on the issue of cruelty to animals. Moore's support of this issue was the subject of many widespread and derisive comments. National news organizations covered the story from many angles, some hospitable and some hostile.[30]

Use of ward office for political purposes[edit]

Illinois state law prohibits the use of public funds for political purposes. The City of Chicago budget funds an office for each alderman in their home ward.[31] The Democratic Party of the 49th Ward and its chairman, the ward committeeman, were cited in a complaint filed on August 31, 2005 with the Illinois State Board of Elections by the Cook County Republican Party. The complaint was one of sixteen citywide complaints filed that charged that some Democratic Party ward organizations in Chicago are illegally housed in City-funded neighborhood ward offices. Moore acknowledged that the Party committeeman maintained a desk and phone line in the ward office and does not help pay rent.[32]

The complaint was one of nine that a hearing officer appointed by the Board recommended proceed to the next step of the hearing process, an Open Preliminary Hearing. On October 17, 2005, at a regularly scheduled meeting, the Board entered an executive session and voted, in a 4-4 tie, along strict party lines, failing to adopt the recommendation of the hearing officer, and ordered the complaints dismissed.[33] The complaint against the 49th ward organization was one of eight that the Cook County Republican Party appealed[34] to the Illinois Supreme Court. On January 23, 2009, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ordered the Illinois appellate court to conduct a judicial review of the Board's dismissals of the complaints.[35] On December 19, 2009, the First District of the Illinois appellate court affirmed the Illinois State Board of Elections' dismissal of the complaints.[36]

Moore allegedly fired a staff member for informing authorities regarding the use of the ward office for campaign purposes, gave her $8,709 in taxpayer-funded severance, and told her not speak to anyone about activities in the ward office, according to the annual report of Chicago's Legislative Inspector General, published on July 22, 2013, Moore's 55th birthday, while he was vacationing in Colorado. Also according to the report, in 2007 Moore relieved his chief of staff of his duties, who "received an extra 55 days of pay," worth $13,497. The City permits cashing out unused vacation, but not severance. The Legislative Inspector General asked Moore to return the $22,206 in improperly awarded severance and referred the findings to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cook County State's Attorney.[37][38][39] Later the same day as the publication of the Legislative Inspector General's report, Moore and his wife flew from Colorado to Washington, D.C. to the White House to receive an award, but the award was revoked.[40][41][42] Moore was interviewed by the FBI regarding the allegations.[43][44] Moore denied the allegations.[45]

Adelphi Theater demolition[edit]

In 2000, Moore said he would not accept campaign contributions from developers seeking zoning changes "to remove any hint of possible influence." In 2005, developers Chad and Bronco Zuric sought a zoning change to enable their plans to demolish the historic Adelphi Theater at 7070 North Clark Street in Chicago in the 49th ward and redevelop the site for condominiums. On June 8, 2005, the Zurics' company, Golden Hands Construction, contributed $1000 to Citizens for Joe Moore, Moore's political action committee. In the fall of 2005, Moore voted in favor of the zoning change, in the City Council's Zoning committee and in the full City Council. In total, the Zurics contributed $13,500 to Moore's campaign. The theater was demolished. The site is "a hole in the ground, with a concrete foundation and steel beams sticking out surrounded by a chain link fence" in foreclosure.[46]


  1. ^ "About Joe Moore". Citizens for Joe Moore. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  2. ^ Joravsky, Ben (1991-03-21). "Politics by proxy: it's Clark vs Moore (Daley vs Orr) in the 49th ward". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  3. ^ a b Davis, Robert (December 6, 1990). "Daley Snubs Orr`s Choice Of Alderman". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  4. ^ Davis, Robert (November 28, 1990). "19th Ward Democratic Leaders Choose Sheahan`s Replacement". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  5. ^ Davis, Robert (December 6, 1990). "Daley Picks 3 To Fill Vacancies In Council". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  6. ^ Hardy, Thomas (February 17, 1991). "49th Ward Race May Be Daley Vs. Orr Preview". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  7. ^ Davis, Robert; Latz Griffin, Jean (February 27, 1991). "Stage set for some interesting aldermanic runoffs". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  8. ^ Davis, Robert (February 28, 1991). "In 18 wards, it's down to 1 on 1 for alderman". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  9. ^ Hardy, Thomas (March 20, 1991). "49th Ward Race Mainly Name Game". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  10. ^ Hardy, Thomas (April 3, 1991). "Familiar Faces Are Ushered Out Of City Council". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  11. ^ Eckholm, Erik (2006-07-27). "Chicago Orders ‘Big Box’ Stores to Raise Wage". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  12. ^ Heher, Ashley M. (2006-09-14). "Chicago 'Living Wage' Turned Back". AP. Retrieved 2017-04-12. 
  13. ^ "49th Ward 2007 run-off results". Chicago Board of Elections. 
  14. ^ Nichols, John (December 30, 2008). "Most Valuable Progressives of 2008". The Nation. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  15. ^ Joravsky, Ben; Dumke, Mick (2009-04-09). "FAIL, Part One: Chicago's Parking Meter Lease Deal; How Daley and his crew hid their process from the public, ignored their own rules, railroaded the City Council, and screwed the taxpayers on the parking meter lease deal". Chicago Reader. 
  16. ^ Mihalopoulos, Dan; Dardick, Hal (December 4, 2008). "Aldermen approve Chicago parking meter lease". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  17. ^ Mouritsen Zmuda, Melissa; Simpson, Dick (April 8, 2013). Continuing The Rubber Stamp City Council; Chicago City Council Report #6, June 8, 2011 - February 13, 2013 (PDF) (Report). University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Political Science. Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  18. ^ Felsenthal, Carol (July 25, 2013). "How a City Council Watchdog Ruined Alderman Joe Moore’s Birthday". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  19. ^ Simpson, Dick (April 10, 2013). "King of the Rubber Stamp". Gapers Block. Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  20. ^ Spielman, Fran (July 23, 2012). "Ald. Moore nixes elected school board referendum". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  21. ^ Dardick, Hal (July 23, 2012). "Ald. Joe Moore takes heat for blocking vote on Chicago school board election; As committee chairman, Moore kills discussion on elected board". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  22. ^ Joravsky, Ben (August 1, 2012). "Moore and Emanuel block elected school board; Longtime independent Joe Moore helps Mayor Emanuel stall the movement for an elected school board". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  23. ^ Moore, Joe (2010-03-31). "Spending out in the open for 49th Ward". Chicago Tribune. 
  24. ^ Woodard, Benjamin (2013-02-27). "Low Crime, No Shootings 'Show Promising Trend,' North Side Alderman Says". Retrieved 2013-03-06. 
  25. ^ "Board of Directors". Democratic Municipal Officials. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  26. ^ "Staff". Democratic Municipal Officials. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  27. ^ Ruethling, Gretchen (September 15, 2005). "A Chicago Alderman's Proposal to Ban Foie Gras Stirs Up a Debate". New York Times. 
  28. ^ Davey, Monica (May 15, 2008). "Ban Lifted, Foie Gras Is Back on the Menu in Chicago". New York Times. 
  29. ^ Mihalopoulos, Dan; Caro, Mark (May 15, 2008). "Chicago repeals foie gras ban; Animal-rights groups decry City Council decision". Chicago Tribune. 
  30. ^ Ruethling, Gretchen (2005-09-15). "A Chicago Alderman's Proposal to Ban Foie Gras Stirs Up a Debate". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  31. ^ Associated Press (2005-08-31). "GOP: Wards violating election laws". Northwest Herald. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  32. ^ Spielman, Fran (2005-08-31). "Cook County GOP chief targets 16 aldermen, Says they use taxpayer funds to pay rent on political offices". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  33. ^ "Board Meeting Minutes" (PDF). Illinois State Board of Elections. 2005-10-17. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  34. ^ Cook County Republican Party v. Illinois State Board of Elections, et al., No. 1-05-3407 (Illinois Appellate Court 2007-12-17).
  35. ^ Cook County Republican Party v. Illinois State Board of Elections, et al., No. 106139 (Illinois Supreme Court 2009-01-23).
  36. ^ Cook County Republican Party v. Illinois State Board of Elections, et al., 1-05-3407, et al., Cons. (Illinois Appellate Court 2009-12-19).
  37. ^ Schutz, Paris (July 21, 2013). "Reform Ald. Joe Moore Caught in Ethics Probes". WTTW-TV. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  38. ^ Semi-Annual Report (PDF) (Report). Office of the Legislative Inspector General, City of Chicago. July 22, 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  39. ^ Byrne, John (July 23, 2013). "Watchdog alleges ethics breach by Ald. Moore". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  40. ^ Felsenthal, Carol (July 30, 2013). "Alderman Joe Moore Tries To Clear His Name". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  41. ^ Dardick, Hal; Skiba, Katherine (July 24, 2013). "Moore disappointed probe prevented White House ethics award". Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  42. ^ Edwards, Breanna (July 24, 2013). "White House holds back 'Change' award". Politico. Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  43. ^ Spielman, Fran (July 22, 2013). "Ald. Joe Moore says FBI questioned him in ethics case". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  44. ^ Kopan, Tal (July 23, 2013). "Bad timing for White House honor". Politico. Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  45. ^ Moore, Joe (August 2, 2013). "You Deserve to Know the Truth about Faisal Khan and his Attacks on me". Citizens for Joe Moore. Retrieved June 8, 2015. 
  46. ^ Marin, Carol; Demertzis, Elani. "A Big Hole Mess". NBC News Chicago. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 

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