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City Council Follies

April 15, 1995/Your Tax Dollars at Work

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Normally, downstate and suburban Republicans would act as human Kryptonite on Alderman Dexter Watson. So Watson had to be creative to support giving Republicans all of Chicago's airports. Yet, as you may have guessed, Watson was the "1" in the 49-to-1 vote for the Chicago-Gary Regional Airport Authority at Saturday's much ballyhooed council meeting. It was necessary if Watson, defeated in the recent primaries, wanted to retire with a perfect record for screaming rants at council meetings this year. Never a team player, Watson protected his stats. He started by screaming because a lot of alderman were slated to speak before him. "I was before any of those!!!" Watson screamed at Alderman Lorraine Dixon, presiding for Mayor Daley, who skipped most of the three hours of speeches supporting his airport coup. Alderman Ed Smith signaled that he would let Watson take his own speaking slot. "Well thank you," huffed Watson. "Je-sus Christ. This is my last meetin'! Or the second to last, and they still wanna disrespect me. My goodness." "Alderman Watson, I acknowledge people in the order that I see them, it was no disrespect intended," droned Dixon in the bored monotone she uses for a public speaking voice. "I will accept your apology, Madam Chairwoman," said Watson smugly. "I'm not apologizing, OK?" droned Dixon, but this time with a rare slight inflection. "All right, then thank you very much, let me get on with what I have to say," Watson spat out. The point of his rant hinged on this: Watson was unhappy that Mayor Daley had claimed that the Saturday morning meeting was to vote on a payraise, when in fact Daley was keeping Republicans in the dark about his airport scheme. What everyone else unanimously acclaimed as a masterful chess move, Watson called "a diversion!!!" from the pay raise. If so, the new airport authority will be recorded as the most elaborate method ever devised by a politician to disguise a salary increase. "But the point is, we have come here to talk about African-Americans bein' able to work down at the airport," Watson continued screaming. "Where are they? There's none!" Most visitors to O'Hare or Midway would be surprised, of course, to learn that none of the black people they see working there are of African-American descent. "So I'm saying to YOU, and my fellow council members, to think about what you're gonna vote on here! To think about the fact that you oughta send a message to this MAYOR to go down there and negotiate on a fair and equitable way! He can do it! You think he's God already!" screamed Watson, winding down. He ended by insisting that he wanted to talk about the pay raise "today!!" And then he announced the time: "Eleven thirty. Five," he screamed. Imagine if you called the phone number that tells time, and they had a rapper who was also a professional wrestler doing the recording. That's what it sounded like.

Alderman William Beavers made the most gratifying slams against downstate hicks during his speech supporting the new airport authority. Enjoy: "You know, if you look at Philip the last time he was in Chicago, you saw a lot of people surrounding him like he was God," rumbled Beavers, whose own voice is deep enough to really be God's. "But today he's gon' get a message. That's he's a farmer, he's always gon' be a farmer, and that's all he's gon' be. And dealing with people from the big city, he's gonna have to learn to see lights."

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