Driving Bill Banks

In Chicago, a resume builder

Have you sent that $200 check to retiring Ald. Bill Banks yet?

Remember, make it out to Banks but mail it to the home of his driver, John Rice.

Because every power player in Chicago has to have a driver. Who else is going to open those heavy car doors and hold those heavy jackets and pat down the other heavies for a wire and then, naturally, succeed them in public office?

Rice will be sure to take care of you when he's the alderman, right after he throws Banks a righteous retirement party.

"We're going to buy him a gift," Rice told the Chicago Tribune. "Thirty-two years of service to the city and to the community - I think he deserves a retirement party. That's why I decided to throw it."

But what do you get the zoning czar who has everything?

And do you have to bring big brother Sam "Pastries" Banks a present too?

Only if you know what's good for you.

Of course, times have changed since last month, when the mayor dispensed with tradition and defied the wishes of a departing alderman Billy Ocasio and appointed Roberto Maldonado to the 26th ward post. Then again, Ocasio didn't always play nicely with the mayor.

Banks, by contrast, has known Richard M. Daley since childhood; more importantly, he rewrote the city's zoning ordinance for him. The mayor just might let hiim have his way.

And Rice, with his fund-raising skills, is showing so far that he's perfectly suited for the job. The real question is: Who will be his driver?

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

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