News from the campaign fronts and moving beyond

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ward mapping

In the March 20, 2018 primary, Curtis Tarver won the 25th rep. district with 25% and led in HP, with Grace Chan and Adrienne Irmer getting strong votes in2nd and 3rd (Anne Marie Mles won the far south 10th Ward). Bill Lowry (33% but majority in HP) won the county commissioner spot. In the gubernatorial, JP Pritzker won, but Daniel Biss did well in Hyde Park and may be heard from again. Kwame Raoul ecked out a victory for Attorney General, but received a hefty vote in HP although Sharon Fairley did quite well. Recreational Marijuana received a substanial nod in an advisory referendum. The rent control measure won well in the few Kenwood and 2 EHP precincts where it was on the ballot.

February 4 2017, Saturday, 10:30 am. 4th Ward aldermanic candidate forum. By Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. Various mid-south organizations and HPKCC committees posed questions. Kenwood Academy. The event was live-streamed.
- HPKCC asked 5 questions of the 5 candidates and collected c150 cards with questions from the over 300 attendees! These have been consolidated into 39 survey questions which have been submitted to the candidates, deadline Feb. 10, and will be published in the Herald and online by the Herald and the Conference asap.
Meanwhile, see the video (skip the first few minutes)-,_2017.
And the winner-- Sophia King, with about 64% of a low turnout (18%). She did best in the Bronzeville middle of the ward. She received a majority in all but one precinct.

Other forums- South Loop Neighbors- Feb. 8 6:30 Grace Place 637 S. Dearborn
Feb. 9 The Gap (no info)
Feb. 16, 6 pm People United for Action- 6th Grace, 600 E. 35th
Feb. 21 6 pm Bronzeville Neighborhood Collaborative. Kennicott park, 4434 S. Lake Park

Early January 2017- 6 candidates for 4th Ward special election, 4 of whom faced challenges. 5 were accepted except Jack Taylor, who dropped out for health reasons.
Sophia King, Gregory Livingston, Ebony Lucas, Gerald Scott McCarthy, and Marcellus H. Moore, Jr.

To follow what's going on politically and with the city see Campaign Front page. (Current: ward mapping, participatory budgeting.)
Find out about your governments and what they provide in Government Services. A new one-stop by city-county-state is
OPEN DATA: Find Chicago, Cook, and Illinois services/facilities/agencies, offices/info sites of officials, approved homecare providers, check register, mapof restaurants and inspections, public health data, crimes, gov't officials/workers salaries, vendors and contracts. According to The Daily Whale, the site organizes data sets into categories consisting of: housing and property; economic development; education; environment; government administration; ethics; health and human services; public safety; tax and revenue; and transportation. Also included on the website are newly created data sets. These features include: an interactive map of the area's hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities that are operated by the city, county or state; a directory of government buildings and facilities in metro Chicago; and tax, permits, investment incentives and regulation data for businesses.

The State Board of Elections online registration tool is functional and may be used to register voters.
For Chicago your one-stop is
EARLY VOTING has started Mon-Saturdayt 9-5 through Feb. 21 plus Sunday the 15th 9-3 at any of the one of the 51 places, one per ward plus downtown. You must bring an identifible ID-- 2 (1 with photo) if you are changing address or name or voting for the first time in Chicago.
The location in the 4th Ward is the King Center, 3858 S. Cottage Grove. That for the 5th Ward is Jackson Park Fieldhouse, 6401 S. Stony Island.
Absentee voting can be applied for or and returned through Feb. 19 online or in person,

Brought to you by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, Note the Conference does not endorse candidates.
Related pages: Elected Officials, Voting, Government Services

Find out which parts of neigborhoods are thought by a Sun-Times "Politics Early and Often clout-a-meter" to have lost influence or power due to reassignment to different wards: The map shows areas moving from the 4th to the 5th ward. Only time will tell whether there is any truth to this.



CAN TV recorded the NAACP forum Jan. 10- view those 5th ward candidates who appeared- You can watch complete, unedited video of the 5th ward aldermanic debates hosted by Chicago Southside Branch NAACP online at:

February 17, Tuesday, 6:30 pm. Apostolic Church of God. 5th and possibly 20 th ward.


Mayoral candidates: Rahm Emanuel, Bob Fioretti, Jesus "Chua" Garcia, Dock Walls, Willie Wilson.


November 4 2014- all area incumbents won. Robin Kelley (Cong. 2) won by the highest margin (spread)- 67% while Bobbie Rush had a 44% spread against an unknown. All the ballot referrenda won except one on at-risk students. There were some problems with voting, perhaps because many judges were discouraged from coming by bogus calls not to come unless they had additional training session and had to vote for party they were judges for !. At 9 am, the precinct of this writer was still setting up voting booths and unwrapping forms, with a very long line. GO

Now (July 2014)the Municipal campaign front is heating up-- Anne Marie Miles is the first to formally announce for the two HPK wards, in this case to run against incumbent 5th alderman Leslie Hairston. Word fdrom DNAinfo/HPK (Sam Cholke) is that anti-violence activist Jedidiah Brown intends to run also.

The big race in this area in the 2014 primary was the 26th Illinois House seat, between Christian Mitchell (incumbent) and Jay Travis.
Mitchell won with between 52 and 53 percent vs. Travis 47%-- surprisingly close, especially considering he was backed by Preckwinkle and all (?) of the local officeholders. Other than that, there were few surprises in local races. Notable in larger races where locals voted and officeholders took sides, Ms. Morita (recommended by both the county Democratic Party and Cook Co. Board Pres. Toni Preckwinkle) lost. In 13 of 14 judicial races, the candidate backed by Preckwinkle won.
Mitchell now faces Republican Coby Hakalir.

So far, there are no announced candidates against incumbent Will Burns in the 4th Ward Race. Alderman Leslie Hairston faces Anne Marie Miles (who ran last time) in the 5th. At least two others are likely to file.



AND THE WINNER...(OF THE 2012 PRIMARY) is Robin Kelly, with about 53% of the vote. Debbie Halverson was 2nd with about 26% and Anthony Beale 3rd with 11%.

In 5th Ward precincts- total vote 639 (low turnout cf 2,803 reg. voters)- about 79% went to Kelly, 7 to Halvorson, and Beale 6. In the Republican primary only 14 votes were cast in the ward 34% of which a third went to Eric Wallace.

The elections for the SECOND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT (since Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned in late November 2012) will be Primary Feb. 26, General April 9 (set by the legislature). 1,256 signatures were required of a Democrat, 288 of a Republican (based on vote in the last election) and 15,682 of third party or independents, for whatever reason.

Some were either thrown off on petition challenge or decision to withdraw (such as Napoleon Harris, who endorsed Robin Kelly.)
The unmb er on the ballot was down to 16 as of the start of February.

The field is expected to be crowded, but may narrow as time moves along; there was no Democratic slating despite a committeeman meeting. Some major players incl. Rep. Burns and other notables such as Rev. Corey Brooks ruled out a run. At least one interested party has had a run-in with the law that may or may not be dismissed.
DEC. 29 STATE SEN. DONNE TROTTER DROPPED OUT, citing his weapons arrest and investigation concerning monitoring a state grant. THE RACE IS NOW WIDE OPEN, WITH THE BIG PRIZE BEING THORNTON TWP ORG. SUPPORT- if Beale gets a nod there, he may be unstoppable. District pols were trying to encourage marginal candidates to drop out. Will there be an effort for anyone-but-Halvorson? AND THERE IS THE PINATA GAME- KNOCKING OFF CANDIDATES VIA PETITION CHALLENGES- and with so many, there must be several without enough signatures to withstand the withering challenges or the resources/people to withstand the nightmare process of defending each name.

January 28 Cook Co. Bd. Pres. Toni Preckwinkle endorse Toi Hutchinson (running 2nd in polls). Will it make a difference? The big fight now is on gun control positions. NO- TOI DROPPED OUT FEBRUARY 17 AND ENDORSED KELLY, ADDING TO THE MASSSIVE UNDERWRITING OF KELLY FROM BLOOMBERG'S SUPERPAC. Hutchinson said she wanted unity (the phrase was "dividing the house", which some have already called playing a race card, and Beale called it an attempt to force the other candidates out. Kelly and Halverson appear to be tied for lead with Beale not far behind. Halverson is crying foul that her gun position has been distorted.

Here are the old 22 !! who filed by the deadline- 17 Democrats and 5 Republicans (drawings to be held Tues Jan. 8 for first and last place on the ballot- from first and last 5.
Dems include:
in lottery for first place: Anthony Beale (Chicago), Mel Reynolds (Dolton), Robin Kelly (Matteson), Toi Hutchinson (Olympia Fields), Napoleon Harris (Flossmoor), Clifford Eagleton (Harvey),
Victor Jonathan (Country Club Hills), , Gregory Haynes (Lynwood), Charles Rayburn (Dolton), Anthony W. Williams (Dolton), Fatima Muhammad, (Chicago), Earnes Fenton (Markham),
in lottery for last place (it seems)-John Blyth (Chicago), Larry Pickens (Chicago), Patrick Brutus (Chicago), Debbie Halvorson, Joyce Washington (town not given, has run twice for state office).
Reps: Lenny McAllister on top of the ballot (Maywood, former WVON conservative/moderate), James Taylor Sr. (Bradley), Eric Wallace (Flossmoor), Paul McKinley (Chicago), Beverly Reid (Chicago).

Who filed Thursday and Friday? 8 in all (Last day is Monday Jan. 7)
In line at 8 am so they will be in the Tuesday lottery to be first on the ballot: Anthony Beale (Chicago), Toi Hutchinson (Olympia Fields), Napoleon Harris (Flossmoor), Robin Kelly (Matteson), and Clifford Eagleton (Harvey businessman).
Missing the deadline because his filing package fell apart but filed was Mel Reynolds.
Also filed: pastor Victor Jonathan (aka Victor Onafuye) of Country Club Hills), Gregory Haynes (Lynwood
- did not include Halvorson, who maybe wants to be at the bottom of the ballot?

Announcing on the weekend was health administrator Joyce Washington.

Candidates had have 5 minutes each to present their case, committeemen 10 minutes to question each candidate. Then committeemen went into caucus. They could have reached a 50% + 1 consensus, or not. They will eventually after an hour and half came back and didn't not vote (the committeemen have weighted votes based on vote for the Democrat in that ward in the latest district election).
Donne Trotter was expected to have the strongest support for endorsement, and it was unclear whether he had the most support still. One of the most powerful committeemen, Frank Zuccarelli of Thornton Twp., where there is a powerful and cohesive organization, was quoted in the Sun-Times as saying the 15 (actually 16) or more who said to media or a committeeman they are interested would be interviewed, but some may not appear or seek endorsement-- a frontrunner Debbie Halvorson, who lost to Jackson in the last primary, said she would eschew party endorsement, but apparently all were in some manner "interviewed." There is evidence that endorsements, including on the South Side and suburbs, carry decreasing influence-- and there is lots of division and rivalry among both potential candidates and committeemen and their allies. The power of endorsement, on the other hand is strengthened by the traditionally low turnout at special elections-- those loyal to someone or who have jobs or something else to gain are most likely to come out. Where money and lobbyists stand this time was uncertain to this writer as of early December. Certainly Cook County President/4th Ward Committeeman Toni Preckwinkle had a large say, even though she doesn't have a voice because the 4th ward does not overlap with the District especially since at least two allies/aides (Hutchinson and Kelly) are in the running. (Highly popular 4th Ward Ald. William Burns, as well as Rev. Corey Brooks, have ruled out running.)
Who were getting the most attention in early December: State Sen. Donne Trotter, former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, Ald. Anthony Beale (8th), State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, former State Rep. Robin Kelly, State Sen.-elect/former NFL player Napoleon Harris, and former holder of the job Mel Reynolds. (Mr. Reynold's interest raised eyebrows because of convictions in the past (c1994) that caused his resignation and for which he received a pardon from Pres. Clinton in 2001.) Possibly joining the race is Rev. Jesse Jackson's son Jonathan. Dalton pastor Anthony Williams is also running.

The December 15 meeting did not produce a slated candidate from the 16 interviewed, only (after an hour and a half delibration) 5 preferred, but not announced or endorsed. Mentioned in the Sun-Times post-meeting report are the names Trotter, Hutchinson, Halvorson, Kelly, and Beale (who could not particpate in delibertions because he is running.) Presumably the criticism of Napoleon Harris by Ald. Hairston as not even having served a day yet in his new legislative seat indicates he is not favored.

The winners March 20 2012 and who filed for the March 2012 primary?

Retrospective on a watershed election, February 2011

To REPORT of the February 5, 2011 CECD/HPKCC/OWL/SSN CANDIDATE FORUM at the Neighborhood Club.
Other reports on it.

Visit Voting including the candidates, forums.

And the Feb 2012 winners were...

Emanuel strikes a deal with UC to pilot streamlining of zoning and permitting-- touches on a lot of issues. In own page.

Passed by City Council July 25 2012: Revised ethics ordinance, New Ward Map (will apply FOR VOTING PURPOSES ONLY by November elections--services boundaries stay the same until 2015), Woodlawn Ave. UC alley reroute, food trucks (with continuing arguments of whether it's fair and to whom), and settlement of two Burge cases (without apologies). Concerns have been posed about the ethics ordinance (still being debated in Nov. 2012) and about Aldermanic demands for exemptions for themselves.

City Hyde Park development was passed by city council in November 2012.

The 2013 budget was passed 46-3-one absence. Most cited its frugality and streamlining and few or none tax/fee increases, restoration of several cuts from last year that were felt to impact quality of life, more for pre- and afterschool, and summer jobs for youth. Some wanted more police hired.

In April 2012 Ald. Burns and Hairston voted on opposite sides on the Mayor's Infrastructure Trust. Ald. Burns said the transparency and control concerns were largely addressed and the needs are enormous. Ald. Hairston said the former were far from fully addressed and there needs to be votes on projects by aldermen who are elected by the people and who will personally experience any mistakes.
They both voted against the speed cameras and gave clear reasons for so voting.

In 26th, most pols including Preckwinkle backed Mitchell, but Sen. Raoul and at least one of the local congressmen backed Johnson. Mitchell won by a modest margin.

You can watch the Council live when it's in session by going to and clicking on the live City Council Webcasts link.

Fifth Ward on Facebook-

Ald. Will Burns and three non-alderman incl. Dawn Clark Netsch were appointed to review and revise under chair Ms. Canary Chicago's Ethics Ordinance, considered by many to be woefully inadequate and unenforceable esp. with regard to City Council.
The ordinance will be voted on in the July 25 (morning?) City Council meeting- it is quite strict.


And now the fights over the budget (passed) and ward maps.

What aldermen hated most in the budget - and have been softened as of Fri Nov. 4 (health and social and the grid have not been changed)
Library cuts
, Mental health clinics and other services, changing to the grid for services (and elim. of rebate for large bldgs), water hikes tied to infrastructure improvement and smart meters and incl. elim. of exemption for nonprofits, cuts to graffiti and vacant lot clearance.

Where were they at the vote?
Libraries- $3.3 m of $8.6 million in cuts restored, staff cuts now 184 not 284 and hours cuts not when school is out.
vacant lot clearance and graffiti crews (1 m). This and library increases compensated by higher fine on late vehicle stickers)
water incr. as proposed except nonprofits start paying now 60% discount, 40, 20, 2015 just a 20% discount.
Condo refuse rebate was reduced to $25 rather than the current $75- neither kept intact nor eliminated and gone in 4 years. No offer on grid garbage pickup. Some cuts to 911 staffing were restored.
Now all vehicles will pay a higher sticker with less penalty for middle size. (One suspects the Mayor wanted a "negotiation" that would allow him to raise the sticker fee for everyone and raise the late fine. City Clerk Mendoza continued to try to score points by opposing any increases.) Aldermen generally said the process was "transparent"-- maybe by comparison. The dollar-per-car fee for valet was changed to doubling the annual license fee.
The Mayor would not back off plans to close 6 of 12 mental health clinics and lay off some 911 dispatchers.
Total budget is $6.3 billion, shortfall was over $400 million.

HPKCC joined Friends of Blackstone in opposing the Library cuts and continues to oppose the softened cuts. See Friends of Blackstone page. It seems likely the budget will pass overwhelmingly after approval with non dissent by two committees, although some continue to dicker on the refuse rebate, that the $2 on over $12 parking congestion fee would be round the clock.
Where aldermen stand on further relief for libraries and social services as a tweak was under the radar, and there appeared general support for the
water and sewer increases.

The budget was passed unanimously November 16-- it seems there were no concessions except on condo garbage rebate and vacant lot cleanup , and perhaps promises to try to assemble funds for health and mental clinics.

So what about the city sticker, sticker fines, other fines and costs, etc.?

City Sticker Fees Going Up (based on 1537 News)

Most vehicles will see a $10 increase for their city sticker in June, - increases their annual cost from $75 to $85.

Larger passenger vehicles (weighing over 4500 lbs.) will get a $15 bump from $120 to $135. The cost for pickup truck and smaller truck city stickers jump $20 to $200 and larger trucks will pay a $450 city sticker fee next year–a $30 increase.

The fine for “failure to display” a Chicago city sticker is now $120, but will go up to $200 in 2012. But if you own a really big truck, that fine is $500!

Drivers who don’t get their city sticker in time, will also be hit with a late fee of $60–a $20 increase from 2012.

New Parking Tax
Commuters or visitors downtown will now have to pay an additional $2 per day when they pull their car into a parking garage or lot (if/when, the cost is over $12 an hour--almost always.) This has been criticized as hurting nighttime entertainment and culture and not being "smart" congestion parking but rather just a money-maker.

Increased Parking Ticket Fines

Fines for expired meter violations are currently $50 city wide. But starting next year, drivers coming back to their parking meter in the Central Business District will have to pay $10 more than everywhere else in the city. (And if they find a reason to tow/impound, that charge goes up steeply, and $1000 to $2000 or $3000 if you’re arrested within 500 feet of a school..)

And make sure you place your residential parking permit guest pass on your windshield when visiting friends in RPP zones around the city. Fines for RPP violations will go from $60 to $75.

Other Fines of Interest

Tampering with a parking meter pay box- rises from $500 to $750.

Also, don’t get pinched while driving with a revoked or suspended drivers license in 2012. The fine is doubling from $500 to $1000.

Here’s some free advice. Don’t drive without a valid license!

Advertising on Parking Meter Pay Boxes (and other street objects like trash compactors). The city expects to bring in $25 million for ads on pay boxes, over $5000 per pay box assuming there are not vast areas where there will be no takers.

Statement from Alderman William D. Burns regarding the proposed closure of the 21st District.

Ald. Burns and others had a great deal of skepticism and certainly wanted a voice in how the new beats are drawn and how the force of the two districts integrated or kept in place. On Nov. 30, 2011, Ald. Burns said in the Herald he now supports and seeks to make the change work.

"On Oct. 12 of this yer, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced his intention to consolidate three police districts to reduce the total number of police districts from twenty-five to twenty-two. Included in the consolidation plan was the 21st District which serves the Hyde Park, Kenwood, North Kenwood-Oakland, Douglas and Gap communities. I initially expressed strong reservations regarding the proposal. In the weeks between the mayor's budget address and final council action on the budget, four community meetings were held throughout the ward where the administration and the Chicago Police Department addressed the community on the consolidation plan. As a consequence of those meetings and the commitments made by the administration I decided to offer my support for the plan. These are the following commitments that have been made by the administration:

  1. The 21st District will be converted into a Park district field house for Dunbar Park.
  2. Management of the Chicago Police Department wil allow beat officers and other CPD personnel who currently work in the 21st district to remain in the district - including CAPS beat officers.
  3. The consolidation of the two districts will result in the deployment of twenty additional police officers.
  4. The beats of the newly consolidated 2nd district will be realigned will more efficiently align police resources with people, crime, and public safety concerns.
  5. The Police Department will participate in additional community meetings as the consolidation moves forward next year.

Finally, I have confidence in Superintendent Garry McCarthy's strategies to reduce crime. The Superintendent has a proven track record from both New York City and New Jersey."

Transitioning with teams in the 4th Ward

Replacing Burns in the 26th District. Chicago Transition Team 2011 report

Redrawing the ward map Current ward map and boundaries.

Several new South Side aldermen received assignment to important committees- called unprecedented.

Will Burns was appointed to both powerful action committees, Finance and also Workforce Development and Audit. Burns is the only freshman to go to Finance. Workforce has two other freshmen, Michele Smith and Debra Silverstein of key north side wards. And three freshmen were appointed to Budget and Government Operations. Ald. Ald. Hairston moved up in seniority as vice chair of Economic , Capital and Technology Development. 2nd termer Ald. Dowell is vice chair of Housing an Real Estate and 2nd termer Ald. Willie Cochran is vice chair of Public Safety. South East Side Ald. Michelle Harris became president pro tempore. Roderick Sawyer was not given any influential assignment (perhaps because the regular pols backed Lyle) but seems likely to be a leader of the South Side block anyway.

Will Burn's first introduced ordinance would provide a mechanism for Council review contracts over $500,000 and of participation by minority an women owned businesses.

Note, aldermen technically serve (including for permits etc.) those who elected them until after the next election (2015) and constituents register and vote in their current wards until registration formally opens in 2015. But there may be service coordinations between aldermen.

TRANSTIONING IN THE 4TH WARD. In a attempt to reach out to the whole ward and beyond, Ald. elect Burns appointed transition teams to evaluate what the needs and actions can be in the ward. Several board members or members of HPKCC were appointed and served. Reports are being submitted to the alderman. Whether they will in some from be released to the public or the teams meet as a committee of the whole was not known yet to this site.

Burns has also been making the rounds to discuss his hopes and encourage broad participation in the system, such as at a UC Democrats meeting.

Herald, May 4, 2011. By Sam Cholke. In preparing for new position, Ald.-elect Will Burns forms transition teams, committees.

Fourth Ward Alderman-elect Will Burns has reached out to a former rival and community stakeholders to help shape ward policies and political goals. "I believe many of the ideas, and all of the dedication, necessary to move our community forward exist right here in the ward. I'm grateful for the efforts of our transition committees so far, and look forward to seeing their final recommendations," Burns said in a prepared statement May 2.

The list includes names that helped guide Cook County Board President and former 4th Ward Ald. Toni Preckwinkle into office and a former campaign rival of Burns. Rebecca Janowitz of the Cook County Corrections Department and others who served Preckwinkle will also help Burns. Hyde Parker George Rumsey, who challenged Burns for the Alderman seat in this year's election, was tapped to serve on the transportation committee. Rumsey serves on the board of the Coalition for Equitable Community Development.

Former Union League President James Compton and Metropolis Strat geis executive Paula Wolff will serve as co-chairs.

Burns has also reached out to University of Illinois-Chicago political science professor and former Alderman Dick Simpson and former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman. Both have reputations of being critical of waste and corruption in city government.

Burns takes office May 16. Ward committeemen will choose a replacement for state representative of teh 26th district on may 14.

Burns transition team. (HPKCC board and members: Gary Ossewaarde, George Rumsey, Pat Wilcoxen

James Compton, former President and CEO, Urban League
Paula Wolff, Senior Executive, Metropolis Strategies

Education/Workforce Development
Angela Rudolph, Joyce Foundation
Bob Wordlaw, Chicago Jobs Council
Chris Harris, Bright Star Church
Jitu Brown, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization
Rebecca Janowitz
Sokoni Karanja, Centers for New Horizons
Stacy Davis-Gates, Chicago Teachers Union
Tom McDougal

George Rumsey, Coalition for Equitable Community Development
Jackie Grimshaw, Center for Neighborhood Technology
John Bartlett
Rev. Patrick Daymond, South siders Organized for Unity and Liberation
Richard Gill, South East Chicago Commission

Housing (recommended 20% affordable in all developments)
Ed Shurna, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
Pat Wilcoxen, Coalition for Equitable Community Development
Joanna Trotter, Metropolitan Planning Council
Ralph Brown

Economic Development
Anthony Simpkins, City of Chicago
Bernita Johnson Gabriel, Quad Communities Development Corporation
Charles Newsome
Howard Males, 53rd Street TIF Advisory Council
Jo Reizner
Kimbal Goluska
Peter Skosey, Metropolitan Planning Council

Susan Campbell, University of Chicago
Wendy Williams, South East Chicago Commission
Calvin Holmes

Arts and Culture
Andre Guichard, Gallery Guichard
Chuck Thurow
Irene Sherr, Hyde Park Arts Alliance
Kate Lorenz, Hyde Park Art Center
Monica Haslip, Little Black Pearl
Patric McCoy

Public Safety
Dhyia Thompson, Concerned Citizens of Bronzeville
Commander Fred Waller, 2nd Distinct
Marlon Lynch, University of Chicago Police
Commander Richard Elmer, 21st District
Roni Jackson
Roseanna Ander, University of Chicago
Alderman Shirley Newsome

Sustainability and Open Space
Gary Ossewaarde, Nichols Park Advisory Council (actually not there for NPAC)
Jennifer Hensley, Sierra Club
Mel Nickerson, Environmental Law and Policy Center
Susan Campbell, University of Chicago

5th Ward brings in "participatory budgeting." Only now is has to be called "pre participatory budgeting" or something else. For the 5th Ward and will take place for the 2013 budget year. website
Press release October 3, 2012
5th Ward 2012 map (but they may be using the old)

WINNERS:5th Ward Participatory Budgeting- the results are in- SEE TALLY, RANKING AND COMPARISON WITH BALLOT in PDF (This is a very large file)

Mural at 56th Metra underpass came in 10th of the 13 projects on the ballot.

Ald. Hairston wrote in her weekly email: "Moving forward, my office will begin work on implementing the top three projects first. Thereafter, if there is enough money left, we will begin working on the mural. It has been heartening to see the community’s engagement and enthusiasm, and I am already looking forward to next year’s Participatory Budgeting process, hoping that we will have many more people taking part!"

Articles on: Hyde Park Herald April24 2013-

From October 17 2012 Herald article by Lindsay Welbers. Among ideas collected at the October 9 Neighborhood Assembly were updating streetlights, replacing sidewalks, turning lots into gardens, more streetscape, better crosswalks near schools. (More attended the second meeting and the suggestions were wide ranging indeed. Several volunteered to serve as Community Representative researching and refining projects over the winter for expos then voting in the spring.)

Coming back thanks to a program and funding from the University of Illinois.

August 21, Tuesday, 6-8 pm. 5th Ward residents: There will be an information outreach meeting on Participatory Budgeting. They especially want you if you want to get on board in some capacity such as the Leadership Committee or Community Reps for topic committees.... or help recruit active participants, or want to know what to expect, come to Gary Comer College Prep, 7131 South Chicago Ave. For more information and faq sheet contact Kim Webb at the office 773 324-5555 or contact us at attn Gary and we will get you in touch with the leaders and information.

City changing the rules?

According to a Sun-Times article February 14 2012, p. 5, the city is changing the procedure of aldermanic menu monies.

The mayor will provide each ward a comprehensive map of the work to be done in each street by city departments including CDOT, water and sewers, park district, CPS, CTA etc., and utilities over the next year. This has long been suggested as a way to avoid repeated expensive tear-ups and repavings of the same streets.
One of the reasons given was the massive water main rebuilding programs, which will require coordination.

2. In a move that will likely prove controversial, the administration will also provide each ward a list of recommended projects considered most urgent. This will not (yet!) be mandatory. Aldermen have already complained that these lists may not take into account either factors that often decide which projects are preferred-- such as being on the route to a school or where there are chronic problems such as drainage and may preclude the "druthers" of residents and aldermen such as park or library upgrades, murals, trails, etc.

3. A provision that is likely to cause a major uproar is the new requirement to "program" at least 80% annually by June 30 and to have spent it all by December 31-- no more "carry-over. Aldermen complain that the city is way behind in doing and completing its projects.

How it was going into 2011 until postponed due to no maps and need to proceed with caution, to a "lite" version for 2012

The Steering Committee has been organized and has written rules and a timetable. This includes until the ward map is drawn in December preliminary work, identification of places for sub-ward public meetings, and early work by ward staff identifying candidate infrastructure needs; January about 8 public input and review meetings in various parts of the ward; preparing lists by topics; April 2 or 3 likely sub-area public meetings, and finalization.

It is hoped a more elaborate process including a ballot can be put in place for 2012-13.

May 9, Monday, 5 pm. First meeting was held Ward Office, 2325 E. 71st St. 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore and pb leader ___ Lerner spoke.

OF INTEREST whether you live in the 5th Ward or not---- 5th Ward Monthly meeting March 22 subject was an initiative introduced in Joe Moore's ward whereby residents form committees to figure out best ways to spend limited monies available in the wards ("menu money," one of the few real elements of localized home rule in Chicago). The 5th ward is interested in starting this, and this could be step toward greater involvement, maybe even some more democracy, in local governance. Learn more at

Informational meeting in the 49th Ward June 23 2011 6 pm 2313 W. Devon. Register
and another link with more info

From the Spring 2011 5th Ward Report

Participatory Budgeting: "Show Me the Money":

The response has been very positive," says Ald. Leslie Hairston about constituents' upcoming involvement in deciding how to allocate her $1.3 million 5th Ward menue budget for 2012. The funds cover improvements to such infrastructure as thoroughfares, lighting, parks, and public murals.

Hairston introduced Participatory Budgeting at her March ward meeting. She expects to continue volunteer solicitation, education and planning through late summer, with the real work to begin thereafter and completed early next year.

Over 1,200 municipalities around the world use PB to promote democratic participation, inclusion and accountability. When Chicago Ald. Joe Moore pioneered it for his menu preparation in 2009, his 49th Ward became the first political jurisdiction in the nation to adopt the process.

At the 5th Ward's April meeting, Moore described a six-month span of neighborhood assemblies and committee meetings to identify, prioritize and develop proposals to address local infrastructure needs. A ward-wide election open to any resident age 16 and above drew over 1,600 to vote on which projects to submit to the city for implementation. Aldermanic menu funds cannot be spent on programs and services, such as art classes or youth sports. Visit to learn more.

Inviting the ward to shape the budget. By Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) in June 1 Hyde Park Herald (She expanded slightly on this to the HPKCC board June 2.)

I have long championed moe transparency and inclusion in city governance, especially in the microcosm where I have the power to effect change. That's why I am so excited to help pioneer a process known as participatory budgeting.

According to its advocates, "Although participatory budgeting has been recognized as a best practice of democratic governance by the United Nations, no elected official in the United States had ever invited citizens to allocate public money directly -- that is, until May 2009, when Chicago's 49th Ward took the leap." This past may, Ald. Joe Moore held his second annual PB election.

Basically, constituents determine how to allocate the $1 million "menu" budget each alderman receives to infrastructure improvements. Moor's office devoted over a year to planning and implementing PB. About 199-150 steadfast constituents spent three of those months prioritizing their neighbors' suggestions, conducting research and developing the proposals for worthy and feasible projects to place on the ballot.

Items eligible for this process include thoroughfares, lighting, parks, speed humps or public murals, but not human resource programs and services (e.g., after-school activities, youth sports, eldercare, at classes). Project approval and completion also depend upon seasonal factors, possible conflict with previously planned projects, legal restrictions and policy decisions of governmental entities.

Beginning with my March ward meeting, I asked Moore and PB Director Josh Lerner to present us with th pluses and minuses of this major undertaking. I understand my office would need a dedicated staff person and to expect associated expenses between $16,000 and $40,000, primarily for outreach/education. Voter turnout may be comparable to the 1-5 percent typically attending zoning, CAPS and other public meetings.

I have begun addressing representation concerns by seeking input from a cross-section of community, tenant and condo organizations. Certainly the 5th Ward is reich in talent and ingenuity. Like the 49th, we should be able to utilize local resources, fundraisers and grants to offset costs. We can no doubt count on many more than the 50 or so who have already volunteered from this civically engaged community.

As committed as I am to this process, it will move forward only if various assemblies determine it should. We have through at least July to continue recruitment, education and discussion. If given the green light, we would begin the real work on he 2012 menue budget in late summer. A community steering committee would tailor the process to 5th Ward needs. Ballot development and voting would take place early next year.

I urge any 5th Warder interested in knowing more about or taking part in this initiative to contact my office at 773 324-5555,, or 2325 E. 72nt St. You might also want to visit This is definitely an opportunity for those wanting more transparency to see how things get done and what they cost, at the same time bringing different parts of the ward together to make decisions about our common good.





Redistricting. With rising State Senator Kwame Raoul chairing the redistricting committee, we should have a front seat. Raoul has championed more (but not complete) transparency and hearings and respect for "communities of interest."
Highly partisan maps were passed and may face lawsuits, both from various minority and community groups and Republicans. Not only were boundaries extended in districts that lost population in a manner to gain more Democratic seats and protect incumbent loyalists, but many Republican incumbents are put in the same districts.

City Council wards: 2012: Citywide #4, Citywide 11/17, Color composite of mid-south. 4th Ward. 5th Ward.

April 2013- League of Women Voters filed suit on variances of population (individual and by racial areas) and shapes. City Hall has filed to throw the suit out.

THE MAP PASSED WITH THE BARE MINIMUM OF 41 VOTES THURSDAY MORNING JANUARY 19- some aldermen and most outsiders did not get the final map before the vote. Some wards moved wildly (mostly cutting out quasi-independents) and some neighborhoods were splintered, although not so badly.Big losers included Fioretti, Sposato, Foulkes. Big last-minute winners included Balcor. The map is supposed to be posted in It has the Ordinance and PDF of the map (S02012-582.pdf- scroll to your ward- this is text description of every bit of boundary, map is not there) and a "history" section. Here are versions of the changed map from the City Clerk site, but they are not very close up: #1, #2 (printable 11x17). There is also download link for raw data map, but to view or use these files, compression software and special GIS software, such as ESRI ArcGIS, might be required. A not-too close up view of the map with former and new boundaries inked in is found in 1537 News: go to Click the map button option in the upper right corner to get the street map view. (In all of these, you still have to compare with descriptions below to know how this translates by block and street.)

City Council finally passed in August 2012 an ordinance that recognized the new ward boundaries for purposes of the fall 2012 election. However, legally, technically, and some aldermen say morally, aldermen are to represent the voters who elected them in 2011 until the next election in 2015. A Law Department spokesman told the Tribune, "Residents and developers should continue to reach out to the alderman elected to represent their current ward, not the new ones approved by the council in January." A few aldermen are either collaborating in the boundary areas or reaching out to their future constituents.


Beginning at the intersection of East 51't Street and South Woodlawn Avenue; thence
south on South Woodlawn Avenue to East 53'd Street; thence east on East 53'd Street to South
Kimbark Avenue; thence south on South Kimbark Avenue to East 55th Street; thence east on East
55th Street to South Kenwood Avenue; thence north on South Kenwood Avenue to East 54th
Street; thence east on East 54th Street to South Dorchester Avenue; thence north on South
Dorchester Avenue to the alley just north of East 54th Street; thence west along the alley just
north of East 54th Street to South Ridgewood Court; thence north on South Ridgewood Court to
East 53'd Street; thence east on East 53'd Street to the Illinois Central Railroad; thence north
along the Illinois Central Railroad to East 49th Street extended; thence east on East 49th Street
extended to South Cornell Drive; thence south on South Cornell Drive to East 49th Street; thence
east on East 49th Street to the shoreline of Lake Michigan; thence south along the shoreline...

Illinois Central Railroad to East 60t' Street; thence nest on East 60th Street to South Cottage
Grove Avenue; thence north on South Cottage Grove Avenue to East Hyde Park Boulevard;
thence east on East Hyde Park Boulevard to South Greenwood Avenue; thence south on South
Greenwood Avenue to East 52nd Street; thence east on East 52nd Street to South University
Avenue; thence north on South University Avenue to East 51't Street; thence east on 5l't Street
to the place of beginning.

Staying in the 4th: President Preckwinkle's home, US President Obama's home, Nichols Park, Murray Academy, the north side of 53rd including developing and likely parts of the TIF, Ramada Inn and the Newport Condo north of the tracks. The north tip of the 4th is now at Jackson Blvd. west edge nearly to Halsted or Dan Ryan.

Moving to the 5th: Increases in the northwest corner including as far north as south side of E. Hyde Park Blvd/51st (east of Cottage Grove), central Hyde Park sections esp. west of Woodlawn and again east of Kenwood/Dorchester between between 53rd and 55th east to the tracks, east of the tracks north of 53rd to 49th with jogs. The south and west parts of the 5th are as at present.

Ward boundaries change considerably with the 4th ward loosing 8.58% and the 5th a whopping 16.6%. Some are speaking out that Hyde Park (and South Kenwood?) should be in one ward. One scenario has a more even division, with the boundary moving to about 53rd while presumably keeping the TIF in the 4th Ward. Another gives all of East Hyde Park or the TIF to the 5th. City wide, Blacks dropped 17 of their votes to lead slightly at 32.4% while whites dropped over 5% to about 31.7%, Hispanics increased by 3.3% and Asians increased 16% to 5.4%. All or part of Hyde Park could be completely different wards.

January 11 there is an incumbents' compromise between maps (changing the 23rd to be more Hispanic and blacks losing the 15th to Latino), which may be voted on as soon as Thursday January 19 if only if the sides (esp. the Latino) are satisfied it would withstand challenges-- lots of places are carved up in both maps, and bloated populations (diluted voting strength) in several northside white wards. The expert nationwide is telling them it can survive even when differences in population between wards are as much as 10% (as this is vs. earlier 4%) if there are reasons such as under the Voting Rights Act enough able to elect a minority. The compromise would have 13 Hispanic and 18 black wards. The 20th Ward stays. approx. where it is.
MAPS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE CITY CLERK WEBSITE, and to see map for now go to 1537 News: Click the map button option in the upper right corner to get
the street map view.
(You still have to compare with descriptions above to know how this translates by block and street.

Eventually 4 maps would be proposed. The Black Caucus map, revised with much infighting from that released September 19, 2011 and filed in December. African Americans would "give up" one ward (2nd) that is already no longer black and add two Latino wards. Filed as the "For a Better Chicago
In Hyde Park: All east of Lake Park (to 47th) is in the 5th Ward. The boundary between 4th and 5th sawtooth along 53rd-- A MAP HAS TO BE VIEWED TO KNOW EFFECT ON THE 2 TIFS, NICHOLS AND ELM PARKS. The 4th ward would extend all the way to Wacker. The second would lose it (which has gained heavily in population while all to the south of it has heavily lost) would cede most of its south loop-south side territory to the 4th and 3rd. The Latino caucus says it deserves several more wards, so...
It filed the "Taxpayer Protection Map." This map draws a line straight down 53rd Street from the Lake past Cottage Grove. The 20th ward moves to the northwest side and the current 20th is divided between the 3rd, 5th, 7th and perhaps another ward.
A third map was file by Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education fund on January 4.
It includes 14 majority Hispanic and 18 African American (by dividing the 19th) and creating a 42% Asian 11th. It disrupts many incumbents so is expected to go nowhere.
The Herald expressed wonder that Hyde Parkers (vs other neighborhoods) have had little to say about the map considering HP is currently split between wards and a central swath and more east of the tracks are set to go into the 5th Ward.

It appeared there would be a referendum in March between at least two maps- but a compromise was expected in the 3rd week of January. One was filed by the Latino Caucus and some whites with 13 Latino wards and 3 more leaning. Another map was filed by the Black Caucus and some leading white aldermen providing 18 black wards (vs current 19- population indicates 17 would be closer to population). Both will be made available to the public and there will be 2-3 hearings. Assuming one of the two wins a majority in an up and down City Council vote, that map becomes the official, and the other may be filed as a challenger for the March primary. (41 aldermen would have to sign on to a map to avoid a referendum that could cost as much as $30 million.) This writer suggests many will want to look closely (especially the Black map which is sawtoothed along 53rd) at the actual boundaries and their relationship to neighborhoods, business districts, population/income groupings etc. and not just at whether a particular city block gets or keeps the most. The "population truth" is probably between the two maps. Note that the prime objective in the fights seems to be to keep as many incumbents as possible with maybe knocking off a few non-siders by districting them out of their winning wards.

The Latino caucus filed first, with about 16 (over the 10 needed to force a referendum) supporting a map )"Taxpayer Protection Map") with 17 black wards, 13 Hispanic and 3 Hispanic-influence. It has a few white supporters- John Daley (11th) and Michael Madigan (13th). Also Michele Smith who says the Black map splinters Lincoln Park. Leader Solis said they would not sue if they lost the referendum-- called an empty promise by Black caucus leader Howard Brookins, who said it's not aldermen but orgs. that sue. The Hispanic block thinks there's would be more likely to withstand legal challenges.

The Black Caucus filed a map with 18 black wards (ceding one current black ward and at the expense of the 11th which moves to the North Side). As of the 19th of December, 32- including most of the white aldermen and leadership, sided with this map, called "For a Better Chicago". Neutral were 3 white aldermen. This map would on average have more residents in north side than south side wards.

Visit maps (largely racial-ethnic and where the population losses (and some gains) were- These can be zoomed in. HERE IS THE BLACK CAUCUS MAP PROPOSED AT START OF OCTOBER 2011 and for HPK essentially the final boundaries.

At least four rival processes are in play well before the formal action begins August 1.

Alderman Richard Mell (33rd, whose ward incidentally is majority Hispanic although loyal Hispanic ald. envision no challenge to that) will run the official "map room" on the second floor of City Hall. Peeks even by aldermen will be extremely restricted.

Hispanic Caucus and Black Caucus are hiring their own consultants and are expected to have map rooms. The one seeks to gain equity (which they certainly did not have in the last remap) while the other wants to hold onto what it has although both talk of fairness and realism and that voters have access and consideration rather than necessarily being represented by someone who looks like them. Ditto for Asians, who this year are beginning to act on their own behalf.

In addition, Ald. Joe Moore (49th), head of the self-named Reform Caucus (a loose confederation of about a dozen) are raising funds to have their own high-tech map room. Moore says any alderman could use the computers to look at the demographic data.

As far as ethnicity goes, it is quite complicated. Blacks are mostly in discrete, overwhelming belts with little transition, but also form minorities in some other wards-- and are essentially absent from most white wards. Hispanics have belts also (three) but are increasingly dispersed in no-majority or white wards so that it would be difficult to create the 15 wards their numbers would merit--even if 4 Hispanic wards weren't controlled by powerful whites. Asians, except for Chinatown, are much more dispersed.

As of the end of November, the official committee under Richard Mell was showing a proposed map to sets of adjacent-ward aldermen and meeting with the major caucuses. The Hispanic caucus seems to be satisfied with three new wards (going up to a total of 13 majority Hispanic) with Ald. Mareno likely to be reelected in his ward regardless. Under this map (still hidden as a whole) the African Americans would lose two wards and be split, with Ald. Cochran among those who have to fight, because the map "reunites" Back of the Yards as a majority Hispanic ward.
A minimum of 41 have to sign on to keep any map from going to a referendum or being fair game for a lengthy court battle.


Retrospective of a watershed election

And the winners were...

AND THE WINNERS WERE: Rahm Emmanuel for Mayor (55% including winning all South Side wards except Chico in the 10th; DeValle and Braun received majorities in no wards). Mendoza for City Clerk.

Will Burns won the 4th with 65%. Nearest rival was Yokoyama with 10%, then Bolden and Scott, then Rumsey, then Miguest, with Williams trailing at 1%.
Hairston won the 5th with 62%. Miles got 21% leaving the remaining three in single digits.
Dowell won the 3rd 2-1 but Cochrane will be in a runoff for the 20th with Rapper/Hip Hop performer Smith.


How it happened:

January 5 2011 Herald reports on labor and IVI-IPO endorsements and on ballot statuses in an article by Sam Cholke.

[Note, listing of candidates in this report are now out of date.]

Many organizations have gone ahead and endorsed candidates even though the ballot is not set, and the general trend is wholesale endorsement of incumbents and party and insider-endorsed candidates, even by organizations that purport to be "independent" and upholders of "independent politics." Candidates have received in some cases dozens of questionnaires from these and advocacy/trade association groups, many very lengthy and with very little wiggle room to parse the stances of these organizations. It appears that many of the "minor" candidates declined to answer the questionnaires or to appear at vetting hearings.

Cholke reports that both the Chicago Federation of Labor and Independent Voters of Illinois endorsed incumbents or the endorsed candidates in local aldermanic races-- Will Burns in the 4th and Leslie Hairston in the 5th. As Cholke notes, only Hairston in the 5th and only Burns and George Rumsey in the 5th even answered the IVI questionnaire or appeared at the vetting. We understand that at the sparsely attended vetting, the 4th Ward was passed by in the vetting and not returned to until after Mr. Burns came even though another candidate was ready to speak and answer questions. Each candidate was allowed a 3 minute statement and given only 5 minutes worth of questions. The meeting was reported to us as run by South Side incumbent officeholders.

Cholke reported that "Both candidates (Burns and Rumsey) sided on the progressive side of issue in the questionnaire. Rumsey said he would support a casino in the city, but not in the ward, while Burns said he would not endorse a casino anywhere in the city. Rumsey supports both reinstating an elected school board and a citywide lottery for enrollment in magnet schools, while Burns tries to walk a middle line on the issues. "I can support both popular election of school board members and mayoral control, because the structure of the public schools is less important than what actually happens in the classroom," burns says about reforming the school board. He says he could back an enrolment lottery, but not as currently designed.

"Burns cites additional police service as the ward's top need. Rumsey says basic services like lighting, garbage collection adn street seeping all require improvement in the ward. The two candidates differ in their ordering or priorities in transportation and other ares, but both list similar concerns. The full questionnaire from both candidates is available on the IFI-IPO's website,

"Six other candidates are also seeking the 4th Ward alderman's seat, but did not answer the organization's questions. Brian Scott, Norman bolden, James Williams, Adam Miguest, Valencia "Mother Diva" Dantzler and Lori Yokoyama are also running. Scott is the only candidates with a secured spot on the ballot.

"Labor and the IVI-IPO both endorsed incumbent 5th Ward Ald. Leslie Hairston. She was the only candidate to respond to the IVI-IPO's questionnaire [required for endorsement]. Hairston identifies improving allocation of police resources as the top service need for the ward. Nine candidates remain in the 5th Ward race, including Anne Marie Miles, Michele Tankersley, Rebecca Sankey, Sandra Williams-Bey, Glenn Ross, Carol Hightower Chalmers, Marie "Jenny" Wohadlo and Sylvester "Junebug" Hendricks. Hairston, Tankersley and Ross are all guaranteed slots on the ballot.

The Chicago Board of Elections continues deciding petition challenges this week and a final ballot is expected to be set soon.


A peek at 4th ward aldermanic candidate's war chests shows a range from as little as $112 for Scott to over $120,000 for Burns ($600,000 plus raised over the course of his 2008 campaign for and term as state representative). Largest contributor is MAC Properties, to Burns.

Candidates clash. From the Herald January 19 2011 report on the KOCO forum. By Sam Cholke

The six candidates for 4th Ward alderman got their first chance to put their positions up for comparison at a Kenwood Oakland Community Organization forum Jan. 13. They all vowed to put the interests of the 4th Ward first and work to improve the ward's neighborhoods that, though improving, still desperately need a boost. The candidates differed in how the community, the alderman and outside interests would be involved int eh ward's continued rebuilding.

George Rumsey wants to decentralize the planning process in the ward, bringing more people to the tale and empowering them to make more of the decisions. "I take my community involvement very seriously, he said. Rumsey wants to expand the number of planning councils in the ward and make more of them elected. He proposed one such council to guide the redevelopment of the Michael Reese Hospital site.

Norman bolden wants to "Cut the red tape" and centralize more of the planning in the neighborhood. he did not want to eliminate any planning bodies, but said the alderman's office should be more of a one-stop-shop to streamline and expedite the development process.

Will Burns said he would keep intact many of he community planning processes of former Ald. Toni Preckwinkle, a mix of elected adn appointed bodies that reflect each of the communities they represent. He proposed expanding the role of elected local school councils and said the Chicago School Board should return to being an elected body.

Adam Miguest said those close to issues should bed planning a path forward. Teachers should be more involved in pushing school reforms, he cited as an example. He said the alderman should also be out in front luring in businesses that community bodies would ten approve or deny. He said he would work to attract the retailers he thought should open up shop in the ward.

Brian Scott wants to take it one step back from Miguest. he advocated the alderman work for access to capital in the ward. he wants to use his experience the finance sector to attract major lenders to bankroll the expansion of the ward's business community. He said the alderman should work to tear down the barriers to the market for employers and workers by cutting red tape and improving job training.

Lori Yokoyama wants to invest the ward's money in business development. She pushed that developers will be more responsive to the wards' concerns when local funds are at stake. The small-business community in the ward needs to expand, and the alderman should provide the resources and training to do that, she said. "I'm going to hold seminars" on bookkeeping and licensing, she said.

"I don't know whom I should vote for," said KOCO member Brian Malone, the moderator for the event.

The candidates will next convent for at forum at 10 a.m. Feb. 5 at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave. the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and the Coalition for Equitable Community Development are sponsoring the event.

Chicago Maroon. Friday, January 21, 2011.
Politics. Fourth ward candidates debate education, safety

By Linda Qui, News Staff

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) hosted a moderated forum for the fourth ward’s aldermanic position January 13 at Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church on East 35th Street and south Cottage Grove Avenue. The six candidates who attended the forum were Will Burns (A.B. ’95, A.M. ’98), Brian Scott, George Rumsey, Normal [sic] Bolden, Adam Miguest, and Lori Yokoyama. The other candidates under review, James E. Williams and Valencia “Mother Diva” Dantzler, did not attend.

The candidates questioned the economic disparities between Hyde Park, Kenwood, and Bronzeville, the neighborhoods that make up the fourth ward.
The concept of turning areas in the fourth ward into walking communities was brought up by both Burns and Rumsey. The former suggested narrowing East 47th Street, calling it a dividing line.

Rumsey said his “final step is to get a new business strip, a small business strip on 31st Street.”

Bolden said reducing regulations would be a better way to attract more businesses than increasing development. “Force banks to lower their lending standards. We have to lift the restrictions government is placing on these businesses. We may need to loosen up fees for start-up businesses and pay the fees later,” he said.

To keep tenants in affordable housing, Burns emphasized tenant rights and safety deposit security, whereas Brian Scott and former Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference President George Rumsey suggested working with the banks.

Norman Bolden, owner of Norman’s bistro and Room 43, suggested auditing housing developments and building on vacant lots.

Adam Miguest, a 21-year-old from Kenwood who recently graduated from University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and interned for Representative bobby Rush in Washington D.C., said he would improve transparency.

All of the candidates advocated for improving education and reducing youth violence.

Burns and Miguest agreed on gun control as the best prevention against youth violence. Burns applauded the CeaseFire program, in which adult leaders help prevent youth violence, but he said gun control was the next step to reducing shootings.

Burns pointed out that while Chuck’s Gun Shop on Riverdale is Known to be the provider of most of the guns involved in community shootings, without changes to gun control laws, it will be hard to regulate gun purchases.

Miguest said that while looser gun restrictions in other states might work fine, it’s not working for Chicago. “That’s fine in Texas if they want to shoot up the animals in their backyard, but we can’t be shooting people on the streets,” he said.

Scott, Bolden, and Rumsey advocated for youth programs and mentoring instead of gun control.

Audience members asked whether the alderman wanted to elect school board members rather than have them appointed by the mayors’ office, and all candidates agreed they should be elected.

Burns also offered the idea of incentives to “high quality teachers” to enter the district, while Rumsey and Yokoyama suggested redesigning curricula.

Elections will take place February 22. Former Fourth-ward Alderwoman Toni Preckwinkle was recently elected as Cook County Board president.

Chicago Maroon January 28- Comparing fifth ward candidates' platforms. By Jingwen Hu

Fifth ward candidates have cited education, security, and the economy as top priorities in the race for teh alderman chair.

Carol Highwater-Chalmers, Anne Marie Miles, Glenn Ross and Michele Tankersley are all vying to unseat three-term incumbent Leslie Hairston in the February 22 election. The Maroon spoke with Hairston, Miles, and Tankersley. The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference;s (HPKCC) candidate questionnaire provided information regarding Chalmers. No information was available regarding Ross's platform.

All the candidates agreed the Tax Increment... Financing (TIF) process needs more transparency.

Hairston, who has served as fifth ward alderman since 1999, said she would continue to bring retail to the ward. "I've been talking to developers and retailers. It's the developers that bring the retail," Hairston said. She cited past projects like stapes, Aldi, Jewel/Osco, Safe-A-Lot, and Starbucks as signs of an improving retail environment under her leadership. Hairston used $250,000 of TIF funds to bring in the Starbucks on East 71st and South Stony Island Avenue, which she believes was a sign that "the community is on the way up." She said that the majority of the employees hired by new businesses have been from the fifth ward.

Tankersley, a counselor at Chicago Public Schools, criticized Hairston for using fifth ward TIF money to build SouthShore High School at East 75th Street and South Constance Avenue, which is part of the eighth ward, and accused her of spending too much in order to attract Starbucks. Hairston argues that the SouthShore High School benefit the fifth ward as well, with a location situated on the boundary between the eighth and fifth wards.

Tankersley would rather allocate TIF funds for a mini-Walmart and hopes to address unemployment, violence, and education with a new community center. She encouraged exposing drug dealers to positive influences. "I want to show them that they have skills... that their illegal skills can be flipped to legal skills," she said.

Chalmers, who has worked for Carol Moseley Braun and was on the advisory committee for the fifth ward from 1991 to 2001, collaborated with the U of C to create a community rehabilitation program later implemented by the Department of Planning.

Miles, who served as president for the Comer children's Hospital Service Committee and has children who attended the Lab Schools, proposes a fifth ward advisory Council to develop a plan to stimulate the economy. She also suggested a regional garbage pickup service, which would be able to drive more efficient routes. According to Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, such a switch could save $30 million for the ward.

Miles wants to improve the efficiency of the police by promoting more communication between different police precincts in the fifth wad. "The precincts officers don't always hear what's going on in other precincts.," said Miles. Miles los wants to replicate the UCPD's blue light system throughout the ward with a CPD system for all residents, while Tankersley called for blue lights installed at all the bus stops.

All the candidates want to improve education by funding after-school programs or hiring tutors.


In surprise to few, Newsome named Ald. Herald, January 19, 2011. By Sam Cholke.

The 4th ward has a new alderman. The City Council voted unanimously Jan. 13 to approve Shirley Newsome as May richard M. Daley's appointment to fill out the remainder of Toni Preckwinkle's term. Newsome was a close confidant of the former alderman and chaired many of the ward's business, housing and real estate development councils. Preckwinkle said when leaving office that she would not officially name who should succeed her but would advise the mayor on the qualities the interim alderman should possess.

Four applied to sit in the seat. Two were eliminated immediately because they did not live in the ward. Residents of the ward questioned contender Craig Carrington when the city released his application, in which he claimed to be a high-profile community leader. Carrington was passed over and Newsome assumed the duties of the office that has been vacant since Dec. 6.

The alderman's office never closed its doors during the period of transition. Staff said they continued to help residents access city services, but could not act lon any decision that required the sign-off by the alderman.

The ward's business community said they were largely prepared for the extended leadership vacuum. Peter Cassel, director of community development for one of the ward's largest property owners.... said many of their projects were shepherded through the city process late last year in anticipation of a slow appointment process. Dave Cocagne, president of Harper Court developer Vermilion Development, said Preckwinkle had made a pont of getting the project through Council before she stepped down.

Newsome's workload was light on Thursday. No 4th Ward business has been submitted to the Council in over a month, and Newsome's first yes vote was to approve the routine matters of an event raffle license fees and appointment to boards in Wicker Park and Bucktown. She spent Council buried in the the paperwork that crowds aldermen's desks, and would give a slight nod each time a distracted alderman came back to the chamber to register their late vote in favor of her appointment. She gave a wry grim when addressed as Alderman Newsome for the first time by the herald. She begged off an interview and said she had to rush off to discuss her committee appointments before dinner with the mayor.

Newsome will serve as alderman until Preckwinkle's elected successor is sworn-in in May.

The Maroon January 25 added that Newsome will concentrate on advancing five areas in redevelopment including Harper Court and on affordable housing (rival ordinances are before the City Council).


The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce held a forum for several 4th and 5th Ward candidates Jan. 19 at Chant. Only part was devoted to questions to candidates.

Herald January 26: Local Candidates get H.P. Chamber's ear. By Sam Cholke

Candidates for 4th and 5th Ward alderman met with the Hyde Park business community last week to listen to concerns and offer a possible path forward through rough economic waters. "We've just been through a financial tsunami," said Peter Cassel, a representative for property owner Antheus Capital, which rents a number of the ward's retail spaces. "Hyde Park continues to grow coming out of it," he said. He underlined the importance of holding on to the small businesses that have weathered the storm.

More than 20 business owners and Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce members met with the candidates to push for more networking opportunities and easier access to customers beyond the ward's internal dividing lines. "Not all of us have thrived or expanded, but we're still here," said Cindy Pardo, a co-owner of the Fair Trader, which operates in the 5th Ward in one of Antheus' 55h Street retail spaces. She said she was frustrated the aldermen's attention had been on so few retail corridors. "53rd Street is not the only retail space in the neighborhood," she said.

The 4th Ward candidates were eager to leap at expanding the retail options. "I believe we currently have an area where people are willing to go beyond 53rd Street," said 4th Ward candidate Norman Bolden, who operates two businesses on 43rd Street. Members of both neighborhoods need to find ways to solidify the links between the communities, he said. "What better way to do that than to build small businesses along all of the commercial corridors that connect the ward?"

"On 43rd Street, hats off to Norman Bolden," 4th Ward aldermanic candidate and state Rep. Will Burns (D-26) said, adding the next 4th alderman should work to keep businesses lie Bolden's in the community and expand retail on 43rd Street, 47th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.

The conversation moved to the expanding number of festivals on 53d Street. Fourth Ward candidate George Rumsey wants to replicate the success of the festivals in other parts of the 4th Ward and lower the entry cost for local businesses. He said he was disappointed with how few local stores participated.

"This is old news," said Joyce Feuer of Joyce's Event and Party Planning, the chamber's vice president. "it broke my heart to hear how many businesses turned us away to be in this event," she said about the Celebrate Hyde Park festival.

The conversation was dominated by assessments of the diversity of Hyde Prk businesses for the remainder of the forum. Business owners and candidates agreed that there are early-adopters amongst Hyde Park businesses, willing to take a financial risk when they're unsure of the payoff. All agreed that the festivals should be structured to favor local businesses and appeal to more than the risk takers.

Ald. Leslie Hairston, whose 5th Ward does not include 53rd street, said after the forum that the conversation missed the point. She said she felt the alderman's job was to support their chambers of commerce. She said she created the South Shore Chamber of Commerce to build exposure to businesses in the south end of her ward, but it was not her role to micromanage their decisions.

Anne Marie Miles, the only other 5th Ward candidate to attend the forum, said she thought more events modeled on the Hyde Park festival should be planned for SouthShore. More importantly, she said, the alderman should be pushing for local business access to the University of Chicago's broad purchasing power, which can sustain businesses year-round. ...

More reports on the February 5 4th Ward Aldermanic Forum by CECD, HPKCC and others. (See CECD/HPKCC report.)

Hyde Park Herald, February 9, 2011. By Sam Cholke. Forum yields few differences among foes

The Coalition for Equitable Community Development grilled five of the seven 4th Ward aldermanic candidates on affordable housing adn responsible growth on Feb. 5 at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave.

With most of the questions centered on future development in the ward, the candidates did little to distinguish themselves. All supported community involvement in the planning of future development adn voiced a commitment to affordable housing and green space.

All supported improving transportation by increasing the frequency of bus lines and pushing for better service from Metra.

With so much agreement, the candidates were left to differentiate themselves by character and style.

Norman bolden, owner of the Room 43 and Norman's Bistro, put himself forward as the small-business owner who knows the importance of keeping it local. "The alderman's office is like a business and it needs to be run like a business," he said. "If there is an issue, deal with it, make it go away."

State Rep. Will Burns (D-26) presented himself as the political insider that can hit the ground running in a City Council full of rookies. "I know how to find the choke points in the legislative process," Burns said. He said he would bring new tactics to the Council's Progressive Caucus, like holding up votes on related measures to get a progressive agenda through.

George Rumsey, owner of the Computer Resource Center, portrayed himself as the consensus builder. he touted his leadership posts in many neighborhood councils and task forces. He said he supported projects like the Hyde Park Village, a network of seniors exchanging resources and information to stay in their homes as they age. Rumsey wants to get the neighborhood organized on issues and put the best information in their hands to come to practical solutions for the city's problems.

Lori Yokoyama, an attorney, wants the job to set down better ground rules for businesses and developers. She promised transparency and clarity in contracts and bidding at the city level. Yokoyama made a few gaffes, at one point confusing the minimum participation by minority- an women-owned business in any city contract with a maximum. "I'm against caps," Yokoyama said about the mandate of $20 percent of units in any new housing development be set aside as affordable. The rule sets a minimum, not as maximum.

Brian Scott, a financial consultant, stayed brief and shied from details. he said he would support more money for schools and better support for seniors, but declined to get into specifics. Scott did call for greater pressure on banks. he said the city should leverage its numerous deposits in different financial institutions to increase lending.

The crowd of about 80 threw out questions about independence in Council and local pet projects like Elm Park. The candidates came back largely with unanimity. Al would support the demands of their constituents an honor the ward's legacy of independence in the Council.

The event stayed low-key. Burns got a laugh and applause when he said he graduated late from the University of Chicago because he was busy organizing Black students against the university. Rumsey got a round of applause when he was the first to say he would support a project that would increase Metra runtimes to every 10 minutes. Teh other candidates then jumped onboard, pledging their own support of the initiative.

One heckler yelled out "Republican" after Yokoyama's opening statement. The Chicago Young Republicans threw a nod to the candidate early on in the race, but she said she neither asked for nor accepted the endorsement. She was a Republican delegate in the 2004 General Election.

Candidate James Williams did not attend the forum. Attempts to reach Williams by the Herald have been unsuccessful. Candidate Adam Miguest also did not attend the forum.

The Board of Election Commissioners recently removed Valencia "Mother Diva" Dantzler from the ballot. The election is Feb. 22.


January 24 Sun-Times South Side Ward endorsements.

Tribune below


Near South Side

Expectations were high for Ald. Pat Dowell when she was elected in 2007, and she has not disappointed. She’s hardworking, smart and a strong professional advocate for her ward, which includes Grand Boulevard and Back of the Yards. A former city planner who ran a community development corporation, she not only knows city issues but also how to make things happen. She is enthusiastically endorsed over Ebony Tillman, daughter of former 3rd Ward Ald. Dorothy Tillman and host of her mother’s radio show.

Near South Side
Several strong candidates are vying to replace Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who for nearly 20 years presided over a ward that includes Hyde Park, Kenwood and parts of the Near South Side. We’re backing William D. “Will” Burns, a progressive state representative who has earned a strong reputation for his smarts and integrity. He is a longtime Kenwood resident who would be an effective ward steward and a powerful voice for reform. We also like George Rumsey, a thoughtful community activist who articulates a clear vision for a ward in transition. Burns, though, would do a better job moving the ward and in the City Council. His opponents worry that Burns’ higher political aspirations might distract him from his duties as alderman, and we urge Burns to prove them wrong.

[5TH WARD] Hyde Park, South Shore

Ald. Leslie A. Hairston, a fierce advocate for her ward and an independent voice in the City Council, deserves re-election. One of only five alderman to vote against privatizing the city’s parking meters, she refused to support it because it was rushed through the Council. We like one of her five opponents, Anne Marie Miles, a lawyer with some fresh ideas and energy but not enough experience in the South Shore part of the ward. We’re endorsing Hairston because of her principled stances, but the ward would benefit if she listened to her critics first before attacking.


Tribune endorsements February 7, 2011

3rd Ward: We wish every council member was as principled and dedicated as Ald. Pat Dowell, who ended the chaotic run of Dorothy Tillman four years ago. Dowell is an expert in economic development issues and has focused on smart land use in her community. She has a slew of successes to show for it. She is especially on point in blasting the abuse of tax-increment financing. Dowell faces Ebony Tillman, You-Know-Who's daughter and former chief aide. Tillman told us she wants to "go back to the old days." That would mean lots of theater while nothing got done. Dowell is warmly endorsed.

4th Ward. State Rep. Will Burns has the backing of Toni Preckwinkle, who vacated this seat when she was elected Cook County Board president. We're not surprised the reform-minded Preckwinkle is supporting Burns. He's likely to carry on the tradition of independent thought his backers in Hyde Park and Kenwood expect from him. Burns' proposal for the Michael Reese Hospital site seems sensible: building hospitality and technology nodes linked to McCormick Place and the Illinois Institute of Technology. If he wins, Burns should enlist the help of opponent George Rumsey, a likeable businessman and affordable-housing advocate who is passionate about smart development. There are five other candidates. Burns is endorsed.

5th Ward: Ald. Leslie Hairston can be brusque and intimidating, but she sure knows her ward. She has had the gumption to stand up from time to time to Mayor Richard Daley. To her credit, she opposed the move of the Chicago Children's Museum to Grant Park and was one of five alderman to vote against the disastrous and rushed parking meter lease deal. Hairston has brought considerable development to the ward (including the city's first drive-through Starbucks). she established the only triathlon on the South Side. She led the move to allow Chicagoans to use Link cards (debit cards for food stamp recipients) to buy fresh produce at farmers' markets. Her opponents complain loudly about the alderman, but offer up only vague ideas for improving the ward. hairston has the smarts, the voice and a principled reputation. She is endorsed over four opponents.


According to local papers, allegations are flying concerning alleged dirty tricks. In the 5th ward, mainly the camp of Anne Marie Miles alleges that she was forced to move her campaign office because Ald. Hairston allegedly told the landlord she would send city inspectors unless the landlord got Ms. Miles campaign headquarters out of there. It was also alleged that overambitious campaign workers placed campaign material for Ald. Hairston in mailboxes at 1700 E. 56th St.

In the 4th Ward, it was alleged (by word, not in a paper) that candidate Will Burns called a building asking that signs for another candidate, Lori Yokoyama be removed in exchange for the landlord's appointment to an advisory board.

The money front.

[Mr. Cholke gave more details on who Will Burns got funds from and what he spent it on (for example $20,000 on polling) in his blogsite,]

Herald, February 9, 2011, by Sam Cholke. Burns top in cash, Many 4th Ward candidates self-funded

During the last six months of 2010, many 4th Ward candidates got their campaigns rolling with an infusion from their own wallets, according to disclosures posted by the state last month.

Lori Yokoyama loaned her campaign $25,259. her only individual contribution at the time was $600 from a Park Ridge, Ill resident.

Brian Scott's wife lent his campaign $860. The campaign received no other donations during the period.

Norman Bolden boosted his campaign with $445 of his own money, and then gave his campaign another $1,500 of his own funds shortly after the beginning of the year. it si Bolden's only reported contribution thus far.

George Rumsey raised $9,734 nearly all f it from Hyde Park residents in the 4th and the wards.

In just a month, Will Burns has raised more campaign money than all the other candidates combined raised over six months. With backing rom teh AFSCME and SEIU unions, Burns campaign war chest swelled by an additional $15,00 in a single day, adding to the $92,885 he raised in the prior six months. Burns enjoys the prowess of a sitting politician and built on an existing pot of more than $109,000 from his state representative campaign. Reports filed with the state reveal Burns' financial backing from many political committees, including state Speaker of the House Michael Madigan (D-22), Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Deborah Shore, city Treasurer Stephanie Neely, an Burns' old boss, former state Senate President Emil Jones.

One of the largest individual contributors to Burns' campaign came from Medley's Self-Storage, which pledged $10,000 in total. Medley's is owned by Howard C. Medley, a former board member of the Chicago Transit Authority who was convicted in 1993 of accepting a $25,000 bribe from a contractor.

Burns' campaign also received numerous donations from drug makers, including Maryland-based Medlmmune Affairs, the Abbott Laboratories Employee PAC, the North Carolina-based GlaxoSmithKline PAC and the D.C.-based Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

One of Hyde Park's largest property owners. New Jersey-based Antheus Capital, used the many limited liability corporations set up for its buildings to contribute $7,500 to Burns' campaign. An Antheus employee in Hyde Park also contributed $375 to teh campaign using the company's New Jersey address.

Candidates James Williams and Adam Miguest did not file campaign disclosures. The state only requires reports if a campaign raised more than $500. Only contributions of greater than $1,000 will be reported to the state between now and the Feb. 22 election.

Hairston way ahead in war chest. Herald, February 16, Sam Cholke

In the race for 5th Ward alderman, incumbent Leslie Hairston is ahead in fundraising over her opponents, in disclosures filed with the state, hairston raised $74,610 during the last six months of 2010--and the money is stilt coming in. She has raised at least an additional $32, 500 since the beginning of the year.

Hairston's largest individual donor during the period was William Lowry, a workers' compensation and employer liability attorney with Nyhan, Bambrick, Kinzie & Lowry. Lowry made two contributions totaling $5,250. She also received significant contributions within her ward, including $1500 from Dr. James Richardson of South Shore. Other individual contributions come from scattered construction firms from as far away as Medinah, Schaumburg, Skokie and other suburbs.

Hairston's biggest donations have come after the first of the year, when candidates are no longer required to report contributions under $1,000. On Jan. 21, Hairston pulled in 12 contributions of more than $1,000, including $5,000 from attorney Jay Franke. Her most recent pledge was $2,500 on Feb. 14 from state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-13) organization.

Three of te five candidates for 5th Ward alderman did not file campaign contribution disclosures. Glen Ross filed paperwork to start a political organization, but did not report any income. No files on Michele Tankersley and Carol Hightower Chalmers were available from the state Board of Elections.

Ann Marie Miles, Hairston's most vocal opponent, repotted raising $7,000 in the last six months of 2010. The majority of Miles individual contributions, $1,000, were less than $25 and are not itemized. One individual contribution is listed. Copies of the reports from the state are handwritten and a $500 donor's name and occupation are illegible. Miles loaned her campaign $5,500 in August at the beginning of the campaign. The campaign has not filed any disclosures for fundraising done this year.



Hyde Park Herald, February 16, 2011.

The announcement of Mayor Richard M. Daley's retirement from political life seems to have spared a citywide populist wave of campaigning, especially for the mayor and aldermanic races. Here in Hyde Park, we have two eager packs of candidates ready to take on the role of political steward for the community for the 4th and 5tgh wards. In each case, a frontrunner emerged pretty early in the campaigns.

Not surprisingly, incumbent Ald. Leslie Hairston led the field in the 5th. When now-Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's heir apparent, ste Rep. Will Burns (D-26), announced his campaign amid a roomful of political operatives and sitting politicians, it was clear he was also the candidate to beat.

An early political miscalculation could have cost Burns that front-runner status when Preckwinkle attempted to appoint him interim alderman. Shrewdly, Burns backed off from the appointment and worked the ward, making the case for his election while Preckwinkle stalwart Shirley Newsome keeps the seat warm. Burns' efforts were matched by businessmen George Rumsey, who developed a following in Hyde Park, and Norman Bolden, whose 43rd Street businesses have drawn both Hyde Parkers and neighbors.

In the 4th Ward, we endorse Will Burns for alderman. He is, in our view, the candidate most likely to keep the ward's various high-stakes development projects in play, and we are impressed with his extensive experience in Illinois politics. These are uncertain times; a well-connected alderman may make the difference between moving the various projects in the neighbor forward during the coming tumult in City Hall and being consigned to the back of the line as a spate of newly elected politicians and veterans jockey for position in the coming political landscape.

We have high praise for the other two leading contenders for the 4th Ward spot. Both Rumsey and Bolden deserve credit for their hard work and determination. we are certain that the race was more informative and that whoever is elected will have a better sense of the 4th Ward's needs because of their participation. Bolden brought tot he race an emphasis on the need to ease the way to small business development in the ward, especially north of 47th Street. Rumsey's emphasis on democratic, transparent process resonated with some residents, and Burns should take note of that. Should Burns prevail, we hope to see both Rumsey and Bolden back in four years with an assessment of this work during his first term.

In th 5th Ward, we endorse Ald. Leslie Hairston. As we noted, the campaign field was crowded, but no candidate made a compelling case for where Hairston has fallen short. Based on her opponents' arguments, there may be some dissatisfaction in the ward with Hairston's handling of the paid parking situation on the lakefront, but that was certainly not a problem of her making. Perhaps the lesson there is that Hairston could make a little more of an effort to communicate clearly with her constituents over controversial matters.

Overall, Hairston has handled a difficult economic situation in her ward with diligence. from her work in establishing a special service area in the ward to helping along a newly minted chamber of commerce in South Shore, Hairston is making the best of difficult times.

These endorsements are not without qualification, however. Burns has to step out of the long shadow of Preckwinkle. He could start by being a more vocal advocate for the low-income residents of the ward, especially on th north end, where private developers ran roughshod over the community when the Chicago Housing Authority tore down almost all of the public housing there. we also need a more active moral force throughout the ward, pushing the city, the University of Chicago and other powerful actors in the community to allow for more community input and greater transparency.

The same goes double for Hairston when it comes to the university. Because the campus sits squarely in her ward, Hairston has a moral obligation to demand greater responsiveness from the university. Whether it's the dismantling of the Chicago Theological Seminary's headquarters or the demolition of the 61st Street community garden, we judge Hairston's efforts to step up to the university as woefully inadequate this far. We might have been hard-pressed to decide on an endorsement had a candidate emerged with a strong critique of the university and a promise to fight for the voices of residents.

The yardstick by which we measure our aldermen here in Hyde Park will be forever the standard set by Leon Despres, who more than once said the job of alderman was a combination of housekeeping and moral leadership. In tough economic times, it makes sense to ensure that wards remain ship shape. We will also demand of our politicians, however, a demonstrable sense of moral purposes and an understanding that our powerful institutions are crucial to our community and without them we might not be here either but that institutional need does not always trump community need.


SOUL, Southsiders Organized and United for Liberation, endorsed Adam Miguest in the 4th Ward.


Details, assessments on the election outcome

Burns blows in. Herald, February 23 2011. By Sam Cholke

Will Burns will be the 4th Ward's next alderman in May. As of press time, Burns had captured 64percent of the vote. "We have an imperative to change how the city functions and for who," Burns told a room full of supporters at the Hyde Park Ramada, after declaring victory.

He renewed his pledge to support retail development, affordable housing and safety in the ward and progressive policies in the City Council. "We've got a lot of work to do," he said.

Before he gave his victory speech, Burns admitted he had been unsure of the win until the last moment. "I never feel like I have anything in the bag," Burns said. He paused and added, "I'm from Cleveland," and listed some of the more notable last-minute failures in the city's sports history.

Despite his personal misgivings, Burns enjoyed the luxury of a fundraisng lead during the campaign and an early endorsement from former alderman Toni Preckwinkle. "I hope that was helpful for him," Preckwinkle said at the campaign party. She said she was watching the totals come in at Monumental Baptist and came down when it was clear Burns had won. "We're very pleased," she said. Preckwinkle remains a popular figure in the neighborhood, but it is unclear how much her endorsement convinced voters. "I always vote for Toni Preckwinkle, so i was a little confused," said Natashia Dixon after voting for Burns at Shoesmith Elementary. She said she was unaware of the endorsement. "It was kind of an eenie, meenie, miney, moe process," she explained. Shoesmith is the ward's largest polling place-- four precincts cast ballots there, and a host of campaign workers were stationed out in front to capitalize on it.

After making her way through the gauntlet of leaflets to cast her ballot, Pala Townsend said she decided to vote for Burns on the advice of her husband, Richard, who met him at a community meeting. She said she cast her vote with some reservations about the candidate's commitment to preservation of the wards' historic districts. "I think, frankly, we don't know which side he's on," she said. I don't think he's made a strong decision." The Townsends either avoided or were unconvinced by the other aldermanic candidates working the pool of voters outside Shoesmith two hours before polls closed.

"I think I got a ton" of votes, said Adam Miguest, a 4th Ward candidate. As of press time, Miguest had captured 3 percent of the vote. Miguest finished ahead of James Williams, who got 1 percent of the vote without making any reported campaign appearances.

Early in the night at a campaign party at Woodlawn Tap, George Rumsey was calm as the first vote totals came in. George Rumsey, as of press time, was polling 5 percent, behind Brian Scott, who was just under 7 percent.

Norman Bolden paced in front of Shoesmith an hour before the pols closed passing out cards emblazoned with "Punch 53" in large, red type. He confidently predicted he would take the election Tuesday night, but conceded Burns might be able to force a runoff. As of press time, Bolden was tied for second with Lori Yokoyama, both with 9 percent of the vote. After teh votes were counted, Bolden said at his camping party at Norman's Bistro that he was surprised there would be no run off with any of the candidates.

As polls approached closing, election judges reported turnout was low. Down the street at Kenwood Academy, where the 47th Precinct votes, there were only two campaign workers out in the cold with half a case of Sprite. "This has got to be the worst turnout I have ever seen," said Carl Key, letting his partner had out Burns campaign literature for few minutes [sic- sentence], though only a few of voters passed by. "We're the only ones I've seen on the street today."

After Burns is sworn in as alderman in May, his current state representative seat will sit vacant. He said he would continue to commit to his current job with with the same zeal until he takes over as alderman. "It's a loss, it's a big loss," said state Sen Kwame Raoul (D-13), who has worked closely with Burns in Springfield and represents many of the same constituents in the senate. "We don't have that kind of talent in great abundance in the state legislature."


Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) reacts [with great enthusiasm] to her overwhelming victory in the 5th Ward where, as of Herald press time, she captured 62 percent of the vote.


Herald editorial: Moving forward in the 4th Ward

The election of Will Burns to the position of 4th Ward alderman should come as no surprise to anyone who has been watching this election closely. Burns hit the ground running with support from a who's-who of elected officials and other political operatives. His campaign war chest outstripped his nearest candidates significantly. In every way, Burns made an effort from the start of his campaign to show he was taking this race seriously.

That's not to say his opponents were pushovers or not equally determined to make a strong showing. Businessmen George Rumsey and Norman Bolden both put together serious campaigns and introduced important issues Burns should take seriously as he attempts to demonstrate that he is the alderman for the entire word and not just for the powerful interests that lined up behind him.

Former alderman and now Cook County Board President toni Preckwinkle continues to cast a long shadow in the ward -- indeed, she even continues to serve as committeeman -- and Burns' brief flirtation with appointment to the interim position during the campaign made her preference Clear. His astute political move in declining that position shows some promise in Burns' independence. We need to see more of the same in the future to assure residents the ward is not being run from the county president's office.

Two smart campaign positions -- on by Bolden, the other by Rumsey -- can send a clear signal in that direction. Bolden wants to see a path cleared for budding entrepreneurs in the ward so that development -- particularly on the north side of the ward -- can help jump-start our local economy, which is flagging along with the rest of the country's. Rumsey, on the other hand, wants to see greater public participation in the decision-making process. We think these are both sound visions for the ward and they demonstrate the need for our political leadership to balance pragmatism with the idealism our communities are know fro. If Burns can demonstrate a capacity to make both sides of that equation balance out, we can be hopeful for the ward's future.

The other big task for Burns will be to prove that his trajectory, which reflects ability and ambition, doesn't mean this election amounts to a stepping stone. The 4th Ward needs an alderman who will roll up his sleeves and work hard to keep the day-to-day functioning of the ward running smoothly, the longer-term economic planning on track and the ideals of this community reflected in that wor -- not a to-do list for a one- or two-term alderman.

The key ingredient to making that combination work is time. Folks who don't know Burns or who have a poor opinion of him will need to see over a period of years that he is serious and committed to this position. It will take a local track record to win some naysayers over. That's not something that gets done overnight.

You got the nod, wil. Now you can convince us you were the right choice.

More details from the March 2 Herald. By Sam Cholke

Voter rolls have thinned out over the past three aldermanic elections, but this hear saw the highest vote turnout in the Mid-South in nearly a decade. [Note, many precincts in HP and K reported record lows- maybe there were a number of early and absentee voters.] With more heading to the polls, voters handed candidates big victories in the aldermen and mayoral races.

The 3rd, 4th and 5the Wards, which cover much of Chicago's mid-South neighborhoods, have seen as much as a 10 percent decline in registered voters since 2003. In the 4th Ward, turnout was high, with 49 percent of voters going to the polls, a significant increase since 2003, when only 33 percent came out for the alderman's election. Citywide turnout was 42 percent this year. The 4th Ward has seen a slow decline in its number of registered voters, losing 1 to 2 percent each election cycle. The 4th saw dramatic swings in voter engagement this year. In the 37th Precinct just tot eh west of the University of Chicago campus, only 4 percent of voters turned out on Election Day. With only five out of 123 voters casting a ballot, the precinct skewed the results for the seven alderman candidates - Brian Scott and James Williams each captured 20 percent in the precinct by getting one vote each.

The turnout was highest at 68 percent in the 45th Precinct, which covers just two residential towers at 4800 South Chicago Beach Drive. The precinct went overwhelmingly for Will Burns. With such high turnout, Lori Yokoyama also captured more votes in the precinct than in other parts of the ward.

Burns polled best in the blocks to the east of Provident Hospital, where he captured more than 80 percent of the vote. He did worst in the lakefront blocks around 43rd Street, the only area where he captured less than 50 percent of the vote. Norman Bolden, who owns two businesses in the immediate area, was able to peel off votes from Burns and capture 42 percent in the neighborhood.

Rahm Emanuel did well in the 4th Ward, capturing just a little less than 60 percent of the vote. He did not win more than 50 percent of votes in only four precincts, but those precincts ended split between the six mayoral candidates. Carol Mosely Braun finished behind Emanuel, winning close to 18 percent of the 4th Ward vote.

Incumbent Ald. Leslie Hairston won 60 percent of the vote in the 5th Ward. A majority of voters went for Hairston in all but one of the wards' 55 precincts. Anne Marie Miles won 60 percent of the vote in the 52nd Precinct just west of the University of Chicago campus, where only five of the registered voters came out to the polls. The 5th Ward has also seen a decline in the number of registered voters since 203-- voter rolls have slimmed by 9 percent during the past two election cycles. Though the ward has fewer voters, more are turning out at the polls. Turnout was up to 43 percent this year, a significant increase over 2003, when only 30 percent of voters came out. Turnout was highest, 74 percent, in the 24th Precinct, which is mostly voters from the 1700 E. 56th residential high-rise. Hairston won the precinct. It was the only area in the Mid South where an aldermanic candidate won over more than half of all registered votes, counting those that stayed home on Election Day.

Hairston polled best in the neighborhoods south of Jackson Park to the west of Jeffery Boulevard. She also poled well in the Hyde Park neighborhoods north of Jackson Park.

Emanuel overwhelmingly won the 5th Ward. he won more than 50 percent of the vote in every precinct, carrying the ward with 62 percent of the vote. Braun was a distant second for the ward's voters at just less than 17 percent. She capture more than 30 percent of voters in only one precinct, the 45th, which Emanuel still carried with 57 percent of the vote.

In the 3rd Ward, which re-elected Ald. Pat Dwell, voter turnout was 40 percent, the highest turnout since the ward's boundaries were redrawn in 2000. With votes now fully counted, it's clear Dowell won a resounding victory over contender Ebony Tillman. The incumbent took a majority of votes in 46 of the ward's 50 precincts. Tillman's support was scattered throughout the ward, winning precincts in the far west and far south corners of the ward and near Stateway and Williams parks. She also seemed to do better where turnout was low -- Tillman fared best in the 10th Precinct near the rail yards off West 51st Street where 31 percent of voters came out to the polls. Dowell won more than 90 percent of the vote in the 28th Precinct at the far north end of the ward near 18th Street, where turnout was 47 percent.

Emanuel also won a resounding victory in the ward in his bid for the mayor's seat, capturing 58 percent of the vote, and winning over a majority of voters in 44 of the ward's 50 precincts. Braun trailed Emanuel wirth 21 percent of the votes in the ward.