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Who says the City Council doesn’t do anything except rubber stamp the mayor’s agenda and pass toothless resolutions praising cops and high school football champions? Sure, aldermen did all this today, but they also got at least seven other ithings done:
(1) Four months after consenting to tens of millions in property tax hikes, the council enthusiastically passed a resolution sponsored by budget committee chairman Carrie Austin urging home owners to contact the city’s Tax Assistance Center for help in determining if they can find a way to reduce their bills.
(2) The council unanimously voted in favor of creating two more TIF districts while the mayor proposed a third.
(3) Ed Burke's proposal to ban trans fats died long ago, but today he introduced an ordinance that would require fast food restaurants to display the calorie content of the food they serve. “Diabetes is raging in America. People need to change their lifestyles and change their habits, and people need to be aware of this,” he said. He shrugged off the possibility that people already have a hunch that Whoppers aren’t good for them, saying “You have to start someplace."
(4) Second Ward alderman Bob Fioretti appeared stunned at the succession of reporters who wanted to talk to him about his ordinance that would ban the small plastic bags often used by drug dealers. “Can you believe it?” he asked, shaking his head. Fioretti later agreed to hold the item because a couple of his colleagues wanted to look it over more carefully, but it’s all but a sure thing at the next meeting: “Even the big guy is saying, ‘Yeah, we ought to ban those things,’” Fioretti said, nodding toward the mayor.
(5) The aldermen agreed the city should pay $195,000 to a public housing resident who said police falsely arrested him and threatened him with a running chainsaw in 2004. They signed off on another settlement, for $190,000, to an 80-year-old woman who says she and her grandson were roughed up by police during an illegal search of their apartment in 2006.
(6) Without pause or comment the council signed off on Daley’s reappointments of two CTA board members for new six-year terms. Those are the guys who overseeing governance of the transit system that aldermen have repeatedly complained about and mayor himself recently called “costly and inefficient.”
(7) They celebrated—with cake—the 100th birthday of former alderman Leon Despres, who was often a lone voice of independence during the reign of the first Mayor Daley. A succession of aldermen who have little in common with Despres other than the title stood and praised him. “I suspect we have never had such an erudite member of this body,” said Burke. “I wish I could have had the distinguished career of Len Despres,” said 50th Ward alderman Berny Stone. “A lot of people could learn from someone who sticks to what he believes in like Len Depres,” said 33rd Ward alderman Richard Mell.