Oak Park’s Chris Meister helped to defuse bad press for alderman

Blithe Spirit

Oak Park’s Chris Meister was in the thick of it in February 2011 when highly placed governor’s men and women worked in emergency mode to protect Ald. Deborah Graham in her re-election campaign. He emailed three of them with her complaint of opponents’ tactics — a “last-minute attack” that “stoops to a new low,” she said — and they got to work.

The opponents had called a news conference to accuse her of steering thousands in neighborhood anti-violence money to supporters, including her pastor. It was “questionable appropriation of anti-violence funding directly benefiting the incumbent alderman,” they said.

Meister was having none of it. “The potential exposure for the governor’s office from the factually incorrect press release alludes to a scenario where the governor and Alderman Graham made these funding decisions [on] their own,” he emailed his fellow strategists. He further noted that four of the opponents had “received …

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