Interview with Garcia Jesus

Describe the politics in Latino community under the machine, the alderman, and how they ran politics.


Well, before we elected Harold Washington, before our community came to be respected, ah, we had to put up with a lot of garbage, ah, in our own communities where we were the majority. We had machine alderman who, ah, were very insensitive, ah, who demonstrated, I believe, just disrespect. And, ah, I think a lot of contempt for the fact that the neighborhood changed. For example, ah, in this community we had an alderman who, in spite of the community being 70, 75 percent, ah, Latino, mostly Mexican, ah, didn't even bother to have a bilingual person in his ward office, ward public service office, funded by taxpayers money. And everybody here paid taxes, very hard working people. Ah, not having a Hispanic, having a bilingual person, someone who could simply communicate with people. Had machine alderman that, when you went to see him, he'd look at the poll sheet to see, not only if you were registered but if you had probably voted for him or not, you know, how bad can you get? The situation got so bad that the alderman, my predecessor here, moved out of the community, was living in suburbia, contrary to law. That was one of the things that we had to expose in our efforts to defeat him. This is a very young community. You need to have someone who is going to be visible, who is going to provide leadership, who is going to try to convey a sense of caring to such a young community that we didn't have under machine politics. In another ward, you had an alderman who just despised that the community was changing, made public comments, documented that if these people didn't like it they should go back to Mexico, that any animal--


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