Trust vote: back to normal for the City Council | Bleader

Trust vote: back to normal for the City Council



Alderman Scott Waguespack
  • Alderman Scott Waguespack
It seems like only yesterday that I was rejoicing over the newfound boldness of our Chicago City Council in regards to the mayor's wacky infrastructure trust scheme.

That was last week when I was rejoicing over the fact that seven out of 18 aldermen voted against the trust when it came to a vote in the finance committee.

Causing Mayor Emanuel to curse out his police guard and throw a computer against the wall. Don’t really know that that happened.

Now, after today's council meeting, it's back to the way it always was.

The council voted 41 to seven to adopt the infrastructure trust, even though no one can say what it is, what it will do, or—most important point—how much it will cost the taxpayers.

Actually, no one knows why we need the damn thing in the first place. As there is nothing the trust fund will do that the city can't already do without creating it.

In short, the fund’s supposed to come up with innovative and presumably less costly ways to finance public works projects—like new schools, parks, train lines, buildings, etc.

But the mayor could just come up with new financing plans on a deal-by-deal basis, thus eliminating the need to set up this special trust, which will be filled by mayoral flunkies.

Unless of course the city's so rich that we have an extra $2-point-whatever million laying around in petty cash to spend on a new board of mayoral flunkies.

In the buildup to today’s vote, several inquiring aldermen and the mayor had a variation of the following exchange.

Alderman: One more time—why do we need this thing?

Mayor: Who gives a shit!

Alderman: But why should I vote for it if I don’t know what it’s going to do?

Mayor: 'Cause I told you to, schmuck!

It’s sort of in line with his response to parents who want to know why they should go along with his scheme to add more time to the school day if he doesn't know what the schools will do with that extra time.

In the matter of the trust, the seven no-voting aldermen were: Leslie Hairston, Robert Fioretti, Toni Foulkes, Rick Munoz, Scott Waguespack, Brendan Reilly, and John Arena.

Congratulations one and all.

Everyone else—shame, shame, shame.

Wait, wait—there's more.

In the last several days, Waguespack, Arena, and other aldermen were meeting with good-government groups to come up with amendments that would add a little more City Council oversight authority.

Two of those amendments were brought to the floor. Fioretti introduced one. Immediately, Alderman Patrick O'Connor moved to table it.

The vote to table was 39 to nine.

That means 39 aldermen effectively voted to neuter themselves.

That may be a new low—or high, depending on your point of view—in City Council wimpiness.

But wait—there’s still more.

Alderman Waguespack introduced another oversight amendment. O'Connor moved to table it. The vote on that motion was 40 to eight.

So I was wrong—it can get worse!

Now that the council has given the mayor all that money-spending authority, the big question remains: What will he do with it?

I fear the worst.