Alderman William Beavers is not ashamed of his vices. Back in April, during a City Council hearing on an honorary "Hugh Hefner Way" sign for Walton Street, a dissenting feminist quoted from Linda Lovelace's autobiography Ordeal, which portrays Hefner as a filthy pimp. Beavers interrupted the bluestocking.
"Have you ever read it?" he asked.
The woman confessed she hadn't.
"Well, I've read it," he harrumphed. "I don't know if I can believe her, and I don't know if I can believe any of the things she says. Sammy Davis was not gay that I know of."
Then he further impugned the hapless prig's credentials as a sex expert.
"Ever been to a nude beach?" he challenged. "I have."
This fall, Beavers went to bat for tobacco. Since smoking is banned in all city-owned buildings, Alderman Ed Smith tried to stop it in the anteroom behind the council chambers as well. Beavers was miffed. When a Heart Association official tried to inspect the aldermanic clubhouse, Beavers kicked him out, pointing to the Aldermen Only sign.
"I have never tried quitting," Beavers said. "I like to smoke because it does something for you. My nerves settle while I'm down here working. Dealing with people everyday causes you to do something."
The chambers seem like a staid habitat for a libertine like Beavers. And since Hef took his Playboy mansion to Los Angeles, Chicago has lacked an arena for fun, sex, and freedom. Uptight aldermen might protest, but here's a plan to redesign the chambers so Beavers will feel more at home.