Cal City’s Election Day tensions haven’t withered away

2013-04-27T23:00:00Z Cal City’s Election Day tensions haven’t withered awayGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
April 27, 2013 11:00 pm  • 

CALUMET CITY | Fourth Ward Alderman Brian Wilson tried to depart the City Council on a high note last week, yet his disappointment about having his mayoral aspirations die without getting an Election Day vote managed to creep to the surface.

Thursday’s council meeting was the final one for Wilson, who had represented the residential neighborhood on the west side of Calumet City since 2005.

Wilson did not seek a third term as alderman because he wanted to run for mayor against Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush. But the city’s Electoral Board, loaded with Qualkinbush supporters, removed Wilson from the April 9 ballot, and the Cook County Circuit and Illinois Appellate courts kept him off the ballot because he originally filed nominating petitions to run in the Feb. 26 Democratic primary.

When Thursday’s council meeting came to an end, Wilson made a statement as part of the meeting’s “unfinished business” in which he praised city Treasurer Gerald Tarka for budgetary assistance he gave Wilson when the alderman was head of the council’s finance committee.

He also praised his wife, Kimberly, for supporting him during his time as a municipal official and said he has several friends who were cooperative.

After the “unfinished business” portion of the meeting, Qualkinbush and the aldermen met privately in her office.

When that executive session ended after about 15 minutes, Wilson and Qualkinbush could be heard shouting “you’re nothing” at each other.

Qualkinbush at one point also told Wilson, “You’re showing the level of class you have.”

Wilson retorted to Qualkinbush, “I don’t wish you well,” and, “I wish you a nice (jail) cell mate.”

Neither Qualkinbush nor Wilson cared to elaborate about their exchange, but Wilson said he plans to continue to be a part of the public scene in Calumet City. He previously has hinted at trying to run again for mayor in the 2017 election cycle.

“I’m not going anywhere, I’ll still be in my neighborhood," Wilson said Thursday.

The other aldermen mostly kept quiet about Wilson’s departure from their municipal ranks. Seventh Ward Alderman Antoine Collins said he “wishes (Wilson) well.”

"There were some rough times during the past four years, but we also found some productive moments," Collins said.

Wilson’s preference for his aldermanic seat – Ramonde Williams – defeated Qualkinbush’s preferred candidate Darius Hogans. Williams will be among the officials who take oaths of office May 2 to serve four-year terms on the City Council.

“Ramonde Williams will be a great alderman,” said Wilson, who said he’s not concerned about his own future.

He claimed to have a few job opportunities lined up. He would not elaborate on what kind of work they would be, other than that they won’t consist solely of working at Will’s Sports Bar, a Burnham tavern owned by his wife.

“I take pride in the fact that I finished my education,” said Wilson, who has a master’s degree from Spertus College. “I have lots of opportunities ahead of me.”

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