To the Editor:

Although I am flattered to be included in the company of Bill Gerstein and Mario Smith, I don't think I qualify as a candidate for Hyde Park mayor. The founding of the Chicago Hyde Park Village (CHPV) was really the work of many committed community volunteers. CHPV is grass roots agency organized to help people choose where and how they will live and how to remain engaged with friends and activities as they grow older. It is NOT an agency that provides direct health and social services but a source to help members find information, activity and assistance they need. An Executive Director now leads the organization. We are just launching a search for our next ED. Any candidates out there?

As Mr. Musick points out, there have been many outstanding Hyde Park residents over the years. A few who might deserve recognition as a mayor:

Recently deceased Pat Wilcoxen devoted her life to social justice issues, especially equitable and affordable housing.

Judy Roothaan was a tireless worker with the Hyde Park–Kenwood Community Conference and numerous other community causes.

Eleanor Petersen founded the Hyde Park Savings and Loan to ensure equitable access to mortgage financing in the mid-20th century. She also founded the Donors Forum, now Forefront, the first agency of its kind to support both donor and donee organizations.

Among current residents, for starters I would nominate:

Angela Habr, the current Executive Director of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, which pivoted so well to provide important support to the community and families during the pandemic.

Ryan Priester, a born and bread Southsider now with the MacArthur Foundation, who was instrumental in launching Civic Engagement’s Community Program Accelerator at the University of Chicago to help local organizations grow, thrive and implement their missions to benefit the community.

George Rumsey, who has helped at least half of Hyde Park become computer literate, is also a tireless volunteer with the Hyde Park–Kenwood Community Conference, the Garden and Book fairs and countless other endeavors.

Jay Mulberry founded and for years moderated the Good Neighbors listserv which helps neighbors connect, keep informed on local issues and obtain needed help and services.

Wendy Williams, long time head of the Southeast Chicago Commission and now the Executive Director of Community Partnerships at U of C Office of Civic Engagement; she connects stakeholders to support community safety, entrepreneurship and development.

V.I. Warshawski/Sara Paretsky, Although V.I.’s work as a private investigator brings her to the South Side, she actually lives on the North Side. Therefore, I nominate V.I.’s creator, Sara Paretsky who does live in Hyde Park, knows the area well and is a tireless champion of important local, humanitarian and social causes.


Susan Alitto

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