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Posted inNews & Politics

Democracy’s Shining Lamp

Alderman Ray Frias made his first speech on the floor of the Chicago City Council since being acquitted of accepting a bribe, attempted extortion, and lying to the FBI in the federal Silver Shovel probe. Frias, whose entrapment defense required him to admit taking a $500 bribe, didn’t apologize for bringing still more disrepute on […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Why can’t Mayor Daley just be nice to Alderman Helen Shiller? True, she never votes for his budget, and she didn’t make an exception at last week’s City Council meeting. But Alderman Robert Shaw didn’t vote for Daley’s 1998 budget either. He told everyone he was protesting the mayor’s refusal to reinstate council oversight on […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Democracy’s Shing Lamp

The first post-Huels City Council meeting was a strange blend of old and new. It was new, for example, not to see former alderman Patrick Huels swaggering about in suits so expensive they almost made him look portly rather than fat. Huels, Mayor Daley’s floor leader, resigned under fire October 21 after a series of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Government Serving the People

July 30, 1997 Government Serving the People Chicagoans weary of indicted and convicted aldermen will be relieved to learn that their disgraced elected officials shouldn’t be blamed for destroying public confidence in city government. Turns out it’s just another press conspiracy. Several of the aldermen who voted against a new ethics ordinance at last week’s […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Ringing Bells of Liberty

On the same day the marines suspended boxing at boot camp because a recruit died of a head injury, Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. took the council floor to promote his boxing fund-raiser featuring politicians pummeling each other. “The Roar by the Shore,” held June 11 at the South Shore Cultural Center, raised money for the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Democracy’s Shining Lamp

Alderman Edward Burke introduced a laudatory death resolution for a former Illinois state treasurer who was convicted of bank fraud for a multimillion dollar check-kiting scheme. No one noticed. It passed. Burke’s paean to Jerry Cosentino was reminiscent of his speeches on behalf of Richard Nixon, whose troubles are too well-known to need repeating, and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City Council Follies

Alderman Dorothy Tillman can find any excuse to talk about marching with Martin Luther King. Last week the excuse was the City Council debate on extending health benefits to partners of gay city employees. Tillman poured out the standard litany of her experiences fighting discrimination against a minority. Then she loudly exhorted everyone to discriminate […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City Council Follies

It wasn’t the Rumble in the Jungle, but a couple of aldermen at last week’s City Council meeting did have their own version of the rope-a-dope method. No one scored a knockout, however. The main event featured aldermen Ginger Rugai, Robert Shaw, and John Steele. Rugai’s 19th Ward includes Beverly, an integrated, upscale southwest-side neighborhood, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Government Serving the People

Alderman Burton Natarus has developed the instincts of a grizzly bear. The last ward remap shifted downtown into Natarus’s territory, and you can almost see him raking his claws against the skyscrapers to mark his range. Chicago aldermen expect to rule in their own wards, a custom called “aldermanic privilege.” But some aldermen disagree with […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City Council Follies

‘ Last week’s City Council meeting started on a solemn note, as the aldermen and Mayor Daley expressed condolences to Alderman Robert Shaw, whose son had just been killed over a dice game. Alderman after alderman decried the level of violence, immorality, and incivility in today’s society. Then they went on to regular business and […]