Interview with Garcia Jesus

Tell me about the alderman--


The machine alderman in this ward would keep a list, by precinct, of all the favorable voters and the unfavorable or unreliable voters. And if you wanted to see the alderman, first of all, you had to be a voter. And if you wanted to try to get services, you had to be a favorable voter, or go there and make a commitment that you would, in the next election, vote their way. And if you didn't, if you simply went in there as a concerned citizen saying you should have these services because you're a taxpayer, you wouldn't get them because you didn't play ball. We also had an alderman in the neighboring ward that showed his despise for the changing neighborhood, for the Mexicans, for the Latinos, for the minorities, he'd made public comments that if people didn't like it here that they should go back to Mexico, that this was America, and that people had to learn to speak English because no one was going to bend over backwards to accommodate to them. They were not special. People would go, ask for their streets to be cleaned, for basic city services, those services were considered favors that the alderman would bestow upon constituents if they behaved right. It was a privilege. During the campaign of, ah, '83, he made a lot of really derogatory comments about how dirty "these people" were, about the fact that any animal, me, mean, meaning anyone who was not like him, could run for office but that animals couldn't get elected to office. So it was OK for you animals to run but you're not going anywhere because we run it here. That was the bottom line.