While Stroger rides his leather swivel chair into the political sunset, Dorothy "The Hat" Tillman could be cooking up a comeback. In 2007, after 22 tumultuous years as 3rd Ward alderman, Tillman was vanquished by longtime adversary Pat Dowell.Forgot to note that this article actually starts off with Laura Washington, the columnist, talking about the latest controversy involving outgoing county board president Todd Stroger. He decided to buy some more furniture for his county office and at that it appears he's still trying to squeeze some people onto the county payroll. For may people it appears old habits are dying hard. Even if it appears Stroger is getting out of politics.
Known for her flamboyant head apparel and defiant ways, Tillman rose to power as a voice for the downtrodden. Dowell and other critics charged she morphed into an autocrat who stymied economic development and ran her South Side ward like a fiefdom.
Tillman, 62, has stayed in the fray. She hosts a lively WVON radio show, deceptively titled "Coffee, Tea, and a Conversation with Dorothy." She and her family have been criticized for alleged mismanagement of Bronzeville's Harold Washington Cultural Center.
Now Tillman is revving up. Last October her daughter, Ebony, unleashed an e-blast that defended Tillman's record and excoriated her successor. The missive, headlined, "The 3rd Ward is Ran by An Ametuer" [sic], boiled with angry accusations and personal attacks. Sounds like a campaign preview.
In March, Tillman delivered fiery words at a nationally televised forum on the black agenda, hosted by Tavis Smiley. Last week, she issued a passionate, three-page press release that ripped the city's black establishment and the Chicago Police Department for "abdicating their responsibility" to stem the city's ravaging street violence. The incendiary statement drew little notice.
Days later, I talked to her by phone. She was still sizzling, demanding more racial diversity among police brass, funds for community policing and stand-up elected officials. Young people are dying, she noted, while "the Chicago City Council sits lock, stock and barrel, doing nothing."
With the citywide elections just 10 months away, is she running for something? Alderman, perhaps? Tillman repeatedly dodged the question. She laughed.
"That's funny," she said. "That's real funny."
Anyway a couple of observations about Tillman. Well I just so happened to think about a forum Tillman was supposed to be at in 2007 that she effective blew off. And you know the aide she had in her place was none other than Jacky Grimshaw who now sits on the CTA board. How Grimshaw handled that was abrasive, but while Grimshaw may not be hurting now was also know that Tillman hasn't changed much.
Well Tillman is no longer an Alderman. We do know that in 2008 she had been arrested because she seems to be of a cantankerous sort. So hey someone got the raw deal in that instance.
I wonder how Tillman would fare in a 2011 rematch. And believe it or not it'll be a very short time before any Aldermanic hopeful will have to circulate petitions to get on the ballot next year. First, however we need to focus on 2010 here in this state!