Joe Ludwig takes the gloves off in Fillmore

Local businessman Joe Ludwig just placed a stinging billboard advertisement attacking a career politician. Ludwig is challenging longtime incumbent Councilman David Franczyk, who has overseen the collapse of his Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood and the implosion of the Eastside’s Polish community.

The billboard asks the question, “Are you really proud of this?” An image of the long defunct Central Terminal and another of the city’s dilapidated housing stock frame the billboard, which can be seen along Interstate 190 entering downtown.

Franczyk’s prospects for reelection look bleak. Even his longtime supporters are refusing to back him. They attribute the collapse of their neighborhood to his leadership failures and character flaws.

Ludwig is backed by Grassroots, the once powerful Eastside political club that has since grown arthritic and stale. He is a successful businessman who has made his money selling ice, I’m told. It’s presumed that he can finance a substantial campaign.

Observers say that the bigger problem for Franczyk is the city’s popular Housing Commissioner, Joe Mascia, who intends to run an aggressive campaign for the Fillmore district seat. Mascia’s activist style and anti-establishment posture has endeared him to voters across party lines.

“I saw the Mayor the other day and he said, ‘Joe, you’re spitting fire.’ I told him, ‘It’s nothing personal, but when you screw the little guy, I’m going to say something,'” recalls Mascia. “I was reaching out and trying to get a meeting with him for months and months to discuss BMHA mismanagement.”

“What does he expect me to do, sit down and shut up?” he asks. “So we’re going to meet next week and we’ll see how it goes.”

The Mayor has not yet endorsed a candidate in the race.

Housing Commissioner Joe Mascia is considered the leading contender to replace longtime incumbent Councilman David Franczyk.
Housing Commissioner Joe Mascia is considered the leading contender to replace longtime incumbent Councilman David Franczyk.


  1. Rich Fontana has the nerve to comment about anyone? Really Rich, have you seen what has happened to Lovejoy under your watch for the past 16 years? Maybe you shouldn’t have had Norm Bakos, your puppet master, be your guide.

  2. As a owner occupied homeowner in the Lovejoy District who actually takes care of my house (one of the dwindling few) I’m sick and tired of him! He had the nerve to tell me he (as a real estate agent) would have no problem renting out the disgusting vacant house next to mine?!?!? Really, and to whom? Probably not anyone I’d want to live next door to MORON!! And definitely no one YOU would want living next to you either… Thanks but no thanks, we’d rather have it vacant and decaying…like everywhere else (with a few exceptions) in this city!

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