WBEZ | sharon denise dixon http://www.wbez.org/tags/sharon-denise-dixon 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 Meet Chicago's newest aldermen http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-04-06/meet-chicagos-newest-aldermen-84807 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/P1000508.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at 10:07 a.m.</em></p><p>Four incumbent aldermen appear headed for losses in Chicago’s runoff elections: the 6<sup>th</sup> Ward’s Freddrenna Lyle, the 24<sup>th</sup> Ward’s Sharon Denise Dixon, the 36<sup>th</sup> Ward’s John Rice and the 50<sup>th</sup> Ward’s Berny Stone. Rice was one of the council’s newest members, having been appointed just a year-and-a-half ago; Stone one its longest-serving.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-06/polling.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 300px;" title="(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)"></p><p>Those seats represent just about a quarter of the turnover in the council. Nine aldermen decided to call it quits come May 16<sup>th</sup>. And the new council will also include two aldermen who were only appointed in January. That all adds up to fifteen new(ish) faces, assuming last night’s election results hold.</p><p>The list below includes three Democratic ward committeemen, one wife of a Democratic ward committeeman and one brother of a Democratic ward committeeman. It includes one former alderman, and three offspring of former aldermen. It includes two members of the Illinois House, a former city inspector, a firefighter, a graphic designer and a caterer. It includes 12 men and 3 women. Here are the freshmen:<!--break--></p><p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><table class="tableizer-table"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>rd</th><th>New alderman</th><th>Who's that?</th><th>Old alderman</th><th>Why the change?</th></tr><tr><td>4</td><td>Will Burns</td><td>State representative</td><td>Shirley Newsome / Toni Preckwinkle</td><td>Newsome was a placeholder after Preckwinkle became Cook County Board president.</td></tr><tr><td>6</td><td>Roderick Sawyer</td><td>Lawyer and son of former Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer</td><td>Freddrenna Lyle</td><td>Sawyer appears to have defeated Lyle in April runoff.</td></tr><tr><td>13</td><td>Marty Quinn</td><td>Democratic campaign worker, ally of ward committeeman Mike Madigan, the Illinois House speaker</td><td>Frank Olivo</td><td>Olivo announced his retirement after the November filing deadline, clearing the way for Quinn.</td></tr><tr><td>19</td><td>Matt O'Shea</td><td>Rugai aide, 19th Ward committeeman</td><td>Virginia Rugai</td><td>Rugai is retiring, and O'Shea won in February.</td></tr><tr><td>24</td><td>Michael Chandler</td><td>Musician, former 24th Ward alderman</td><td>Sharon Denise Dixon</td><td>Chandler defeated Dixon in April runoff, reclaiming his old seat.</td></tr><tr><td>28</td><td>Jason Ervin</td><td>Former Maywood village manager</td><td>Jason Ervin / Ed Smith</td><td>Ervin won in February, after being appointed in January to fill out the term of Smith, who retired in the fall.</td></tr><tr><td>36</td><td>Nick Sposato</td><td>Chicago firefighter, unsuccessful 2007 aldermanic candidate</td><td>John Rice</td><td>In the April runoff, Sposato defeated Rice, who was appointed to finish Bill Banks' term in 2009.</td></tr><tr><td>38</td><td>Tim Cullerton</td><td>Electrician, retired city employee, son of the late Ald. Tom Cullerton, sister of ward committeeman P.J. Cullerton</td><td>Tim Cullerton / Tom Allen</td><td>Cullerton won the April runoff, after being appointed in January to finish the term of Allen, who became a judge.</td></tr><tr><td>41</td><td>Mary O'Connor</td><td>Ward committeeman, owner of catering company</td><td>Brian Doherty</td><td>O'Connor won the April runoff to replace Doherty, who is retiring.</td></tr><tr><td>43</td><td>Michele Smith</td><td>Ward committeeman, former federal prosecutor, failed 2007 aldermanic candidate</td><td>Vi Daley</td><td>Daley is retiring, and Michele Smith won the April runoff.</td></tr><tr><td>45</td><td>John Arena</td><td>Owner of small graphic arts business</td><td>Patrick Levar</td><td>Levar is retiring, and Arena has a small lead in the runoff to replace him.</td></tr><tr><td>46</td><td>James Cappleman</td><td>Social worker, unsuccessful 2007 aldermanic candidate</td><td>Helen Shiller</td><td>Cappleman won the runoff to replace Shiller, who is retiring.</td></tr><tr><td>47</td><td>Ameya Pawar</td><td>Program assistant at Northwestern University’s emergency management office</td><td>Eugene Schulter</td><td>After Schulter announced retirement, Pawar beat the alderman’s chosen successor in February.</td></tr><tr><td>48</td><td>Harry Osterman</td><td>State representative, son of the late Ald. Kathy Osterman</td><td>Mary Ann Smith</td><td>Osterman won in February to replace Smith, who is retiring.</td></tr><tr><td>50</td><td>Debra Silverstein</td><td>Certified public accountant, wife of state Sen. Ira Silverstein, who is the ward's committeeman</td><td>Berny Stone</td><td>Silverstein defeated Stone in the April runoff.</td></tr></tbody></table><p>Not included in this table are three other aldermen who are (relatively) new. Each of them was reelected outright in February, avoiding a runoff.</p><ul><li>In the summer of 2009, Mayor Richard Daley picked then-Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado to replace the 26<sup>th</sup> Ward’s Billy Ocasio, who left the council to take a job in Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration.</li><li>Ald. Proco Joe Moreno was appointed by Daley in March of 2010 to replace 1<sup>st</sup> Ward Ald. Manny Flores, who also took a job with Quinn.</li><li>At the same time, Daley appointed then-state Rep. Deborah Graham to fill 29th Ward Ald. Ike Carothers’ term. Carothers lost his seat when he pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges.</li></ul></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 08:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-04-06/meet-chicagos-newest-aldermen-84807 Annazette Collins tapped by Democratic officials to replace Rickey Hendon in Illinois Senate http://www.wbez.org/story/annazette-collins/annazette-collins-tapped-democratic-officials-replace-rickey-hendon-illinois <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-14/IMG_0005.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois state Rep. Annazette Collins is getting a promotion to the state Senate. Democratic leaders in Chicago appointed Collins to fill out the term of Rickey Hendon, a controversial lawmaker who abruptly resigned last month.</p><p>About a dozen Democratic ward committeemen gathered Monday afternoon at a West Loop restaurant to interview candidates for the Fifth Senate District vacancy. More than 12 hopefuls showed up, including Collins, former candidate for governor Scott Lee Cohen and Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, who recently ran for Chicago mayor.</p><p>Collins won unanimous support from the Democratic leaders during a public vote. But it was a different story earlier, behind closed doors. Sec. of State Jesse White chaired the meeting, and told reporters there was a &quot;heated discussion.&quot;</p><p>&quot;So the fix was not in,&quot; White said in response to a suggestion that the outcome was pre-determined. &quot;Everyone up there had their thoughts about who was best qualified to be the senator of this district. And we just finally - a few moments ago - arrived at who that person should be.&quot;</p><p>As proof of that, White revealed that he was not personally in favor of Collins' candidacy.</p><p>&quot;There were about four people that I liked very well,&quot; said White, who controlled about 17 percent of the weighted vote used to select a new state senator. &quot;But the four I liked [did not include] the one that ended up with the position.&quot;</p><p>An underlying tension affecting Monday's proceedings was the complicated web of West Side political alliances. This includes, most notably, the tough re-election fight for 24th Ward Chicago Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon, who controlled nearly a quarter of the weighted vote. Dixon faces a strong challenge in an April runoff from the man she unseated from the city council four years ago, Michael Chandler.</p><p>Dixon's chosen candidate for the Senate vacancy was Vetress Boyce, a former business executive who actually ran against the alderman in the February election. Boyce finished out of the runoff, in third place behind Dixon and Chandler.&nbsp;</p><p>Boyce finished third again Monday in the closed-door votes cast by Democratic officials, behind Collins and Patricia Van Pelt Watkins.</p><p>Collins credited her victory to her ten years of experience in the General Assembly, and the heft that could provide in the upcoming redistricting fight that could leave the Fifth Senate District looking much different than it does now.</p><p>But Collins acknowledged Monday that politics is not all about resume, when she alluded to another factor in the Democratic negotiations:&nbsp;the rivalry between Sec. White and her chief backer, former Ald. Ed Smith, who controlled close to 14 percent of the weighted vote.</p><p>&quot;In politics, everybody wants control, and they want their own power,&quot; Collins said. &quot;And so they want someone that they can say, 'This person is in my organization.'&quot;</p><p>The bid of another candidate who garnered a lot of media attention quickly fizzled. Scott Lee Cohen failed to garner any nominations from committee members, who questioned his Democratic credentials given his recent bid for governor as an independent. Cohen said he may run for the seat when it is next up for election, in 2012.</p><p>With Collins' move to the state Senate, Democratic officials must now appoint her replacement in the state House.</p><p>&quot;Van Pelt Watkins had a lot of support, and when it comes to this legislative seat that's coming up, we think that she's going to be a viable candidate,&quot; White said after the meeting.</p></p> Tue, 15 Mar 2011 01:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/annazette-collins/annazette-collins-tapped-democratic-officials-replace-rickey-hendon-illinois Democratic officials set to replace Rickey 'Hollywood' Hendon http://www.wbez.org/story/annazatte-collins/democratic-officials-set-replace-rickey-hollywood-hendon <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/RickeyHendon.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Democratic officials from Chicago will meet Monday at a West Side restaurant to try to replace the outspoken, controversial and dramatic ex-Illinois state Sen. Rickey Hendon. A crowded field of candidates includes two now-well-known political novices - one who shook up the races for Illinois governor and lieutenant governor last year, and another who shook up the recent race for Chicago mayor.<br /><br />The decision of who will replace Hendon, who shocked his colleagues by submitting a letter of resignation in late February, will be made by the 13 elected Democratic ward committeemen who represent portions of the Fifth Senate District. The vote is weighted, based on how many votes each ward cast for Hendon in 2008, when the seat was last up for election. Whichever candidate can secure more than 50 percent of the weighted vote gets the seat for the final two years of the term.<br /><br />Former lieutenant governor and governor candidate Scott Lee Cohen claimed that &quot;several&quot; committee members approached him about applying for the Senate seat.<br /><br />&quot;I honestly don't think it's right or fair to reveal their names,&quot; said Cohen, who withdrew as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor last year, following allegations of steroid and domestic abuse. He later launched an independent bid for governor.</p><p>Explaining his interest in the state Senate seat, Cohen said, &quot;Ever since I wanted to be involved in politics my main focus was job creation and protecting the people of the state of Illinois. Of course, being a state senator [would give] me the opportunity - I [would] have a voice, I [would] have a vote, and a tremendous way to protect my constituents.&quot;<br /><br />Cohen said Friday morning that he was still unsure whether he would end up going for the appointment. But later in the day, his spokeswoman, Kathy Posner, said Cohen had decided to submit his resume to the selection committee.<br /><br />Another potential contender is Patricia Van Pelt Watkins - a minister, former non-profit leader and candidate for mayor.<br /><br />&quot;I want to serve. I want to serve. I want to serve. And I believe that I have the right temperament and also the right ideas, to bring the kind of change that Chicago needs,&quot; Watkins said. &quot;And a...state Senate seat here in the 5th District, makes all the sense in the world.&quot;<br /><br />Watkins emerged from political obscurity to influence the race for mayor - less through her vote total (she won less than 2 percent) than through her clashes with the only other woman on the ballot, former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun. Braun was forced to apologize to Watkins after accusing her of being &quot;strung out on crack&quot; in recent years. Watkins has acknowledged drug use three decades ago, though she said she never used crack. <br /><br />Watkins said she was approached by two committee members who gauged her interest in the Senate appointment, but on Friday morning said she was not confident she has their votes.<br /><br />&quot;You have to trust the committeemen to navigate through the process themselves, because there's nothing that a potential candidate can do from the outside,&quot; Watkins said. &quot;Once they get in the room and they start talking and sharing ideas and coming up with different scenarios, it can come out any kind of way. We don't know how it's going to come out.&quot;<br /><br />The most weighted votes - about a quarter of them - are controlled by 24th Ward Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon, who is also the ward's committeewoman. Her spokesman, Frank Watkins, said Thursday that Dixon is meeting with candidates and &quot;still considering her options.&quot;<br /><br />Complicating the political calculus of the selection process is Dixon's own political peril. She faces a tough city council re-election fight from Michael Chandler, the ward's former alderman who narrowly lost to Dixon in 2007. <br /><br />In fact, Chandler himself has popped up as a possible contender for the Senate seat. Chandler said the possibility was brought to him by former 28th Ward Ald. Ed Smith, who is still the ward committeeman there, and holds close to 14 percent of the weighted vote. Chandler said he told Smith he wasn't interested. There's &quot;no way in hell...I would force-feed Sharon Dixon on my constituents&quot; by giving her a free ride in the runoff, Chandler said.<br /><br />Asked about that conversation, Smith said he was only asking Chandler if he was thinking about the Senate seat, and said Chandler is &quot;a close friend&quot; who once headed his ward organization. Smith, who resigned from the city council last fall, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate, but said Thursday he was not seeking the seat.<br /><br />A member of Smith's political organization is going for it. State Rep. Annazette Collins occupies one of the two House seats that make up the 5th Senate District. (The other is Art Turner, Jr., who was only elected this past fall, and whose father was engaged in a bitter and protracted rivalry with Hendon.) <br /><br />Collins said she heard from Senate Pres. John Cullerton (a Democrat, though one who does not have any official votes in the process) that she is a &quot;frontrunner&quot; to replace Hendon. She said it would be refreshing to move to a new chamber, and &quot;be more of a leader, [have] more of a voice&quot; on issues related to housing and poverty.<br /><br />Others interested in the Senate appointment include Frank Bass, who was one of 17 challengers to Dixon in last month's election, Roxanne Nava, an official with the state Department of Commerce and Economic Development, and Bruce L. Jackson, executive director of Gift House, an organization that offers testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Jackson unsuccessfully ran for the legislature last year, and for 24th Ward Alderman in 2003.<br /><br />On Monday, interested candidates will speak to the selection committee for ten minutes each at Moretti's, a West Loop pizza restaurant. The meeting will be chaired by Sec. of State Jesse White, who - in his position as 27th ward committeeman - controls close to 17 percent of the weighted vote.</p><p>White said Friday he is not leaning toward a particular candidate, though he acknowledged some applicants could put together enough commitments prior to the meeting to win a majority of the weighted vote.<br /> <br /> &quot;I just want to make sure that we select the best person to represent the people of the Fifth District,&quot; White said. &quot;And we want to make sure that person is a perfect fit for Springfield, and can be put in a posture by which they can become re-elected&quot; in 2012.</p><p>That final goal is muddied a bit by legislative redistricting, set to take place in the next few months. With the city losing some 200,000 residents in the latest census, Rickey Hendon's Fifth District could be a lot different than his successor's.</p><p>In addition to White, Smith and Dixon, the other Democratic committeemen with some say in the matter are Ald. Bob Fioretti (about 16 percent of the weighted vote), county commissioner John Fritchey (7 percent), Ald. Danny Solis (6 percent), John Corrigan (5 percent), Ald. Emma Mitts (3 percent), aldermanic candidate Michele Smith (3 percent), Jesse Juarez (3 percent), Ald. Ric Munoz (1 percent), Ald. Roberto Maldonado (1 percent) and county commissioner John Daley (a small fraction of 1 percent).</p><p>White said the applicants' presentations will be open to the public, but the committee's &quot;decision process&quot; will not be. He said he plans to announce the new senator by 5 p.m. on Monday.</p><p><em>Updated on 3/11/11 at 3:31 p.m.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Fri, 11 Mar 2011 21:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/annazatte-collins/democratic-officials-set-replace-rickey-hollywood-hendon Some aldermanic candidates say they'd happily take Emanuel's leftover cash http://www.wbez.org/story/eugene-sawyer/some-aldermanic-candidates-say-theyd-happily-take-emanuels-leftover-cash <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Rahm on campaign night - Getty John Gress.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some candidates for Chicago alderman headed to runoff races said Thursday they will seek help from the mayor-elect. Rahm Emanuel said he plans to provide political resources and ideas to candidates who will be partners in &quot;reform and change.&quot;</p><p>Emanuel had more than $13 million at his disposal during the campaign. There are &quot;resources&quot; left over, he said, but claimed he does not know the dollar amount.<br /><br />He is likely to get lots of requests for help.<br /><br />Ald. Sharon Dixon of the 24th Ward faces a runoff after getting just 19-percent in a crowded field on Tuesday. She said she will talk to Emanuel &quot;as soon as [she] possibly can.&quot;</p><p>They will talk about issues, Dixon said, as well as money.</p><p>&quot;We will definitely talk about campaign resources. Yes,&quot; she said. &quot;That will be part of the conversation. I am in a runoff.&quot;<br /><br />An endorsement may also help; Emanuel won 60-percent of the vote in Dixon's ward. She faces former Ald. Michael Chandler in the runoff.<br /><br />On the Northwest Side in the 45th Ward, small business owner John Arena is one of the candidates headed to a runoff. The seat is currently held by retiring Ald. Pat Levar.</p><p>Arena said he wants to talk to Emanuel, who got more than half the vote in the ward. But Arena noted he will not accept help if there are strings attached.<br /><br />&quot;If it's expected that...I can't maintain my independence, then no, I wouldn't accept it,&quot; Arena said.</p><p>Arena's opponent, police officer John Garrido, said he's hopeful Emanuel stays out of the race. But Garrido said if Emanuel chooses to endorse a candidate in the ward, he hopes it's him.</p><p>In the South Side's 6th Ward, Emanuel won 59-percent of the vote. The challenger there, Roderick Sawyer,said his campaign could use Emanuel's money if the mayor-elect chooses to work with him.</p><p>&quot;But we don't want to put all of our eggs in one basket and say that's the end-all and be-all of this campaign,&quot; said Sawyer, who is a lawyer and the son of a former mayor, Eugene Sawyer. &quot;That's just one step. You know, there's other money out there.&quot;</p><p>Sawyer is up against incumbent Ald. Freddrenna Lyle. Lyle endorsed former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun in the mayor's race, but said she's talked to Emanuel a few times about issues.<br /><br />Asked if she'd accept campaign money from the mayor-elect, Lyle said she is &quot;not ruling out any support unless the devil comes in with a check.&quot;<br /><br />And Lyle said she does not think Emanuel is the devil.</p><p>Fourteen city council runoff elections will be held on April 5th.</p></p> Thu, 24 Feb 2011 23:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/eugene-sawyer/some-aldermanic-candidates-say-theyd-happily-take-emanuels-leftover-cash 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