Monday, June 20, 2011

Fresh start for council's freshmen

And Ald. Sawyer was quoted in this Tribune article from yesterday!
Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, may be a rookie, but he's not new to the ways of City Hall. As a child and young man, Sawyer saw his father, the late Mayor Eugene Sawyer, deal with the council as both an alderman and the city's chief executive during the racially tinged Council Wars era.

"I think we're finally going to see a council exercising its rights and flexing its muscle as a strong council, getting together on issues that are common to all of us, because we all have the same issues," Ald. Sawyer said, singling out safe streets as the primary concern that affects all wards.

Sawyer and [47th Ward Ald. Ameya] Pawar were among seven independent-minded freshmen who spoke at a recent breakfast meeting of the Union League Club of Chicago. Several talked about a stronger council, but none spoke of political combat with the new mayor.

The time-honored job duties of aldermen in Chicago include fielding requests for city services, from potholes that need paving to alleys that need cleaning. They also make the final decision on nearly all zoning issues and sign off on various fee waivers for nonprofit groups.

"The problem in the city of Chicago is that the aldermen have inserted themselves as gatekeepers," Pawar said, when asked if the council needed 50 aldermen. "That's why you end up with all these fiefdoms. … Do you want us to be custodial vicars, or do you want us to be legislators?"
I think we should look at some news regarding the first 30 days of Mayor Emanuel's administration.

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