The Alderman & The Opossum  
b y L y l e R . H i l l  
y favorite city in all the world hoods and the goal of Reach 77 is to  
Chicago … is divided into ultimately reach out to those neighbor- you’re still with me … may ask,“What,  
50 wards. Each ward has an hoods with its programing and commu- if anything, does this story have to do  
Now at this point, you the reader … if  
elected official known as the ward alder- nity services. Lauren and his team are with me or anybody else for that mat-  
man who represents his ward on the Chi- involved with a number of initiatives and ter?”Well,I’ll tell you.For many years I’ve  
cago City Council. For all practical and recently completed the renovation and been very critical of politicians in general  
political purposes, the ward alderman development of an outdoor playground and particularly tough on Chicago poli-  
is also the director and day-to-day man- and basketball court in an underserved ticians … many of whom have done or  
ager of just about everything that takes area of the city. One of Reach 77’s most are now doing “jail time” for all kinds of  
place within his/her boundaries. These aggressive and important initiatives has nasty deeds. For more than 20 years I’ve  
aldermen are important people. They to do with human trafficking matters. regularly ridiculed our elected officials in  
are powerful people elected by their con- They’re on the frontline of the fight to my writings and have typically showed  
stituents to handle all matters,both large rescue victims and bring an end to this them no mercy. So the whole opossum  
and small, within their domain. They’re illegal and dreadful practice. thing caught me off guard.The alderman  
also very busy people with requests and  
I arrived for the meeting early, so I didn’t tell someone to call somebody to  
demands coming at them every day from spent some time driving through the take care of the mess. He did it himself  
any number of people. They’re on call neighborhoods of the 18 ward. I ob- and he did it quickly because he wanted  
from their daily grind.So when I traveled healthy amount of business activity. When I suggested he get a picture of this  
to the Southside of Chicago for a meeting Afterwards, I checked into the ward because it could be a great photo oppor-  
4/7 and often have little to no time away served well-maintained homes and a his ward to look good and be clean.  
with its 18 ward alderman this past May office where I met up with Lauren. tunity he kinda laughed it off. He simply  
not very pro-  
,I expected the meeting to be short and While we were sitting in the waiting stated that“it was his job to do what was  
ductive.I was going area a great commotion took place at necessary to serve the people of his ward.”  
there with Lauren the front entrance. We heard a voice I I was the one who pushed for a picture  
Seaman, the di- thought was the alderman’s imploring of the event. He didn’t seem to care one  
rector of a “faith- someone to get him a shovel and a box way or the other.Then,after the commo-  
based” program and to do so quickly.  
tion was over, we had a nearly two-hour,  
known as  
We left the waiting room to see what in-depth meeting with Alderman Curtis  
Reach 77. was happening and confirmed that the and retired educator and aldermanic ad-  
Chicago voice was indeed that of Alderman Der- visor James Stewart. It covered all kinds  
has 77 rick Curtis. He wanted a shovel and box of topics relating to the goals and needs  
distinct to pick up what he said was a dead opos- of the 18 ward.And,I gotta tell you,I was  
neigh- sum about 15 feet away from his office totally impressed with the sincerity,com-  
b o r - door in the very busy street in front of passion and genuine concern I sensed the  
his building.My initial thought was that alderman had for his ward and the city.  
the opossum was headed toward the  
alderman’s office with some type of a  
complaint or request, but didn’t  
quite make it there.  
continued on page 71  
L y l e R . H i l l is the managing  
director of Keytech North America,  
a company providing research and  
technical services for the glass and  
metal industry. Hill has more than  
40 years experience in the glass  
and metal industry and can be reached at You can read his blog every  
other Monday at  
left of the dead opossum in front of Chicago’s 18 ward office building.  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | June 2017  

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