Dear Ms. True:
In the January 31 edition of the Chicago Reader your publication ran an article regarding the 35th Ward race for alderman (Neighborhood News section). In this article reporter Ben Joravsky falsely attributed a comment as being stated by me. He reported that back in 1995 I stated that I would never support someone like Vilma Colom because she was Alderman Mell’s puppet. Not only did I NOT make that statement, I, in fact, DID support Colom in the runoff between her and Louie Lara.
That year there were ten candidates vying for the aldermanic seat in the 35th Ward. Vilma Colom, Marja Stoll, and I were the only females running. The rest were Hispanic males. I ran for alderman because at that time there was no Hispanic woman in the Chicago City Council. It was a perfect opportunity for a Latina to make history in the city of Chicago. With ten candidates it was inevitable that the election would end up in a runoff. Although I was disappointed that I did not make it to the runoff (I came in third), I was nevertheless glad that at least one of the other women did.
While it is true we all felt at the time that Mell would control Colom if she won the election, I admired him for supporting a Hispanic woman, and I did not waver in my belief that it was time for a Latina to be elected to the City Council. I threw my support behind Vilma Colom in the runoff, and I supported her again in 1999 when she was first challenged by Rey Colon. Today, as a Hispanic woman who understands firsthand how difficult it is for Latinas to be elected to public office, I continue to support Vilma Colom for alderman. She is a hardworking individual who has dedicated her life to public service. Her heart is in the community she serves.
I don’t know how it came about that Mr. Joravsky attributed the comment to me, but I expect this to be clarified. Thank you for your cooperation.
Iris Y. Martinez
20th Legislative District
Ben Joravsky replies:
Eight years ago I interviewed Iris Martinez for a Reader story about the 1995 aldermanic election in the 35th Ward. The story ran, including the quote in question, but Martinez didn’t see fit to deny she said it till now.