Natarus lost


Natarus as a Witch

Strangely enough, my local Alderman lost after serving the developers in his district for 30 some years. People like us (non-developers) became increasingly disenchanted with Natarus and his autocratic manner, and his (perceived) lack of responsiveness to residents in the ward. Maybe some green space will finally be included in new developments; perhaps the long rumored bike path to the lakefront will become reality; maybe nothing substantive will change. Regardless, we congratulate Brendan Reilly, and look forward to meeting him and/or his staff in the near future.

Veteran Natarus swept out | Chicago Tribune

After 35 years and nine consecutive victories, Ald. Burton Natarus was defeated Tuesday by challenger Brendan Reilly in a contest that measured whether downtown's 42nd Ward had grown tired of the colorful antics of the City Council mainstay.

With 97 percent of the precincts counted, unofficial results showed Reilly with 55 percent of the vote to Natarus' 45 percent.

Natarus, 73, had the second-longest tenure on the council, behind only Ald. Edward Burke (14th), in a ward known as the public face of the city, encompassing the Loop, North Michigan Avenue, River North, Streeterville and the Gold Coast. As alderman, Natarus had a major say in the area's development. Developers also were major contributors to his campaign fund.

Though Natarus won re-election four years ago, it was with only 56 percent of the vote. Some residents have grown critical of his demeanor—he often billed himself as the City Council's resident comedian—and questioned whether he had lost touch with the neighborhood.

In July, during the convening of county Democratic slatemakers who chose Todd Stroger to replace his ill father, John, as the nominee for County Board president, Natarus blasted delivery problems at the U.S. Postal Service, taking care to note that many “Afro-Americans” had good jobs there.

Mike over at Chicago Carless has more, including this astute comment:

But perhaps Burt's greatest miscalculation: forgetting that the thousands of new residents who in the past few years have moved into the Ward's increasingly dense forest of condo towers--built by his developer buddies with scant public oversight--may not have any idea who he is. Or have links to him. Or believe they owe him an oath of fealty. Or, really, have any idea about his previous four decades of tenure at all.

In a Ward brimming with new residents, it's unbridled hubris to keep expecting yesterday's level of blind loyalty from today's electorate. So if it was Natarus who was instrumental in revitalizing downtown's 42nd Ward and turning it into a highly attractive residential success (and it was), in the end, maybe he was just a victim of his own success.



Burton Natarus claimed after his loss that he works so hard... so many hours... all hours of the night; that's a crock.

He refused to even answer any of the three emails I've sent him over the last few years. Each one outlines the success of anti-smoking campaigns in cities all over the world, the increase in restaurant and tavern revenues, the negative health effects of second hand smoke, etc.

Whenever I got a chance to remind people forced to smell the second hand smoke I’d remind them that it is Burton Natarus who prolonged Chicago’s archaic rules.

I really believe all those signs of support for him in the restaurants around the word only served to remind people of our anti-scientific, pro-smoking Alderman.

I’ll be glad when we finally shunter those tobacco addicts out of the restaurants, taverns and bars of our city. Hopefully it will give more of them - all of them! - the strength to quit.

Good riddance to Natarus. Power to the people.

Alderman-elect Brendan Reilly is already keeping his first major campaign promise: to do a better job of keeping residents informed about neighborhood issues affecting them, especially development.

Less than three days after the polls closed, and more than three months before he'll take office, Reilly's website ,, features an new e-mail newsletter for each of the 9 neighborhoods he'll represent.

Reilly does not have any official power over zoning decisions yet, and Crain's Chicago Business asked Reilly about rumors that Alderman Natarus might rush through pending development projects, including the Calatrava "Spire". Reilly's to-the-point response: "he urged Mr. Natarus to 'take into consideration the views of the new alderman' before doing anything."

I live in the 42nd Ward and I was so fed up with all the election-related junk mail I was getting from Natarus. I was getting at least 2-3 pieces of mail per week for the past few weeks! Good riddance.

Well it seems that Ald. Burt "Czar of the Ordinance" Natarus has seen his last hurrah. I think his time has appropriately come. The real power in the 42nd Ward for decades was the Hon. George Dunne. He was, at most, a gentleman and a smooth politician that knew how to serve, amid all his own flaws (but who doesnt have flaws?)

When Dunne passed away in May '06, Natarus was quoted saying "“What George Dunne saw in me, I don’t know,”

I bet "Gentleman George" saw ALOT in one of the most eccentric and quirky politicos this town has ever seen

Burt..thanks for the live entertainment in City Council..and the meomories..I guess

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on February 28, 2007 8:36 AM.

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