BRIDGEPORT — John Tominello, a retired court reporter and union organizer, plans to run for alderman of the 11th Ward.
Tominello, 58, made the announcement Tuesday on Facebook. He'll kick off his campaign at 10:30 a.m. Thursday outside All Saints-Saint Anthony Catholic church, 28th Street and Wallace Avenue.
"That's where my grandfather came in 1904. We've been members of that parish since the church was built," Tominello said.
Tominello said he decided to throw his hat in the ring because none of the race's other candidates "are willing to fight for people of the neighborhood." He said he will look out for Bridgeport's residential streets, not just its commercial corridors.
A vocal critic of Ald. James Balcer's support for the controversial plan to bring a heliport to 24th and Halsted streets, Tominello counts himself as a progressive Democrat.
"I think the progressives are slowly starting to come through and we'll create a voice. I will not lockstep with the mayor and the rest of the gang. ... I think the Democrats have lost their way in the City Council and they need to come back to their party and starting acting like Democrats and not corporate stooges."
He's quick to count his effort to successfully negotiate a contract for court reporters in Illinois as a major victory. That battle, he said, pitted workers against some of the most powerful names in Illinois' judicial system.
Tominello said he's a proud son of the Bridgeport neighborhood. He lives near 29th Street and Lowe Avenue with his wife and four dogs. He's also a part-time artist who dabbles in oil paintings.
His brother, a Raymond John Tominello, a.k.a. "Rayjo," was a reputed Outfit bookie who pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges in 1989 and spent less than a year in prison, the Tribune reported.
Tominello said he has little contact with his brother.
"We're estranged and that's it. I don't think we've ever gotten along on anything. We never agreed on anything. He's 15 years older than I am and we were never that close," Tominello said.
He asked that he be judged on his own merits as a political candidate, not family ties that might've made headlines years ago.
"My life's an open book and anyone can read it," he said.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: