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Cyryl Jakubowski writes from the 36th Ward:
I do four circles around the Hiawatha Park/Saint Francis Borgia polling place in my beat-up salt-and snow-covered Ford Tempo. Alderman William Banks's signs are placed so closely together they look like papers stapled to one another. What seemed like a worthy race--though granted firefighter Nicholas Sposato was a long shot against the powerful Banks--has turned into a medley of complaints about it being "a slow day."
The polling takes place on two sides of Forest Preserve Avenue; depending on your precinct, you vote either in the church or the park. A lone electioneer is handing out lime green flyers for Banks. I ask him if he isn't supposed to be 100 feet away from the polling place and he points to a blue cone that marks the apparent "line," muttering something about the state's attorney's office doing the markings. Inside the Hiawatha Park field house sits a heavyset elderly man wearing a 36th Ward cap, holding onto his cane and telling people, "Thanks for coming out." One of the election judges tells me in the bathroom that as of the afternoon they only have about 700 votes--"not good," he says. Later he asks me what my jacket stands for. It says "Kenneth Cole Reaction," and I guess he thinks Mr. Cole might be on the ballot.
I interviewed Sposato before the election, and he predicted that the weather would play a big factor: "I need a 45-degree sunny day to get the people out. If it's subzero or snowing he's going to hammer me," he said.
We'll see if the weather has anything to do with it. Banks, chair of the zoning committee, had about $800,000 in his campaign coffers this election cycle. Sposato raised $26,000.