zoning board community representatives

Mark Ballard

Little Italy

Mark Ballard is a lifelong resident of Chicago with roots in the ward dating back to the 1890's. He has been a licensed attorney since 1983, and has extensive experience with land use and zoning matters as a practitioner. In 1997, Mark was sworn in as a judge and served on the bench for 19 years, holding supervisory positions in the First Municipal and County Divisions of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Mark is also a former Chairman of the Chicago Bar Association First Municipal District Committee and former board member of the Chicago Athletic Association. Currently, he is a member of the City Club of Chicago, the University Club of Chicago and volunteers at Misericordia and Special Olympics Chicago. He resides in Little Italy.

Jessie Johnson

ABLA homes, BJ Wright Courts & George Collins Apartments

Jessie Johnson has served as the president of Barbara Jean Wright Courts Management Organization for over 20 years. In this role, Jessie has advocated for better public housing and protected the rights of tenants in community. In this role, her responsibilities involve everything from preventing wrong eviction, advocate for infrastructural improvements and conducting events for the community such as back to school parties, senior dinners, and movie nights. She is a lifelong resident of the ABLA/BJ Wright community.

Jamie Brown

South Loop

Jamie Brown is a trial attorney at a large law firm in Chicago, focusing on Government Contracts and International Trade Compliance. Previously, she worked as Counsel at the American Bar Association, in the Center for Professional Responsibility. Though a lawyer by education, Jamie has experience on multiple campaigns, community organizing & field operations, as well as general advisement: Senator Gary Peters (Michigan), Del. Kathleen Murphy (VA-34), Mark Edelson for Baltimore City Council, Michael Wade for Delegate (VA-91), and Daniel Biss for IL Governor, to name a few. She is currently President of the Board of Directors for Chicago Votes, a non-profit group that seeks to encourage youth civic engagement in Chicago and discourage voter disenfranchisement. Jamie currently lives in the beloved Printers Row neighborhood of Chicago (Ward 25) where she serves as a Precinct Captain. She enjoys yoga, traveling, keeping up with current events, White Sox baseball, summertime in Chicago and eating all the amazing cuisine the city has to offer!

Armando Chacon

West Loop

Armando Chacon was born and raised in Chicago and has lived on the near west side and the West Loop for over 25 years. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Armando is an accomplished real estate professional who has worked hard to build a successful business serving people from all walks of life. He has been recognized as one of the top brokers in the near west side and the city of Chicago and recognized as a top producer and in the top 1% by the Chicago Association of Realtors. He became a principal and managing partner of Century 21 SGR in 2014.

Over the span of 2 decades, Armando has worked tirelessly to spur economic development on the near west side in an equitable and responsible manner. He has dedicated himself to addressing education issues for his community. He helped transform an old school building in Little Italy into what is now STEM Elementary. He is currently working with his community and Chicago Public Schools to bring a new high school to a growing near west side. 

As a board member and president of the Mary Bartelme Park Advisory Council, he started several annual events such as the annual party for the park, Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Menorah lighting ceremony, movies in the park, farmers market, and others that have helped build a stronger sense of community in the West Loop. Armando has worked closely with local Aldermen, the department of planning and development, and other community stakeholders on several community initiatives. Armando recently served on a task force created by the department of planning and development to create the now completed West Loop Design Guidelines. He currently co-chairs the Madison Row committee comprised of Madison Street business and property owners that is focused on vitalizing the street with its own identity that is true to its history. In short, Armando is always looking for ways to make his community better and help people with various needs. He is excited about Chicago’s future and doing all he can to make it better for all. Armando is fortunate to have a wonderful family that includes his wife Bridgette and four kids Isabella, Isaac, Vince, and Charlie.

Rosa Esquivel

Pilsen & areas of McKinley Park


Rosa is a Family Resource Specialist at Illinois Action for Children, a non-profit helping families pay for childcare. She also serves as the current board President of Pilsen Alliance advocating for affordable housing and education as she is also the Vice-President of the Local School Council at Benito Juarez High School. 

Further, Rosa is the former director of the 25th Ward IPO(Independent Political Organization) where she worked on many issue-based campaigns, such as the non- expansion of Charter Schools referendum and Elected School Board. Other campaigns that she has participated are CPAC, Lift the Ban on Rent Control just to mention a few.

Rosa is a first generation immigrant from Guatemala. As a mother of 4, Rosa is very committed to the advocacy of good quality education, she understands the challenges that families in the community go through everyday and is committed to serve and help through her knowledge and experience at the grassroots level.

Mary Gonzales

Pilsen & areas of McKinley Park

Mary grew up in the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. In 1958, her family was displaced with hundreds of other families to make room for upscale housing. They relocated in the near southwest side community of Pilsen where she became a well-known leader and later, a professional organizer. With her mother, Guadalupe Reyes, she was instrumental in creating Esperanza Community Services and El Valor Corporation, both highly recognized organizations serving people with disabilities.

She has travelled extensively in the U.S. and other countries mentoring organizers, training leaders and building leader directed not-for-profit community organizations focused on creating equity and justice for some of the most vulnerable.

In 2002, she accepted the challenge to expand Gamaliel’s work to the West Coast. She founded Gamaliel of California, a statewide organization with four affiliated regional organizations in San Diego, Sonoma, Alameda and Sacramento counties. She retired in 2014 but continues to volunteer her expertise to Gamaliel affiliated organizations.

She is a Mexican-American Chicago native and a Roman Catholic. She is married to the co-founder of Gamaliel, Gregory Galluzzo, and is the mother of four daughters and has ten grandchildren.

Robert Hoy

Chinatown & areas of McKinley Park

Robert Hoy is an entrepreneur whose family has been doing business in Chinatown since the 1940’s. He has previously been involved in the retail and art business, and co-owned the only 24-hour Chinese radio station in Chicago. He maintains his law practice as a semi-retired attorney, and is also currently active in commercial real estate and property management. Lastly, Robert serves as President of the United Chinatown Organization (UCO), an entity that promotes and safeguards the interests of residents and businesses in the Chinese community.

Debbie Liu

Chinatown & areas of McKinley Park

When Debbie Liu grew up around 24th and Canal in Chicago’s Chinatown, it was a place where her immigrant parents could find all the amenities of a big city, yet still feel at home in a cultural enclave, surrounded by familiar food, languages, and experiences. Debbie served as the Community Development Coordinator for the Coalition for a Better Chinese-American Community (CBCAC). In her efforts to develop Chicago’s Community Vision Plan, Debbie has worked with CMAP since 2011 through the Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program to build Chicago’s Community Vision Plan. As of this year, Debbie has taken up a role as Community Development Coordinator for the Metropolitan Tenant Counsel. She continues to work with CBCAC in a consultant capacity.

Victoria Romero

Pilsen & areas of McKinley Park


Victoria Romero, the youngest of seven children, was born and raised in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood to Mexican-American parents. She credits her family with instilling in her the values of commitment, dedication and community involvement. 

While growing up in Pilsen, Victoria was exposed to community activism at a very early age. It was the valuable lessons she learned from area leaders that led her toward a path of community service.

Victoria received her Bachelor’s Degree in Latin American Studies from DePaul University. While at DePaul, Victoria noticed a lack of support and services for Latino students. In an effort to fill that void, she co-founded the student organization, DALE (DePaul Alliance for Latino Enrichment).

After completing her studies, Victoria chose to serve her community by responding to the critical public health issue of HIV/AIDS/STDs. She has made this her life’s work as she currently serves as a Public Health Administrator at the Chicago Department of Public Health. In this role, Victoria provides technical assistance to community-based agencies that do the frontline work of HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Victoria thoroughly enjoys being a facilitator of HIV/AIDS services to her community, that otherwise might not have access to or knowledge of the programs that are available through the health department.

Victoria is now a homeowner in Pilsen. She is committed to keeping her neighborhood’s Mexican cultural identity alive. Part of that effort has been as a past Board Member of the Pilsen Alliance, a community-organizing agency that advocates for the rights of residents regarding accessible public transportation, quality education, affordable housing and issues of gentrification.