Cullerton won’t seek new term
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
Alderman Timothy Cullerton (38th) announced last week that he would not seek a second term on the Chicago City Council because he wants to spend more time with his family.
Cullerton, age 65, was appointed in 2011 to finish the term of former alderman Tom Allen, who left the council when he was appointed a judge. Cullerton worked for the city for 32 years, serving as its chief electrical inspector and as a deputy building commissioner and also was a member of the Chicago Building Board of Appeals.
“It’s all positive and I have no regrets,” Cullerton said. “I enjoy the work, but I am getting older, and from looking at the challenges of the next term I think it will be rough going. I don’t like the politics of it, and it has been getting a little nasty out there.”
“When you get north of 65 years old the energy levels start to wane,” Cullerton said.
Cullerton said that he does not want to remain in office until he is 70 years old and that he does not enjoy “going door to door and begging for money” when campaigning. He said that he is certain that he would have been elected to a second term in 2015 if he ran.
Cullerton said that he enjoys providing services to residents and that he will run his ward office with that idea in mind until his term is over.
“The way I like to run the office is from a public service and infrastructure standpoint,” Cullerton said. “I wanted to make sure that the streets are plowed or that illegal social clubs get shut down or that we get more parking. I can’t imagine how hard it will be for someone to start from scratch with a new staff in a new office.”
Cullerton said that issues he has faced include dealing with the possible closing and ultimate sale of Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, 5645 W. Addison St. He said he also tried to work with the owner of the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Road, to keep it from closing after problems including a broken heating and air conditioning system. The owner is selling the theater and the apartments in the building.
Cullerton said he also has worked to bring new businesses to the ward, voted for speed cameras, helped get several streetscaping projects in the ward, worked to get sewers and catch basins cleaned in an area of the Northwest Side that was hit hard by flooding last year.
Cullerton is a member of a family that has occupied the 38th Ward aldermanic seat for decades. Cullerton’s sister, Patty Jo Cullerton, is the ward Democratic committeeman, and Allen is related to the family by marriage.
“The main dynasty is over, and none of my kids even live in the area or are interested in running for political office,” Cullerton said.
Cullerton said that he expects many candidates to run for the position in but that he is not endorsing anyone at this time.
One possible candidate is Alderman Nicholas Sposato (36th), who has hinted that he might run because a majority of the 36th Ward will be in the 38th Ward as part of the new ward map that takes effect next year. Sposato plans to announce his plans in August.
“I know who I will not support because he is an opportunist,” Cullerton said. “I think the mayor and the 38th Ward organization will not be supporting Nicholas Sposato.”
“I would prefer somebody from the neighborhood to run,” Cullerton said. “Sposato is out from Montclare and not Portage Park. I want to have a person who knows what we need and to concentrate on local issues and not having to bicker back and forth during the election.
In 2011 Cullerton defeated real estate broker and business owner Tom Caravette, who forced a runoff by finishing second in a field of eight candidates with 22.1 percent of the vote. Cullerton finished first with 47.6 percent of the vote in the municipal election.
Cullerton received 4,760 votes, or 60.4 percent of the votes cast, to 3,110 votes for Caravette in the runoff.