Burke says no return to 'Council Wars'

March 10, 2011

(AP/M. Spencer Green)
Long-time Ald. Ed Burke said he's anxious to work with incoming mayor Rahm Emanuel.

One of Chicago's most powerful aldermen says he does not want a return to the so-called "Council Wars" when Rahm Emanuel takes office.

It's been nearly thirty years since Ald. Ed Burke, 14th, joined a bloc of aldermen to stymie the agenda of then-Mayor Harold Washington. But Burke says he does not want to return to that gridlock when Emanuel takes office in May.

Both Emanuel and Burke say they're giving money to aldermen in run-off elections, but Burke denies they're building coalitions against each other.

"I wouldn't say that. I don't see that there's that kind of competitive movement in this," Burke said. "Not at all."

Emanuel and Burke have had their differences in the past. During February's municipal election, Burke backed one of Emanuel's opponents for mayor, Gery Chico.

And during a pre-election debate, Emanuel singled out Burke as an example of City Council members who may have to make sacrifices if Emanuel took City Hall, saying the alderman may have to give up his police security detail. Emanuel also suggested that he'd push to change the leaders of City Council committees.

Burke, who chairs the influential Finance Committee, said Wednesday that his colleagues will decide whether he keeps his post.