Just What is Aldermanic Priviledge?

Just What is Aldermanic Priviledge?

The fight over whether to move the Chicago Children’s Museum to Grant Park continued to simmer yesterday in City Council chambers. What that fight is really about depends on who you ask. Mayor Richard Daley says this is a battle for the rights of children, especially minorities. Alderman Brendan Reilly, whose ward includes the park, says it’s about preserving open space.

Others say it’s really about power, specifically the Chicago institution known as aldermanic privilege. That unwritten rule says aldermen get the ultimate say over development questions in their individual wards.

To help us make sense of this fight, we’ve brought in Dick Simpson. He’s head of the political science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a former Chicago alderman himself.