NBC Chicago and Ward Room bring you profiles on all 50 wards this election season. As candidates face off in the Feb. 24 election, they are also facing a new ward map, which takes effect when the winners assume office.
In this profile, learn all about the 18th ward, which covers parts of the Southwest Side, including all of Ashburn and parts of Marquette Park and Auburb Gresham.
- Total Population: 52,992
- White: 12.67 percent
- Black: 54.67 percent
- Hispanic: 31.18 percent
- Asian: 0.78 percent (Source: WBEZ)
Current Alderman: Lona Lane
Ward Committeemen: Derrick G. Curtis (democratic committeeman) and William Delay (republican committeeman)
Who Else is Running: Shaakira Ali (removed), Derrick Curtis, Michael Davis, Consandra Harris, Howard Lindsey (removed), Brandon Loggins and Chuks Onyezia
Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Diverse, closely knit, community-oriented and relatively safe
Predominant Economic Engine: Shopping. The Ford City Mall and the Scottsdale Shopping Center are located in the 18th ward. There used to be more local businesses, but the neighborhood has experienced a general economic decline over the last few decades.
Where People Eat: Restaurants include fast food restaurants, Mexican restaurants, pizza restaurants, Fat Johnnie's Famous Red Hots (featured on Anthony Bourdain's Fast Food), Lindy's Chili and Gertie's Ice Cream and Mama J's Soul Food Diner.
Where People Drink: One bar in the ward is Groucho's Bar and Grill. There are few bars in the area.
Where People Pray: Churches include St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church, Central Park Spanish Congregation, St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, First Christian Church, Elm Christian Church, Monument of Faith Church and Auburn Park Congregation Jehovah's Witnesses.
How the Ward Typically Votes: Lona Lane has been alderman of the 18th ward since 2006. She is the first African-American and the first woman to hold the position. In 2007, Lane won 67 percent of the vote, defeating Paul Stewart in a runoff. In 2011, she won 50.6 percent of the vote, defeating Chuks Onyezia (16 percent) and three other challengers.
Landmark: Wrightwood-Ashburn Library and Ford City Mall
Resident's Voice: A manager at Fat Johnnie's Red Hots, who did not want to be named, said, "We need local businesses willing to hire people despite their background." He said people in the community need to be given a second chance and a decent wage to support their families, and then the community will grow. He also said this would help reduce the crime rate in the 18th ward.
Ward Expert: Anthony Philbin, president of the Wrightwood Improvement Association and former vice president of the Greater Ashburn Planning Association