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Our City at Work

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I read your cover article on the city council with great interest ["Your City Council," June 15], as I had just attended Wednesday's City Council meeting, my first in 15 years. I think every citizen should go and observe our city at work. The first order of the day was the honorary recognition of outstanding citizens: first a city policeman who saved the lives of two fire victims, next a fire captain for being a good captain, then a number of restaurateurs who had received an industry award. After each, there was resounding applause and laudations by aldermen and the mayor. Then it was time to honor eight teachers who had won the Golden Apple Award. That was the moment Daley walked off the dais and out the door, and many aldermen chose to take a break, walked out or just huddled with their peers, ignoring the speechmaking that they had no trouble sitting through for cops, firemen, and businessmen. Though most managed to make it back to the chamber in time to applaud, it was the most telling moment of the meeting for me: really put in perspective what this administration values. And it isn't teachers or education, even if he did later use that to launch into one of his frequent lectures to the assembled.

Just like big daddy, pater noster, Daley would stand at chosen moments to share his thoughts on the issues. Though I have to admit, I couldn't get half of what he was ranting about, seemed a bit off the wall, unless it was secret code to let the aldermen know how to vote. At one point, he ranted "Who should make decisions about the police? The pope?" Obviously, he thinks very highly of himself.

But the worst part was his vote taking. Sometimes he didn't even ask for the "nays" before he gaveled a motion through. Only twice, on the reforming of the police Office of Professional Standards and the vote on his motion to rid the Department of Cultural Affairs of the onerous duty of public meetings, did someone in the council call him to account. Otherwise, it was a pretty slick trick, just gavelling dissent away . . .

Mary Ellen Croteau

W. Armitage

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