Ald. Timothy Cullerton was appointed in December 2010 to represent the 38th Ward. Cullerton replaced his brother-in-law, Thomas Allen, who resigned to become a judge. Not counting Allen, who married into the family, he’s the fifth Cullerton to hold this seat, going back to Edward “Foxy” Cullerton, a saloonkeeper who served from 1871 to 1920, during the era of the Gray Wolves. The 38th Ward encompasses Portage Park, in the heart of the Northwest Side’s Bungalow Belt. Mainly a residential ward, it includes the namesake park, Luther North College Prep, the Patio Theater, Shabbona Park and The Rising Stars Theatre Co.
1. What has been your most significant achievement as an alderman?
In the 18 months that I have had the privilege to serve as Alderman of the 38th Ward, my most significant achievement is the level of service that my office provides to the people of this Ward. I am fortunate to have the hardest working and most experienced staff of all the 50 wards across the city. I am also proud of the infrastructure improvements that have been completed and that are planned.
2. Why and when did you decide to run for the City Council?
I decided to seek office early in December of 2010 after my predecessor, Ald. Tom Allen, stepped down to accept an appointment to the Judiciary. Prior to this, I had devoted my career to public service, having worked more than 30 years in the Department of Buildings where I served as the city’s Chief Electrical Inspector and later as the First Deputy Building Commissioner.
3. Do you have a political mentor? Why do you admire this person, and how did he or she influence you?
While I have no political mentor per se, I come from a family who has served the people of Chicago proudly and honorably since 1871. My late father, Thomas W. Cullerton, served as Alderman of the 38th Ward and was a quiet, honest, humble man who always held his family and the people he served as his first priority.
4. What project is your ward most in need of? More than anything else, the people of the 38th Ward need economic growth and the security that good paying jobs bring to all communities. The mortgage crisis has hit us hard – foreclosures and the sharp decline in the value of homes have impacted our Seniors and young families the hardest.
5. Has crime increased in your ward this year? What do you think are the causes of, and the solutions, for the citywide increase in violence?
While the statistics indicate that we have one of the lowest crime rates in the city, we have experienced a number of gang related shootings in areas that have been previously untouched by such violence. The combination of a bad economy, lack of jobs, ready availability of guns and a general decline in the overall level of respect for human life on the part of gang members certainly all contribute to the increase in violence on our streets, and while adding more Police to the streets is certainly one element of combating the violence, this doesn’t get to the root cause…we need more job opportunities for our youth and much stricter penalties for the illegal possession and use of guns.
6. Have the installation of parking meters affected traffic or commerce in your ward? What could Chicago Parking LLC do to make things easier for business in your ward? Cancel their contract and go away.
7. What feature is your ward best known for?
A great, safe community in which to live, work and raise a family.
8. How do you feel about transferring street sweeping and garbage pickup to a grid system, rather than leaving them under the control of the alderman?
I had the privilege of knowing and working with Commissioner Tom Byrne during my years with the Building Department and I have all the confidence in the world that he will succeed in implementing the grid system – he is a great manager and a very dedicated public servant. I honestly don’t care if garbage collection is under the control of the Commissioner, the Alderman or anyone else for that matter, as long as it works and saves the taxpayers money in the process.
9.How would you spend an ideal Saturday afternoon in your ward?
I often spend time driving around the ward with a small voice recorder in hand checking for problems such as potholes, streetlights out, garbage, etc. I also drive around the parks looking for any signs of gang activity.
10. What is your favorite book, television show and meal?
“The Devil in the White City,” Channel 9 News & Chicago Tonight and anything from Porretta’s Restaurant.
11. Do you have a tattoo?
No, but if I did, it would say “Mom.”
12. What are your thoughts on social media?
It’s a great way to keep in touch with the community – I spend quite a bit of time on EveryBlock and checking my email.
13. How do you feel about food trucks?
There’s a time & place for food trucks, but I prefer to patronize the “brick and mortar” restaurants in my community that have a permanent, stationary and long-term investment here. Food trucks are here one minute and gone the next.
14. Will you vote for Obama or Romney?
15. Have you ever bought a Groupon, and what was it?
I haven’t, sorry to say…