Saturday, February 21, 2009

Investigating Aldermanic Behavior

Thanks to the reader who made us aware of this step in the right direction. Can't happen soon enough!

"Mayor Richard Daley's allies in the Chicago City Council followed through Wednesday on their pledge to gut his ambitious inspector general ordinance by voting to exclude aldermen and their staffs from investigative scrutiny.... Daley watched as aldermen, most of them normally allied with the mayor, voted 35-14 to protect themselves from the authority of the inspector general." - Chicago Tribune, Oct. 5, 1989

Last Sunday, in introducing an ongoing Chicago Tribune effort titled "State of Corruption," we told you we would advance reforms to combat the culture of political sleaze at all levels of government in Illinois. This Sunday we're pleased to report that Ald. Patrick O'Connor, Mayor Richard M. Daley's floor leader in the Chicago City Council, promises to instigate a change that would empower the city's inspector general to investigate the 50 aldermen.

The need for extending I.G. scrutiny over the aldermen couldn't be plainer...

Read the entire article here. (We wonder how Ald. Shiller voted on this issue wayyyy back in 1989?)

Update: This is how the 1989 vote went:

In favor of aldermen being excluded from investigation: Aldermen Roti, Rush, Beavers, Caldwell, Shaw, Vrdolyak, Huels, Fary, Madrzyk, Burke, Carter, Langford, Streeter, Kellam, Sheahan, Jones, Krystyniak, Henry, Soliz, Butler, Gabinski, Mell, Austin, Banks, Giles, Cullerton, Laurino, O'Connor, Pucinski, Natarus, Hansen, Levar, Schulter, M. Smith, Stone.

In favor of aldermen being subject to investigation: Tillman, T. Evans, Bloom, Steele, J. Evans, Garcia, Gutierrez, E. Smith, Davis, Figueroa, Kotlarz, Eisendrath, Shiller, Orr.

Update #2: Ald. Shiller's viewpoint in 2007:

Do you support expanding the jurisdiction of the City Inspector General to include City Council members? Ald. Shiller's response: No.

Update #3: If you think the Chicago Inspector General should be allowed to investigate the office of the Mayor and all 50 Chicago Aldermen, sign the petition here.


  1. Send him an email telling him you support this measure:

  2. Interesting that O'Connor, who's promising change now, was one of the aldermen who voted against the measure 20 years ago.

    Wonder if Helen would change her vote today, too?

  3. Shiller voted to subject aldermen to investigation in 1989.

    Good move, then.

    How would she vote, today?

    20 years can change a person.

  4. I voted against Shiller in 2007, but I think I like the 1989 Shiller better than the 2009 Shiller! It's just harder to dislike someone who is true to their principles, even if I disagree eith them.

  5. During the last aldermanic campaign season, Ald. Shiller stated very clearly in an IVI-IPO survey about where she stands.

    I have a copy of the entire survey, but here was Question #50 and her single word response:

    Do you support expanding the jurisdiction of the City Inspector General to include City Council members?

    Ald. Shiller's response: No.

    I once spoke to a representative from the City Inspector General's office and asked if he knew of any other city in the United States that did not have a process in place to investigate their city council members for alleged fraud, waste, and abuse. I was told that it was his belief that no other city in the United States has this same stipulation that Chicago has.

    If we want to be serious about addressing the negative press that Chicago has received from all over the United States and the world when it comes to the "Chicago Way" of doing things, we must have a process in place where members of City Council and their staff are subject to the same rules and regulations as other City employees. It is embarrassing that this has been allowed to go on for as long as it has.

    Time after time after time we have seen instances where campaign contributions and zoning changes are closely intertwined. Many of us on this message board have no tolerance for it. My hope is that our city is reaching a tipping point and we will begin seeing voters insisting on more accountability from our elected officials.

  6. James Cappleman,

    how dare your bring facts into a discussion on this board.

    Your subpoena is on its way.

    I recall Aldercritter Stone recently verbally abusing the City Inspector General for investigating one of Stone's employees allegedly involved in vote fraud in Stone's ward. I believe said employee was charged by the Feds.

    Here is a link among many I found on "the google".

    It was a pathetic performance from a man that was pathetic his whole life.

  7. Another case for term limits, don't you think?

  8. " ... Stone recently verbally abusing the City Inspector General for investigating one of Stone's employees allegedly involved in vote fraud ... "

    the pretext for the verbal abuse was Stone trying to zero out the IG's budget

    I'm going to guess Stone will not be switching his '89 position

  9. hard-core policy wonks may enjoy perusing the official record of the infamous 1989 vote establishing the City IG but exempting aldermen:

    Journal of Proceedings 1/4/89 (PDF; 551 pp., 7.86M)

    see PDF page 537 Journal page 5726


    also of interest is it's an extremely rare instance of an attempt at a floor amendment in Chicago City Council

  10. Why does the IVI-IPO questionnaire have a totally unanswered question in there (#52) about the largest campaign contributors? Are parts of the answers missing, or does this mean it was just not answered?

  11. Principles&Shiller? What are her principles? Stacking the poor into a mid-rise slum? Using the poor to advance her nutty misguided "Principles?" Treating the poor like her personal chattle? Give me a f*****g break! It's your do-nothing attitude that allows her to continue her slash and burn philosophy.

  12. Ald. Patrick O'Connor Supports IG Investigating Aldermen--Now 2009

    An article in the Chicago Tribune Feb. 21 2009 says so.

    O'Connor is running for U.S. representative in the IL 5th CD special primary election March 3, 2009.

    See IL5thCD at:

    Joe Lake, Bucktown

  13. Alderman David Orr (49th) authored the IG ordinance. (This was after his brief stint as mayor.) His ordinance encompassed the aldermen & their staffs, but the aldermen on the City Council's Rules & Ethics Committee gutted it. Orr tried to put the alderman & their staffs back by floor amendment. This failed when his amendment was sent to committee by the 35-14 vote recorded in the lead post above. Then Orr tried, ok, how about exempting the alderman themselves but including their staffs? That failed, too, with the same vote.

    The aldermen & staffs & their committees & their committee staffs are larger than many City departments. The staff of Burke's Finance committee alone is larger than some City departments. And they are all outside the oversight of our IG.

  14. O'Connor is a hack among hacks.

    Last summer he got his son a temporary job at the Metropolitan Sanitary District. Jobs that apparently weren't available to ordinary students without clouted parents.

    It is a running joke around City Hall how many relatives he has on various government payrolls.

    His wife did very well in the recent past working with developers in his ward. She has a real estate license. That's a family doing very well financially .

    I don't even want to think about Bernie Stone. Calling him a hack would be an insult to other hacks.

    It's like when convicted former aldercritter Troutman said all "alderman are hoes".

    Actual street hookers were offended.

    If Stone, Moore and Shiller would lose in 2011 I would be in heaven.

    "We'll be in heaven, in 2011".

    Can they issue you a subpoena in heaven?

  15. "O'Connor is running for U.S. representative in the IL 5th CD special primary election March 3, 2009."

    ...and the next City Council meeting, O'Connor's 1st opportunity to deliver on his pledge to the Editorial board of the Tribune: March 18, 2009

  16. I love that questionnaire.

    Allow me, if you will, to highlight may favs (in retrospect, some of this stuff is simply amazing; and it's great ammunition for anyone thinking of running against her *AHEM*!)

    - I also believe that it is possible to be independent and that there can be and needs to be one set of rules by which all people interact with any level of government. This is often not the case, leading to cynicism and a sense of powerlessness. I believe that when you think something is wrong you have a responsibility to do something about it.

    - Politics does not have to be based on the principle of "I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine."

    - My priorities include continuing an effective service office; maintaining affordability; creating an effective recycling alternative to blue bag recycling, democratizing CAPS; increasing free and/or affordable parking; addressing the impact of isolation and violence (especially among youth); and continuing to facilitate appropriate democratic processes for development decisions.

    - The goal has been to ensure ongoing retail establishment space while discouraging overly dense structures.

    - ... Wilson Yard. I insisted upon the involvement of community residents in the early marketing stage of this proposed project, and then throughout every stage of planning and implementation. This process has been very extensive and inclusive. The Task Force established to include all the stakeholders early on has been meeting quarterly to receive updated progress reports so they can bring the information back to their constituencies. (This task force has always included the organization that my opponent was in the leadership of during the past year, and yet he never came to a single meeting.)

    Several times she mentions Recent political changes in Washington will hopefully lead to more supportive policies from Washington, D.C.

    (by the way, she is such a horrible communicator. Her sentence structure, punctuation and overall ability to speak is grammar school level, at best).

    Now, this won't make me popular to anyone but Chip, but it's interesting to note how anti-Bush the woman was/is and these changes from DC to which she refers came straight from the Bush administration.

    She can't bring herself to give credit where credit it due, on a matter so close to her heart.

    I love this one:

    b. Do you support a rule requiring all city council proceedings to be transcribed verbatim and published by the city clerk?

    Yes. This should be available on CDs.

    CDs. Ha! Welcome to the 1990's, alderman. I'm sure she'd be just downright bedazzled by color television.

    The most telling:

    48. Will you or have you accepted campaign donations from current or potential suppliers or employees?

    The primary restriction that I have on accepting campaign contributions are those established in the law.

    Typical blustery response to a yes or no question.

    Short answer, I guess .. is "yes"

  17. Ald. Shiller: "I believe that when you think something is wrong you have a responsibility to do something about it."

    Unless, of course, you run a blog. In that case, we will belittle you, attempt to intimidate you, and throw our lawyers at you.

  18. Ald. Shiller is right. I didn't come to a single WY Task Force meeting.

    Here's what she didn't state:
    1. The meetings were held during the business day, requiring me to take a vacation day to attend.

    2. The meetings were often canceled with less than 24 hours notice, and I was already taking too many other days off for other Uptown activities to waste one on a canceled meeting.

    3. Members of the task force had NO DECISION-MAKING authority. I would attend the meetings only to disseminate information about decisions that were made without community input. It should not be the job of the task force to disseminate information. That's the job of an alderman.

    It's unfortunate that the experiences of many is that we must understand what's not said to get to the real truth behind what's said. How very sad.

  19. Ald. Shiller: "I believe that when you think something is wrong you have a responsibility to do something about it."

    So she should stand up and applaud the citizens filing lawsuits to Stop Labor Ready and to Fix Wilson Yard.

    Somehow, I don't think her lofty morals apply to anyone who opposes her.

  20. Caring Neighbor, I would hardly call Shiller's morals "lofty." Subterannean, maybe. Cavernous, empty-headed, bankrupt, or even reprehensible come to mind most readily. Lofty, not so much.

  21. For added fun, and as it pertains to anyone reading this with plans to vote in the 5th district election, next month:

    Mike Quigley endorsed Helen in '07.

    Sara Feigenholtz endorsed Helen in '07.

    Additionally, the following people have endorsed Helen and should be reminded of this fact at each and every opportunity:

    Greg Harris
    Jan "the man" Schakowsky
    Rahm Emanuel
    John Cullerton
    Carol "skyrocketing pension" Ronen

    BTW - ask Jan about her support for Helen, and/or her opinion on the subpoenas/Wilson Yard.

    You might be surprised at how deafening her silence on the matter is.

  22. BTW Is Jan's hubby still on probation or has he started another phony "Charity" with The Janster as Chairperson of the board?