Aldermen Toni Preckwinkle and Ray Suarez can't help but show their warmth for each other.
Preckwinkle's not a member of the council's Committee on Housing and Real Estate, but she's been fighting for more expansive affordable housing policies for years and often shows up at the committee meetings. Suarez, the committee chairman, isn't always happy to see her.
Thursday morning Preckwinkle appeared for a hearing in which city housing commissioner Jack Markowski presented the administration's first-quarter report on its efforts to create and preserve affordable homes and rental units. After Markowski ran through the highlights, Preckwinkle asked to address him, and Suarez grudgingly gave her the floor.
"I came down here specifically to thank the commissioner for his work," Preckwinkle said, referring to Markowski's recent announcement that he's leaving the job to work for a nonprofit organization.
Suarez looked skeptical. "Why didn't you just come down on Wednesday"--when the whole council will meet--"to do that?"
"Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman," Preckwinkle said. "I may avail myself of the opportunity to do that."
She then proceeded to ask Markowski a question about the status of an affordable development backed by the city. Suarez just grinned.