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Chicago's Latino Aldermen Pledge to Vote as Bloc in Mayoral Contest

November 30, 1987|United Press International

CHICAGO — The city's four Latino aldermen pledged Sunday to vote as a bloc when the City Council determines who will serve as mayor--but they were not ready to say who their candidate will be.

Alderman Luis V. Gutierrez said that the Latinos will most likely support a black candidate to succeed the late Mayor Harold Washington because only a black can get the required 26-vote majority in the council to win the office.

"We have yet to see a white candidate who can put 26 votes together under a reform platform," Gutierrez said at a news conference after a meeting with the aldermen and about 50 leaders of the Latino community.

'Washington Had Agenda'

"There's no question Mayor Washington had an agenda that dealt with the black and Hispanic community," Alderman Raymond Figueroa said. "We'd like to continue that."

The council in the racially polarized city consists of 28 whites--at least four of whom were Washington supporters--18 blacks and four Latinos.

The council is expected to vote in a new mayor this week. Alderman David Orr, a white, is the interim mayor, and he would serve until 1989 if no candidate receives a majority vote of 26.

Washington, 65, the first black mayor of Chicago, died Wednesday of a heart attack, leaving no clear successor.

500,000 Pay Respects

Mourners have streamed by Washington's coffin in the lobby of City Hall since a public wake began Friday afternoon. More than 500,000 people paid their respects Friday and Saturday, said special events coordinator Portia McCaskill.

By early Sunday, a crowd of about 10,000 waited in line to see Washington lying in state.

"I never dreamed there would be as many people here for as long a period, consistently night after night," said Ernest Barefield, who was the late mayor's chief of staff. "It's a fitting tribute to the mayor and what he stood for."

All three front-runners--Timothy Evans, Eugene Sawyer and Danny Davis--were busy during the weekend trying to line up supporters.

Official Day of Mourning

Washington's funeral will be held this morning at Universal Christ Church on the South Side. The day has been declared an official day of mourning.

Several Democratic presidential candidates are expected to attend the funeral, along with Mayors Edward I. Koch of New York, W. Wilson Goode of Philadelphia, Andrew Young of Atlanta and Marion Barry Jr. of Washington.

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