OP/ED: Alderman Ed Bus responds to Emanuel's idea to cut City Council in half

March 25, 2011

I was checking my e-mail when the mail room attendant dropped off a hand-written letter addressed to WBEZ. It was from longtime old school Chicago Alderman Ed Bus. Bus was apparently interested in responding to Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's idea of cutting the City Council in half. I transcribed for you, since the scanner is broken and the letter had sauce on it.

Alderman Ed Bus at a press conference (Feb 2011) 

OP/ED Submission for WBEZ

Attn: Mara Tapp

Alderman Ed Bus, 53rd Ward

Someone told me today that Rahm Emanuel made a startling announcement to City Council members that he wanted to cut us in half. I was at that meeting, but I guess I missed it. I was resting my eyes.

How dare Mr. Emanuel even think of something so irresponsible. See, I've been alderman for 40-45 years and NEVER have I been asked to sacrifice. That's not in the real Chicago code. We don't take cuts, we don't downsize and we certainly don't lay aldermen off. We worked very hard and spent a ton of money to be appointed to this job. And now you want to take this away.

If this is where the new Chicago is going, I'm not sure I want to be a part of it (unless of course, you want me to be... I could provide you with a list of 30 useless aldermen, easy).

Tell me this, if we cut the aldermen from 50 to 25, then what would we do with all those high-back leather chairs? I know a couple guys who could get rid of em for ya, Mr. Emanuel, but again, that means you gotta keep me around. I could be a real asset for you Rahm. I could tell you who is a snake, whose cousin is whose and what that one building used to be before they made it a Whole Foods. It was a Weiboldt's.

But we have to keep all 50 alderman. Why? Because we represent a certain number of people and we do it pretty well. My Monday night office hours are already jammed packed that I am thinking of extending it to a full hour. If I had to add more responsibilities and more constituents? Then I might have to open it up to two or three hours and now my Monday night is shot. Is that what this is about? You want me to work more Monday nights? Just come out with it, sir!

And to think, I ran for mayor to help you. If it weren't for me, the hipsters would have voted for del Valle. And I split the Grabowski vote with Chico. So all I'm asking is for a little consideration. That's how we play this game. Not with buttoned down suits and progressive ideas.

If we lose 25 alderman, we might lose these services:

1. Bouncy House rentals. People come to me to rent bouncy-houses and I might not be able to provide you with rentals and a couple guys to blow them up.
2. Honorary street signs: I will not have time for big, lavish ceremonies to honorarily honor a street after that guy who runs the deli.
3. No more free food during 53rd Ward parades, community meetings or pot lucks.
4. I will no longer be available to participate in CAPS meetings, community forums or street festival karaoke/dunk-tanks.
5. Other stuff I haven't thought about yet.

That's just the work I do for my community. But if there are only 25 alderman in City Council, who will I sit next to and blindly follow? My choices will be limited. I guess I'll do what I've always done and just vote for whatever the mayor tells me to.

In conclusion, don't cut me. People of my ward need me. If I go, some big corporate alderman will take over the 53rd and privatize everything. You thought parking meters were bad? Wait til they privatize other services. Wait til robots show up at your kid's birthday party. See if your kids smile at the robot when he tries the quarter behind the ear trick. If the robot doesn't have fingers, that could be dangerous.

And that would be blood on your hands, mayor-elect.

Now if you don't mind, WBEZ, stop being so liberal all the time and let me go on Car Talk to talk about the clutch on my Cutlass.