Chicago politicians take advantage of South Side foreclosures

Supporters of candidates running for several political offices in the February primaries used dozens of boarded-up homes and businesses on the South Side to display their political signs.

The signs are pretty hard to miss in Bronzeville, Englewood, West Englewood and Auburn Gresham.

A number of shuttered buildings, particularly large apartments, featured several political signs--sometimes from competing candidates. And it appears to be a common practice. I found political signs from candidates running for assessor, county board commissioner, county board president, governor, judge, lieutenant governor, sheriff, state house of representatives, U.S. House of Representatives, and water reclamation district.

Sylvester Baker had one on the foreclosed home next door to my house.
Todd Stroger signs were displayed on a rundown storefront on 51st
Street. Dorothy Brown featured signs on a dilapidated apartment complex at 46th & Michigan. Rickey Hendon had several signs on foreclosed homes on 67th and
71st streets. Danny Davis and one of his challengers had signs on a boarded home on 50th Street. Signs for both Pat Quinn and Dan Hynes were found on numerous buildings, including a shuttered restaurant--I think it was once a KFC--at 67th and Halsted Street.

There was a time when gangs spray-painted their signs and symbols on these properties. But I guess times have changed. The political graffiti is a little easier to stomach, but it's still annoying. Hopefully, the signs will come down soon now that the primaries are over. And maybe the pols who've used the properties to post their signs will spend some time figuring out ways to keep folks in their businesses and homes. In return, I'm sure appreciative homeowners would be willing to display their political signs in the future.

Photos by Alden Loury and Amirah Loury.

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  • They left all their "litterature" after they packed up last night and streets and san was left to clean up the plaza in front of Rudy Lozano.

    I'd say leading by example starts by not littering. Or taking advantage of property where someone isn't going to ask you to take the signs down.

  • Some cities have laws regulating garage sale signs. If you put them up, you have to remove them later, or pay a fine. Why not the same law for political candidates?

    Besides, if candidates knew they had to take the signs down after the election--even when they lost--you'd see a lot fewer campaign signs cluttering up the landscape.

    --JRS

  • I live in Washington Park and find it laughable that candidates want to associate their image with derelict and abandoned buildings. Seems counter intuitive to me.

  • It's unfortunate that politicians find it acceptable to litter in our communities. Just as they paid someone to put those signs up...they should pay someone to take them down.

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