Best alderman whose dreams haven't yet been crushed

Critics' Picks

Ameya Pawar

Ameya Pawar's the 30-year-old rookie elected in the 47th Ward in North Center on a platform that called for, among other things, eradicating the tax increment financing program (I believe he said "blow it up"), which, as everyone knows, diverts hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes from the schools, parks, and county. He also demanded that the city stop selling off assets, like the parking meters. When he got elected—defeating outgoing alderman Eugene Schulter's handpicked successor—no one could believe it. Especially Pawar. So far, his spirit hasn't been crushed. For instance, he says he's against a casino in Chicago on the grounds that it's not exactly sound municipal financing to balance the budget by squeezing money from gambling addicts who are probably too broke to gamble in the first place. Look for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who lives in Pawar's ward, to ignore his alderman's advice as he tries to squeeze every nickel he can from every sap he can lure into his casino. —Ben Joravsky