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A few good government jobs.

Many people connected with the United Neighborhood Organization, known as UNO, have landed top-level government appointments and jobs-some even while they're still working with UNO. Through them, this community organizing group has built a network of influential people with strong ties to city and state governments.

* As 25th Ward alderman and president pro tempore of the Chicago City Council, Daniel Solis is perhaps UNO's most successful alumnus. Solis co-founded the organization and served as its executive director for several years. In 1996, Daley appointed him to fill the 25th Ward seat vacated by indicted former Alderman Ambrosio Medrano. Solis has been re-elected twice.

* Juan Rangel, UNO's executive director, is a member of Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity, a group that received seed money from ComEd and is advocating deregulation in Illinois. Rangel also heads the Latino Advisory Board of Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes.

* Federico d'Escoto, an UNO board member and occasional spokesman for the group's smoking ban campaign, is president of d'Escoto Inc., a politically connected construction company that has made nearly $125,000 in donations to local politicians and received a 10 percent contract share in the O'Hare International Airport expansion worth tens of millions of dollars annually, according to media accounts.

* UNO's current board chairperson, Veronica Alanis, is the Latino affairs liaison at the Chicago Housing Authority.

* Impressed with the work of Vittorio Gomez as communications specialist in the Office of Language and Cultural Education at Chicago Public Schools, Rangel referred Gomez to Comptroller Hynes. In 2003, Hynes hired Gomez to be his deputy director of taxpayer information and consumer affairs.

* Juan Ochoa, who served as an immigration coordinator for UNO during the early '90s, now serves as head of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a statewide group that has received $650,000 from the state to fund programs.

* In 1990, while she was a member of the UNO board of directors, Bertha Magana was appointed to the Chicago Public Schools Board.

* In the mid-1980s, then-Mayor Harold Washington appointed UNO Board Member Mary Ellen Montes to the Chicago City Colleges' Board of Trustees.
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Title Annotation:United Neighborhood Organization
Author:Sanchez, Casey
Publication:The Chicago Reporter
Geographic Code:1U3IL
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:346
Previous Article:Getting in: UNO is tapping a new source for Latino leaders of the future.
Next Article:Cashed out: school officials across Illinois want the state to narrow the gap in education funding. But no one knows exactly how to do it.
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