Living on the edge
A pharmacist, a lawyer and a retiree are vying to represent residents of Ward 10.
All three candidates – John Animasaun, Rob Patino and incumbent Ralph Hanauer – agree that there needs to be improvements to the roadways in Ward 10, the southwest boundary of the city, but that’s where the similarities stop.
Animasaun, a first-time candidate who works as a pharmacist, said he’s lived in Springfield for 11 years and thinks it’s a great place to raise a family. He said he wants to be a “champion of the people,” improve roadways in his ward and thinks his ward would benefit from having a neighborhood school.
“And most importantly, being someone who will adequately represent residents on the city board as an alderman and also listen to them and be more accessible to them,” Animasaun said.
Patino, who was born and raised in Springfield and is a professor at SIU School of Medicine, as well as a chemical engineer and an intellectual property lawyer who’s active in start-up businesses, sees Springfield as a city with a lot of potential. He had previously tried running for a position on the Sangamon County Board, where he had been endorsed by the local Democratic Party, but was disqualified from the race when he signed the petition of one of his competitors.
As the incumbent, Hanauer said the $10 million budget reduction he helped achieve at CWLP is one of his greatest accomplishments, which he feels spared Springfield residents from rising fuel-adjustment costs. He said he’s equally proud of helping reduce the fire department’s response time toward the southern end of his ward’s boundary by incorporating green light technology on fire trucks and hopes it can used around the rest of the city.
“We were able to install software on their trucks and on the traffic lights to where it’ll change the lights green and make their response time faster,” Hanauer explained.
Additionally, Hanauer said he and Mayor Jim Langfelder went to Washington, D.C., to speak with U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood to secure funding to help with repairs to Archer Elevator Road.
Animasaun and Patino have progressive ideas about building Springfield’s future but in different ways. Hanauer sees the future of Springfield in development projects.
Animasaun said he knows the importance of CWLP in Springfield and thinks it’s wise to usher in the future by taking small steps to place the city on a trajectory toward renewable energy. “We have to wean ourselves off coal,” Animasaun said.
Animasaun and Patino both said they came to realize many residents felt dissatisfied with Hanauer, with Patino saying people he met while campaigning criticized Hanauer as being inefficient at returning constituents’ calls. Animasaun said he had a similar experience when campaigning, which made him think residents felt like they didn’t have anyone willing to listen to their needs.
Hanauer dismissed the claim, saying he always responds to emails and voicemails.
“We’ve gotten stop signs in Deerfield subdivision, we’ve gotten roads fixed in virtually every neighborhood. If people don’t contact me, I can’t fix what’s broken,” Hanauer said.
Patino said he supports development that makes sense, but he disagrees with Hanauer’s pro-development attitude. Hanauer has received funding from a number of unions, including Laborers Local 477, Central IL Building & Construction Trades and Plumbers and Steamfitters Local No. 137 Council.
Patino said he doesn’t accept private interest money and questions Hanauer’s motivation when choosing the interests of development versus the needs of Ward 10 residents. Patino feels this growth, which has resulted in an influx of strip malls on the west side of town, is challenging for the city because projects are approved without regard to the larger picture.
“We have a growing problem, and now we don’t have the infrastructure we need to support that expansion,” Patino said.
Lindsey Salvatelli is an editorial intern with Illinois Times as part of the Public Affairs Reporting master’s degree program at University of Illinois Springfield. Contact her at