CHICAGO (CBS) — Tom Ricketts owns the Cubs and most of Wrigleyville and now some are saying he wants to own long-time alderman Tom Tunney. CBS 2’s Political Reporter Derrick Blakley talked to Alderman Tom Tunney on what he thinks about the Cubs owners and their push to oust him.
Owner Tom Ricketts has proven phenomenally successful at baseball, turning a bottom-feeding franchise into a juggernaut on and off the field. Ricketts and his family are now playing hardball in another sport: local politics.
When asked if there is any doubt that the Ricketts’ are coming after him, Alderman Tom Tunney of the 44th Ward responded, “No, there’s no doubt.”
Ald. Tom Tunney has waged some legendary battles with Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and now he says Ricketts is taking aim at him.
“If the Ricketts want a new alderman, what would they want from him?” asked Blakely.
“I think they’d want an alderman they could own,” said Tunney.
Within the last two weeks, mailers showed up in Lakeview mailboxes, linking Tunney with outgoing Assessor Joe Berrios and rising property taxes. It is paid for by Neighbors for a Better Lakeview, a new organization that admits the Ricketts are donors.
“They have supported the organization, as they do many other neighborhood groups,” said Erin Connelly of Neighbors for a Better Lakeview.
No one can tell just how much they have given. It has not been disclosed, but one of the directors is Jeremy Gottschalk, a close personal friend of Laura Ricketts. The group charges Tunney has lost touch.
“We just want an accessible public servant, open to talking to constituents,” said Connelly.
Connelly insists the group is concerned about rising property taxes and rising crime. Ricketts’ millions have transformed Wrigley Field and the neighborhood, but Tunney has battled the team over closing nearby streets on game days, opening a plaza area to the public for drinking, and more concerts and night games.
“We all want Wrigley Field to be prosperous, but we want Lakeview to be prosperous. Lakeview is more than Wrigley Field,” said Tunney.
Neighbors for a Better Lakeview says they haven’t settled on another candidate to challenge Tunney, at least not at this time. The primary election is six months away.