Political prank mail hits ‘Pick and JohnnyO’
Kristen McQueary firstname.lastname@example.org | (708) 633-5972 February 11, 2011 8:54PM
5-18-2010 Copy photo of Muhammad Ali''s daughter, Jamilla who married Michael Joyce, son of former state Senator Jeremiah Joyce, and close friend of Mayor Daley. Michael is a lawyer and a boxer last weekend in Florida. For Mike Sneed column for Wednesday, 5-19-2010.
Updated: January 23, 2012 12:28AM
Nothing like anonymous, nonsensical mail in the final days of the Chicago mayoral race.
In an apparent prank that left several political observers scratching their heads, postcards mailed to a select group of journalists and Democratic committeemen claimed two Southland political activists were endorsing Carol Moseley Braun for Chicago mayor.
The amateurish postcard announced, falsely, that Mike Joyce, the son of former state Sen. Jeremiah Joyce, a confidant of Mayor Richard Daley, and John O’Sullivan, Worth Township Democratic committeeman, “proudly endorse” Braun for mayor.
“Only she will do what is necessary to keep our neighborhoods safe and prosperous,” the postcard reads. “Carol Moseley Braun is the only candidate who knows that diversity in our city is a strength, not a weakness.”
It is signed, “Pick and Johnny O,” the nicknames of Joyce, who goes by “Pickle,” and O’Sullivan.
“It’s not true,” Joyce, of Chicago, said. “I don’t know if it was someone trying to discredit me. I don’t know why. It’s just silly.”
O’Sullivan — who served a short stint as state representative to fill the seat vacated by Joyce’s brother, former state Rep. Kevin Joyce — said he has been helping mayoral contender Rahm Emanuel.
“Why this would be mailed to suburban people, it doesn’t make sense,” O’Sullivan said. “(Braun) would be the last person I would consider helping.”
The Braun campaign did not return a call seeking comment.
The cards were sent to newsrooms, to former Comptroller Dan Hynes, as well as political activists and suburban Democratic committeemen, including Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. The cards were not meter-stamped as mass political mailings usually are. They carried individual 29-cent stamps and were mailed from Chicago.
Joyce said any endorsement from him would be handled differently — if at all — because he serves no elected position.
He is in the pipeline, however, for an appointment in Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration.
Joyce has long worked behind the scenes on political campaigns, including Quinn’s. He was an early Quinn supporter, even though most of his 19th Ward home base supported Dan Hynes in the gubernatorial primary.
Joyce and O’Sullivan co-hosted a “get out the vote” rally for Quinn at the Celtic Boxing Club in the days leading up to the general election.
Joyce is now in line for a vacancy on the coveted Illinois Labor Relations Board, a $91,000-a-year position responsible for mediating disputes between municipalities and organized labor. He would arbitrate disagreements between union workers and entities such as the city of Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority and the Chicago Park District.
Qualifications include five years of experience in the field.
“This would be something I’m qualified for,” Joyce said. “It’s not something you give to a campaign worker.”
Joyce said he did not talk to Quinn about the job, for which he applied about a year ago, while campaigning for him.
Joyce is an attorney, former labor relations director for the Cook County state’s attorney, and a former bricklayer whose family has a long history supporting labor unions. He said he would balance the interests of organized labor with the needs of municipalities if his appointment to the board is finalized. The state Senate still must approve Quinn’s board nominations.
“You have to be impartial in these positions,” Joyce said. “I have a labor background, but I understand the realities of municipalities and their funding shortages.”
He was offered a position last fall in former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger’s administration but did not take it, he said, because it was short-term and would have required him to drop contractual obligations in his law practice.
In the meantime, the mysterious Braun postcards serve an unknown purpose with an unclear message. Obviously, someone wanted to aggravate Joyce and O’Sullivan. Their cell phones buzzed more than usual last week, requiring a little firefighting.
Something tells me they’re used to it.