Volunteer for Tomic’s campaign in the 45th Ward aldermanic race reports confrontation with Alderman Gardiner in front of Norwood Park home
by BRIAN NADIG
A 68-year-old man who was collecting petition signatures for 45th Ward aldermanic candidate Marija Tomic at about 2:20 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, in the 6000 block of North Naples Avenue reported to police that Alderman James Gardiner yelled at him while making a fist during a confrontation.
The allegation was contained in a police report filed on the matter. No one was reported injured in the incident, Chicago police said.
The 6000 block of Naples is a new section of the 45th Ward following the citywide remapping of boundaries. Previously it was in the 41st Ward.
In a statement, the Tomic campaign reports that Gardiner exited his vehicle and confronted campaign volunteers while they were collecting a signature from a ward resident.
The woman was leaving her daughter’s house at the time and was accompanied by her granddaughter, according to Tomic.
The statement said that Gardiner “harassed” the woman and “blocked” her path to her car when she tried to leave. Tomic said that the woman informed her that she later filed a separate police report regarding the incident.
A video of the incident has surfaced on YouTube, although not all of the dialogue is audible. Gardiner can be heard saying, “Run a clean campaign” and “Know what you’re talkin’about.”
After the volunteers and Gardiner started to walk away, he then walks up to the man and a brief confrontation ensues. However, they are standing further from the home surveillance camera, and the images are not as close-up as the earlier footage.
“As Gardiner’s opponents are predominantly female, this pattern of intimidation is nothing short of an attack on women and a frontal assault on democracy,” Tomic said.
Tomic, a Jefferson Park resident, is one of five candidates challenging Gardiner, who is seeking a second term. The other candidates are Northwest Chicago Historical Society president Susanna Ernst, lawyer Megan Mathias, Northwest Side business owner James Suh and socialist Ana Santoyo.
Tomic said that she initially was hesitant to publicly discuss the incident because she wants her campaign to be positive and not attack-driven but that Gardiner initiated the confrontation and brought this upon himself.
Suh is a plaintiff in two lawsuits against Gardiner, including one in which he claims the alderman sought to have his old arrest record dug up and leaked.
Suh had organized a protest against Gardiner’s opposition to a zoning project at Six Corners. Gardiner later supported a zoning change for the 10-story senior housing development.
The following is a link to the YouTube video: