Listen to Hitting Left with guest Matt Farmer

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Where democracy goes to die...

Chicago's City Council

Progress Illinois Photo
The Mayor's toadies were on full display in yesterday's Council meeting. When the Progressive Caucus moved to get two important measures out on the floor for a vote, Rahm put the hammer down. He even cut off the mic when Caucus leader and Rahm's possible opponent in the upcoming election, Ald. Bob Fioretti, took the floor to support the measures.

The Caucus, which sponsored the two measures — a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Surplus Ordinance and a resolution calling for a citywide referendum on an elected Chicago school board — invoked "Rule 41" to liberate the legislation from the Rules Committee. That's the committee which some people call the place "where good legislation goes to die." Both measures were sent to the Rules Committee immediately after being introduced.

Many of the 32 Alder-sucks, who had previously co-sponsored the ordinances, ran and hid. Faux-progressive Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), who co-signed the TIF-surplus ordinance, not only flipped and opposed the  attempt to get it out of committee, he also accused the Progressive Caucus of “throwing my signature back into my face” and asking him to “give my vote to you under pressure.” Pawar went to far as to compare the Progressives with Grover Norquist and the Tea Partyers.

Rahm smiled and probably patted Pawar on the head.

Council Wars: O'Connor was with Vrdolyak 29
But the sleaziest of the Council yes-men was Rahm's floor leader, Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th) who claimed that the move to bring the measures up for a vote was "uncivil," and compared it to the Council Wars of the 1980s. Council Wars was the term given to the battles that saw 29 mostly white aldermen, led by "Fast Eddie" Vrdolyak and "Slow Eddie" Burke, do everything in their power to thwart the city's first black mayor, Harold Washington.
“Those were the worst days that I’ve ever had in this body. And it was because we, as a body, departed from an opportunity to be civil to one another all the time and be able to take opposite ends of a political question and know the difference,” O’Connor said.
No, O'Connor, it wasn't "we as a body." It was the Vrdolyak 29. You might have mentioned that you were an active member of that "uncivil" racist bloc.

I hope people were taking names back on October 16th, when several of these phony progressives were up on stage at the Take Back Chicago rally at UIC, swearing up and down to support the progressive agenda come what may. You know who you are, Will Burns (4th).

Kudos to Fioretti, Aldermen Arena (45th), Sposato (36th), Munoz (22nd), Waguespack (32nd), Foulkes (15th), Hairston (5th), Sawyer (6th) and the few others who had the spine to stand up, vote the right way and speak out for fair funding and democratic decision making for Chicago's public schools without being intimidated by Rahm and his gang.

Ald. Harris: "What's Rule 41?"
Funniest moment was when the Caucus tried to use Rule 41 to liberate the two measures from the Rules Committee. Rules Committee Chair Ald. Michelle Harris acted all confused and claimed she didn't know what Rule 41 was.

Writes Mark Anderson at the Ward Room:
To understand what happened, you have to recognize some basic facts. First is that the measure was buried in the Rules Committee, chaired by Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), for a very specific reason: because Mayor Rahm Emanuel wanted it buried there. From the mayor’s perspective, giving control over TIF dollars to aldermen would be a very dangerous thing. Who knows, they might start listening to their constituents when it comes time to decide how to spend them.
Note to Ald. Harris -- Rule 41 is the rule in between Rule 40 and Rule 42. But the most important rule you have to remember is Rule 86 which states clearly that there are no rules except, do what the Mayor tells you to do. Get it?

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