For residents of the 44th Ward, it looks like the 2015 election cycle has already begun.
Yesterday, DNAinfo Chicago reported Mark Thomas, owner of a number of iconic Lakeview businesses, is expected to announce his candidacy for alderman of the 44th Ward tonight. Thomas owns The Alley, Taboo Tabou and other alternative lifestyle-themed businesses near the corner of Belmont Ave. and Clark St. in the city’s northside Lakeview neighborhood.
Thomas has been a fixture in the neighborhood since the 1980s, when he first opened The Alley as a clothing and accessory store popular with punk rockers and heavy-metal fans. He’s been a voice and a presence in the area ever since, beloved by some and despised by others.
Thomas and the current alderman, Tom Tunney, have clashed a number of times in the past over such issues as area sewer main construction and whether a Cook County assistant state’s attorney bit one of Thomas’ employees. Thomas has hinted for a while that he planned on running for elected office, although he told DNAinfo.com that his decision goes beyond any past issues with Tunney.
Recently, however, a 10-story, $50 million retail and residential tower has been slated for the corner of Belmont and Clark, which would force three business owned by Thomas to move.
Thomas’ announcement is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tonight at 3222 N. Clark St.