Moore Says Goodbye to Leading the 49th Ward

Kayleigh Padar | The PhoenixJoe Moore addresses the crowd at his election watch party Feb. 26.

In the recent city elections, incumbent alderman Joe Moore came up short in his campaign against activist and political rookie Maria Hadden, ending his 28-year tenure as the leader of the 49th Ward.

Moore was elected as alderman of the ward that partially covers Loyola’s campus in 1991 and has won six elections to keep his spot since — typically by a wide margin. Moore shut down challenger Brian White with 72 percent of the vote in 2011, and continued his streak in 2015 against Don Gordon with 67 percent, according to the Chicago Board of Elections. But this year, Moore received 37 percent of the ward’s votes against Hadden, according to the Chicago Board of Elections.

Moore is widely recognized for making Rogers Park the first community in the country to implement participatory budgeting, which gives community members a say in how the ward’s money is spent, according to his website.

However, Moore highlighted Rogers Park’s continued diversity as his greatest accomplishment during his years in office. The ward was broken down with roughly 42 percent white residents, 26 percent black residents and 22 percent Latino residents in the 2016 census.

“We have shown that a diverse neighborhood can be successful and thrive, and that is my proudest accomplishment,” Moore said. “All the different things we did to make that happen are accomplishments as well — the new businesses we have brought in, the new parks, the new schools and all the new developments.”

Moore also made strides in the ward in terms of police practices. He implemented community policing, or having officers involved in communities they serve in, and recently upgraded the police technology in Rogers Park.

Moore said he believes this work in the community helped turn the neighborhood around during the time he was in office.

“I inherited a neighborhood in 1991 that was in a serious state of decline, it was a neighborhood in crisis with high crime, a lot of foreclosures,” Moore said. “Working with many others in the community, we have turned the neighborhood around and we have built and maintained our neighborhood’s diversity.”

With Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus in Rogers Park, Moore has also played a role in the development of the university. Moore recently approved the new $18.5 million practice facility currently under construction on campus.

Moore said he’s exploring options for when he has to leave office — although he joked Loyola students might see him waiting tables at Bulldog Ale House or driving their Ubers.

“If you take Uber, don’t be surprised,” Moore said.

Moore said he doesn’t have any big plans for his final few months of office besides tying up some loose ends and continuing to stay in contact with residents.

“We are going to be winding down,” Moore said. “I am not planning any major new initiatives out of respect for the alderman-elect but we are continuing to provide service to the ward and our constituents.”

Gloria Maldonado has lived in Rogers Park for 20 years and has been a vocal supporter of Moore.

“I saw a big improvement in the neighborhood because when I first [moved] here I didn’t feel too safe,” Maldonado, 49, said. “I think he has improved the neighborhood by getting involved.”

Maldonado said she didn’t hear a lot about Hadden before the race and was “surprised and disappointed” by her win.

“I’m all Joe Moore,” Maldonado said. “I was totally floored when they said he didn’t win another term.”

Colette Copic, a senior Loyola student studying international relations and environmental science, knocked on doors for Hadden during her campaign. However, Copic recognized the strides Moore made for Rogers Park.

“Joe Moore, when he ran 28 years ago, he was a really exciting candidate,” Copic said. “He was an awesome candidate for people back in the day and that’s why he was selected in Rogers Park, I really support a lot of things that he has supported in the past.”

Copic said while Moore’s participatory budgeting and environmental views continued to align with her values, his ideas around things such as affordable housing made her turn to Hadden.

“[Hadden] brought the same progressive energy that [Moore] used to have,” Copic said. “She is just really in touch with the community, she seems really interested in co-governance and community-based governance and I think that’s why people are so excited about her.”

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