Rhodes: New Alderman Sneaked Onto Council

Already bad news

Sometime between the post-Olympic bid post-mortems and the fallout from the Derrion Albert tragedy, Chicago got a new alderman.


Mayor Daley appointed - because that's how you get to be an alderman in Chicago - John Rice to succeed the retiring and clouty 36th Ward Ald. William Banks.

Rice had been an aide to Banks, otherwise known as the city council's zoning czar, and likely knows where all the bodies are buried. Daley is comfortable with him. He won't make waves.

Rice's resume includes eight years as a city zoning inspector and six years working for the Cook County Highway Department.

In other words, he is already one of the usual suspects. Keep your eye on him.

For example, in August Rice decided to throw a retirement party for Banks. He noted when he sent out the invitations that tickets would be $200 a pop - payable to William Banks. Classy! 

Once the Chicago Tribune got a hold of that one, Rice's ascension was put on ice for more than a month until the mayor found a convenient time to drop the news into a black hole. That was this week.

And last May, when Rice was already being described as Banks's heir apparent, Rice was caught displaying a Fraternal Order of Police medallion and sticker on his car even though he's not a police officer. Oops! 

When first confronted by a reporter about the violation, Rice said "How do you know it's my car?"

I'm not sure, but the license plate "JR 10" may have been a giveaway.

Yes, Rice will fit right in. He's already an early candidate for "Next Alderman Indicted."

So residents of the 36th Ward can breathe easy. It will be business as usual.

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

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