Wait til 2007
When April 1 rolls around--the day of the city's general elections--only a little more than half of Springfield voters will have a choice in who will represent them on the City Council. Out of ten wards, incumbents are running unopposed in four: Chuck Redpath (Ward 4), Irv Smith (Ward 8), Tom Selinger (Ward 9), and Bruce Strom (Ward 10).
Overall there are 19 candidates running for the council, one less than the number of candidates running for District 186's seven-member school board. Only two wards (5 and 6) have enough candidates to require a primary, which will eventually reduce the number in each race to two. Ward 5 has three candidates, the same as in 1999. Ward 6 has four, also the same as in 1999. The only non-incumbent running again this year for City Council is Linda Jamali, a school teacher from Ward 1. She's facing retired Springfield Fire Chief Frank Edwards. Jamali lost to the late Tom Madonia in 1999, receiving about 38 percent of the votes. Because incumbents in wards 5 and 6 are not seeking re-election, at least three new members will be elected to the council this year.
Of course, there's still a good reason for every resident to go to the polling booths on February 25. With Mayor Karen Hasara bowing out, the mayoral primary will include five candidates--Don Hickman, Tony Libri, Joseph Keck, Mike Houston, and Tim Davlin. Voters need to reduce this list to two.
Perhaps the most significant changes in City Hall will take place during the following round of elections, in 2007. By then, five City Council members will have served the mandated limit of three consecutive terms. Those aldermen are Redpath, Smith, Strom, Frank McNeil of Ward 2, and Judy Yeager of Ward 7.