Four years ago we looked to the incoming Chicago City Council with great hope and expectation—at long last, there would be a vigilant watchdog to guard us against the most egregious excesses of an all-powerful mayor.

Silly us.

Let’s just say things didn’t turn out as we’d hoped: aside from some modest, occasional steps forward, we witnessed four more years of aldermen rubber-stamping mayoral initiatives—think of the parking meter lease deal, millions of dollars’ worth of barely monitored corporate subsidies, raids of the rainy-day piggy bank, and head-scratching appointments of yes-men, hacks, and misfits to head city agencies.

So here we go again.

With renewed hopes and expectations—maybe this will be the council to say, “Sorry, boss, even I can’t do that”—this is our guide to the insiders, reformers, wannabe insiders, and pretend reformers in your City Council. This time around the retreads will be joined by 13 new faces, including a firefighter, a geeky University of Chicago grad student, and, of course, more lawyers—because you can’t have too many of them.

Meet your Chicago City Council. If you end up disappointed, remember this—you elected them.

Image of City Hall via Flickr/Duna12