Not Their Prerogative

“With an important vote a week away on a proposal to relocate the Chicago Children’s Museum from Navy Pier to Grant Park, an alderman opposed to the plan said Tuesday that he is picking up support in the City Council,” the Tribune reports this morning.

“Asked how many of his colleagues now oppose the project, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) replied, ‘More than [those who] support it.'”

I’m not sure if that constitutes movement or not; Reilly has always disputed claims emanating from City Hall that the mayor had all the votes he needed. (The vote right now looks close enough that it could actually be decided by a single swing alderman; wonder what the mayor would offer to make him or her swing his way . . . )

“The Chicago Plan Commission is scheduled to take up the issue on May 15. The City Council is expected to vote in June. For many aldermen, Reilly said, the issue is not about previous court decisions that barred building in Grant Park, but ‘concern is about losing aldermanic prerogative.'”

I hope the plan is voted down, but I have no patience for “aldermanic prerogative,” an ancient folkway designed to allow aldermen to accrue power and build fiefdoms with no regard for how their actions impact the rest of the city.

What happens in one ward affects residents citywide, be it a horror like the new Soldier Field, the desecration of historic landmarks, or the depletion of low-income housing. An alderman is not only a representative of a ward, but the ward’s representative to issues facing the city.

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One response to “Not Their Prerogative

  1. Yellow Dog Democrat

    Aldermanic prerogative is archaic, but in practice I think it actually benefits preservationists.

    There’s no way for local preservationists to hold the entire city council accountable for over-development in their ward. However, as Reilly’s election, as well as Waguespack, Fioretti and others prove, you can hold local aldermen accountable.

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