Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot presented her plan to restrict aldermanic privilege (aka aldermanic prerogative) to the city’s aldermen yesterday.
My alderman, 35th Ward Carlos Rosa, reacted with enthusiasm.
Rosa, it should be noted, was one Lightfoot’s loudest opponents in the election in which she soundly defeated Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Lightfoot beat Preckwinkle in every city ward and won 75% of the vote. In Rosa’s and my ward Lightfoot won twice as many votes as Preckwinkle.
The people spoke. They want desperately to end official corruption in city government.
Ironically, last night, a few hours after the Mayor-elect presented her reform plan to the Council, 1st Ward Alderman “Proco” Joe Moreno was arrested on charges of insurance fraud. Moreno was also beaten badly in the recent election, replaced by Daniel La Spata.
La Spata will be on Hitting Left this Friday along with Friends of the Parks executive director Juanita Irizarry.
There was also some irony in the press conference called by Alderman Raymond Lopez denouncing Lightfoot’s good government reforms.
Lopez is thisclose to Alderman “Slow” Eddie Burke. Burke is facing his own corruption charges.
Lopez holding his press conference might be considered poor timing. It was a few hours before Moreno’s arrest.
Lopez might have been smarter thinking about aldermanic probation instead of aldermanic privilege and prerogative.
As for the Mayor-elect, I hope she stays strong. She has shown every sign of doing just that.
I remember when Jane Byrne beat the Machine in 1979. She immediately cut her deals with “Fast” Eddie Vrdolyak and “Slow” Eddie Burke. Those deals ensured she would be a one-term mayor and that nothing would happen to challenge the political bosses.
The best that could be said about her was that her defeat of the Machine candidate weakened the regulars just enough to help lead the way for Mayor Harold Washington.
Mayor-elect Lightfoot seems to have learned the lesson that she needs to come out strong.
There’s so much more to be done about corruption and aldermanic power. For example, Lightfoot didn’t propose anything yet restricting the aldermen’s role in controlling zoning decisions. Their zoning power has been a source of corruption and a factor in the city’s national reputation as one of the most racially segregated.
Still, I agree with my alderman, Carlos Rosa. It’s a great start to good government.