Chicago’s Hottest Elections

by  Assistant Editor

I‘m hot on the trails of the hottest candidates in this lukewarm election. Though many incumbents are running unopposed, some sparks are flying in the Windy City wind when it comes to this year’s municipal race. One of the races that is sure to be hot and sizzling and may cause a Chicago fire is the mayoral race. Mayor Richard M. Daley announced his bid for re-election in the last year, according to his campaign spokesperson, Julian Green.

“Our platform is called working together. Mayor Daley has been working with elected officials, city and community groups, reverends and the like to move Chicago forward,” Green said. “For many years, the city was divided but for the last 14 years, Mayor Daley has been bridging the gap.”

When asked about what the popular mayor thinks about an activist like the Rev. Paul L. Jakes running against him, Green said, “The mayor thinks that anyone that wants to run should run.”

Jakes, a West Side minister known for his protests against police brutality, has taken his campaign into Cabrini-Green on the North Side and into Bronzeville on the South Side. He has been spotted all over the city looking far and wide for votes.

Jakes’ campaign spokesperson, Edmund Abdullah, told me that his platform could be found on his Web site. So I pulled up the Web site and found out that his platform issues are housing, taxes, education and public safety. His Web site states that Chicago is having a crisis of affordable housing:

“Condominiums for the wealthy are relentlessly built while replacing affordable rental units. Property taxes rise, rents and land prices skyrocket, and low- and moderate-income people are forced out into the suburbs if they are able to move, or to the streets if not.

“Public housing is destroyed without the participation of tenants without necessary social services. The homeless rate increases daily to the tragic tune of 15,000 people on the streets every night.”

In addition to Jakes, Pat McAllister and the Rev. Joseph McCaffey are also challenging Daley.

My next call was to find out about another hot race – the contest for Third Ward alderman. I tried to get comments from incumbent Ald. Dorothy Tillman but she did not return my phone calls before our deadline.

So my next call was to Tillman’s main challenger, Pat Dowell, who is currently the executive director of the Near West Side Community Development Corporation. I asked her what platform she was standing on.

“My platform is to give back the voice to the community. For too long, the voices of the community have been oppressed by Tillman. I plan on focusing on those 6,000 lots that are sitting on the land vacant. Tillman is selling (these sites) only to the wealthy.

“It’s time that we start selling that land to regular people instead of people with big money who end up making condominiums and pushing out the current residents.

“We need to open up opportunity for rental housing and cooperative housing for those residents who wish to stay.

I will also keep my eye on the CHA (Chicago Housing Authority Transformation plan and the people they are displacing. “They need social services and more jobs so they can make a transition into the private market. But without jobs, that transition is never going to happen.”

The last hot race I will focus on is the Fourth Ward. Fourth Ward incumbent Ald. Toni Preckwinkle recently challenged the mayor with an affordable housing bill. I wanted to talk to Preckwinkle more about this proposed legislation but she wasn’t available before our press deadline.

I did talk to her challenger, Norman Bolden, who said he was challenging Preckwinkle because of how she treated his properties. Bolden said, “My platform that I’m running on is those 200 or so vacant lots that the alderman is sitting on and not letting regular people buy into them. Also, affordable housing is an issue. In the Fourth Ward, every able-bodied citizen who has a desire for employment, a job, should be able go receive one.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized