46th Ward aldermanic candidates gear up for runoff

April 1, 2011 4:45:15 PM PDT
The race for 46th Ward alderman started with 11 candidates but now only two names will be on runoff ballot.

Voter turnout will be a big factor in Chicago's ward runoff races on Tuesday.

There are 14 aldermanic runoffs. Some races are incumbents trying to hang on to their seats in City Council. In others, the runoffs are for open seats like the 46th Ward.

Alderman Helen Shiller is stepping down after 24 years of service. Eleven candidates wanted to be the new alderman. But in the runoff, the two who remain are James Cappleman and Molly Phelan.

Both candidates say improving public safety is among the biggest concerns of residents. Both plan to use aldermanic discretionary funds for security, to work with police and encourage programming for youth.

This is Phelan's first run for public office. The attorney and commercial real estate broker hopes make the ward a destination with a cultural draws starting with pop up art galleries.

"We're going to make the 46th Ward a tourism district by really capturing the cultural diversity and celebrating it, bringing several hundred service and hospitality jobs to the neighborhood," Phelan said.

James Cappleman is a social worker making his second attempt at the aldermanic seat. The community activist says his plan for economic development starts with giving prospective employers clear information on line.

"The contact information the zoning information the price information we want to make it really easy for businesses to come in this area. It's actually based on a lot of the work I've already done at the Uptown Chicago Commission when I helped bring in businesses," Cappleman said.

In City Council, Cappleman says his experience working with others will help address the city's budget deficit.

"My ability to collaborate with our state elected officials our federal elected officials with neighborhood leaders with our police. It's all about collaboration, that's what does it," Cappleman said.

Phelan would bring suggestions to increase the city's revenue -- including reducing middle management.

"There's a one-to-five ratio in the City of Chicago management whereas business communities normally have one to 15. That alone can save us $90 million," Phelan said.

Runoff elections allow candidates more time to share their message with voters.

Now the candidates have to motivate residents to vote when there is only election on the ballot.