Voting in the April 4 runoff
In order to vote by mail for the April 4 runoff election, Chicagoans have until March 30 to register again to receive their ballot. Cook County Board Commissioner Brandon Johnson will face off with former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas. Since neither candidate received fifty percent of the votes in the February 28 election, this runoff will determine who is inaugurated in May. Almost a third of the Chicago City Council seats will also be decided by this election, including the 4th, 5th, 6th, 10th, 11th, 21st, and 24th wards on the South Side.
Voters can register for their mail-in ballot online at chicagoelections.gov, or send in a paper copy of the application. Last year, the Chicago Board of Elections started giving voters the option to permanently receive a mail-in ballot. Residents who want to automatically receive their ballot each election can download the form for the permanent vote-by-mail roster at chicagoelections.gov/en/vote-by-mail.html and drop off or send it to Chicago Board of Elections, 69 W. Washington St. #800.
Discount Mall vendors face eviction
Nearly one hundred immigrant vendors at the Discount Mall, located by the Little Village arch, are facing eviction after the property was bought by developer John Novak in 2020. The site is a neighborhood attraction for Latinx families across the Midwest who like to visit on the weekends for imported goods and a fulfilling cultural experience—as well as for small entrepreneurs making a living. Novak has a portfolio of big-box retailers and originally expressed a desire to transform the plaza into a strip mall. But public outcry has thrown a wrench in his plans and many vendors are staying put. Vendors on one half of the building have until the end of the month to vacate and said they are being pressured to start moving out their merchandise as early as next week. But a group of organized vendors is working with the alderman and community groups to exhaust all of their options.
Pilsen Food Pantry moving After operating out of a former Catholic church for almost three years, the Pilsen Food Pantry is finally moving to a new location at 2124 S. Ashland Ave. Evelyn Figueroa and Alex Wu first opened the pantry at the University of Illinois Pilsen Health Center in 2018. As shutdowns hit the city in March 2020, the Archdiocese of Chicago allowed the pantry to move in rent-free to their current location at the formerly-vacant Holy Trinity Croatian Church. Since then, the archdiocese has not agreed on any terms, and attempts to buy the vacant building have been met with “radio silence,” according to Figueroa. After a long search for different options, the pantry finally found a new home for its food pantry, clothes closet, little library, medical supply program, and more for the hundreds of mostly Pilsen and Chinatown neighbors who visit them each week. You can visit the CTA-accessible location on Saturday, April 1 from 11am–2pm, and keep up with their move at pilsenfoodpantry.com/newhome.