March 10, 2015

5 Aldermanic Reformers worthy of your Run-off Vote

By Mark Wachtler

March 10, 2015. Chicago. (ONN) For the first time in what seems like decades, the Chicago City Council will have more reformers after a municipal election than less. The Mayor’s recurring 44-6 majority will be reduced to at least 41-9 and probably even more after the April 7 run-off. Of the city’s 50 Wards, 19 feature run-off elections for Alderman because no candidate receive a majority of the vote. We’ve selected five specific Aldermanic run-offs where Chicago voters can help the reformers by replacing a Machine rubber stamp with a genuine corruption-busting citizen-candidate.

John Kozlar is facing off against the heir of the Daley dynasty in Bridgeport’s 11th Ward run-off.

For the record, the Illinois Herald is a grassroots, independent news outlet that breaks the establishment black-out and actually covers and endorses independent and third party election candidates. We love corruption-busters and citizen-candidates. We even love many of those independent Democrats who have somehow gathered the courage, resources and grassroots support to challenge their Machine-backed incumbent Aldermen.

Here are five candidates in the April 7th Chicago run-off that are closer to pulling off their Cinderella-story victory than anyone ever gave them credit for, except us at the Illinois Herald. This publication endorsed all five candidates in the first round, and in most of the races, we were the only Chicago news outlet to do so. Take it from a 30-year veteran of Chicago politics - opportunities to change Chicago for the better don’t come along that often. That’s why we’re proud and excited to reiterate our endorsement of each of them and we strongly encourage Chicago voters to cast their votes for the following citizen-candidates on April 7th.

View the full list of Illinois Herald February endorsements in all 50 Wards.

7th Ward - Gregory Mitchell

If there’s one Ward in the city of Chicago that could be a top-rated TV soap opera, it’s the 7th Ward. Criminal scandals and convictions dethroned the Beavers and Jackson dynasties and created a powerful block of anti-corruption independent Democrats in the Ward. That’s probably why the honest IT specialist named Gregory Mitchell shocked the city, coming in second out of a field of 11 candidates, beating both the Tribune and Sun Times endorsed candidates.

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The Machine is backing Emanuel-appointed incumbent Natashia Holmes. The Tribune endorsed Lashonda Curry and the Sun Times endorsed Flora Digby. Only the Illinois Herald endorsed Greg Mitchell, just as we did in his first Aldermanic run in 2011 when he again topped a crowded field finishing third behind only Jackson and Beavers. He’s a passionate, intelligent, honest, lifelong resident of the 7th Ward and he’s been the voice of reform for a decade. We strongly encourage voters to cast their vote for Gregory Mitchell.

Read the July 2014 Illinois Herald article, ‘Mitchell takes on Emanuel Loyalist Holmes in 7th Ward’ for more information.

11th Ward - John Kozlar

If there’s a second Chicago Ward that deserves its own TV soap opera, it’s the 11th Ward, home to Bridgeport and the Daley family empire. When Former Mayor Daley’s nephew Patrick Daley Thompson announced he was running for Alderman, the Machine incumbent announced his retirement within hours. And while both of Chicago’s newspapers remind residents on a daily basis of what the Daleys have done to their city, it didn’t stop both the Tribune and Sun Times from endorsing the next generation in the form of Patrick Daley Thompson.

Only the Illinois Herald endorsed the anti-corruption citizen-candidate John Kozlar. A manager for the Canaryville Little League baseball association, Kozlar also brings degrees from both the University of Chicago and the John Marshall Law School. The lifelong 11th Ward resident is no stranger to battling corruption and the Machine. In his first bid for Alderman in 2011, he once again surprised the experts by finishing only 1,200 votes away from forcing a run-off. This time around, he made the run-off and we strongly urge voters to cast their ballot for John Kozlar.

31st Ward - Milly Santiago

If the writing is on the wall for a reform revolution, it’s in the 31st Ward. Longtime Machine Alderman Ray Suarez faced three challengers in the first round and must square-off against a united anti-Machine coalition led by Milagros ‘Milly’ Santiago. A very well known local political activist, Santiago is also a former Telemundo reporter that brings both style and substance to her candidacy. She was also endorsed by not only the Illinois Herald, but the Tribune and Sun Times as well. That alone shows the broad coalition Santiago has backing her.

In their endorsement of Milly Santiago, the Chicago Tribune accused the Machine-backed 24-year incumbent Alderman Ray Suarez of being, “way too comfortable with the status quo.” Instead, they said of Santiago, “she’s ready” and “she isn’t afraid of a fight.” We, along with seemingly every other media outlet in Chicago, strongly encourage voters to cast their vote for Milly Santiago.

41st Ward - Anthony Napolitano

The far northwest side 41st Ward is the scene where we predict the anti-corruption reformers will score their biggest upset victory. Not only did we predict it, but the Illinois Herald enthusiastically endorsed the lifelong Ward resident that will pull it off - Anthony Napolitano. Another corruption-busting citizen-candidate, Napolitano brings with him the toughness and courage of a five-year Chicago policeman and the selfless compassion of a ten-year Chicago fireman.

Home to the most independent voters in the city, the residents of the 41st Ward have had enough with the disproportionate amount of services, including police protection. They’ve also had their fill with increased airplane noise, overcrowded schools and a first-term Alderwoman who seems to represent the Mayor more than her own constituents. With both the Tribune and Sun Times endorsing the Machine-backed incumbent Mary O’Connor, only the Illinois Herald proudly endorsed the corruption-busting reformer Anthony Napolitano, and we strongly encourage voters to cast their vote for him once again.

Read the Illinois Herald article, ‘Aldermanic Endorsements - Caravette, Napolitano, Garrido’ for more information.

43rd Ward - Caroline Vickrey

First-term Alderwoman Michele Smith is one of the most unpopular City Council incumbents. Even the endorsing Tribune calls her “abrupt” and says, “she needs to work on how she deals with people.” The Chicago Sun Times, who called Smith “abrasive” and says, “it’s time to try someone new”, joined the Illinois Herald in endorsing the anti-corruption citizen-candidate Caroline Vickrey.

Vickrey is a decades-long resident of the Ward and a graduate of Lane Tech, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Loyola Law School. She’s been active in the community for years and promises to be a champion of both residents and small businesses. The incumbent Alderwoman has been accused by all sides of putting wealthy developers and big box corporations ahead of the interests of the Ward and the people that live there. We proudly and energetically encourage voters to cast their vote for Caroline Vickrey.

19 of Chicago’s Wards, plus the Mayor’s race, will be featured in the April 7, 2015 run-off election. We strongly encourage all voters in the city to get out and vote. Make a difference and make Chicago a better place to live for everyone.



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