Among the dozens of Southeast Side residents in the running to replace Sandi Jackson on the City Council is the brother of former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, the woman who ran against Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011.
Emanuel's office released late Monday the names of 53 applicants for alderman of the 7th Ward. Some are familiar from recent unsuccessful attempts to get elected to the seat.
Others, like Joseph Moseley, are running for office for the first time. But Moseley, a retired Chicago police sergeant who has lived in the ward for about 30 years, noted that he has been around politics "most of my life" thanks in part to his older sister.
Moseley said some think it unlikely that Emanuel would pick the sibling of the woman who challenged him for mayor. "I've had some calls from people saying 'You haven't got a chance,' " he said.
But with his background as a homicide detective, Moseley, 56, said he hopes the mayor will appreciate his perspective on the violence plaguing parts of the city. "It's the issue right now, that and the foreclosure problem," Moseley said.
Lionell Martin and Gregory Mitchell, who lost the aldermanic race to Jackson in 2011, are also seeking the appointment.
Retired city worker Lorse Sizer said she applied because she knows the ward better than any of the other applicants, and has a better plan to bring small businesses back to the area. But Sizer shared with other aldermanic hopefuls a low opinion of the job Jackson did.
"Sandi Jackson didn't work with anybody. It was all about ego," Sizer said.
Jackson stepped down this month as controversy continued to swirl around her husband, former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who faces a federal ethics investigation.
Emanuel responded to his first opportunity to appoint an alderman by asking any interested ward resident to apply for the job online. He has said he wants to find somebody with a history of "community involvement and engagement" to fill the seat.
Asked about what role Sandi Jackson might play in the selection process, Emanuel said she was welcome to submit the names of applicants online like anyone else.
In all, the city received 65 applications, but the mayor's office said 12 were scratched because the applicants don't live in the ward, which includes parts of the South Shore, South Chicago, Calumet Heights and Jeffery Manor neighborhoods.
Emanuel has named a five-person panel to vet the applicants and present him with a list of "three or more" finalists in time for him to choose the new alderman before the next City Council meeting Feb. 13. The mayor has committed to choosing from the finalists selected by the panel, according to mayoral spokesman Tom Alexander.
Jason Bertrand, whose father, Joseph Bertrand, was once 7th Ward alderman and was the first African-American elected to citywide office as treasurer, said he applied for the seat because his father impressed upon him the importance of giving back through public service.
Bertrand, 52, a business consultant, said he had a 20-minute phone interview Tuesday evening with members of the mayor's panel. He declined to get into specifics of the interview.
The pool of aldermanic hopefuls is perhaps more wide-open because of the recent troubles for the local political organizations.
Cook County Commissioner and former 7th Ward Ald. William Beavers is under federal indictment. Sandi Jackson unseated his daughter, Darcel Beavers, in 2007. With federal investigators probing Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign finances and William Beavers fighting charges he used campaign funds for personal expenses and failed to pay income taxes on a portion, sources have said Emanuel is reluctant to select someone affiliated with either of the families that have dominated politics in the ward for years.
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