If there’s one subject close to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s heart, one subject that makes him rant and rave, that makes him choke up, that brings him to tears, that subject is money.
At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Emanuel got a chance to address his favorite subject when an alderman spoke out against an ordinance that would allow the city to seize the state tax refunds of parking ticket deadbeats.
Robert Fioretti, a Council rebel who lost his 2nd Ward in the remap, and so has nothing else to lose, called the Administrative Law hearings a “kangaroo court,” and said they should be reformed before the city goes after the refunds of potentially innocent motorists.
“It’s quicksand,” Fioretti said. “Probably 80 percent of these we’ve got to go after. What about the 20 percent? If we’re going after one person who’s innocent, it’s wrong.”
From his seat above the Council, the mayor took the floor, for what can only be described as an Olbermann-esque Special Comment.
“When we passed our budget, we did not raise property taxes, we did not raise sales taxes, we did not raise the gas tax,” the mayor said, often glaring at Fioretti. “We also rejected the idea of instituting a city income tax. What we agreed on was cracking down on deadbeats. We collected $4 million from banks, $1 million from utilities, just under $1 million from emergency medical services. That’s over $5 million. We were putting a heavier burden on law-abiding citizens. The system was tilted in favor of cheating.”
Then the mayor challenged Fioretti directly.
“Administrative hearings need to be cleaned up? I’m ready. Get me an ordinance.”
The vote was 41 ayes, 8 nays. As usual, Emanuel won.