WBEZ | 26th Ward http://www.wbez.org/tags/26th-ward Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Winning a referendum is no silver bullet http://www.wbez.org/story/200-cut-rate-liquors/winning-referendum-no-silver-bullet <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-13/REFERENDUM_Rea_Woods.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The idea behind a referendum is to give voters a direct voice in making their community better. These ballot questions can cover anything from stem-cell research to the fate of an empty lot. They may be binding or just advisory. Last month, referenda were on ballots in nine Chicago precincts. But it&rsquo;s not clear the voters will get what they had in mind &mdash; even if they were on the winning side. We&rsquo;ll hear now from WBEZ reporters in three parts of the city. We start with Chip Mitchell at our West Side bureau.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Kurt Gippert lives near a building here in Humboldt Park that seemed like a magnet.<br /><br />GIPPERT: Gang banging, loitering, drug sales, some prostitution, tons of urinating.<br /><br />MITCHELL: It was a liquor store.<br /><br />GIPPERT: In 2010, we had at least nine people shot in front of that store.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Under city pressure, the store closed last fall. Gippert and his neighbors wanted it gone for good, so they turned to a 77-year-old Illinois law that lets voters ban selling alcohol in their precinct.<br /><br />GIPPERT: It&rsquo;s the only power we had &mdash; the only surefire, effective thing that was going to last longer than six months or a year.<br /><br />MITCHELL: They petitioned to put the referendum on last month&rsquo;s ballot. And voters passed it about 4-to-1. Starting next week, the precinct will be dry. There&rsquo;s just one problem.<br /><br />SOUND: Car alarm.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on the scene): The place with the gang bangers in front wasn&rsquo;t the precinct&rsquo;s only store selling alcohol. I&rsquo;m outside a CVS a few blocks west. The clerks inside tell me booze accounts for about half their sales. But there&rsquo;s also a stream of customers who rely on this CVS for everything from prescription drugs to shampoo and milk. Without its liquor sales here, some of these folks worry CVS might close this store.<br /><br />CUSTOMER 1: Some of my family members get their prescriptions filled here. And it&rsquo;s really convenient that they can walk here instead of worrying about getting a ride or catching the bus.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on the scene): Do they have cars?<br /><br />CUSTOMER 1: No.<br /><br />CUSTOMER 2: I got three kids, so we need milk. If you get something for them from the corner store, it&rsquo;ll probably be old.<br /><br />CUSTOMER 3: Everybody around here, I guess, is poor. So they need to get to a place that most of them can walk to. Bus fare is high. Cab fare is high. So, yeah, it would hurt them.<br /><br />MITCHELL: CVS isn&rsquo;t answering whether it&rsquo;ll keep the store open once it quits selling alcohol. Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) supported the referendum. But he admits there&rsquo;s collateral damage.<br /><br />MALDONADO: We don&rsquo;t have a lot of retail in the area. And we have never heard complaints about CVS. However, if they depend on liquor to remain viable, then they should not be open.<br /><br />MITCHELL: I ask Maldonado about other precincts in his ward.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on the scene): Businesses that are selling alcohol and doing so responsibly, without a lot of problems out in front, do they have anything to worry about?<br /><br />MALDONADO: No, they don&rsquo;t have to worry as long as they are conscious about their own responsibility [to be] a good business neighbor.<br /><br />MITCHELL: And as long as residents don&rsquo;t vote the precinct dry. Reporting from Chicago&rsquo;s West Side, I&rsquo;m Chip Mitchell.<br /><br />MOORE: And I&rsquo;m Natalie Moore at our Side South bureau. The situation was different in a 3rd Ward precinct along East 47th Street. Voters didn&rsquo;t take aim at all liquor. They had specific targets: Night Train, Wild Irish Rose, Thunderbird &mdash; cheap, fortified wines that some residents say attracted low-end elements to the neighborhood. The referendum was nonbinding, nothing more than an opinion poll. Still, the majority voted to ban fortified wines at two stores. No more malt liquor either. But one of the stores took 22-ounce malt liquor off the shelves in July.<br /><br />MICHELIS: Took a hit on sales, between $20,000-$25,000 a month, but I gained it from the wines I put in the store.<br /><br />MOORE: Steve Michelis owns a store called 200 Cut Rate Liquors. Michelis says voters got what they wanted. He says the loitering and begging in front of his place stopped last year. Still, he didn&rsquo;t mind last month&rsquo;s referendum.<br /><br />MICHELIS: I don&rsquo;t care. I don&rsquo;t have anything to hide.<br /><br />MOORE: Maybe another reason Michelis didn&rsquo;t mind so much was because he was already getting other pressure &mdash; from Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd).<br /><br />DOWELL: You have people who stand outside, they drink it, they throw the can down, they beg for money or they go back in and get some money from somewhere and go back and buy another can.<br /><br />MOORE: Residents targeted Aristo Food and Liquor on the ballot, too. While residents gathered signatures for the nonbinding referendum, Dowell had her own approach. She&rsquo;s been working on getting the owners to sign agreements to stop selling the cheap liquor. She&rsquo;ll then attach them to their liquor licenses with the city. That would make them binding. The owner of Aristo says he plans to comply with Dowell. But the alderman says she&rsquo;s still waiting to hear back from him. Reporting from the city&rsquo;s South Side, I&rsquo;m Natalie Moore.<br /><br />YOUSEF: And I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef. Here on the North Side, one alderman and some voters are not on the same page. And, the issue isn&rsquo;t liquor. It&rsquo;s land use.<br /><br />GLAZIER: There&rsquo;s going to be three large driveways next to each other.<br /><br />YOUSEF: This is Josh Glazier.<br /><br />GLAZIER: Two for trucks coming in and out of the project, and one for several hundred cars that are going to remain inside the building.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Glazier lives behind this unused hospital garage in Lincoln Park. He&rsquo;s not happy about a developer&rsquo;s plan to turn it into a grocery store.<br /><br />GLAZIER: The community really objects to the grocer and the trucks.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Glazier says Ald. Vi Daley (43rd) has heard him out. He and others recall her saying she&rsquo;d stay neutral until the community reached a consensus on the project. But in spite of overwhelming opposition at public meetings. . .<br /><br />GLAZIER: We&rsquo;ve been hearing for quite some time that the alderman had this secret list, with the names of all the project&rsquo;s supporters and opponents. And increasingly she&rsquo;s been telling us the count was very close. And we didn&rsquo;t feel like a secret list should be the basis for any decision on the project.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So Glazier and fellow opponents gathered signatures to put the issue on their precinct&rsquo;s February ballot.<br /><br />YOUSEF (on the scene): So you knew going into this that this would not be a binding result?<br /><br />GLAZIER: Of course it was not going to be a binding result, but it was going to create some transparency.<br /><br />YOUSEF: And that&rsquo;s what Glazier says he got. Most voters opposed the project at the polls. So he was stunned to hear Ald. Daley&rsquo;s official position just days later. In a statement, she wrote, &ldquo;I will not delay this project any longer and I will vote to approve this project at City Council.&rdquo; Daley said only a narrow majority of voters opposed the development. She said she heard from many ward residents who do want it. They live outside the precinct that voted on it. I asked Prof. Christopher Berry of the University of Chicago if that was a legitimate reason to discount the referendum results:<br /><br />BERRY: Well, it&rsquo;s a legitimate tack to take, but the only way we would really know the answer is to have some sort of scientific public opinion poll that was done, that included everyone in the affected geography.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Berry says referenda are anything but scientific. They&rsquo;re often put together by self-selected groups on one side of an issue. And, usually, only a small fraction of voters come out to decide it. Berry says with referenda, the real story often isn&rsquo;t about how the vote came down. It&rsquo;s that an issue came down to a vote at all.<br /><br />BERRY: When you see a referendum, which means citizens have to be directly making this policy, it suggests some sort of failure or breakdown in the process between the citizens and their representatives.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Berry says those breakdowns are rare because politicians usually want to get reelected. But, in Lincoln Park, that&rsquo;s not the case. Ald. Daley retires in May. On Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef, WBEZ.</p></p> Mon, 14 Mar 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/200-cut-rate-liquors/winning-referendum-no-silver-bullet West Side Aldermanic Races http://www.wbez.org/story/12th-ward/west-side-aldermanic-races <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//1_morfin_6.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated At: 10:40 p.m.&nbsp; </em>New numbers from West Side wards, where runoffs seem likely in the 24th, 25th, 36th and 38th wards.</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 12</strong></p><p>24 of 24 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>George Cardenas, (i) 2,680 - 55 percent</p><p>Jose Guereca, 911 - 19 percent</p><p>Jesse Iñiguez, 796 - 16 percent</p><p>Alberto Bocanegra, 321 - 7 percent</p><p>Maria Ortiz, 137 - 3 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 21</strong></p><p>70 of 74 precincts - 95 percent</p><p>Howard Brookins, (i) 8,004 - 56 percent</p><p>Sheldon Sherman, 2,797 - 19 percent</p><p>Patricia Foster, 1,706 - 12 percent</p><p>Sylvia Jones, 1,537 - 11 percent</p><p>Jerome Maddox, 309 - 2 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 22</strong></p><p>29 of 29 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Ricardo Munoz, (i) 2,793 - 65 percent</p><p>Neftalie Gonzalez, 1,536 - 35 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 23</strong></p><p>54 of 54 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Michael Zalewski, (i) 8,581 - 53 percent</p><p>Anna Goral, 5,511 - 34 percent</p><p>Chuck Maida, 2,231 - 14 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 24</strong></p><p>56 of 56 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Sharon Dixon, (i) 1,783 - 20 percent</p><p>Michael Chandler, 1,197 - 13 percent</p><p>Vetress Boyce, 841 - 9 percent</p><p>Valerie Leonard, 697 - 8 percent</p><p>Shavonda Fields, 606 - 7 percent</p><p>Chauncey Stroud, 605 - 7 percent</p><p>Julius Anderson, 482 - 5 percent</p><p>Wallace Johnson, 477 - 5 percent</p><p>Wilbert Cook, 459 - 5 percent</p><p>Sondra Spellman, 435 - 5 percent</p><p>Melissa Williams, 369 - 4 percent</p><p>Frank Bass, 346 - 4 percent</p><p>Regina Lewis, 309 - 3 percent</p><p>Jeffery Turner, 203 - 2 percent</p><p>Donielle Lawson, 137 - 1 percent</p><p>Larry Nelson, 113 - 1 percent</p><p>Mark Carter, 44 - 0 percent</p><p>Jimmy Lee Lard, 37 - 0 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 25</strong></p><p>31 of 31 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Danny Solis, (i) 4,291 - 49 percent</p><p>Cuahutemoc Morfin, 2,451 - 28 percent</p><p>Ambrosio Medrano, 2,025 - 23 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 26</strong></p><p>61 of 63 precincts - 97 percent</p><p>Roberto Maldonado, (i) 5,885 - 82 percent</p><p>Devon Reid, 1,263 - 18 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 27</strong></p><p>59 of 59 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Walter Burnett, (i) 6,606 - 71 percent</p><p>Tom Courtney, 2,056 - 22 percent</p><p>Gevonna Fassett, 655 - 7 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 28</strong></p><p>60 of 61 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Jason Ervin, (i) 5,557 - 85 percent</p><p>William Siegmund, 1,007 - 15 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 29</strong></p><p>44 of 49 precincts - 90 percent</p><p>Deborah Graham, (i) 4,884 - 52 percent</p><p>Thomas Simmons, 1,147 - 12 percent</p><p>C B Johnson, 1,075 - 11 percent</p><p>Mary Russell Gardner, 899 - 10 percent</p><p>Jill Bush, 636 - 7 percent</p><p>Beverly Rogers, 299 - 3 percent</p><p>Roman Morrow, 279 - 3 percent</p><p>Oddis Johnson, 168 - 2 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 30</strong></p><p>40 of 41 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Ariel Reboyras, (i) 4,506 - 75 percent</p><p>Stella Nicpon, 595 - 10 percent</p><p>Chester Hornowski, 526 - 9 percent</p><p>Doug Cannon, 368 - 6 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 32</strong></p><p>52 of 52 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Scott Waguespack, (i) 8,704 - 66 percent</p><p>David Pavlik, 2,290 - 17 percent</p><p>Bryan Lynch, 1,465 - 11 percent</p><p>Brian Gorman, 770 - 6 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 34</strong></p><p>61 of 61 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Carrie Austin, (i) 9,170 - 65 percent</p><p>Henry Moses, 2,123 - 15 percent</p><p>Shirley White, 1,533 - 11 percent</p><p>Burl McQueen, 659 - 5 percent</p><p>Michael Mayden, 618 - 4 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 35</strong></p><p>36 of 36 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Rey Colon, (i) 4,451 - 51 percent</p><p>Miguel Sotomayor, 2,174 - 25 percent</p><p>Nancy Schiavone, 2,117 - 24 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 36</strong></p><p>55 of 55 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>John Rice, (i) 6,709 - 48 percent</p><p>Nicholas Sposato, 3,346 - 24 percent</p><p>Jodi Biancalana, 1,964 - 14 percent</p><p>Brian Murphy, 656 - 5 percent</p><p>Thomas Motzny, 650 - 5 percent</p><p>Bruce Randazzo, 628 - 5 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 37</strong></p><p>40 of 43 precincts - 93 percent</p><p>Emma Mitts, (i) 4,779 - 58 percent</p><p>Maretta Brown-Miller, 1,982 - 24 percent</p><p>Shanika Finley, 390 - 5 percent</p><p>Minerva Orozco, 389 - 5 percent</p><p>Steven Pleasant, 332 - 4 percent</p><p>Tommy Abina, 328 - 4 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 38</strong></p><p>53 of 53 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Timothy Cullerton, (i) 5,795 - 48 percent</p><p>Tom Caravette, 2,699 - 22 percent</p><p>Bart Goldberg, 945 - 8 percent</p><p>Carmen Hernandez, 723 - 6 percent</p><p>Mahmoud Bambouyani, 704 - 6 percent</p><p>Sheryl Morabito, 672 - 6 percent</p><p>John Videckis, 402 - 3 percent</p><p>Ed Quartullo, 237 - 2 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 39</strong></p><p>47 of 47 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Margaret Laurino, (i) 7,735 - 76 percent</p><p>Mary Hunter, 2,392 - 24 percent</p><p><em>Updated At 9:38 p.m</em>. Incumbent 25th Ward Ald. Danny Solis will likely face a runoff to defend his seat. &nbsp;He won 49% of the vote with all precincts reporting.</p><p><em>Updated At: 8:55 p.m</em>.&nbsp; Incumbent 24th Ward Ald. Sharon Dixon is leading a tight race that is headed towards a runoff. With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Dixon has a slight edge over her closest competitor Michael Chandler.<strong><br /></strong></p><p>Here's a look at some of the races WBEZ is focusing on:</p><p><strong>12th Ward</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />Ald. George Cárdenas&rsquo; campaign staffers predicted a victory without a runoff, but the two-term incumbent looked nervous. During this month&rsquo;s blizzard cleanup, Cárdenas spent thousands of campaign dollars to bring in snow plows. He festooned them with reelection placards.<br />&nbsp;<br />This Southwest Side ward, mostly Latino, covers parts of Brighton Park, McKinley Park, Back of the Yards and Little Village. It&rsquo;s struggling with overcrowded housing, foreclosure filings, struggling schools and rising crime.<br />&nbsp;<br />Cárdenas won his first aldermanic election in 2003 with help from the Hispanic Democratic Organization, a roving campaign army that eventually dissolved amid a federal probe into patronage hiring by Mayor Daley&rsquo;s administration. Cárdenas won his 2007 reelection handily.<br />&nbsp;<br />But this year&rsquo;s race was tougher. The strongest of four challengers appeared to be Streets and Sanitation worker José Guereca, a former Army soldier who received tens of thousands of campaign dollars from State Sen. Tony Muñoz, the ward&rsquo;s Democratic boss. Muñoz, a former Cárdenas ally, was a fellow HDO beneficiary. Guereca also got support from Teamsters Local 700 and the Chicago Firefighters Union.<br />&nbsp;<br />Another tough challenger was coffee-shop owner Jesús &ldquo;Jesse&rdquo; Iñiguez, head of the United Southwest Chamber of Commerce who ran poorly against Cárdenas four years ago. This time he got help from Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd Ward) and County Board Commissioner Jesús &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; García (7th District), making the race a skirmish in a decades-old war between Southwest Side progressives and regular Democrats. Other important support came from the Service Employees International Union. Iñiguez campaign staffers predicted they would advance to the runoff as Cárdenas and Guereca competed for the same machine voters.<br />&nbsp;<br />But Iñiguez himself lost some votes to the Green Party&rsquo;s Alberto Bocanegra Jr., who raised a lot of money for the race. Bocanegra had backing from water district commissioner Frank Avila and immigrant rights organizer Jorge Mújica.<br />&nbsp;<br />Also on the ballot was María &ldquo;Chula&rdquo; Ortiz, a suburban bus employee with little money or visibility.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>24th Ward</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon struggled to build a strong political organization after narrowly winning her seat in a 2007 runoff. When Chicago police officers arrested her on drunken-driving charges in 2009, some residents of her ward smelled blood. Seventeen got on the ballot to challenge her, making the contest the most crowded of any Chicago ward race in two decades.<br />&nbsp;<br />A judge determined the officers had no probable cause to arrest Dixon and, last month, she filed suit against three of the cops, saying they wrongly accused her. These developments didn&rsquo;t seem to give her big boosts. The mostly African American ward, which includes North Lawndale and parts of other West Side neighborhoods, is struggling with poverty, abandoned lots, unemployment and low high-school graduation rates.<br />&nbsp;<br />Three challengers seemed to have the most support or credibility. One, Ald. Michael Chandler, lost his seat to Dixon despite support from Mayor Daley. In the rematch, Dixon said Chandler ran straw candidates to help force her into a runoff. Chandler denied that accusation. Another strong challenger appeared to be Melissa Williams, a real-estate attorney who has worked for neighborhood housing groups and ex-offenders. She had backing from State Sen. Rickey Hendon. The third was Valerie Leonard, who uses her finance background to help social-service agencies gather government funding. She founded Lawndale Alliance, a community group focused on affordable housing, community development and quality schools.<br />&nbsp;<br />Several other candidates also seemed to have a decent shot: Wallace &ldquo;Mickey&rdquo; Johnson, a former NBA player and former Cook County sheriff&rsquo;s deputy who has a West Side business; Wilbert Cook III, who heads a nonprofit that works to reintegrate ex-offenders into the job market; Chauncey Stroud, who once served as chief of staff for former Ald. Jesse Miller (24th); Donielle Lawson, a Cook County Jail teacher and union delegate; and Frank Bass, who lobbied in Springfield for John Stroger, the late Cook County Board president.<br />&nbsp;<br />The weakest candidates seemed to be Martavius &ldquo;Mark&rdquo; Carter, Sondra &ldquo;Sam&rdquo; Spellman, Vetress Boyce, Julius Anderson, Shavonda Fields, Jimmy Lee Lard, Regina Lewis, Jeffery Turner and Larry Nelson.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>25th Ward</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />Ald. Daniel &ldquo;Danny&rdquo; Solís has been Mayor&rsquo;s Daley&rsquo;s closest Latino ally on the City Council for years. In 2007, nevertheless, Solís barely avoided a runoff. This year the incumbent seemed to have an even tougher race.<br />&nbsp;<br />Daley appointed Solís to the seat in 1996 to replace Ald. Ambrosio Medrano, who pleaded guilty in the Operation Silver Shovel scandal and served more than two years in federal prison. Solís was a player in the Hispanic Democratic Organization, Daley&rsquo;s most powerful campaign army until federal authorities started looking into City Hall patronage hiring. Solís also co-founded the United Neighborhood Organization, a group that now runs charter schools.<br />&nbsp;<br />Solís now chairs the council&rsquo;s powerful Zoning Committee. In that post, he helped broker a deal last year that could lead to several new Walmart stores in Chicago.<br />&nbsp;<br />Solís helped open gates to development and gentrification, which angered some residents of Pilsen, one of Chicago&rsquo;s oldest Mexican neighborhoods. The ward also includes Tri-Taylor, Chinatown, and an area near the University of Illinois at Chicago.<br />&nbsp;<br />Solís also took shots for withholding support for proposed city regulation of emissions from two coal-fired power plants, one of which stands in the ward.<br />&nbsp;<br />One of his challengers was Ambrosio &ldquo;Ambi&rdquo; Medrano Jr., a city Department of Transportation worker and son of the former alderman who went to prison. Medrano had backing from organized labor. The other challenger was construction contractor Cuahutémoc &ldquo;Temoc&rdquo; Morfín, an immigrant rights activist who came within a dozen votes of forcing Solís into a runoff in 2007.</p><p><strong>26th Ward</strong></p><p>The 26th ward has one of the youngest candidates on the ballot. 18-year-old Devon Reid is a studying at Wright College to be a high school history teacher. He says his love of history leads naturally to a love of politics. He's going up against an experienced politician, Roberto Maldonado. Maldonado spent 15 years on the Cook County Board of Commissioners before being appointed 26th ward alderman by Mayor Richard Daley in 2009. This is Maldonado's first election for alderman but he's got $200,000 to spend on the race. Reid has raised about $3,000 in cash and in kind contributions. He says most of that has come from his foster family.<br /> <strong><br />32nd Ward</strong><br /> <br />Scott Waguespack was elected to the city council in 2007 and was considered part of a group of new independents who would question and challenge the policies of Mayor Richard Daley. There weren't that many challenges, but Waguespack is one of the aldermen who voted against the now largely reviled parking meter deal. Waguespack says that deal crystalized for voters all the ways city hall isn't working. He says aldermen have focused solely on their wards to the detriment of the citywide issues.<br /> <br />Waguespack is facing a challenge from David Pavlik who currently works in the governor's office of management and the budget. Pavlik is getting support from 33rd Ward Ald. Dick Mell. That's a little awkward because Mell sits next to Waguespack in the city council. Mell says he likes Waguespack, whom he refers to as a &quot;young man,&quot; but Pavlik's mother used to work for Mell so Mell gave her the okay to siphon off any of his political workers who wanted to help her out. Mell's seat is safe because he has no challenger. Mell says he's also dispatched workers to the 41st and 43rd wards, and he's supporting Rey Colon in the 35th. In addition to Pavlik, Waguespack is also trying to fend off challenges from Brian Gorman and Bryan Lynch.</p><p><em>Chip Mitchell and Robert Wildeboer contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 23:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/12th-ward/west-side-aldermanic-races 18-year-old aldermanic candidate gets no respect from incumbent http://www.wbez.org/story/26th-ward/18-year-old-aldermanic-candidate-gets-no-respect-incumbent <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Devon Reid Prepares Flyers at his Campaign Office.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Politicians around the city are making their final push for votes in Chicago's mayoral and aldermanic races. The 26th ward on the city's west side is home to something of a David and Goliath story with an 18-year-old going up against an experienced politician. Though this David is unlikely to beat Goliath.<br /><br />It's Saturday afternoon just a couple days before the election and 2548 W. Division is all closed up.&nbsp; There are rolling shutters over the windows as well as the door.&nbsp; This is Alderman Roberto Maldonado's campaign office and it's not exactly a beehive of activity right now though Maldonado doesn't have much of a political challenge in this race.<br /><br />REID: My name is Devon Reid.&nbsp; I'm running for alderman in the 26th ward.&nbsp; I'm 18, I'm at Wright College.&nbsp; I'm studying to be a high school history teacher.<br /><br />Reid is standing in the community room of the public library in Humboldt Park where he's set out some literature.<br /><br />He hands me a flyer and says he knows there's a mistake.<br /><br />His bullet point on using Tax Increment Financing to support schools. It's listed twice.<br /><br />But Reid doesn't want to waste all the copies he's made so all the flyers will be put in mailboxes.<br /><br />He stands at the front of the room ready to make his pitch to voters but no one shows up.<br /><br />It doesn't seem to phase him though because of the time he's spent out in the ward.<br /><br />REID: I always get a very positive response.&nbsp; A lot of people are tired of the way things are going here in Chicago and in the ward.<br /><br />Reid looks down at a map of the ward and shows me where he's been focussing his time.<br />&nbsp;<br />REID:&nbsp; In areas like the 19th precinct, that's a very progressive area.&nbsp; There's a green party candidate that ran for state senator in 2010 and he got 40 percent of the vote in the 19th precinct, the 34th, the 51st, and those all have very high voter turnout.&nbsp; Those are some of the highest in the ward and they're very progressive apparently if they're voting for a green party candidate.<br /><br />Reid is hoping some of those voters will be more inclined to vote for him rather than a well-established politician like Maldonado.<br /><br />Maldonado was a Cook County commissioner for 15 years before being appointed to the City Council by Mayor Richard Daley in 2009.<br /><br />Maldonado has $200,000 to spend while Reid has a little more than $3,000 in cash and in kind contributions.<br /><br />Reid says most of his financial support actually comes from the foster family that he's lived with for the last 5 years after his grandmother died.<br /><br />Despite Maldonado's huge advantage in the race, perhaps because of it, he's been unwilling to engage Reid.<br /><br />For example, at a candidate's forum in January sponsored by the Organization of Palmer Square, Maldonado told organizers he wouldn't speak to the crowd with Reid in the room.<br /><br />REID: And so he asked them to make me leave for him to speak and they politely brought me over to the side and told me that they did want him to speak and if I'd just step outside of the room and then I can come back in after he's done talking.&nbsp; I didn't want to cause a huge scene and I didn't want to seem unprofessional so I went ahead and walked out of the room.&nbsp; Maldonado stepped to the front and then they closed the door because I couldn't even see him speak. <br /><br />Maldonado did not return calls for this story and in fact, things got a little weird as I sought an interview. <br /><br />A woman who answered the phone at his campaign office even hung up on me, twice.<br /><br />When I stopped by the office, another volunteer, Chris Johnson, who had taken a message by phone earlier in the day, said he'd pass another message on to Maldonado, but said they were pretty busy and he wasn't sure the message would get through.<br /><br />And he insisted there was no one else I should talk to about getting an interview.<br /><br />BARNES: My name is Bruce Barnes and I have stumbled into the position of being Devon Reid's campaign manager.<br /><br />Barnes met Reid when Reid was going door to door around the neighborhood collecting petitions to get on the ballot.<br /><br />Barnes says he was immediately impressed and he's been helping ever since and he says whatever happens on Tuesday, the campaign has already had an impact.<br /><br />BARNES: We had an alderman that was appointed by the mayor that we hadn't heard from the entire time he had been an alderman and as soon as he got word that Devon was on the ballot, in a one month period we got four or five different flyers in the mail and we had people knocking on our doors and his signs went up all over the neighborhood.<br /><br />Back at the library, standing in an empty room Reid says there probably is a correlation between how many people showed up for his forum and how many will vote for him.<br /><br />But he says win or lose, this won't be his last time running for office.<br /><br />He gathers up his flyers, errors and all, and heads out to a carefully chosen precinct to talk to some more voters.</p></p> Mon, 21 Feb 2011 05:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/26th-ward/18-year-old-aldermanic-candidate-gets-no-respect-incumbent Del Valle has big stake in election board hearing http://www.wbez.org/story/26th-ward/del-valle-has-big-stake-election-board-hearing <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//DeJesus.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago mayoral hopeful Miguel del Valle has decent name recognition after serving four years as city clerk and, earlier, two decades as an Illinois state senator. He&rsquo;s winning support in the race from some progressive activists.<br /><br />But he&rsquo;s got a problem closer to home. Del Valle could lose thousands of Puerto Rican votes to the pastor of a huge Northwest Side congregation. That pastor is Wilfredo De Jesus of New Life Covenant Church.<br /><br />Del Valle&rsquo;s campaign says it won&rsquo;t comment on an effort to knock De Jesus off the February ballot. That&rsquo;s after denying any ties to the effort, then acknowledging some.<br /><br />An objection to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners claims thousands of De Jesus&rsquo; nominating signatures are invalid. The objection goes before hearing officer Rodney W. Stewart on Monday afternoon.<br /><br />The attorney who filed the objection, Ralanda Webb of Oak Park, claimed she&rsquo;s not working for any candidate. Webb, a real-estate specialist, worked in the 1980s as a senior staff member of Illinois Attorney General Neil Hartigan. The objector is her brother Frederick Charles Webb, a truck driver who lives in Chatham.</p></p> Mon, 27 Dec 2010 11:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/26th-ward/del-valle-has-big-stake-election-board-hearing Puerto Ricans clash over mayoral ballot objection http://www.wbez.org/story/news/puerto-ricans-clash-over-mayoral-ballot-objection <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Miguel_del_Valle.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A skirmish is breaking out between the only Puerto Ricans among 20 candidates for Chicago mayor. Rev. Wilfredo De Jesús&rsquo; campaign says it has reason to believe City Clerk Miguel del Valle is behind a mysterious objection to the minister&rsquo;s nominating papers.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m extremely disappointed that our only challenge is coming from a fellow Latino candidate,&rdquo; says Billy Ocasio, a De Jesús advisor and former 26th Ward alderman. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s even more disappointing when they have no grounds for a credible challenge.&rdquo;<br /><br />But Del Valle spokeswoman Alejandra Moran says his campaign has nothing to do with the objection, which challenges thousands of De Jesús&rsquo; signatures.<br /><br />The attorney who filed the objection, Ralanda Webb of west suburban Oak Park, claims she&rsquo;s not working for any mayoral candidate. Webb, a real-estate specialist, worked in the 1980s as a senior staff member of then-Illinois Attorney General Neil Hartigan.<br /><br />Webb says her only client in the case is the objector, her brother Frederick Charles Webb, who was not available for comment Thursday evening. A woman who answered the phone at his Chatham address said he&rsquo;s a truck driver.<br /><br />De Jesús leads New Life Covenant Church, one of the world&rsquo;s largest Assemblies of God congregations. He and Del Valle, a former Illinois state senator, are competing fiercely on the Northwest Side, where both are based.</p></p> Fri, 03 Dec 2010 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/puerto-ricans-clash-over-mayoral-ballot-objection City Hall pushes mayoral hopeful to resign from panel http://www.wbez.org/story/news/city-hall-pushes-mayoral-hopeful-resign-panel <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//De_Jesus.png" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Richard Daley&rsquo;s administration is asking a Chicago mayoral contender to step down from a city zoning panel. <br /><br />Daley spokeswoman Jackie Heard says Rev. Wilfredo De Jesús&rsquo;s campaign could raise questions about his impartiality as one of five members of the city&rsquo;s Zoning Board of Appeals. &ldquo;What if a political opponent of his had business before the board?&rdquo; Heard asks.<br /><br />But De Jesús says he won&rsquo;t resign unless he wins the mayoral election: &ldquo;If I&rsquo;m not breaking any laws and there are no rules being broken, I&rsquo;m not stepping down.&rdquo;<br /><br />De Jesús says he learned that the Daley administration wanted him off the board about two weeks ago, when he got a call from Joan Coogan, director of the city&rsquo;s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. &ldquo;She said, &lsquo;The mayor would like you to step down,&rsquo; &rdquo; the pastor recalls. &ldquo;Immediately what I thought was that the mayor doesn&rsquo;t want to give the perception that he&rsquo;s endorsing me.&rdquo;<br /><br />De Jesús heads a large Humboldt Park congregation called New Life Covenant. Daley appointed him to the zoning panel in 2007. The post adds weight to De Jesús&rsquo;s claim that he&rsquo;s a competent administrator, not just a charismatic preacher.<br /><br />The pastor has made his presence known in other parts of city government. In 2008, De Jesús led some clergy members who helped derail a planned city high school for LGBT students. Last year, De Jesús organized a group of ministers and aldermen who demanded more Latinos in top police posts.<br /><br />Later in 2009, Billy Ocasio stepped down as 26th Ward alderman and pushed Daley to put De Jesús in that seat. Daley rejected the pastor, despite the mayor&rsquo;s tradition of following an outgoing alderman&rsquo;s successor recommendation.<br /><br />De Jesús criticized Daley when announcing his mayoral bid last month. The pastor called Daley&rsquo;s parking-meter privatization &ldquo;a poor decision&rdquo; for Chicago businesses and residents.<br /><br />&ldquo;People have taken our voice and our vote for granted,&rdquo; De Jesús told a rally of some 400 mostly religious supporters at the Humboldt Park boathouse. &ldquo;For far too long, the city of Chicago has not wanted to hear us. But today there&rsquo;s a new wind coming from every corner of the city of Chicago--coming from heaven.&rdquo;<br /><br />The pastor wouldn&rsquo;t be the first member of a city board to step down to focus on running for mayor. Lawyer Gery Chico resigned as City Colleges chairman last month. Spokeswomen for both Chico and Daley say the candidate arrived at the decision without any urging from the mayor.</p></p> Fri, 12 Nov 2010 23:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/city-hall-pushes-mayoral-hopeful-resign-panel Pentecostal pastor to enter Chicago mayoral race http://www.wbez.org/story/26th-ward/pentecostal-pastor-enter-chicago-mayoral-race <p><p>A Pentecostal leader with controversial views about homosexuality is jumping into Chicago&rsquo;s mayoral race. Rev. Wilfredo De Jesús, senior pastor of <a href="http://www.mynewlife.org/">New Life Covenant Church</a> in Humboldt Park, is planning to announce his candidacy Thursday at the park&rsquo;s boathouse. <br /><br />De Jesús, whose nickname is Choco, has a firm launching pad. New Life Covenant is one of the world&rsquo;s largest <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assemblies_of_God">Assemblies of God</a> congregations. His team packs thousands of worshipers into the Roberto Clemente High School auditorium during six weekly services there. The church also runs dozens of social programs, reaching out to everyone from prostitutes to gang members, homeless people to prisoners.<br /><br />De Jesús&rsquo;s mayoral bid is beginning with efforts to extend his support to other evangelical churches, sources near the campaign tell me. He&rsquo;s reaching out to pastors like Daniel Hill of <a href="http://www.churchwebsites.com/rivercity/index.cfm?page=6">River City Community Church</a>, another Humboldt Park congregation. Hill promoted De Jesús&rsquo;s campaign from the pulpit at River City&rsquo;s main service yesterday.<br /><br />De Jesús supporters have also quietly begun to collect signatures to get him on the February ballot, sources say.<br /><br />What De Jesús isn&rsquo;t doing&mdash;at least yet&mdash;is trying to push into the Democratic organizations of heavily Latino wards and districts, where he&rsquo;d potentially compete head on against three other North Siders eyeing the mayor&rsquo;s office: former Chicago Ald. Manny Flores, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez and City Clerk Miguel del Valle.<br /><br />Winning over African American religious voters could also be an uphill battle. De Jesús worked for Barack Obama&rsquo;s campaign in 2008, but State Sen. James Meeks says he&rsquo;s planning to enter the mayor&rsquo;s race. Meeks is senior pastor of Salem Baptist, a black megachurch on the South Side.<br /><br />De Jesús&rsquo;s church is not his only source of clout. He&rsquo;s a commissioner on the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals. And his campaign already has an influential adviser, former Ald. Billy Ocasio, who left his 26th Ward seat last year to work for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.<br /><br />Ocasio, a New Life Covenant member, <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=34542">pushed for De Jesús to be his City Council replacement</a>. But Mayor Richard Daley took the unusual step of rejecting an outgoing alderman&rsquo;s successor recommendation after gay leaders raised a ruckus. They were upset with De Jesús for leading a group of clergy members in a 2008 effort that helped derail a planned Chicago high school for queer students. De Jesús last year tried to explain to me why he opposed the planned school: &ldquo;I felt that it was a form of segregation.&rdquo;<br /><br />Gay leaders also voiced concerns about De Jesús&rsquo;s links to the Assemblies of God, a fellowship that considers homosexuality a sin. The pastor once told me the tenet stems from the bible. &ldquo;I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,&rdquo; he said. De Jesús wasn&rsquo;t immediately available to comment for this report.</p></p> Mon, 04 Oct 2010 11:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/26th-ward/pentecostal-pastor-enter-chicago-mayoral-race