Cabrini-Green Election

by  Assistant Editor

In the North Side development Cabrini-Green, residents were busy going to vote and expressing their views on the election when I stopped by on the morning of Election Day. The question was simple: who would penetrate the hard concrete public housing walls, a Cannon or a Steele? Which one would be the winner?

Residents that reside in Cabrini live in potentially the most valuable properties in Chicago. Kelvin Cannon, who has resided in a Cabrini-Green high rise for over 38 years, challenged community activist Carol Steele for her seat.

This race had a lot of ups and downs. Some residents in the high rises said they felt that the residents of the low rise row houses had too much influence in the development. One resident who was living off-lease even told me that Steele wasn’t representing all of the residents. Residents made Steele LAC President the last election.

This election was crucial for the low-income residents that reside here and want to continue living in their neighborhood. Steele is the head of the Coalition to Protect Public Housing, a prominent advocacy group for the Cabrini-Green community, as well as heading up the Resident Management Corporation for Cabrini. This is also an important time in Cabrini’s history because an ongoing lawsuit has allowed the residents greater control over redevelopment of the site than residents at other public housing locations have.

I ran into Kelvin Cannon sitting in the polling place where the residents went to vote. I don’t know why the judges didn’t tell him that a candidate couldn’t sit in the polling place. But there he was.

“It’s time that the residents who are not only in the row houses but also in the high rises be represented,” Cannon said. “A LAC President’s supposed to represent all of the residents and that is what I intend to do.”

At another polling place at 1230 N. Larabee, the voting process seemed to go fairly well, although there was some confusion about whether residents needed two forms or photo ID or just one.

After the sun had set on Election Day, I stopped by Cabrini one more time and found Carol Steele. As she stepped into a SUV, I asked her how she thought the election was going.

“Regardless of who wins, in the words of Rene Maxwell, our fight must go on,” Steele said.

In the end, Cannon prevailed over Steele, according to the certified result of Black United Power Incorporated, who oversaw the election.

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