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  • Zach

2023 Endorsements- South Side, Wards 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20, 21

Updated: Feb 15

In part 5 it's time for the South Side and three of the five races across the city with 7+ candidates to sort through. So. Many. Candidates. Check out the About page for endorsement criteria.

I'm just an individual person doing research. I hope this is a helpful resource to people, especially those wanting to participate by voting but without the time to heavily research or engage. If you're someone deeply involved in your local elections and organizing, I doubt you need what I have to say- you know your community and election better than I do. If you think I've gotten something wrong (or right!), keeping the values on the About page in mind, I want to hear from you about it and take your input into consideration. Please comment or use the chat tool!

First we have some highly contested open seats as the "I'm tired of getting yelled at by Lori Lightfoot" exodus from City Council continues to create opportunities for new alders.

5th Ward- Jocelyn Hare

The 5th Ward, in Hyde Park, Woodlawn, and South Shore, has an open seat as Alder Leslie Hairston is retiring. Endorsed here is Jocelyn Hare, a project director at University of Chicago and definite policy nerd. With a masters in public policy and a good amount of work with a range of government and policy entities, she has experience and ideas that will serve the council well. She did not receive the endorsement of most progressive groups here, and I think there's some identity politics and some (appropriate) wariness of U of C affiliations in a ward undergoing gentrification battles around U of C and related expansion in Woodlawn. Hare, however, seems like the most solid and prepared progressive in this crowded field. None of the more progressive candidates have particularly detailed platforms here, but Hare does address key issues well and includes important and creative solutions that don't always get mentioned, like community-driven land bank processes for publicly-owned land. Some of her points could use more specificity and clarity, and she doesn't name-drop some of the key progressive ordinances endorsed by candidates in other wards, but her platform here and elements of her online presence elsewhere suggest that she would be an ally of the current progressive heroes on the council.

The progressive groups largely backed her opponent Desmon Yancy, Senior Director of Organizing and Advocacy for the Inner-City Muslim Action Network. His campaign is basically fully funded by SEIU, which means he has the money to mount a strong campaign and is likely a major factor in the race, but doesn't necessarily demonstrate broad grassroots support. His platform is sparse and his key highlighted achievement is being a co-founder and spokesperson for the GAPA police reform effort which became the ECPS ordinance that passed the council. While this does represent caring about the issue and getting something done, the GAPA bill was a watered-down and needlessly complex reform that pushed CPAC coalition members to have to compromise from their much more effective bill and end up with the even-further watered-down, complex, and counterproductive accountability structure of the ECPS ordinance (which Yancy also highlights being a spokesperson for). I don't think this is something to be proud of and the rest of his platform isn't convincing me.

This race also includes Tina Hone, former Lightfoot administration Chief Engagement Officer and the "angry teacher vibes" facilitator of the mismanaged messes that were the casino town halls. She seems to be running on a fairly liberal-progressive platform, but I think the apple wouldn't fall too far from the Lightfoot tree here, on both style and substance. Gabriel Piemonte is also running again and has some solid platform points but also some wackiness and doesn't convince me he'd be a good leader here. Dee Perkins is a business manager and boxer with a few interesting ideas, but I'm not as convinced in her ability to execute them. Wallace Goode is a Daley-, U of C-, Chamber of Commerce-connected candidate with little platform who seems good-hearted but doesn't convince me here. Kris Levy is running a fairly establishment, increased-policing campaign light on details, Marlene Fisher is a very active community member without a platform, and the Renita Ward, Joshua Gray, and Robert Palmer campaigns don't seem to be very active or substantive.

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[Update 2/15/23- Hare seems weirdly combative against unions, I guess because of their backing of Yancy, but I'm wondering if there there is something in the background that I'm missing? She also seems more Garcia/Lightfoot-positive than Johnson-positive, which is odd and makes me wonder where she'd stand on the council. Piemonte is definitely a really strong progressive option here too and rooted in the community. His site could definitely use some re-formatting and his policy could be expressed more clearly and with more detail in most places, which is surprising for someone working as a communications consultant to campaigns. He strikes me as passionate for the right things. I don't agree with all his policy pieces, but if you're not convinced on Hare, maybe he's your vote, and he did have decent support last time.]

6th Ward- William Hall

Roderick Sawyer is leaving city hall for a doomed run for mayor, leaving an opening in the 6th Ward which spans parts of Englewood, Grand Crossing, and Chatham. This race also has 11 candidates on the ballot, and the best of them is William Hall. A pastor and organizer, he's received various union endorsements and seems to be the best progressive in the race. He's backing the Treatment Not Trauma ordinance, increased investment in fighting the root causes of crime, quality resources for public schools, and more equitable budgeting, development, and services.

Also running is Kirby Birgans, a teacher and activist that could potentially be a good candidate as well, but less successful this time around at convincing me and other progressive endorsers that he's the one to go with. Richard Wooten is an establishment-type former police officer, and Barbara Bunville and Sylvester Baker are police without very significant campaigns. Tavares Briggs is an elementary administrator, Sharon Pincham served as Constituent Services Coordinator for State Sen. Sims, and Aja Kearney has worked in various government, campaign, and church roles. All three seem well-intentioned and have decent liberal-ish platforms. Paul Bryson seems to have been Alder Sawyer's right hand for ward services, but has a very uninspiring platform, Patrick Brutus has worked in various planning, development, and transportation roles in government but seems to be missing a platform, and Kim Egonmwan doesn't really seem to be running seriously.

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10th Ward- Oscar Sanchez

The East Side of the city, including Hegewisch on the Indiana border, makes up the 10th Ward of outgoing Alder Sue Sadlowski Garza. A progressive on union issues and not too much else, she may be replaced by a more true progressive here, though there are candidates from both political poles in this divided ward. Organizer Oscar Sanchez is endorsed, though there are two good progressives here. The progressive organizing groups have united behind him, while the labor unions Alder Sadlowski Garza and Chuy Garcia are backing labor organizer Ana Guajardo. These both look like solidly committed progressives. My guess is only one will make a runoff that will probably be against police officer Peter Chico, and I'll be glad to endorse either in that runoff. For now, a far more detailed platform tips the endorsement in favor of Oscar Sanchez. He's backing the Treatment Not Trauma ordinance, non-violent alternative approaches to crime including restorative justice, defunding approaches like Shotspotter in favor of investments like more mental health support, ending the gang database, a list of important equity measures for education, thoughtful transition measures towards a green economy that address the impacts of a move away from steelworking and related fields on his ward, transition programs for residents reentering from the prison system, renter assistance and education, equitable street vending policies, work on addressing food access, a cumulative impact ordinance to address environmental harm, reestablishment of the Department of the Environment, creation of more convening spaces in the ward, and so much more. This is one of the best platforms in the city and Sanchez is an exciting candidate.

Guajardo looks like she would also be a good Alder, and I do want to highlight one particular place of strength. She has worked to found organizations to support the formation of worker-owned cooperatives, particularly those owned by working-class people. I think co-ops are an absolutely essential piece of a long-term equitable economy, and are key to a model called distributism which is a better theoretical approach than classical socialism. It is good to see a candidate bringing this approach into reality. Sanchez does also mention support for coops (he mentions everything, so of course!) but I do think this would be a priority for Guajardo that I would appreciate. [Update 2/15/23- The mention of co-ops disappeared from Guajardo's site? I don't see it now and I know it was there. I'm not sure why you'd take that down....]

Also running is Peter Chico, a tough-on-crime police officer, Jessica Venegas, a back-the-blue type with a campaign that is less likely to be a significant factor, and Yessenia Carreon, a former staffer former Alder John Pope... who wasn't great.

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21st Ward- Ayana Clark

Alder Howard Brookins is retiring, after a failed judicial run, and the 21st Ward has a chance for an upgrade. The ward covers parts of West Pullman, Morgan Park, Longwood Manor, Brainerd, and Washington Heights. Ayana Clark, a staffer for now-former Congressman Bobby Rush, is endorsed. She grew up experiencing being unhoused and seeing police violence, gun violence, and racism up-close and is now fighting for a better life for others continuing to face these realities. Her platform highlights increased mental health funding, the Just Cause Eviction ordinance, the Bring Chicago Home ordinance, free mass transit, higher minimum wages, and more green space. As a congressional constituent services caseworker, she has experience with many of the types of issues that ward services can entail and won't be starting from scratch.

Many other candidates are running here as well. Most notable is Ronnie Mosley, an activist backed by unions and progressive leaders like former State Senator Jacqueline Collins (but also problematically by Alder Howard Brookins). However, he doesn't have a platform, which is a problem. Preston Brown, an attorney and ward Democratic Committeeman was my preferred alternative to Brookins in a previous election but now the ward has far better options available than his semi-liberal and limited-detail platform. Larry Lloyd is an attorney who does look somewhat progressive but less so than others. Cornell Dantzler looks like a relatively conservative firefighter, and Daliah Goree is a police officer with no platform. Finally Kweli Kwaza seems to be running only a semi-serious campaign that sports an endorsement from a very obscure NBA player from decades back for what that's worth...

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Next, two incumbent alders face a bit of a challenge but are likely to be safely reelected:

20th Ward- Jeannette Taylor

Alder Jeannette Taylor was elected in 2019 to represent parts of Englewood, Woodlawn, and Back of the Yards. From an organizing background, she's been a progressive voice in city council and an advocate for her ward in battles like the fight for an equitable community benefits agreement with the Obama Presidential Center. Frustratingly she doesn't have a campaign website that I can find (some incumbent alders don't and only have their official city sites, so they don't really have posted platforms) and her city council vote attendance is concerningly among the lowest of those seeking reelection, but I do think she is the best option here.

She faces Andre Smith who seems to be barely running, and Jennifer Maddox, an establishment-type police officer.

9th Ward- No Endorsement

This one makes me sad. Anthony Beale has been a Lightfoot antagonist, but it has been mostly from the right. I did appreciate his opposition to the casino, but on the whole, not great. He faces two opponents, neither of whom seems to have that strong of a campaign. One is Cameron Barnes, who has some weird anti-migrant claims with bad math and featured photos with Lori Lightfoot and Jesse Jackson. The other is radio host Cleopatra Draper (formerly Watson) who ran in 2019 and seemed a decent alternative to Beale. She has some progressive endorsements but doesn't really seem to have that much of a campaign. She was also caught personally stealing Beale's campaign signs. She's definitely the most progressive here, but doesn't impress and gives cause for concern about her ethics.

Finally, two mediocre incumbents sure to win:

8th Ward- Sean Flynn

I think Alder Michelle Harris is sure to win here, but give your protest vote to Sean Flynn. He doesn't really have a platform or funds, but his affiliations and recorded public appearances suggest he'd be fairly liberal/progressive. He was chief of staff for Alder David Moore, who is a decent alder, so that speaks well of where he may be at ideologically and also shows he knows how a ward office works. Michelle Harris is an establishment Lightfoot backer and one of the architects of this terrible ward map. She needs to go. Also running is Linda Hudson who ran in 2019 and got a decent anti-Harris protest vote. She also may be fairly progressive but doesn't appear to be trying this time around and has less related experience than Flynn.

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7th Ward- No Endorsement

Alder Greg Mitchell seems to be a boring, unimpressive, follow-the-mayor establishment alder, but he has no opponent.

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