The Race for Chicago City Clerk

February 18, 2011 3:31:37 PM PST
The race for Chicago mayor has gotten the most media attention, but another race that impacts just about every citizen as well is up for grabs.

Chicago motorists deal with the city clerk's office at least once a year with the purchase of a city sticker. With Miguel del Valle running for mayor, the position is open.

Two women are campaigning for last-minute votes in the race for Chicago city clerk.

Patricia Horton is a commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. A mother and grandmother, Horton has a background in community development.

"People don't feel engaged, and we need to make sure the residents of the city of Chicago is engaged with what we are doing," said Horton.

Susana Mendoza has been a state representative for 10 years. Among the legislation she has championed is the free school breakfast program. She is the daughter of immigrants and was only 27 when she was first elected to office.

"Chicago voters will have the first opportunity in over 20 years to elect a city clerk that is fully independent of the mayor's office. It's very exciting opportunity for me to try and move Chicago forward," said Mendoza.

Both candidates say they plan to do things differently in the clerk's office.

Horton wants to raise revenue by putting advertising on mailings, reducing city sticker fees and get rid of red light cameras.

"The red light cameras is really causing a lot of accidents here in the City of Chicago because people are afraid that if they run that light they're going to be issued, so people are slamming on their brakes," said Horton.

Mendoza wants to make the office more accessible with a better website and to allow the office to advocate for the public. She says the city clerk can be more independent without being connected to the new mayor.

"The city clerk can introduce policy just in the same way any of the 50 aldermen can. Most people don't even know that because it's never been done, but we have the authority to do that and I have the expertise to do that," said Mendoza.

This race is another example of how different city government may be with officials being elected without mayoral support.

Neither of the candidates offered support to any of the mayoral candidates.