New term for Newman

From Staff Reports

Fifty-seven votes.

Months of campaigning and bantering came to an end Tuesday as Ald. Arthur Newman (1st) defeated Kellogg Prof. Allan Drebin for the First Ward position, 847 votes to 780.

“It’s to the people that I owe this victory, and I won’t forget that once I am on the council,” Newman said to family and supporters gathered at Dave’s Italian Kitchen, 1635 Chicago Ave.

Nearly twice as many voters turned out for Tuesday’s election than for the municipal elections in 1997.

In the First Precinct in the First Ward, where election judges estimated more than 90 percent of the 331 voters were Northwestern students, Drebin won by nearly 300 votes.

“It was an experience,” Drebin said. “I learned a lot. Coming close and not winning is always a disappointment.”

Drebin supporters said they were frustrated by the results.

“I am very concerned about the future of NU,” said Associated Student Government President Adam Humann. The election drew more students than any other local election, he said.

But Humann said he personally knew more than 50 people who didn’t vote.

“If we complain about Evanston not being a college town, we need to get out and do something,” he said. “Don’t bitch about things if you’re not going to do something about it.”

Evanston Mayor Lorraine Morton said, while disappointed with the results of the First Ward race, she hopes to improve on the interpersonal relationships within council.

“I would have preferred that he (Drebin) had won, but the vote was so close that there was no positive mandate … but the ward has spoken and I accept that.”

The new city council will have only one new face – Lionel Jean-Baptiste, who defeated opponent Betty Sue Ester. Incumbents Newman, Steven Bernstein (4th), Joe Kent (5th), Ed Moran (6th) and Stephen Engelman (7th) all won their races. Incumbents Melissa Wynne (3rd), Ann Rainey (8th) and Gene Feldman (9th) ran uncontested.

In the Fourth Ward, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) endorsed Bernstein and said his victory in the three-way race reflects the overwhelming support for him. Bernstein won 68 percent of the vote, beating out opponents Mimi Peterson and Peggy Tarr.

“He’s about getting the job done,” Schakowsky said about Bernstein. “Steve is exactly the kind of voice we need in the city council.”

Bernstein supporters gathered in his living room at 943 Elmwood Ave., drinking soda and eating chips as they waited for the results. Bernstein cheered and hugged supporters when he learned of his victory.

“The first order of business is to thank the people who voted for me,” Bernstein said. “I couldn’t have won without them.”

But Bernstein also expressed concern that voter turnout in his ward was so low.

“The fact that only 20 percent (of people) came out to vote is considerably frustrating,” he said.

Bernstein’s platform includes working to reduce crime, expanding the commercial tax base and increasing the availability of mass transit.

Peterson took second in the Fourth Ward race, garnering about 23 percent of the vote. Despite her loss, Peterson said her candidacy was worthwhile.

“I’m absolutely not disappointed that I ran,” Peterson said.

Fourth Ward candidate Peggy Tarr came in third with 8.5 percent of the vote. She said she might have lost the election because she was not aggressive in soliciting voters.

“If I ran again I’d probably got out sooner, get more money and be more aggressive as far as getting my name out there,” Tarr said.

But she said she’s not sorry for running because she thought it was important to offer voters an alternative.

“I’m not regretful,” she said. “I wouldn’t have run if I thought Bernstein was doing a good job. I guess we have to go on from here.”

In the Fifth Ward, 10-year veteran Ald. Joseph Kent won 62 percent of the vote, defeating former alderman Rochelle Whyte-Washington.

“It feels absolutely fantastic and I’m glad it’s over,” Kent said. “We ran a good campaign, a clear campaign, and we had more workers than ever out there pounding the pavement.”

Moran won the Sixth Ward race, defeating three opponents with 60 percent of the vote. Martin Norkett came in second, with 28 percent, and Omar Khuri came in last with 12 percent. This will be Moran’s fourth term.

He said he wants to improve the city’s infrastructure, focusing on paving alleys and widening sidewalks. Moran also said NU and the city could cooperate on projects such as improvements to Fire Station No. 3, which responds to campus calls.

In the Seventh Ward, Ald. Stephen Engelman, who won with 58 percent of the vote against three challengers, said he will concentrate in his third term on development and working toward a solution on Fair Share.

Election results are not official until verified by the Cook County Clerk’s office.