Among other things, Ed Burke is known for his literary sensibilities and long, eloquent speeches on the City Council floor in praise of cops, firefighters, recently deceased leaders of the Democratic machine, school spelling-bee champs, and the common man. But Wednesday Burke was the subject of one grand oration after another when the council took up a resolution honoring the 40-year anniversary of his election as alderman.
Some noted that he spends hours every day meeting with constituents; many admired his political instincts; several thanked him for offering them assistance and advice through the years. “Ed never says no to anyone,” said the 31st Ward’s Ray Suarez.
Well, that’s not exactly true. But it was clear that Burke had inspired dozens of his colleagues in different ways.
“You’ve given me instructions about how to run a productive committee,” said budget committee chair Carrie Austin.
“He’s the go-to person on everything green,” said Billy Ocasio of the 26th. “Green pens, green ink, green ties, green watches.”
“I thank you for singing ‘Danny Boy,’” said 48th Ward alderman Mary Ann Smith.
Perhaps the most heartfelt praise came from Mayor Daley, who was so moved by the moment that he humbly gave Burke credit for the incredible efficiency that distinguishes the council’s work.
“I don’t think there’s another legislative body, in other cities, states, or even Congress, that gets so much done, and alderman Burke is a big part of that,” Daley said. “This is an effective legislative body.”