Alton's parade, as tradition, steps off at 10 a.m. from Alton Middle School, 2200 College Ave., heads east up College and winds through the Upper Alton area. Besides public office holders and union officials, various tradesmen walk or ride the route to celebrate organized labor's history and accomplishments, with a mission to fight for workers' rights, Webb said.
Amy Meyer, Democratic candidate for Madison County recorder, will be marshal.
"She is a new, upcoming candidate; she has been a friend of labor for a long time," Webb said.
He said three levels of union officials in Illinois screen candidates for endorsement in Committees on Political Education, from the state level to congressional district -- in this case, the 12th District -- and at the county level.
Webb said at the Madison County level, the COPE endorses candidates down to the level of County Board chairman, based on labor issues, but not offices below that.
When asked what a state's attorney's relationship to organized labor would be, Webb said it could be his or her influence.
"They could have some influence on our legislators; they could write letters," Webb said. "Labor is in a fight for its life. Wisconsin and Indiana are all 'red states' that turned to 'right to work for less states.'"
Sholar issued a news release to the media and wrote letters to Alton Mayor Tom Hoechst, who is her uncle, as well as to Granite City Mayor Ed Hagnauer, aldermen from both cities, Webb and Michael Fultz of the Granite City AFL-CIO. She acknowledged the cities are not to blame, but insisted parades still use public resources and should be open to all.
"It's truly none of my business," Hoechst said, although he will be in the Alton parade. "The city's position on this is, we approved a request to hold a parade. In such situations, we retain the authority, and we regulate traffic, but we have no role as to who is in the parade. We have no ties to it. We just issue a permit."
Chip Buckman of Alton, who contacted The Telegraph and called himself a Republican, submitted the following statement: "It is a shame the Labor Day parade organizers are excluding the local Republican establishment and candidate from marching in the Labor Day parade. On a day when taxpayer-funded services such as police and firefighters are being shown off in the parade, part of their taxpaying base, who happens to be conservative, is being refused permission to participate.
"It seems fairness has been co-opted by the typical left-wing censorship model," Buckman said. "It is very ironic that the left's claim to diversity does not hold up when the other side shows up with its opposing point of view. The left and their local backing unions should man up, be civilized and allow ideas to compete fairly for a change. Haven't we all had enough of their manipulation of the message and of people? That hardly seems to me to be an ideal of the so-called '99 percent.'"
Sholar repeatedly has said she supports organized labor.
Alton's parade is capped off by the finals of the annual James Stanley Memorial Charity Softball Tournament, which started Wednesday at Gordon F. Moore Community Park. The winning team chooses a charity to which to donate its cash prize.
Granite City's parade will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 3, at State Street between Niedringhaus Avenue and 18th Street, ending at Wilson Park with a picnic. Madison County Clerk Mark von Nida, Democratic candidate for circuit clerk, will be marshal.
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