The City Council finally has a loyal opposition. Nine aldermen have joined to form the Progressive Reform Caucus -- and among them, they’ve cast a majority of the 122 Council votes against Mayor Rahm Emanuel during his two years in office.
This month’s Chicago magazine has an article about the Council’s obeisance to the mayor. It identifies the five aldermen who have cast the most contrary votes. All are members of the new caucus. Here’s a list of the most contrary five, and the number of anti-Emanuel votes they’ve cast.
Ald. John Arena, 45th Ward: 18
Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward: 14
Ald. Leslie Hairston, 5th Ward: 7
Ald. Nick Sposato, 36th: 10
Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd: 11
The other four caucus members are Ald. Toni Foulkes, 15th Ward; Ald. Ricardo Munoz, 22nd Ward; Ald. Ameya Pawar, 47th Ward; and Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th Ward. Munoz also shows up in the article, complaining about Emanuel’s reduction of Council committees from 19 to 16:
“This is a simple reorganization of the Daley loyalists,” complained the 22-nd Ward alderman Ricardo Munoz, one of the few independents on the Council, at the time. (Munoz, who had endorsed the independent-minded Miguel del Valle for mayor over Emanuel, was not given a chairmanship.)
Also mentioned was Sawyer, who has been trying to curb the mayor‘s power to issue contracts: “while 6th Ward alderman Roderick Sawyer’s proposed ordinance to give the council more oversight over private contracts has 32 cosponsors -- enough to pass over Emanuel’s objections -- the legislation has been stuck in the rules committee since November.”
In a statement, the Progressive Reform Caucus outlined these goals:
• Work towards a budget that ensures that city finances and contracting, especially public private partnerships, are managed with taxpayers as a priority and supports strong city services and quality of life for all.
• Establish an economic policy focused creation and preservation of living-wage and prevailing-wage jobs with adequate benefits, leave and security to support a family. A policy designed to nurture a diverse economy and provide equitable opportunities to those who have been left out.
• Supporting high-quality public education that focuses on providing fair and equal resources for neighborhood schools with wrap-around services, funding for early childhood development and strong youth programs.
• Support policies for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly city that focuses on the health of Chicagoans, and an improved public transportation system.
• Supporting Chicago’s diverse communities with resources necessary to create strong neighborhoods across the city.
• Advancing public safety policies that support a well-trained, fully staffed public safety departments that work in strong cooperation with the diverse civic communities they serve.
• Working for reforms that build confidence and informed participation in Chicago government and public process.