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EDITORIAL: One last plug for Lori Lightfoot and four aldermanic candidates

Lori Lightfoot, former president of the Chicago Police Board in the Sun-Times newsroom May 8, 2018. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Lori Lightfoot | Rich Hein / Sun-Times

We want to urge you, for a second time, to vote for Lori Lightfoot for mayor.

We believe she is the best of the 14 candidates to lead our city in turbulent times. She has the vision, values, policies and experience to make our city work for everybody, from the Gold Coast to Englewood.

EDITORIAL

Lightfoot has an impressive record of public service — on the Chicago Police Board, as a federal prosecutor, and in city government — and she is beholden to nobody. She has been a champion of police reform, of bringing economic opportunities to the farthest-flung neighborhoods and of integrity in public office.

Please read our full endorsement editorial at bit.ly/2t8HQkC.

What we really want to stress today, though, is this: Lightfoot can win this thing. Every poll shows she has moved up to the top tier of candidates, and she is within the statistical margin of error of being in the lead.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about Tuesday’s mayoral and aldermanic elections

With all respect to several other candidates who are polling poorly, we urge their voters to think strategically. If your first-choice candidate stands little chance of making the runoff on April 2, consider casting your vote for a second-choice candidate who does. For many of you, we suspect, that would be Lightfoot.

We also want to call your attention, one more time, to our endorsements in four particularly tight and important aldermanic races:

Jaime Guzman in the 14th Ward

14th Ward aldermanic candidate Jaime Guzman met with the Sun-Times Editorial Board Thursday, January 17, 2019. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

14th Ward aldermanic candidate Jaime Guzman meets with the Sun-Times Editorial Board Jan. 17. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Ald. Ed Burke, first elected in 1969, is facing federal corruption charges, but that’s not stopping him from once again running for re-election in this Southwest Side ward. Current scandal aside, he’s long had too many conflicts of interest because of his law firm’s work on property tax appeals.

This ward is long overdue for a change, and Jaime Guzman is the right person to bring it. Guzman was a legislative analyst for U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia when Garcia was on the Cook County Board. Garcia has endorsed another challenger in this race, civil engineer Tanya G. Patino, but she can’t come close to matching Guzman in knowledge and experience.

Maya Hodari in the 20th Ward

endorsement 20th Ward aldermanic candidate Maya Hodari 2019 mayoral election rich hein

20th Ward aldermanic candidate Maya Hodari is endorsed by the Sun-Times. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Experience matters, and Maya Hodari has plenty. In 2008, she co-founded the Woodlawn Neighbors Association, a group that worked to spruce up their community and address safety and housing issues. It’s one of many community groups Hodari’s been a part of.

Hodari also has worked for the Chicago Housing Authority and sits on the board of the Southeast Chicago Commission, a plus for boosting development in this neglected ward. Hodari would be a skilled advocate for residents as plans progress for the Obama Presidential Center, a project she strongly supports, as we do.

Residents of the 20th Ward really deserve an alderman they finally can trust, given that their last three aldermen, including incumbent Willie Cochran, ran afoul of the law. Hodari is the standout in a crowded field.

Colin Bird-Martinez in the 31st Ward

31st Ward aldermanic candidate Colin Bird-Martinez 2019 election rich hein

31st Ward aldermanic candidate Colin Bird-Martinez at the Sun-Times Jan. 11. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

In her first four years as an alderman, incumbent Milly Santiago is best known for complaining that she was just a “poor alderman” when the city’s Board of Ethics prohibited her from buying World Series tickets from the Cubs, worth thousands of dollars on the secondary market, at face value.

Other than make headlines for whining, Santiago hasn’t done much for her Northwest Side ward.

We strongly endorse challenger Colin Bird-Martinez, a community organizer who co-founded the Hermosa Neighborhood Association. With that group, he advocated for affordable housing. As a member of the local school council for William P. Nixon Elementary School, he helped raise money for school improvements. He has already done more good for the ward than Santiago.

Tom Tunney in the 44th Ward

Tom Tunney 44th ward alderman candidate 2019 mayoral election rich hein

44th Ward aldermanic candidate and incumbent Tom Tunney at the Sun-Times Jan. 21. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

The owners of a baseball team, even a particularly lovable one, should not control a ward. The owners of the Cubs, the Ricketts family, are doing an impressive job of redeveloping Wrigleyville, but the family’s interests don’t always line up with those of the rest of the ward.

That’s where an independent-minded alderman comes in.

Incumbent Tom Tunney has pushed back against the Rickettses, mostly for good reason. He opposed street closings around Wrigley Field on game days because of the hassle it would create for residents and businesses. When the team constructed a plaza that neighborhood residents feared would be “the Midwest’s largest beer garden,” Tunney kept the project in check.

The Rickettses want Tunney out. They have put their money behind one challenger, Elizabeth Shydlowski, and dark money has flooded the ward in a creepy campaign to support anybody but the incumbent.

So, yeah, we’re with Tunney. The 44th Ward needs a counterweight to the power of one family’s money.

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