Candidate accuses Chicago alderman of mocking disabled people in campaign flyer

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A candidate running to replace Chicago Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd Ward) says one of the alderman's campaign flyers mocks him because he is disabled.

Candidate Paul Villarreal, who needs a motorized scooter to get around due to a medical condition, is demanding an apology.

Tabares' mailer, which was sent to residents in the Southwest Side ward, included Villarreal's face Photoshopped in a picture of the "Mall Cop" movie character Paul Blart. The flyer calls Villarreal a fantasy cop who likes to play one on the campaign.

"She's gonna ridicule and make fun out of a person with a disability and especially by sending out a mailing, that's atrocious," Villarreal said.

He wants to see her charged with a hate crime.

"She's basically making fun out of every person who's handicapped, who has a disability in the city of Chicago. And she wants to represent us? That's wrong," Villarreal said.

No one answered the door at Tabares' door on Monday.

Her aldermanic office was closed due to Lincoln's birthday, a holiday in Illinois.

In a statement, she explained the flyer by saying: "Paulino Villarreal publicly stated that he would patrol our neighborhood with a gun and make arrests even though he is not a police officer. I'm focused on helping our police officers have the tools and training they need to keep us safe."

In response, Villarreal said: "I made that statement years ago when I could walk." He noted there is a law on the books that gives peace officer powers to aldermen. Villarreal said he has a concealed carry permit.

Doug Kapral, a ward resident with a Tabares sign in his yard, said he is having second thoughts after seeing the mailer. He said it was not appropriate.

"It should be the topics of what's going on in the city, not stuff like that," Kapral said.

He said he's considering removing the sign from his yard.

Tuesday afternoon, Tabaras sent out another mailer contrasting Villarreal to the Lochness Monster and the Tooth Fairy which the flyer said were not real and not scary but calling Villarreal an imaginary policeman who was very scary and very dangerous.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Tabares to the 23rd Ward seat last year. His office declined to comment.
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