Knobel Files to Run For City Council

The mayor's former campaign manager and current Business and Economic Development Commissioner has formed an exploratory committee for the 2013 city council race.

Though the election isn't until 2013, the race for Highland Park City Council may have already begun.

Business and Economic Development Commissioner (BEDC) Alyssa Knobel has announced the formation of an exploratory committee for the Highland Park City Council race next April.  

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"I've been encouraged to run," Knobel said. "I really started to seriously think about it and talk to people in February… but the encouragement started long before that."

Knobel filed with the State Board of Elections after receiving over $3000 towards her campaign, as required by campaign compliance rules. The contributions -- which Knobel said were all unsolicited -- include $1000 from  and her husband.

"Alyssa is a dear friend and she's also somebody who gets involved up to her eyeballs in the community," Rotering said. She praised Knobel's extensive knowledge of the city and her "boundless energy," citing her recent experience with Highland Park's business owners.

In addition to serving as a chairperson for BEDC, Knobel is a board member of the Downtown Highland Park Alliance and recently worked with them to organize the city's first .

"She's put in 40 hour weeks for months on end to bring together the broad spectrum of businesses and business stake holders in our community," Rotering said.

Prior to her work with Highland Park's businesses, Knobel volunteered for PTA, District 112's strategic plan curriculum committee, the and the (where she's currently a board member).

With a degree in communication from Boston University, Knobel has also worked professionally for advertising companies like BBDO and marketing companies Buster Creative. 

More recently, Knobel has established herself as an effective campaign manager. She coordinated Rotering's successul city council run in 2009 and managed her . She also worked as an aide to Karen May when she against  in 2010.

"Nobody can manage Alyssa Knobel's campaign like Alyssa Knobel," Rotering said.

Though Rotering was quick to point out that Knobel has not officially decided to run yet, Knobel said the chances are slim that she won't be on the ballot next April.

"I need to go through the process of making sure this is the absolute right thing for me and the city," she said.

Knobel said she shares the vision for the city held by the mayor and city council, but also said she feels the city has been "in transition for a while."

"I can hit the ground running. I have that background," Knobel said. "We can't afford to be in transition anymore."

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Beth Olderman April 25, 2012 at 12:36 PM
This is great news! Alyssa is already such an asset to our community -- I can imagine that her value to Highland Park will only grow as a member of city council.
Debbie Glickman April 25, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Alyssa will be an incredible addition to the city council! I have never met anyone better equipped to just get things done. The city will be lucky to have her!
Michael Belsky April 25, 2012 at 01:19 PM
This is bad news for anybody in the military or that supports the people who put their lives on the line on to defend our freedom. Alyssa, who was active in the Red Oak School, as her resume indicates,was a vocal critic of busing military dependents from the Fort to this school. Her assertion was that their presence somehow diminished the quality of the school and its educational attainment. I was previously puzzled as to why Mayor Rotering appointed her to chair the Economic Development Commission as, in my view, it was akin to saying to the military families- do not shop Highland Park- you are not welcome here. I will not be supporting Alyssa as the City Council should be representative of inclusion.
Beth Olderman April 25, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Bad news for the military? I have found our local government and city council to be more open, "inclusive" and communicative since the election of Nancy Rotering as Mayor of our city of Highland Park. There is something "puzzling" about the above comment from Mike Belsky as it seems to be more of a sour grapes response than an accurate or believable statement and I am offended at the implication that I or Mayor Rotering (or Alyssa Knobel for that matter) do not support our military community because we believe in Alyssa Knobel's abilities to help make Highland Park a better community for business and living for ALL.
Samantha Stolberg April 25, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Alyssa was very active in Red Oak School, yet another demonstration of her commitment to our community and should be lauded for it. HOWEVER, you are completely misinformed/misinterpreting what happened at Red Oak School and Alyssa Knobel's involvement. The issue of the Military dependent students being bussed to Red Oak was not anti-Military. The issue was that Red Oak had an unhealthfully-small sized neighborhood population (still does) and that a number of different programs were already going on in the building, thus further designating Red Oak as the only non-neighborhood school in the District. The percentage of mobility at Red Oak is astounding in comparison to the other 112 schools. Even current Board President Bruce Hymen said in an open forum that the School Talk process was a complete sham. Assign the school a healthy-sized neighborhood population first, and then they'll be happy to take as many additional students as necessary. If you don't support Alyssa Knobel, then by all means don't vote for her. But please don't resort to mudslinging inaccuracies because you have sour grapes.
Jason Seiden April 25, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Mr. Belsky, I worked with Alyssa on those school/military related issues—and so did you. She fought for impact aid from the federal government: she helped make sure HP could afford to provide top notch education to all our students, even when our student population suddenly ballooned beyond what our tax base could support. And while culture war rhetoric and ad hominem attacks made the issue a sensitive one, Alyssa stayed focused on making sure the money would be there. It's her willingness and ability to get things done, even in the face of continued and disingenuous personal attacks, that makes her right for this job and right for our community.
mike belsky April 25, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Jason I personally spent hundreds of hours on getting imapct aid for the military dependents- travelling to Washington and Springfield several times. This made it all the more disturbing to hear the complaints of Knobel. I worked on this so the military dependents would not be singled out because of a financial drain of the system. If she was involved somehow that is great. It is the aftermath that concerned me. Best Regards, Mike
mike belsky April 25, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Dear Mosaic, In politics and government one has every right to voice their opinion. I respect yours and you may not disagree with mine. However, the attitude reflected by your candidate was disturbing to me given all the time and effort we put into to getting funding for the military dependents. I am still fighting for this as I understand it is in jeapordy. The reason I spent hundreds of hours on this issue was to make sure the military dependents were not stigmatized- yet it happened anyway. No sour grapes - just will not support this candidacy.
Mark April 25, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Mike, you demonstrate that rather than letting go, you'd prefer to be the bully that you always have been. All of your facts are mixed up. I've worked with Alyssa and know others in the community, and on the League of Women Voters, JCYS, District 112 who can all attest to Alyssa's strong contributions to HP (and to your false and misleading accusations). If you checked the facts, you'd remember that the principal was let go from the school because of her divisive character, and the fact that scores were slipping. The board acknowledged this, in an effort powered by HP residents (and our very own State Rep).
A April 25, 2012 at 08:47 PM
I have been around far too long in this city and this old man has had enough! Former Mayor Belsky is out of touch. Mayor Rotering is exactly what this city and taxpayers like me needed for far too long. The fact the Ms. Knobel is a passionate candidate not only about the city, but the schools, and I would imagine the parks, sends a clear message: without strong schools, without impact aid and without a clear vision of holding leaders accountable across ALL boards AND sending a message that they all need to work in collaboration, we will have a weak city, a weak school system and taxpayers spending more and more while getting less and less. Belsky, your time is over, you and your cronies are done and the ones who remain are leaving. Thank heavens. Character Counts in this city, and you sir, have consistently demonstrated poor character. You have no place at this table. Anyone bringing up this one school once again on yet another string is clearly out of touch, and only out for one thing: creating division over old issues, misunderstood ones, at that, and spreading old rhetoric. Move on! Or, actually, Mr. Belsky, keep it up. Your true, immature, mean-spirited colors are showing and anyone joining you is showing theirs as well.
mike belsky April 25, 2012 at 10:04 PM
A Please identify yourself so I can respectfully disagree with all of the above
mike belsky April 25, 2012 at 10:14 PM
By the way A if you want to talk about divisive maybe you should harken back to how Rotering falsely tried to draw the city into the park district pension issue. Not only was she dishonest but she got her math wrong. He claims that the city was somehow engaged in pension padding required the staff to work for days to demonstrate that it was not the case. In my view me an my so called cronies accomplished more good for this City than Rotering will do in a lifetime
mike belsky April 25, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Dear Mark Whether scores were slipping or not the message I received from Alyssa et. al. was that it was due to bussing of the military kids. These are facts and should be out there. I do not doubt her commitment to the community but this issue is enough for me to not support her: Have a great day. Mike
Jodie April 26, 2012 at 02:51 PM
It's funny, just reading comments from all the fickle people in this town. I totally agree with Mike Belsky on this. It has nothing to do with "sour grapes". He's just stating the facts. Allysa, isn't it a conflict of interest running for Council when you ran Mayor Rottering's campaign and currently work for her? Or maybe, she just owes you a favor like everyone else that helped her buy her way into office? There are a lot of "sour grapes" in this administration but not by Mike Belsky. Just the people who's nerves have been struck by your decision to run!!
Jack Straw April 26, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Jody and Mike, you are defining the words sour grapes, and Mike if you dislike the mayor so much maybe you should run again.
Paul April 26, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I've lived in Highland Park since 1976. I have been to a number of city council meetings and observed the whole crew in action. Heard the ego tripping and the predictable, self-serving rhetoric. I can only tell you Mayor Belsky exhibited great personal commitment for this town and its people over his mayoral career. The facts about the Red Oak School issue have been twisted and misrepresented in the writings of a few here. The FACT is that attendance at that school by the children of military personnel was overtly discouraged on the grounds that it would take down academic results and impact the immediate area. It is indisputable that prejudice WAS verbalized regarding military personnel and their "transient nature" as it was described to the Mayor in person. To say this did not occur is a prime example of the politician's rewrite that is so pervasive. We owe a great deal to all military personnel. If proper respect and support had been shown on this issue, there would be no reason for Mr. Belsky to object to the disregard and disrespect he received. Politics is politics, even in a town the size of HP. But Belsky apparently just didn't play the game like others do. There are many people in town who are respectful of what Belsky did and thus the naysayers are in the minority of HP residents. Give the guy credit for his caring about fair play for all school kids and take your witch hunt somewhere else.
Daniel April 26, 2012 at 07:47 PM
First let me state that I supported Ms. Rotering for mayor and was actually at her victory party. Alysa Nobel gave a terrible speech using profanities to describe Mr. Belsky. I have been in meetings with her and this is a regular theme, crude and rude when she disagrees with you.She does not have the temperament to serve. I was upset with Rotering for hiring her after the speech. I was also involved with the Military busing and it is true that she was anti-military. Pure politics to say she is qualified whether you liked Belsky (I did not support him) or not.
Mark April 26, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Don't understand why my post was taken down. Mike is showing his true colors as a bully who is still sad about having to give up the throne in Highland Park. I wish he would stop misrepresenting the facts. It is common knowledge that the Principal of Red Oak was let go, after a community effort. Scores were slipping, and she was dividing the community. I have worked with Alyssa, and know that through her contributions to 112, LWV, and JCYS she is a consensus player. Get a life, Mike. @Jodie- FYI Alyssa doesn't work for Nancy. She serves on the Business and Economic Development Commission. Check your facts.
Jack Straw April 26, 2012 at 08:42 PM
I was also there Daniel, and what I head was a response to Mike Belsky calling Nancy Rotering a B#@h. This was the end to a long campaign and I found not one word that she said rude or crude. Alyssa in my opinion seems to be a very honest and super hard working woman, and I wish her all the best in her run for counsel.
Daniel April 26, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Joe: She did make her comments in response to Belsky, both were wrong. We don't need more people like that serving the city.
Mark April 26, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Perhaps Mike just wants the red oak area to secede from HP.
S April 27, 2012 at 02:23 AM
"In my view me an my so called cronies accomplished more good for this City than Rotering will do in a lifetime." Really Mike? How embarrassing ... for you. Why the vitriol? That's awfully thin skinned coming from a politician. One can express genuine differences of opinion without resorting to such pettiness. Your incivility is only exceeded by your arrogance. Shame on you.
Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Quick question, how can you be an advocate for District 112 schools when you dont send your kids to our schools. If our schools are not equipped or resourced to educate certain peoples children than i would no trust their loyalty and commitment to bettering out District and Community. Sorry...
Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 03:35 AM
If someone likes or dislikes Mr. Belskys past or history has nothing to do with him stating the fact of the current situation. It is one thing if there are rumors or slander and it is another if its the truth. Dont mistake the truth from perception. I want people representing our district and community with out looking for roles for personal gains. I support our military and and any school in 112 they attend and i support our schools to the point that i make sure my children attend the schools in HP. I believe they will receive the education they deserve and need. If certain people dont believe in District 112 or our teachers dont run for any position in District 112 please!!!
Maria Owens May 20, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Although I am not a member of the Highland Park community, I have come to know Alyssa Knobel. I could not agree more with Mayor Rotering's view of Alyssa. I know Alyssa to be intelligent, professional and extremely hard-working. She is a great mother and the most loyal of friends. Alyssa Knobel would be a valuable asset to the Highland Park City Council.


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