Mell Takes Olympic Opinion Poll

Asks voters if Olympic bid should be dropped

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    33rd Ward
    Second thoughts about the Olympics or just covering his butt?

    Because Ald. Dick Mell is such a powerful, crafty, old-school Chicago pol, it's hard to assign a motive to the e-mail he sent to consituents on Wednesday morning. But it does signal the degree to which the city is feeling the heat about its Olympic shenanigans.

    "I would like to ask your opinion," says the e-mail, as reported by the Reader's invaluable Mick Dumke. "Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics could be the economic engine that jump-starts this city out of the global economic crisis . . . or it could put future generations of taxpayers on the hook for far more than $500 million?

    "Should we move ahead or should we discontinue our fight for the 2016 bid? Send your thoughts and comments to OlympicQuestion@33rdward.org."

    Dumke writes that "Mell is feeling unusually sensitive at the moment" and that "it's notable that Mell is one of the many aldermen now bristling at the mayor and wondering aloud if he was wise to go along with so many of the boss's recent initiatives. In December, Mell voted for the [parking] meter agreement after openly admitting he hadn't read it -- or most of the other stuff that he's asked to sign off on."

    Mell isn't the only alderman feeling the heat, of course.

    "Chicago aldermen lowered the boom on Mayor Daley’s Olympic planners on Wednesday for concealing the need to sign a host-city contract that amounts to an open-ended guarantee from local taxpayers," the Sun-Times reports.

    But for aldermen Toni Preckwinkle, Ricardo Munoz, and even Freddrenna Lyle, to lash out on an issue like this isn't a deviation from the norm. For Dick Mell to show concern -- sincere or not -- is.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.