- Brian Jackson/Sun-Times
- Alderman Natashia Holmes has some challengers in the 7th Ward.
No sooner had my post on the aldermanic cheat sheet hit the street—metaphorically speaking, of course—than I got complaints from readers wanting more.
That’s right! Readers actually complained that my post wasn’t long enough—something of a first for a Reader writer.
As a reminder, the aldermanic cheat sheet is a booklet featuring a list of potential candidates and ward maps, put together by a political junkie who calls himself Tom Keane. The aldermanic election’s not till February, but obviously it’s never too early for political junkies to talk about aldermanic elections.
Speaking of which, a reader named Ajax called to complain that I “only wrote about one ward” in my post.
So in order to feed his ravenous appetite for aldermania, I will randomly open my cheat sheet and write about whatever ward I see. Here goes . . .
That would be a south-side ward that resembles a corkscrew, roughly stretching north to south from 71st to 104th just west of the lake.
There are currently 11 candidates either running or seriously thinking about running, according to the cheat sheet. By election day there should be many more.
If this trend continues there may be almost as many aldermanic candidates as voters in the 7th—sort of like the relationship between poets and poetry readers.
Sandi Jackson—wife of Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.—used to be the 7th Ward alderman.
But, as you may recall, the Jacksons got into a little trouble a few years back, pleading guilty to various federal charges of campaign finance and income tax fraud.
Congressman Jackson was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Alderman Jackson got a sentence of 12 months, which she’ll serve after her husband’s release.
On January 15, 2013, Alderman Jackson resigned from the council, leaving a vacancy Mayor Emanuel got to fill.
That night Sandi Jackson convened a meeting in her office of precinct captains, where, speaking on a speaker phone, she announced that she’d pretty much cut a deal with the mayor.
“From an insider’s point of view, Mayor Rahm may say he wants to have interviews,” Sandi Jackson said at that meeting. “But for the most part, they turn that matter over to the alderman.”
Apparently unbeknownst to Alderman Jackson, Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell was listening to the conversation.
In an ensuing column, Mitchell quoted Jackson at length, as she boldly predicted that the mayor would select Keiana Barrett—her chief of staff—as the new alderman.
Needless to say, Mitchell’s column all but guaranteed that Keiana Barrett would not get Mayor Rahm’s nod.
Instead, Mayor Emanuel announced a “transparent open process” that “will ensure” residents “get a strong representative on City Council.”
As opposed to someone sent to him by Sandi Jackson.
On February 11 of that year, the mayor selected Natashia L. Holmes, who’s rewarded the mayor with over a year and a half of abject loyalty.
Which is all a mayor really wants from any alderman.
Don’t feel too sorry for Keiana Barrett. She found her way to a job in “strategic communications” for a division of the Chicago Public Schools called the Family and Community Engagement Department.
And just think, CPS doesn’t have enough money for librarians.
Among the candidates running for 7th Ward alderman are Alderman Holmes and Keiana Barrett. So maybe Sandi Jackson was right about her successor after all, albeit in a roundabout way.
The mayor faces a tough choice. Does he support Holmes, his council loyalist, or Barrett, his CPS employee? I’m sure he’ll be up late pondering this one.
And that’s just one story, randomly plucked from the pages of the aldermanic cheat sheet . . .