Now for my next trick: Emanuel floats idea to saw City Council in half

March 25, 2011

A story: Mayor Elect Rahm Emaneul casually floated the idea of cutting aldermanic seats in Chicago's City Council in half. He said this in a meeting with alderman. Awesome. "Hey guys, I'm looking forward to working with you...well, some of you."

Listen, a Chicagoan would be hard pressed naming more than 15 aldermen, but these elected officials serve a purpose. If you live in a ward and want to start a small business, get a liquor license, file for permits or complain about crime, the alderman's office should be there or you. That's what they do. As a wise aldermanic staffer once told me, "The alderman's office is all about the power of way." So cutting that down to 25 alderman would make the "way" much more difficult for regular Chicagoans. Essentially, you no longer would have someone on your side. Or even worse, your public champion is a public champion for many more.

Now, whether or not your alderman's office is doing just that is up for debate. But if you give the good aldermen twice as much area to cover and twice as much constituency, you will have to expect less performance from these elected officials. And let's face it, if you have problems with your garbage pickup and the alderman isn't available to help you sort it out, you will not only be angry with that specific alderman, but your city's government. And the head of that city's government. And you may long for the days when the municipality you chose to live in responded to you. So either move or elect somebody else. Either way, not a bright future.

But, we are in difficult financial times and this is essentially a cost-cutting measure. You would much rather see an alderman get laid off than a police officer. I guess this is why Chicago voted in Rahm Emanuel. To make decisions like these.

B story: Today is Greek Independence Day. Willis Tower, I better see some white & blue up top. White & blue, white & blue, white & blue.

C story: The Tribune has an excellent story on basketball recruiting violations. No, it wasn't Memphis, Kentucky or even Illinois. It was Whitney Young High School. Whtney Young is a magnet school, meaning it's selective enrollment. So kids work their butts off to test in. Whitney Young's basketball program went around that process to enroll good basketball players to win a championship for the school. That's pretty crazy. Not as crazy as forging SAT numbers, but still. Oh wait, am I not supposed to bring that up any more? Is that all kosher because Derrick Rose turned into an awesome professional basketball player?

D story: This Ben Weasel story is pretty interesting. At SXSW, Screeching Weasel frontman Ben Weasel was heckled (and hit in eye with ice), so he went ballistic, punching the concert-goer. Well, the concert-goer was a woman. Everyone snaps. Ben Weasel is now the anti-christ. Now, his bandmates have bailed, quitting with a press release (very punk rock). There are rumors that the punk rock industrial complex wants to turn its back on Ben Weasel.  Listen, Weasel punched a girl. But it wasn't innocent. She heckled him aggressively, threw ice at him on stage (striking him in eye) and spit in his face point-blank. Nobody should ever hit anybody, but maybe the conversation should move from "Ben Weasel hit a girl" (which I already commented on earlier in the week) to "Was it okay for the fan (of either gender) to be that aggressive?" My mom didn't have to tell me that if I did that (in some circles), I would get punched too.

E story: MJ is opening a steakhouse in Chicago. While watching the news coverage of the announcement, CLTV showed clips of restaurant facades and MJ walking, and then the second half of the story was just a montage of MJ dunks. It was kind of awesome advertising for a steakhouse...in a news story.

Sports: My buddy Warno just dropped off a White Sox schedule on my desk. We have the Dodgers coming to town on May 20-22. That should be fun. The last time the LA Dodgers came to the Cell, not only did we beat 'em up in dramatic fashion, but we ended up wiinning the championship. So we have that going for us...which is nice.

Kicker: The Chicago Cubs will announce today who the new Wrigley Field PA announcer will be. WBEZ's Paul Friedman had the job and left this winter. So the Cubs put on a contest to replace him. I, for one, would love it if they finally did the right thing and gave it to Ronnie Woo Woo. He's been working hard to get to that stage. But if he's not available, how about comic Chad Briggs?