Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's Good To Be Queen...

An alert reader informs us that the City Council has today appointed Ald. Shiller as new chairman of the Human Relations Committee. He adds, "I take it the City Council has a sense of humor."

Update: The Sun-Times adds: "When the music stopped in the Council version of musical chairs, Ald. Helen Shiller (46th), once Daley’s harshest Council critic, had the first-ever committee chairmanship of her 22-year tenure.

The decision to name Shiller to chair the Human Relations Committee marks the end of her journey from the other side to the mayor’s side. Just a few years ago, Shiller was the lonely dissenter against the mayor’s budget. ...

“There’s a lot of us here who’ve come a long way. There’s a lot of shifts in terms of the way people do things,” Shiller, 51, said of her political metamorphosis."


  1. Well, she's been an alderman for over 20 years so I'm delighted that after these many years, she was finally appointed to something. I just hope she has a better record of working with others outside the ward than with those inside. It's harder to lie about hiding outside the ward.

    I see all these other aldermen sharing office space with elected officials. I wonder why no one shares space with Helen?

  2. I for one would like to congratulate Adlercritter Shiller for advancing to head this important committee.

    Here is an example of the committee agenda from last month.

    From a city website here is what the committee shall be involved with:

    Committee on Human Relations
    (The Committee on Human Relations shall have jurisdiction over all matters relating to human rights and the Commission on Human Relations, and all matters generally affecting veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States of America.)

    I'm too depressed and drunk to post it as hyperlinks.

    Burke gets finance and our alderman gets "human relations".

    "Human relations" being the politically correct term for "bullshit committee" that lacks much of an agenda.

    She may get to hire a few committee staffers though.

    I'm sure if she does they will be top quality individuals.

  3. "She may get to hire a few committee staffers though.

    I'm sure if she does they will be top quality individuals."

    I agree IP. Will whomever she appoints also receive a 6-digit non-full time salary for ignoring half of their fiduciary duties?

  4. This isn't your college campus committee, sweetie!

  5. Maybe the appointment is cause for optimistic cynicism. As a committee chair I think she pulls about $6000 more a year in salary, in addition to some kind of office/staff allowance.

    So maybe she's just goosing her annual pay with with the committee chair, so she'll get a better pension when she retires from the City Council in the near future!

    Dare to dream disgruntled Uptown masses.

  6. Did anyone else have their drivers door window shattered in there car earlier today. I saw two different people cleaning the glass out of there cars today early afternoon on Beacon just north of Wilson. Nothing to steal just broke the windows for no reason. I just don't get it what is wrong with these idiots around here?

  7. A woman who demonizes, and encourages the demonization of, a huge swath of her constituency gets an appointment to chair a Human Relations committee.

    Just when you think the joke that is Chicago politics couldn't get any less funny - it does.

  8. Maybe we can have Alderman Troutman bailed out early and head up the Anti-Gang Committee.

    City Hall is a Joke

  9. as of today this leaves Joe Moore (49th) and Toni Preckwinkle (4th), both elected 1991, as the 2 most senior alderman who have never been chairman or vice-chairman of a committee

  10. “There’s a lot of us here who’ve come a long way. There’s a lot of shifts in terms of the way people do things,” Shiller, 51, said of her political metamorphosis."

    1. Shiller is older than 51 - try 61 or 62.

    2. The statement above just spells out how much of a hack she is.

  11. in May, 2003 the Tribune reported Shiller's age as 55

    in May, 2007 the Trib listed her as 59

    so 61-62 is about right

  12. Not to pick nits, so much; but this drives me nuts - especially from people who claim to be sponsors of education:

    There’s a lot of us here who’ve come a long way.

    There’s a lot of shifts in terms of the way people do things

    How 'bout:

    There ARE a lot of us?

    There ARE a lot of shifts?

    Heck, I'll give ya' "there're", if need be.

    Helen Shiller - grammatical genius.

  13. Ald. Shiller was born in Nov. 1947 (I don't know why I know this), so the Sun-Times shaved a decade off her real age.

  14. 61-62 is about right, since according to wikipedia, she graduated high school in 1965.

    Actually the wikipedia posting on her is a good read. It truly does show her "transformation" from independent to machine hack.

  15. Two interesting passages from the wiki on Shiller:

    "Shiller has been described as "committed to liberal causes" appropriate for the lakefront district she represents.[1] She worked for the passing for the human rights ordinance, recycling programs and city responsibility for public health and safety in the Chicago Public Schools. She initiated an anti-apartheid ordinance in 1990 and added a budget amendment to triple to city's AIDS budget in 1992. She co-sponsored the domestic partners ordinance which extends benefits for unmarried couples."


    "The neighborhood of Uptown is home to two R.E.S.T. shelters, one Salvation Army shelter, one Salvation Army day center for the homeless, four Cornerstone shelters, a transitional shelter program from Inspiration Cafe, a transitional housing program located at 1207 W. Leland for active drug users with mental illness from Heartland Alliance, another transitional housing program located at 1325 W. Wilson from Heartland Alliance, four nursing homes for people with mental illness, and numerous large SRO buildings, many of them for people living with mental illness. When looking at the number of social services in the ward, its rate is approximately 5 times higher than what is found in other wards. In 2000, a CURL study cited that 18% of the housing in Uptown is subsidized. Other wards average around 5% of their housing as subsidized."

  16. Alas.....summer is over, but I'll never forget the cry of 'Liar!' at Truman.

  17. the bible of the Chicago City Council. David Fremon's "Chicago Politics Ward by Ward" has Shiller's birth year as 1947

  18. it took her long enough

    City Council Committees

    with a baroque array of 19 standing committees, each with a chair and AT LEAST ONE vice-chair, there's ample opportunity to get involved in City Council leadership

    10 aldermen with LESS seniority than Shiller got committee chairmanships b4 her:

    Latasha Thomas, Appointed 2000, Education And Child Development

    Carothers, Elected 1999, Police and Fire

    Beale, Elected 1999, Historical Landmark Preservation

    Burnett, Elected 1995, Special Events and Cultural Affairs

    Laurino, Appointed 1994, Economic, Capital and Technology Development

    Austin, Appointed 1994, Budget

    Allen, Appointed 1993, Transportation and Public Way

    Suarez, Elected 1991, Housing and Real Estate

    Rugai, Appointed 1990, Energy, Environmental Protection and Public Utilities

    Mary Ann Smith, Appointed 1989, Parks and Recreation

  19. this appointment means more cash, more headcount, and more clout for Shiller

    the HR committee has an annual budget of $92,098 in 2009 which Shiller now has control of, mostly for staff, probably about 2 headcount

    so now 2 desks in City Hall will be filled using Shiller's keen eye for customer-service oriented personnel

    Shiller has an established track record of hiring her taxpayer-salaried staff members to work on her campaigns, so this appt has implications for the next election, 2 new campaign workers on the public payroll

    see page 50

    2009 Budget

  20. When the appointed councilmen outnumber the elected, that's a problem.

    Brings this to mind.

  21. "When the appointed councilmen outnumber the elected, that's a problem."

    in terms of numbers representative democracy made some small progress back in the 2007 with the election of 9 challengers, altho the political impact has not been measurable

    this year democracy in Chicago had a bit of a set-back when Ocasio, a Daley appointment was replaced by Maldonado, another Daley appointment, and an elected alderman Banks was replaced by a Daley appointment, Rice, for a net loss of 1 elected representative

    currently 18 alderman or 36% of the Chicago City Council owe their office to mayoral fiat rather than the acclaim of the people

    Ward Name Appointed
    36 Rice 2009
    22 Munoz 1993
    19 Rugai 1990
    26 Maldonado 2009
    35 Colon 2003
    13 Olivo 1994
    38 Allen 1993
    37 Mitts 2000
    39 Laurino 1994
    17 Thomas 2000
    18 Lane 2006
    6 Lyle 1998
    34 Austin 1994
    48 Mary Ann Smith 1989
    11 Balcer 1997
    25 Solis 1996
    8 Harris 2006
    44 Tunney 2002

  22. if Obama sent a list of committee chairs up to the Hill there would be outrage

    if the governor of Illinois tried to send a list of committee chairs to the leadership in the Illinois legislature, it would be laughed out of the room

    but in my home town, my mayor selects the leadership of my elected representatives

    not so long ago, in the lifetimes of many of those reading this, the Chicago City Council selected its own leadership

    that they don't and that they're apparently completely comfortable not doing so is a sad testimony to how pathetically dysfunctional the Chicago City Council is