Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chicago Aldermanic News Roundup

The political stink in Chicago just doesn't stop. From Chicago resident Governor Blagojevich all the way down to the City Council, there's always that rotten smell of, well, of politicians. City Council members ("aldermen") have been making a lot of news in the past couple of weeks, and all for the wrong reasons. Here's a roundup, in no particular order, but we'll start the arrest of one alderman on the evening of January 20:

Alderman Sharon Denise Dixon, 24th Ward
Chicago police say Alderman Sharon Dixon was arrested and charged with DUI after she reportedly refused to obey a street closure at the scene of a fatal fire [at 6830 N. Sheridan Road, near Morse Avenue] in the city's Rogers Park neighborhood. (Source) BENCH NOTE: Dixon is alleging that the three arresting police officers acted unprofessionally. Dixon of the 24th Ward was arrested, ironically, in the CPD's 24th District. I find it very easy to believe Dixon's charges of abusive behavior in the 24th District. Another blogger and I were attacked on June 28, 2008 by a paramedic and a police officer right outside the office of 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore. I filed a formal complaint soon after the incident but CPD has still not given me any word as to the outcome of that investigation.
Alderman Patrick O'Connor (40th Ward)
O'Connor is one of more than 20 people who will run in the March 3 primary of a special election to fill Rahm Emanuel's vacated congressional seat. His ward is just south of the 49th and just west of the 48th (Smith). Part of Rogers Park is in his ward. O'Connor has been relatively low key, and I believe he cannot win. Questions about a suspicious real estate deal will resurface, and too many people are not happy with the way he has dealt with (rather, not dealt with) the frequent gang-related fighting at Sullivan High in his ward. O'Connor hasn't got anywhere near the name recognition of his political competition. The tells us that "Democrats with an early head start include state Reps. Sara Feigenholtz and John Fritchey, Chicago Alderman Patrick O'Connor and Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley. Some expect attorney Tom Geoghegan to compete seriously for the seat." And just in case you doubt how inbred and dirty the whole lot of them are, reports this: Fritchey has machine ties but has also been one of the most outspoken critics in the state Legislature of the disgraced governor. A relative of influential Chicago Alderman Bill Banks, Fritchey is well-positioned to get critical assistance from the influential ward organizations and has already been endorsed by Chicago Alderman Richard Mell, Blagojevich’s father-in-law and a key city political player who helped Blagojevich win the seat in 1996. (Smell that?)

Former Chicago Alderman Dick Simpson
Beloit Daily News, Jan. 20, quoted Simpson speaking the truth that we all wish currently serving aldermen would speak: “We do have a political history and culture of corruption that's directly tied to political machine politics,” said Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman and University of Illinois at Chicago professor. “Voters often become desensitized to the effects of corruption.” The Chicago Sun-Times' biography of Simpson says that "In his campaign for political office in 1971, Simpson surprised political observers and won election....despite a well-financed opponent with an army of precinct captains. He served the 44th Ward for two terms before voluntarily retiring in 1979." There aren't enough Dick Simpsons in local politics today. Hell, there weren't enough Dick Simpsons in 1971, either.

Alderman Ricardo Munoz (22nd Ward)
The father of Southwest Side Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) was sentenced to four years in prison Tuesday for snapping photos used to make fake IDs for illegal immigrants. Elias Munoz, 63, of Bloomingdale, pleaded guilty in July to one count of conspiring to make and sell phony driver's licenses and other identification at his photo studio, Nuevo Photo Munoz at 3105 W. 26th St. Prosecutors say he was part of a $3 million annual document operation. (Source: MyFox Chicago) Munoz's father helped a Chicago unit of a Mexican crime family to make over 15,000 counterfeit identification documents each year since 2003, according to federal charges after his arrest. (Source) Before you get too worked up about this, you should know that Chicago a "sanctuary city." The police have orders to never, ever, never ask anybody whether they are here legally or to demand proof of legal residence in the U.S. Given that, and given the fact that the State of Illinois issues drivers' licenses to illegals, an alderman's father helping to make fake IDs for illegal aliens is really no great departure from official policy. Think about that and get back to me.

Alderman Richard Mell (33rd Ward)

In case you still doubt the inbred nature of Chicago and Illinois politics, perhaps this will put a dent in your disbelief. reported on January 14: Just after taking the oath of office today [Jan. 14], the Chicago Democrat had the unenviable task of voting on whether to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who happens to be her brother-in-law. The new legislator, daughter of Chicago Alderman Richard Mell, was the lone holdout when the House voted 117-1 to affirm an earlier impeachment vote. (Source: