WBEZ | Puerto Ricans http://www.wbez.org/tags/puerto-ricans Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Puerto Ricans to alderman: ‘Hands off our parade’ http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-ricans-alderman-%E2%80%98hands-our-parade%E2%80%99-106504 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/puerto rican parade 2_1301404_cm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago alderman&rsquo;s plan to combine long-competing Puerto Rican Day parades is inflaming old passions in Humboldt Park, a Northwest Side neighborhood in which thousands of residents have ties to the Caribbean island.<br /><br />&ldquo;The plan to cancel our parade was done behind closed doors by a few individuals with personal interest,&rdquo; said Julio Cruz, a former board member of the Puerto Rican Parade Committee of Chicago, which has held an annual procession downtown since 1965.<br /><br />&ldquo; &lsquo;Merging&rsquo; is the wrong term,&rdquo; Cruz said. &ldquo;Our parade was simply cancelled.&rdquo;<br /><br />Cruz joined two former committee presidents among some three-dozen supporters of the downtown parade at an angry news conference in the neighborhood Thursday afternoon. They slammed an agreement, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/long-dueling-puerto-rican-parades-merge-106435">announced Tuesday by Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th)</a>, to end that event and channel some of its resources into a lower-budget parade held since 1978 on West Division Street, a Humboldt Park thoroughfare.<br /><br />Cruz disputed Maldonado&rsquo;s claim that the downtown attendance had dwindled over the years. &ldquo;The purpose of our parade downtown is to showcase our culture, our people, our achievement &mdash; our failures maybe &mdash; to the rest of the city, not just to our <em>barrio </em>here,&rdquo; Cruz said.<br /><br />The conflict runs deeper than parade-route preferences. Several backers of the downtown event, including former Congressional candidate Héctor Concepción, said they wanted nothing to do with the Humboldt Park parade because its main sponsor, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, promotes the island&rsquo;s independence from the United States.<br /><br />Concepción, a Republican who challenged U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Chicago) last year, called cultural center Executive Director José López a&nbsp;&ldquo;communist&rdquo; with a hidden agenda. Concepción, who has pushed for Puerto Rican statehood, said the parade conflict has &ldquo;everything to do with the island&rsquo;s status.&rdquo;<br /><br />Supporters of the downtown event, held in Grant Park, are also upset about control of the committee. In November, some of them filed a Cook County Circuit Court suit against the committee and its leaders after they extended the term of committee President Angel Medina to four years from two.<br /><br />Biennial community elections for the president&rsquo;s post have long sparked acrimony in Humboldt Park. The job is unpaid but prestigious. The president traditionally oversees the downtown parade, a nearly-week-long Humboldt Park carnival that leads up to it, a community center called Casa Puertorriqueña, and programs such as children&rsquo;s karate and senior bingo. The winner also gets to hobnob with big-name politicians and represent the community on trips to New York, Florida and Puerto Rico.<br /><br />Candidates typically spend thousands of dollars on radio advertising and accuse one another of everything from misuse of committee funds to gang affiliations.<br /><br />Some neighborhood groups, including the cultural center and the Division Street Business Development Association, have pressed for an end to those elections. They have argued unsuccessfully for the president to be appointed by Humboldt Park nonprofit organizations.<br /><br />On Tuesday, Maldonado and López predicted a combined parade in Humboldt Park would bring more people to the neighborhood and help its merchants.<br /><br />Medina said holding the downtown parade cost roughly $45,000 a year. His committee and the cultural center have joined forces to contract with Chicago-based Special Events Management to run the Humboldt Park parade, planned for June 15 this year. The committee will retain control of the carnival, set for&nbsp;June 12-16.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 16:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-ricans-alderman-%E2%80%98hands-our-parade%E2%80%99-106504 Puerto Rican parades to merge http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/long-dueling-puerto-rican-parades-merge-106435 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ParadeByCharlie.jpg" title="Young people waive Puerto Rican flags at the 2010 parade in Humboldt Park. (WBEZ/Charlie Billups)" /></div><p>A decades-old duel between Puerto Rican parades in Chicago is over. The group behind a procession through Grant Park every June has agreed to pull the plug on that 48-year-old tradition and channel resources into a lower-budget parade the same day in Humboldt Park, a Northwest Side neighborhood that has been the heart of the city&rsquo;s Puerto Rican community since the 1960s.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re making history,&rdquo; Angel Medina, president of the Puerto Rican Parade Committee of Chicago, said in Spanish at a Tuesday news conference announcing the merger. &ldquo;Two organizations, for more than 30 years [divided],&nbsp;finally are united and we do it for the good of the community.&rdquo;</p><p>Medina, whose committee sponsored the downtown parade, said holding that event cost roughly $45,000 a year. Medina said that was too much and pointed to dwindling attendance over the years. Starting this year, the&nbsp;committee will co-sponsor the neighborhood&nbsp;parade instead. The committee, meanwhile, will retain sole control of a Humboldt Park&nbsp;carnival that has taken place the same week as the parades.</p><p>The Puerto Rican Cultural Center initiated the Humboldt Park parade 35 years ago as a grassroots alternative to the downtown procession. While it has lacked floats as elaborate as those in the downtown parade, the&nbsp;neighborhood event has stood out for its promotion of Puerto Rican national identity and the island&rsquo;s independence from the United States.&nbsp;</p><p>Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) helped broker the merger. &ldquo;I think it is the right juncture to join both parades so that we can have a large Puerto Rican parade on that very important day for our community,&rdquo; he said at the news conference.</p><p>José López, the cultural center&rsquo;s executive director, predicted the merger would boost numbers at the Humboldt Park parade, held along West Division Street from North Western Avenue to Sacramento Boulevard. &ldquo;For our merchants, these are very difficult times,&rdquo; López said. &ldquo;We believe this will be a shot in the arm in terms of economic development.&rdquo;</p><p>The groups, both recognized by the federal government as nonprofit organizations, have contracted with Chicago-based Special Events Management to run the parade, planned for June 15 this year.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 02 Apr 2013 14:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/long-dueling-puerto-rican-parades-merge-106435 Puerto Ricans honor hardware store owner who bridged racial divide http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-ricans-honor-hardware-store-owner-who-bridged-racial-divide-101853 <p><p><img alt="" chip="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/JoesHardware1croppedscaled.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 321px; width: 300px; " title="Outside the shop that Stanley Kustra ran for decades, his daughter Samantha holds an honorary street sign bearing his name. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></p><div>Puerto Ricans are saluting the late owner of a Chicago hardware store who bridged racial divides and held his own against big-box retailers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Stanley Kustra grew up in Humboldt Park&nbsp;in the 1960s &mdash; a time when that Northwest Side&nbsp;neighborhood still had a lot of Poles and many hardware stores.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kustra, known as Stas, got his start at Joe&rsquo;s Hardware, 2659 W. Division St., at age 10. In the early 1980s, he and one of his brothers bought the store from its aging owner. That was years after most whites had moved out of Humboldt Park and Puerto Ricans had moved in.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The neighborhood kept Joe&rsquo;s&nbsp;alive, even as the likes of Home Depot killed off nearly every other Chicago hardware store.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kustra gave back. He raised funds for Barreto Boys and Girls Club and a social-service agency called Casa Central. He donated hot chocolate, candy and toys for Puerto Rican events.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And he learned Spanish.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;You might call him a Polack-orican,&rdquo; Kustra&rsquo;s brother John laughed. &ldquo;He had no Puerto Rican blood but he did like Puerto Rican food quite a lot.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kustra also served for years on the board of the Division Street Business Development Association, which tries to preserve the neighborhood&rsquo;s Puerto Rican character. &ldquo;He survived because he kept a relationship with the community over 30 years,&rdquo; said Eduardo Arocho, the group&rsquo;s executive director. &ldquo;We loved him and he loved us.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kustra died in March after a stroke. He was 55.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>On the block outside his store Tuesday, community leaders unveiled honorary street signs bearing his name.</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 21 Aug 2012 18:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-ricans-honor-hardware-store-owner-who-bridged-racial-divide-101853 Bakery owner apologizes for ‘Humboldt Crack’ http://www.wbez.org/story/bakery-owner-apologizes-%E2%80%98humboldt-crack%E2%80%99-96679 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-23/Tipsycake.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Protest" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-23/Tipsycake.JPG" style="margin: 9px 18px 6px 1px; float: left; width: 346px; height: 306px;" title="A protest hits the bakery’s Humboldt Park facility Thursday afternoon. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">Facing a boycott backed by two Chicago aldermen, a Northwest Side bakery owner on Thursday afternoon apologized for comments some Puerto Ricans had called racist.</p><p>TipsyCake proprietor Naomi Levine posted the <a href="http://www.facebook.com/TipsyCakeChicago/posts/10150671283345845">apology on Facebook</a>, calling the comments “insensitive” and acknowledging she “never took any time to develop a real understanding of the very community and the history of the people that I have had the fortune of living among for the past six years.”</p><p>Levine moved her business into a Humboldt Park storefront, 1043 N. California Ave., in 2006. Her baking facilities remain there but last year she moved the retail shop to 1944 N. Damen Ave. The shop stands in the middle of Bucktown, a higher-rent neighborhood.</p><p>Explaining the move <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbPbeCcHs2c&amp;feature=youtu.be">on a local Internet show</a> this month, Levine laughed about Humboldt Park gunshots. “We really wanted Bucktown for a location as opposed to the Humboldt Park [shop],” she said on the show, “so that [we could have] any type of client, not feeling nervous.”</p><p>Levine also told the host about a pastry she had nicknamed “Humboldt Crack” because “the cops would knock on the door and ask to taste the crack.”</p><p>The interview went viral and sparked outrage.</p><p>“You’re making an attack on a community that I personally have worked so hard to sustain,” said Juanita García, who helps run an alternative high school in the neighborhood. “I’m choosing to raise my child in this community.”</p><p>On Thursday afternoon, Alds. Roberto Maldonado (26th Ward) and Proco Joe Moreno (1st) blasted Levine and called on community members to make their bakery purchases elsewhere.</p><p>García praised Levine for apologizing but said she couldn’t call off the boycott on her own. She said she would speak with other neighborhood activists about it.</p><p>Levine did not return calls from WBEZ.</p></p> Fri, 24 Feb 2012 00:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/bakery-owner-apologizes-%E2%80%98humboldt-crack%E2%80%99-96679 Mural restoration heartens Puerto Ricans http://www.wbez.org/story/mural-restoration-heartens-puerto-ricans-92248 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-21/mural-2_WBEZ_Chip-Mitchell.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>One of the country’s oldest outdoor murals covers a storefront on Chicago’s Northwest Side. People who care about the 40-year-old painting are finishing a facelift. The mural restoration is doing more than brightening up a gritty stretch of North Avenue. It’s got Puerto Ricans in the Humboldt Park neighborhood talking about their heritage.</p><p>MITCHELL: A celebration of the restoration included music with roots in Puerto Rican slave plantations.&nbsp;José López of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center recalled the artists who painted the mural in 1971.</p><p>LOPEZ: Young Puerto Ricans from the street — people who were marginalized — decided to give us a legacy for our historical memory.</p><p>MITCHELL: The mural covers the side of 2423 W. North Ave. and includes portraits of nine Puerto Ricans who struggled for abolition and the island’s independence from Spain and, later, the United States. Three of them are on crosses. Those three all served long U.S. prison terms in the mid-20th century. The artists, led by Mario Galán, named the mural “La Crucifixión de Don Pedro Albizu Campos” after a Puerto Rican Nationalist Party founder. They put him on the biggest cross. López said the mural has special meaning in a part of Chicago where many Puerto Ricans can no longer afford to live.</p><p>LOPEZ: Gentrification means, many times, the writing away of people’s history.</p><p>MITCHELL: Restoring the mural took a decade. Neighborhood leader Eduardo Arocho attributes that to a developer who owned a vacant lot in front of the work.</p><p>AROCHO: His plans were to develop a three-story condo unit. We tried negotiating with him for several months, even at one point offering him several lots in exchange. And he refused and he just started to build the wall, covering the mural intentionally. And so that’s when we grabbed our picket signs and started to protest.</p><p>MITCHELL: The city finally won control of the lot and helped turn it into a small park to keep the mural visible.</p><p>PITMAN WEBER: It’s remarkable that this mural has survived.</p><p>MITCHELL: John Pitman Weber is a professor at Elmhurst College in DuPage County. He has studied and created public art for more than four decades. And he provided consulting for this mural’s restoration, carried out by Humboldt Park artist John Vergara.</p><p>PITMAN WEBER: Its content is unique, not only in Chicago but nationally.</p><p>MITCHELL: And aesthetics? Pitman Weber calls the mural formal and stark.</p><p>PITMAN WEBER: Kind of Byzantine, in a way, quasi-naïve -- executed by some very, very young artists. The style possibly even adds clarity.</p><p>MITCHELL: Not all Puerto Ricans appreciate the artwork or the idea of the island breaking from the U.S. But when I ask the ones who walk by, most have strong attachments to the mural.</p><p>WOMAN 1: My mom used to go to St. Aloysius. My parents did and so...</p><p>MITCHELL: That’s a church right here.</p><p>WOMAN 1: It’s a church down the street. I used to go there when I was a little girl. And my mom would drive us to church and that’s how I knew we were getting close is when I’d see the mural almost every Sunday.</p><p>MAN 1: I see Don Pedro on the cross being crucified for what he believed in. Crucified the same way as Jesus!</p><p>WOMAN 2: I used to get up every morning and look at this mural.</p><p>MAN 2: I went to prison. I was 17 years old and I went to prison for 20 years. And, during those 20 years, when I used to think about home and I used to think about Humboldt Park, it was this mural that I used to think about.</p><p>MITCHELL: Why is that?</p><p>MAN 2: I remember when I was first looking at it, I think I was maybe 9 or 10 when I first noticed it, I didn’t know anything about Puerto Rican history. To me it was just a painting that was up there. I didn’t understand who was up there, what it was about. But when I went to prison I learned about my culture, I learned about who I was. I even got this guy on my arm. Two of these guys are on my arm.</p><p>MITCHELL: Tattoos.</p><p>MAN 2: Yeah, Pedro Albizu Campos on my right arm and I got Ramón Emeterio Betances on my left arm. And I think I can attribute that to this mural, man.</p><p>MITCHELL: The mural restoration will be complete with the addition of calligraphy this fall.</p></p> Wed, 21 Sep 2011 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/mural-restoration-heartens-puerto-ricans-92248 De Jesus withdraws from Chicago mayoral race http://www.wbez.org/story/assemblies-god/de-jesus-withdraws-chicago-mayoral-race <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Wilfredo_endorses_Gery.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Another Chicago mayoral candidate is pulling out of the race. The Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus said Friday he&rsquo;d throw his weight behind lobbyist Gery Chico. <br /><br />De Jesus leads a mostly Puerto Rican church called New Life Covenant, one of the city&rsquo;s biggest congregations. His mayoral campaign had built support among Latino evangelicals.<br /><br />&ldquo;Although I will no longer be on the ballot, I remain committed to fighting [for] the most vulnerable among us and strongly advocating for the poor,&rdquo; De Jesus told supporters Friday afternoon at a Northwest Side café run by his church.<br /><br />&ldquo;I want my Chicago to become a city on the hill, as the Bible says,&rdquo; De Jesus added. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s for this reason that I wholeheartedly support Gery Chico in his bid to become the next mayor.&rdquo;<br /><br />But at least some De Jesus supporters could align with the race&rsquo;s only remaining Puerto Rican, City Clerk Miguel del Valle.<br /><br />&ldquo;They know me,&rdquo; Del Valle said Friday. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve seen me stand side-by-side with the reverend. We&rsquo;ve been organizers on many issues, including public safety and education. And so, judge me on my record and I think they&rsquo;ll make the right choice.&rdquo;<br /><br />Del Valle said the pastor&rsquo;s endorsement of Chico didn&rsquo;t surprise him. A few weeks ago Del Valle acknowledged his campaign had links to an effort to throw De Jesus off the ballot.</p></p> Fri, 07 Jan 2011 22:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/assemblies-god/de-jesus-withdraws-chicago-mayoral-race Parole hearing goes poorly for Puerto Rican nationalist http://www.wbez.org/story/alejandro-luis-molina/parole-hearing-goes-poorly-puerto-rican-nationalist <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Susler.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A parole hearing did not go well for a Chicagoan that Puerto Rican nationalists call a patriot. <br /><br />The prisoner, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/alejandro-luis-molina/puerto-rican-nationalist-argue-parole">Oscar López Rivera</a>, has served more than 29 years on a conviction of seditious conspiracy. Federal authorities accused him of leading a Puerto Rican independence group, the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), that set off dozens of bombs, many in Chicago.<br /><br />On Wednesday, a U.S. Parole Commission examiner visited a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., where López Rivera is serving his sentence. The examiner heard from the inmate and some victims of a deadly 1975 blast for which the FALN claimed responsibility.<br /><br />In the end, the examiner said he&rsquo;d recommend at least another 12 years for the prisoner, according to his attorney, Jan Susler of Chicago.<br /><br />&ldquo;It was shameful,&rdquo; Susler said on her way home from the prison. &ldquo;The Parole Commission had no business allowing these people to attend or to attempt to influence the decision.&rdquo;<br /><br />Susler points out that López Rivera was convicted of seditious conspiracy, not a particular attack. She claims he had nothing to do with the 1975 bombing.<br /><br />Johanna Markind, assistant general counsel for the commission, said the parole recommendation will go to an executive reviewer and, eventually, a four-member board that heads the commission. She said a final decision could take months.</p></p> Wed, 05 Jan 2011 22:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/alejandro-luis-molina/parole-hearing-goes-poorly-puerto-rican-nationalist Puerto Rican nationalist to argue for parole http://www.wbez.org/story/alejandro-luis-molina/puerto-rican-nationalist-argue-parole <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Oscar_Lopez_Rivera.gif" alt="" /><p><p>A former Chicagoan that some Puerto Ricans call a political prisoner will make his case to walk free. <br /><br />A U.S. Parole Commission examiner is set to hear arguments Wednesday morning from Oscar López Rivera at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., according to Johanna Markind, assistant general counsel for the commission.<br /><br />López Rivera, 67, is the last imprisoned Puerto Rican independence advocate among more than a dozen convicted in the 1980s of seditious conspiracy. Authorities accused him of leading the FALN, the Spanish acronym for Armed Forces of National Liberation.<br /><br />The group emerged in 1974 and claimed responsibility for dozens of bombings, mostly in the New York and Chicago areas. The assaults killed at least five people and injured more than 70 others.<br /><br />But authorities didn&rsquo;t charge the Puerto Ricans with killing or injuring anyone. So, according to López Rivera&rsquo;s supporters, it would be wrong to keep him locked up.<br /><br />&ldquo;You have murderers and rapists freed after 10 to 12 years,&rdquo; said Chicago activist Alejandro Luis Molina, a leader of a campaign urging parole. &ldquo;On the other hand, you have Oscar López Rivera, who was not convicted of shedding one drop of human blood, serving a 70-year sentence. And he&rsquo;s in his 30th year of incarceration.&rdquo;<br /><br />But some victims of FALN attacks want him to serve out the term. &ldquo;Oscar López is a sworn terrorist; unrepentant and dangerous,&rdquo; wrote Joseph F. Connor, whose father died in a 1975 bombing of a New York City tavern. &ldquo;He has done nothing to assist the U.S. government or its citizens to resolve unsolved FALN crimes.&rdquo;<br /><br />López Rivera was sentenced to 55 years after a 1981 conviction of seditious conspiracy, weapons violations and other charges. In 1988, he received an additional 15 years for conspiring to escape prison. His attorney, Jan Susler of Chicago, said this week the charge resulted from a sting operation.<br /><br />In 1999, President Clinton offered clemency to most of the imprisoned Puerto Ricans. López Rivera declined the offer, partly because it excluded his comrade Carlos Alberto Torres, said Susler, who represents both men.<br /><br />A campaign for Torres&rsquo;s parole led to his release from a downstate Illinois prison last July. After more than 30 years behind bars, Torres returned to a hero&rsquo;s homecoming in Chicago&rsquo;s Humboldt Park neighborhood before settling in Puerto Rico.<br /><br />López Rivera, a Vietnam veteran, turns 68 on Thursday. His Chicago relatives include a younger brother, José López, who directs the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, an influential Humboldt Park group. López Rivera would settle in Puerto Rico if he received parole, his supporters say.<br /><br />Markind said the case&rsquo;s examiner will also hear Wednesday from some victims of the bombings. Opponents of López Rivera&rsquo;s parole bid have &ldquo;inundated&rdquo; the commission with calls in recent days, she added.<br /><br />Meanwhile, Markind said, the commission has received more than three large boxes of letters urging parole.<br /><br />The commission, a Department of Justice unit based in Maryland, is led by a four-member board appointed by the president. Markind said it could take months for the commission to decide López&rsquo;s fate.</p></p> Wed, 05 Jan 2011 12:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/alejandro-luis-molina/puerto-rican-nationalist-argue-parole 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