As Brandon Johnson prepares to take charge, he faces a house divided

CHICAGO (CBS) — If you’re looking for real talk from real Chicagoans, you go where they go.

In North Lawndale, they go to Del-Kar Pharmacy, on the corner of Ridgeway and 16th Street, and have for more than 60 years.

But what brought us here wasn’t prescriptions or a quick errand.

It was to talk politics. CBS 2 went to two parts of the city–the 24th and 41st wards–with very different views on the candidate they supported for mayor. 

"I’m a resident of the City of Chicago, and I voted for Mr. Johnson," said Edwin Muldrow, who owns and operates Del-Kar, in the 24th Ward, consisting of North Lawndale and parts of Garfield Park. 

An analysis of the total votes by ward in the mayoral runoff election, found Johnson had his strongest support in the 24th, with 83% of the vote.

"I think that will be his greatest strength is that when the young men and young women can see a positive Black male figure in that office," said Muldrow. "I think that will give the community something to strive and achieve for betterness." 

Muldrow and frequent customer Anthony Mustafa Hayes agrees that Johnson can lead Black youth by example, but he also needs to give them something to do.

"When they don’t have anything to do, when it gets hot, they start shooting," Hayes said. "But if you give them something to strive for, or a job or a reason to get up every morning other than a reason to cause chaos, they might have a total different mindset."     

Support for small businesses is another big issue they’ll be watching at the pharmacy and at Vetress Boyce’s beauty supply shop next door.

"Crime is just ridiculous, and it’s all over the city, right?" said Boyce. "So until you reinvest in communities and reinvest in people, like Brandon Johnson says, you’ll continue to get the same thing."

The 24th Ward has seen much of the same disinvestment and crime. Similar to scenes in Johnson’s Austin neighborhood. These voters hope the mayor-elect prioritizes improvements for the West Side. 

"I just ask the city for now let’s just pray for Brandon, to make sure that he does the right thing," said Boyce. "That he’s effective, that he doesn’t put an ego in front of people and hold him to his word."

In the 41st Ward on the Northwest Side, Johnson faces more of a challenge to win over constituents. It had the most votes for his challenger, Paul Vallas. 

That ward includes O’Hare, parts of Norwood Park and Edison Park. What do Vallas voters want from Johnson? Mary Bolger shared her thoughts. She’s lived here 30 years.

She wants "equal division around the whole city. The city is not just one area, one neighborhood, one section. We’re all Chicago.

"My son is a fireman, he lives on the South Side of Chicago," Bolger said. "I don’t want any more than I do for here than I do for there."

CBS 2 was turned down at least two dozen times for interviews. 

Voters had no desire to appear on camera, much less talk about Johnson. And it makes sense, in a ward where Vallas got 86% of the vote.

Judith Kettenbeil has lived in Edison Park 23 years, and she broke the mold.

"I voted for Johnson," said Kettenbeil. "I was afraid of some of Vallas’ issues and so I thought I would give Johnson a chance, but I’m not real crazy about him either."

Regardless, she hopes he’ll make the most of his moment on issues that matter.

"I’d like to see the qualifications for police officers upped," said Kettenbeil. "I’d like to see them bring more people in with good backgrounds who are qualified. I’d like to see him invest in education and in the neighborhoods."

That’s really what it comes down to. No matter the ward or the vote split, people in each corner of Chicago want to feel seen, their problems heard and attempted to be solved.

Every ward will be watching as it becomes the work of Brandon Johnson on May 15. 

Region: Chicago,Politics,City: Chicago

via Politics – CBS Chicago

May 9, 2023 at 04:59PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s