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Will There be a “Winner” in the 44th Ward’s Alderman Seat?

After running unopposed in 2007, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) will face a challenge this year from local business owner David Winner, who said the ward could use a change.

Tunney and Winner both filed as candidates with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners by the Nov.22 deadline. Winner reported receiving 600 signatures and Tunney reported receiving 2,000 signatures.

Winner considers Tunney part of the city council’s old guard and criticized the alderman for not having a “ward night” where neighbors can meet the alderman face-to-face.

“I feel he’s out of tune. We’re a few months out (from the election), he should be out there,” said Winner in a phone interview.

That’s news to Tunney.

“I believe I’m relatively new (to city council). I’m hitting my stride,” said Tunney in a phone interview.

Tunney said that while there is no official ward night, his office is open six days a week.

“Every voice has been heard,” he said.

Tunney said some of his accomplishments the last four years were getting a state-of-the-art police station built at 850 W. Addison St. and donating 90 percent of Wrigley Field concert proceeds to Lake View schools.

“When I walk around, I think I’ve made a difference,” he said.

Bob Clarke, vice president of South East Lake View Neighbors (SELVN), said Tunney brings potential land developers to SELVN meetings and listens to SELVN’s input about approving liquor licenses for establishments.

“If SELVN doesn’t want it, he won’t give it to them,” said Clarke.

He said Winner hasn’t attended a SELVN meeting yet.

Winner said he does have a presence in the community and that would make him an effective alderman. He has lived in Lake View for 12 years and is the former president of the neighborhood group Lake View Citizens Council and a board member of the Lake View East Chamber of Commerce.

“We have to run the city like a business,” said Winner, who is president of DLW Business Consultants, a financial consulting firm.

Winner is against raising property taxes and said he would oppose any plan to do so.

“It cannot happen,” he said.

Other residents of the 44th Ward shared their concerns about crime.

Elliott Fredland, a 10-year Lake View resident, said crime needs to be kept low. Fredland is concerned about Police Supt. Jody Weis’ plan to shuffle officers to neighborhoods that have a high volume of 911 calls.

“The South Side needs more police officers, but what will happen to crime on the North Side? No one really knows,” said Fredland.

Winner agreed. He said while 44th Ward crime stats aren’t high, the area can’t afford to lose any more police officers. He said he would work with the police department and new mayor on this.

“You have to make the mayor aware,” he said.

Winner also discussed his plan to re-draw the ward’s police district lines. Currently the ward consists of two police districts: the 19th District is west of Clark Street and the 23rd District is east of Clark Street. Winner wants to cut off the district line from Clark Street to Racine Avenue, making Clark Street itself one of the districts. Winner said this will ensure the correct district officers are dispatched to the correct address. He said a 23rd District cop can get called to the 19th district and not be able to do anything.

Clarke said the next alderman has his work cut out for him. He mentioned the 1 percent budget cut for Streets and Sanitation in 2011.

“Maintenance and repairs will go down, there’s no money. It will be managing in a reduced environment,” he said.

Clarke referred to the city’s budget deficit, currently at $650 million, as a “train wreck.”

Winner laughed when he was asked why he wants the job of alderman.

“Because I’ve been a community activist and I want to bring the ward back to a grassroots level,” he said.

This is the third aldermanic election for Tunney. His first election was in 2003 and he was the overwhelming winner. Out of 10,125 votes cast, he received 59 percent of the votes. Rick Ingram received 23 percent of the votes and Dean Maragos 13 percent. Winner has never run for alderman.

The 2011 election will be held Feb. 22.

Posted by on December 12, 2010. Filed under Community, Politics is Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.