Michael Chandler, Alderman, 24th Ward

NORTH LAWNDALE – A small sample of residents in North Lawndale give high grades to President Barack Obama for his job performance, while giving Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel an “F” for his time in office, according to a survey conducted by Lawndale Alliance, a community organization.

Lawndale residents were asked to grade their elected officials at the national, state, city, ward and county levels. The Alliance sent out emails to 2,700 residents but only 26 replied to the online survey, which launched in April of 2013 and remains open. The results were compiled in February.

North Lawndale has about 36,000 residents, according to the 2010 Census — a decrease of roughly 5,000 residents from the 2000 Census count. Valerie Leonard, a community organizer and co-founder of the Alliance, insists that regardless of the number of people who responded, the feedback is very telling.

“We realize that the results are far from scientific, but the responses could be very instructive,” she said, adding the Alliance’s results mirrored a similar poll conducted by the Chicago Tribune.  

Of those who did respond to the Alliance’s survey, many gave President Obama an “A” or “C” for his job performance. Comments from respondents included high marks for the president for “trying to get things done despite facing the most obstructionist Congress in history.”

Emanuel, however, didn’t receive such slack. Fifty-three percent of the respondents gave him a failing grade with only 8 percent giving him an “A”.

“The mayor has chosen to let North Lawndale die on the vine,” read one comment. Other respondents criticized the mayor for beautifying other parts of the city, like the Magnificent Mile, while not doing so for North Lawndale. One comment did say that Emanuel — who’s been in office three years — is doing a good job but that it’s too soon to properly evaluate him.  

North Lawndale’s own alderman hardly faired better.

Michael Chandler, overall, received a “D” from residents — roughly 38 percent of those who responded. Thirty-four percent gave the 24th Ward alderman an “F” while 27 percent graded him with a “C”. No one gave him an “A” or “B”.

After serving 12 years as alderman, residents voted Chandler out in 2007 before returning him to office in 2011. The crowded field of 25 candidates that year included incumbent Sharon Dixon, who ousted Chandler in ’07 but lost her reelection in ’11.  

Survey comments included: where are the jobs in the ward for adults and youth, and that Chandler was the “lesser of two evils” between Dixon.

The respondents mostly gave “Cs” to their other elected officials — Cook County Board President Tony Preckwinkle, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, state Rep. Art Tuner, Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, and state Sen. Patricia Van Pelt Watkins.

The Lawndale Alliance was started in 2007 by community residents. The group formed to address education, TIF reform and mortgage foreclosures, among other issues, Leonard said. A longtime community activist, Leonard was among the 25 candidates running for alderman in 2011. The Alliance, she added, will conduct another survey in the fall.

“We will do the survey online and on the street to get more results,” Leonard said.

To learn more

Visit: Lawndale Alliance 

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