District 11’s complex history is always present in the aldermen’s latest campaigns.


Chicago’s 11th Ward – five mayors, the Daley family and once a powerful Democratic political force – begins a new chapter in the city’s history as the center of Asian-American political power It looks like everything is ready.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot was appointed to Aldo a year ago. Aldo was replaced by Nicole Lee, a Chinese-American with deep roots in the Asian community. Patrick Daly Thompson after being convicted of federal tax-related charges. The political shift was reaffirmed when the council approved a new borough map that raised both Chinatown and Bridgeport to his 11th full ward, making it the first ward with a majority Asian population in the city’s history. became.

But Ward 11’s complicated history is clearly afoot as Lee runs for his first term and faces a challenge from Chicago police officer Anthony “Tony” Ciaravino. Lee is supported by several members of the trade union and the Daley clan. Including the former mayor himself.Ciaravino, an Italian-American who has never run for public office, says he has support from the grassroots community, highlighting his law enforcement background and his family’s long-standing ties for more than a century. He said he lives in the neighborhood.

Mr. Lee received the most votes in the February 28 parliamentary elections, but only about 200 more than Mr. Chialavino. Neither received more than his 50% share of the vote, so they were pitted against each other in the April 4th run-off, a campaign rife with personal attacks, race politics, and the evolution of political power within constituencies. .

11th District Alderman candidate Anthony Ciaravino greets bus and train commuters outside the CTA Halstead Orange Line in Chicago March 14, 2023.

Despite their differences, the candidates agree on what voters care most about: crime and safety.

“Safety is the number one concern of everyone in this community, and last but not least, every candidate,” said Lee, who was appointed to Lightfoot last year, becoming the first Asian-American alderman on the city council. “That’s how we connect.”

Ciaravino, who says he’s taking paid and unused vacation time to run for city council, says he’s in the race because he feels Lee failed to keep the ward safe. rice field.

“It was only recently that she jumped onto the crime and public safety platform three weeks ago,” Ciaravino said. “She has been known to speak out on several different views on defunding the police, rerouting her, and diverting money in other ways.”

Ciaravino noted Lee’s support for the Red Line expansion. This will use tax-raising loan district funds from the 11th Ward to extend the Red Line, a few miles away from the city’s southernmost and his 11th Ward. Lee acknowledged that her support for expansion may be “not the most politically expedient,” but said her vote meant she wasn’t paying attention to crime on the ward. She rejected her claim.

“That’s not true at all,” Lee said. “Our opponents are deliberately trying to deceive the residents of District 11. Since taking office, I have acted solely to ensure that the police have the necessary resources. So please do not withdraw funds.”

Aldo.  Eleventh Nicole Lee (left) talks to resident Wenxia Wang while exploring Chicago's McKinley Park neighborhood on March 16, 2023.

Lee cited a recent vote in favor of a city budget that increased the police budget, citing attending “multiple” police beating conferences, and “never saw[Chalavino].” added.

Both Ciaravino and Lee have said they will promote community-based beat policing to better deal with crime on wards. But Ciaravino says his connections and experience as a police officer have prepared him to better achieve his goals.

“I’ve been doing it for 30 years,” said Ciaravino, 52. Got questions about crime and public safety? I’m the person you want to talk to. ”

While some of Lee’s most prominent supporters come from the political power structures that have run the borough for years, other Lee supporters acknowledge that the 11th Ward has had better times. Still, although many of their examples are anecdotal, they believe Lee has made some improvements in her short tenure.

Jimmy Lee, who has no relationship with Nicole Lee, said, “Over the past four years, we’ve been through a lot of hardships. Now we’ve seen a change. …Our business continues to pick up.” Business is doing pretty well so far.”

Nicole Lee, 48, also thinks a focus on developing the proposed Near South High School would resonate with voters.

“I am still 100 percent committed to creating a neighborhood high school to serve our community,” she said. “I look forward to speaking with anyone in the office about ensuring the needs of our community are met.”

Lee calls Ciaravino Margins are more than two to one, and Lee has received significant donations from unions, including $45,000 from the International Union of Service Workers and $15,000 from the Chicago Council of North American Workers International. It contains. Ciaravino has been supported primarily by in-kind donations from the Chicago chapter of his Fraternal Order of Police, as well as multiple individual donors.

Ciaravino is also actively campaigning.

On a recent Tuesday morning, when it was bitterly cold, he greeted commuters at the Halstead Orange Line station, handed out coffee and leaflets written in Chinese, and handed out pictures of his arms around mayoral candidate Paul Vallas. I was. Brandon Johnson.

However, his support for Valas is unrequited. Vallas stands by Lee.

“I would like to announce and strengthen my strong support for my Alderman, Nicole Lee,” said Vallas, a former Chicago Public Schools CEO who rents an apartment in Bridgeport. “And I’ve worked with her family for many years, so I’m looking forward to working with her.”

A spokesperson for the Vallas campaign declined to say whether the campaign would ask Ciaravino to stop distributing flyers with Vallas’s photo.

Ciaravino has touted his experience with the police, but records show he was suspended for 11 days for “operations/personnel violations.” In an interview with the Tribune, Ciaravino said a secondary weapon was stolen from his car in 2017 when he failed to secure it properly. He said it was the “first time” he made that mistake.

Ciaravino has also filmed Lee’s family history. In 2014, Lee’s father was convicted of financial crimes as deputy chief of staff to former Mayor Richard M. Daly.

“Lee’s name is synonymous with corruption,” Ciaravino said. “Her father is a convicted criminal.”

“I am very proud of my name. I am very proud of my father,” Lee replied. “First and foremost, he took responsibility for what he did and then did everything legally to improve.”

Inside Chinatown’s Phoenix Restaurant, Lee told dim sum-munching supporters that her vote was to represent the voice of the community.

“It’s time to solidify our community’s standing in the city of Chicago on the city council,” Lee said. “I think having someone from the Asian American community represented is very important for the first Asian majority constituency.”

For Lee, Valas’ endorsement was important because his support for the mayoral candidacy can be seen on billboards all over Chinatown. But neither Lee nor Ciaravino has the endorsement of his one mayoral candidate, Chicago firefighter Don Don, who came third in February.

The only Asian-American candidate in the 11th District election, Don won about 20% of the vote. Don told the Tribune that he will “remain neutral” in the runoff.

And while Lee’s pledge of racial solidarity is a general political line, Ciaravino’s message is equally classic in Chicago politics.

“She’s part of the machine, I’m not,” Ciaravino said, noting all those who support Lee. “Everything I do I do alone. Isn’t that a bigger story?”

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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