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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Schizo Chicago: the City Council defers the infrastucture fund

Posted By on 04.18.12 at 05:47 PM

Alderman Leslie Hairston
  • Alderman Leslie Hairston
Just got back from Rush Street, where I was celebrating the City Council's bold display of independence by carousing in bars and turning over parked cars.

Not really . . .

It's more like the metaphorical celebration I enjoy whenever the City Council shows a little spunk, which, alas, isn’t often. As you know, the council's been on what you might call an independence hiatus for the last few months. Years. Decades.

But not today!

No, no—today they told Mayor Emanuel to take his proposed infrastructure fund and stick it someplace nasty.

They didn't actually come out and vote against the fund, but so many aldermen had lined up to vote against it that the mayor was forced to retreat by having two of his allies—Aldermen Edward Burke and Patrick O'Connor—defer and publish.

That's where they put off a vote until the next meeting.

Not sure what he's going to to do with the extra time—other than make a few cosmetic and meaningless changes. And it must have killed the mayor to defer and publish—you know how he hates to lose. But he had no choice since two dissenting aldermen were going to defer and publish whether the mayor liked it or not.

And wouldn’t that look embarrassing.

If you want to know everything you need to know but were afraid to ask about the infrastructure fund, read this absolutely brilliant—if I may say so myself—account that Mick and I wrote last week.

I'm sure it will be made into a movie any day now—with Mickey Rooney as Rahm.

If you're too lazy to read a whole article, the key point to remember is this: Mayor Emanuel wants you believe that he's come up with a magical way to magically pay for billions of dollars worth of new schools, parks, streets, buildings, and other stuff without costing you a thing.

What a fool believes . . .

But the council didn’t fall for it! Or, at least, seven aldermen voted against the deal at Monday's Finance Committee meeting.

Okay, so 11 voted for it. But, still, seven—count 'em—seven actually found the courage to tell the boss man no!!!

In no particular order, the magnificent seven are: Pat Dowell, Leslie Hairston, Willie Cochran, Rick Munoz, Brendan Reilly, Lona Lane, and Scott Waguespack.

A special shout out goes to Alderman Munoz, who went on Chicago Tonight to denounce the deal.

Give 'em hell, Rick!

While we're giving shout outs, how 'bout Alderman Hairston. She not only voted no, but issued a press release that sounded like something I'd write.

"It sure looks like the mayor's carefully selective about who gets the f-bomb and who doesn’t. In other words, he's careful to keep it from people he fears, needs, or wants money from."

Oh, wait, that is something I wrote.

Here's what Hairston’s press release said about the fund: "Despite his 'reform' claims, Emanuel has employed the same closed, rushed, 'ram it down their throats' process that placed us at the mercy of investors who can increase costs at will, demand the City provide compensation for losses and refer complaints to a black hole where nobody accepts fault. Even worse, he wants us to give him blanket authority over numerous such ventures, with appointees he chooses as 'watchdogs.'"

Tell it like it is, Alderman!

Of course, I shouldn’t get too giddy. Defer and publish only means put off until the next meeting. Which is Tuesday.

If I know my aldermen—and, let’s face it, we're like an old married couple—they’ll give the mayor what he wants at the next meeting.

Which means that in five days I’ll be back at Rush Street—metaphorically speaking, of course—only this time drowning my sorrows in drink.

So it goes in schizo Chicago—happy one day, gloomy the next.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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