By Mark Wachtler
February 3, 2015. Chicago. (ONN) Once upon a time, Chicago’s northwest side was riddled with corrupt Italian politicians, connected to the Italian Mafia but loyal to the Democratic Machine and the Irish Mafia that controlled it, and some say, still do. But with the exception of one or two holdovers, the Italian gangsters have been swept from elective office. Today, a new generation of northwest side Italian politicians has stepped up. They’re policemen, firemen, small business owners and regular citizen-candidates. And they’re independent reformers.
The independent voters of the Illinois Herald are proud to endorse fireman and 41st Ward Aldermanic candidate Anthony Napolitano. Image courtesy of Napolitano41stWard.com.
The Illinois Herald is proud to endorse the following three independent and reform-minded Aldermanic candidates for the Chicago City Council’s northwest side 38th, 41st, and 45th Wards. Stay tuned for endorsements covering all 50 of Chicago's Ward races.
38th Ward - Tom Caravette
The northwest side 38th Ward seemingly stretches from Lake Michigan to Iowa in an attempt to save the century-long reign of the Cullerton dynasty. But retiring Alderman Tim Cullerton admitted the days of crony corruption are probably over, at least in the 38th Ward. Cullerton has endorsed his secretary’s daughter to replace him, so they’re not giving it up without a fight.
In the 38th Ward, there are six Democrats and one independent, Tom Caravette. There are also six candidates who’ve made their fortunes thanks to the taxpayers, and one small business owner, Tom Caravette. There are six candidates who are doing very well financially, and one candidate who had to close his business thanks to the recent economic collapse, Tom Caravette. There are six candidates who have been cheerleaders for the party apparatus and the downtown Machine, and one corruption-busting reformer, Tom Caravette.
Most Popular Illinois Herald Articles
2. Illinois takes over Private Pension Systems (11,522)
3. Cook County Jail at Crisis Point (3,335)
The Illinois Herald is an independent, grassroots news outlet. Without your support, we couldn't continue publishing. Any donation is appreciated.
For the record, your author lives in the 38th Ward and endorsed Tom Caravette four years ago when he made his first bid to unseat just-appointed Alderman Tim Cullerton. He finished second in a crowded field of candidates in 2011, and narrowly lost the run-off to the cousin of Illinois’ powerful State Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago). It was a righteous David vs. Goliath fight if we ever saw one. But thanks to a six-figure TV slander campaign against the challenger, with accusations that both the Tribune and Sun Times investigated and admitted were untrue, Tom Caravette lost his hard-fought campaign to bring an independent voice to the Machine-held 38th Ward.
Tom Caravette has been the anti-corruption voice in the 38th Ward for a decade. While every other politician in Chicago seems to be either on the side of government employees unions or Mayor Emanuel and his Wall Street backers, Tom Caravette has proven he has the courage and passion to stand up to both and represent the one demographic the rest routinely forget about - the residents.
The Illinois Herald is proud to endorse Tom Caravette for Alderman of Chicago’s 38th Ward.
41st Ward - Anthony Napolitano
For the record, this author was born and raised in Chicago’s 41st Ward. So, there is a heartfelt connection to the area by this reporter. In the past, the 41st Ward was one of the only Wards that voted for Republicans over the unions. Today, it’s reversed. Most Wards and their voters have backed Rahm Emanuel and his union-busting red Democrats. One of the few Wards that rejected Emanuel in 2011 was the 41st Ward.
So, how did the Ward’s newly elected Alderwoman Mary O’Connor respond to her constituent’s anti-Emanuel vote? She swore her near unconditional loyalty to the Mayor, in direct opposition to most of her own constituents. Where was Alderwoman O’Connor when City Hall announced it had invited the wrong communities to meetings about O’Hare’s new runways? The increased noise from jet engines has panicked residents over plummeting property values, not to mention devastating their quality of life. Instead of raising hell on behalf of her constituents, the Alderwoman has stood behind the Mayor and the City’s Aviation Dept telling her constituents they are out of luck and there’s nothing they can do about it.
Another issue Alderwoman O’Connor has failed her Ward is on the issue of public schools. For four years, Chicagoans have been treated to non-stop daily coverage of south side and west side residents and elected officials protesting because their half-empty, and in some cases totally empty, schools are being closed. When was the last time you saw a northwest side Alderman stand up and shout, “Kids in my Ward are literally DYING for a high school!”
Because while the other parts of the city get all the attention, the far northwest side’s only high school, Taft, is operating at 150% of maximum capacity. South side and west side kids may have to walk an extra block or two, but northwest side kids don’t even have schools, or desks, or teachers. The classrooms are shoddy, cold trailers dumped into the parking lots of overcrowded schools. And when Taft students are repeatedly struck by trains only feet from school grounds because of the overcrowding, where is Alderwoman O’Connor? Nowhere to be found.
Unlike other Wards with six or seven challengers, the 41st Ward ballot will only see two challengers to the current Alderwoman. And both have called O’Connor a Rahm Emanuel “rubber stamp”. One challenger is a wealthy business owner with stores in Wrigleyville and luxurious property along the lakefront. Unfortunately, none of it is in the 41st Ward. The other challenger is lifelong 41st Ward resident Anthony Napolitano, who passionately and consistently uses the term ‘independent’ to describe himself and his candidacy.
Again, this author was born and raised in the 41st Ward and would need both hands and a few other people’s hands just to count how many members of the Napolitano family live in the Ward. The first-time candidate has roots in the area that professional politicians would trade their soul for. But Napolitano’s soul isn’t for sale and neither is he. With an unpopular incumbent Alderwoman and the only other challenger having roots in other Wards, Anthony Napolitano is positioning himself to make it to the April run-off and defeat the incumbent O’Connor, delivering the City Council seat back to the residents of the 41st Ward once again.
The Illinois Herald is proud to endorse Anthony Napolitano for Alderman of Chicago’s 41st Ward.
45th Ward - John Garrido
Much like the 38th and 41st Wards, the 45th Ward has more than its fare share of independent voters. Four years ago, they plucked an unknown, self-proclaimed reformer from the bottom of the pack to defeat the outgoing Alderman’s hand-picked replacement. Rookie Alderman John Arena was that supposed reformer. But after four years in office, the incumbent has earned the scorn of Mayor Emanuel and City Hall, not because he’s stuck up for his northwest side residents, but because he’s become a rubber stamp for the government employees unions.
And according to many an independent news outlet and local neighborhood newspaper, Alderman Arena is simply not a nice person. He’s been called a dictator who espouses the doctrine, “It’s my way or the highway.” He’s been accused of petty retribution against everyone from the local Chamber of Commerce to tiny defenseless community organizations.
First-term Alderman Arena beat fellow challenger John Garrido in 2011 by a mere 30 votes. With nonstop funding by Chicago’s unions, he has since labeled Garrido everything from a Republican to an independent to a Democrat. And while typical Chicago Machine Democrats think that’s a bad thing, the independent voters who subscribe to and read the Illinois Herald love it.
John Garrido was born in Chicago and is a licensed attorney who obtained his degree while working full time as a Chicago Police officer and going to school at night. He’s another one of those rare candidates who hasn’t sold his soul to Mayor Emanuel, the Machine or the unions. That leaves only one group for him to represent - the residents of the 45th Ward.
The Illinois Herald is proud to endorse John Garrido for Alderman of Chicago’s 45th Ward.
Stay tuned for more endorsements and the Illinois Herald’s full list of recommended candidates in all 50 Chicago Ward races.
Subscribe to the Illinois Herald. Only 1 weekly email in your inbox. It's FREE and you can unsubscribe at any time. Subscribe now!