3rd Ward (Near South Side: Bronzeville, 16th Street to 59th Streets, east of Vincennes Avenue to Paulina Street): Longtime Alderman Dorothy Tillman (1984 to 2007), who was first elected as a Harold Washington supporter, perpetually played the race card. She was the city's chief proponent of reparations for slavery, but she also was an ally of Mayor Rich Daley, and her ward, once nearly all black and with much public housing, became more upscale and whiter.An historic black area won't be dominated by blacks. I think that's unfortunate but things change especially if there are those blacks who don't want to live in the city and instead move to the suburbs.
Tillman beat Pat Dowell by 52-35 percent in 2003. She led Dowell by 3,383-3,020 in the February 2007 primary, getting 42.7 percent of the vote. Local unions backed Dowell in the 2007 runoff, as Tillman had supported Daley on many issues, including the "big box" minimum wage ordinance. Dowell beat Tillman with 54 percent of the vote.
Tillman is not running for re-election as committeeman. The 2008 contest is between Dowell and state Representative Ken Dunkin (D-5), who backed Dowell in 2007, allegedly in exchange for a promise that she would back him for ward committeeman in 2008. Dowell rejects Dunkin's assertion.
The outlook: In 2007 the Near South Side 2nd Ward (Dearborn Park, North Bronzeville, Taylor Street, South Lawndale) ousted its black alderman and elected a white alderman, Bob Fioretti. The 3rd Ward will be next.
Dowell has been a reliable support of the mayor, but the ward is changing. Public housing along Michigan Avenue, Wabash Avenue and Taylor Street has been removed. Housing prices for units from 22nd Street to 55th Street have exploded. Low-income housing is now a memory. The white population is growing. Section 8 housing units, which normally contain two or more bedrooms, are perfect for converting into condominiums, and they are being bought by whites.
The black turnout will be huge, and Dowell will beat Dunkin, but some time in the next 10 years, the 3rd Ward will elect a white alderman.
I should also note that I saw Pat Dowell on cable access over the weekend. I know that she has to explain what a committeeman does and she does want to organize an organization over in the 3rd perhaps in ways that Dorothy Tillman her immediate predecessor hasn't. Perhaps her job is to get people organized in ways that might make positive changes in the third and I guess I can admire that.
In a few years Bronzeville will be a great place to live. Very expensive and I would imagine that it would be a great place to do business as well. Oh and on the heels of a Chatham vid posted at Sixth Ward that I found on MySpacetv, here's a vid on Bronzeville.