Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Two aldermen endorse Daley opponent
February 21, 2007
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
Two South Side aldermen — of them charged with accepting bribes — are endorsing mayoral challenger William “Dock” Walls’ longshot bid to unseat Mayor Daley.
Ald. Arenda Troutman (20th) and Howard Brookins (21st) are taking sides against Daley, who’s the prohibitive favorite in Tuesday’s election, as well as challenger Dorothy Brown. “It means we have the support of their proven organizations and that, on election day, we’ll have coverage in all the precincts in their wards, as well as my name on their palm cards,” Walls said this morning.
Troutman was charged last month with taking bribes — $5,000 in cash with the promise of $10,000 more, along with free residential and commerical space — to grease the proposed development of a strip mall that wasn’t even in her ward.
But Walls said he welcomes her endorsement and believes Troutman will be exonerated.
“The property was not even in her ward,” Walls said. “She had no control over that property.
“I haven’t seen enough of the information to determine whether the feds went overboard,” he added, “but it wouldn’t be the first time. They did it with Miriam Santos, and she was later exonerated.”
Santos, a former city treasurer, later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Troutman could not be reached for comment, but a top aide confirmed that she has endorsed Walls.
Brookins said he’s backing Walls because of what he called a lack of communication with Daley.
“I have been trying to meet with him for three and a half years,” Brookins said, “ever since the first failed Wal-mart vote” — for a store in his ward. “I have been unable to meet with him.
“I don’t know how you can work with people — especially in the African-American community, where I would appear to be selling the community out somehow — when you don’t have an open dialogue with the person you would be supporting.”
Brookins said he tried to approach Daley behind the Chicago City Council’s chambers on the day the mayor’s 2007 budget was passed but got an earful from Daley about aldermanic challengers the mayor accused him of backing in neighboring wards.
“I was shocked,” Brookins said. “The mayor said, ‘You don’t want to talk to me. Who do you think you are? Do you think you’re bigger than [Ald.] Ike Carothers? You’re running somebody in the 9th and 18th [Wards]. Why don’t you just run for mayor, and we can meet on the battlefield.’ ”
Brookins also was critical of what he described as the shoddy condition of inner-city parks and Daley’s refusal to yield to aldermanic demands to hire 100 additional police officers to enforce the city’s traffic laws.
“The fixes are not coming fast enough for my community,” Brookins said. “We’re getting our brains beat in over police protection.”