James Balcer is a military man. This Vietnam veteran dedicates himself to veteran affairs, not just in the 11th ward, but throughout the city of Chicago.
Background: Ald. Balcer is a proud 11th ward resident. He was born and raised in the area -- the same area that produced the Daley dynasty -- and has maintained a soft spot for his home neighborhood and enjoyed the benefits that come with it. Balcer didn't win election to office, but was rather appointed by former Mayor Richard Daley in 1997.
He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Balcer earned three purple heart and one bronze star for his heroics. Since the late '80s, and right up to the time he was elected alderman, he served as Director of Veterans Affairs for the City of Chicago. He was elected as 11th ward Alderman in 1997, taking the place of Patrick Huels, who resigned because of a scandal involving his private security firm.
The Ward: The 11th ward has bragging rights. The ward is mostly comprised of Bridgeport, the former home to five former mayors of Chicago, including recently retired Mayor Richard M. Daley. The area has another important city landmark in it, U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. The ward was traditionally Irish, Italian and Eastern European. Now the ward has diversified, and includes more Latinos, Chinese Americans and young people.
The Office: Ald. Balcer is a loud voice for public safety and veteran's rights. He is the current chairman of the Public Safety Committee. He has held events to donate items to soldiers. Balcer is a supporter of gun rights, recommending the passage of an ordinance allowing gun ranges. He sponsored the ordinance that banned the sale of crib bumpers in Chicago. Ald. Balcer has come under fire for ordering a mural be painted over that depicted police surveillance cameras in a negative way.
Budget and Government Operations
Committees, Rules and Ethics
Health and Environmental Protection
Housing and Real Estate
Pedestrian and Traffic Safety
Public Safety (Chair)
Joint Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development and Health and Environmental Protection