With just a few days to go before Tuesday’s aldermanic election, here are some predictions and observations about various wards from a few pundits and politicos.
Marc Sims, host of View Point, a Channel 19 public-access cable talk show.
Third Ward: “I don’t know who’s gonna win, but I know who should lose–Dorothy Tillman. Time for her to get on out and become chairperson of the Reparations for Black People Committee. What she’s doing to 47th Street is an insult to black people–probably gonna turn her Lou Rawls theater project into a church. The church of Dorothy Tillman, God, and Mayor Daley.”
Fourth Ward: “You got Toni Preckwinkle, the incumbent, and Norman Bolden. Hmm. Bolden is a salesperson or something for WGCI. He should have R. Kelly as campaign manager. They’re still playing his CDs, you know. Stuff sells–why not? Preckwinkle will win.”
Sixth Ward: “Freddrenna Lyle, the incumbent, will win. That used to be John Steele’s ward. Then he gave it up for a judgeship. It worked for Tim Evans. He gave up the Fourth Ward, and now he’s the big dog of all the judges. Not that it means anything. Ask a black guy under 20 who’s Tim Evans and they don’t know.”
Seventh Ward: “Bill Beavers, the incumbent, gonna win. You know why? No one’s running against him.”
18th Ward: “That’s Tom Murphy’s ward, right? The white guy. Seventy-something percent of the ward’s black, but he’s gonna win. That’s ’cause black folks out there would rather see a white candidate be the alderman, ’cause too many black folk feel that once a black gets in it all goes down. The only time we vote for a black person is if it’s like with Jane Byrne showing disrespect. But if a white person shows some love we love them. Just like Clinton. Clinton shows love, we love Clinton. Still love Clinton. Always love Clinton.”
21st Ward: “That’s DeVille’s ward, right? Reverend Leonard DeVille. I love Howard Brookins Jr., but of course DeVille’s gonna win ’cause we like Cadillacs and reverends. Come on, man, that’s my best line of the day. You gotta use it.”
24th Ward: “Where’s that? West side? Forget it. I don’t know the west side. I’m a south-sider. I don’t care if black folks out there get mad at me– the whole west side doesn’t matter. The only politician I love on the west side is Danny K. Davis.”
34th Ward: “Carrie Austin’s gonna win. Doesn’t matter who’s running against her. That’s ’cause folks don’t know nothing. African-Americans don’t have a black media. We fought for black anchors, and now that Diann Burns is making $2 million a year or whatever, they call that progress. Man, that ain’t progress. That’s why we don’t know nothing. You think Andy Shaw and Mike Flannery are gonna give us some real news, you’re crazy.”
Steve Wiedersberg, veteran cabdriver and leader of the Chicago Professional Taxicab Drivers’ Association.
Third Ward: “Pat Dowell over The Hat–anybody but The Hat.”
Ninth Ward: “[Anthony] Beale’s gonna win, much as I hate to say.”
18th Ward: “Are these predictions or endorsements? If it’s predictions I’d have to say the incumbent Murphy’s gonna win. That doesn’t mean I have to endorse him though. I remember when Pervis Spann was running down there. Pervis said, ‘I ain’t taking no shit from nobody.’ There’s a platform you can use. Matter of fact, I was there the day James Brown came to campaign for Pervis. It was me, Pervis, and James Brown walking down 79th Street. Man, that was wild.”
24th Ward: “Anybody but Michael Chandler. He’s the incompetent–oh, excuse me, I mean the incumbent. The reason I say anybody but Chandler is that he voted for the taxicab ordinance Daley pushed through back in ’97– the one with all the fines in it. They’d fine a cabdriver for breathing if they could figure a way to do it. Daley said, ‘Pharaoh has spoken–I want my ordinance.’ And Chandler lowered his head and bowed down and said, ‘Whatever pharaoh wants, pharaoh gets.'”
28th Ward: “Anybody but Ed Smith. He’s too close to [consumer services department commissioner Caroline] Shoenberger. When it comes to cab ordinances Smith says, ‘Whatever Sweet Caroline wants, Sweet Caroline gonna get.’ He has a wishbone for a backbone and a chicken-bone chest–and you can quote me.”
29th Ward: “Isaac Carothers. I like Ike. I’m worried though, ’cause Jesse Jackson’s running that knucklehead Marshall Hatch. I can’t stand Jesse Junior–he thinks he’s emperor of black Chicago.”
32nd Ward: “I’m for Stone’s son, Jay, or whatever his name is. I like Berny Stone. Always got along with him. Who’s the incumbent? Oh, yeah, [Ted] Matlak. Another Daley puppet. We got enough of them.”
33rd Ward: “Richard Mell–Governor-in-Law Mell all the way! I like Mell ’cause Mell doesn’t like Shoenberger. Well, he claims he doesn’t like her, and that’s good enough for me.”
35th Ward: “I’m picking Vilma Colom, but hell, I don’t know. I feel like Joe Louis–he never got any of his predictions right.”
Frank Avila, election-law expert and freelance political strategist.
“How about voting all of them out? The City Council’s become such a rubber stamp, what’s the point of having aldermen? Say what you will about them, we used to have Eddie Vrdolyak, Anna Langford, Cliff Kelley, Dick Simpson, Leon Despres. These people were smart, these people had intelligence, these people weren’t afraid to speak up–even if some of them were regulars. And now what do we have? There’s not one independent voice in the City Council. The only occasional independent voices are the white conservative ethnics–they’ll break from Daley if he’s pushing some sort of gay rights thing. See, Chicago’s not a liberal town in terms of social issues. Daley just went to the left because that’s where the money is. But even the white ethnics are on the plantation. Everything’s top down, no bottom up. Term limits would shake it up. And reduce the council. Cut it in half. Minorities will say, ‘But you’ll decrease representation.’ I’m a minority, but if I have one Daley-controlled Hispanic or two does it make a difference? It’s a charade of democracy. It’s a false face of democracy. These aldermen are jokes. They all vote with the mayor. They give up their control over contracts. Any issue–Meigs Field, Soldier Field, Millennium Park, bus shelters on Michigan Avenue–you can’t criticize, you can’t speak. It’s the law of Ezekiel for three generations–a curse on you and your children and your children’s children because you’re not with Mayor Daley. It’s not healthy. It’s like a third-world country, what with all the vote fraud and violence and intimidation I see in some of the wards.”
Third Ward: “Dorothy Tillman will probably get the most votes, but there will be a runoff. Here’s the key–she’s got white yuppies in her ward, and I don’t see white yuppies going with Dorothy. Plus they stuck her with some Hispanic precincts [in the recent ward remaps]. Daley and Madigan didn’t want to create Hispanic wards in their area, so they just dumped the Hispanics on the fringes of a few black wards.”
Tenth Ward: “John Pope has no opposition, but there is a write-in candidate, Lisa Esposito. She’s running a serious write-in candidacy–or serious enough to keep some of those HDO [Hispanic Democratic Organization] boys down there busy at home so they can’t come up to cause trouble in other wards.”
12th Ward: “I think Ray Frias is gonna win, but he’s in for the race of his life ’cause HDO’s out to get him big time. If Frias wins, expect a new day in politics.”
19th Ward: “I think Ginger Rugai’s gonna win, but John Somerville’s a great story. A lot of people are fed up with the 19th organization–it’s all Irish. Tom Hynes, Dan Hynes, Mike Sheahan, Jim Houlihan. It has to end. Bring some other people to the table.”
25th Ward: “I believe there will be a runoff between Ambrosio Medrano and Danny Solis. A lot of people like Medrano even though he went to jail. A lot of people like that he wasn’t a rat, that he did his time with dignity.”
42nd Ward: “Go ahead, laugh at me–I think Burt Natarus is vulnerable. Look out for Rich Gordon. People hate Natarus. He’s rude. He’s nuts. The ward’s overdeveloped.”
44th Ward: “Runoff. I say Tom Tunney comes in one and Dean Maragos comes in two. Here’s the funny thing. A lot of straight people like Tunney. It’s the gay people who like Tunney least. Tunney comes off as arrogant. I don’t think his appointment’s selling with the people.”
46th Ward: “I think Helen Shiller pulls it off. Daley’s with her big time.”
47th Ward: “I think Gene Schulter’s going to pull it off, though I endorsed Jack Lydon.”
Stan Hollenbeck, veteran north-side political operator.
40th Ward: “With a name like Pat O’Connor, how can you lose?”
44th Ward: “I think Tunney will make it without a runoff.”
46th Ward: “Helen, by a lot. And here’s the big news–after years of fighting her, I’m endorsing her. And that’s on the record.”
47th Ward: “I’m going to go out on a limb and say I’m afraid Jack Lydon’s gonna win. It’s sad because Gene Schulter’s been around as long as Dick Mell’s been around.”
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Cynthia Howe, Jon Randolph, Nathan Mandell.