Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=175869
Story Retrieval Date: 5/18/2013 11:10:35 AM CST
26th Ward residents wait in the lobby of Ald. Roberto Maldonado's headquarters during the office's walk-in hours
Crime and community in forefront of 26th Ward election issues
Campaign signs adorn a fence on Division Street.
Apartment building owner Elizabeth Molina, 68, visited Ald. Roberto Maldonado at his 26th Ward office Monday night during walk-in hours. The sixth person on the sign-in sheet, she was there to ask him if he could do anything about crime.
Over the weekend she was robbed while leaving one of her properties on West Division Street, which she said is a rough part of town.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said. “They stole my purse and took my rent money, my bills and important papers from me.”
Molina said she felt safer when there were police officers patrolling the streets on foot. She said there were visible officers at the beginning of the month, but not recently.
Maldonado was appointed in July 2009 to fill the vacancy left by Billy Ocasio when he joined Gov. Pat Quinn’s staff. Maldonado has since noticeably cleaned up drug activity, Molina said.
“This area has some pretty bad violence, but I also think it gets a bad rep,” said 36-year-old resident Sandro Corona.
Luis Padilla, 30, said that Maldonado had been proactive in preventing crime by attending CAPS meetings with police commanders of local districts and working to clean up drug activity in the area.
Devon Reid, 18, is Maldonado’s sole challenger on the Feb. 22 ballot. Despite having lived in the ward for only three years, he already has numerous issues like transparency, crime and economic development on his docket.
If elected, the Wright College freshman plans to post the ward’s budget online and solicit more input from community members on how the money should be spent.
Padilla, a 20-year resident, has seen first-hand the changes that have transpired in Humboldt Park.
“During the housing boom the area became really gentrified,” he said. “It is so important to preserve the character of our community.”