The Race for the 28th Ward

February 14, 2011 3:52:07 PM PST
Three candidates are battling to replace Alderman Ed Smith in Chicago's 28th Ward.

The West Side ward was represented by long time Alderman Ed Smith until last November. He is among eleven aldermen who are vacating their seats in city council.

Before leaving he appointed an interim alderman, Jason Ervin, and now Ervin faces two challengers.

The ward includes neighborhoods like West and East Garfield, Austin, Little Village and part of Lawndale.

The ward is predominantly African American and had been represented by an African American for twenty years.

Ervin is a certified public accountant who has had his own business, worked for a large corporation and most recently worked as city manager for Maywood.

Ervin is now campaigning for the seat.

"I just felt it to be a good fit for me and knowing the needs of this community and being able to bring about what we need here on the West Side of Chicago," said Ervin.

One of Ervin's opponents, Camerlita Earls, is also a longtime West Side resident.

The youngest of eight, Earl served 20 years with the Chicago Fire Department and the first woman to command at the fire academy.

She has not run for office before, but said the ward needs new leadership.

"What needs to be changed is that we need to let people to become empowered," said Earls. "They have to be engaged in the process"

Earls says Ervin will be more of the same.

"I was coming for Ed Smith," said Earls. "I'm stillrunning against Ed Smith ? it's his boy and he has called in all his political favors."

Ervin disputes that allegation and contends his office is run by him.

"I respect Alderman Smith," said Ervin. "But just as I was his constituent, he now becomes mine"

Both Earls and Ervin talk about the need for residents to be involved in solving crimes and say they want to create more jobs on the West Side.

There is a third candidate on the ballot for the 28th Ward: William Siegmund. He declined to be interviewed or offer a photo for this report.

Siegmund said by phone his is Caucasian and is running a grassroots campaign.