Election Report: Harold Ickes Homes


The day opened to a dreary sky, which probably was the cause for the slow early morning attendance at the local polling place for the 2004 Local Advisory Council elections at the Harold Ickes Homes. After opening on time at 9 AM, by 9:45 there were only 9 voters’ ballots registered.

This year’s election was carried out by a new organization, the Black United Fund Institute and the Institute for Government Research. The judges were workers hired from the 71st and Jeffery office and their supervisor, Rexford King, was knowledgeable and welcoming to the residents, which made all transactions go smoothly and quickly. The security company was Houston Associates, and their guard, Officer Shabazz, was considerate to the residents, reflecting a calm demeanor that is so important for the conduct of the election.

However, when this reporter talked to a resident anxiously waiting by the elevator while it was being worked on, the piece described above was not a part of our conversation.

Residents’ Journal: Good morning, ma’am. Are you going to vote today?

Tressa Rodgers: No! They [the LAC] didn’t do nothing for the kids this year. There was garbage all down the steps. I reported to the LAC and management and they don’t do anything about it. Young parents leave little kids out in the hallway playing. The LAC didn’t enforce the rules – no playing in the hall.

RJ: Did you report the children playing?

TR: Yes, I went to the housing office. Later, someone told me, they laughed when I left.

After that, I went in to the polling place and talked to Otelia Kelly, a long-time resident of 2430 S. State. I also spoke to Kelly about her application to run for the office of president for her building. She was not listed on the ballot.

RJ: Did you get your application in on time?

OK: Yes, I was one of the first ones to submit my application. However, it did not get on the ballot. I made a call to BUFI-IGR. They claimed they would research the application but nothing came of it. I made a call on November 23, because I also filled out an application for a community outreach job. They did not reply. I had my son-in-law drive me over there. I’m upset because I’m the first one who applied.

RJ: Do you plan to follow up on your problem?

OK: Yes I do.

One interesting outcome of the day was an eighteen-year-old judge, Lamar Coats. He’s still in high school, his senior year.

RJ: How do you feel about working this election?

Lamar Coats: It’s very interesting. I never knew about the LAC elections.

RJ: Did you vote in the United State’s presidential election?

LC: No, I just wasn’t thinking. Some of my friends voted for the first time. They were thrilled.

RJ: Do you live in Ickes?

LC: No, I did, but now I live in Ida B. Wells.

The voters continued to trickle in slowly. Some people forgot their ID cards and they had to go and come back. The only sour note was that BUFI-IGR did not support their judges with much needed food. At the end of the day, there had been no disturbances. It was just that the rain kept many would-be voters at home. The LAC office reports there were no changes in LAC officers in each building. Gloria Williams remains Ickes’ LAC President.

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