CHICAGO (CBS) — Angry constituents of Ald. Sandi Jackson’s (7th) ward are weighing in on her absentee voting record. The next City Council meeting is December 12. Some residents of Jackson’s 7th ward are wondering if she’ll show up.
The alderman has the highest absentee rate in the council and has recently missed the all important annual budget meetings. It’s not uncommon for aldermen not to be in their offices, but what is unusual, according to former and current aldermen, is missing City Council meetings.
City Clerk records show Alderman Jackson has the highest absentee rate in the council, missing six council meetings since last May, including a critical budget meeting and more than 90 percent of her committee meetings.
“The impact is that your constituents don’t necessarily get a vote in what’s happening in their government,” said Maze Jackson, a political consultant, who is not related to the Jackson family. “For instance, they may be voting on where are the parking meters going to be installed in her ward. Now if your alderman is not there to say you can’t be here on this block, it creates a challenge because the people are not being fairly represented.”
Jackson’s absentee rate increased after news of her husband former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.’s mental illness issues, and reports that both are under federal investigation for misuse of campaign funds. Some constituents are sympathetic and others not so much.
“Every time you go in there and she’s not there because she has financial problems our voice is not going to be heard,” said Carla Clair.
“She’s got a lot on her right now with all the things that are happening to her husband,” said Clay Stampley.
Political experts say Alderman Jackson is in a bit of a catch-22 because if she shows up for a council meeting or attends a community meeting, it’ll be difficult for her to focus on her ward duties. She will most likely be pelted with questions from reporters and from constituents about her husband and their troubles.