Rebel Forces Gain On Daley Death Star

Budget passes, but resistance grows

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Lucasfilm Ltd.

    By one measure, this is the third best city council we've had in 20 years of Mayor Daley's reign.

    A dozen of them voted against the mayor's budget on Tuesday, which didn't prevent it from passing, but was a healthy sign of dissent in a locked-down town.

    That's 11 more than voted against Daley's budget last year and the third biggest dissenting vote on a Daley budget ever.

    True enough, it didn't quite match a mini-rebellion two years ago when 13 aldermen declined to get on board. But before that you'd have to go back to 1992 to find "No" votes in double figures.

    Seven Daley budgets in all have passed unanimously and five Daley budgets have passed with just one opposing vote.

    In part this is because the Daley administration smooths over any differences aldermen have in private in order to further a public image of invincibility. In part it is fear of reprisals like streets going unpaved and garbage pick-up going astray in the wards of uppity aldermen. In part it is because Daley has appointed something like a third of the council and they generally serve at his pleasure.

    To be fair, it's not like we should automatically take a "No" vote on a Daley budget as a good thing just because. But let's face it, all available evidence persuasively shows us that Daley's budgets haven't been nearly as good as the voting record would indicate.

    Ald. Tom Allen (38th), for one, has finally had enough. He voted against a Daley budget yesterday for the first time in his 16 years on the council.

    "We have breached our fiduciary duty to the taxpayers," Allen said on the council floor. The main source of his complaint - and that of his colleagues - was using $370 million from leasing the city's parking meters to plug a budget gap. That was money that was supposed to last in reserve for decades.

    Ald. Vi Daley (43rd) also turned on the mayor because of the meter money. "That bothered me a lot," she said.

    The others who stood up to the mayor deserve to be recognized - and protected - as well: Manny Flores (1st); Bob Fioretti (2nd); Pat Dowell (3rd); Sandi Jackson (7th); Ricardo Munoz (22nd); Sharon Dixon (24th); Scott Waguespack (32nd); Brendan Reilly (42nd); Tom Tunney (44th); and Joe Moore (49th).

    Notably absent from the list: Toni Preckwinkle (4th), a frequent budget critic who is nonethless seeking Daley's endorsement in her run for Cook County board president; and Helen Shiller (46th), who was once the most reliable "No" vote on Daley's budgets but has long since gone over to the dark side.

    Meanwhile, Berny Stone (50th) accused the rebel alliance of being brainwashed by the media into thinking the meter deal was a mistake.

    Allen, though, said "We have to understand you just can't tell the citizens and taxpayers stories. You can't tell them stories. They're not stupid."

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, an award-winning Chicago-centric news and culture review that specializes in brainwashing politicians.