Norman Bolden is a former award winning radio executive at radio station WGCI and currently a local proprty owner which includes ownership if the new popular banquet facility called Room 43, and again it appears that Norman Bolden is planning another run for Alderman of the 4th Ward. Friends of Bolden began to call around and let his poosible plans be known to run again, after a headline story appeared on the front page of a major Hyde Park newspaper which featured what many viewed as a sure thing, the announcement that if current 4th Ward Alderman Toni Preckwinkle is elected in November as new President of The Cook County Board that current 26th District Representative William Burns would be the choice to replace her as 4th Ward Alderman.
As a long time community activist, Norman is concerned that elections have become more and more about the core groups that elected officals court to while the masses of local residents remain disconnected and apathetic, but now a silent majority that if lifted up and engaged can truly elect new leadership that looks out to empower the least of the 4th Ward residents. For along time the battle over 4th Ward leadership between Alderman Preckwinkle and former Alderman Tim Evans had the battle lines of Preckwinkle representing the more affluent of 4th Ward residents while Tim Evans had the strong hold of the local public housing developments. Some 4th Ward actiovists state that, the more the public housing residents began to disappear, the stronger Preckwinkle became and eventually won and has remained.
Friends of Norman Bolden who contacted me indicate that they would like to see Bolden run again as a candidate who seeks the votes of the majority of the residents whose silent majority is capable of electing new leadership and a new vehicle for lifting up the issues that they think have been ignored for years and not represented by the core group of voters that have continually supported Preckwinkle, and would certainly continue to be the base of support for Will Burns if he is appointed and then elected as new 4th Ward Alderman.
In examining the background of Norman Bolden, his life and current business career seem to sure reflect the type of elected official he would like to see in a new 4th Ward Alderman, for Bolden appears to be one of the least of those who worked hard and since 1999 Norman has been working to create jobs and small business opportunities for local Ward residents by transforming former vanact storefronts into viable businesses and now attractive real estate. Bolden has risen from working from a mailroom to the executive suites, but kept his commitment to local empowerment by providing affordable housing and employment for individuals who are often considered unemployable and who would otherwise be homeless.
Norman views his poltical work as a natural extension of the work he has been doing for years as a private citizen and as a community activist. Norman feels that his election as a real"people's candidate" to the Chicago City Council brings a real grassroots economic empowerment agenda that he and his work have already proven can provide jobs and housing, which has helped to make the 4tth Ward more vibrant, without large scale displacing of Ward residents and without restricting economic opportunity to only those who are politcally well connected.
He says that his attitude toward public service is best expresses by a favorite quotation of Coretta Scott King: "One should be ashamed to die before making a contribution to humanity."
Many people assumed that Will Burns was the absolute shoe-in to fill the vacancy of former State Senator Barack Obama's seat, but the choice was Attorney Kwame Raoul. Would we be in for another shock in the 4th Ward if Norman Bolden was selected or elected Alderman over the perceived shoe-in of Will Burns?
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have supported Will Burns as he is a fraternity brother of mine in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and I was a teen-aged intern at the old WVON/WGCI with Norman and have worked with him as well over the years. They both, as well as others will bring their qualifications to the people and the decision of who will be next 4th Ward Alderman rests with 4th Ward voters. Norman Bolden and friends just asked me to help spread the word that Bolden is planning to be a candidate too.