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Two More Candidates Join Race for 38th Ward Alderman

By Heather Cherone | September 4, 2014 7:59am
 Tom Caravette (l.) and  Carmen Hernandez   are gathering signatures on petitions to run for 38th Ward alderman.
Tom Caravette (l.) and  Carmen Hernandez  are gathering signatures on petitions to run for 38th Ward alderman.
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Carmen Hernandez and Tom Caravette

PORTAGE PARK — Two Portage Park residents who challenged Ald. Tim Cullerton (38th) in 2011 will run again in 2015 to represent Portage Park and Dunning on the City Council.

Tom Caravette, a property manager and real estate agent, lost to Cullerton in the runoff that decided the 2011 election. The issues facing the ward remain much the same, Caravette said.

Heather Cherone says it'll be interesting to see who Mayor Emanuel endorses:

"There are too many foreclosures, and there is a lack of jobs," said Caravette, 55, who is married with three children who attend public schools.

Carmen Hernandez, an inspector with the city Water Department who served in Iraq with the Illinois National Guard, said he was running again to address the shortage of police on the Far Northwest Side and the slow response from city officials to requests for service from residents.

"You have to wait for a year to get your tree cut," said Hernandez, 57. "I called the police to report a suspicious vehicle and they took a half hour to get there. That's not how it is supposed to work."

Hernandez and Caravette will face Ald. Nicholas Sposato (36th), who announced several weeks ago that he would run for the 38th Ward seat after the 36th Ward was redrawn to include a majority of Latino voters. Heather Sattler, the chief operating officer of the 100 Club of Chicago, a nonprofit organization that helps the families of law enforcement officials, has also said she is running.

Heather Cherone breaks down Sattler's campaign platform:

Sposato said he was looking forward to debating other candidates during the campaign.

"I know Tom and Carmen," Sposato said. "They are decent guys."

Sattler said it was great for residents of the 38th Ward to "have more choices and hear more opinions about how to navigate the problems" facing the city and the ward.

In 2011, Caravette won 22 percent of the vote in an eight-person race, while Cullerton garnered 48 percent. Cullerton won 60 percent of the vote in the April runoff — with the endorsement of then Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel.

Caravette said he was running to dismantle the Cullerton political organization, which has controlled the ward for decades.

Cullerton, who announced in July that he would retire when his term expired in May, has said he does not plan to endorse a candidate in the race to succeed him. But he has known Sattler — the daughter of his chief of staff — for most of her life and praised her as a "great person."

Underfunded city, county and state pension funds remain a major concern, Caravette said.

"I'm concerned the pension crisis will cause property taxes to skyrocket," Caravette said.

Too many single-family homes in the 38th Ward are being illegally converted into apartment buildings, and not being properly regulated and taxed, Caravette said.

Hernandez, who has six children, including two sons who are Chicago Police officers, has lived in Portage Park for 32 years. A military police officer, Hernandez spent 16 months in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 as part of the force that invaded Iraq. 

Hernandez, who finished fourth in the 2011 election, said he was concerned that Portage Park was suffering from an influx of gang activity caused by people moving into the 38th Ward.

In 2011, Hernandez campaigned against the O'Hare Modernization Plan, which has sent hundreds of planes over Far Northwest Side neighborhoods that had little-to-no jet noise in years past.

If elected, Caravette said he expected to join the council's Progressive Reform Caucus, co-founded by Sposato.

"I would definitely be part of it, but I would vote with the mayor when it makes sense," said Caravette, adding that he supports Emanuel's use of speed and red-light cameras to free up officers for "real police work."

Caravette said he was hoping to make it into the runoff between the top two vote getters in the Feb. 24 election.

"You know there is going to be a runoff with this many candidates," Caravette said.

For more Northwest Side news from Heather Cherone, listen here: