Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Raise your hand if you think city aldermen need more power. Anyone? Anyone?

Crain's Chicago Business reports:
Raise your hand if you think Chicago aldermen need more power.

If you are one of the very few Chicagoans—and not an alderman yourself—with a hand raised, then good news: A new ordinance introduced to City Council would give aldermen the power to veto any business license application or renewal with the City of Chicago.

Ordinance O2017-2138, sponsored by Alderman Greg Mitchell (7th Ward) and currently sitting in committee, would require city departments to alert an alderman about each license application filed in his or her respective ward. The alderman could then veto any application as long as he or she provided a reason for denial. And if the alderman doesn't like the application, well . . . that is where the application dies.
You think they don't have enough power?
Placing this much power in the hands of one person is simply a bad idea. That's why checks and balances were created at all levels of our government. What if a business and an alderman have a bad relationship? In Chicago, scenarios regularly play out in which businesses have to bend to an alderman's will because of personal grudges or because an alderman thought his or her opinion was best.

The list of aldermanic muscle-flexing is long. Some examples include: Alderman Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward) tried to prevent a Chick-fil-A from opening in his ward because he didn't like their CEO's comments on gay marriage. Former Alderman Bob Fioretti (2nd Ward) blocked a restaurant in his ward from putting up a new sign because he didn't like the restaurant's name. Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward) was caught on tape telling housing activists who protested in front of his home that, as retribution, he would "never" move their legislation forward in City Hall.
The great moments of one party rule, in the Blue city.