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Could Little Village Be Getting A New Alderman? George Cardenas Says He Won’t Run For City Council If He Wins County Seat He’s Pursuing

Ald. George Cardenas, a powerful mayoral ally, is running for a Cook County Board of Review. If elected, he'll drop out of the aldermanic race, he said.

Ald. George A. Cardenas (12th) looks on at a City Council meeting where alderpeople voted on the 2022 budget on Oct. 27, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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LITTLE VILLAGE — The 12th Ward could be getting a new alderman.

Ald. George Cardenas (12th) is running for the Cook County Board of Review and he told Block Club Monday he won’t pursue another term as alderman if he wins the county seat.

Cardenas launched his campaign for Cook County Board of Review last year. But it wasn’t known what his plans for the aldermanic seat were. He’s set to face incumbent Commissioner Tammy Wendt in the 1st District primary for the Board of Review position June 28. The general election is Nov. 8.

The three-member board of review oversees property tax appeals for residential, commercial, industrial and condo properties, as well as vacant land.

In the meantime, Cardenas also plans run for reelection to his aldermanic seat in 2023, but if he wins the county seat, he will drop his campaign for alderman. The City Council primary election is Feb. 28 and general election is April 4, 2023.

Cardenas has served as 12th Ward alderman since 2003, heads the Environmental Protection and Energy Committee and is Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s deputy floor leader. His ward covers parts of Little Village, Brighton Park and McKinley Park.

Gov. JB Pritzker signed off on a new map of the Board of Review’s three districts last summer which brings the Latino population in the 1st District to 43 percent.

Cardenas said last week he’d like to bring “more representation to the Latino community” by running for the position.

The 1st District covers the Northwest outskirts of Cook County and juts into the city to include west and southwest majority-Latino neighborhoods.

Cardenas declined to answer questions about who he might endorse if he wins the Board of Review seat.

Though Cardenas said he won’t try to serve both offices simultaneously, it’s unclear if he could.

The Chicago Board of Elections directed questions about the compatibility of the offices to Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

A spokesperson for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office shared an informal opinion from 1995 on the issue. In that, then-Attorney General Jim Ryan said someone could not be on City Council and the Board of Review because that person could be forced to rule on a property tax assessment they themselves challenged as an alderperson.

That opinion was not legally binding, so it’s not clear if Cardenas would be prohibited from holding both roles.

As alderman, Cardenas makes about $123,504, according to the Tribune. In 2019, Board of Review commissioners made $100,000, according to a Better Government Association database.

In addition to Cardenas, parts of Little Village are represented by Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22nd) and Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th).

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