Aldermen Freddrenna Lyle (6th) and Walter Burnett (27th) have been complaining about the rush to vote on Mayor Daley’s plan to sell Midway Airport for $2.5 billion.
But I don’t know, I think our public watchdogs at the City Council may actually be becoming more deliberative on these kinds of enormously expensive and complicated deals.
Consider, for example, their decision to help finance the Olympics. During his visit last March 7, U.S. Olympic Committee vice president Bob Ctvrtlik told reporters that Chicago needed to put some “skin in the game.” Within a day, Mayor Daley, who’d promised that not a single dime of public money would go toward the Olympics, was putting together a package that pledged up to $500 million in financial support in the case of cost overruns. On Friday, March 9, the administration presented details in a several closed-door meetings to aldermen. The deal zipped through the council’s finance committee on Monday, March 12. And on Wednesday, March 14, the full council approved it by a vote of 45-5.
In contrast, Mayor Daley announced the Midway deal on Tuesday, September 30. On Monday and Tuesday of this week it was the subject of hearings at joint meetings of the council’s finance and aviation committees. And on Wednesday, October 8, the council approved the deal on a vote of 49-0 without making any changes.
All told, from the time they first learned of the proposal until they rubber-stamped it, the council took took six days on the Olympics and eight days on Midway.
Hey, give ’em some credit. That’s an extra two days spent on “deliberations,” one for each additional billion.