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Here's Your 4th Ward Voter Guide For Tuesday's Aldermanic Election

By Sam Cholke | February 24, 2017 6:18am | Updated on February 28, 2017 1:46pm
 The candidates for 4th Ward alderman include, clockwise from top left, Sophia King, Ebony Lucas, Marcellus Moore, Gregory Seal Livingston and Gerald Scott McCarthy.
The candidates for 4th Ward alderman include, clockwise from top left, Sophia King, Ebony Lucas, Marcellus Moore, Gregory Seal Livingston and Gerald Scott McCarthy.
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KENWOOD — Voters will get a special chance to pick the next 4th Ward alderman on Tuesday while the rest of the city waits for full elections in 2019.

In February 2016, former Ald. Will Burns unexpectedly stepped down to take a job at AirBnB, leaving Mayor Rahm Emanuel to make an interim appointment until a special election could be held.

In April, Sophia King joined the City Council as Emanuel’s pick to replace Burns, and she is now facing four challengers in a bid to hold onto the seat.

The 4th Ward stretches from Downtown to Hyde Park along the lakefront and is home to Cook County Board President and former Ald. Toni Preckwinkle’s political base. The ward is home to many of the city’s political and business elites, and politicians like 4th Ward resident Barack Obama have used the area as a springboard to higher office.

The special election has prompted large outpourings of campaign cash and big-name political endorsements, including Obama's endorsement of King, the first foray ever by a former president in an aldermanic election.

The candidates have gone through a gauntlet of six forums and numerous other community events to outline their positions on the major issues facing the ward.

What’s at stake in the 4th Ward includes the ward’s role as an independent voice in City Council, guiding how the 49-acre former Michael Reese Hospital site will be developed, providing a major voice on if and how a casino might be built in Chicago and how city spending is balanced between public goods like schools and incentives to lure in development.

The candidates are nearly unanimous that addressing the city’s violence is the major issue on voters’ minds, but more of their individual backgrounds and positions can be found below.

The candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot.

To find your polling place, visit the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners website.

Ebony Lucas

Elected positions: Current president of Mandrake Park Advisory Council

Professional experience: Real estate attorney for 13 years, currently with the Property Law Group, former fundraiser for United Way and Mercy Education Project

Positions:

• Will advocate for more equity in public school funding to support arts, music, foreign language classes and extracurricular programs.

• Plans to expand community advisory bodies and will hold weekly town hall meetings on developments in the ward.

• Promises to do more to market underdeveloped portions of the ward outside of the South Loop and Hyde Park.

Criticisms: Lucas faces complex allegations over her handling of the assets of a condominium building in Kenwood, reported Thursday in the Chicago Tribune. She has not been found to have done anything unethical or illegal, but the issue remains unresolved.

Marcellus Moore Jr.

Elected positions: Current member of the King College Prep and Shoesmith Elementary local school councils

Professional experience: Attorney with the Alliance Law Group since 2009, former commercial real estate consultant with Lang LaSalle and Grubb & Ellis.

Positions:

• Sees violence as the dominant issue facing the ward, and says there needs to be more collaboration between community and police and attention to job creation to address the root causes of violence.

• Would not support the development of a casino in the ward, but might support one if it is built elsewhere in the city.

• Says he will take a collaborative approach to major issues facing the city and is open to shifting new city employees to a 401K retirement plan and raising taxes to fund the unfunded pension liability for current and past city employees.

Criticisms: Moore has faced criticism from other candidates for not staking out firm positions during the election and saying he will wait until he is in office before making decisions.

Sophia King

Elected positions: Former president of the Kenwood Park Advisory Council, current 4th Ward alderman

Professional experience: Organizer for the Chosen Few Picnic, co-founder of Harriet’s Daughters nonprofit and Ariel Community Academy, former owner of Brush Strokes paint-your-own-pot shop in Hyde Park

Endorsements: Barack Obama, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Sun-Times and the Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization, among others

Positions:

• Says she views violence as the No. 1 issue in the ward that should be addressed comprehensively with police and also increasing after-school programs for youths and greater pressure on developers to hire locally to address unemployment in the ward.

• Opposes a casino in the ward, but has not taken a position on one elsewhere in the city.

• Says she will bring more focused resources to parts of the ward outside of the South Loop and Hyde Park that have experienced less development.

Criticisms: The other candidates have portrayed King as too close to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and used her voting record — she has sided with Emanuel 85 percent of the time on contested votes, according to one study —as evidence that she is too hesitant to go against the mayor on controversial issues.

Gregory Seal Livingston

Elected positions: None

Professional experience: Founder and CEO of Coalition for a New Chicago, former national field secretary and chief of field operations for the RainbowPUSH Coalition

Positions:

• Promises to be a check on Emanuel in City Council.

• Says violence is the ward’s biggest issue that must be addressed by increasing employment and advocates for major reforms to the Chicago Police Department and more citizen oversight of police.

• Advocating for protections for low-income residents as development comes to the Michael Reese Hospital site and as South Loop development moves south.

Criticisms: The other candidates have accused Livingston of simply critiquing the mayor without giving enough details on how he would provide services for the ward.

Gerald Scott McCarthy

Elected positions: None

Professional experience: Attorney and certified public accountant

Endorsements: Chicago Gazette

Positions:

• Advocates greater investment in the green economy in the ward to create jobs.

• Says violence is the greatest problem facing the ward and must be addressed by better training and oversight of police and greater investment in social programs for youths.

• Promotes addressing the city’s financial struggles aggressively but cautions against over relying on income from property taxes.

Criticisms: Other candidates have portrayed McCarthy as naive to the full job of the alderman and unprepared for the complexities of city government.

To find your polling place, visit the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners website.

The 4th Ward polling places include:

  • Precinct 1, Hyde Park Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave.
  • Precinct 2, Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash Ave.
  • Precinct 3, Mary Jane Richardson Apartments, 4930 S. Langley
  • Precinct 4, Lake Parc Apartments, 3939 S. Lake Park Ave.
  • Precinct 5, Kennicott Park, 4434 S. Lake Park Ave.
  • Precinct 6, Cambridge Manor Apartments, 2631 S. Indiana Ave.
  • Precinct 7, Vivian Gordon Harsh Apartments, 4227 S. Oakenwald Ave.
  • Precinct 8, North Washington Park Manor, 550 E. 50th Place
  • Precinct 9, Harper Square Cooperative, 4850 S. Lake Park Ave.
  • Precinct 10, Kennicott Park, 4434 S. Lake Park Ave.
  • Precinct 11, Mandrake Park, 3858 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
  • Precinct 12, Mary Jane Richardson Apartments, 4930 S. Langley
  • Precinct 13, Jones College Prep, 606 S. State St.
  • Precinct 14, South Commons Phase 1 Condo, 2921 S. Michigan Ave.
  • Precinct 15, Alpha Towers, 936 E. 47th St.
  • Precinct 16, Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash Ave.
  • Precinct 17, Grace Episcopal Church, 637 S. Dearborn St.
  • Precinct 18, Judge Slater Apartments, 740 E. 43rd St.
  • Precinct 19, Lawless Garden Apartments, 3550 S. Rhodes Ave.
  • Precinct 20, Grace Episcopal Church, 637 S. Dearborn St.
  • Precinct 21, Jones College Prep, 606 S. State St.
  • Precinct 22, Shoesmith School, 1330 E. 50th St.
  • Precinct 23, Shoesmith School, 1330 E. 50th St.
  • Precinct 24, Shoesmith School, 1330 E. 50th St.
  • Precinct 25, Michigan Ave. Lofts, 910 S. Michigan Ave.
  • Precinct 26, Washington Park Apartments, 4949 S. Cottage Grove
  • Precinct 27, United Church of Hyde Park, 1448 E. 53rd St.
  • Precinct 28, Prairie Shores Apartments, 2901 S. Martin Luther King Drive
  • Precinct 29, Judge Slater Apartments, 740 E. 43rd St.
  • Precinct 30, Mandrake Park, 3858 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
  • Precinct 31, Newport Condo Association, 4800 S. Chicago Beach Drive
  • Precinct 32, North Eastern University, 700 E. Oakwood Blvd.
  • Precinct 33, Drexel Square Apartments, 810 E. Hyde Park Blvd.
  • Precinct 34, King College Prep, 4445 S. Drexel Blvd.
  • Precinct 35, Lake Meadows Condo, 601 E. 32nd St.
  • Precinct 36 Martin L King Library 3436 S. Martin Luther King Drive
  • Precinct 37 South Loop School 1212 S. Plymouth Ct
  • Precinct 38 Lake Meadows Apt 401 E. 32nd St.

RELATED:

Ald. King Largely Sides With Rahm, But Has Bucked Him A Few Times: Report

4th Ward Candidates Face Voters In First Of 6 Forums

In First Act Since Leaving White House, Obama Endorses 4th Ward Alderman

Obama Endorsement Akin To 'Cheating,' 4th Ward Challenger Says

Obama Plug Pushes Sophia King's Fundraising To Nearly $200K In 4th Ward