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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

4 Aldermen lost

Some predictions I have seen out there has come true.

2nd Ward Alderman Madeline Haithcock, see yah!!!
3rd Ward Ald. Dorothy Tillman, see yah!!!
16th Ward Ald. Shirley Coleman, bless yah!!!
24th Ward Ald. Michael Chandler, I hardly ever knew yah!!!

So far it's those four and there's no dispute. If I had posted this last night it would have been six, there are a couple of races that are way too close to call. Are the rules for the runoffs that you must have at least 51% or better?

Ald. Ted Matlak is losing in the 32nd ward to Scott Waguespack, but just barely by 122 votes. In the 49th ward Ald. Joe Moore almost seeming to be losing his race for most of the night only to see before I went to bed last night that he got a small lead on his opponent Don Gordon with 138 votes separating them. I can see what they mean when they said turnout was to be the key.

So seven alderman are out and let the shakeup begin. Most of these alderman had the problem of constituent services. The unions were working overtime to show their muscle and in some of these wards in the municipal elections and the runoffs they were successful.

Thankfully in the 21st Ward they weren't successful. Ald. Howard Brookins will have another term to continue his work in helping to build up his ward as he had done during his first term. His ward would have gotten a Wal-Mart a few years ago and he voted against the big box ordinance.

On the other hand his colleague Shirley Coleman who switched her vote on Big Box (she voted for it before she voted against it) was defeated. She promised a Wal-Mart in her ward and according to the Tribune urged her voters to reject the "economic racism of labor". Well the voters there for whatever reason rejected her.

Ald. Haithcock's relection bid was one of the more interesting contests. She attempted to use a restraining order against her opponent Bob Fioretti and for a little while that gave him an endorsement from the National Organization for Women (NOW). He would have had it before the February 27 municipal elections, but because of that they rescinded it. Before the runoffs they removed it again because he couldn't explain the relationship with the woman involved in the restraining order situation. He proved he didn't need NOW and Ald. Haithcock is now for certain a loser in this election. I almost hated to say that, but her actions most likely did her in.

Ald. Tillman seems to have had nothing but problems in this election. In her third ward this guy was making videos about life in her ward and he was cutting her up good. There were stories about her handling of 3rd ward issues including using money to clean statues instead of working on the streets. And nepotism as the Harold Washington Cultural Center, a place that seemed to not have been the boon for the ward as it was expected.

While her ward certainly doesn't seem to be the safest, it's changing. Not sure whether to give her credit for it or not, but it was. There's new building down there and I'll give her credit for one thing she had great respect for the history of the 3rd Ward neighborhood of Bronzeville, the historic black neighborhood. Did I mention that debate she blew off and sent a surrogate who dealt with the crowd arrogantly?

Finally I want to go back to the 32nd Ward. I've been reading up on what's going on there. Ald. Matlak is supported by a rather old school political operation and I wonder if they might be ready to kick him to the curb thanks to his performance last night. If I understand correctly Ald. Matlak had problems with constituent services and zoning seemed to be a problem in his ward. I've seen pictures of two-flats or condos being built next to single family homes.

One thing that would do him in was gentrification. Reading about this, the 32nd ward Democratic organization is run by the Democratic Committeman Terry Gabinski and this machine depended on controlled ethnic votes to win elections, but with the original Polish and Lithuanian residents moving out and yuppies moving in the ward is changing and it certainly helps that the homes that the former residents lived in are being razed in favor of condos and highrises. Even worse these residents want better services from their Alderman too, like they did in other wards.

So it looks like seven incumbents are out and while it's a small number it's not a bad one. For the most part those who should be out are out. There are some who should be out but still aren't yet. And anyone looking for an aldermanic seat should be writing notes and looking at what should and shouldn't be done. Especially after you win the election.

MORE STORIES
"Hibernator" Ted Matlak may lose 32nd Ward Runoff
Unions score key victories in council
Vote tells story: Tillman's council run nearing end
Voters give more aldermen the boot

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