Friday, June 05, 2009

The Real Mayor of Chicago

Steve Bartin at NewGeography has this fascinating post about Alderman Ed Burke, the most powerful man in Chicago politics. It includes these gems:
Chicago's City Council recently celebrated Alderman Burke's record-breaking 40 years in office. No Chicago Alderman has served so long or accumulated so much power. No man represents Chicago political system better and all that is wrong with it.
...the state’s richest political family was Ald. Edward Burke (14th) and his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke. Together, their political committees held $8.3 million in cash...Mayor Richard M. Daley, who traditionally ceases fundraising after elections, raised just $43,000 in the last six months, but had $3.1 million in cash on hand.
...Why did Ald. Edward M. Burke vote to approve Tony Rezko’s plans to develop the South Loop’s biggest piece of vacant land even as he was working for Rezko on that same deal?
Burke says: I forgot to abstain.

And my favorite:
Thirty of Burke's colleagues on Chicago's City Council went on to become convicted felons since 1970.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Great post. Pretty astonishing consolidation of power. Chicago is an embarrassment.

But the post is too cavalier about Daley, who is a good deal more than a "public face" and "lightning rod for criticism." The basic model, same as under Richard J. Daley, is that the mayor isn't personally corrupt in the sense of filling his own pockets. But he doesn't stop people around him from doing so, and meanwhile the mayor retains absolute control of the machine.

I guess Burke survived the Hired Truck indictments? Although something tells me he is not completely in the clear going forward...