There are two other citywide posts up for election on Feb. 22. In one, Stephanie D. Neely faces no opposition for the post of City Treasurer. Neely has performed well in the post and deserves to returned to the very important position.
For City Clerk, we endorse Patricia Horton. We feel Horton will be an independent voice in the position, which became vacant when Miguel del Valle resigned to run for mayor. She has pledged to be active and involved, and a voice for the people in city government.
This election also promises to usher in an entirely different City Council, if not a new set of aldermen. With Daley’s decision not to seek re-election, it seems as if Council has found new energy and we’re now hearing from aldermen who were thought to be deaf mutes.
This post-Daley council will be more than an equal partner with whomever becomes mayor, and we expect the aldermen to accept responsibility for moving this city forward.
Obviously, many citizens thought the same way, which brought more than 160 candidates to seek to get on the ballot in the traditionally Black wards. Coupled with some timely resignations, it seems obvious that this mayor will face a new council, ready to flex its legislative muscles.
In the 3rd Ward, we endorse incumbent Pat Dowell. Dowell has been a steady voice on Council, ready to challenge her colleagues on many issues, and also challenge the mayor. She has been a tireless worker for the ward and has shown the ability to work with everyone. Her background in urban planning is serving her historic ward well, and also serves the city well. She can point to a number of projects coming to her ward, and her constituents need her there to bring them in. In a rejuvenated council, we expect her to take a leadership role.
In the 4th Ward, we endorse Will Burns. Burns is giving up his seat in the state legislature to take over the seat that was vacated by Toni Preckwinkle when she won the job of President of the Cook County Board. Burns has done a good job in the state House, and we expect the same kind of diligence and service on council and in the 4th Ward.
In the 5th Ward, we endorse incumbent Leslie Hairston. Hairston has been vocal on council and responsive to her community. She wants to continue to focus on the ward’s commercial districts and bring more jobs to the residents. She should be returned to Council to continue her strong efforts.
In the 6th Ward, incumbent Freddrenna Lyle deserves to be returned to council. Lyle has been committed to making her ward safer and giving her constituents access to jobs and economic development. She has strong ideas on how to deal with the city’s chronic and structural budget problems. She wants council more involved in how the school board is selected.
In the 7th Ward, we endorse incumbent Sandi Jackson. It is not without reservations, however, since she has shown herself to be only a part-time alderman for a ward that has full-time problems. We recognize that alderman can have other employment, and Jackson is raising her family in Washington, D.C., but that should not mean the alderman is not accessible. Still, Jackson has been able to further the process of bringing major development to a ward that sorely needs it. But there is more to do in the 7th Ward, and Jackson will have to be there to do it effectively.
In the 8th Ward, we endorse incumbent Michelle A. Harris. Harris has taken on the job of representing her ward with great energy, and has thrown herself into the task of taking remaking the new South Shore High School into a quality neighborhood school. She has earned a return trip to council.
In the 9th Ward, we endorse incumbent Anthony Beale. Beale challenged his colleagues on council and would not back off when it looked like he could not get the votes for the major economic development, anchored by Wal-Mart, in his ward. His efforts got council to vote in their constituents best interests, and also got Wal-Mart to negotiate, which will result in not only one Wal-Mart, but several within the city of Chicago, bringing the promise of thousands of jobs, at a decent wage.
In the 15th Ward, we endorse incumbent Toni Foulkes. Foulkes has grown in the position since her election in 2007, and come along way from being a baker at Jewel Food Stores. Her labor background has not kept her from taking a broader view of city government, and it should serve her well if council indeed takes a larger role in setting the direction of city government.
In the 16th Ward, we urge voters to return JoAnn Thompson to council. She is being challenged by eight candidates, but she is doing a good job representing her ward, and providing services to her ward. She made a point of improving the lighting in the ward, and sees that as not only a way to fight crime, but also to improve the image of the ward.
In the 17th Ward, we endorse incumbent Latasha R. Thomas. Thomas has been reelected twice since being appointed in 2000 by Mayor Daley. She has been a strong voice on council regarding Chicago Public Schools in her post as chair of the Education committee. Her role should expand in the new council.
In the 18th Ward, we endorse incumbent Lona Lane. Lane’s ward has enjoyed modest development over the past four years, and we expect more from her. None of her four opponents has distinguished themselves and we don’t feel they would be an improvement over Lane.
In the 20th Ward, we endorse incumbent Willie B. Cochran. Cochran has been a hard worker on Council, and in his ward. He has shown great commitment to the 20th Ward, and recognizes that solving the problem of crime in his ward requires a multi-pronged approach.
In the 21st Ward, we endorse incumbent Howard B. Brookins Jr. For the past few years Brookins seemed like the lone voice on council trying to get Wal-Mart to bring jobs to the city. He had been rebuffed by his colleagues but he has finally gained the victory, which is a victory for the entire city, not just his ward. He is outspoken and deliberative and he deserves to be returned to council.
In the 24th Ward, we endorse Melissa L. Williams. She has a real grasp of the issues facing that ward and how to realistically start to resolve them. Her professional experience will make her an instant upgrade over incumbent Sharon Denise Dixon.
In the 27th Ward, we endorse incumbent Walter Burnett Jr. Burnett is chair of Council’s Black Caucus and he is one of the rare alderman who have stepped up to take on leadership roles not only outside of Council, but also outside of his ward. We strongly urge voters to return him to Council.
In the 28th Ward, we endorse Jason C. Ervin to take the post vacated by longtime Alderman Ed Smith, who retired last year. Erving brings youth and energy, and he is a certified public accountant, and all three attributes are needed on this council.
In the 29th Ward, we endorse incumbent Deborah L. Graham. Graham was named to Council to fill the seat of Isaac Carothers, who resigned after pleading guilty to federal bribery charges. Graham has less than a year on the job, but the former state representative is an able legislator and already knew her way around City Hall.
In the 34th Ward, we endorse incumbent Carrie Austin. Austin has been bridge builder and a leader on council. She has the respect of all of her colleagues and is tireless in serving both her ward and the city.
In the 37th Ward, we endorse incumbent Emma Mitts. Mitts can take credit for bringing in the city’s only current Wal-Mart, and can boast about all of the economic development that has sprung up on the North Avenue corridor since.
Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender