UPDATED 11/12/10 6:37 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – For the second time this week, candidates running for alderman in Chicago’s 46th Ward woke up to find smashed windows at their campaign offices.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports that it looks like a clear case of dirty politics, unless you believe that broken windows in three campaign offices in a span of three days in a single ward is coincidence.
Lam came to his campaign office at 1131 W. Argyle St. to find a brick resting on shattered glass and lying on his office floor.
Also targeted was the field office of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) at 5533 N. Broadway. Schakowsky shares the office with state Rep. Harry Osterman (D-Chicago), state Sen. Heather Steans, Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, and Ald. Mary Ann Smith (48th.)
Then, sometime between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Friday, someone tossed a brick through the plate-glass window of the campaign office of James Cappleman, who is also running for alderman in the 46th Ward.
“The brick went through our window. It hit our banner, and the brick is sitting now in the banner on the floor in our campaign office, so we’re just waiting for an evidence technician to come and take a look at everything,” said Cappleman campaign manager Lauren Peters.
The window at 4133 N. Broadway was damaged, but no one saw who did it, according to a Town Hall District police lieutenant.
“It could be some 16-year-old punk kid, or someone who’s just upset with the whole entire political process,” Peters said.
“It seems a little crazy and I have to say the dynamic is a little crazy,” said Ald. Helen Schiller (46th), who is stepping down after more than two decades representing a ward known for lakefront high-rises and subsidized housing.
Mixed-income and mixed-race communities have led to major differences in the ward.
“A great deal of the politics of the 46th Ward, from my perspective, has been taking advantage of frustration and anger that people feel and using that to polarize very important things in our community,” Shiller said.
Cappleman, a social worker and community activist, is one of several candidates vying to replace Shiller.
Cappleman is the board president for the Uptown Chicago Commission, and has also worked with elected officials on public safety issues in the ward. He is also one of three openly gay candidates running for the seat.
Cappleman was at work at his full-time job on Friday, but he was aware of the incident, according to Peters.
“He’s frustrated, but obviously, it’s not going to deter him from running for alderman,” Peters said.
Crime problems in the ward prompted Chicago Police Officer Mike Carroll to run for alderman. His campaign office at 4700 N. Sheridan Rd. was the third one vandalized this week.
Carroll said when he got to his campaign office, at 4700 N. Sheridan Rd. about 10:15 a.m. he noticed about 15 “big hunks of concrete” lying outside on the street after exiting his car and parking it.
When he got to the door, there were seven or eight pieces of bricks lying outside the doors to the office.
“They tried to break my window. I’ve got big campaign logos on each door so they were trying to break the logo,’’ Carroll said.
The windows were not broken but the logos were damaged, he said.
“Their hope is to send a message to me that ‘We don’t want what you’re selling.’ And my message to them is I’m here to stay,” Carroll said.
Cappleman narrowly lost to Shiller in 2007 and he said he feels he’ll need all his skills as a social worker to heal the wounds in the 46th Ward.
“I’ve trained physicians and nurses about how to work with angry families. There is a way of doing that that really brings a lot of that tension down,” Cappleman said. “That’s certainly something I’ll be doing in the 46th Ward.”
So far, police don’t have much to go on, but with the possibility of as many as 10 candidates ultimately in the race to replace Shiller, the race could be a long three months in Uptown.