Chicago elections: Do you know your alderman?

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During my bartending days on the North Side, I was always amazed at how many smart, whiskey-drinking people didn't know which ward they live in, who their alderman is or the address of the local ward office.
After Tuesday's elections, we've got 8 new aldermen to get to know and some to say goodbye to others. What better way celebrate democracy than to watch the thrill of victory and agony defeat for yourself.

Here are some additional election day video for your viewing pleasure.
Re-elected Ald. Bernie Stone 50th He's been in office for as long as I've been alive.
And the 50th Ward loser, or should I say runner-up, Naisy Dolar. It's more fun to say loser.
Re-elected Ald. Vi Daley, 43rd.
Alderman-elect Pat Dowell, who beat Dorothy "The Hat" Tillman in the 3rd Ward. It was a bitter campaign, as shown by this election day video documentary called "Poll watcher face off."

Ald. Shirley Coleman (16th) also got beat by JoAnn Thompson.

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Democracy in Chicago, what a novel concept. There are certainly enough people who will identify themselves as democrats but we remain very short on true democracy, political choice, and accountability.

In a city that is constantly searching for new sources of revenue I am baffled by the amount of vacant residential land that can be found on the south and west sides of the city. I am amazed that Alderman are not made responsible for the economic development of the ward in which they serve. If these highly paid individuals had to work in the corporate world they would be fired for underperformance of valued assets yet in the municipal arena they are accountable for very little. Why do we tolerate such poor performance from those we pay so much? It is the lack of democracy, the lack of ideas, the lack of responsibility and accountability that we tax payers support. The Olympic bid is a nice diversion but we can be a world class city by having a vision that encompasses the needs of the city's economic base, recognizing that impoverished areas benifit no one least of all those that live in them.

We would have better choices if we actuallly practiced democracy and didn't tolerate the mediocracy and oligarchy we have in power today.

Mr. Konkol, your question "Do you know your Alderman?", is laughable. Why? I know my alderwoman's name, but I do not know the person. Matter of fact people wanted her out. But when voter apathy sets in, people will not come out to vote and this is why most consistently remain in office. This is going to be another four years of indifference with the residents of the ward feeling more beat down than ever. Realistically, Mayor Daley picked our last two Aldermens for the ward I lived in. The people simply do not have what it takes to vote them out....*SIGH*....I blame the people, or more correctly the non-voting or uninformed voters!

As the previous poster stated, if in corporate America, these aldermen would not last 30 to 60 days. There is no true democracy in America. People have two parties to choose from. Democrats and Republicans. Though people claim the Republicans politicians are for the rich, from my perspective the Democrats are not really for the poor. Also, I do not know of any poor Democratic politicians.

Yes there are a few subsidized programs thrown out to the poor, but who really benefit from it? Democrats with power and money use front men to set up minority ownership of companies to placate publicly they are helping the poor. What a joke! We know the Republicans are in on this with the wink-wink to their alleged political oppostion.

I really do not like regentrification, but that seems the only way to remove an alderman presently. When a different social class structure moves into the community, every aldermen need to bow down to the new residents. Many are well educated and have very good incomes and do not want some knucklehead as their political front person.

Though some aldermen lost because of union back funding, I think quite a few lost because of the changing demographics of the community.

I will be glad when my community changes. I am tired of looking at desolate areas on the South and West sides of Chicago. I simply pray when the change come, I have the income to stay.

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Mark Konkol

Mark Konkol covers city neighborhoods for the Chicago Sun-Times. You can e-mail him or call (312) 321-2146.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Konkol published on April 19, 2007 2:53 PM.

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