Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-07-10
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Lopez fights to retain 15th Ward council seat
by Matt Simonette
2019-04-01

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Ald. Ray Lopez ( 15th Ward ) has been in a runoff against police officer Rafael Yanez this election season. It's been a challenging race for openly gay Lopez, who's sometimes been criticized for harsh remarks about crime, and has exchanged barbs with other council members. This would be his second term, but Lopez had been serving as the Ward's committeeman for some time before his 2015 election.

Windy City Times: How has this election season been for you?

Ray Lopez: When this runoff was announced, over 10,000 residents got a letter from me telling them that there was a runoff and that we also missed it by a handful of votes. But we also let them know that if my opponent set the tone for this election, it would be nothing short of a character assassination, based on lies and rumor. My goal—as should be his goal—is to talk about what we believe is in the best interests of the entire ward for its future.

WCT: Your opponent has tried to characterize himself as a progressive and has allied himself with others such as Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and criticized your connections with Ald. Ed Burke. How would you respond, especially with the calls for reform in City Hall?

RL: Simply saying that you are progressive doesn't make you progressive. There's nothing he has done in this campaign, or his private citizen's life as a police officer, that shows him to be anything more than just a mouthpiece for other people. He is not a "progressive leader"—that is an inaccurate moniker he is trying to give himself.

He's quick to say I'm Burke's puppet, but Burke ran an opponent against me when I ran for alderman. I was not Burke's choice. What we have done since I was elected in 2015 is work together, since our wards are connected and we're neighbors to each other, for the betterment of our residents—which is what I would hope residents and elected officials would do when they share boundaries. Because we've worked together, we've been able to bring new jobs, businesses and resources for our children, and healthcare. For that, I could not be prouder.

When it comes to reform, I'm the alderman who introduced an ordinance that said aldermen should have no outside income. I'm the alderman who introduced a rule forcing alderman to show up and do the committees, and do the work. I think I'm the leader of the pack when it comes to strict, hardcore reforms for the city council.

WCT: What do you think have been your two or three best accomplishments since 2015?

RL: First and foremost, the massive infrastructure rebuild that we've done in the 15th Ward. … I think the spending totals in the ward are closer to nearly $11 million, not only from the aldermanic menu, but also from the outside resources we've been able to work with Mayor Emanuel to bring [for] many of the longstanding and ignored infrastructure needs, such as modernizing lighting and providing sidewalks. One of the issues I'm surprised to have had an impact on in the community is in addressing the violence in all the neighborhoods, particularly Back of the Yards.

When I was elected, I figured it would take a generation to break the cycle, to get people to stand up and be counted in the name of wanting something better, and rejecting lifestyles involving gangs and drugs. I've seen the fruits of our efforts as a result of some of the things that I've said. That drew the line not only for me but many of the people in the neighborhood. When I said, "No innocent lives were lost," it put it on no uncertain terms for the people of the ward that there's a difference between gang-bangers shooting each other and a 13-year-old-girl getting shot just for trying to play basketball. The neighborhoods quickly made a decision about which side they were on, galvanizing around that statement, for and against. Thankfully the "fors" outweighed the "againsts."

WCT: What are two or three challenges that remain for you?

RL: Moving forward, I think the challenge will be making sure that we're able to bring resources to every neighborhood, so that we can continue to find and create economic opportunities, and so that we can put people to work in their own neighborhood. Every community has its challenges. Every community does not have the same kind of financial tools—TIFS, special service areas, etc.—available to them. We need to show the investor community and the developer community that we've taken pride in this area, and taken crime seriously, and now want to take the next step. I think the ward will be able to reach that.

The other challenge will be, as those benefits are coming and those developments happen, and the revitalization of our ward happens, how do we safeguard against gentrification, so that, unlike other areas, as things improve, all the old-timers don't get kicked out? We need to come up with a very pro-active anti-gentrification program now, before we're looking at it through the rear window.

WCT: Speak a bit about the challenges of being openly gay and serving as alderman.

RL: Thankfully, when I was elected four years ago, my residents already knew who Hugo and I were. They knew we weren't just roommates. Even now, my residents know exactly who we are together. There are still people on the fringes who try to make that an issue. … Other candidates in the last go-round made mention of this. As a matter of fact, my opponent in the runoff made jokes about my marriage to Hugo. You will always have individuals who try to make that an issue. But as Chicago moves forward, and our neighborhood moves forward, from where we were less than a decade ago, even five years ago, it's becoming less and less of a card people can play against us.

Hugo and I go to community meetings together. I don't just hide him in the corner somewhere. He comes with me to pancake breakfasts, churches, you name it. We are just as integral a part of this community, this ward, as you'd expect any other alderman to be. Because of that, people don't know us as just a gay couple but two human beings. We're more known for having seven dogs than being gay men.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Race Riot anniversary to be marked July 27 2019-07-21 - In Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, the 100th anniversary of day that ignited the 1919 Chicago Race Riot ( CRR19 ) will be commemorated with ...


Gay News

Fahrenheit award reception Aug. 23 2019-07-21 - Fahrenheit Chicago and Equality Illinois will co-host the Fahrenheit Chicago Honors Reception on Friday, Aug. 23, 7-10 p.m., at Connect Gallery, 1520 E. ...


Gay News

Making Barrington More Welcoming LGBTQ Discussion Panel July 23 2019-07-20 - BARRINGTON, Ill. —July 18, 2019—Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison will participate in the Making Barrington More Welcoming LGBTQ Discussion Panel Tuesday at ...


Gay News

HIV/AIDS program head resigned after violating sexual-harassment policy 2019-07-20 - A report has stated that Eduardo Alvarado—the head of the Illinois Department of Public Health's HIV/AIDS program—resigned in May after it was recommended ...


Gay News

Former Supreme Ct. justice Stevens dies at 99 2019-07-17 - Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died at age 99 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 16. According to Advocate.com, Stevens ...


Gay News

Minimum wage raise would increase earnings for 1.5 million LGBT adults 2019-07-17 - On Thursday, the US House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Raise the Wage Act. The Williams Institute at UCLA School ...


Gay News

Grassroots political organizer/LGBTQ activist Cole N. Ansier dies 2019-07-17 - Grassroots political organizer and LGBTQ activist Cole N. Ansier died July 13 due to complications from a genetic health condition. He was 35. ...


Gay News

Rally calls for Puerto Rico gov's resignation after anti-LGBTQ chat surfaces 2019-07-17 - In the wake of Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello's political allies' recent arrests on corruption and fraud charges, the Chicago Boricua Resistance and ...


Gay News

U.S. House condemns Trump tweets as racist 2019-07-16 - On July 16, the U.S. House formally condemned President Donald Trump's recent tweets telling four Democratic congresswomen of color that they should "go ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Miss Major ailing, NAACP, crime items, Puerto Rico governor 2019-07-16 - Miss Major Griffin-Gracy—a Stonewall Riots veteran and staple in transgender activism for nearly 50 years—suffered a stroke July 4, Out.com reported. News about ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.