A New Voice for 24th Ward

24th Ward Aldermanic Runoff Forum


Ten candidates ran to fill the open aldermanic seat in the 24th ward. Ald. Michael Chandler is retiring after missing up to 90 percent of committee meetings. The 24th ward is on the west side and includes most of Lawndale and Homan Square, as well as some of Douglas Park and Little Village. The two top vote-getters were Michael Scott, Jr., a Chicago Park District manager for the central region who got 31 percent of the votes, and businesswoman Vetress Boyce, who got 16 percent. Both candidates join us to talk about their vision for the ward.


Click the dots in the image below to read candidate bios.

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24th Ward

This west side ward remained largely unchanged by the ward remap taking effect this year. Its neighborhoods include Douglas Park, Homan Square, and Lawndale.

Industrial Graveyard

Aldermanic candidates running for election here pledge an economic turnaround in the community. The 24th Ward is home to some of the city’s poorest residents. It’s experienced an economic decline since the 1960s, when manufacturers like Sears, International Harvester, Zenith, and Western Electric left the area, stripping the land of its industrial roots. The exodus began in the late 1960s and continued through the 1980s.

Other campaign talking points include tackling the ward’s crime problem and bringing more city services to the area, like snow removal and trash pickup.

Demographics and a Declining Population

The ward has been predominantly black since the mid-to-late 1950s. Prior to that, the population was largely Jewish. An economic downturn and high black unemployment led Martin Luther King, Jr. to dub the North Lawndale neighborhood the northern base for the civil rights movement in 1966. King’s assassination two years later caused riots in the area. Several local businesses left for fear of additional unrest.

The neighborhood has seen a steep decline in population since the 1960s. The 1960 Census listed Lawndale’s population at 124,937 and the 2010 Census tallied it at just 35,912 residents. This decline is due to the economic and crime problems plaguing the area.

K-Town

Some residents of the North Lawndale community refer to the western part of the neighborhood as “K-Town,” derived from the numerous street names starting with the letter K. This is no coincidence; it’s from a naming practice dating back to annexations in 1889. Many acquired streets had duplicative names, so John D. Riley, superintendent of the city’s Bureau of Maps, had each mile west of the Indiana-Illinois state border renamed with a letter of the alphabet. A plan to do the same along the eastern part of the city never caught on in the city council, but some western streets remained. As such, the names of many north-south streets west of Pulaski Road start with the letter K.

Homan Square

An article in The Guardian reported the existence of a secret interrogation complex run by the Chicago Police Department within a Homan Square warehouse in the 24th Ward. In a statement, the police call the article “inaccurate” and say the building is a base for undercover agents. Some politicians are calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the police site.


Both candidates were sent questionnaires to fill out and send back to us. Read their unedited responses below.

Vetress Boyce

Age: 50 Years Old

Place of Birth: Chicago, IL West Side

Current neighborhood: North Lawndale

Family: Raised 7 children, birthed 3, 11 little ones that call me G-ma

Occupation: President/CEO of the Boyce Group, WBE/MBE Certified Licensed Real Estate Broker, Business Consultant

Previous political experience: Ran for Alderman in 2011 and placed 2nd in a saturated race of 18 and placed 2nd to the current incumbent.

What is your vision for the 24th Ward?

My vision for the ward is to have an Economically Stable community that the longtime residents as well as the new residents can be proud of.  The turn the dollar atleast 6 times, safer streets, a cluster of minority businesses, an entertainment district that mirrors downtown, a place where tourist love to visit to enjoy several of the historic landmarks, a place where children can attend the school of their choice within walking distance from their homes and not be burdened with lottery choices or tests.  A place that houses grocery stores with top quality food and a place where families can raise their children and be proud to call North Lawndale their home. 

What is the most pressing issue in your ward?

The most pressing issue in the ward is the cry for jobs, jobs and more jobs due to lack of an Economic Development Plan.

What is your plan for fixing Chicago’s financial situation?

There is not one instant solution to solving the debt crisis of this city.  It will take some time to wipe away the red (deficit) and replace it with black (balance).  Chicago is currently operating on a Debt to fund service verses a Pay as you go service.  The debt to fund service depend heavily on the transactions of Municipal Bonds that are interest heavy.  We have to convert over to a pay as you go so we’re not playing catch up every year.  Also the costs associated with construction in the city is creating a non-competitive market and costing the city millions of dollars.  This is an area the city can control and the unbundling of contracts is a start.  Unbundling will give smaller contractors with capacity to bid lower prices and save across the board.  With an 8.9 billion dollar City budget, there is guaranteed wasteful spending and it’s time to identifying those areas of wasteful spending.  The revenue the City spends on law suits resulted from police brutality cases is out of control and measures are needed to train the force to deal with these cases without such violent forces; Just to name a few.

How do you think the city has handled the severe weather this winter?

The handling of the main streets were ok but the side streets were left unattended to for too long.  Many families were not able to go to work or school.  Cars were trapped on the streets as well as in garages.  The City must implement a plan utilizing smaller trucks to deal with side streets and allies as soon as possible.

Do you support Mayor Emanuel or County Commissioner Garcia in the mayoral race? 

Looking at the race from the 24th Ward’s perspective, the Mayor received roughly 36% of the vote and Garcia received 23% which leaves close to 50% that could go in either direction.  As I knock on doors, I ask the question to the residents of their choice for Mayor and from my survey, Garcia is leading.  I believe that the endorsement from Dr. Willie Wilson will help.  Also, the Mayor is in full support of my opponent.

What is your favorite restaurant in Chicago?

I love Madears Kitchen located on 21st and Pulaski right in the 24th Ward.  A relatively new business that gives that true down home cooking.  I have a few other favorites as well.

Michael Scott

Age: 39

Place of Birth: Chicago, IL

Current neighborhood: North Lawndale

Family: Married with 3 children

Occupation: Area Manager for the Chicago Park District

Previous political experience: Young Democrats Participant

What is your vision for the 24th Ward?

Make the 24th Ward a safe place to live, work and raise a family

What is the most pressing issue in your ward?

Cleanliness and Public Safety

What is your plan for fixing Chicago’s financial situation?

24th Ward residents are opposed to property tax increase and service cuts. Given the precarious situation, and depending upon the IL Supreme Court’s decision on pensions, we may need to seek legislative assistance for revenue enhancements.

How do you think the city has handled the severe weather this winter?

I believe there’s always room for improvement, as I know many residents would like their side streets cleaned sooner and prefer their alleys to be plowed. However, overall, considering the amount of snow received, I believe the City did a decent job.

Do you support Mayor Emanuel or County Commissioner Garcia in the mayoral race?

I have not endorsed anyone for Mayor. I spend my time working to become Alderman of the 24th Ward. If elected, it will be my job as Alderman to work with the Mayor the people have chosen, to bring the necessary resources to the 24th Ward.

What is your favorite restaurant in Chicago?

Breakfast – Marvin’s on Cicero in the 24th Ward; Lunch/Dinner – Lou Malnati’s on Ogden in the 24th Ward


Click on the map below for vote percentages in all 50 wards.

Click the dots in the image below to learn the percentage of votes each candidate received in the Feb. 24 election.

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