Community reacts to Carothers indictment

May 28, 2009 9:08:35 PM PDT
There was little activity at the 29th Ward office of Alderman Ike Carothers on Thursday afternoon. The alderman was nowhere to be found and constituents are split on their opinions of the federal charges he's facing. "You want to be alderman...you got to do something for the community not just yourself," said Cassie Collins.

"He did pretty good for this ward so far. Hoping he can continue on," said Richard James.

Ike Carothers heads up the city council's Police and Fire Committee and also sits on the Rules and Ethics committee. But federal authorities say his alleged deal with a West Side developer was not only unethical but illegal.

Carothers is also a close political ally of Mayor Daley. But the mayor offered little more than a quick comment on Thursday night.

"It's a very sad day, I think, for him. He's been chairman of the police and fire committee, worked very hard. You've all known him. And something that he has to respond to," said Mayor Daley.

Other political allies like Congressman Danny Davis who lives in the alderman's ward say they believe Carothers is entitled to his day in court where he plans to plead not guilty.

"I am hoping and trusting that the charges that have been brought against him will not be found to be true," said U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, (D) Chicago.

If convicted Carothers would become the 31st alderman sent to prison since 1970.

UIC political science professor Dick Simpson has written several studies on the corruption and says it's a byproduct of Chicago politics.

"Machine politics teaches the alderman to trade contributions for city contracts, and that's a lesson that becomes very difficult for them to see how not to become involved in deals like this one," said Dick Simpson, UIC political science professor.

Ike Carothers has been the alderman for the last 10 years. He's been a strong supporter of privilege that gives the alderman a strong voice in determining building and zoning issues in their wards. Critics say that's the issue which has sent the most aldermen to prison and it might be time to re-examine that, they say.


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