Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » First Black mayor? Not yet, says Cal City attorney
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      About     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact Rich Miller
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
First Black mayor? Not yet, says Cal City attorney

Friday, Mar 12, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sarah Mansur at Capitol News Illinois

State Rep. Thaddeus Jones’ name was legally placed on a February primary ballot seeking the Democratic nomination for Calumet City mayor, according to an Illinois Supreme Court opinion released Thursday.

But it’s unclear whether the opinion authorizes the Calumet City Democrat to be sworn in as that city’s mayor if he wins the April 6 General Election and remains a state lawmaker, according to an attorney for the city. That’s still in question, because the residents of Calumet City passed a referendum in November prohibiting anyone who holds an office created by the state’s constitution from serving as mayor.

The Supreme Court was ruling on an issue of timing regarding the local referendum’s effective date, not on the legality of Jones holding both positions – state law allows members of the General Assembly to hold another elected office.

Jones filed his nomination papers for Calumet City mayor on Nov. 16. Nearly two weeks earlier, on Nov. 3, voters in Calumet City passed a local referendum that prohibited a person from seeking mayoral office “if, at the time for filing nomination papers, that person also holds an elected, paid office created by the Constitution of the State of Illinois.” […]

According to [Ross Secler, attorney for the city] it is possible that Calumet City, the Cook County State’s Attorney or the Illinois Attorney General could seek to enforce the newly passed referendum and prevent Jones from being seated as mayor.

Or, Secler said, it is possible that Jones will resign from his position as state representative.

Secler is an associate with Burt Odelson’s law firm.

The Illinois Supreme Court opinion is here.


  1. - Frank talks - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 9:22 am:

    I can’t even imagine how much money Burt Odelson is making off Cal City with all legal jumps he’s doing to try to keep Jones from being mayor. Be an interesting FOIA to get his billing records for the City.

  2. - Les Nessman - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 9:27 am:

    If I was about to lose my white whale of a client I to would continue grandstanding and postering to make sure Michelle stays Mayor for life.

  3. - Sideline Watcher - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 10:01 am:

    State law allows it. A local city referendum now trumps state law? Why is this even a question? What am I missing?

  4. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 10:02 am:

    - Sideline Watcher - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 10:01 am:

    The second word in the headline.

  5. - Bridgeport Bob - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 10:15 am:

    Local communities are allowed to set their own qualifications for their local offices via referendum.

  6. - Homebody - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 10:19 am:


    Just because a state law permits something, doesn’t mean a town can’t choose to forbid it. Towns can establish their own rules of governance, generally speaking. Smaller units of government can generally be more strict than the ones above them, they just can’t legalize something that the state has banned.

  7. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 10:53 am:

    For the commenters that do not seem to be catching the drift of the crux of the issue, while state law allows such a referendum, federal law does not allow such a referendum to be created if the intent is to specifically prevent Blacks from being in elected office. There are numerous examples from history, including within the State of Illinois where local ordinances regarding elections were used to specifically prevent black people from being able to hold elected office. A common tactic employed in this effort is having all elections for council members or board members be “at large” instead of by a specific district which would make it difficult for a person of color to win because other racist practices resulted in people of color being forced to live in specific areas.

    Now, of course, the question here is was the intent of the referendum to specifically prevent a black person from serving as mayor?

    You could say no — but it does seem like a pretty unusual referendum to pass and it does seem to fit with a certain technique employed historically — or it could have been to prevent competition from people holding state elected office regardless of who they are, so anyone is free to make up their mind here.

    I’d put my money on this referendum and the threat of enforcement having a racial motive, but that’s only because I’m letting history inform my world view.

  8. - Levois J - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 10:58 am:

    I’m a bit confused people seemed to already be congratulation him on being elected and yet the election hasn’t yet happened?

  9. - Bored Chairman - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 11:14 am:

    Candy, I would agree in general, but Cal City is majority Black. The voters there approved the referendum item prohibiting double dipping.

  10. - the Edge - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 11:20 am:

    Cal City appears to be home rule municipality and as with the transportation lock box question, have certain abilities to circumvent State laws.

  11. - Red Ketcher - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 11:25 am:

    Candy Dogood = On Target

  12. - High Socks - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 11:50 am:

    Levois J - you are indeed confused

  13. - High Socks - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 11:52 am:

    Kim Foxx ain’t touching this, Kwame Raoul ain’t touching this. So it really depends on how Cal City can “enforce” the measure. They can’t make him resign from the GA and they can’t pretend the election Jones won didn’t happen legally.

  14. - Just Another Anon - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 12:13 pm:


    Let me get this straight. Your “worldview” supports an opinion that a majority black communities’ passage of a referendum which prohibits dual officeholding is ….prejudiced….against black people? To be clear, its your position that black people are being impermissibly discriminated against by….*check notes* the 25,000 black residents. Sounds like your worldview needs new prescription lenses.

  15. - Just Another Anon - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 12:16 pm:

    @ High Socks

    >They can’t make him resign from the GA.

    Actually, if an officeholder takes an incompatible office, they, by operation of law, resign their prior office. The mechanism would be a quo warranto suit challenging either his ability to validly accept the office of mayor, or arguing that a vacancy in his GA seat was created by his acceptance of a conflicting office. Happens from time to time.

  16. - High Socks - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 12:28 pm:

    Just Another Anon…from Odelson Sterk LLC

  17. - Roman - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 12:56 pm:


    If an all white city council passed an ordinance banning the practice and some of the members mentioned they were doing it to block Jones, then maybe there’s some sort of angle for a federal voting rights complaint. But because it was done by referendum by a majority black electorate, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree.

  18. - Occupying the Field - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 2:22 pm:

    The State law sets forth the framework regarding a state office. The referendum sets forth the framework regarding a local office. The two are not the same thing. I predict that he will not be able to hold both offices.

    I hope there is no racial motive. Putting that aside, I think there is a sound policy rationale for not allowing someone to occupy both offices. If he wants to be mayor, go be mayor.

  19. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 2:39 pm:

    ===Candy, I would agree in general, but Cal City is majority Black.===

    This does not immunize it’s city government from creating laws that have an impact that is racist and our case law reviews the impact in addition to the intent.

    ===But because it was done by referendum by a majority black electorate, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree.===

    I want my opinion to be wrong too. In my experience efforts to restrict ballot access are not motivated by the better angels of our nature and since I have eliminated the angels that leaves me to pick among the possible demons that could motivate such an effort.

    Others are welcome to pick different demons, and even try to dress their demon up as an angel.

    The source of the rule in question being a referendum is unfortunate, but not every referendum that passes exemplifies the best policies or the best democratic ideals — even if it was done democratically.

  20. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Mar 12, 21 @ 2:51 pm:

    ===its your position that black people are being impermissibly discriminated against by===

    Okay — what’s your explanation for the purpose of the rule? Rep. Jones served on the city council for several years while also being a State Representative.

    I am happy to be wrong, but if you’re going to insist I’m reading an optotype wrong, I think I’m owed the correct reading.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Caption contest!
* Study: One out of nine Illinois prisoners were sentenced for illegal possession of a firearm
* Your feel-good story of the day
* Pritzker: Supreme Court ruling protecting mifepristone access is a “small victory” in the fight to protect women’s rights
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Live coverage
* Selected press releases (Live updates)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...





Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

June 2024
May 2024
April 2024
March 2024
February 2024
January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller