Chicago municipal election voting started and the primary ends February 26th.
But the circus goes on all year and there are plenty of clowns to entertain.
I wanted to post about Patrick O’Connor today.
Then the story broke about First Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno. Not the story about his helping out Victor Reyes in some zoning deals.
I mean the story about Proco Joe helping out his girl friend by loaning her his car and then reporting it stolen. She ended up spending the night in jail.
It’s all about helping friends for Proco Joe.
By the way, the helpful Proco Joe is being challenged by my friend Daniel La Spata. Vote for him.
Now, a few words about Patrick O’Connor of the 40th Ward. He just replaced Eddie Burke as head of the Council’s Finance Committee.
Democrat Patrick J. O’Connor has been the 40th Ward’s alderman since he was first elected in 1983 at the age of 28.
The main difference between Eddie Burke and Pat O’Connor is that some may feel Pat wears better suits.
When Chicago elected our first Black mayor, Mayor Harold Washington, O’Connor caucused with the “Vrdolyak (and Burke) 29.”
He was Daley and Rahm’s floor leader.
In Alderman O’Connor’s first term he was handed the Council’s education committee to chair. A federal grand jury investigated him that same year for providing jobs on the education committee staff to fifteen people; relatives, close friends and associates.
Some who he hired claimed they did not realize they were even on the city payroll.
“I think nepotism is a system that has been around a long time. It has worked very well in England. I don’t think it’s been much more of a problem here,” said Alderman Pat O’Connor.
Former Assessor and the Chair of the Cook County Democratic Party prior to Toni Preckwinkle, Joe Berrios, could have learned a few things about nepotism in handing out jobs to relatives from Pat O’Connor, and Berrios hired so many relatives we never have gotten a full count.
Lately there’s been another story about Pat O’Connor and helping friends.
Like Proco Joe Moreno, Pat is a helper on the Council.
In January, shortly after taking over as head of the Finance Committee, O’Connor told Sun-Times reporter Fran Spielman that there has “never been a zoning change in our community that was done for the benefit of my spouse.”
Why was this even a question?
Because Barbara O’Connor, a real estate developer, was involved in a deal that involved selling some property in the 40th ward where Edgewater Hospital used to be.
Some people thought this was shady. Why was the wife of the 40th Ward Alderman, who has ward zoning aldermanic prerogative, involved in a real estate deal in the 40th ward?
Pat explained to Spielman that this was striking a blow for women’s rights.
“In this day and age where women are entitled to their own livelihood, that’s what the rules state. That law exists and we followed it. And every time there was even a potential for conflict, I went to the ethics board . . . It was determined whether there was a conflict or not and [we] acted appropriately.”
O’Connor bristled when asked whether it would have been “better or more pristine” if he had simply told his wife not to sell real estate in the 40th Ward for which he had approved a zoning change.
“I should have probably said, `Stay home. Be barefoot. Be in the kitchen because I’m the man. I work outside the home. You work inside the home,’“ he said sarcastically.
“You take . . . one of the best in the business in the city of Chicago and you say, `Sublimate your ability to succeed for mine.’ If my wife sells a single family home in Chicago — whether it’s in my ward or not — she’s entitled.”
Man. I’m getting teary-eyed.
As really great as this is, I want to carry it forward.
Elect a woman to represent the 40th Ward. There is even a woman running.
That would be Dianne Daleiden.
And, best of all, she is a teacher and CTU member.
My brother Mike and I are hosting an event for Dianne on Sunday, February 17 from 2 to 5 PM at Joie De Vine, 1744 West Balmoral.
Performing will be our friends, the musical juke box, Matt Farmer, and the amazing guitar man, Steve Doyle.