Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Ald. Cappleman: I'm Not Running For A Fourth Term In 2023

From Ald. Cappleman's newsletter, sent out this morning:

"Dear Neighbor,

It is with mixed feelings that I am announcing I will retire after the end of my term in May 2023. Being the 46th Ward Alderman has been an incredible experience for me and it’s something I will always treasure. I ran for Alderman to interrupt the trajectory of the ward because our community demanded more. 

From my work with many of you, we surpassed many people’s dreams for this ward’s improvement. I feel fortunate to be doing work that I enjoy every day, but I also know it feels right for me to move on to another adventure with the assurance that our community is now in a good place to keep moving forward to accomplish more.

From the very beginning, my goal was to help make this ward become a place where any mother with a young child would feel comfortable walking down any street in the ward. When I was elected in 2011, the 46th Ward was plagued with gang conflicts and early on in my first term, 10 people were shot within a span of 6 weeks. 

It was then that I started a safety task force made up of CPD, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, local businesses, the chamber, and dedicated residents. It was our work together that helped violent crime begin its descent to today’s dramatic lows. A few years ago, I heard from a young mom who told me for the first time ever, she finally felt safe walking her kids to school. It was a major milestone!

In those early days, people were frustrated about the horrible condition of the Wilson CTA Station and there were discussions about the need to demolish the historic Gerber Building on the 4600 block of N. Broadway given the extensive costs to repair it. Through my work with others, the CTA station is one of the best in Chicago, and the historic Gerber building is now utilized as Chicago Market's Community Co-op, a prime example of our reinvigorated business community and diversified commercial storefronts and entertainment district. 

While other wards have struggled to keep affordable housing, the 46th Ward gained, with two more 100% affordable residential buildings starting construction this year. Dilapidated buildings have become restored historic structures and vacant lots have new residential developments that offer a wide range of rents, including affordable housing. Our Entertainment District has blossomed in ways we never imagined, and more is coming our way. 

Residents are now able to access the best of housing, entertainment, dining, and shopping throughout the ward. Others outside the 46th Ward have also recognized the incredible turn around, including TimeOut Magazine when they named Uptown as the 24th coolest community on the planet back in October 2020. While teaming up with many of you, we have accomplished more in the last decade than I ever thought possible. For that, I am truly thankful!

Please know that my staff and I are still here to support you until my last day in office. Later this summer, there will be some exciting announcements about more plans for the 46th Ward. This means I will have to work double time to get these final commitments done, but again, it’s the help that I get from so many of you that will make it possible. 

As for the future, my husband Richard and I have no plans to leave this community when I retire. We will do what we’ve always done since we met one another over 30 years ago; we will keep giving our time to endeavors that will make our planet better for everyone.

The work isn't done: let's continue to work together for all our neighbors in the 46th Ward and beyond! 

My best to all of you!


* For those wondering about the graphic, it's a companion piece to the graphic in our 2010 post about former alderman Helen Shiller telling the Sun-Times -- not her constituents -- that she'd be hanging it up after her term ended. Grease is the word, y'all.


  1. https://youtu.be/_aL-sRS2YIc?t=9

  2. James, thank you for everything you've done for the neighborhood during your tenure. Uptown wouldn't be the same without you

  3. Sadly, for me at least, this isn't surprising. The Capplemaniac said during the last election that this would likely be his final term.

    Those of us who've lived in the ward for decades or in two different millenia and centuries owe him and his husband Richard a big THANK YOU.

    Outside the Uptown Theater I think he's accomplished most of what he set out to do back in 2007.

    First, it took four years, but he forced Shiller into retirement. Don't believe the hype. She didn't go quietly into the night of non elected official.

    Second, any of you run into any gang bangers chanting "gang, gang, gang" on Wilson lately? Crime is down in the 46th which is amazing considering that it's up citywide and in the southern portion of Lakeview. Forcing the low income housing providers to evict their gang elements made a big difference.

    Third, it took till about 2017-2018, but the local and national real estate economies finally turned around and the boom in housing you've seen in Uptown and N Lakeview was dependent on that and a sane alderman.

    He really did a wonderful job of pivoting off the Wilson Station redevelopment to change the immediate blocks around there.

    Also look at the change in Clark Street from Montrose north. Now that's partly in other wards, but that street has changed for the better.

    In Lakeview there have been good sized developments bringing more people and jobs to the area.

    Overall I'd give him 9.5 outta 10 on the aldermanic scale. Only Nadia Comaneci could get a perfect 10. Or perhaps Bo Derek.

    So THANK YOU Richard and James for you service to the 46th Ward. You've made our little bit of the world better. That's not a bad political epitaph.

  4. I'm sorry to see Cappleman step down, and thank him for all that he has accomplished not only for Uptown, but all the adjacent neighborhoods that have also benefitted greatly by the steep reduction of crime and gang activity there, and the great improvement in the appearance of the ward, its improved business climate, and the addition of many hundreds of units of high quality housing. I don't live in the 40th, but can say that we who live in adjacent Lakeview, Edgewater, Andersonville, Ravenswood, and even Rogers Park and West Ridge, have all benefitted very much from the drastic changes for the better that Cappleman has brought about, and which have made the entire north lake front an even better place to live than it already was.

  5. I just searched twitter and reddit to see if I could find any amusing comments from the Cappleenemies on his decision.

    Most of the anti Capp comments were as lame as a Rudy Giuliani Four Seasons press conference.

    However, there were two which amused me.

    The first runner up was:

    Nightmare: Cappleman only retired from alder to run for mayor.

    Our winner was:

    James Cappleman is stepping down to spend more time with the random people on the street who beat him up constantly.

    That's it folks. Seems that at least three people will be running in the coming election. I'd expect more than that and if those two male mopes who ran last time are available I'd encourage them to run again and see if they can break 6%--together.

    So far it's the Ginger Menace--Dr. Marianne Lalonde.

    Uptown's own Angela Clay,

    Finally, former Mike Quigley Chief of Staff Kim Walz seems likely to run.

    Lalonde lacks people skills, but she partly makes up for it with her tremendous work ethic and upper middle income white girl sense of entitlement.

    Clay is extremely personable and is local to Uptown, but won't be able to raise much money.

    Walz will be able to raise cash and likely get some important endorsements from people named Quigley. She also lives in Lakeview which will likely mean she carries every precinct south of Irving Park in the February election. I think the Lakeview portion of the ward amounts to about 38-40% of the ward votes.

    In my view she's the likely winner and I'm not just saying that because of the polaroids she has of me, Mayor Lightfoot, and Ed Burke at the Farm at the Zoo late night after the last St. Pat's day parade.

    There will likely be other candidates too, but we'll just have to wait.