WBEZ | 24th Ward http://www.wbez.org/tags/24th-ward Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chandler unseats Dixon, recaptures 24th Ward seat http://www.wbez.org/story/24th-ward/chandler-unseats-dixon-recaptures-24th-ward-seat-84809 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/Chandler1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A former longtime Chicago alderman has recaptured his old seat. Michael Chandler won about 60 percent of Tuesday’s 24th Ward runoff vote. He’ll replace Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon, who finished with about 40 percent.<br> <br> Chandler celebrated in the city’s North Lawndale neighborhood. “I’m stronger, I’m a little wiser, smarter, and I’m ready to work harder,” he told WBEZ. “We’re going to fight like hell here to get as much money as we can to our community. The West Side has been overlooked and we’re going to fight to get dollars here.”<br> <br> The contest was a rematch of a runoff four years ago, when Dixon unseated Chandler, who had held the office for 12 years.<br> <br> This time, the two emerged from a field of 18 candidates on the February 22 ballot. Dixon accused Chandler of packing that contest with straw candidates to improve chances of a runoff — a charge he denied.<br> <br> The council voting records of Dixon and Chandler show neither crossing Mayor Richard Daley often. In this year’s campaign, citywide issues took a backseat to the ward’s public services, its economic development and the candidates’ accessibility.<br> <br> Dixon’s campaign suffered due to a 2009 run-in with Chicago police officers, who arrested her on suspicion of drunken driving. Charges were dismissed after a judge ruled there was no probable cause. Dixon is suing three of the cops.</p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 08:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/24th-ward/chandler-unseats-dixon-recaptures-24th-ward-seat-84809 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 Crime issue boils in some ward races, simmers in others http://www.wbez.org/story/24th-ward/crime-issue-boils-some-ward-races-simmers-others <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/24th Ward forum 2cropped.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicagoans who punch cards for their favorite aldermanic candidates might have the issue of crime on their minds. But depending on where they live, they will have heard more&mdash;or less&mdash;about crime from their candidates. Talk of crime is loud on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, where there&rsquo;s relatively little violence. And some say there&rsquo;s complacency among candidates in West Side neighborhoods, where there&rsquo;s more crime. Two WBEZ bureau reporters, Odette Yousef and Chip Mitchell, look at this mismatch between crime and election talk. We start with Odette on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side.<strong><br /></strong><br />AMBI: Ready? Front! At ease.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Thirty or so police officers from the Rogers Park police district are on hand for an outdoor roll call. They&rsquo;re at Warren Park on a freezing night.<br /><br />AMBI: Twenty-four oh five, Twenty-four twelve...<br /><br />YOUSEF: Normally, police hold roll calls inside the district station. But 50th Ward Ald. Bernard Stone asked them to do it here this time.<br /><br />STONE: On behalf of the entire 50th Ward, I want to thank each and every one of you for what you do for us.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Usually, shows like this only happen when a jarring crime rocks a neighborhood. The police and community all come out to show criminals that law-abiding citizens still own the streets. But no major incident has happened recently in this police district. Ald. Stone is running for reelection. One of his opponents thinks that&rsquo;s the real reason he called this show of force: A little politics before a scheduled CAPS meeting. CAPS is the city&rsquo;s community policing program.<br /><br />MOSES: I was very disappointed in Ald. Stone trying to take CAPS and make it a political event. CAPS and politics do not mix.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So candidate Michael Moses leaves after the roll call. But he&rsquo;s the only one. The other four candidates all stay through the meeting. It&rsquo;s hard to say exactly how residents and politicians in the Rogers Park police district should feel about crime, because the stats are kind of all over the place. In 2010, general &ldquo;violent crime&rdquo; in the district fell more than 5 percent from the previous year but murder went up 75 percent. In another North Side police district, murder increased 400 percent. But consider this: That&rsquo;s from only one murder the previous year. So, we&rsquo;re talking about five murders in one North Side district in 2010. But some West and South side police districts saw dozens of murders last year. Still, crime is one of the top issues in North Side races.<br /><br />ROSENBAUM: Too often the media and everybody in this business, we talk about violent crime rate in Chicago. And the reality is that crime is more complex and neighborhood disorder is complex.<br /><br />YOUSEF: This is Dennis Rosenbaum. He&rsquo;s a criminologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Rosenbaum says even when violent crime may be low, residents feel fearful when they or their neighbors are victims of lesser offenses, like graffiti, car breakins, and auto theft. And, that fear translates into politics.<br /><br />ROSENBAUM: In times of fear and external threat, we tend to turn to authority figures to give us guidance. So it&rsquo;s a way of taking control over issues.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So Rosenbaum says it&rsquo;s little wonder North Side politicians are talking about nonviolent crime&mdash;after all, their constituents take it seriously. But there&rsquo;s another reason why North Side candidates are talking crime and safety. For two years, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis has advocated so-called beat realignment. It would involve redrawing maps of where cops patrol, so there&rsquo;d be more officers and cars in high-crime areas. One fear is that the North Side would lose officers to the West and South sides, where there&rsquo;s more violent crime. Previous efforts to realign beats have fallen flat, but there are rumors Weis is still trying to make it happen. Weis declined to confirm those rumors for WBEZ this week, but here&rsquo;s what he told us a couple months ago.<br /><br />WEIS: What we think by moving people around from districts that are not necessarily the quietest districts, but districts that have an abundance of police officers, we think we can move them over to the districts that are shorter, we can start attacking the whole image of Chicago.<br /><br />YOUSEF: The future of beat realignment in Chicago is unclear. For one, the two frontrunners in the mayoral race are against it. And they say they want to dump Supt. Weis. Still, North Side aldermanic candidates continue to talk about realignment and run against it. One of them is Michael Carroll. He&rsquo;s running in the North Side&rsquo;s 46th Ward. He&rsquo;s also a cop.<br /><br />CARROLL: As a police officer, I know, absolutely, putting more police officers in high-crime areas to bring down the crime rate works. However, I have a very hard time sending our police assets from our community, when we have a clear problem with gang activity and violence somewhere else.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Carroll says his ward has pockets of violent crime that are just as bad as parts of Chicago&rsquo;s West or South sides. He fears losing cops on the North Side would make those places more dangerous. Carroll&rsquo;s opponents are pretty much of the same mind. Most want the city to hire more officers, rather than shift existing officers around. But those same candidates concede that could be tough because the city&rsquo;s faced with a $600 million deficit. Not many have detailed roadmaps for how they&rsquo;d overcome that tricky problem. But in the 48th Ward, one candidate does. It&rsquo;s Harry Osterman.<br /><br />OSTERMAN: What I&rsquo;d like to try to do is see if we can modify state law to use dollars for public safety. There&rsquo;s a surplus in TIF funds for the city of Chicago, and potentially using some of that to hire police officers is something that I think would be worthwhile.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Osterman&rsquo;s goal of hiring more police is popular on the North Side. But using TIFs to get there may be less so. Tax increment financing districts have a bad reputation for being slush funds. So, maybe it&rsquo;s telling that Osterman wants to use them. On the North Side at least, the debate about crime and safety is so loud that candidates will turn to whatever tools are around to ensure police resources stay put. Reporting from Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef.<br /><br />MITCHELL: And I&rsquo;m Chip Mitchell at WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau. The political talk about crime is a lot different in this part of Chicago. Not many aldermanic candidates are hollering for more patrol officers. There are some loud voices on the issue. They&rsquo;re regular folks or community activists, like a woman named Serethea Reid. She moved into the Austin neighborhood a couple years ago.<br /><br />REID: There were people on the corner, drinking, selling alcohol out of the trunks of their cars&mdash;partying, loud music&mdash;two blocks from the police station.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene): So what have you done about it?<br /><br />REID: I started by calling the police. We&rsquo;d call, wait 10 minutes, call, wait 10 minutes, call. And the police were not coming.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid started attending local meetings of CAPS, the community-policing program. She soon noticed a stronger police presence near her house, but she wanted more help for the rest of Austin. So, last summer, Reid formed a group called the Central Austin Neighborhood Association. It meets in a church.<br /><br />AMBI: Today, I wanted, I was going to start with reviewing and sharing what our mission is....<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid&rsquo;s group shepherds Austin residents to Police Board meetings, where they demand better service. She&rsquo;s writing various Chicago agencies for data to see if police response times are slower in Austin than in other neighborhoods. And Reid wants information about that beat-realignment idea police Supt. Jody Weis talks about.<br /><br />REID: All the responses I&rsquo;ve gotten were that it was going to take a few months before he&rsquo;s done: &lsquo;It&rsquo;s not finalized. We can&rsquo;t talk about it because he&rsquo;s working on it.&rsquo;<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid says she feels like officials are giving her the runaround. She says her alderman isn&rsquo;t helping much either. That&rsquo;s despite the fact that it&rsquo;s election season, when politicians tend to speak up about nearly everything. So I&rsquo;ve been checking out West Side campaign events to see whether aldermanic candidates are pushing for police beat realignment.<br /><br />AMBI: I want to say thank you to each and every one of you candidates. Let&rsquo;s give them a round of applause.<br /><br />MITCHELL: This is a high-school auditorium in North Lawndale. Sixteen candidates crowd onto the stage to explain why they would be the best 24th Ward alderman. The forum lasts more than two hours, but not one of the candidates brings up the idea of realigning police beats or other ways to bring in officers from lower-crime areas. After the forum, I ask incumbent Sharon Denise Dixon why.<br /><br />DIXON: I can&rsquo;t answer that question for you, but that is a very good question. I can&rsquo;t answer it but it certainly should have been on the radar here, seeing that Lawndale is a high-crime area with lots of homicides and drug activity, etc. So that should definitely be a concern.<br /><br />MITCHELL: I&rsquo;ve reached out to aldermanic incumbents in five West Side wards with a lot of crime. All of the aldermen express interest in shifting police to high-crime neighborhoods. But none is trying to organize any sort of campaign to make it happen. In the 29th Ward, Ald. Deborah Graham points out that any organizing would meet resistance from people in low-crime areas.<br /><br />GRAHAM: Some of our aldermen on the north end [of the city] are fearful of losing their police officers.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Graham wishes police Supt. Jody Weis would lay out his plan and build public support for it.<br /><br />GRAHAM: Having a clear understanding of why we need the realignment&mdash;to ease their discomfort of possibly losing squad cars&mdash;would be very helpful.<br /><br />MITCHELL: But there may be another reason why so few West Side candidates are pressing the issue. 24th Ward challenger Valerie Leonard says many constituents don&rsquo;t want more officers.<br /><br />LEONARD: Talk to younger people, especially on the street. They say they&rsquo;re scared of the police. They say that the police are always picking on them and...<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene): It&rsquo;s not a winning campaign issue.<br /><br />LEONARD: That&rsquo;s true, given the history.<br /><br />MITCHELL: The history includes a point in 2003, when Mayor Daley was running for reelection. He promised to realign police beats. That riled aldermen of lower-crime wards, including some on the North Side. After the election, Daley backed away from his promise. Instead of realigning beats, his administration set up elite police teams to rove across large swaths of the city, from one crime hotspot to another. That way, the low-crime areas didn&rsquo;t have to give up patrol cops. One reporter called it the path of least resistance. But Chicago police SWAT officer Erick von Kondrat points to a downside.<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: These teams out there&mdash;whether they&rsquo;re area gang teams or some of the other citywide teams that move from district to district on a need-by-need basis&mdash;they don&rsquo;t have that opportunity on a day-to-day basis to make the connections that are really going to bolster the trust between the community and the police department.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Officer Von Kondrat says distrust in the police partly explains why West Side aldermen don&rsquo;t campaign for more beat officers. But he says there&rsquo;s another reason. He noticed it when he was a 24th Ward candidate himself (before a challenge to his nominating papers knocked him off the ballot).<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: A lot of these incumbents, because Mayor Daley is leaving, they don&rsquo;t really know what they&rsquo;re going to be stepping into at this point in time.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Again, the mayoral frontrunners don&rsquo;t support beat realignment. So, Von Kondrat figures, no West Side alderman can afford to be on the new mayor&rsquo;s bad side.<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: Going against that force is probably not in your best interest. It wouldn&rsquo;t make much sense to bring that issue up.<br /><br />MITCHELL: The beat-realignment idea has stalled, time and again, since the 1970s. The alternative would be to hire more cops for high-crime areas. That&rsquo;s basically what the top mayoral candidates are suggesting. In this economic climate, though, it&rsquo;s not clear what option the city can afford: financing a larger police department or shifting around the cops it already has. Chip Mitchell, WBEZ.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/24th-ward/crime-issue-boils-some-ward-races-simmers-others Aldermanic candidates aim for last - on the ballot http://www.wbez.org/story/news/politics/aldermanic-candidates-aim-last-ballot <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/petition web_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More than 350 people filed to run for the 50 seats on Chicago's City Council before the deadline arrived on Monday evening. Some of the races could be extremely crowded, including the 24th Ward, where about two dozen candidates filed.</p><p>The incumbent aldermen there, Sharon Denise Dixon, wanted the last spot on the ballot, in hopes that her name wouldn't get lost.</p><p>&quot;I wouldn't get so jumbled up in there with so many names and confuse the constituents,&quot; Dixon said.</p><p>So Dixon showed up at the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners just minutes before the 5 p.m. filing deadline, in an effort to be last in line and secure the coveted ballot position. But one of her challengers, Donielle Lawson, a teacher, had the same idea. It was a stand-off, and Dixon was annoyed.</p><p>&quot;She's playing games,&quot; Dixon said. &quot;[After] I get in line, [then] she gets out behind me.&quot;</p><p>Lawson blamed Dixon.</p><p>&quot;She initiated that, she was doing that, yes,&quot; Lawson said. &quot;Because of fear.&quot;</p><p>Both candidates needed to get in line before the 5 o'clock deadline, or be locked out of the filing room and the election.</p><p>Alderman Dixon won the game of chicken, but still faces a lot of competition. More than 20 candidates, including Lawson, have filed to run against her. Dixon said she has not decided whether to object to the petitions submitted by any of her opponents. Objections must be filed by next Tuesday.</p></p> Tue, 23 Nov 2010 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/politics/aldermanic-candidates-aim-last-ballot