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Ald. Balcer To Retire; Daley Relative In Line To Replace Him?

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 26, 2014 4:45PM

Ald. James Balcer (11th, left) and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Patrick Daley Thompson.

Another alderman is calling it a day: James Balcer will not seek re-election. The 11th Ward alderman, former Marine and Vietnam veteran told CBS 2’s Jay Levine he’s stepping down next April so that he may “pursue treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from his military service in Vietnam.” Balcer was honored with the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam in 2001.

Balcer was appointed 11th Ward Alderman by former Mayor Richard M. Daley in 1997 after his predecessor, Patrick Huels (Daley’s floor leader on City Council at the time) resigned in a scandal when it was revealed he accepted a $1.2 million loan from a company owned by another Daley confidant, Michael Tadin, after Huels helped the company obtain city business. (Tadin, who now works as a real estate developer, was a major figure in the Hired Truck scandal a few years back.)

It’s rumored that Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner Patrick Daley Thompson, a relative of Daley and Cook County Commissioner John Daley, will run to replace Balcer. Thompson lives in the Bridgeport bungalow his grandfather, former Mayor Richard J. Daley, raised his family in and has maintained a low profile at the Water Reclamation District. But he’s also exhibited a knack for using the family name to grease some squeaky wheels. In 2010, Thompson’s name appeared on a list of people who contacted Chicago Public Schools officials in circumventing waiting lists into elite magnet schools. Thompson was believed to have contacted CPS officials on behalf of a politically connected neighbor's daughters.

It seems as though it looks like another classic case of keeping a City Council seat in the hands of one of Chicago’s most powerful political dynasties. If Thompson decides to run, however, he could face stiff competition from lifelong Bridgeport resident and community activist Maureen Sullivan, who announced her candidacy for alderman last week.