Are Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s staffers secretly posting on the new Chicago Budget website?
I ask because the most popular money-saving suggestion so far is “Lower the Number of Alderman (sic).” It has 59 votes. A close second, with 54 votes, is “Allow the People to decide when & if the Alderman (sic) get raises.”
Shortly after he was elected, Emanuel proposed cutting the number of aldermen in half, from 50 to 25, even bringing it up at private meetings with aldermen.
“When I went around in the campaign, you know what everybody universally said to me? Cut the City Council in half. . . . They all say it out of frustration,” Emanuel told the Sun-Times back then. “I said, “You think the City Council is to the city’s budget what people think foreign aid is to the federal budget.’ [But] it’s more symbolic value than actual.”
However, not all the commenters agreed with firing 25 aldermen.
“Reducing the number of alderman reduces our political power,” one wrote. “I’ve lived through this on the other side, in LA, and it’s a nightmare. We need more local representation in the form of neighborhood councils, not less.”
On his Change of Subject blog, the Tribune’s Eric Zorn dismissed the idea as a “non-starter.”
As for banning the alderman (sic) from raising their own pay, a commenter pointed out that aldermen can only approve raises for the next City Council, no later than 180 days before a municipal election.
Let's hope the site becomes a forum for real money-saving ideas, not just uninformed populist crusades.
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