As Lightfoot Considers 12th Ward Aldermanic Appointment, Few Residents Weigh In


Chicago City Hall.  (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)Chicago City Hall. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Like Ald. George Cardenas prepares to resign from the Chicago City Council, Mayor Lori Lightfoot will have little resident input to consider as she selects the first new 12th District alderman in two decades.

A poll designed to determine what residents of the Southwest Side’s 12th Ward, which includes McKinley Park and parts of Little Village and Brighton Park, think should be the top priority for their new alderman received just 25 responses. according to the results published on the city’s data portal on Monday.

Cesar Rodriguez, a spokesman for Lightfoot, told WTTW News that the mayor’s office hasn’t been able to determine why so few responses have been received.

That lack of engagement is in stark contrast to the response a similar survey conducted previously Lightfoot struck Ald. Timmy Knudsen to replace former 43rd Ward Ald. Michele Smith in September.

The Lincoln Park Resident Survey received nearly 800 responses. Most residents of the North Side ward have encouraged Lightfoot’s choice to focus on public safety amid a spike in violent crime, including auto theft, in and around downtown.

Replacing Cardenas will be Lightfoot’s fourth appointment to city council.

Residents of the 11th Ward, which includes Bridgeport, and the 24th Ward, which includes North Lawndale, were not asked to complete a poll before Lightfoot picked new city council members. Both Ald. Nicole Lee (11th Ward) and Ald. Monique Scott (24th Ward) is running for a full four-year term in the February election.

Rodríguez he told WTTW News in August that the survey of residents of the 43rd ward was conducted in response to feedback from residents of the 11th and 24th wards.

Lightfoot has until January 29 to name a replacement for Cardenas, a month before his replacement can be elected.

Four people have applied to fill the 12th District seat: Anabel Abarca, former Cardenas chief of staff and candidate in the Feb. 28 election; Robert Abeldano, who works for a firm that leases property to wireless communications companies; Lydia Arroya, member of the parish council of the Catholic Church of the Blessed Sacrament; and Anthony Wojtal, budget manager for Chicago Public Schools.

Cardenas, who will leave the city council on Wednesday after being elected to the Cook County Board of Auditors, backed Abarca in the February election.

Julia Ramirez, the other candidate announced in the 12th Ward race, has not filed to finish Cardenas’ term, which ends in May. Ramirez was endorsed by United Working Families, a progressive political organization closely aligned with the Chicago Teachers Union.

Hours after Lightfoot announced the members of the three-person committee he asked to recommend a replacement for Cardenas, one member withdrew.

The mayor’s office initially listed Noble Charter Schools’ Claudia Rodriguez as a member of the committee, but told WTTW News she would not be joining the committee, refusing to tell WTTW News what prompted her decision.

Claudia Rodriguez was replaced by Donna Hubble, who the mayor’s office misidentified as also affiliated with Noble Charter Schools. Hubble is president of the Wolcott Block Club.

The mayor’s office did not respond to a question from WTTW News about what led to the change and how the mistake was made.

“Claudia Rodriguez has decided to step down and we are pleased that Donna Hubble will help with the important selection process by providing a shortlist of qualified candidates for the mayor to make his selection,” said Cesar Rodriguez.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]


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Written by Natalia Chi

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