DOA: Indie Alderman Movement Fails

Let's disabuse you of the notion that the City Council grew a pair.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    You better believe he's the boss.

    It seemed like the City Council might be growing a pair in the wake of Mayor Daley's parking meter mess and his exposed Olympic financial guarantees.

    But after two relatively independent aldermen blew it this week, the Mayor's grip on Chicago politics is still intact.

    Long live Daley! 

    The idea that a few fresh faces elected to the council in 2007 and a new progressive caucus would challenge the mayor's Mussolini-like hold on power was a bit fanciful to begin with. Paging Sandi Jackson! If anyone knows her whereabouts - check all local American Airlines counters or the lieutenant governor's office where she might be measuring the drapes - let the proper authorities know.

    Likewise, Bob Fioretti speaks big and carries a small stick. But then, he's a lawyer by trade.

    Even resident smartie Toni Preckwinkle has developed an awfully annoying habit of doling out expert sideline commentary about the city council's lack of fortitude while never seeming to do anything about it. Maybe seeking the mayor's blessing for her Cook County board president campaign has had something to do with that.

    Now comes news that sometimes-Daley critic Ricardo Munoz called the principal of the vaunted Whitney Young magnet school to assure his daughter's otherwise unlikely admission. Munoz, it turns out, makes about a dozen such calls for his constituents every year. Smells like the University of Illinois!

    Munoz argues that he's a parent as well as an alderman. But did he tell the principal at the outset of his call that he was "putting on his parent hat" just to be clear? Not bloody likely.

    As he always does with evildoers, Daley is rushing to Munoz's defense. Nobody is ever unethical in the mayor's world when it comes to clout and the pursuit of personal interest over the public interest.

    It won't be easy stomaching Munoz's calls for reform from here on out.

    Meanwhile, Manny Flores is pulling back on his heretofore fiery effort to restrict the city's financial guarantee to the International Olympic Committee to a mere $500 million. After weeks of high-minded rhetoric about transparency, fiscal responsibility and apple pie, Flores has figured out that a cap on how much money the city is willing to lose to hold the Games would irreparably conflict with the IOC's official host city contract, which demands a blank check.

    Flores - like his weak-minded colleagues - is unwilling to take the next logical step: pull his support for the bid based on the untenable - and irresponsible - financial guarantee it requires.

    Is there a cojone anywhere in the house?

    I'm sure Flores' move has nothing to do with his desperate desire to run for Congress (a desire also held by Munoz) at his earliest possible convenience and not face a Daley-installed opponent marking him as the guy who killed the city's Olympic bid.

    But maybe that's a race we deserve to see, seeing as how it will never be discussed on the council.

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