Ald. Ocasio's Wife His Second Choice

Alderman wants wife to take over for him

Anti-gay Rev. WIlfredo DeJesus is out as the city council successor to Ald. Billy Ocasio, who is joining the Quinn administration, but Ocasio has lucked out in quickly lining up another potential replacement to serve the residents of the 26th Ward: his wife, Veronica.

That's right, his wife is his second choice.

The woman he sleeps with.

How did that conversation go? 

Forgive weary Chicagoans for wondering if the fix wasn't in from the start; perhaps Ocasio meant to scare the bejeesus out of everyone by first backing an unacceptable candidate who doesn't even live in the ward and has been ineligible for the job from the start in order to make the advancement of his wife more of a relief than another tiring episode of nepotism gone wild.

After all, it turns out Veronica Ocasio has already been interviewed by the mayor, who under the Soviet Central Committee-style rules of Chicago gets to make the appointment rather than expose the choice to voters.

And we wonder why the city council so often seems like just another city department under the mayor's control instead of a legislative body.

There's a certain symmetry in all of this, of course, as there always is in Chicago.

Billy Ocasio got the job via mayoral appointment, too; Daley handed him the post when Luis Gutierrez advanced to Congress.

And guess who Veronica Ocasio works for? 

That's right, she's Gutierrez' district coordinator.

And guess who sent the mayor a letter of support way back on July 8? 

Give yourself another point if you guessed Gutierrez.

Now, the appointment isn't a done deal. The mayor reportedly has interviewed at least three other "candidates."

But seeing as how this has nothing to do with the residents of the 26th Ward, we may never know who those other folks are. When Daley has made a decision, he'll tell us - and then do everything in his vast powers to make sure that seat stays in his appointee's hands.

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

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